Transportation Security Administration officers “humiliated” a Marine who lost both legs to an Improvised Explosive Device by requiring the wheelchair-bound Marine to stand and walk. They also had him remove both his prosthetic legs, according to a letter from Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-California).
In his complaint to TSA Administrator John Pistole, Hunter described the Marine as being “humiliated” by the TSA’s actions, based on accounts of the incident last week in Phoenix, Arizona.
“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. As a result, 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 explained in his letter.
“With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on,” Hunter continued, “only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficulty, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives.”
According to the California congressman — himself a Marine veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — the Marine, who is still on active duty, produced his military identification card.
The incident took place on March 13 at Arizona’s Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport as several Marines were returning to San Diego California from Phoenix. Hunter included two pictures of the Marine being examined by a TSA officer.
Hunter requested information on the screening process for individuals in situations like the Marine’s and asked about the level of discretion agents have on each case.
“While I recognize the necessity to appropriately screen passengers, I am concerned by the apparent lack of situational awareness and respect among TSA officers — specifically when it comes to the treatment of war wounded. I am hopeful you will give this situation the attention it deserves,” Hunter concluded.