TSA Claims Sexual Assault at Security Checkpoint Violates “High Standards”

DHS is patting TSA on the back for acting firing the agent who sexually assaulted a passenger a couple of weeks ago in New York.

Oquendo allegedly brought her to a bathroom for “secondary security screening,” police said. He was charged with unlawful imprisonment, sexual abuse and other charges.

TSA’s chief said, “The reason we have high standards is so when we find people who are acting inappropriately, you can take the appropriate action to terminate them if necessary,”

  • It takes high standards to say it’s inappropriate to sexually assault a passenger under the color of authority?
  • If that constitutes high standards, it’s what a former President dubbed “the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

TSA Agents in Charlotte Watch News of the TSA’s Failure to Detect Weapons and Bombs, Instead of Searching for Weapons and Bombs (HT: >Toqueville)

After the incident I wrote derisively, “A few bad apples who in no way…” Each time the TSA has an incident, which is disturbingly often, they say that such incidents are rare — that only a small percentage of their workforce are criminals. Which just underscores how bloated their workforce has become.

Naturally they explain away this one in eerily similar fashion:

He said every organization can have “some bad apples,” but that “the vast majority of people” at TSA are performing challenging jobs well.

Of course it was literally the day prior that a screener in New York stole a passenger’s $7000 watch and destroyed it in hopes of avoiding getting caught. And this isn’t the only sexualization of the security checkpoint in recent months.

A few bad apples who in no way undermine the hard work that thousands of men and women at the TSA do to keep us safe, day in and day out.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »


  1. Good. At least you didn’t say the whole tsa assaulted the person.

    Everytime a cop is arrested for assault, murder or racism do you question why we need cops?

  2. @credit the tsa has trapped more victims of sexual assault than terrorists, and tests show they don’t catch things that are actually dangerous while they search for things that are low risk but ‘scary’

  3. Oh, great, another TSA entry. One about how Delta sucks is, likely, imminent. Hopefully, Chris Elliott will utter something today and then we can have the trifecta.

  4. I don’t like the TSA and the general security concept it represents, and it’s in need of reform. But really, what do you expect any entity to say about an incident like this, other than basically what they’ve said publicly.

    Has anyone looked at the RATE of, say, sexual assault charges and convictions, against TSA clerks compared to the general population? Or compared to some reasonably comparable type of organization(s) (realizing there are few direct comparisons)? That would help reveal whether TSA has more of a problem with sexual assault than should be expected.

    And yes, I say expected because sadly no group of human beings will ever be completely devoid of such crimes no matter how well one tries to weed them out.

  5. “Everytime a cop is arrested for assault, murder or racism do you question why we need cops?”

    Any thinking person questions the “need” for TSA.

    Sadly, most people don’t fit the description of “thinking,” but for them, you can use incidents like this to turn them against an organization that we’d be better off without. It’s a case of the ends justifying the means.

  6. Gary, it looks like some days you just can’t win. Keep trying. Just as with the TSA, there are good days and bad ones, but the “vast majority” of yours are good.

  7. Sanity of thought?
    The only think lacking here is writers’ failure to comprehend a comparison to police is inappropriate.
    Police badges actually mean they represent law enforcement. TSA badges are pieces of tin that make TSA agents feel important.
    Police carry guns. TSA agents don’t…because they are not law enforcement .
    Do we need the TSA? Probably, but it could be a lot more efficient.
    How long have we had them and they still shout out commands rather than use recorded messages and video loops like countries with a real fear of daily terrorism like Israel.

  8. @The Masked Poster – every day that I get to do what I love, whether at my real job, booking awards, or on this blog, I really do feel like I’ve won..!

  9. @credit – Difference being, passenger security post-TSA isn’t any better than it was pre-TSA.

    Apparently TSA has been around long enough that it seems some are forgetting that “security” did exist pre-TSA, with a much smaller non-government workforce.

  10. The tsa has produced zero results that weren’t already achieved pre-9/11.

    It is just another bloated federal agency.

    They react after their measures have been shown to be ineffective.

    And here’s where I’ll speak truth when so few others will: it is a refuge for folks who couldn’t make it as cops or mall cops or parking lot attendants but who crave power over those better off, and who think they are something they are not….they are not officers any more than my postal carrier is an officer…..they do not have badges that mean anything more than the ones I can buy at cvs….they find ways to grope young children and humiliate the elderly and war heroes…they bark out commands as if we don’t know the rules while letting people who have no idea how to fly or go through screening gum up the precheck lines….they ask deep probing questions to prevent terrorism, such as ‘what’s your last name’ while looking at a boarding pass and drivers license that was just handed to them as if anyone would be that stupid to mess up.

    Don’t get me wrong, most of these folks are nice people. Not all, and not in the same proportions you find in the general population but most are nice.

    They are just performing a job that adds little to no value, costs a boat load of cash, and comes with jack booted rules and creeps that lead to assaults, thefts, and power bing abused (making up crap on the fly, confiscating cash when they have no authority to do so….).

    Ah. Feels good to get the truth out there. For those that disagree, please cite some facts and statistics about how the agency has helped improve security. Thanks.

  11. @RonMexi

    Seriously, do you have your head in the sand?

    Look, I get BigGov types see all gov as good gov, and gov that punishes people who may have more than the average as even better gov. I get that. It’s silly assed stupid, but I’ve come to accept that some people are like that.

    Jackboot thugs:



    Can’t catch them before TSA:
    Shoe bomber
    Underwear bomber
    Any other bomber

    Get real Ron. Never mind all the molestations, humiliations, confessions from former tsa employees (don’t even want to call them agents) about the pervs frapping off to nudeoscope pix.

  12. Ugh…two replies to Ron have disappeared.

    What type of facts would you like Ron, aside from the molestations, thefts, perviness, jackbooted tactics, failures…really, Ron all you have to do is pay attention to the news.

    Underwear bomber
    Shoe bomber
    Every failed attempt…all made it past the TSA

    And what about those people that get into the belly of the plane and unfortunately die…why didn’t TSA stop them and why couldn’t a terrorist do the same thing?

  13. One hundred percent security is impossible, and what the TSA has done is little more than an illusion of security, bought at the cost of our dignity and civil rights.They try to force people into their full body scanners and punish those who refuse with police-style pat-downs that have no place in a free society.

    We should accept the fact that screening passengers is a theatrical exercise and make it as unintrusive and quick as possible. I have a five-point plan for saving time and money – and restoring the dignity of the flying public.

    1. Remove and destroy the intrusive, slow and ineffective body scanners. Replace them with metal detectors. These worked just fine from 2003 – 2010. Planes weren’t falling out of the sky.

    2. Stop groping passengers. Use wands – no touching. This would mean fewer lawsuits to defend against irate passengers who justifiably feel their civil rights have been violated.

    3. Allow passengers to keep their shoes and belts on and set the metal detectors accordingly. Just because one idiot tried to blow up a plane with a shoe is no reason to penalize the entire flying public. And it would make the lines faster as well.

    4. Stop barking orders at paying passengers as if we were part of a prison population. The TSA is there to serve us, not order us around.

    5. Get rid of the liquids restriction. TSA spends thousands of wasted hours confiscating shampoo instead of looking for weapons.

    Implementing these measures would have virtually no impact on actual security, but it would certainly make things quicker and more pleasant at the airport.

Comments are closed.