Double Amputee Humiliated By TSA Agents, Transportation Security Administration inspectors forced a wounded Marine who lost both of his legs in an IED blast and who was in a wheelchair to remove his prosthetic legs at one point, and at another point to stand painfully on his legs while his wheelchair was examined, according to a complaint a congressman has registered with the TSA.
Rep. Duncan Hunter said in his letter Monday that the Marine, who is still on active duty and showed TSA agents his military identification, was still forced to undergo that scrutiny.
In his complaint addressed to TSA Administrator John Pistole, Hunter said that the agency made the Marine feel “humiliated.”
“The individual escorting this Marine asked the TSA officer which of the two checkpoints to enter and received the response, ‘either one,’ only to be told moments later they should have entered a different way,” Hunter explained in his letter.
Moments later, TSA officers ordered the wounded Marine to get out of his wheelchair and subsequently remove his prosthetic legs, subjecting him to immense pain while he struggled to get out of his wheelchair.
“A TSA officer asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area, despite the fact that he physically could not stand or walk on his own,” Hunter wrote. “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 difficult, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives.”
The invasive search occurred while several Marines were returning to San Diego, California from Phoenix, Arizona. The disabled Marine showed his military ID, which didn’t stop the TSA from publicly humiliating him and questioning his injuries.
The Marine’s escort was so enraged by the incident that Hunter’s office was contacted to shed light on the situation. Hunter was particularly struck by the incident, since he himself was a Marine veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.
The incident is also alarming, considering it took place at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, which is a joint civil-military public airport. The airport facilities are also home to the Sky Harbor Air National Guard Base. With so many military personnel entering and leaving through the airport, TSA officers in charge of security likely encounter many wounded soldiers – and should therefore have received proper training on how to handle passengers with disabilities.