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By Ed O'Keefe
The Washington Post
TSA screener removed for inappropriate note
A Transportation Security Administration screener who wrote a personal message on the back of a formal inspection slip placed in a female passenger’s bag is no longer checking luggage, the agency said Wednesday.
The screener at Newark Liberty International Airport wrote the message on the back of a Notice of Inspection slip that TSA places in bags that require a physical search.
“Get your freak on girl,” the message said, allegedly in response to a sex toy packed in the luggage of Jill Filipovic, a Manhattan blogger and lawyer.
Filipovic discovered the personal message on the back of the inspection slip when she unpacked her bags after arriving in Ireland last Sunday. In response, she tweeted the photo and blogged about it: “Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room.”
Amid media inquiries, TSA initially questioned the allegations, but Wednesday announced it had identified the employee responsible for the message.
“That individual was immediately removed from screening operations and appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated,” the agency said in a message posted on its blog. “The handwritten note was highly inappropriate and unprofessional, and TSA has zero tolerance for this type of behavior,” the agency added.
TSA said it has reached out to Filipovic to apologize for the incident.
An agency spokesman could not say whether the screener had been reassigned, put on leave or fired, citing federal personnel privacy rules.
The incident is just the latest in a series of unrelated episodes involving inappropriate or criminal behavior committed by TSA screeners. Here’s a sampling:
Oct. 4, 2011: TSA apologizes to a breast cancer survivor subjected to a public patdown at New York’s Kennedy Airport even though she offered to produce documentation about her medical implants.
Jan. 3, 2010: A TSA agent was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport for behaving erratically. The guard had just gotten off duty and was heard saying, “I am god, I’m in charge.”
Jan. 6, 2010: An internal investigation discovered that four LAX TSA agents used drugs at an after-hours party. All four were tested for drugs and one came back positive. That employee was fired.
Jan. 22, 2010: A screener lost his job after pretending to plant a plastic bag of white powder in the carry-on luggage of a passenger at the Philadelphia International Airport. A spokeswoman called the behavior “highly inappropriate and unprofessional.”
Jan. 28, 2010: A screener was put on desk duty after she was photographed sleeping in plain sight at LaGuardia Airport.