TSA screening is never fun for anyone, but one 84-year-old grandmother claims she had an especially bad experience. Lenore Zimmerman, of Long Island, was flying to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, when she says she was strip searched by TSA agents at JFK Airport.
It all started when Zimmerman asked not to be put through the imaging equipment because she was worried it would interfere with her heart. (She has a defibrillator.) So she was instead taken into a private screening room, where according to Zimmerman, an agent "pulled my pants down and then pulled down my underwear." She also says she was injured when she hit her shin and started bleeding "like a pig." There is security camera footage of Zimmerman being taken into a private screening room, but no recording was made of the search itself.
Even though Zimmerman doesn't seem like much of a threat, it's perfectly reasonable for agents to take her aside and search her—though strip searching obviously seems like a very extreme and inappropriate step. Despite Zimmerman's furious accusations, the TSA has denied her version of the events, issuing this statement:
While we regret that the passenger feels she had an unpleasant screening experience, TSA does not include strip searches as part of our security protocols and one was not conducted in this case.
Zimmerman, who is now resting comfortably in her winter home in Florida, isn't buying that claim for one second: "They're lying to protect their a— because they're afraid of being sued—and they will be sued." Meanwhile, she doesn't have plans to travel again until she returns to New York in April, and that's a relief to her: "Thank goodness. It will give me some time to brace myself for the return flight."