Stacey Armato, the woman who was detained for almost an hour, causing her to miss her flight, all because she didn't want to radiate her breast milk, has spoken about the TSA's recent public statement about the issue.
I'm not surprised that her response makes it pretty obvious that the PR department is working really hard to sweep it under the rug, especially because Armato has filed a tort claim against them.
Read on to see what Stacey has to say about TSA's "apology."
The TSA's "Blogger Bob" states that they had issued a personal letter of apology to Armato. She tells Sustainable Mothering:
They stated that the “screening workforce [had] been briefed regarding this situation.” [and] it was their “understanding that … the issue has been resolved” and they “extend [their] sincere apologies to [me] for the discomfort and inconvenience [I] experienced during the screening process.” ... Of course, the complaint that I sent over to TSA ... addressed many important issues this letter did not acknowledge at all including being retaliated against, harassed, humiliated, degraded, threatened with arrest, held in security for an hour, among other things. Frankly, I disregarded this letter from TSA in March as a standard form letter they would issue to any complaint and did not view it as an apology ...
In TSA's public statement, they said they retrained their employees to handle this type of situation but in their letter to Armato, they state they had been educated on how to handle this? They try to placate her by only apologizing for the inconvenience and discomfort of the experience but still refuse to acknowledge that despite having their own policies under the supervisor's nose, they were not respected. I'm also curious if they compensated her for her missed flight home?
They state that Armato has continued to fly without incident. Of course she has to keep flying, it's required for her job. It's not as simple as they make it sound. Armato was assigned a TSA authority to shadow her as she continued to fly, and narrowly missed a repeat episode:
As soon as I asked for an alternate screening, I was told to put the milk through the x-ray machine. The TSA authority had to immediately make herself known to the TSA agent and said to give me an alternate screening. It was clear that any briefing or training that had been done was futile.
So sure, she hasn't had any repeat incidents. They had someone follow her around, and when they started to try to push the same issue, their own authority had to intervene. That's not progress. After many, many trips through the gate, she states that every single time, she was requested to put the breast milk through the scanner. TSA stated they were fine with that, as long as the attendants remembered her request for an alternate screening. But what about other women, those who aren't on their radar?
Armato tried a different gate and faced no issues whatsoever, and when she returned with great hesitance to the gate that spawned this disaster, she never encountered the four or five agents that had created the controversy again. Whether they were fired or relocated has never been addressed by the TSA. They have never once even mentioned that things could have been done in any way to be less traumatic, other than just the fact that it took so long and Armato was distressed. They've never mentioned that anyone was at fault for not following policies, or that anyone was even reprimanded.
Armato has filed a tort claim against the TSA, which is for damage to or loss of property, and says she will try to exhaust all administrative authority to officially change policy, and if that isn't sufficient, a federal lawsuit will be filed.
A common question that arises is "Why didn't she just dump it out and pump more on the plane?" A mere 12 ounces in three or four bottles, the debated amount, may not seem like a lot to some, but that can take hours over a period of a day or more for a woman to pump and produce. It would be like donating tons of blood, and then having them just dump it out and tell you, "Give more." It's just not that simple. Your body has a limited supply that takes time to build up,. She had it timed so her son needed that milk -- part of her complaint. It may just be milk to some, but to a pumping mother, it is her hard work, effort and time devoted to her baby's well-being, all in a little bottle.
How do you feel about the TSA's response, now hearing Armato's side of the story?