Originally published October 4 2012
TSA caught red-handed stealing iPad from ABC News investigative journalists - video
by J. D. Heyes
(NaturalNews) Does the Transportation Security Administration have any hiring standards whatsoever, other than "breathing human being?" The answer to that question has become glaringly obvious, as the list of bad behavior committed by these paragons of ineptitude continues to expand.
In response to a rising number of stories about theft by TSA officers of passenger belongings, ABC News decided to launch an investigation of its own to determine the validity of the charges.
A news crew purposely left an iPad behind at a checkpoint at the airport in Orlando, Fla. "The iPad was one of ten purposely left behind at TSA checkpoints at major airports with a history of theft by government screeners," ABC News reported.
Barely two hours later, the device was tracked to the home of a TSA screener who went on to blame his wife for the theft when he was eventually confronted (see a video of the theft here). That confrontation did not come for a couple of weeks; ABC News waited a full 15 days before going to the home of the officer, Andy Ramirez, to ask for the iPad back.
'My wife did it'
According to the report, Ramirez denied knowing anything about the iPad at first, telling the news crew to instead contact the airport's lost and found department. Keep in mind the crew knew full well Ramirez was being dishonest because it had activated a tracking app that had been previously installed on the device.
Following Ramirez's denial, the news crew activated the app's audio alarm; when they did, Ramirez went to get the device - but took off his TSA uniform before returning to hand it over.
"My wife says she got the iPad and brought it home," he told the crew. The report says his wife then appeared at the door, saying she had found the device but that she had "not told my husband."
Ramirez couldn't even man up and admit his crime; he blamed his wife instead.
Well, enter damning evidence here.
The news crew obtained security camera footage from the airport checkpoint area showing Ramirez taking the iPad. When the crew informed him of the footage, he shut the door and, of course, wouldn't answer any more questions.
"This is the tip of the iceberg," says Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., head of the House Transportation Committee. "It is an outrage to the public, and actually to our aviation system."
Pattern of criminality
The TSA has since fired Ramirez, but the arrogant agency refused to even respond to interview requests from ABC News. Since then, the network put out what it calls a Rogue's Gallery of TSA agents and screeners who have been busted for lifting items from passenger luggage. Here are the details on some of the most notable scoundrels:
-- Alexandra Schmid was fired from her job as a TSA screener at John F. Kennedy International Airport for allegedly swiping $5,000 in cash from a passenger's jacket at a security checkpoint. She has been charged with larceny but pleaded not guilty.
-- Speaking of the Orlando airport, Elliot Iglesias pleaded guilty to stealing four computers from passenger baggage there. He's serving two years of probation.
-- Michael Pujol gets the creativity award. He was fired from his job as a TSA officer at Miami International Airport after he was charged with grand theft for allegedly stealing items from passenger bags and hiding them in a special pocket he'd added to his TSA jacket. He, too, stole an iPad that was tracked to Craigslist.
"According to the TSA, 381 TSA officers have been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012, including 11 so far in this year," says ABC News.
Don't you feel safer now?
Mica's solution is perhaps the most realistic: He is pushing airports to ditch the TSA and hire private screeners; some, like the international airport in Kansas City, Mo., have done that.
As always, TSA bureaucrats deny the agency has a widespread problem. But as Natural News has consistently reported, the TSA is rife with law breakers, miscreants, thieves, pedophiles and other shady types.
As the cost of air travel continues to rise, so, too, does the abuse heaped on travelers by the TSA.
It's past time for this useless, criminal agency to go away.
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