8 New York TSA Air Marshals, Including Supervisor, Fired For Drinking On A Training Day – 6 Other Marshals Suspended For Not Reporting The Drinking

June 29, 2012

NEW YORK – The Transportation Security Administration is firing eight federal air marshals, including a supervisor, for allegedly drinking alcohol on a training day and suspending six others for not reporting the misconduct, the agency said Friday.

The 14 marshals belong to the New York office. All can appeal except a probationary employee who was terminated immediately.

The TSA told The Associated Press the drinking occurred at a restaurant in February and was reported to a website that allows employees to alert leadership of inappropriate behavior.

None of the marshals was scheduled for flight duty the day of the drinking. But the TSA said consumption of alcohol is forbidden anytime they are on the job.

The TSA didn’t know if any had yet retained attorneys.

Some of the marshals at the restaurant had their service weapons with them, the agency said.

Those being fired were required Friday to turn in their weapons and credentials.

“TSA holds all of its employees to the highest professional and ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace,” said Nico Melendez, an agency spokesman. “TSA’s decision to remove the individuals involved in the misconduct affirms our strong commitment to the highest standards of conduct and accountability.”

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Woman Screams For Help From Police As She Is Molested By TSA Agent At Phoenix Arizona International Airport – Son Videotaped Attack, And Was Harassed And Threatened With Arrest By TSA Agents

June 12, 2012

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – Footage show a woman screaming frantically for help in an airport terminal after claiming she was ‘molested’ by officials during a security pat down.

The unidentified passenger yells hysterically that she has been molested after a female security staff member touched her breast during the screening process at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.

Video filmed by her son shows the woman bursting into tears after the alleged ‘sexual assault’, while other staff members tell her son to stop filming the distressing episode.

She shouts: ‘I want a police officer, I think she molested me. Her cries becoming louder and louder throughout the footage.

She adds: ‘I want a police officer now! She just molested me! For god’s sake somebody help me!’

Officials begin to surround her, creating a human shield between her and other passengers. Helpless, she holds her head and begins to weep

‘This was illegal. I can’t believe she just did that to me. How can none of them care? I want her arrested.’

The woman becomes more and more agitated before TSA officers demand that her son leave the area.

He continues to film the incident from afar, though several more officers harass him and threaten to arrest him if he does not stop.

Eventually, the weeping woman is escorted by police officers past her son.

The TSA didn’t immediately return the MailOnline’s request for comment on whether or not the woman’s complaint could be verified.

The family had been subjected to similarly ‘invasive’ security scrutiny at the same airport earlier in the year in a similar video.

On that occasion, they had protested against TSA that the security screening had violated their Constitutional Rights.

The incident is not the first time TSA officials have been accused of being heavy-handed.

Thousands of Americans have reacted furiously to the imposition of new airport security measures, including full body scans and hands-on pat downs.

Those who refuse the ‘invase’ pat downs risk arrest and an $11,000 fine.

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Dozens Of TSA Agents Fired And Suspended For Not Screening Passengers At Fort Myers Florida Airport – 15% Of Workforce

June 4, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC — Five Transportation Security Administration workers at Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers have been fired and another 38 suspended after an internal investigation found they failed to perform random screenings last year.

The 43, a combination of front-line screeners and supervisors, represent about 15 percent of the roughly 280 TSA employees at the airport. The number of workers involved makes it one of the largest disciplinary actions TSA has taken in its 10-year history, TSA spokesman David Castelveter confirmed.

The workers were notified of their punishment Friday and are being given an opportunity to appeal, he said. The agency has brought in screeners from other airports to fill in.

During a two-month period last year, as many as 400 passengers who underwent routine screening at Southwest Florida International Airport never got additional random checks, Castelveter said. About 3.8 million passengers flew through the airport last year.

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TSA High Security = No Security – Man Leaves Jail, Walks Through Emergency Door At San Diego California Airport, Onto Tarmac, And Onto Airplane

May 31, 2012

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Hours after being released from jail, a man walked through an emergency door at San Diego International Airport, onto the tarmac and sat down on a United Express plane Tuesday, according to San Diego authorities.

“He completely bypassed TSA screening,” San Diego Harbor Police Chief John Bolduc said. “He was in a public area and went out an emergency fire door, which gave him access to the tarmac.”

Marc Duncan, 38, was paroled from jail Monday night, according to San Diego County Sheriff’s Department records. He had been serving time for theft.

After it was opened, the emergency door alarm sounded, and Bolduc said police were on site in four minutes, but by then Duncan had blended in with other passengers.

He allegedly boarded a 30-seat United Express aircraft operated by SkyWest, which was heading to Los Angeles, according to airline spokesman Wes Horrocks.

The flight attendant realized she had too many passengers, Nicholas Blasgen, a passenger on the plane told CNN affiliate KGTV. “They said, ‘What is your count?’ She said this is my count, and they said that is wrong.”

The passengers got off the plane and their luggage was searched.

“They had us put all the bags out, they separated the bags by enough distance and had the dog go over everything,” Blasgen said.

Duncan was identified and arrested.

He is being held in the San Diego jail and is scheduled to be in court Thursday.

“I still can’t, in the world, understand how this happened,” Blasgen said. “It sounds like they just have lax security or not enough management. Something was going wrong.”

The Harbor Police chief said they will examine this incident and find out where to make security improvements.

“The guy did breach security, but he was caught,” Bolduc said. “We have multiple layers of security built into our airports, as you know, and the backup systems were able to catch this guy.”

“Security of airports is a shared responsibility, and airports and airlines are required to adhere to TSA-approved security standards.” TSA spokeswoman Sterling Payne said in a statement. “TSA has initiated an investigation and if necessary, will take appropriate action.”

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Cost For Travelers To Be Mistreated By TSA Agents To Double

May 30, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – At a time when airlines seem to be adding extra charges for everything from seats to snacks, there’s another fee in the works. This time, it’s transportation security officials who want you to pay more.

The agency, backed by Democrats in the Senate, wants to increase the security fee everyone pays with a ticket from $2.50 a flight. to $5.00 per one-way ticket. A total of $10.00 would be added to round-trip tickets.

“$10 is kind of pushing it to a limit. I mean I guess it’s only 5 dollars more, but I’m wondering, you know, how that fits in with-they already have a budget,” said passenger Moira Jeweler.

The TSA budget, like many in Washington, is set to be cut. The agency said boosting this fee would help cover the increase price of security like those costly scanners. The fee hasn’t been hiked in 10 years.

A powerful lobby is pushing against it.They don’t want the cost shifted onto their customers.

“Air security is a national security function and it’s something that all of us need to be behind as Americans, and the government should be picking up the cost of that.” said Airlines for America spokesman Sean Kennedy.

Republicans want to cut from other social programs to pay for the security fee increase. All of this has to be worked out right now, so that the TSA can get its funding for next year.

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TSA Claims It Will Stop Targeting Elderly Airline Passengers

May 26, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The US government is easing the airport screening process for travelers 75 and older, beginning to roll out new rules just in time for the long Memorial Day holiday weekend, an official said Friday.

From this weekend the elderly will no longer have to doff shoes, belts and jackets as they pass through security checkpoints at New York’s three major airports: John F. Kennedy International, La Guardia, and Newark Liberty.

The Transportation Security Administration has said rollout of the new measures to the rest of the country could follow.

“Seventy-five-plus is in the process of being rolled out and customers will see it over the course of the summer and beyond,” said David Castelveter, chief spokesman of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Castelveter said he did not have a precise timetable, but the New York rollout was expected to occur through the upcoming three-day weekend that unofficially kicks off the US summer vacation season.

The 75-plus measures have already been successfully tested in the Chicago, Denver, Orlando and Portland airports.

Last September the TSA decided to allow children 12 and under to pass through screening without removing their shoes.

The enhanced TSA airport screening was established after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States in which the attackers used airplanes as weapons.

The Al-Qaeda attacks claimed 2,976 lives in New York, Washington and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

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Pedophile Catholic Priest Thomas Harkins, Removed From Ministry Over Sex Abuse Allegations, Working For TSA In Sensitive Security Post At Philadelphia Pennsylvania Airport

May 25, 2012

PHILADELPHIA,PENNSYLVANIA – The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.

The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.

Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.

The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.

“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.

The I-Team asked Harkins if the traveling public should be worried.

“No, they shouldn’t be,” he said.

“The public should not be worried with you in a position like this despite your past?” reporter Ben Simmoneau asked.

“I have nothing to say,” Harkins repeated.

He then used his TSA badge to walk into a restricted area where our cameras could not follow.

“They should know who they’re hiring,” said Karen Polesir, a Philadelphia spokeswoman with the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). She believes Harkins’ TSA job is inappropriate.

“As the public, we are screened to our underwear getting on a plane, and yet they hire a man like that.”

A TSA official tells the I-Team Harkins’ title is “Transportation Security Manager, Baggage,” meaning he deals mostly with luggage, not passengers.

“Sure, that’s his title,” Polesir said. “That doesn’t mean that’s where he stays, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fill other roles when necessary.”

The TSA says all its employees go through a criminal background check before they’re hired, but because these cases are so old, criminal charges were not filed. A spokesman says the Camden Diocese settled the first two lawsuits with Harkins’ accusers–it has not seen this suit just yet.

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