February 16th, 2010
07:00 PM ET

TSA makes a 4-yr.-old disabled boy remove leg braces

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

They couldn't catch a guy with a bomb in his shorts aboard a plane bound for Detroit on Christmas day… but they're hell on a disabled child with leg braces.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/16/art.tsa.jpg caption=""]
The transportation security administration refused to allow a four-year-old disabled boy to pass through airport security without first taking off his leg braces.

A Philadelphia Inquirer columnist reports how screeners at the Philadelphia airport made this insane request of a boy taking his first flight to Walt Disney World last March.

The four-year-old, who was born premature, has malformed ankles and low muscle tone in his legs. He was just starting to walk at the time of the incident.

The parents told airport screeners their son couldn't walk without the braces, which are made of metal and plastic. But that didn't matter to the screener, who insisted this little boy had to walk through the checkpoint on his own.

When the father, a New Jersey police officer, asked to see a supervisor and pointed out his four-year-old clearly wasn't a terrorist, he says the supervisor told him: "You know why we're doing this."

The TSA now says the boy never should have been told to remove his braces. No kidding. They say the parents should have been told to take their son to a private screening area. The TSA has apologized to the family. With all the training these agents go through, maybe they could include a class in common sense.

Here’s my question to you: Is the TSA going too far when it makes a 4-year-old disabled boy remove his leg braces?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Andrew in New York writes:
The TSA cannot protect us and the alleged air marshals program cannot protect us… "Profiling" is ruled out, even though it probably would have caught Mr. Christmas Day bomb-in-the-pants. So we are left with this sort of nonsense going on. The TSA is conducting a crude pantomime of fake measures that no longer even serves the purpose of pretend-play safety.

Tim in Texas writes:
Jack, What do we expect when we pay these folks about ten bucks an hour? As far as the father pointing out that his 4-year-old clearly wasn't a terrorist, that lacks common sense as well, because obviously an adult could put an explosive inside the brace of a kid.

Frankie writes:
When you are disabled, sometimes you get treated strangely or impolitely, it just happens. When you are an airline passenger these days, you are treated like cattle or baggage. Back in the days when airline passengers were treated nicely, somebody might have felt like being kind to that little boy.

Duke writes:
Absolutely not. When some parents do things such as encouraging children to shoplift for them in shopping malls, there's no reason to assume other wouldn't exploit their children's medical condition for their own purposes. Airplane safety isn't negotiable.

Stephen writes:
When are the American people going to learn that airport security is nothing more than a theatre show being put on for our benefit? The TSA's job is to make you feel safe, not make you safe. We didn't even bother to sell our freedom and privacy; we just gave it away.

Carl in Phoenix writes:
Yes, the behavior is unconscionable. That poor kid. However, al Qaeda is getting pretty crafty, I hear, by hiding explosive devices in female operatives' breast implants. I wonder how the TSA will be dealing with that in a sensitive manner? I'm just asking.

Filed under: Travel
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    This is what happens when they only require a high school diploma for being a TSA agent. It is a power trip and nothing more. TSA is a backwards and mismanaged organization and needs a major house cleaning.

    February 16, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
  2. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Common sense and common decency were both absent during the course of this event.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm |
  3. Don (Ottawa)

    One guy with exploding underpants and the whole country goes nuts. Tell me jack, how are they going to stop someone with exploding breast implants, so why bother looking.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:01 pm |
  4. Len Forster

    This is just too stupid for words! Talk about throwing out the baby with the bathwater. What it really demonstrates is that the people who administer the laws of this country and enforce the rules issued under those laws either a.) don't have the authority to make exceptions, or b.) aren't smart enough to use their own initiative to make an appropriate exception. Shame on this country for losing its humanity because of fear of terrorism.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  5. Terry

    Jack this is a tough one!
    As a former TSA "Trainer", to have policy or guidance for all of the tens of thousand scenarios that TSA screeners go through on a daily basis, the manual would dwarf our tax law manual. Would or could a terrorist consider placing a bomb in the wheelchair or artificial limb of a child......YES! Is America willing to allow the screeners to use common sense in their selection process and adjust policy by approving profiling certain groups.....NO! Until we all fly buck-naked, TSA is damned if they do, and screwed if they don't!

    Enterprise AL.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:03 pm |
  6. Paulette in Dallas,PA

    What a shame. TSA definitely crossed the line on this one. The young boy and his parents could have been taken to a private area and settled the matter without such a heavy fist. I recently returned home on a flight that the crew was very nonchallant. I sat and watched a person next to the emergency door continue to get up and down. Go under the seat in front of her several times and then monkey with her shoes. After all of this,they were lingering directly in front of the emergency exit door. You know,the one some nut tried to open midfight several months ago. When I spoke with the stewardes her reply was,"Oh,they're OK." How the hell does she KNOW that this adult was OK? They'll let an incident like this go by and then hassle a young child. Shame on them!!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  7. Juanita

    Yes.......and whoever those stupid, ignorant, inconsiderate workers were they need to be immediately terminated for not having common sense.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:14 pm |
  8. Allen in Hartwell GA

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Jack, the TSA gets a lot of bad publicity when things like
    this happen, but what are they to do? For the most part all
    they do is eyewash to placate an uncaring public. Most
    flyers don't worry about having an airplane blown up- until
    it happens.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:15 pm |
  9. Scott Stodden

    Yes and all people responsible for this harrassment and discrimination should be fired immediatly! We can't detect a man strapped with a bomb in his underwear but we can pick on innocent disabled children? Gimme A Break! Im like Evan Byah right now Im just tired of Washington and all the games, lets get experienced people in Washington including the President! Hillary Im counting on you to run in 2012! We need you now more than ever!

    Scott Stodden (Freeport,Illinois)

    February 16, 2010 at 6:19 pm |
  10. Fernando McGregor

    'Those who would sacrifice freedom for security deserve neither' – Benjamin Franklin
    We are letting fear run our lives.
    Wake up America!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  11. Ellen

    Absolutely the TSA went too far. But, Jack, you are looking in vain if you expect to find any common sense anywhere at all in the government.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  12. George in Canada

    Maybe next the pregnant lady with have to give birth before she would be allowed to pass through the screening. Safety is one thing stupidity is another

    February 16, 2010 at 6:21 pm |
  13. Dan- Las Vegas

    The only way to fill these mindless minimum wage jobs, is with people who barely got through highschool. These are people for the most part who are incapable of indepent thoughts or descision making. So the real question you should be asking is: Is TSA just putting on a show to make folks "feel" safer, or are they truely trying to prevent terrorist activities. Because if it's the later, and this is the best they have to offer, God help us.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  14. Carla Martin-Wood from Birmingham

    Is this a trick question? The TSA has had its head where the sun doesn't shine ever since it was created. They obviously HIRE terrorists like this idiot who demanded that the child remove his braces. She seems to enjoy her job WAY too much when she stoops to abusing a child.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm |
  15. Ann from Charleston, SC

    You can't learn common sense in a class – you develop it as you grow up and experience life. The TSA should screen its applicants for common sense before hiring them.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:24 pm |
  16. Greg H - Minneapolis

    How much longer are we going to put up with the TSA looking at the WRONG PEOPLE with any degree of suspicion? As it is, they do not DARE profile a Muslim, but won't hesitate to give a 4-year old in braces a thorough examination, despite the fact that no such individual has been to blame for any aircraft hijacking or bombing.

    The solution should be simple. Adopt the Israeli system of screening whereby BEHAVIOR is the sole determination of who gets a second (or third) look at security. The Israelis should be required to come over and teach the TSA how to do it RIGHT! Then we can be assured that someone getting the extra screening, like the underwear bomber SHOULD HAVE HAD, gets the extra screening!!!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  17. Michael from Ft. Hood, Texas

    Well are you surprised when you have the entire United Nations making up most of the TSA workforce? I just want to be there when the titanium hip or metal rod in someone's spine sets off the bells and whistles. We could have exploratory surgery right there on the tarmac. An example of another bureaucrat way out of his pay grade.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:26 pm |
  18. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    Something simple like courtesy is too difficult for society nowadays! Stop making him feel worse about his situation! TSA needs to grow up and increase their maturation levels significantly! They need to see that leg braces does not equal terrorism . Leg braces and terrorism are completely different things.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  19. Sue

    I'm not too sure they'd be going to far by asking people to remove their underwear... At least, in one instance, it would have been justified...

    The TSA is right up there with government – flying blind and hoping for the best. Running on a "Do it now and ask forgiveness later" policy... A lot is wrong with the TSA asking a baby to take off his braces. A lot is wrong in America period.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:27 pm |
  20. Bill - Upper NY state

    You answered your own question, Jack. When in doubt, take the person to a private screening area. And no, I don't understand why they were "doing this". It's stupidity. That agent and supervisor should have been fired!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:30 pm |
  21. The Crypticum Keeper

    Unbelieveable. That's all I can say.

    Fort Worth, TX

    February 16, 2010 at 6:31 pm |
  22. Rachel In Hartford, CT

    Of course the TSA goe too far when they make a disabled 4-year-old take off his leg braces and insist that he walk on his own through a checkpoint. It's also going too far when a student studying Arabic gets pulled out of line and held in cuffs in a cell until FBI can determine if vocabulary flashcards are threatening. From many news articles, it would seem that the people responsible for the safety of air travelers are nothing more than glorified mall cops with over-inflated egos and little common sense. To be quite honest, I'd rather take my chances I'm sitting next to the underwear bomber on a plane rather than hear about another unnecessary incident by these buffoons. They are an embarrassment to America.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  23. Cori

    Jack, the stories get more and more ridiculous. They couldn't catch a guy with a bomb, but make a 4 year old child remove leg braces? That's ludicrous! It's obvious that no amount of training will help if they refuse to use common sense. I guess we'll have to endure the painful process of being screened by morons.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:32 pm |
  24. Ednut

    Just had a discussion today with someone on the laxity of the TSA at the airports. They hardly pay attention to anything beyond what they have been told to do in their procedural manuals. They act just like robots without any judgment. The TSA are either inappropriately trained or they are training boys to do the jobs of men!

    It is quite annoying and troubling when a four year old has to go through such treatment! Obviously, common sense is not common.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  25. Homeless D in Atlanta

    Way too far!

    HOWEVER, how much do those screeners get paid? And is ANYONE in charge of giving some sensible rules to be followe in screening passengers?

    Frankly, the ONE time I have ever been to the airport since 9-11 (not to fly myself but to take family members for their flight) I thought the screeners seemed unintelligent and slovenly! I thought, wow, we get what we pay for.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
  26. Zack B

    Obviously. But it begs the question, how much liberty and dignity are we willing to sacrifice for safety?

    9/11, the only terrorist attack on US soil in history, cost almost 3,000 lives. But we're willing to accept over 40,000 deaths a year purely for the convenience of driving cars. Is it terrible to suggest that 9/11, while tragic, is merely the cost of the unique American freedom we cherish?

    February 16, 2010 at 6:36 pm |
  27. Layne Alleman

    Jack, Of course it's too far for people with common sense, but once again we're seeing a government agency under fire from two mad-dog groups with opposing political objectives, crying bout "safety concerns" instead of using equipment (full-body scanners) that have available for years. Instead, the agency hires low-bid contractors who in turn hire low wage workers who are told to "get tough, get results". Seems to me the 4-year-old saw Disneyland right there in that airport. At very least, they got to meet Goofy, Grumpy, and Dopey. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:37 pm |
  28. Ben Brown Jr.

    This may be the most disgusting news item I have read all week. Way to go TSA. I am sure people with nipple peircings cannot be too far behind.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm |
  29. Mark

    You know the answer to this...of course. This is political theatre at its finest. The terrorists have won, our country has been reduced to a sniveling, paranoid shell of itself. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  30. Matthew from Renton, WA

    Is the congress do nothing? Of course the TSA's gone too far Jack! honestly, I wish i could say I was surprised, but given their penchant for frisking grandma, I think it's time the TSA had some serious pruning, as well as overhaul of it's regulations and training.

    February 16, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  31. Gail, Plano,Texas

    Each and every day I confronted with news stories which either depress me or just make me disgusted to live in the good ole USA. But this one really takes the cake. It's real easy to be big and authorative with a crippled boy. Doesn't pose any threats, does he? What kind of people do we have holding these jobs? An apology is not enough. Compensation should be given to the little fellow!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:49 pm |
  32. docb


    This is getting out of hand–the TSA is under investigation for sexist -racist behavior. They harass old people and children. Use the full screen but do not make a public already weary of the security screening be more angry!

    A laughing stock if it were not so pitiful!

    February 16, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  33. Theresa

    This truly is a sad incident. Yes,the young boy should have been taken to a private screening room. What type of training do these people get? The screener might have thought he/she had to follow policy to the letter without another choice. Do the TSA exec. ever act as a passenger to see how well the screeners are doing their job?

    February 16, 2010 at 7:01 pm |
  34. Ross in Las Vegas

    Yes. I'm surprised this isn't a story daily with the power trips some TSA agents are on. Most do a good job and I understand the measures and appreciate the increased security but come on. If you're going to do this you should also require ALL TSA agents to actually pay attention the whole time they're on duty instead of blabbing to each other while casually letting many people who aren't disabled 4 year olds pass through without any extra attention.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  35. Stacy in Oklahoma

    They went way too far. Now, if it were me, and because we are such a sue happy country, I would sue the TSA for everything they have. A 4 year old boy? Really? How ridiculous can you get?

    February 16, 2010 at 7:05 pm |
  36. Lucy, Austin, Texas

    Here's my question to you, Jack. What is happening to common sense in America? It looks like common sense took a flying leap off the cliff with our ecomony. What happened to empathy? Rembember the capacity to understand another person's point of view or the result of such understanding. I thought young children were egocentric and cared only about their own needs and welfare. As their thought process matured they realize how their actions impacted those around them and developed empathy. That leads to learning how to play well with others.

    Let's face it, spoiled brat behavior has been reaping big rewards in the current political environment and on television news shows. When will the adults of the America say enough is enough and bad behavior needs to be punished and not rewarded. Let's go back to the days where we wanted a A+ on our report card in the sectioned that graded us on working well with others. Me, me, me can only lead to conflict in any large populations.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:09 pm |
  37. Nicholas Weber Green Bay, WI

    The mistakes of one failure shouldn't be apologized for by the TSA. Just fire the guy for not doing what he was supposed to do and make it up to that poor kid by sending him and his family on vacation- this time without the bull.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:23 pm |
  38. Duncan

    This is what happens when you pay people close to minimum wage and don't allow collective bargaining. You get people who don't have the skills to make complex judgments.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:26 pm |
  39. Jimmy in Greenville, NC

    Not if I am flying on the plane!

    February 16, 2010 at 7:27 pm |
  40. Joanna

    The TSA owes that family more than an apology.

    Why does it seem that frontal lobotomies and amputations of the soul are prerequisites for any form of government employment?

    Do the employment applications actually state "the inability for cognitive thought and the utter lack of common sense and compassion considered a plus", or is it just an upspoken understanding?

    Oh yeah, that 4 year old was such a threat, and his police officer father too!

    Joanna, CA

    February 16, 2010 at 7:29 pm |
  41. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Sadly, "common sense" has left the building since 9/11. I believe I have a far better chance of winning the lottery than I do of getting on a plane with a "terrorist".

    February 16, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
  42. Curtis in Wichita

    Political correctness has made impotent all levels of law enforcement – including airport screening. Until we acknowledge as a society that strip searching grannys in wheelchairs and forcing a disabled boy to remove his braces does not make us one bit safer will we take the necessary steps to do what does. I'm not holding my breath...

    February 16, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  43. Audrey

    This is a "no-brainer!" Of course they should let the boy thru! Your idea
    of a private screening is a great idea tho.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  44. Steve Canada

    There used to be a line in an old rock song "paranoya will destroy ya"...Any questions?

    February 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  45. Carl in Phoenix, Az.

    Yes.The behavior is unconscionable.That poor kid. However, .Al Qaeda is getting pretty crafty, I hear, by hiding explosive devices in female operatives' breast implants.I wonder how TSA will be dealing with that in a sensitive manner? I'm just asking.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:38 pm |
  46. Guy from Hawaii

    Aloha Jack,
    The TSA is made up of people! Some of them are probably bright and some are probably not. This boy got the "probably not" ones. The question is will the TSA wherever make the middle aged man or woman take off their leg braces a month from now when this seems like a good way to sneak some weapons onto a plane.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  47. Bob in Kansas City

    TSA = Totally Stupid Agency-'nuff said

    February 16, 2010 at 7:41 pm |
  48. Linda in Arizona

    Uhm, yes. And can you say "lawsuit"?

    February 16, 2010 at 7:43 pm |
  49. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Pretty much before long they will be removing pace makers and iron plats along with joint pins and artificial hips maybe it's time to start firing people for being idiots .

    February 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm |
  50. Diane Dagenais Turbide


    common sense is not always that common!

    February 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm |
  51. Tim in Texas

    Jack, what do we expect when we pay these folks about ten bucks an hour? Hell, a bagger at your local grocery store makes nearly that much. Ever notice how often they drop a frozen turkey on top of your eggs? As far as the father pointing out that his 4 year old 'clearly wasn't a terrorist,' that lacks common sense as well, because obviously an adult could put an explosive inside the brace of a kid.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  52. Rita

    Yes, yes, yes, they went too far! That poor child and family! I hope they sue and get big bucks! This is just another example of the power TSA agents THINK they wield, and why I DO NOT support the full body scans. Get trained explosive dogs on the job. They would do a much better job at detecting real criminals and are completely unbiased. I'd much rather be sniffed up by a big scary dog than have my naked image being viewed by some pervert TSA agent behind a screen doing who knows what!

    Albuquerque, NM

    February 16, 2010 at 7:56 pm |
  53. Stephen

    When are the American people going to learn that airport security is nothing more than a theatre show being put on for our benefit? The TSA's job is to make you feel safe, not make you safe. We didn't even bother to sell our freedom and privacy; we just gave it away.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  54. frankie

    When you are disabled, sometimes you get treated strangely or impolitely, it just happens. When you are an airline passenger these days, you are treated like cattle or baggage. Back in the days when airline passengers were treated nicely, somebody might have felt like being kind to that little boy.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:57 pm |
  55. Bev

    It wasn't right but they are damned if the do and damned if they don't. It is a thankless job. You cannot have rules in place to cover every situation. Yes they should have taken him to a private area and checked him out. Better luck next time.

    February 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm |
  56. Al from Los Angeles

    Who trains these guys, Krusty the Clown?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:00 pm |

    COMMON SENCE???? Some people are blind,deft, and just plain stupit. But you try to do that to their kids. WOW.This is why I like your show, You show us how some people live.It's a sad sad world

    February 16, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  58. Jim El Paso Tx

    Jack the TSA needs to be dismantled now. They're nothing but a bunch of knee jerk idiots who come up with insane "procedures" after the fact. Hell they could't find their own butts without help:)

    February 16, 2010 at 8:02 pm |
  59. douglas b

    Don't fret – the TSA is not the only airport screening group lacking common sense! I recently flew to the USA from Canada and had my half-empty 130 ml tube of toothpaste confiscated because it exceeded the 100 ml permited maximum size. When I pointed out that the tube contained much less than 100 ml allowed I was told the rule was based on the container size, not the actual volume of the contents. I of course felt much safer on my flight because of this confiscation! On my next trip I plan to take an empty 130 ml toothpaste tube to see if they really are as stupid as they seemed to be the first time!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:04 pm |
  60. Gary Lee Las Vegas

    This is really sad., remember after 9-11 when all the big mouth politicians said we can't let terrorists have their way and destroy the American way of life. It looks to me like they have done a pretty good job of it, as far as flying goes. What has happened to common sense in this country?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  61. roeboat72

    It doesn't surprise me at all. They don't hire the cream of the crop for these jobs as the cream would never take them in the first place. This is why you hear so many of these cases of TSA agents not catching things they should or doing things like this which is very stupid.

    Now I am not saying every TSA agent is an idiot I am sure there are very effective agents out there, but my experiences with them lead me to believe that we are no safer now than we were 9 years ago. All the creation of TSA and other programs has done is made flying more difficult. The above story is more proof.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  62. Joseph Kavanaugh

    America is being pushed to the brink of stupidity!!! TSA although doing it's job has apparently lost it's ability to make a judgement call 's based on terrorist previous tactics. Yes, itis possible for an explosive device to be placed within the material of a leg brace but previous screenings of those purchasing tickets already placed most individuals as non- terrorsits prior to boarding. TSA needs to understand some commen sense factors that will help them avoid embarrasing situations such as this. Our country will continue to endure fear of the unknown but we must embrace the fact that we are inoccent to proven guilty...TSA should give that kid a lollipop for it's lack of common sense! Postal Joe, Rock Hill, NY

    February 16, 2010 at 8:09 pm |
  63. maryanne/ontario

    Oy, absolutely not! This is as bad as strip searching seniors. Common sense has become extinct.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  64. Karen - Nashville TN

    We all know this is nuts, but we also know that there are lots of people who would happily use a child to smuggle contraband – or worse. Against this, you have a bunch of security officers who fear losing their job if they do the wrong thing. I hope someone out there has a logical answer that will actually work, because I don't.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  65. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    They can always use the Nuremberg defense: "I vas just obeying orrrders."

    February 16, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  66. Ryan

    Not when the safety of hundreds of people can depend on it

    February 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  67. Aleksandr Brown

    Next thing you know, transportation security administration are going to ask people to take out their metal plates in their head and screws in their legs.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  68. phillychuck

    Of course this goes too far. Unfortunately there does not appear to be any downside from the twit TSA employee who did this. That is the problem. There is every incentive for excessiveness.

    (writing from Philadelphia)

    February 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
  69. Gregg Niemi

    Why does it surprise you that things get hairy when we hire McDonald's rejects, give them police style uniforms, and a modicum of power over the traveling public. Of course they abuse their "authority".

    February 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  70. Matt

    Absolutely they did. What have we come to as a nation when we're quaking in fear of a 4 year old? We need to step back, take a collective deep breath, and realize that the chances of getting killed by a terrorist are far less than that of being killed in a car accident. A little perspective would make us look a lot stronger to the international community - let alone our enemies.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  71. Sebastian Grand Rapids, Michigan

    It's the government, enough said.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  72. Dan C

    TSA = Mall cops on an even worse ego trip. No common sense. No compassion. No security.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  73. Teresa Holden

    Outrageous and worthy of the full force of American indignation.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:15 pm |
  74. Mike - Seattle Wa

    I would have requested the TSA agent first insert his brain back in to his head. I hope he/she was fired. Too many unemployed people with PHD's and Masters degrees for a bozo like this to be paid by MY TAXES.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  75. harry s

    of course they have gone too far- they have gone too far before this. but this is just pathetic – even for the tsa. TSA = totally stupid administration.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  76. K. Marshall

    Makes you wonder who is winning the war on terrorism.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  77. Jaie

    Of course they went to far Jack! Some of the TSA workers are like Barney Fife with one bullet! The way they act is ridiculous!!!

    By the way...all SENSE ain't COMMON...

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  78. Debbie

    Security is security,but this was not a shinning star in the TSA's hat. This was way beyond the common sense of some obviously!.


    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  79. William

    I work in the IC and have to say one thing. I TRUST (not really) TSA to protect my family and I. I figure they are more useless then the people they replaced.

    Removing shoes, etc are just window dressing; people with an analytical bent see this as useless makework.

    I hope the TSA has learned a lesson. Oh, what am I thinking? Even the military has a way of learning their lesson...when they are allowed to.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  80. Phil

    This particular TSA employee has no common sense. I use a cane to walk and have been asked to walk through airport security checkpoints without it. When I mention that I can't walk without it the TSA allows me to take my cane through with me. The TSA just needs to train its staff much better so there is some consistency to application of policy.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  81. Mike

    This is ridiculous, the kid is 4, is going to bite the pilot to death? The TSA is just trying to make up for all the mistakes they've made in the past. They're trying too hard.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  82. Laurie

    Obscene! My 70 year old mother will no longer travel on a plane to visit her grandchildren because of what TSA puts her through when her knee replacements set off the alarms. Yes we need to be safe but we are harrassing the wrong people!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  83. dennis james

    theres just no end to the lack of decision making skills and invasion of our privacy on every level at the airport. from keeping passengers hostage on planes due to delays, to kicking them off for being too fat, to this. why dont people just let their money do the talking and quit flying? are all these tsas morons? or do they require their iq to be under 3? its a shame what happened to this boy. just a shame

    February 16, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
  84. Art Jacobitti

    When the TSA requires its employees to have more than a high school diploma and a course in compassionate common sense, maybe then this will not happen–as much! What a bunch of goons and mongrels.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  85. John

    Common sense in a government agency? This is a joke, right?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  86. Jarrett

    The TSA has gone entirely to far. It's one thing to follow the rules and regulations, but it is another to take those rules and regulations too far. Those TSA employees should of course be fired.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  87. Charlene

    Removing the leg brace would not hurt that 4-year old child. My nephew wears a leg brace and Boy! he's very releived when it comes off. However, they should not request the poor child to walk through the screening device alone. Indeed a private screening would have been more accommodating.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  88. Estelle

    Jack! You can give a person a brain but you can't make him use it.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  89. Duke

    Absolutely not. When some parents do things such as encouraging children to shoplift for them in shopping malls, there's no reason to assume other wouldn't exploit their childrens medical condition for their own purposes. Airplane safety isn't negotiable.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  90. Jeff from Kitchener, Ontario

    That's insane. What is wrong with these people? Sure, we'll let guys on a terror list on the planes, but watch out you disable 4 year olds! Cha zing! No plane for you! What's next? A 3 month old with a pacifier? America is getting safer every minute!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  91. Nina

    If God forbid that boy's parents were terrorists and stashed Lord knows what in his leg braces resulting in a disaster, we'd all be outraged that he was let on a plane. In general I'm not a big believer in the efficiency of the TSA (especially considering half of them were on their iPhones and Blackberry's last time I flew) but let's leave these people alone to do their jobs and keep us safe. The kid will get over it. Let's move on.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  92. Austin Cruz

    Sorry, Jack, but even though the boy cannot be a terrorist, his parents sure could be. Lots of tact should be used in this situation, but no one should get special treatment...especially at the risk of innocent lives being lost.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  93. Ian

    I think it's a ahame you even have to ask a question like this.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  94. Joe

    If common sense was all that common, they would just call it "sense." That being said, TSA agents aren't being trained to be good law enforcement officers; they are being trained to be bureaucrats.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  95. GC

    It doesn't matter if the dad was a police officer. I understand the boy can't walk without the braces, but couldn't the dad carry him?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  96. Gigi

    I am Ok with that type of search. What I am appalled by is the lack of awareness and communication on the part of the agents about their own facilities for private screenings in these sensitive cases.

    Silver Spring, MD

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  97. Ross Bagwell, MSG, US Army


    Not only did the TSA go too far, but it shows the very breakdown that the thousands of dollars spent on training don't include "common sense" screening. If that boy with leg braces had come to a checkpoint in Iraq, he would have been taken aside and checked – IF NECESSARY. But to make him take off his leg braces, when they are clearly not a threat to national security, goes far beyond the boundaries of absurd.

    What's next? The TSA going to make someone take off their prosthetic leg? Will they make someone remove their prosthetic eye? How far will this go before SOMEONE in the TSA administration gets the point and makes the change to train those agents for intelligent detection methods?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  98. gerry

    This TSA agent does not have a brain in his/her head. If the agent was afraid not to follow procedures,all the agent had to do was to call for a supervisor for direction. This agent doesn't have a clue.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  99. Sam

    Too far, the stupidity of what the TSA Agent that did this was to the moon and back but guess they can only be as smart as the people who are above them.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  100. Rick

    That Agent(s) should be fired! How much training do you need to know that a 4 year old boy with leg braces is not a potential terrorist? Those guys were acting like congress...just can't get right!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  101. jalda slc, utah

    heartless., didnt they ever thought how hard would it be for the child, he's only for and can barely walk, they should at least be considerate for a kid. what happened? people doesnt know how to tret people with special needs??

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  102. Stephi, Los Angeles, CA

    Big Brother isn't just watching, he's crapping all over us!
    Unfortunately, some people just have no sense of shame or compassion.
    With everyone covering their own butt, Common Sense has gone the way of the Dodo!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  103. Srini

    I agree that TSA needs to impart training on commonsense. But I also believe that this kind of commonsense does not need a training class. TSA better recruit agents with some basic commonsense so that we save some cost in spending for this basic training.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:17 pm |
  104. mayra caramazana

    How ridiculous and embarrassing to make this young boy remove his leg brace. What an awful experience for him, his parents, and any other passengers nearby. you used the correct word to describe the situation Mr. Cafferty: stupid!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  105. Richard Constantine

    Jack, you have just proven that common sense is not so common.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  106. Ron in New York

    Some of those airport screeners should have braces on their brains.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  107. Trick P

    When Paul McCartney was busted in Japan in January 1980, was it not because drugs were hidden in the hood of his son's snow suit?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  108. Barbara Kerwin

    They need to make an IQ test apart of the employment application.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  109. Tareck Sh

    No, that is an outrage. A. he is a 4 YEAR OLD and B he is disabled for goodness sake! just two months ago they made my take off my insulin pump and swabbed it, that was so embaressing since the sillouhete was in my leg. The truth is The TSA is going too far to protect our saftey, we are losing our privacy!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  110. Connie Guimond

    Common sense is misnamed: it should be called rare sense and having rare sense has always been an automatic disqualification for government employment

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  111. Nelson


    These so-called agent of TSA are not really agent. They are just workers. I know one, my neighbor. This neighbor (agent) was the one who almost burned her own house down. she left a barbeque grill indoor- still burning.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  112. Tim Rowe

    C'mon jack,havn't you heard about the new "Boy Bomb"?
    Terrorists have been using it for years!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  113. heorge tidwell

    I truly hope you don't get a single response defending the TSA's staggeringly stupid action in this child's case.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  114. Matthew Haslett

    My position on this is simple: fire the TSA employee directly making the request as well as fire the immediate supervisor that was involved with the incident with the 4 year old boy with leg braces. The TSA employees involved are completely and obviously incompetent and nothing would ever change my mind concerning this. If these employees do not possess the common sense necessary to make the right decision in this instance, then I feel completely unguarded when they need to make a complex decision: they will obviously fail.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  115. Stan Levin

    jack ...
    common sense ain't so common
    stan levin
    san diego ca

    February 16, 2010 at 8:18 pm |
  116. Max

    When travel oversea, I am not as afraid as I am when I arrive in the U.S.
    All will be sacrifice including a disabled child in the name of security. You would think that one will feel safer with all of these security measures, but on the contrary. I never made to feel unsafe while I was in Singapore, Thailand or even a poor 3rd world country like Cambodia.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  117. Bill Fraresso

    The TSA will not be happy until we all have to submit to a rectal exam and fly naked. How else can we satify the most paranoid administration in modern history.

    San Jose, Costa Rica

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  118. Dena

    TSA only makes me feel less safe with idiotic actions like this... Do we need to have doctor's notes to avoid the pointless screening passengers go through to "keep us safer in the skies"? I once went through 2 additional screenings because my hip bones set off the "detectors"... When asked what I was hiding, I lifted my shirt to show my hip bone only to be reprimanded and told that I wasn't suppose to do that. Apparently, saying I was hiding nothing wasn't going to convince the idiot asking the questions but showing "nothing" was a faux pas... TSA is just ridiculous and incompetent.

    Dena, Sacramento

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  119. Mark

    Here's the deal. Behave this stupidly and forfeit a month's pay. Punishing this disabled boy and his family was so unnecessary as to only highlight the ineptitude of TSA all along the line.

    They "apologized?". Talk is cheap.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  120. Omar Guzman

    The state of airport security has been reactive rather than proactive for quite some time. Following the unfortunate events regarding the "man in shorts" this past December, security has risen to a ridiculous and ultimately detrimental level. While I am sure racial profiling and discrimination are not taught in training of said airport security, surely common sense is. I am reminded of a scene in Men in Black, where Will Smith is pitted against cardboard cutouts of several types of aliens and a little human girl carrying a book which he shoots at. Homeland security is not a laughing matter, at least not outside of a Hollywood script.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  121. John A

    Just imagine, this is the same goverment people were willing to trust to run a Health Care System.
    Imagine what they would have denied him then...

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  122. nicky

    TSA agents have to deal with thousands upon thousands of irate or stupid passengers every day, half of whom act like they've never been in an airport before, none of whom think they should be subject to any kind of scrutiny. You can see how workers just put their heads down and screen folks without paying attention to the type of person they're screening.

    And maybe that's a good thing. Because if the boy had brown skin or his parents looked foreign, people would be demanding he be strip searched.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  123. Marian Jesmain

    Of course I think TSA is wrong to ask the child to take his braces off! TSA is not necessary to begin with. I am of the belief that 9/11 (the reason for terrorist checks) was a false flag operation and if there will be another attack, TSA will not be stopping them. The justice in this nation has taken a very strange turn.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  124. Christi

    There is nothing more dangerous than giving mediocre people a mediocre paying job with huge amounts of "bureaucratic" power behind them. It brings out their "God complex" and they thinks they can humiliate people. My mom traveled shortly after having stents placed in her heart. The doctor gave her a letter to show the TSA people. They wouldn't even look at the letter. They took her to a private room after she set the machine off three times. Each time she told them I have stents in my heart. In the private room she tried to show them the letter. They made her undress and searched her. She is an 5 foot 2 inch overweight, 60 year-old. Some terrorist. They are not succeeding at catching terrorists, but they are succeeding at degrading and humiliating the American people one at a time.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  125. Dave Z

    We all agree that safety is everyone's number 1 priority – I travel often for work, and I never have a problem with following all security protocol, both in the United States, and in Canada (where I live).

    Subjecting g a 4-year-old disabled child, and his family, to this process – in a public forum – is beyond excusable, and in my opinion, should be investigated and dealt to the fullest extent of the law. This is completely unacceptable.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  126. Jim Ja

    Yes, Jack, the TSA should not have forced the 4 year old to take of the braces. But know, this. Once we change our policy, the terrorists will not hesitate to enlist a four year old to bring a bomb on board a plane. It's your call, Jack.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  127. Tim Regler

    The TSA is not going to far. The fool who works for theTSA went to far. There's a difference. Every job I've ever had was made worse by at least one guy who was clueless. Perhaps it would be good to follow up to see if the clown that did this is still employed. If so, THEN it's time to ask the TSA why that is.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  128. Angela Little

    These TSA screeners should be fired!!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  129. Hawk

    Isn't this what we wanted? Our fear of the boogey man has led us to this conclusion. Yes it has gone too far, but this is the price we now pay for giving into fear. Not only should they have removed the 4 year old's braces, but we should have beat the father for attempting to bring them on the plane. That is what the American people wanted when we gave up our rights in the name of fear..right? Hawk, Austin Texas

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  130. Genny F

    It just shows that some of these screeners are not into their job and all they care about is themselves. What moron would make a disabled child go through such hell. I know for a fact that they are lazy and really dont catch things. I had a friend who traveled frequently and for their job uses a box cutter, this friend went through screening well over 5 times before my friend realized that in one of the pockets was the box cutter. TSA NEVER FOUND IT! Now that's scary. There need to be some serious changes espically in Detroit where this friend traveled out of. Lazy workers.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
  131. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    As asked in a recent series of commercials:
    "Does Charlie Daniels play a mean fiddle?"
    "Is Ed 'Too Tall' Jones too tall?"
    "Does a 50 pound bag of flower make a big biscuit?"

    I imagine that to even an uneducated casual observer, the boy's handicap was at least observable.

    You mentioned common sense... I get the impression that the TSA thinks of that as a DIS-qualifier.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  132. Frank Paduga


    There is NO use of common sense here at all. This is ludicrous! Don't the people at the TSA have brains?


    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  133. Konu

    This is crazy, why would they do that? The TSA went WAY to far. What they did was like denying a poor haitian kid some food.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  134. Tod

    I'd rather take my chances without any screening, than give people with this staggering level of stupidity any measure of authority. Seriously. If you're that afraid of terrorists, don't fly. We should save the taxpayer's money spent on airport security – they fail every time they're tested, then taunt disabled children.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  135. Rodniqua

    Its not unreasonable, the unreasonable part is expecting him to do that in a crowded public space. Everyone knows if you start making exceptions for leg braces the terrorists will get wind of it and then start buying leg braces. We all know that! To Wolf, the fact that his father was a police officer should make no difference at all. The issue here is sensitivity to people with disabilities.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  136. Shane

    I spent 12 years in federal law enforcement and have worked with screeners before. They are a joke and nothing more than low paid security guards. They need to scrap the whole program and start from scratch. Screeners need to be law enforcement officers with real training getting paid a decent salary. This will weed out all the wanna be police officers who can't ge a real law enforcement job.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  137. Darren Johnson

    The action of the TSA epitomizes the callous society we have become. An extreme lack of common sense is apparent and it is compounded by a lack of compassion and courtesy. Everyone says they're "just doing their jobs," but that is no excuse for lack of civility, whether it's the TSA, Congress, or anyone else.

    Darren Johnson in Fairbanks, Alaska

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  138. Jo Anne

    I can't believe that the TSA has such ignorant employees. Do they not have a requirement for common sense in order to be employed? That 4-year old boy will never forget how he was treated. It should never have happened.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  139. Ruthann

    Hey .... they got my mom's (age 79 I believe at the time) nail clippers away from her! She was with her cousin ( in his high 80's at the time with an artifical leg, hip replacement and pacemaker) who was taken aside and scanned! I didn't look as scary as they did................ I (age 50) breezed through with no problem! On the next trip with the above mentioned cousin.............. as we were boarding...... I asked why no one asked for his ID.................... I had to show mine twice!. Oh well................ they try!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  140. Chris Zimny / Sarasota, Florida

    This situation is horrible. And the matter really is that simple. I understand the need for airport security, but they should understand the need for common sense. I've heard stories like this before, but this one is by far the most disturbing. It's a 3rd degree felony to write "I'm going to kill you" on a piece of paper and giving it to somebody, also to say that to a cop. But cops routinely use common sense, and realize that if the person really means no harm, they shrug it off. A four year old disabled child CLEARLY means no harm. Use common sense, and this sort of disgusting, disturbing thing never has to happen. It's really that simple.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  141. Christian

    The simple answer is, that the screener should be re-trained or fired, It looks this is an overzealous individual unfit for the job. The kid should have never been put through this.

    In general training of common sense and simple courtesy to passengers would be most welcome. The words "please" or " thank you" are not present in the vocabulary of most screeners.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  142. Jason from Centreville, Virginia

    wow, they do that!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  143. Lance Steffen

    The longer our TSA screeners work, the dumber they get. Of course, the boy may have had angry expression on his face. After all, he was a whole 4 years old.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  144. Curtis Johnston

    Absolutely uncalled for, are TSA screeners robots or are they allowed to use any judgement, calling for a supervisor if nessesary. This incident could have been avoided easily.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  145. Sherm Jobe

    If the person working that screening station and their supervisor are not suspended without pay for a minimum of a week, then the supervisor's supervisor should be fired!!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:22 pm |
  146. Jacob

    I didn't see the entire story, but I assume the family was white. My question is, what would the reaction be if the family was Middle Eastern? Would it be so outrageous if it wasn't a seemingly nice middle class family? I think the TSA was correct in saying that they should have been moved to a private screening room, and yes they could have handled the situation better, but I just think we put too much stock into the color of people's skin even today...

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  147. JWN

    You know time and time again I hear these absolutely insane stories about the TSA. I dont even know what to say............I'm speechless. How about this, lets create a new movie called The Decline of the Western Civilization Part 15: The TSA Years. Oh and a comment to yours on common sense, there is none. Common sense has become a lost art and if anything it should be mandatory to take sensitivity training. Enough is enough with the TSA.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  148. Debbie Smith

    Jack, TSA employees need special training in handling children as they come through security .
    I have witnessed screaming toddlers being treated without any regard by TSA agents. Please agents– these are children who could end up being traumatized by your insensitivity. Rememeber: BE GENTLE
    Debbie S.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  149. Sarah R.


    Several years ago at Boston's Logan Airport, I witnessed TSA forcing a child with cerebal palsy through a secondary screening process. Even though his mother was trying to help him, he was clearly having trouble with the procedure (placing his feet where he should, etc.)...I couldn't believe the heartlessness of the TSA officers putting this child through these steps, when he obviously was not a threat. Ridiculous!

    Sarah R.
    Emmaus, PA

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  150. Madhup

    Its a combination of responsibility and operations. How do you effectively delegate responsibility and operationalize it on the scale TSA is doing it at. I am not trying to come up with excuses for TSA but its not easy to come up with overrides for situations like these and implement them across the 100s of airport in US

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  151. Sophia Hutchins

    This incident is awful for how unethical it was. I am very disappointed, that a TSA would do this to a disabled child. I am recently jobless due to the stupidity that has entered the workplace. This incident is a good example of the stupidity that has entered the workplace. When will our country change and stand up for what is right. There are just some rules that need to be bent. I hope this family is rewarded more than a apology.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  152. Joe

    This is clearly insensitive and inhumane on the part of the airport "screeners," they lost their minds on this one ... their job is not an easy one as they also try to avoid being the cause of a major disaster but this is where they lose their judgement. Well, this is such a human folly. This is a sad case nonetheless however, I urge them to accept the apologies from the TSA and move on. The TSA should compensate them.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  153. Susan DeWitte

    Despite my having checked ahead of time about the regulations and following them to a "T" my family nearly missed our plane while TSA took us aside to check my baby's formula

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  154. Jim

    Just think, Jack, this same roster of government employess that form the TSA is the same one the public school system gets its teachers from. Just wait until these same people are put in place to police the government healthcare system. Imagine your next PSA test.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
  155. L Chang

    As former TSO, I am ashamed and disappointed to hear this. The officers are taught how to treat situations like these. They should have done a thorough private screening on the child. Maybe because the constant training and testing they do speaks to such thorough checks a lot of the officers go overboard. That or not, the officer and supervisor were completely out of order.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  156. Tommy Thomas

    I just returned from a trip with my friend who walks with a cane. The TSA officers confiscated his cane, made from a graphite golf shaft and two rubber grips, saying it could be used as a weapon. He tried to argue, but was told to shut up or he would not be allowed to fly home.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:24 pm |
  157. Velvet La Valette

    I am horrified by the astonishing conduct of TSA security. To abuse their power by humiliating a child that has to crawl through the check point in front of everyone is absolutely immoral. TSA owes that family more than an apology. Shame on them.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  158. Amy

    Whoever says yes has no heart or compassion for the human race!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  159. Charlene

    Stop over dramatizing this issue. It's sensitive, yes. However, my nephew currently 11 years old has been wearing leg braces since a one year old. He was delayed due to a brain tumor. He's doing well still can not walk but he gets very excited when those leg braces come off.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  160. Tammy Bostick

    I feel that the TSA used very strict precautions in their security measures concerning this 4 year old baby boy. The Security Personnel Did go too Far whenever they made this 4 year old baby boy remove braces from his feet and legs after they were told that the 4 year old could not walk without them. Yes the TSA was very insensitive to the needs of this young boy. The Security Treatment was very cruel and selfish in nature even though they were trying to function within the rules of their job. In this case the Security Personnel should have had compassion on this 4 Year Old Little Boy and the Condition of his Feet and Legs being dependent upon His Braces to be able to walk.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  161. Anne

    TSA has gone too far! How upsetting this is for the family, especially the 4 year old boy. I agree with Jack – common sense is needed. I hope the agent was reprimanded for his/her actions!

    Effingham, IL

    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  162. Sam Einfeldt

    Not only are the majority of TSA screeners brain dead and fail to understand what handicapped people needs are when going through check points. To ignore a child's condition is totally unacceptable and those agents should be removed and placed at a desk away from the public or terminatedf altogether. I myself have toatal knee replacement and have a medical card which the TSA refuses to acknowledge. I might also add that I served this nation for 20 plus years in the military and I also retired as a Criminal Investigator with a County Prosecutor's Office.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:25 pm |
  163. Rich Kroczynski

    Does this really surprise anyone? These stories are becoming rather routine. Will Homeland Security ever take a pro-active approach to our security – ever? First we have Richard Reid attempting to light an explosive in his shoe – result: we now march through airport security lines with our shoes off. Next guy tries to get on an airliner with some liquids which could be mixed into an explosive device. Result: we're limited to 3 oz. carryon. At Christmas we have a guy lighting his underwear on fire. Who knows what the REACTION will be to that stunt. Just imagine if Mr. Reid had the explosive device secreted where the "sun don't shine." TSA – "Sorry Granny, you know why we're doing this. Drop 'em and grab your ankles.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  164. A. Smith, Oregon

    Jack, this is typical over-reaction. Likely from the top down threats to the minimum wage paid employees, check everyone or you are fired.

    ANYONE that has traveled by jetliner the day after a jet has gone down has seen this kind of frenzy first hand. I have and I had 12 skycaps surround me over a metal archeological artifact from Africa that I was bringing with me. Finally they performed a bomb swab on the artifact and pronounced me 'safe' to travel.

    But tell me honestly Jack, why did the western media continuously run the closed circuit security camera video of the lover that ducked under a security rope to hug and kiss his girlfriend bye for her flight and NOT show a single photo nor the security video of the Nigerian bomber's accomplice in Amsterdam's airport, escorting and aiding the bomber past the security gates and around the security checkpoints?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  165. tracey

    Get real Jack this the problem in this country everyone is offended by everything.... UNTIL something happens. In these times of forged documents, and using anything and anyone as a weapon. Remember Vietnam kids walking up to soldiers with coca cola and the blowing up.

    I can see the headlines if this had been the real thing.. Why didn't the Obama administration stop this someone should be FIRED!!! Oh the outrage.

    Who's probing us and how I don't know do you????? Also who is so frustrated with the politics of this country that they may have sold us all out. Yes Jack this is where we are... Handled better sure... Safety first YOU BET"CHA.. And that agent may have kept there job.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm |
  166. kaitlin

    Jack, how can you criticize the TSA, that "freedom search" of a 4 year old is the only thing keeping us free! If we don't submit to every ineffective and dignity stripping rule of security theater then someone, probably a terrorist because everyone who flies IS a terrorist of course might manage to get in an airplane without having to pay $5 for a bottle of water or even worse my be able to travel without their movements being recorded and signaling for an extra pat-down when they fly into Dullus on a cheaper airfare than their usual flight into Regan National.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  167. Nick

    Hi Jack,
    As a 14 year-old from Minnesota, born prematurely with Cerebral Palsy, a disease that effects my legs. I also wear leg braces.

    When I flew to boston from MSP last year I was stopped by TSA Agents, and told to remove my braces. Luckily, I can walk independently without them but it was a real bother. Standing in the back room after removing my braces I was told to stand up and spread my legs where I was extensively frisked by TSA Agents. After being frisked I had to place my hands on some sort of white powder so I could be tested for bomb residue. I was in that room for 25 minutes!

    while the 82 year-old next to me said to get used to it saying he had a metal plate in his head. He went through the same security protocols as me.

    It makes me mad but I realize it's a consequence of my disability especially as I get older I lose the "Innocent little boy factor!" But a four year old!! thats UNACCEPTABLE. Like you said COMMON SENSE : 101.

    – Nick, Minnesota

    February 16, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  168. catherine

    I feel sorry for the child because I've been in his place when I traiveled with a knee replacemen and the doctor gave me a letter use when I traveled but they took me to side and I pulled everything off but my pants and blouse it was the first and last time I'll fly since my surgery.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  169. J C Gray

    It seems we just told the terrorist world they are welcome to use children with leg braces to blow our planes from the sky. Maybe it could have been handled better, but as a once frequent flier I am ok with the extra checking. Sorry it involved an innocent child, the next one may be a suicide bomber too young to know better.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  170. George

    Jack: let's make up our minds do we want security or we don't, terrorist will use any body or any way to attack us even a child don't they use'em on Irack?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
  171. Maurice shnaider

    Hello Jack,
    this is a comment on your TSA report
    I can't agree more about your : "use common sense".
    I used to work for TSA and one of the reasons I decided not to work there any more was because of the lack of common sense, actually common sense was not aloud.
    II can tell you so many cases, one is the time when the walk thru screener asked a 4 year old to put the apple he was eating into the XRay machine, are there are so many more.
    People working for TSA are not the smartest people out there, so be understanding to the screening proses.
    Thank you for your report, I really hope things to change one day and common sense will be part of the rule in the screening proses, like in Israel.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  172. Alpha

    I know the TSA job is to make sure everyone is screen irrespective of age,sex,gender,race,and religion but at the same time, they should have used common sense on the 4-yr old disabled boy.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  173. kaitlin

    Second comment, if this keeps up only the criminals will have leg braces!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  174. Patricia Euell

    What has happened to the American people? What could make someone have such poor judgement? It is embarrasing to listen to some of the stories you report. The one thing that came to mind was, perhaps these TSA employees have a boss who is an idiot and does not allow for judgement calls. I have certainly encountered that situation in my life. The sad thing is it has happened before and it will happen again 🙁

    February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  175. Will

    It’s not the agents it’s the agencies themselves. I work for a federal law enforcement agency and all decisions are made from Washington. Once a policy is made no one wants to risk his or her career by deviating from that policy. The bad thing is no policy can cover every possible scenario. What you end up with in these situations is no one wanting to make the decision to go against the policy for fear of getting into trouble. Until local supervisors are given the power to make these common sense decision there are going to be more of these types of stories with all agencies.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  176. Jim DeNicola

    Yet another reason to go to an Israeli type behavioral profiling...emphasis on behavior, system. As a retired airline pilot who has had Al Quaeda operatives on a flight, I can tell you that they stand out as passengers not just going to Disney World

    February 16, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  177. Dra

    TSA should be called a Totally Stupid Agency.
    The fight for terrorism is making us lose our common sense. This is a shame for all americans. Even a 5 year-old kid could tell right drom wrong. The employee along with the supervisor about this case should be let go.


    February 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  178. Sherm Jobe / Huntsville, AL

    If the person working that screening station and their supervisor are not suspended without pay for a minimum of a week, there should be an investigation of the training program. This lack of judgement taints all the screeners who work very hard and do their job well. One of these cancels 100 good deeds.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  179. B. K. Swaney

    A uniform gives a person a sense of importance as we all know – sometimes a level of misuse of this sense of importance (and stupidity) becomes evident as in this case – so common sense flies out the door.

    The point I would like to bring home though, is, thanks to you Mr. Caferty, to Mr. Wolf, Mr. King and many other "responsible" journalists, we get to hear about such ridiculous and unacceptable situations.

    The cure, you ask ? Perhaps in the next chapter.

    B. K. Swaney – Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:30 pm |
  180. Cyberjazz

    Now Jack why would you / us be surprised about "our'" security
    at Airports? We are the very best at getting things wrong and
    after the fact that it's not funny anymore!

    No water no food no shampoo no free blankets and charging
    more money for bags plus your butt has to be a certain size
    tells you that the Masters of the Universe aka evil folks in charge
    are out of control! Oh need to be stop!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  181. Paul

    Sadly this is the state of affairs in this country today. We have become so swept by the culture of fear that we now have to submit children to the most inane of bureaucratic policies. Terrorism is certainly a big issue, but let's be realistic: even in 2001, Americans had a better chance of being killed in traffic accidents than in a terrorist attack. Forcing this child to remove the very leg braces that allows him to stand, in the name of "liberty" and "safety," only serves to underscore the great paradox that has been created in the post-9/11 world.

    Paul Musgrave
    Sanford, FL

    February 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  182. T

    TSA security should have their heads X-Rayed to make sure they have brains inside. Do you REALLY think a 4 year old is strapping? Really?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  183. Jeremy from Yorktown, NY

    Stories like this are infuriating. Common sense and dignity were not taken into consideration. I certainly understand that the TSA was erring on the side of caution but that can be done with a lot more dignity.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:32 pm |
  184. Joe

    Are you kidding me? The TSA needs to screen there own employees for signs of Brain Activity!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  185. Dave - Kingston Ontario

    It is not unreasonable to screen all passengers prior to boarding a plane, because once they're on obaord the damage is pretty much done. What is unreasonable is how this situation was handled. Common sense and compassion was needed but was not delivered. You say the TSA provides lots of training to its staff but you can't train common sense. You have it or you don't. Maybe the TSA should re-examine its criteria for new hires to include characteristics like common sense, compassion and the ability to perform under pressure

    February 16, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
  186. simon edington

    Sound stupid until you remember part of the failed plot to blow up 12 airlines in 2008 involved smuggling explosive material hidden in a baby milk bottle, to be taken on board by a mother and father who were prepared to blow themselves and their baby up to further their murderous ideology. Al Queda is willing to do anything to blow up an airliner, including using innocent children as bomb carriers, and the moment we stop searching everyone because they're a grandmother, or a child in braces, is the moment they will use a grandmother or a child in braces to try to attack us.

    Simon Edington Los Angeles, CA

    February 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  187. Sherm Jobe / Huntsville, AL

    That screener and their supervisor should be suspended without pay for a minimum of a week. The training program should be reviewed. This lack of judgement taints all the screeners who work very hard and do their job well. One of these cancels 100 good deeds.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:34 pm |
  188. paul gargin sr.

    have the persons involed been fired yet if no why not.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:35 pm |
  189. Isaac Amissah, New York.

    Knowledge is not wisdom and knowledge becomes less supreme if discretion and common sense are not applied in taking such puzzling decisions. The TSA agent had no empathy and sympathy for the 4-year old boy because he doesn't have positive discretion, wisdom, common sense and the fear of God, which are sound measures that help any good thinker taking prudent decisions. But the good news of it all is that the TSA as a body has finally issued their unqualified apology to the parents of the 4-year-old boy. It's something we must all learn from.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  190. Vince

    Are we all suspects? Is this what a so called "free nation" been reduced to? This issue raises more questions than it sadly fails to answer. Who is suspect? America has incriminated all her citizens because of paranoia gone wild. Clearly. when an invested law enforcement citizen, his disabled boy and family become suspected enemies of the state, then, the free state has failed and the police state prevails. Can you ever go back?

    Toronto, Canada

    February 16, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  191. Earl

    TSA and "common sense" – that's an oxymoron

    February 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm |
  192. Jaye Bird

    Ridiculous! We need to get over political correctness. Four year boys flying to Disneyworld are not in the group we need to be protected from. We know what the criteria for a terrorist is and we need to stop wasting the time of both the NSA and the general public and go after
    those people who fit (yes, I'm gonna go there) the Profile.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:39 pm |
  193. Karl from SF, CA

    So there is a alternate gate for these situations, but no one thought to use it. Send them to Gitmo and let Cheney waterboard the morons.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  194. Robert Mcleod

    I am a Canadian. I have bee watching CNN for several years and fin it interesting and enlightening about the US people. This story is a shining example of stupidity and ignorance that runs rampant in the United States. The terrorists have beaten you if this is what your society has come too. You think you are the example but you can't even get health care right. You elect a god and wonder why he can't deliver. Play the bio of him that was aired before the election and "I told you so". All talk an shmoos, no substance. Please prove me wrong.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  195. JP

    Dear sir:
    I think the whole American system is to blame. The commom factor in all such happenings is the lack of common sense. Our children are being educated in the public schools where there is no emphasis on intelligence or the competetive nature of acquiring knowledge. They are growing up in a second hand system of education. We have killed private schools.

    As a result,what else do you expect. Some one who has not been educated to use the common sense will do sense less acts.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  196. Frances landin

    What is the matter with the american people , things can be hiden in a baby leg brace.Americans, should take security screening seriously,if is safety that they want.. and stop crying.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
  197. Dave Shebeck RN

    Jaqck, That is been the problem with business for many years they don't teach or even allow common sense, we have seen it time and time again. Airport security, security guards at schools,in hospitals, and on the streets. Those wonderful risk management don't trust people to have common sense. And of course we know about common sense in government isn't political.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm |
  198. Rolf Zenker

    Jack, last year my wife and I, on another trip to Europe experienced a similar "white-out" by TSA employees on our small airport in Hilton Head: they first questioned my passport which was issued by the US Consulate in Hamburg/Germany in 2002 – because my photo was improperly affixed to the page. Then, when my wife was led away on her bare feet (her shoes were still in the basket thru the X-ray machine) to investigate the reason for two metal indications (she has two hip replacements) – I handed her the X-rayed shoes over the glass wall, to avoid having her walk on the dirty floor barefeet. WE ALMOST GOT THROWN IN JAIL! I complained through my Congressman – but the brain-dead TSA people prevailed. We don't need to fear the Taliban – because TSA will bring this country to its knees!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm |
  199. Nori Molinari

    Oh my! Their insensitivity and poor judgement is frightening. Shame on them. Where is common sense and protocol?

    You get after them!!!!

    February 16, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  200. Cori

    Metal detectors and scanners are important, but the way these TSA individuals are trained are just as important. They should know what to look for in terrorists, they should know the signs of a suicide bomber, and they should learn from the behavioral analysis unit about criminals. A handicapped 4 year-old boy is not a terrorist and certainly shows no signs of being a threat to our country. The TSA went too far!

    –Orlando, FL

    February 16, 2010 at 8:44 pm |
  201. Larry Seeley

    Everything about TSA is excessive. I find it hard to believe that we have agreed to the inconvenience and intrusion because we're afraid of terrorists. When a people give up freedom to alleviate their fears, they are on a downward slope.

    February 16, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  202. Sherwin

    The officer who requested the child to remove the brace before the metal detector was dead wrong. There are other means to perform a search such as this, but the lack of leadership at the checkpoint shows. That supervisor should not made any type of comment, however the parents obvoiously did not excercise common sense as well.

    san jose, ca

    February 16, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
  203. H @ Idaho

    Power corrupts. Give a bunch of otherwise unemployable bums power to do what they want in the name of security and this is what you get. Could you reasonably expect anything else?

    February 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm |
  204. L. Jordan

    Yes, they've been "going too far" for much too long now...ousting 80-something great-grandmas from wheelchairs and making them cry is one reason why fewer are flying. Pulling teenagers out of line for an open tube of toothpaste is way past ridiculous! The flying public has had it with airlines now charging for baggage and blankets; believe me, they're not using that money to pay baggage handlers-airline corporate executives are pocketing that money and furloughing employees, even though flights are still full. Makes me wonder what will happen to the airline industry... Tucson, AZ

    February 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm |