Elderly Woman Claims TSA Exposed Her During Body Search at JFK
Elderly folks can become feisty. Little did the TSA agents at JFK know that when they frisked Lenore Zimmerman, 85, she would turn inside out and upside down, taking on a feisty attitude with agents and contacting The Daily News. She told The NYC Daily that agents forced a strip search on her last Tuesday, a report the TSA disputes.
Monday a TSA official confirmed that Zimmerman had not been strip searched. The official also stated to CBS News that the woman "did not undress other than removing the back brace. ... She did not remove anything further. She did not remove her underwear."
After hearing about Zimmerman's experience, Ruth Sherman's 88-year-old memory was joggled. She spoke to CBS Station WCBS saying that she went through a similar experience at the same JetBlue terminal one day earlier. Hers was very embarrassing because TSA screeners were suspicious about the bulge around Sherman's middle. It was a colostomy bag. She was forced to pull down her sweatpants and underwear to show them "the bulge."
"This is private for me," said Sherman to WCBS's Dave Carlin. "It's bad enough that I have it." She didn't finish the phrase because it was understood what she meant: "let alone having to publicly show my bag full of fecal matter to agents to prove that it isn't a bomb."
Returning home from a Thanksgiving holiday in New York, Sherman from Sunrise, Florida said, "You don't do that to anybody. I felt like I was invaded." Initially, Sherman had taken her complaint to JetBlue then discussed what happened with family. She decided to publicly air her grievance after Zimmerman publicly discussed hers.
One point that she and Zimmerman made was that seniors are like sheep; they are afraid to speak up when they've been humiliated. easily intimidated into being "polite," and oftentimes too cooperative.
Reviewing from the TSA's perspective, spokesperson Kristin Lee told CBS News that a review of closed circuit TV shows that a "private screening was requested by the passenger, and was granted."
Lee affirmed "TSA screening procedures are conducted in a manner designed to treat all passengers with dignity, respect and courtesy and that occurred in this instance. While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols, and one was not conducted in this case."Continued on the next page