DENVER (CBS4) – A CBS4 investigation has learned that two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport have been fired after they were discovered manipulating passenger screening systems to allow a male TSA employee to fondle the genital areas of attractive male passengers.
It happened roughly a dozen times, according to information gathered by CBS4.
According to law enforcement reports obtained during the CBS4 investigation, a male TSA screener told a female colleague in 2014 that he “gropes” male passengers who come through the screening area at DIA.
“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.”
Although the TSA learned of the accusation on Nov. 18, 2014 via an anonymous tip from one of the agency’s own employees, reports show that it would be nearly three months before anything was done.
On Feb. 9 TSA security supervisor Chris Higgins watched the screening area, observing the employees. “At about 0925 he observed (the male TSA screener) appear to give a signal to another screener … (the second female screener) was responsible for the touchscreen system that controls whether or not the scanning machine alerts to gender- specific anomalies, according to a law enforcement report obtained by CBS4.
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According to the report, the TSA investigator then watched a male passenger enter the scanner at DIA “and observed (the female TSA agent) press the screening button for a female. 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.”
Higgins later interviewed the female TSA agent who was an accomplice in the groping conspiracy. She “admitted that she has done this for (the male TSA officer) at least 10 other times. She knew that doing so would allow (the male TSA officer) to perform a pat down on a male passenger that (the male TSA screener) found attractive,” reported Higgins.
The TSA said the male passenger who they saw being fondled was flying on Southwest Airlines and the agency has videotape of the incident. CBS4 has requested the tape but it was not immediately released. TSA has said it could not identify the male passenger who was groped and the agency says there have been no other complaints about the serial groping.