Sen. Lisa Murkowski has sent a letter to the Transportation Security Adminstration asking it to clarify its passenger screening policies after state Rep. Sharon Cissna (D-Anchorage) refused a pat-down and chose not to fly back to Alaska from Seattle.
Cissna, a breast cancer survivor, said she was singled out by security officials at Sea-Tac, because she had had a mastectomy and because a full body scan revealed irregularities, prompting further scrutiny.
“I appreciate that the TSA has a difficult task in keeping air transportation safe,” wrote Sen. Murkowski, “However, this incident highlights specific privacy concerns that must be addressed.”
In her letter, Murkowski wrote that there is no practical alternative for someone in Cissna’s position and the Senator is requesting TSA Administrator John Pistole explain what is being done to accommodate people who have had mastectomies and who use prosthetics.
“Air travel to Alaska should never require submission to a stranger’s intrusive touching of one’s sensitive body area,” Murkowski wrote.
Murkowski also reminded the TSA that Juneau is accessible only by air or water and that Cissna’s trip back to the state capital should have taken a matter of hours, not days.
The TSA said Monday that it’s sensitive to the concerns of passengers who are not satisfied with their screening experience and it invites those individuals to provide feedback.
Rep. Cissna is expected to arrive in Juneau via the Alaska Marine Highway System Thursday morning.
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