Nipple ring search procedures faulty, TSA admits
LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) — The Transportation Security Administration said Friday its officers at a Texas airport appear to have properly followed procedures when they allegedly forced a woman to remove her nipple rings — one with pliers — but acknowledged the procedures should be changed.Mandi Hamlin, at center with attorney Gloria Allred, demonstrates how she removed her nipple ring.The woman involved — Mandi Hamlin — told reporters earlier Friday she was humiliated by last month’s incident, in which she was forced to painfully remove the piercings behind a curtain as she heard snickers from male TSA officers nearby. The incident occurred at the Lubbock, Texas, airport.
The officers “rightly insisted that the alarm that was raised be resolved,” the TSA said in a statement posted on its Web site Friday afternoon. “TSA supports the thoroughness of the officers involved as they were acting to protect the passengers and crews of the flights departing Lubbock that day.”
However, “TSA has reviewed the procedures themselves and agrees that they need to be changed,” the statement said. “In the future, TSA will inform passengers that they have the option to resolve the alarm through a visual inspection of the article in lieu of removing the item in question.”
Hamlin and her lawyer, celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, said they want a public apology from the agency, as well as a guarantee that future passengers with piercings will be treated with dignity and respect.
Allred pointed out that TSA’s Web site says passengers with piercings can undergo a pat-down inspection if they do not want to take their piercings out — an option she said Hamlin was never offered.
“The conduct of TSA was cruel and unnecessary,” Allred told reporters at a news conference. “Last time that I checked, a nipple was not a dangerous weapon.”
She said if an apology was not forthcoming, “Mandi is going to have to consider her legal options.”
Attempts by CNN to reach Allred for a response to the TSA statement Friday afternoon were unsuccessful.
This was not even 2 weeks after an Apple laptop had the TSA scratching their heads…
MacBook Air stumps TSA agents, owner misses flight
Mon Mar 10, 2008 11:01AM EDT
The suspiciously thin, port-free laptop sends airport security into a tizzy, until cooler heads prevail. Maybe it’s time for some tech briefings at the TSA, no?
On his blog, programmer Michael Nygard (by way of the Unofficial Apple Weblog) writes that during a recent trip through the airport, his solid-state MacBook Air stopped TSA agentsâ€”puzzled by its lack of rear-facing ports or a standard hard driveâ€”in their tracks.
Nygard said the agents put him and his suspicious “device” in a holding cubicle as security staffers huddled nearby, looking at X-ray printouts of the sinister-looking Air and scratching their heads.
A younger TSA agentâ€”who, apparently, was aware of Apple’s newest laptopâ€”tried explaining to the group that the Air uses solid-state memory in place of a traditional hard drive. The senior staffer, however, was still reluctant to let it go: “New products on the market? They haven’t been TSA approved. Probably shouldn’t be permitted,” Nygard writes.
Finally, after booting up the Air and running a program, the agents let Nygard go, he saidâ€”but only after he’d missed his flight.
I’ve been hearing stories like these all too often, which leads to the question: how exactly are TSA agents being trained, anyway? How about, I dunno, some regular briefings on the latest gadgets that might be making their way through security checkpoints? And while TSA agents are wasting time fussing with laptops, undercover investigators with bomb parts in their bags have been sailing though security checkpoints.