Posted by Curt on 17 June, 2007 at 4:30 pm. Be the first to comment!


Patterico found this gem of a story which highlights the whiny entitlement society we live in.  First the primer.  A retired Secret Service agent is taking a flight from Reagan National Airport on June 11th of this year with a 19 month old son.  All parents understand that travel with toddlers can be quite, well, exasperating.  So she goes through the security with the son and his sippy cup full of water.  Now all of us know that liquids are not allowed anymore due to the terrorist threat of a liquid explosive.  Yeah, it’s an inconvenience but being blown to smithereens over the ocean is a bit more inconvenient in my book. 

So this lady, Monica Emmerson, is told that the liquid can’t go through and here the story becomes a tear jerker:

If you travel enough, you’ve seen it all — and possibly some of the awful things that can happen while traveling will have actually happened to you. But nothing I’ve read about or experienced comes close to what Monica Emmerson experienced while at Reagan National Airport on June 11th while traveling with her 19-month-old toddler. This isn’t one of those Catch-22 bureaucratic snafus; this isn’t about rules being applied to the letter. This story is mostly about what can happen simply because the authorities in charge decide that they’re going to exercise their authority because they can, regardless of whether it’s legal or right or makes any sense at all.

And if this can happen to a former law enforcement officer with the United States Secret Service, it can happen to anyone.

The incident started when Monica, who left the Secret Service to raise a family, was stopped while going through airport security because there was water in her son’s sippy cup. The sippy cup was seized by TSA. Monica wanted the cup back because the sippy cup was the only way her son would drink — and it was a long flight between Washington, DC and Reno, Nevada where she was going for a family reunion. If you’ve ever had a toddler you understand about sippy cups.

So she was willing to spill the water out. Drink the water. Anything — all that she wanted was to be able to have a cup that her 19-month-old toddler could drink from.

Here’s what happened in Monica’s words:

"I demanded to speak to a TSA [Transportation Security Administration] supervisor who asked me if the water in the sippy cup was ‘nursery water or other bottled water.’ I explained that the sippy cup water was filtered tap water. The sippy cup was seized as my son was pointing and crying for his cup. I asked if I could drink the water to get the cup back, and was advised that I would have to leave security and come back through with an empty cup in order to retain the cup. As I was escorted out of security by TSA and a police officer, I unscrewed the cup to drink the water, which accidentally spilled because I was so upset with the situation.

"At this point, I was detained against my will by the police officer and threatened to be arrested for endangering other passengers with the spilled 3 to 4 ounces of water. I was ordered to clean the water, so I got on my hands and knees while my son sat in his stroller with no shoes on since they were also screened and I had no time to put them back on his feet. I asked to call back my fiancé, who I could still see from afar, waiting for us to clear security, to watch my son while I was being detained, and the officer threatened to arrest me if I moved. So I yelled past security to get the attention of my fiancé.

"I was ordered to apologize for the spilled water, and again threatened with arrest. I was threatened several times with arrest while detained, and while three other police officers were called to the scene of the mother with the 19 month old. A total of four police officers and three TSA officers reported to the scene where I was being held against my will. I was also told that I should not disrespect the officer and could be arrested for this too. I apologized to the officer and she continued to detain me despite me telling her that I would miss my flight. The officer advised me that I should have thought about this before I ‘intentionally spilled the water!’"

Monica said that the incident ended this way: "I missed my flight, needless to say after being detained for over 40 minutes. After the officer was done humiliating me, I was advised that I could go through the security check point in an attempt to catch my flight. The officer insisted that my son and I be rescreened despite us both being detained and under her control the entire time."

Poor lady right? Patterico notes this story is breaking like wildfire across the internet with calls of injustice and blah blah blah. 

Well, the TSA released the video of the incident and this Secret Service agent is shown DELIBERATELY spilling the water out on the floor as the TSA agent has his back to her.  So she lied.

So after seeing this which version do you believe?   Here is the TSA version:

A female passenger traveling with a child in a stroller had entered the checkpoint with a 16 ounce bottle of Deer Park water and a plastic children’s drink cup with approx. 6 to 8 ounces of fluid inside.  TSO asked the female if the children’s cup had formula or juice in it and she stated no. TSO gave the female her options of placing the 16 oz. Deer Park water in her check baggage or have TSA dispose of the bottle and he informed the passenger that the child’s container was too big and would have to be poured out. TSO stated the female passenger became upset and stated she was an officer and flasher her Secret Service badge and credentials and said that she should be exempt from all this and this was a stupid policy and this whole thing was XXXX.

TSO took the female to the exit lane with the stroller and her bag. When she got past the exit lane podium she opened the child’s drink container and held her arm our and poured the contents (approx. 6 to 8 ounces) on the floor. MWAA Officer was manning the exit lane at the time and observed the entire scene and approached the female passenger after observing this and stopped her when she tried to re-enter the sterile area after trying to come back through after spilling the fluids on the floor. The female passenger again flashed her badge and credentials and told the WMAA office “Do you know who I am?” An argument then ensued between the officer and the passenger over whether spilling of the fluid was intentional or accidental. Office XXXX asked the passenger to clean up the spill and she did. The female passenger then requested to speak to Officer XXXX supervisor and several WMAA officers responded including MWAA Major. After a short discussion between MWAA and and the passenger she was cleared to re-enter the screening checkpoint which she did by going through lane five and after re-submitting her bag and articles for x-ray screening she proceeded to her gate.

Why in the world does this lady think she is exempted from the security all of us have to go through.  Hell, I’m a cop and don’t try to badge the security to get special treatment…it’s freakin ludicrous.  But she has the gall to feel that she is above all this.  Then she tries to get sympathy through the blogosphere.


Patterico believes she was wrong but should not have been forced to miss her flight.  I disagree.  Based on the evidence so far we can fairly assume the TSA’s version of events and based on her conduct she absolutely should have been forced to go through security again.  If she missed her flight due to this then so be it.  It’s up to passengers to get to the airport with plenty of time to spare, she didn’t…so boo hoo.

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