There’s been a lot of outrage over the past few days over an airline passenger’s allegations that TSA officials had asked her mother, a 95-year-old cancer patient, to remove her adult diaper during a security check. Now, however, TSA is denying that its agents required the woman to take off her diaper. Rather, they said, they presented the mother and daughter with several options during the private screening, and the daughter chose to help her mother take off the diaper so that they could make their flight.
The difference, which is small, between TSA’s defense and the passenger’s allegations, that because Jean Weber, the daughter, did not have extra diapers in her bag, she chose to remove the diaper, knowing that otherwise, they would not be allowed to fly. In a statement released on Sunday night, TSA said,
“We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally, according to proper procedure and did not require this passenger to remove an adult diaper. Various options to proceed through the checkpoint were presented to the passenger and her daughter during private screening to resolve an anomaly discovered during a pat down. Although TSA did not request it, the daughter ultimately chose to remove the adult diaper in a bathroom and return to the checkpoint.”
Weber admits that the officials acted professionally throughout the search. The issue was that when the TSA agents discovered a wet substance, they insisted on inspecting the diaper. TSA, probably rightly, is not disclosing more information to protect the family’s privacy, but it does still seem implausible that a 95-year-old cancer patient would be carrying some sort of liquid explosive in a diaper. While TSA may have been following their protocols, those rules are sometimes humiliating – and even if the agents did not require that Weber remove her mother’s diaper, they seem to have left her little choice. On the other hand, it also seems odd that Weber and her mother were traveling without extra diapers.
What do you think? Is TSA’s defense convincing? Or is Weber right in filing a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security about the ordeal?
Photo from bfishadow’s Flickr photostream.