A double amputee was allegedly humiliated by TSA staff as he attempted to take a flight to San Diego last week.
Marine Cpl. Toran Gaal, who is a double amputee assigned to the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Pendleton, was allegedly asked to get out of his wheelchair and move by a TSA staff member, according to an eye-witness.
Gaal, who lost both his legs to an Improvised Explosive Device in Sangin Province, Afghanistan, and some fellow injured Marines had traveled to the Phoenix area last week for a baseball spring training fundraiser. However, it was upon his return flight that the incident reportedly took place.
The reports have sparked outrage among some, and Congressman Duncan Hunter has now written a letter to the TSA demanding answers. In the letter he describes how Gaal's legs were exposed and removed in the exchange with the TSA staff, and he believes this "humiliated" the marine.
However, the TSA has responded to the criticism saying that closed-circuit television footage at Arizona's Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport on March 13 showed Gaal going through a TSA checkpoint, and that the same footage did not show him being forced to remove his prosthetic legs.
The TSA has told the Arizona Republic in a statement: "Preliminary review of CCTV indicates there was no removal of prosthetic limbs."
Meanwhile, Joe Kasper, Rep Hunter's Deputy Chief of Staff, has said, "Here's the thing – TSA's going to make you think what they want you to think,' according to The Daily Mail.
He added, "The Marine never complained. It was the people who were escorting him. They felt disrespected, they felt mistreated. The problem here is the situational awareness in the tone and lack of awareness."
He concluded, "There has to be a part on TSA to acknowledge there is an issue – not the leg issue, but the bigger problem that he and other veterans and the war-wounded need extra help. That's what it's all about and that's what Mr Hunter was getting at."
Here is a video news report into the incident: