Many of you read my recent post about the downright unnecessary experience I endured at Washington Dulles International last week. The folks that monitor Twitter.com for TSA were kind enough to provide a link to TSA’s website to submit feedback, and I took them up on the opportunity. Today, I received what appeared to be a reply crafted by an actual person. I will post it here in its entirety minus the name of the individual who sent the email.
Dear Mr. Jackson
I am the Customer Service Manager at Washington Dulles International
Airport for TSA. Your message regarding your recent travel through
Dulles was forwarded to me for review.
First of all, let me apologize for any inconvenience you encountered.
Our goal is to provide efficient, effective and courteous screening of
passengers as they pass through our checkpoint. Many of our procedures
can be a hassle for you, and can be looked upon as a nuisance. That is
clearly not our intention. Our main objective is to provide maximum
security for all our passengers, and to do so with understanding and
consideration for the traveling public.
Our screening procedures are specific and do include screening of
insulin pumps. The fact that the process may differ can be attributed
to several factors, including size and location of the device.
Effective December 22, 2005 Transportation Security Officers began
conducting additional screening procedures on randomly selected
passengers. The additional screening procedures created a more complex
and less predictable system for those who wish to circumvent our system.
Passengers are randomly selected for an additional search, even if they
do not trigger an alarm as they pass through the metal detector. This
search could be a hand-wanding, a pat-down, explosives screening or a
search of the person’s carry-on bag. By design, a traveler is not likely
to experience that same search every time he or she files.
We understand and regret any discomfort and inconvenience you
experienced as a result of the additional screening procedures.
Nevertheless, we believe that these security measures are necessary and
appropriate for ensuring the safety and confidence of all air travelers.
Furthermore, TSA continues to develop and deploy new technologies,
including document scanners, trace portals, and backscatter devices to
address the explosives threat.
Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. We take your comments
seriously, and appreciate your feedback . It provides us with an
opportunity to focus our efforts on areas that need improvement and are
of importance to the traveling public.
And there you have it. I’m still not pleased, but at least I received what I feel to be a response that was not computer generated. I did reply to the email, because I wanted to make sure the sender knew that it was very clear to me that I was sent to secondary screening specifically because I was wearing an insulin pump. Perhaps the security officer who performed the additional screening was attempting to fill his quota for explosive trace detection tests for the day, I dunno. The fact that every square millimeter of my belongings, including the palms of my hands, were tested for traces of explosives just because I wear an insulin pump was overkill, plain and simple.