NEWS

Two Months Later, Post Columnist Sticking to His Account of 'TSA Scam'

By Carlton Purvis

Mushnick said after the column was published he received 30 to 50 emails from readers who had their own stories about what they also perceived to be security breaches and some of those seemed to definitely be talking about skycaps as opposed to TSA agents.

But of his incident he said, “She had TSA identification on her. I know what a skycap is, I’ve traveled long enough.”

“I felt like what I was getting was an attempt to discredit me and my story...instead of routing out what really goes on at these security positions at the airport. What I wrote has maybe stopped this particular scam. I wish they’d spend more time trying to eradicate that security issue than trying to discredit me, but in the end I’m sure it’ll have a positive effect," he said. “Didn’t any of these security people find it odd that after I went through the scanner that he [Mushnick’s friend in the wheelchair] just walked unaided and clearly wasn’t disabled?”

Mushnick said the reason the column ran on Sept. 11 is because he pitched it as a story to his editors twice, but they didn’t follow up on it so he wrote the column over his concern for potentially rogue TSA agents or skycaps--whichever it was--and their ability to circumvent security.

“I can only provide speculation but I’m sure if I had given this woman $20 to hold my toiletry bag as I passed through the scanner, she would have--and then would have handed it back to me. And I would have had a nice little bomb making kit right in my hand,” he said.

Farbstein said that a skycap and the wheelchair would have to be re-screened to meet someone on the other side of a security checkpoint, in addition to providing valid identification.

Numerous calls to the Post’s editors went unreturned.


photo by Inha Leex Hale/flickr

Comments

This guy's so full of it...

So, a TSA agent is hustling passengers for tips for head of line service, in plain view - in front of several other TSA agents?  Really??  And even after TSA explains what I see on a daily basis - a skycap helps a disabled passenger through the checkpoint - skycaps at ALL airports wheel their customers to the front of the line, go through screening themselves, and await their customer on the "clean" side.  And have you BEEN to New York lately?  Ride the NYC Airporter from Laguardia into Manhattan sometime, and you'll see the exact same behavior - the drivers do not wait for a passenger to hand them a tip, the driver digs into the passenger, "Don't forget the tip, don't forget the tip, don't forget the tip" OVER AND OVER.  Only in New York.  I seriously doubt these bus drivers work for less than minimum wage, and when I get hassled for tips, I usually give WAY less than I would have otherwise.  At any rate, if Mr. Mushnik was any kind of serious journalist, he'd have gotten a few cell phone pics or video of his or someone else's experience as evidence.  This appears to be a clear case of a drama queen not understanding the environment.

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