• Report: #371932
Complaint Review:

TSA, Office Of Civil Rights And Liberties ,TSA-6, External Compliance Division

  • Submitted: Thu, September 11, 2008
  • Updated: Wed, October 27, 2010

  • Reported By:San Antonio Texas
TSA, Office Of Civil Rights And Liberties ,TSA-6, External Compliance Division
601 S. 12th Street Arlington, Virginia U.S.A.

TSA-Homeland SecurityTSA, Office Of Civil Rights And Liberties TSA-6, External Compliance Division TSA Agents Commit Unfair Targeting Practices Arlington Virginia

*UPDATE Employee: Sorry but you wer not mistreated

*Consumer Comment: here's what happened. Hope you check in to read it

*Author of original report: TSA-Homeland SecurityTSA, Office Of Assistant Secretary Fails To Address Concerns Of TSA Agent's Unfair Targeting Practice And Downplays The Value Of US Veterans Affairs-Issued Pictured And Service Connected ID As An Acceptable Form Of Identification At A

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On August 13, 2008, I reported to McCarrin International Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada after attending the 2008 National Disabled American Veterans Convention. A female TSA agent approached me immediately after I had presented my identification and boarding pass and cleared the preliminary checkpoint. She asked to see my U.S. Government issued identification and then scrutinized my Texas state issued identification in an act that I felt targeted me based upon my attire (DAV Chapter Uniform), my rank (Major, U.S. Army - Retired) and more specifically my race (African American).

I was not up to the challenge of confronting the agent on-site and discovered that I had a kidney stone and cyst on my kidney, as I reported to the VA emergency room within 24 hours of the incident. Yet, the situation stayed on my mind, prompting the following letter to the TSA and Michael Chertoff, Director of Homeland Security:

August 28, 2008
Transportation Security Administration Homeland Security Director
Office of Civil Rights and Liberties (TSA-6) Attention: Michael Chertoff
External Compliance Division Washington, D.C.
601 S. 12th Street
Arlington, VA 22202

TSA Civil Rights Manager:

Please consider this letter my formal submission of complaint against an unknown female staffer at the McCarrin Airport in Las Vegas, Nevada. Contrary to the TSA's Overview of Passenger Civil Rights, I do not envision the TSA's 43,000 member staff to be a reflection of me, as under no circumstances would I have placed any member of the traveling public. I am also requesting that the TSA provides me a formal written letter of apology for the incident that follows.

I had arrived at the McCarrin Airport at approximately 5:45 on 13 August 2008 and proceeded to the security screening area upon checking in my luggage. Upon clearing the initial TSA checkpoint agent with my boarding pass and a U.S. Government issued VA Pictured identification card, I was immediately halted by a female TSA staffer. I do not know whether or not she was a supervisor, as there was a third TSA agent, an elderly gentleman, who was also present and directing people to the various checkpoints. The female agent asked for my now checked boarding pass and for additional identification.

I provided my Texas Drivers License to the agent and became somewhat puzzled, as she scrutinized the license for what seemed to be no less than 2 minutes, delaying other travelers at the initial checkpoint. She then returned the driver's license to me and stated that it was the preferred form of identification. Because I was not feeling well, I did not question the female agent as to why she did not ask any other travelers to show their identification, yet she simply walked right up to me and asked for mine. Yes, I do believe that I was targeted by the female agent.

To add insult to injury, I opted to wear my Disabled American Veteran (Roy B. Hodges, Chapter 128) sponsored uniform that included: my DAV service cap and a DAV name badge from the recently adjourned National DAV Annual Convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Relating this incident to several others upon returning to Texas, many agreed with me and my feeling of being singled out. Some even suggested that the fact that my DAV service cap showed that I had been a major in the Armed Forces could have been the contributory factor in my being singled out. This one act was a great disservice to one who had served this country honorably for more than 20 years.

I do not take lightly the important role that the TSA place in these times in which we are living. However, in considering myself to be a Voice of the Veterans, I would be remiss to overlook the actions of the female TSA as a mere isolated case. How telling it is of her actions with respect to the actions of all TSA agents - all 43,000 of them? At a time of heightened emotions and valid concerns of governmental agencies overstepping their legal boundaries, I think it prudent that I ask for an investigation into this matter. I am not seeking this as a retired officer but as a concerned U.S. citizen.

I find it somewhat ironic that an organization whose very existence began as a counter to terrorism can easily transform into an organization that terrorizes the very individuals that it was intended to protect. It is also ironic that early morning on the day after this incident, I went into the VA emergency room with a kidney stone and a cyst on my kidney.

During the hours that I spent in the emergency room seemed to strengthen my resolve in generating this letter. I did phone in some concerns to the TSA telephone operator and did receive a return call from the McCarrin Customer Service Officer. At this time, I made it known that it is important that issues such as the one at the McCarrin airport be widely disseminated in the event that others have experienced similar situations. I now hold the TSA in the same category as American Airlines for the poor treatment rendered to those who have faithfully served the nation.

I now find myself compelled to invest the following:

Stamps 6 x (.42) = 2.52
Envelopes 6 x (.07) = .42
Paper 12 x (.040) = .48
Ink 12 x (.090) = 1.08
Typing 3 x (12) = 36.00
Headache = Priceless
Total: $40.50

I ask that the TSA provides me a letter explaining their rules governing the use of an appropriate identification along with the formal letter of apology, as the things that now stick in my mind are:

- The immediacy of the female agent's request to see the additional identification
- The female agent's failure to ask additional travelers to see a second form of id
- What was the female agent looking for as detailed information was with the airline?
- Where are notices that U.S. Government issued id cards are inadequate forms of identification, as the information provided on the TSA's telephone message is vague.

Thank you for your assistance in resolving this situation.


[Name Removed]
Major (Retired)

cc: File Copy
Commander, Roy B. Hodges Chapter 128 DAV
Congressman Lamar Smith
Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express News
Interested Parties

I submit this report on behalf of "Real People facing Real Issues within Real Communities." It is my intent that individuals facing a similar situation will be able to merge their experiences with mine to paint a clear picture of a concern that impacts our community. In no way does this incident reflect on all of the staff of the TSA, as I wholeheartedly believe that there are good people that work for bad companies and companies that tend to forget the sharters of their existence. I have had no contact with the addressees since submitting the letter.

San Antonio, Texas

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/11/2008 10:53 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/tsa-office-of-civil-rights-and-liberties-tsa-6-external-compliance-division/arlington-virginia-22202/tsa-homeland-securitytsa-office-of-civil-rights-and-liberties-tsa-6-external-compliance-371932. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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#1 UPDATE Employee

Sorry but you wer not mistreated

AUTHOR: LJR - (United States of America)

  As a TSA officer I can not see that you were mistreated in any way.  You probably either did something to arrouse their attention or you were just picked for a random which we are required to do a certain number of per flight.  You mentioned all your information was with the airline? TSA is not associated with the airlines and does not use whatever information you give them. 

 To be honest it sounds to me like you expected special trearment. The officer was not rude or disrepectful.  She did not keep you from boarding your flight and your rights were not violated. So I do not understand your complaint.

And as someone stated. Most TSA officers wouldn't know a Major from a Private. Also I doubt very very seriously your color had anything to do with having your ID checked a second time.  Also you mentioned she looked at your drivers liecense for a couple of minutes? Trust me we have certain things to look for to make sure it's not fake. 

  Everything TSA does is for your safety plus everyone else in the airport, including our own.  We have laws we have to uphold, and no we did not make the laws, we just enforce them, no different than a Highway Patrol or a Boarder Patrol Officer.

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#2 Consumer Comment

here's what happened. Hope you check in to read it

AUTHOR: you stupid - (United States of America)


Respectfully, you need to check yourself. You bring great discredit upon yourself, and the Service.

You talk like oh so many other flag officers. OBVIOUSLY, it had to be your rank, or the other things you wore, because you expect that a TSA agent would even recognize them, much less single you out for abuse.

What obviously happened was that your attitude and behavior was noticed by a Behavior Detection Officer. Not having xray vision, there was no way for them to know that you were suffering from a kidney stone (believe me, I KNOW what that's like). Because of your behaviors, you got stopped and interviewed. They determined you were harmless, and turned you loose.

Far as your uniform, so freaking what? Those things are a dime a dozen on eBay or goodwill. So, they don't know what a VA card is? You gotta think outside your own sphere for once. Not everybody is a vet, nor do they know of vet things.

All they saw was a crabby old fart who expected to be treated like a MAJ and not a passenger, and they hemmed you up for it. You weren't terrorized; you didn't get stripped naked and beat with a phone book. You didn't get a machine gun pointed at you or a dog nipping at your nards. Some little girl asked you a couple of questions, and wanted to see another identification to see what your response was (terrorists or people with fake ID's act differently than disabled, cranky veterans).

All I can tell you is something you probably never heard directed towards you because you weren't a NCO - SUCK IT UP! HOOAH!

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On Friday, September 26, 2008, I finally received a letter from Ms. Stephanie M. Curtis, which fell way short of convincing me that an episode of racial profiling had not taken place at McCarran International Airport. The letter excused the actions of the rude TSA supervisor at the expense of a courteous TSO. The letter also listed acceptable forms of ID according to the TSA. Please note that I was unaware of the vast number of additional cards for use at the checkpoint. I could have readily produced two of the cards at the onset, had this imformation been appropriatly explained for easy public access. A copy of my response to the TSA letter will be sent to U.S. President, Homeland Security Director and the Director of the Veterans Affairs Department. I submit the following for your awareness:

Ms. Stephanie M. Curtis:

Thank you for your response stamped SEP 23 2008 to my letter dated August 28, 2008, in which, I relayed several concerns with one of your TSA agents and her actions that I still believe to have been targeted against me on August 13, 2008. Your response enlightened me that The reason why you were stopped by the TSO is because the VA ID by itself as a stand-alone ID is not an acceptable form of ID at the airport security checkpoint. The VA ID is missing some of the basic information, such as a date of birth, that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requires for an ID to be acceptable at the security checkpoint. It is my understanding that the US Federal Government issued pictured VA ID card has the basic information and more embedded within the card. This card containing my picture and the boarding pass with my name guaranteed that TSA/HLS had immediate access to all additional information required.

It would appear that this US Federal Government issued pictured VA ID card, coupled with my Disabled American Veteran Cap, uniform and National DAV Convention name badge, would have served as sufficient identification of me? I believe that the DAV uniform and service cap caught the attention of the TSA supervisor. It is highly possible that my wearing of the rank of Major on my service cap further served as a point of interest for the TSA supervisor, yet your letter failed to address my concerns for the potentiality of racial profiling. Instead, issues with this incident were leveled against myself and a TSO that I saw as professional.

You further wrote: The TSO who initially allowed you to enter the screening checkpoint with only your VA ID and no other form of ID was in error. That being said, the VA ID, along with another form of ID, may be used to verify a passenger's identity. Do you find it slightly odd that a card that signifies that I had sustained service connected disabilities in defense of the U.S. carries less value than the 20 other ID measures that you indicated as acceptable? You indicated: The following forms of ID are fully acceptable and must contain name, date of birth, gender, expiration date, and a tamper-resistant feature: State-issued driver's license; U.S. passport; U.S. passport card; U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Trusted Traveler cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST); U.S. Military ID (Active and Retired); Permanent Resident Card; DHS-designated enhanced driver's license; A Native American Tribal Photo ID; An airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan); A Registered Traveler Card (that contains the following: Name; Date of Birth; Gender; Expiration date; and a Tamper-resistant feature); A Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC); Photo ID issued by DMV or equivalent State or U.S. Territory Government Office for the sole purpose of identification
I was really taken aback as you wrote: A foreign government-issued passport, Canadian provincial driver's license, or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card are also acceptable forms of photo ID. I find it rather telling that I can take the same photo ID card that your agency denies to any VA facility throughout our great country and receive a level of care, yet the card, having all of the elements that you seek embedded within is a problem.

I further contend that the attitude of your TSA supervisory agent was highly suspect, in that, there was no way that she would have been able to ascertain whether or not the ID that I presented was one of the many that you had listed. I would be greatly interested in the security tape of this incident along with the status of the initial agent that allowed my progression to the scanners. I pray that this courteous agent will not be used as a scapegoat, as I see the TSA's actions as a mere cover-up. While I am in no way ashamed of my service to our nation, I do feel an intense shame for Federal Agencies (such as yours) that seemingly operate in an oppressive manner reminiscent of the KGB and other clandestine organizations. In all actuality, I have come to expect similar explanations as the one that your agency provided. Where's the honest and open communications or the requisite accountability of large governmental agencies to the people of a great nation.

With the extensive investment that has been placed in your agency, there should be a reasonable expectation that you would have provided an on-site listing of the required documents for travelers to know in advance of their arrival. Please note that I am further concerned that I was in the U.S. and not entering or departing the U.S. through one of the borders with an adjacent country.

My initial letter to the TSA mentioned a cost of $40.50 for the preparation and submission of my concerns. I feel that it would be safe to add the following:

Stamps 12 x (.42) = 5.04
Envelopes 12 x (.07) = .84
Paper 24 x (.040) = .96
Ink 24 x (.090) = 2.16
Typing 4 x (12) = 48.00
Migraine = Priceless
Total = $57.00

Grand Total (not including travel to Post Office) $40.50 + $57.00 = $97.50


Edward (Last Name Removed)
Major (Retired)

cc: File Copy
U.S. President George W. Bush
Senator John McCain
Senator Barack Obama
Commander, Roy B. Hodges Chapter 128 DAV
Congressman Lamar Smith
Scott Huddleston, San Antonio Express News
Pastor R. Priestly
Interested Parties

P.S.: As I submit this response, I realize its serious nature. More importantly, I pray that submitting this response honors the sacrifices of myself and others, as I am committed to addressing Real Issues Facing Real People Within Real Communities! As we do not know when we will experience our last breath, I am using one of my current breaths to highlight this situation. It is my intent that individuals facing a similar situation will be able to merge their experiences with mine to paint a clear picture of a concern that impacts our community. In no way does this incident reflect on all of the staff of the TSA, as I wholeheartedly believe that there are good people that work for bad companies and companies that tend to forget the charters of their existence.
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