TSA Admits to Humiliating Old Ladies, Still Can't Get Its Stories Straight


In December two old ladies alleged that TSA screeners made them take their clothes off and touched them on their medical devices (a colostomy bag and a back brace; the latter of which was taken from its owner and scanned, like a piece of luggage).

Initially, the TSA denied that screeners at JFK Airport in New York did a single thing wrong. "We truly regret these passengers feel they had a bad screening experience," TSA flack Bob Burns wrote on the agency's blog back in December. 

This counts as an official statement, even if it seems the only thing the TSA Blog does is rebut Drudge headlines and post pictures of the scary things stupid travelers try to transport in their carry-ons (ninja stars! spearguns! the occasional real gun!). Burns acknowledged that it was weird that 85-year-old Lenore Zimmerman was made to take off her back brace, but then said it was her fault because "our officers were told that the passenger was wearing a money belt." Burns then dedicated half a paragraph to explaining the differences between money belts and back braces, because you are an idiot. 

Burns declined to offer a fake apology to 89-year-old Ruth Sherman, who claims she was made to take off her pants so that TSA screeners could touch her colostomy bag, perhaps to make sure that it was really a device for collecting the poor woman's shit, and not a bomb. 

In both cases, the TSA initially said that "screening procedures were followed," and categorically denied that either woman was strip-searched. In a letter that regular people were not meant to see, the agency has walked back the first claim, while maintaining that the two old woman voluntarily took off their clothes: 

In a letter obtained by the New York Daily News, the Homeland Security Department acknowledges that screeners violated standard practice in their treatment of the ailing octogenarians last November.

Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Betsy Markey concedes to state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) that Sherman was forced to show security agents her colostomy bag — a violation of policy.

"It is not standard operating procedure for colostomy devices to be visually inspected, and [the Transportation Security Administration\] apologizes for this employee's action," Markey wrote.

The letter says that Sherman, who uses a wheelchair, was escorted into a private area after she voluntarily lowered her pants to show screeners the device.

In the private room, she was patted down and told to show agents the colostomy bag, the letter says.

Markey still maintained that the Florida-based Sherman was never asked to remove her clothing.

"It is not standard operating procedure for colostomy devices to be visually inspected, and [the Transportation Security Administration] apologizes for this employee's action," Markey wrote.

Zimmerman was told she had to take off her back brace for it to be screened. That meant lowering her pants and raising her shirt, which the TSA letter says she did "voluntarily." Funny how language works, isn't it?  

Both women responded by alleging that the TSA is still lying. "They asked me to pull my sweatpants down, and now they're not telling you the truth," Sherman told the Daily News. "They're lying," Zimmerman said. "I don't have a problem with [screeners checking] the back brace. I have a problem with being strip-searched."

More on the TSA's record of never doing anything wrong. And speaking of strip searches! 

NEXT: President Obama Bows to Special Interests: Refuses to Approve Keystone XL Pipeline from Canada

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. i’ll improperly examine your colostomy bag

  2. profile like el al already jeesch.

  3. Fun fact: I enjoy eating human feces, though dog will do in a pinch.

    1. I’m confused. Do you mean dog feces will do in a pinch?

      WTF, Epi? Did someone forcefeed you deep dish or something?

      1. No, I think someone is in their manic phase.

      2. ? Someone had her advances to Epi rejected again! ?

        1. You’re the only one I can’t resist, tarran.

          1. Epi, nobody is going to believe you are into boys. It’s certainly not going to fool her.

            1. Wait, you’re a dude?!?

              1. I am now understanding why you have so many videos of the East German women’s volleyball team in your collection and came to be such a huge Amy Winehouse fan in the last 18 months of her life.

                1. Amy Winehouse was a chick?!?

                  1. I already told you, she wasn’t a dude, she had emphysema… that’s why she sounded like that.

        2. Fuck off, you paranoid sugar groupie

          1. 🙂 Notice which comment set her off first!

      3. Epi is just defensive because rectal accidentally stumbled onto the truth, dumb whore that she is.

        1. Bullshit. I would never stoop to eating dog shit. Only human, or in a pinch (get it?), higher ape, for me.

          1. What about bullshit? Is that on the menu also, perhaps as an exception?

            1. Too common. Now, tiger shit…that might be interesting.

              1. Tiger shit would taste too much like curry.

                1. If you weren’t such a poor commoner, you’d know that that isn’t true, peasant. It has subtle overtones of mint and E Coli.

                  1. I meant from all the Indian people they eat. Is mint a part of the typical Hindu diet?

                    1. I thought Indians got eaten by man-eating cows, not tigers.

                    2. You mean like this?

                    3. Yes, that’s it. Fuckers walk the streets in India, unimpeded, because people are terrified of getting eaten.

                    4. Holy shit you’re such a gauche, uneducated embarrassment, Jimbo. I can’t even believe you’re asking these questions. Warty, can you educate him, please? I don’t have the patience.

                    5. Indians have no nutritional value, Jimbo, you moron. They’re all fucking vegans.

                    6. They’re all vegans? Then what the fuck is all this uproar about how we killed off the buffalo? If they weren’t eating them, then who the shit cares?

                    7. Jimbo, let me put this in terms even you should understand and recognize:

                      Why do you disappoint me? Second by second, you waste my time. The only reason God doesn’t erase you from the face of the Earth is because you amuse him somehow.

                    8. The only reason God doesn’t erase you from the face of the Earth is because you amuse him somehow.

                      I’m really good at oral.

                    9. Why does everyone have a weird grin on their face right now?

          2. Gorilla shit? Oooh la la, you fucking Frenchie.

            1. Orangutan shit is, in my learned opinion, better than gorilla shit. You fucking philistine.

              1. Ah, Zauis-taik. That shit is crazy expensive, though.

                1. Pardon me, my Malay is weak. I’m told that it’s more properly spelled “Zaius-tahik.”

        2. I guess he was circumcised

          1. What on earth does that have to do with anything? Apologies if it is a relevant comment, but I just don’t follow.

            1. Just ignore. You don’t want to catch retard from her, do you?

              1. Depends…can I get on the gov’t dole if I do?

                1. Is there special welfare for obsessed blogwhoring spooftrolls? ‘Cause if there is, I’m getting on it tomorrow.

                2. Unlike yourselves, I played the video; Warty incif me as you promised

            2. Epi’s little, tiny, bitty secret.

      4. That’s nonsense, of course. Episiarch would never consume common feces. He’s a foodie.

        On the other hand, I could be wrong, if feces consumption became trendy. Like foie merde or something like that. Cultivated geese shit, only coming from geese raised in a special region in France. Provided that the geese were force fed copious amounts of black truffle.

        1. I’m intrigued, ProL. Would you say the texture is better or worse than baby shit?

          1. You guys are elitists. It’s peanuts and corn for me. I am the 99%!

            1. Jesus, Jim, that even offends me. It’s like grabbing a snail off the ground versus eating a fine escargot.

            2. Jimbo is chickenshit all the way.

          2. Oh, definitely better. You know the French. They aren’t eating shit unless it’s high-quality, palate-pleasing shit. Certified as the purest French merde.

            1. It has benefits to heart health, and is also why French women aren’t fat.

              1. Yes, I believe a diet book based on foie merde consumption is on its way.

        2. And only black truffle. Even white truffle is right out.

        3. The Ortolan Bunting is a small bird that is often eat whole, in a single bite. Gourmets claim that it is best eaten with the beak facing out of your mouth, so that the initial bite down will expel the bitter contents of the intestines so that the sweetness of the meat and fat can be better appreciated upon further chewing.

          1. Ye gods. Reality is worse than even SF’s imagination.

          2. So, you put the bird in your mouth ass-first, and when you chomp down, it projectile vomits all over the table?

            1. He said the contents of the intestines, not the stomach. It mouth-shits all over the table. Much more dignified than vomit.

              1. Oh, my god, no. Please! What is that? Don’t tell me!

              2. It’s also illegal to hunt them (but not to eat them), which makes it even better. I believe they are also blinded after being caught and then fattened up before being killed and cooked.

            2. No, the other end of the expelling route… It shits in your mouth.

              It is also traditional to drown the bird in brandy before roasting.

            3. What the fuck is wrong with foodies?

              1. What isn’t wrong with them?

          3. This is the grossest thing you’ve ever written, you know.

            1. The true cost of trolling now can be measured.

              1. I mean, this is grosser than the time we hacked rectal’s computer and watched all of her poop-voyeur videos. Like, 1.2 times as gross.

                1. Too bad you couldn’t have hacked her webcam so you could watch her watching the videos shouting, “FEED HER! FEED HER! FEED ME UM I MEAN HER!”

            1. Holy Crap. That has to be the longest fecalphelia related thread I’ve ever seen.

  4. Just another example of law enforcement being above the law. If it’s against their policy to do this, it’s a case of assault and battery, plain and simple. Forcing someone to pull their pants down and then forcibly touching them in their private parts is a crime, and these agents need to be held accountable.

    It’s no different than a cop who violently beats someone in direct conflict with department policy. And the result is the same: training, policy review, etc…with zero accountability for the assailant.

    Fuck these scumbags. They deserve to rot in a prison cell for the same length of time you or I would serve if we dragged a stranger off the street into an alley and did the same to them.

    But we all know, except a few assholes on here, that cops, government agents and anyone acting on behalf of the state operate under a different set of laws than the rest of us. What would put us behind bars and on a sex offender registry puts them on paid leave and in a classroom for training.

    May they all die a slow and painful death.

    1. You’re just part of the anti-cop bigorati and are butthurt. Authoritah.


      1. troll-o-meter: .01

        also, TSA aren’t cops.

        and of course sloopy is AS USUAL wrong.. not just in his opinion, but on case law, etc.

        dept. policies are often far stricter than legal requirements

        therefore, violation of policy =/= a crime (necessarily) whether it be assault or anything else.

        for example, many police agencies in my state have deadly force policies that are stricter than the law requires

        an officer who violates such policy can of course be disciplined/fired, but they have to actually BREAK THE LAW to be criminally sanctioned

        of course sloopy engages in the usual canards and false equivalencies when talking about alleged double standards, and of course ignores a metric assload of examples where noncops use force, and sometimes under LESS restrictive laws and policies than cops.

        that aside, clearly the TSA is out of control, and their policies have massive levels of fuckupedness

        but everything to sloopy comes down to “i’m butthurt… but the cops… double standard… waaahhh!”

        it’s beyond obsession

    2. So much for “Sic Semper Tyrannis”, eh, Sloop?

  5. the scary things stupid travelers try to transport in their carry-ons

    Do they even bother to try to pretend the people they confiscate this stuff from are an actual threat to the aircraft or the passengers?

    Of course, if they did, they’d have to expand Gitmo.

    1. of course not. TSA has a banned list

      if it’s on the banned list, by definition it’s banned

      TSA is not required to demonstrate that any particular passenger in possession of that substance is themselves an actual threat.

    2. A high jacking via ninja throwing stars would be fucking awesome.

  6. Man, I sure do love that Bloghdad Bob. So much entertaining fail for all these years.

  7. …”our officers were told that the passenger was wearing a money belt.”

    Money belts bring down aircraft all the time.

    1. how do you know she wasn’t going to spend that money on explosives once she was on the plane, huh smart guy?

      1. O.M.G. Ron Paul terrorists could be making money bombs right there in first class!

        1. The 1st link contains some good news.

          The new rules, issuedin September and October, tell officers “screening may not be conducted to detect evidence of crimes unrelated to transportation security” and that large amounts of cash don’t qualify as suspicious for purposes of safety.

            1. that’s an excellent ruling, especially considering TSA are not “investigators” in the respect that federal agents from the FBI, DEA, etc. are. they have a very limited purpose, and they need to be reigned in in scope.

              furthermore, any time/effort spend screening for crimes UNrelated to security necessarily take away from… security which is their ostensible purpose (although i think security THEATER is really a lot of what they do).

  8. They need to just get rid of the pilots and replace them with computers, then it wont matter what the hell people bring on to a plane. Although they might want to scan for bombs or at least keep an eye out for them.

    1. No, the solution is to get rid of the passengers. That would eliminate the need for all of this security screening.

  9. We truly regret these passengers feel they had a bad screening experience.

    Yeah, we regret that you “feel” you “had a bad experience.” In other news, fuck you, shut the fuck up, take your fucking shoes and belt off and proceed through the scanner, bitch.

    1. Unlawful detention, assault and battery, and other such crimes really don’t mean anything when agents of government commit them! You’re just suffering from Libertard Syndrome, an ideology that claims equality under the law is good. Ha!

  10. I’m pleased that the conversation re: eating poop has garnered more interest than the actual article.

    Sorry, Riggs…perhaps next time an expose on government trying to regulate corprophagia?

    1. Hey, Jimbo, it did involve a colostomy bag, so we’re still partially on topic. So wipe that shit-eating grin off your face.

      1. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

        1. What soul?

            1. I’m actually insulted that you think I’m that stupid, Jimbo. I won’t forget this.

              1. What do you expect from a guy who eats tiger shit?

            2. I’m actually waxing nostalgic on that.

              1. Big Rick Astley fan, you were?

                1. Better than your Corey Hart fetish.

                  1. Are you saying Rick > Corey? Because that’s flat out bullshit.

                    1. Been Corey-rolled lately?

                      Game. Set. Match.

            3. That raincoat is so…pale.

    2. It’s totally relevant, as the TSA can eat shit as far as I care.

  11. Here’s one of my beefs with the TSA: When they find a gun on someone and trumpet their success, how is what they’re doing any different than the old security process? The 9/11 hijackers didn’t board with firearms, after all.

    1. Old statism, same as the old statism. Try hijacking a plane and flying it into a skyscraper when everybody on it is armed.

    2. they could have Pro L. You don’t want another nineleventy to happen, do you?

      1. They save us from 9/11 every day. Every single day.

        1. “9/11 times a thousand…My god, that’s 911,000!”

          1. That’s a common mistake. It’s actually just 818.18.

  12. I see that video has a Reason.tv logo on it, but I’m afraid to watch it. The still looks an awful lot like gay porn. I’m told, not that I’ve ever seen. I just assume that’s what gearing up for hot man on man action would look like. Not that I would know. It’s not like I ever accidentally rented gay pornography and ended up watching it all the way to the end late at night two Saturdays ago because I was curious and then titillated or anything. So, yeah, the TSA sucks.

  13. “It is not standard operating procedure for colostomy devices to be visually inspected”

    We’re sposed to smell the hell out of ’em.

  14. TSA, where Truth Seldom Applies, is now retracting their statement at the time that the proper procedures were followed is admitting wrongdoing after Senators Gianaris and Schumer threatened to staff the airports with State Police to monitor their screeners.

    The agency now admits that one woman was strip searched after lying for months and claiming that it didn’t happen but we’re supposed to believe this agency in the other two cases? Three women all reported being strip searched at JFK on the same weekend yet TSA contends that it never happened.

    It is obvious that TSA strip searched all three women in a blatant violation of their rights and Federal and State laws requiring a court order yet no one is being punished for this. This is another example of TSA’s utter contempt for airline passengers and penchant for lying.

    This agency has repeatedly lied about a myriad of issues and promised Congress that they would conduct independent testing of the scanners four times in 2011, as recently as October, only to renege on those promises each time.

    This agency is a colossal failure and the lack of accountability and responsible management permits these abuses to persist. TSA is far too broken to be reformed and must be replaced with something that actually works.

    TSA Crimes & Abuses

  15. Proper response to TSA goon about the colostomy bag: “Yes, it’s full of shit, just like you. Want to taste it and see if I’m lying?”

  16. Hello,my friends!Here’s the most popular dating site for now__SeekCasual*com, a place for people who wanna start a short-term relationship.And also for finding soul mate.Over 160000 happy members are waiting their lovers.Join free and have a try,nothing to lose..

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.