TSA fires two Denver screeners in genital groping scheme

The Transportation Security Administration said telling the machine to scan male passengers as female caused anomalies to be detected in the genital region.

By Ben Hooper
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DENVER, April 14 (UPI) -- The TSA said two Denver International Airport screeners were fired for manipulating procedures to allow an agent to grope the genitals of male passengers.

Law enforcement reports obtained by KCNC-TV revealed a male screener at the airport revealed to a female colleague in 2014 he "gropes" male passengers he finds attractive by having another female TSA screener manipulate a scanning machine to require a pat-down search.


"He related that when a male he finds attractive comes to be screened by the scanning machine he will alert another TSA screener to indicate to the scanning computer that the party being screened is a female. When the screener does this, the scanning machine will indicate an anomaly in the genital area and this allows [the male TSA screener] to conduct a pat-down search of that area," TSA documents state.

The TSA was alerted to the screener's actions in November 2014, but no action was taken by the agency until an incident was observed by TSA security supervisor Chris Higgins Feb. 9.

Higgins told officers he observed the male screener signal his female coworker, and the woman hit the button for "female" when a male passenger passed through the screening machine.


"The scanner alerted to an anomaly, and Higgins observed [the male TSA screener] conduct a pat down of the passenger's front groin and buttocks area with the palm of his hands, which is contradictory to TSA searching policy," the documents read.

The female agent confessed to the scheme and told investigators she had helped her coworker to grope at least 10 men.

The Feb. 9 incident was allegedly recorded on camera by Higgins, but the tape has not been released to the public.

The TSA confirmed to website Mashable the two screeners were fired.

"These alleged acts are egregious and intolerable," a TSA representative said. "TSA has removed the two officers from the agency. All allegations of misconduct are thoroughly investigated by the agency. And when substantiated, employees are held accountable."

The Denver District Attorney's Office declined to press charges in the case, with a prosecutor citing the lack of an identified victim and the unlikelihood of a conviction.

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