TSA Officers Confuse Insulin Pump for Gun at LAX, Declare 'Security Breach' | The Informer | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Terrorism

TSA Officers Confuse Insulin Pump for Gun at LAX, Declare 'Security Breach'

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Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 1:05 PM

click to enlarge Visual guide: How to distinguish a gun from an insulin pump. - DIABETES MINE
  • Diabetes Mine
  • Visual guide: How to distinguish a gun from an insulin pump.
This morning's big TSA blunder at LAX was kind of the opposite of cupcakegate -- call it diabetesgate.

Here's what happened, according to the Los Angeles Times: A woman with an insulin pump on her person was screened with one of those privacy-infringing porn machines the TSA likes to call "advanced imaging technology" body scanners.

Officers reportedly interpreted the shape of the pump as a gun. But before they could search their target, she wandered off to find her gate...

... obviously not imagining that her insulin pump could possibly have been taken for a weapon.

So the TSA declared a security breach, and LAX police/LAPD rushed to the scene, scrambling to track down the suspected gunwoman before she boarded her flight.

"Sources" tell the Times that the lady's flight was delayed for up to an hour as cops detained their suspect (yes, detained) and questioned her about her mysterious baggage.

Lorie Dankers, spokeswoman for the TSA, will not confirm that the woman was detained -- only that "she was re-screened, and was cleared, and proceeded without incident." Here's the TSA's official statement, as dictated to the Weekly by Dankers:

"The security checkpoint at Terminal 4 at LAX was closed at 7:43 a.m. this morning, and that was because an individual left the security area before the screening process was completed. The passenger was subsequently located in the terminal and cleared without incident. The checkpoint reopened at 8:20 a.m."

Meaning an entire flock of passengers had to wait almost 45 minutes for three different agencies to track down a woman with an insulin pump. Can't wait to see how the super-hip TSA Blog handles this one.

Apparently, though, the flying-with-diabetes-in-post-911-America problem is not a new one. A blogger for Diabetes Mine tackled it back in summer 2010, declaring a lose-lose situation:

So what's a PWD pumper to do? To my mind, the default "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" precept is still in effect -- my strategy from Day One. Of course if you choose not notify TSA agents that you're wearing an insulin pump and they end up detecting it, your search and detainment could end up being that much more cumbersome.

And a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association told Diabetes Mine that the "TSA is suggesting that people identify their pumps, but it's not official policy. That's problematic either way. People should have the autonomy to decide if they want to disclose (their diabetes) and how to disclose."

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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