According to a complaint filed with the Transportation Security Administration, airport security officers required a wounded Marine to remove his prosthetic legs and attempt to stand as part of a screening procedure.
The complaint came from Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a former Marine, who says the Marine’s escort related the incident to him.
The screening took place at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on March 13.
In a letter to the TSA (quoted by the Washington Times), Hunter wrote:
A TSA officer asked the Marine to stand and walk to an alternate area, despite the fact that he physically could not stand or walk on his own.
With numerous TSA officers sitting and unwilling to assist, an officer then made him remove his legs, then put them back on, only to advance to a secondary screening location where he was asked again to stand, with extraordinary difficulty, while his wheelchair was examined for explosives.
Rep. Hunter’s office declined to share the full letter with Business Insider.
In a blog post published Wednesday, Bob Burns at the TSA said video shows the soldier was not asked to remove his prosthetic legs, and did not do so. Burns also notes the screening was “done by the book,” and happened to be carried out by two veterans (25 per cent of TSA employees are prior military.)
But a spokesperson for Rep. Hunter accused the TSA response of clouding the issue, and not addressing the bigger point: that the Marines felt “humiliated” and “very frustrated” with the experience.
Hunter’s true concern, the spokesperson said, is that veterans “do not get the care and attention they deserve.” The “TSA needs to have some situational awareness, decency and respect,” he added.
In the same TSA blog post, Burns announced the administration’s Wounded Warrior Screening program will soon expand to offer expedited screening, called TSA Pre✓™.
The Marine is question lost both his legs in an IED blast, according to the Washington Times, and is still on active duty.
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