Two N.Y. Senators Call for Passenger Advocates at Airports

By:  Raven Clabough
12/13/2011
       
Two N.Y. Senators Call for Passenger Advocates at Airports

As Americans become increasingly opposed to the intrusive and unconstitutional searching techniques of the Transportation Security Administration — including recent allegations by several women that they were strip-searched by airport security — two New York lawmakers on Sunday proposed the creation of "passenger advocates" at airports. However, their solution is highly controversial. The two men — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris — have stated that such a position should be created by the TSA itself, which critics point out would virtually undermine its purpose of passenger advocacy.

 

As Americans become increasingly opposed to the intrusive and unconstitutional searching techniques of the Transportation Security Administration — including recent allegations by several women that they were strip-searched by airport security — two New York lawmakers on Sunday proposed the creation of "passenger advocates" at airports. However, their solution is highly controversial. The two men — U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y., photo) and New York State Sen. Michael Gianaris — have stated that such a position should be created by the TSA itself, which critics point out would virtually undermine its purpose of passenger advocacy.

"We need to find the right balance between security and protecting vulnerable passengers," insisted Schumer in the TWA terminal at JFK International Airport. He was joined by state Sen. Michael Gianaris (D-Queens) and the sons of the women who were allegedly strip-searched recently. He added:

Today, we're calling on the TSA to give a voice to those who feel they may be inappropriately treated, or subject to totally onerous screening, by designating an on-site passenger advocate at every airport.

The proposal by Schumer and Gianaris followed the most recent complaint, levied by 85-year-old Lenore Zimmerman, who asserted that she was strip-searched at JFK Airport. She said she was taken to a private room by a member of the TSA and forced to remove her pants and other clothes after she asked to skip the screening because she believed it would interfere with her defibrillator. The entire ordeal forced her to miss her flight and catch an alternative flight nearly three hours later.

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