Denise Albert, a mom battling breast cancer, says she felt "violated" while being searched by a TSA agent at the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on Dec. 4 (video below).
Albert, a co-host of "The Moms" on WPIX in New York City, told the station that she ran into trouble with the TSA because she wanted to bring her medical cream on her flight.
"I always let them know in an advance that I have a medical port, and that I am also wearing a wig," Albert, a TSA PreCheck passenger, recalled.
Albert wrote on "The Moms" website: "I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life."
In a video posted to the website, Albert tells a female TSA agent not to touch her breast because she had a lumpectomy and currently has a medical port in her chest. A male TSA agent tells Albert that the female TSA agent needs to use "as much pressure she needs to, to clear the area."
"I started crying," Albert told WPIX. "It was overwhelming and horrific. I could not believe what was happening."
Albert did not want the TSA agents to remove her wig, and reportedly ended up removing it herself.
"I understand security, and I understand that these people have a job to do, and I understand that they protect everyone one of us everyday," Albert added. "But they were out of line."
The TSA website states:
You may bring medically necessary liquids, medications and creams in excess of 3.4 ounces or 100 milliliters in your carry-on bag. Remove them from your carry-on bag to be screened separately from the rest of your belongings. You are not required to place your liquid medication in a plastic zip-top bag. If a liquid identified as medically-necessary alarms (e.g., it contains peroxide), the liquid will not be allowed.
"They don't know their own TSA guidelines," Albert told WPIX.
She wrote what happened next on the "The Moms" website:
Even though all of my bags went through x-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had. I told her, it’s because I don’t have real ones from my cancer treatment.
Albert filed a complaint with the TSA, and shared the TSA's response with WPIX:
Since your complaint concerns the conduct of Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) at a specific airport, we have forwarded a copy to the Customer Support Manager at that location. TSA monitors the number and nature of complaints we receive in order to track trends and spot areas of concern that may require special attention.
The TSA issued this statement to WPIX on Dec. 6:
The Transportation Security Administration takes reports of alleged impropriety very seriously. TSA reviewed what occurred during the screening of Ms. Denise Albert at LAX on December 4 that caused a stressful situation for Ms. Albert. Ms. Albert was eventually provided a private screening environment with a witness in attendance that resolved the situation. TSA deeply regrets the distress this additional security screening caused Ms. Albert. We have spoken directly to Ms. Albert to address her concerns.
None of the TSA statements addressed the specific incidents that took place with Albert.