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Breast cancer patient, Denise Albert, outraged by TSA treatment

Albert posts video on Facebook of interaction with TSA

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Denise Albert posted a video of herself Monday sitting on a bench at Los Angeles International Airport, trying not to allow her bare feet to touch the floor.

Albert, co-founder of the media company The Moms, has breast cancer. She wears a wig, has a port in her chest and cannot walk without her feet covered, due to sores from her treatment.

The Facebook video, and its caption, detail Albert's experience Sunday night at LAX with Transportation Security Administration agents, whom she claims were rough with her.

"I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life," she wrote. "I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream,which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don't know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. I was (TSA) Precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes."

It should be noted that those with TSA Precheck are not required to remove shoes while going through security. However, shoes could go under additional screenings if needed. 

Albert told the agents that she didn't have socks on,  and had to sit down during the shoe inspection due to her treatment. 

They allowed that.  

Albert was offered a room during the search, but she said she couldn't walk to it because she wasn't permitted to wear her boots. 

 "After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing. Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. The woman reached behind me and (forcibly) and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back," Albert wrote.  

She said pressure was used to search her body. 

"They then started to tell me they would apply pressure from head to toe and I got very upset because I wear a wig. I didn't want them to touch it, move it, or ruin it," Albert wrote. "So I ripped it off for them to pat my head without damaging my wig (that I paid for and insurance didn't cover!)"

During a phone interview with Local 10 News, Albert said the agent "went right in between my legs, smirk on her face the whole time." 

When the TSA agent attempts to search Albert's chest, Albert turns to her in the video and says firmly, "You can't touch me there."

"What's the issue?" another agent said.

"I have breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy. I have a port in me. You can't touch me there," Albert said. 

The agent then told Albert that touching is part of the procedure and that the agent has to "clear the area" in order for her to clear security.

Albert, who is the daughter of sportscaster Marv Albert,  wrote that a supervisor later arrived and she was taken into a private room for a pat down.

"Even though all of my bags (went) through X-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had," Albert said. "I told her, 'It's because I don't have real ones from my cancer treatment.' I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended."

Albert wrote that she hopes no one has to "experience this." 

"I was crying," Albert told Local 10 News. "I was visibly shaken up. I couldn't help it. I was in shock. I was humiliated." 

*********UPDATE**********August 16, 2017********* To those of you who remember this...Please take a look at this. I worked with the TSA to hopefully turn my horrific experience into something positive....take a look here: http://www.themoms.com/tsa-cares/ *********************************************************** I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don't know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. (Also I had already removed my wig in public because the search they wanted to do would have messed it up and taken it off). The only way I was allowed to proceed was when a supervisor was kind enough to have more compassion and possibly think the 2 agents went too far and took me into a private room for a regular soft pat down. Today the 2 TSA agents in my video went too far and even threatened to call police. I hope no one ever experiences this. ************************UPDATE**************************** Monday Dec 5th: I was in such shock last night that I didn't include all of the details. Thank you all for your love, your personal stories and your support. I truly hope this doesn't happen to anyone else! I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life. I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don't know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. I was TSE precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes. I explained I didn't have socks on and that my cream is for an infection from my current treatment, including on my feet. So if they wanted to put my shoes through x-ray, I would have to sit down because I would not put my bare feet on the floor. They allowed that. They then started to tell me they would apply pressure from head to toe and I got very upset because I wear a wig. I didn't want them to touch it, move it, or ruin it. So I ripped it off for them to pat my head without damaging my wig (that I paid for and insurance didn't cover!) I don't ever go out in public without it. I have shown pictures on social media as I feel it empowers others but I'm not comfortable in public (I have taken it off at 2 breast cancer related work events for a second to show other cancer survivors and those in it now!) They also put my shoes through and then wouldn't allow me to put them back on until after the full body search. After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing. Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. The woman reached behind me and forceable and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back. At some point they offered me a room but wouldn't let me put my boots on to walk there, which I can't do barefoot especially because of my open sores and rashes from my treatment on my feet. When I kept asking why they needed to do all of this, they kept saying because I wanted to bring medical cream on the plane. (They NEVER said there was any reason due to my scan so that made no sense!) On the video you see the woman shove her hand up my crotch and then try to go down my shirt. That's when I said (again) I have a medical port and had a lumpecomy. Many of you have remarked about how calm I was. I have to admit, after the video ends (though I do have it on video), I lifted up my shirt. Rather then have them touch my breasts and port "with pressure" as the TSA agent stated. That's when they said they were calling law enforcement and I asked them to please do so. Finally, a supervisor arrived. The only way I was allowed to proceed was when the supervisor was kind enough to have more compassion and possibly think the 2 agents went too far and took me into a private room for a regular soft pat down. After that, it still didn't end. Even though all of my bags when through x-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had. I told her, it's because I don't have real ones from my cancer treatment. I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended. The 2 TSA agents in my video went too far. I hope no one ever experiences this. I should also point out that according to the TSA website, what these agents did was improper procedure - they are not allowed to touch skin and should be gentle over clothing (contradiction to what you hear on video). I should NOT have been required to remove shoes because of my medical condition and they were supposed to ask if I have a tender area and didn't and didn't listen when I told them I did. Luckily, Melissa Musen Gerstein and I had a wonderful flight on American Airlines with an incredible crew and 1 very special flight attendant, Latane, who made everything better for the night. ****UPDATE**** Please watch ABC7NY NOW! ******UPDATE**** UPDATE Tuesday Dec 6 Last nights ABC news piece by Bill Ritter AND Joe Torres http://abc7ny.com/news/media-personality-battling-breast-cancer-posts-humiliating-tsa-search/1641467/#videoplayer *****UPDATE****** Tuesday Dec 6th 3:55pm The TSA just called. Kimberly Walton - Assistant Administrator for Civil Rights and Liberty, Ombudsman and Traveler Engagement. Here are some notes from my conversation: Apologizing for experience at this point LAX investigation into what happened very aggressively train on how to screen medical / disabilities this was not at their expectations a lot of disappointment we didn't get it right they are going to refresh training at LAX 3000 employees airport conducting investigation I'm very pleased with this. I will also be on FOX 5 / Fox5NY.com with Stacey Delicate at 5:30 and PIX 11 with Dan Marino at 5! 4/27 UPDATE - PLEASE SEE MY POST FROM TODAY! WOULD LOVE ALL OF YOU TO JOIN THE #DanceForBreastCancerChallenge

Posted by Denise Albert on Sunday, December 4, 2016

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