After months of intense internal debate, the TSA decided that mistakes were made when two elderly women — who claim they were subject to strip searches (!) — were examined at Kennedy Airport in November, The Associated Press reports (via USA Today).
Homeland Security Officials, prompted by the women’s complaints, wrote U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and state Sen. Michael Gianaris this week, saying that security screeners did screw up — by not following general screening policies.
Officials still disputed the women’s statements that they were asked to strip and show screeners medical devices under their their clothes.
They stuck to the screeners’ story: that the women disrobed voluntarily.
One of the women, 85-year-old Long Beach resident Lenore Zimmerman, who “weighs less than 110 pounds and is in a wheelchair,” complained in November that a TSA agency requested that she pull up her shirt, drop her pants, and take off her back brace, which had already been X-rayed.
The other woman, 88-year-old Sunrise, Fla. resident Ruth Sherman, said at the time that screeners “made her lower her sweatpants so they could examine her colostomy bag.”
In the letters, TSA Administrator John Pistole and Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Betsy Markey confirmed that the TSA screeners did mess up when it came to some aspects of the inspection, the AP notes.
They said that the back brace should not have been subject to an additional X-ray.
Also (thankfully), it’s not TSA policy to examine colonoscopy bags.