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The Story Behind the Video: Denise Albert

Thursday, October 05, 2017
Denise Albert and TSO Behind the Scenes

TSA recognizes that passengers traveling with cancer may have concerns about security screening when flying. After an unfortunate experience at a security checkpoint late last year, breast cancer survivor and advocate, Denise Albert, co-host of The Moms, published the ordeal on her social media accounts.

Once TSA became aware of the situation, our AskTSA team reached out to Denise to find out what happened. The team apologized that she had a bad experience and had a TSA manager contact her directly to discuss and address her concerns.

When we saw Denise on television discussing her experience, we realized that she was trying to educate others with medical conditions about the security screening process. We reached out to Denise and asked if she would be willing to help us produce a travel tips video for cancer patients. She was immediately onboard and driving the effort every step of the way; from reviewing the script to assisting with post production.

TSA is aware that guidance for the traveling public was only half of the concern and for that reason TSA worked with the Susan G. Komen Foundation to enhance training for screening travelers with medical conditions.

By working with Denise Albert and the Susan G. Komen Foundation, we were able to turn a negative experience into an opportunity to help other passengers and shed light on resources available such as TSA Cares, a helpline for passengers traveling with medical conditions.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Pink Ribbon

TSA Social Media

Comments

Submitted by Anonymous on

It is wonderful to know that somebody care about this matter. Always is good to learn something new.

Submitted by S Richart on

It's only taken TSA 15 years to realize that passenger's who have cancer have concerns with travel?

BTW, here's the link to Ms. Albert's article which Bob Burns conveniently neglected to provide a link to: http://people.com/bodies/denise-albert-tsa-pat-down-over-cancer-medication/

Somehow or another, I doubt that this is going to make other cancer patients' travel easier. TSA will still insist on groping and assaulting them.

Submitted by Ed Wilson on

The closing comment, "trained to resolve the alarm, not clear the passenger," should be given greater prominence. In it TSA is saying that the threat comes before the passenger. This allows almost any conduct by TSA. The rest of the video can easily leave the opposite impression. By the way, glad you are putting out information for individuals traveling with medication. I suggest you be clearer and less saccharin in the text and voice over.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Just watched the video. I have major question; why does a passenger need to contact the TSA Care group 72 hours before travel? Is that an open admission that TSA screeners are not properly trained? That would indicate that passenger education isn't the issue but demonstrates a complete failure on the part of TSA to train and supervise its workforce.

Submitted by Tnbcsurvivor on

Thanks for your video on traveling with breast cancer. I am a breast cancer survivor and wear a prosthesis. I appreciate the tips and will keep them in mind next time I travel.

Submitted by Laura Monteros on

Thanks for the video. It's very clear, but not too comforting.

Submitted by S Richart on

That video is a joke. First of all, why did the screener doing the patdown hide the process of touching the breast area by shielding it with her other hand? Why was the part of the patdown that included a hand/fingers in the woman's genitals not shown?

Further, the video makes it seem as if your screeners automatically put on new gloves before doing a patdown. We all know that it NOT TRUE and that one has to tell screeners to change their gloves.

screen shot/DHS IG statement

Submitted by West Cooper on

Anon sez - "Just watched the video. I have major question; why does a passenger need to contact the TSA Care group 72 hours before travel? Is that an open admission that TSA screeners are not properly trained? That would indicate that passenger education isn't the issue but demonstrates a complete failure on the part of TSA to train and supervise its workforce."

TSA requests that the passenger notify the departure location 72 hours in advance to allow for coordination with our PSS (Passenger Support Specialists). In some cases, this gives the passenger and the PSS the opportunity to communicate ahead of time in case there are special needs. I personally have worked with passengers, that I spoke with directly prior to departure because of injuries, equipment or other needs. By communicating ahead of time, it allows me (and by extension, TSA) to go ahead and get any special procedures or equipment planned for, thus making the process more efficient. Personalizing the process is a huge part of the PSS program, if I know ahead of time that an individual requires certain types of help (again, physical assistance, equipment, mobility assistance, etc), I can pre-arrange for the special needs. I can then escort the individual and their family from the entrance, all the way through the process with as little slowdown or hassle as possible. I love our PSS program, it is a great idea, and I hope we continue to use it as long as there are passengers with special needs.

TSA Blog Team

This article is an admission that we wanted to help get the message out to as many people as we could. Giving these advisements on our social media pages and in press releases, will hopefully help someone that needs it. Our staff are all trained on how to work with and screen all passengers that may enter our checkpoints. Our PSS individuals simply get some additional training and continually work to coordinate and help passengers plan for and transit the checkpoints.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Submitted by West Cooper on Mon, 2017-10-09 16:41
Anon sez - "Just watched the video. I have major question; why does a passenger need to contact the TSA Care group 72 hours before travel? Is that an open admission that TSA screeners are not properly trained? That would indicate that passenger education isn't the issue but demonstrates a complete failure on the part of TSA to train and supervise its workforce."

TSA requests that the passenger notify the departure location 72 hours in advance to allow for coordination with our PSS (Passenger Support Specialists). In some cases, this gives the passenger and the PSS the opportunity to communicate ahead of time in case there are special needs. I personally have worked with passengers, that I spoke with directly prior to departure because of injuries, equipment or other needs. By communicating ahead of time, it allows me (and by extension, TSA) to go ahead and get any special procedures or equipment planned for, thus making the process more efficient. Personalizing the process is a huge part of the PSS program, if I know ahead of time that an individual requires certain types of help (again, physical assistance, equipment, mobility assistance, etc), I can pre-arrange for the special needs. I can then escort the individual and their family from the entrance, all the way through the process with as little slowdown or hassle as possible. I love our PSS program, it is a great idea, and I hope we continue to use it as long as there are passengers with special needs.

TSA Blog Team

This article is an admission that we wanted to help get the message out to as many people as we could. Giving these advisements on our social media pages and in press releases, will hopefully help someone that needs it. Our staff are all trained on how to work with and screen all passengers that may enter our checkpoints. Our PSS individuals simply get some additional training and continually work to coordinate and help passengers plan for and transit the checkpoints.
....................

Would TSA please explain what "special procedures or equipment" were needed to screen Denise Albert? And if "Our staff are all trained on how to work with and screen all passengers that may enter our checkpoints" then why was she was made to remove her shoes after telling the TSA screeners that she had open wounds on her feet, and why declaring medical LGA's results in an invasive Full Body Grope Down?

I'm sorry but this TSA response is so hollow it echos.

TSA employees need to step out of their TSA role and look at what is being done to travelers from the viewpoint of a passenger. I think a good way to accomplish this is to require that TSA employees get the maximum form of screening possible once each day.

Submitted by Marie on

There are valid reasons why someone needs to avoid radiation exposure and would opt for a pat down. But also, some body areas may be very tender even with light touch. So, what is the best way to communicate to TSA that they need to be gentle?

Submitted by RB on

A four part post in response to TSA LIES:

Part 1 of 4
There is almost nothing true or accurate in the video created by TSA in order to make TSA look good.

So let us go back to the actual event and study exactly what happened, why TSA stated that they were disappointed in the actions of the TSA Screeners who were part of the screening, and why TSA was supposedly going to retrain 3,000 TSA screeners at LAX.

And while we are reviewing can anyone fathom why a traveler should need to call TSA Cares 72 hours before travel just to make sure they are not abused by TSA screeners? Isn't that an admission of guilt by TSA that TSA screeners are neither properly trained or professional? If that is the case shouldn't everyone call TSA Cares before every flight so they too are not abused by TSA?

First off if you haven't read the passengers account of what happened you should.

http://people.com/bodies/denise-albert-tsa-pat-down-over-cancer-medication/
and a short video from Denise: (Video at link)

Submitted by RB on

Part 2 of 4
Denise Albert, a breast cancer patient, was singled out because she declared a medical ointment as required by TSA rules. Denise followed the rules. Yet TSA retaliated for unknown reasons.

"The in-depth search was initiated because of a medical cream she had packed in her carry-on luggage, Albert says."
"TSA required Denise to remove her shoes, even after Denise told TSA screeners that she had open wounds on her feet, requiring Denise to walk across the filthy floor at the TSA checkpoint. And I say filthy, has anyone ever seen any cleaning being done at a TSA checkpoint area? I haven't!

“I went through the scanner and they asked me to remove my shoes, even though I went through the scanner and I was TSA Precheck – which normally means you don’t have to take your shoes off,” she explains. “And I agreed to take my shoes off but I had to tell them I wasn’t going to stand on the floor without my shoes on because I have open sores and infections from my treatment, which is why I have the cream.”"

TSA went on to tell Denise that they would conduct a full body grope down, using as much pressure as TSA wanted even after Denise informed the TSA screeners (I would call them molesters at this point) that she had a port (used in introduce Chemo into the body) embedded in her chest.

So it's clear that the TSA screener(s) were intent on harming Denise as some sort of punishment for having a medical cream which was properly declared as required by TSA.

Submitted by RB on

Part 3 of 4
And exactly why does TSA do these stupid grope downs when a person has a medical type liquid in a carry on? Isn't the threat, if there truly is one, the item? This happened to Denise, happens to mothers with breast milk, food for toddlers, and other such occasions. Somehow in the flea sized minds of TSA does some harmless item in a person's carry-on warrant a full body grope down? Now if you can put some logic to that TSA requirement please be my guest. It seems clear that TSA has no concept of threat mitigation and only does these things to abuse the public.

Folks, there is a real and inexcusable disconnect here, not on the part of Denise and travelers, but on and by the hands of TSA and its employees. TSA won't publicly own up to the gross errors and misconduct that Denise was subjected to that day and creates the false video making it appear that passengers enjoy being manhandled in the name of security. In fact the "The Story Behind the Video: Denise Albert" video doesn't even make mention or reference to the posting by Denise. How could that possibly be?

TSA screeners are brainwashed into believing that terrorist are continuously trying to bring down airliners and that all of us are potential terrorists. The facts just won't support TSA on this point. TSA has never identified a terrorist during passenger screening. Not one since TSA started screening operations in U.S. airports during 2002. Yes it's now late 2017 and TSA's records hold. Not one terrorist found by TSA. Not ONE!

Submitted by RB on

Part 4 of 4
I think we can safely say that if we want find terrorist at U.S. airports we are looking in the wrong places. TSA abuses passengers daily yet allows airport workers to come and go in secure areas without benefit of any regular physical screening. TSA has an employee misconduct issue and stands by idly doing nothing. TSA has an employee turnover problem that will continue, working for TSA while paid well is a dead end job. How many supervisors and managers can there be when the core job is screening baggage and people?

No, TSA will find no more terrorists that a blind squirrel will find nuts. In fact ,if TSA wants to find the real terrorist all they need do is look in a mirror. TSA employees are the real terrorist as far as the flying public is concerned.

Submitted by West Cooper on

Marie sez - "There are valid reasons why someone needs to avoid radiation exposure and would opt for a pat down. But also, some body areas may be very tender even with light touch. So, what is the best way to communicate to TSA that they need to be gentle?"

My suggestion is to consistently communicate with the TSO from the beginning. If you are chosen for a pat down (whether you choose to be screened that way, or you have alarmed other screening equipment), I would strongly suggest that you begin to explain the sensory challenges you specifically experience (soreness, sensitive to touch or pressure, etc). That way, the TSO can communicate effectively, and work with you as best they can to complete the screening in as painless a way as possible.

TSA Blog Team

Submitted by RBb on

Submitted by Marie on Wed, 2017-10-11 12:11
There are valid reasons why someone needs to avoid radiation exposure and would opt for a pat down. But also, some body areas may be very tender even with light touch. So, what is the best way to communicate to TSA that they need to be gentle?
..........................

If you tell a TSA screener that you have sensitive areas, and this has been reported many times, the TSA screener will very likely deal with those areas as firmly possible. I don't care what propaganda that TSA spews, it just doesn't work that way in real life

Submitted by Anonymous on

"West

TSA requests that the passenger notify the departure location 72 hours in advance to allow for coordination with our PSS (Passenger Support Specialists)."

Can you support this statement? I ask because your statement seems to be different than what TSA has published.

https://www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support

"Call 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.

Passenger Support Specialists

Travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about the security screening process at the airport may ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance."

The 72 hours you quote is per this information to ask questions. To request a Passenger Support Specialist all one needs to do is ask for one at the checkpoint.

Going even further, why are TSA screeners so poorly trained that it takes a special TSA screener to deal with some passengers?

It would be helpful if the TSA employees who have been picked to participate with the TSA Blog accurately stated TSA policy instead of providing incorrect information.

Submitted by Ann on

Why hasn't this question been addressed? You're servants of this country, so you don't get to decide which of us you serve and which you ignore. Answer her question.

Submitted by Anonymous on

I tried to be brave but was left in tears today when my post-surgical bra set off an alarm on the body scanner at LAS. Given I am 3 weeks post breast cancer surgery I did not want a pat down that would include rubbing back and forth against my incision areas even for just the 2 seconds I was told it would take. What if the incisions opened? What about the pain? I was embarrassed that the only other option was during a private screening to expose my chest area for a visual inspection. I cried at the gate and on my flight home. I hope the TSA will consider improved, less invasive screening options for breast cancer patients in a similar stage of their treatment as I am where a pat down of incision areas is not feasible. Why did they not allow me to just walk through the X-ray scanner instead?