(NaturalNews) The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is desperately trying to save face after one of its employees embarrassingly failed to recognize that the District of Columbia, also known as Washington, D.C., is the capital of the United States of America.
This was revealed during a recent run-in at Orlando International Airport in Florida, where D.C. resident and WFTV Washington correspondent Justin Gray was denied passage through the security line after showing his D.C. driver's license.
According to WFTV, the unnamed TSA agent told Gray that his license was not a valid form of identification, apparently because he hadn't personally heard of the District of Columbia. The agent demanded to see Gray's passport instead, which he didn't have on his person at the time.
At this point, Gray reportedly asked the TSA agent if he knew what the District of Columbia was. After a brief conversation, Gray quickly came to realize that the agent had apparently never learned about the nation's capital, and yet was being allowed to screen passengers on behalf of the federal government.
After finally being allowed to pass through the security line, Gray approached a TSA supervisor to complain about the agent. Gray also "tweeted" about the incident on Twitter immediately after it occurred, to which he received a prompt response from a TSA spokesman.
"Officers are trained to identify fraudulent documents, which can potentially deter and detect individuals attempting to circumvent this layer of security," explained the spokesman, adding that a District of Columbia license is, indeed, a valid form of identification.
Gray was also told that all TSA agents in Orlando would be given a briefing about D.C. licenses, since they apparently were never instructed in the first place as to our nation's geography. Perhaps it was simply assumed that anyone with a high school education knows where D.C. is located, recognizing it as the legal equivalent of the other 50 states.
"They simply have not been either applying or maintaining standards for good personnel," remarked Douglas Kidd from the National Association of Airline Passengers (NAAP) about the inherent failures of the TSA. "It makes you wonder what's going on with their training and their policies."
Ignorance of TSA agents goes unaddressed by agency spokesman
Interestingly, the TSA's official response to the incident completely failed to address the apparent lack of training being given to its agents. Instead, the agency gave a canned response about proper security protocol that is anything but reassuring, especially considering that this exact same incident occurred back in February in Arizona.
According to The Washington Post (WP), a D.C. resident by the name of Ashley Brandt encountered a TSA agent at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport who also didn't know what the District of Columbia was. The agent eventually let Brandt through the security line, but not before questioning a superior as to whether or not D.C. licenses are "valid."
"She didn't seem to know that it was basically the same as a state ID," stated Brandt to WP. "D.C. is obviously not a state, but I didn't ever imagine it would be a problem -- I mean, the whole population of D.C. has to use these."
This incident also ended up on Twitter, sparking a chorus of scorn and mockery toward the world's most hated security force.
"Don't be [too] harsh on this TSA employee," joked one USA Today commenter about the most recent fiasco. "[The TSA agent] is likely very smart and realizes that everything coming out of DC is bogus."