TSA fires Newark Airport screener for personal note in luggage

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 28, 2011 3:08 PM
TSA fires Newark Airport screener for personal note in luggage

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Transportation Security Administration said it decided to fire a screener at New Jersey's Newark Airport who left a handwritten note in a female passenger's luggage after finding a personal item inside.

The TSA said it investigated the incident after the passenger, Jill Filipovic, posted on Twitter and in her blog, Feministe, a photograph of the "Notice of Inspection" she found in her luggage earlier this week.

The TSA said it places the notices in checked bags if they are required to be searched. The single page notice advises the recipient that their baggage has been inspected by the TSA.

Written in capital letters along the side of the notice was the message, "GET YOUR FREAK ON GIRL," an apparent suggestion about how to use the personal item.

In her blog, Filipovic, a New York lawyer, wrote, "This is what TSA will do when they inspect a bag you checked and find a, um, 'personal item.'"

She also wrote, "Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not OK, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room."

On its own blog, the TSA late Thursday said it "has initiated action to remove this individual from federal service."

The TSA blogged, "The handwritten note was highly inappropriate and unprofessional, and TSA has zero tolerance for this type of behavior."

Responding to the TSA's decision, Filipovic wrote on her blog, "I would much prefer a look at why 'security' has been used to justify so many intrusions into our civil liberties, rather than fire a person who made a mistake."

(Reporting by Barbara Goldberg; Editing by Greg McCune)