May 4, 2012
From intrusive pat-downs to body scans to perceived profiling, the Transportation Security Administration always seems to be the target of complaints.
Here’s another one: It took the TSA almost four years to tell me what people complained about — in 2008.
In my first week at ProPublica in June 2008, I filed a public records request for the agency’s complaint files. Such records can provide good fodder for investigations.
For example, amid the brouhaha over the agency’s introduction of intensive full-body pat-downs in 2004, I requested complaints and discovered an untold story of the pain and humiliation suffered by rape victims and breast cancer survivors. In one incident that I found from that request — while I was a reporter at the Dallas Morning News — a woman complained that a screener asked her to remove her prosthetic breast to be swabbed for explosives.