TSA Issues 'Clarification' on Grandma Strip Search Claim

The TSA appears to be saying it was wrong to remove the medical back brace from 84-year-old Lenore Zimmerman during a private screening at JFK, although a spokesman continued to insist the TSA did not and does not condone strip searches as the elderly woman claimed.

Read the original strip search accusation by elderly woman

TSA: We Should Not have Removed Brace

According the “clarification” issued on the TSA Blog, the security agency acknowledged it received questions about the woman’s situation – questions asking why her brace had been removed despite the fact that the TSA clearly states this should not happen (“To be honest,” blogged the TSA’s Bob Burns, “I was asking myself the same question.”).

The agency called this a case of “miscommunication,” claiming that screeners thought the woman had a money belt on instead of back brace, although it was not made clear how the two could be confused.

TSA says ‘No’ to Gun Design on Purse

JFK Screeners to Get ‘Refresher Training’

Meanwhile, JFK officers are “receiving refresher training to include scenario-based exercises on how to respectfully and safely screen passengers with disabilities or medical conditions to ensure all the proper procedures are followed.”

The TSA initially apologized to the woman for having “an unpleasant screening experience” without admitting wrongdoing. The latest blog post says the agency “regrets” the incident, and included this advice to passengers with disabilities:

“We recommend that all passengers familiarize themselves with security protocols and inform officers prior to screening if they have medical devices that require special screening. It makes things easier for everybody if all parties know in advance what to expect.”

No doubt passengers like Ms. Zimmerman recommend that security officers “familiarize themselves with security protocols” as well.


Published: December 12, 2011