In a classic bait-and-switch, the TSA has apologized to Lenore Zimmerman and Ruth Sherman, two elderly women who say they were strip-searched at JFK Airport in November, yet the agency still refuses to admit the women were strip-searched.
And still a third woman, Linda Kallish, scheduled to be on the same flight as Zimmerman, said she was taken into a private room and told to take her pants off.
Until now, the TSA has refused to apologize for anything, claiming that the women were lying.
So now the agency apologizes by saying in a letter to Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens:
It is not standard operating procedure for colostomy devices to be visually inspected, and the TSA apologizes for this employee’s action.
Yet that’s as far as it goes. The TSA still refuses to admit that anyone was asked to take her clothes off, according to Assistant Homeland Security Secretary Betsy Markey:
Markey still maintained that the Florida-based Sherman was never asked to remove her clothing.
“They asked me to pull my sweatpants down, and now they’re not telling you the truth,” Sherman fumed Monday.
Markey also denied that Zimmerman had been strip-searched, but did apologize for the conduct of a TSA agent who violated policy by scanning the Long Island granny’s back brace.
Zimmerman had told The News two female agents removed her clothes — instead of just patting her down — after she revealed that she was wearing a defibrillator.
“They’re lying,” said Zimmerman. “I don’t have a problem with [screeners checking\] the back brace. I have a problem with being strip-searched.”
As a friend aptly puts it, an apology begins, “I’m sorry I . . . .” Not “I’m sorry you . . . .” It’s an acknowledgment that “I” have done something wrong, not that “you” felt this way or that way. Apparently the TSA is sorry that Zimmerman and Sherman felt they had been strip-searched.
But this is par for the course for an agency that routinely abuses and humiliates passengers.
No word on whether Zimmerman is still going through on her threat of a lawsuit against the TSA.
(Photo: Micah Taylor/Flickr)