Airport security officers are getting a little too frisky with some passengers, and watchdog agencies want to make sure that the government cracks down on this abuse.
The Judicial Watch group in Washington, D.C. announced Thursday that it filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the United States Department of Homeland Security seeking “incident reports” of sexual assault or misconduct perpetrated by airport Transportation Security Officials at airports in Washington D.C, Chicago, Denver and Miami, among others.
The lawsuit, known as Judicial Watch v. U.S. State Department, was filed on July 11, 2014, but was just released to the pubic Thursday. The report seeks incidents of sexual misconduct perpetrated during 2013 by the respective airport TSAs under investigation
The TSA did not produce any documents as shown by Judicial Watch’s original request. Concern over sexual misconduct in airport security checkpoints began in early 2014 when a woman in a Colorado airport complained about being groped by an airport security officer.
“The part of the search that bothered most was the breast search,” the woman said. “You could tell it shouldn’t take that much groping. To me it was as extensive as an exam from my physician — full touching and grabbing in the front. I felt uncomfortable, I felt violated.”
A Government Accountability Office report, filed in August 2013, revealed the rampant misconduct among TSA officers. From 2010-2012, there were over 9,600 cases of sexual misconduct amongst TSA officers and over 2,000 cases of officers sleeping while on duty or not following procedure.
According to the GAO report, TSA does not have a process for reviewing misconduct cases to verify that TSA staffs are following policies and procedures concerning employee misconduct, sexual or otherwise. At the time of the report, the TSA had over 56,000 employees and a $7.7 billion budget.
“The TSA is a massive government agency that requires diligent oversight,” Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, said in a press release. “It is bad enough that many experts argue that it is unnecessarily intrusive and ineffective. The fact that TSA would stonewall basic information about potentially egregious and criminal assaults on airline passengers is a further proof this agency is out of control.”
Fitton went on to call the federal agency to answer to a federal court for its abuse and illegal security. He further condemned Barack Obama’s lack of oversight towards the committee, and called on the president to “take personal responsibility for his administration’s repeated violation of federal law.”