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Social Media Takes a Spin: Who Knew The TSA Was Cutting Edge?

Apparently the TSA isn’t an old plodding arm of the government in every way.

A few days ago My Bottle’s Up posted about TSA agents taking her child away and [hinted at] incarcerating her. An except is:

The male TSA agent repeated, “I’m going to have to pick him up to inspect him.

I handed him my son.

I handed him my son and he walked away with my child.

My eyes welled up with tears, I stood up from my chair and I asked the female TSA agent, “Where is he going? Where is he taking my child? Why is he leaving?”

Jackson, while being whisked away looked at the male TSA agent awkwardly and repeated “no no no no.

In what has to be the best ever use of social media by a bureaucracy, the TSA posted the following:

A blog post has been circulating today from a woman who wrote a very emotional story about being separated from her child while traveling through a TSA check point. Two things went through my mind after reading her post.

  1. As a father of two small children, I empathized with her about the alleged circumstances.
  2. As a TSA employee and former TSO, I felt it could not be true — especially since our policy is that TSA will not ask parents to do anything that would distance them from their children during the screening process.

TSA works daily to achieve the balance of effective security and passenger convenience. We diligently review claims of improper conduct. But when inaccurate passenger accounts are made either via media outlets or on the blogs, TSA works to resolve them and present both sides of the story. In this case, TSA has made the decision to post the CCTV video of the incident online to allow for transparency.

After watching the video footage, you’ll see the video clearly shows that this invididual was never separated from her baby by TSA. You’ll also see that a lot of the other claims are also unfounded.

Being a Mom and a blogger, I’m guessing you’re waiting for the outrage, for the moment where I scream, she lied she lied.

I can’t do that. I will, however await her reply, and sit here for a moment thinking of when my kids were that age, and how scary the world seemed. I’m going to relax a little and send out support for everyone, because I think when we are new Moms sometimes our perceptions and our fears can become our reality.

What I will say is this.

Social Media is new, but the old rules apply, double check your sources and your facts. Try to be as honest as your can, otherwise, maybe silent is best.


UPDATE: A response has been posted. Nichole White is saying that the TSA tapes are incomplete. Also, Christopher Elliot (of course) has some stellar advice for both travelers and TSA. Christopher Elliot is the go to guy for travel.

9 thoughts on “Social Media Takes a Spin: Who Knew The TSA Was Cutting Edge?”

  1. Not a liar? Her blog piece doesn’t square with the tape and, interestingly, you can’t leave comments to ask why.

    But okay, not a liar. She stretched the truth to make a point and express her outrage not being allowed to skip what everyone else has to do when the alarm goes off and the TSA called her on it.

    I am not a huge fan of air travel, but I have found the TSA to be most helpful where young children are concerned and quite tolerate of parents who forget the no-no’s when going through the check-point – despite their rather humor-free demeanors. They are certainly nicer than the flight attendants or the other passengers on the plane you eventually travel on.

    I’ll be interested to read her new spin.

  2. I have often thought that parents with infants and toddlers should have a special line at TSA. Not that they need to be treated any differently, it’s just that they inevitably take more time. Between all the gear and the kids it’s a wonder that parents travel at all. The airlines understand this and allow them to board the plane early.

    I’ve worn my sunglasses and walked through the security gate and set off alarms, they let me take them off and walk through a second time – I wonder why they didn’t give this woman the same opportunity.

    and you won’t say it, but I will – She freakin’ lied! I’m glad the TSA called her on it too! She mentions that she had to take a Xanax because she suffers from severe anxiety. I think she was late for her plane and she started thinking irrationally because of an anxiety attack.

    If you know you have anxiety attacks, it’s probably not a good idea to blog about what happens to you in those moments of altered reality.

    I’m looking forward to her response, if she any gives one.

  3. Well, very strong response by the TSA. So, there’s really only two situations here:

    1) She fabricated multiple parts of her story
    2) TSA has dramatically edited this tape

    There really isn’t any middle ground here, but this seems like another sad case of a popular blogger running away with the truth in the attempt to strongly make a point.

  4. I’ve watched the video numerous times and it’s hard to say whether the TSA edited out key parts because it’s video of footage from various cameras at different points in the screening area and they’ve been merged together in the footage provided by the TSA. Even when trying to read along with her account and what happened – in the video there are some important aspects that she alleges happen at certain points that should be evident in the video, but aren’t.

    The other thing about this entire thing is the fact that her post went up fairly quickly after the incident and so did TSA’s refutation of her account of the episode at the screening area.

    I know that something like this would probably unhinge me as I have a severe panic disorder – thus the reason I no longer travel by plane. I’m not sure I would have reacted like she did, but I know that I would have been shaken up pretty badly. There is a point in the video where she is turned away from her child as he waits in the pram and perhaps that’s where things get a bit mucked up and she began to panic? I don’t know.

    This entire thing is all very confusing and despite TSA airing the footage and Nic’s explanation, I can’t help but feel like HUGE pieces of this story are still missing.

  5. Please. If she was going to lie it would be easy to come up with a damning story that couldn’t be disproven by video footage. And yes, I do think there is a grey area here because it is quite possible for memories to become a bit distorted when you’re stressed/emotional/traumatised. It doesn’t mean the core of her story is inaccurate.

  6. Jessica, thanks for this. I also agree – who knew that the TSA Blog Team would respond so quickly. Gotta give them credit for really jumping in and handling this crisis – squashing it. However, I still feel really bad for her. Whether or not it’s a panic-attack induced rant or not. I agree with you about not piling on. I’ve watched all the videos and I’ve read her response. I don’t want to call her a liar – but, I do think that she may have wildly exaggerated the truth. Thanks for calling my attention to it on Friday.

    In the end, she’s probably learning a really tough lesson. There is always two sides of the story and apparently 9 cameras. Ugh… #feelingreallybadforher

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