Would everybody please stop picking on the TSA for a cotton-pickin' minute?! Hey, no question the airport-security agency has taken a pummeling from critics lately, especially over accusations of theft. A report by ABC's Nightlinelast week was particularly damning when an iPad stolen from an airport security checkpoint was tracked down to the home of the TSA agent on-duty at the time. And now comes another dust-up. But this time the TSA claims it had nothing to do with it.
As told to the Pixiq blog, a California man traveling in Puerto Rico on September 29 attempted to film a security checkpoint at the airport. A female law-enforcement official told him to stop filming and then confiscated his camera. The man protested that it's not against the law to do so. And he was right. The officer then reluctantly returned the camera shortly afterward, but its memory card was allegedly missing, including more than 200 images. Later the memory card was also returned to him, but according to the camera owner the offending video of the TSA confiscation had been deleted.
The man managed to recapture the video images by using a software program designed for that purpose. The resultant 11-second YouTube post has garnered more than 35,000 views in the past five days. And that's gotten the TSA a little steamed because, the agency claims, the officer in the video is NOT a TSA agent. The agency attempted to clarify this on The TSA Blog this afternoon. (What?! You didn't know the TSA had its own blog?!)
From the TSA Blog: "A story has been in the news this week about a passenger who alleged that a TSA officer confiscated his camera and deleted the footage. While TSA understands it’s hard at times to distinguish our officers from law enforcement or other officials, the person who took the camera from the passenger in Puerto Rico was not a TSA employee. TSA did not tamper with the camera or erase any of its content. Additionally, the individual that appears in the video being circulated is not a TSA employee."
OK, we get it. Calm down, TSA. We believe you. But the question remains: who is that woman in the video? We sure wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley, camera or no camera.
Mark Orwoll is the International Editor of Travel + Leisure.