- USA Today -
The Transportation Security Administration is in the news after one of its workers allegedly "jokingly pretended to plant a plastic bag of white powder in the carry-on luggage of a passenger at Philadelphia International Airport" on Jan. 5, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The paper reports that employee is no longer employed by the TSA, though the agency says privacy laws prevent it from saying why the worker is no longer there.
The brouhaha apparently began when the TSA worker showed the passenger -- a 22-year-old college student -- a small clear bag of white powder that he said he pulled from her carry-on luggage. The passenger – on her way to Michigan – says the worker then asked her: "Where did you get it?" She says she was told all would be fine if she answered truthfully.
The student tells the Inquirer she was stunned, wondering if someone sneaked drugs or explosives into her bag. Then, after about 20 seconds, she claims the TSA worker began to smile before telling her the item was his. The woman says she was told the worker trained TSA screeners how to detect contraband. TSA spokeswoman Ann Davis tells the paper she does not have any information to contradict the woman's account.
After she realized she was off the hook, the woman says she broke down and was consoled by other passengers after she began sobbing at the checkpoint. "It was such a violation," the University of Michigan student tells the Inquirer's Daniel Rubin in his Thursday Metro column. "I'd come early. I'd done everything right. And they were kidding about it."
As for the TSA, spokeswoman Davis tells Rubin: "The TSA views this employee's behavior to be highly inappropriate and unprofessional. We can assure travelers this employee has been disciplined by TSA management at Philadelphia International Airport, and he has expressed remorse for his actions."