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Double Amputee Humiliated by TSA Agents, Says Congressman

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Congressman Duncan Hunter, representative for California’s 50th congressional district, this week wrote a terse letter to Transportation Security Administration (TSA) Administrator John Pistole. The letter detailed an account of alleged mistreatment of a wounded marine by TSA officers and demanded an explanation for the event.

Hunter’s letter alleges that a Marine, later identified as Cpl. Toran Gaal, was “humiliated” as he passed through security at Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport. Gaal, who lost both of his legs to explosive in Afghanistan, was traveling from Phoenix to San Diego with several other marines.

TSA agents allegedly asked Gaal to stand, which he cannot do on his own. They are also alleged by Hunter to have forced Gaal to remove his prosthetic legs (presumably looking for some sort of James Bond rocket launcher). This is before he was taken to a second screening area for his wheelchair to be examined.

From Hunter’s letter:

One of the Marines in particular, who lost both of his legs to an Improvised Explosive Device, was confined to a wheelchair with limited to no mobility. The individual escorting this Marine asked the TSA officer which of two checkpoints to enter and received the response, “either one,” only to be told moments later they should have entered a different way. As a result, a TSA officer asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area, despite the fact that he could not stand or walk on his own. With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficulty, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives.

Though Hunter stated he recognizes the necessity of passenger screening, he wrote that he is “concerned by the apparent lack of situational awareness and respect among TSA officers – specifically when it comes to the treatment of war wounded.”

The TSA has responded to the allegations via a blog post. The agency claims that surveillance footage shows the Marine never removed his prosthetics and that his screening took only eight minutes.

View more videos at: http://nbcsandiego.com

Double Amputee Humiliated by TSA Agents, Says Congressman


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  • Joel Reznick

    We may be the “Home of the Brave”, but as this and other incidents have shown, we are surely no longer the “Land of the Free” – 9/11 changed all that!

    Events like this should never take place – some if the TSA “officers” should also get a course in common sense!

    My personal apologies the young marine who was “singled out” for special examinations!

  • http://WebProNews Lori

    I am truly sorry TSA treated this Marine with disrespect but things could be “hidden” in prosthesis. We are all subjected to humiliation at the airport. A x-ray scanner shows I had a tubal ligation because of the metal tube clips. Once they questioned my tampon…explain that one. Yup gonna blow up my hoo hoo. America is not safer, we are losing more and more rights every day. We have enough crazy people TSA throwing out my nail clippers or suntan oil doesn’t make me any safer when an unloaded firearm in your luggage is ok.

  • http://WebProNews Lori

    I am truly sorry TSA treated this Marine with disrespect but things could be “hidden” in prosthesis. We are all subjected to humiliation at the airport. A x-ray scanner shows I had a tubal ligation because of the metal tube clips. Once they questioned my tampon…explain that one. Yup gonna blow up my hoo hoo. America is not safer, we are losing more and more rights every day. We have enough crazy people TSA throwing out my nail clippers or suntan oil doesn’t make me any safer when an unloaded firearm in your luggage is ok. Too afraid to print this? Yeah free America

    • http://WEbpronews francisca

      TSA, NEEDS TO BE RETRAINED THIS IS TERRIBLE I UNDERSTAND THEY’RE TRYING TO DO THE BEST THEY CAN? BUT …..THEY HAVE TO BE MORE RESPECTFUL “TO THE HANDICAPPED “& THOSE THAT RISK THERE LIVES EVERYDAY. ESPECIALLY THE ONES THAT GOT HURT PROTECTING US “THE AMERICAN PEOPLE!!! I SALUTE & GIVE MY THANKS TO THOSE THAT WERE HURT PROTECTING US & TO THOSE BRAVE SOLDIERS & ESPECIALLY ” THE MARINES “THAT ARE STILL “PROTECTING US!!! GOD BLESS & PROTECT U ALL ” THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • http://www.gmail.mail.com cassiebow

        It’s unfortunate for a former veteran of
        Country to have been put through such
        maladjustments! but we can’t have our
        cake and eat it too! we put measure in
        play to counter respond to the very real
        possibility of an imminent threat coming through our airports thats what
        we want TSA to do! Keep in mind they should be leery of everybody that enters our airports.

  • Richard

    Just another reason why I despise the TSA. What an absolutely worthless group of people. Last year I went to the airport to pick up my son I saw three TSA guards; one had two knee braces on, the second appeared to have COPD, judging by his hacking and coughing, and the third was so overwieght the he could barely walk. How can such people be expected to stop a criminal? Also, they did a full body search of a good friend of mine’s grandaughter with Down’s syndrome. She was five years old. What a mess. I guess it provides jobs for otherwise unemployable people.

  • rah

    TSA thinks their authority is omnipotent. They get away with this type behavior all the time. This is a huge outrage! 3 questions to the TSA and American public:
    1. When has the TSA ever lost one of their own while performing their job duties?
    2. Who gives their lives to try and maintain what’s left of out democracy? The marines are first on the list!
    3.Where in your job description does it say you can openly oppress and harass a double amputee who is also a veteran? I would like to see that rule? Everyone involved in this with the TSA on that shift, should be fired and others should be properly trained!

    Wake up America u should not tolerate this type of behavior. TSA needs to be disbanded immediately before its too late.

  • G

    Marine should have expected this. So it was five min of unpleasantry,,. This complaint makes no sense whatsoever. Don’t fly.

    • G

      Congressman looking for publicity

    • denise jacobson

      Your an idiot for what you wrote.

    • Steven P Jones

      I have experienced the harsh unnecessarily mean treatment by the TSA myself. It seems that when a person is put in a position of authority, they will abuse that authority unless there is some way of limiting it. Most people don’t know that the TSA is totally corrupt. For one thing they routinely steel laptop computers, cells phones and other things from passenger’s luggage any time they get the chance. Most people have heard of how corrupt the Mexican government and Police are and this Country is becoming just as corrupt as Mexico.

  • denise jacobson

    I think that the TSA worker would have had brains. I think he/she was very rude.

    If it had been me with no legs I to would have a lawsuit against them.

    Just because someone has 2 artificial legs doesn’t mean that they know how to use them. He/she could’ve been just fitted with them.

    • http://www.gmail.mail.com cassiebow

      Denise…the TSA official handled the former Veteran with absolute care. They are there to for that purpose to safe guard our airports! Let’s not exclude the facts. Don’t just ramble off! We all should be prepared if we plan to use the airways at our airports. Especially you!

  • http://blog.tsa.gov Bob Burns

    Bob here from the TSA Blog. I published a blog post tonight about the Marine Wounded Warrior. After reviewing TSA video (CCTV), interviewing and receiving written statements from all Officers involved, we found that the soldier was not asked and did not remove his prosthetic legs. The screening was done by the book and lasted a total of 8 minutes from beginning to end. Take a look at our blog post for more information.

    http://blog.tsa.gov/2013/03/wounded-warrior-screened-at-phoenix-was.html

    Thanks,

    Bob Burns
    TSA Blog Team
    Blog.tsa.gov

    • Sean Patterson

      I’ve updated the story to link to the TSA’s official response.

  • http://www.gmail.mail.com cassiebow

    TSA keep up the good work and a huge shout out to all our arm forces, what you are trying to do, makes a heck of difference in an upside down world. Yet may God still, be with you all. And again, thanks TSA!

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