Third woman says she was strip searched at JFK Airport

December 6, 2011 2:25:10 PM PST
A third woman has come forward saying she was strip searched by a TSA agent at JFK Airport.

"I tell her I'm wearing an insulin pump hooked up to my thigh," Linda Kallish said.

That insulin pump and Kallish's glucose monitor, which she told TSA screeners about, still set off the metal detector.

"She takes me into a room. And I have to take my pants off," she said.

Kallish is now the third passenger to come forward with what they claim were frightening and violating experiences at the hands of TSA screeners, raising new concerns.

"Their job is not to regard everybody as a suspect, but everybody as a traveler," aviation expert and John Jay College Professor Robert McCrie said.

McCrie says training is drawn into question. The TSA's own protocol for screening travelers with medical conditions clearly states that "if you have an colostomy or urine bag, you will not be required to expose these devices for inspection."

Ruth Sherman, 88, was heading back home from visiting her sons in New York when a TSA screener asked her to step into a private room to check the bulge caused by her colostomy bag.

"I had sweat suit on, just those cotton pants and a top and they asked me to pull down my pants. I felt so degraded that it was, I cried all the way home," Sherman said.

TSA's own protocol for screening of travelers with medical conditions clearly states that ''If you have an ostomy or urine bag, you will not be required to expose these devices for inspection.

"They don't have to do that. I never in my life, I traveled the world I never in my life had anything like that," Sherman said.

Just a few days later, an 84-year-old woman with a walker claims JFK screeners stripped searched her:

"They took me into a private room and strip searched me. Will you pull your pants down please and then she pulled my underwear down and stripped searched me," Lenore Zimmerman, searched by TSA.

YouTube is filled with videos of cases in which the TSA has come under fire for going too far. From small children being checked for weapons to a former Miss USA alleging she was aggressively groped.

"I'm crying because I'm really; really upset that as an American I have to go through this. I do feel violated," Susie Castillo, a former Miss USA.

McCrie says ecurity practices have been slow to evolve.

"TSA started a decade ago, nine years it moved into the new Department of Homeland Security, and that's long enough to get procedures worked out smoothly so that the public isn't abused as we have seen in far too many cases," he said.

Professor McCrie says security without common sense has its price.

"I weigh 103 pounds; I'm going to be 85. So, I'm your typical terrorist right," Zimmerman said.


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