U.S. Rep says TSA agent went too far

Francisco 'Quico' Canseco calls for changes after incident in SA

Author: Charles Gonzalez, Reporter, Anchor, cgonzalez@ksat.com
Published On: Apr 25 2012 05:22:04 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 25 2012 06:15:27 PM CDT
SAN ANTONIO -

U.S. Rep. Francisco "Quico" Canseco (TX-23) didn't intend to publicly share his incidents with TSA but is speaking out after they were leaked to the public. 

He said the first incident happened on April 16 as he was walking through security at San Antonio International Airport. 

After walking through the full body scanner, he was told he was selected for a random pat-down.

"So I lifted up my arms and submitted to the full pat-down and as they were patting down my legs, they went up on my leg, right into my crotch and it hurt," said Canseco. "My reaction was to move the guy's hand away and to step away. Well, the TSA guy just lifted his arm up and said, 'I've been assaulted.' I was the one assaulted, not him. I guess he was being very technical about it."

Canseco said the TSA agent told San Antonio police that he wanted to press charges against him. 

"I wanted to find out what the situation was because I was pretty appalled so I asked them, 'Am I under arrest?' and they said, 'No.' Then (I asked), 'I'm free to go?' And they said, 'No you're not, you are detained," he said.

After nearly 20 minutes, Canseco was released and caught his flight. He said the next trip out of San Antonio, he was randomly selected for a pat down again. 

"I'm seeing firsthand what happens," said Canseco, referring to complaints from customers across the country involving TSA agents. "What happened to me probably happens 10, 20 times a day to a lot of good citizens. You feel that your dignity is being assaulted, you feel like you're being assaulted. And it's not right, especially (when) you see 4-year-old children being patted down and searched out or 80-year-old ladies."

TSA said Canseco's office has contacted them and they will respond to him directly.  The agency also said the initial pat down occurred after Canseco "alarmed after going through a TSA Advanced Imaging Technology unit."

While Canseco was treated like every other passenger, he knows he has a bit more power to change things and plans to. 

"They have no power of arrest yet they hold onto people and they detain people," he said. 

Weeks before the incidents, he co-sponsored a bill which would bar TSA employees that are not trained as peace officers from wearing badges or uniforms to the contrary.

"I think that it's very important that we start looking at more effective ways that are going to be protecting the dignity and respect of our American travelers yet looking our for our security and safety," said Canseco.

KSAT has filed a request for the video of the first incident with the San Antonio airport.