Regular readers will have noticed (in fact, some have emailed me) that the pace of new posts here at TSA News has dropped dramatically. For one thing, we have fewer writers than when we started. I think we’re all simply running out of steam. I know I am. We’ve been posting stories on the crimes and abuses of the TSA since this blog was founded in November of 2011, and I’ve been writing about said abuses since 2009.
In essence, we write the same stories over and over again; only the names change. And we present the same empirical evidence over and over again, yet nothing changes. The TSA continues its assault on our rights and bodies.
So I just don’t bother writing up every single story I come across anymore. What’s the point? One more account to add to the Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses; that’s about it.
Anyway, here’s one of those stories that people send me, of a woman who was harassed over the transportation of her breast milk — again, just one of many similar stories. As I told Stacy Armato’s lawyer, Robert Mosier, in April of 2014, the settling of Armato’s lawsuit was nice, but it won’t make a difference: the TSA continues to bully, harass, and illegally detain women and force them to irradiate or dump their breast milk. All the lawsuits in the world aren’t going to change that.
As proof, I give you the following story from Amber Rose, in her own words. I have her permission to use her full name. She told me, “Other breastfeeding mothers (on our Facebook group) really want this story out there, too. A majority have experienced inconsistencies at every airport.”
I’ve edited it slightly for clarity. (PHF is the airport at Newport News, Virginia):
I had the following experience I would like to make public, if possible. I omitted the names of the employees.
I was traveling back home to PHF Saturday from ERI, November 14th, going through security at the Erie Airport at approximately 1635. I specifically asked the Officer stationed before the conveyer belt to not screen or x-ray my breast milk. I also stressed I did not want my breast milk tampered with in any way. Instead of respecting my wishes, he not only scanned each bag of breast milk through a Smiths Detection BLS scanner but also put it through the x-ray machine, exposing it all to radiation.
I had approximately 13 bags, each 150ml (5.072 ounces each) totaling approximately 66 ounces. My trip to Erie was only 36 hours in duration because I did not have enough breast milk to leave my child any longer; however, now that my breast milk has been exposed to raman spectroscopy and was irradiated, which can have an effect on the cell structure/protein of the milk, especially through the thin bags I had it in, I have to throw out ALL of this milk. In addition, before researching the effects of BLS & radiation on breast milk, I had given my daughter 10 ounces of this tainted milk. Lastly, the officer seems to have mishandled the milk, because although completely sealed ahead of time, I discovered that one of the bags was leaking after I left ERI.
I have called and informed the head supervisor at ERI of this incident and that I had specifically requested that my breast milk not be screened through a machine. I also informed him his employees should be trained in physical inspection. He informed me that there was closed-circuit video of this event.
Please note that when I arrived at PHF, around 2040, I approached 5 TSA employees on their phones near the Delta ticketing counter to ask them questions about the screening machine and its effects on liquids. Not only did all 5 employees continue to look and play on their phones the entire time I was talking, but no one knew the answers to my questions and knew nothing about how the machines worked. I found their attitude to be very disrespectful and almost entitled and superior rather than helpful. I highly encourage you to review these tapes as well in regard to the employees at this airport.
I will be seeking compensation for my breast milk per ounce (approximately $6-10/ounce) in addition to the time it will take me to bank up an additional 66 ounces. I will have to pump at least every 2 hours to signal demand on my body and take unpaid leave to do so during working hours.
Although the TSA made promises to better train their people in handling breast milk and to visually inspect breast milk after several incidents similar to this were discussed in the media, this obviously has not been done.
As I told Amber Rose, no way in hell will I be able to review the tapes; I’d be surprised if even she can. The TSA conveniently loses tapes or portions of tapes. Just ask Stacey Armato, Jon Corbett, Pete Alexion, Rita Riordan, so many others (there’s me running out of steam again). And I seriously doubt she’ll get any compensation. Her complaint, like millions of others, will end up in the circular file.
I also encouraged her to name and shame, but she didn’t want to. Wouldn’t matter anyway. Just as the supposed training TSA agents have received and continue to receive doesn’t matter. Robert Mosier and Stacey Armato, let’s just say you’re more sanguine than I am.