Florida breast cancer patient outraged by TSA treatment

Woman posts video on Facebook of interaction with TSA

By Paradise Afshar - Digital Editor, Amy Viteri - Investigative Reporter

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. - Denise Albert posted a video of herself Monday sitting on a bench at Los Angeles International Airport, trying not to allow her bare feet to touch the floor.

Albert, co-founder of the media company The Moms, has breast cancer. She wears a wig, has a port in her chest and cannot walk without her feet covered, due to sores from her treatment.

The Facebook video, and its caption, detail Albert's experience Sunday night at LAX with Transportation Security Administration agents, whom she claims were rough with her.

"I have never been so humiliated or felt more violated in my life," she wrote. "I went through the scanning machine at the airport without incident. I had already told them about my metal port and my medical cream,which I removed from my bag for them to see and test as I have done on prior flights. I don't know what was different this time but TSA agents aggressively attempted to do a body cavity search in public. I was (TSA) Precheck and once through the scanner they asked me to take off my shoes."

It should be noted that those with TSA Precheck are not required to remove shoes while going through security. However, shoes could go under additional screenings if needed. 

Albert told the agents that she didn't have socks on,  and had to sit down during the shoe inspection due to her treatment. 

They allowed that.  

Albert was offered a room during the search, but she said she couldn't walk to it because she wasn't permitted to wear her boots. 

 "After at least 20 minutes of sitting there because they were debating how to proceed, I told them my feet were freezing. Also a side effect from chemo. They refused to help me. The woman reached behind me and (forcibly) and aggressively put her hands down my jeans in the back," Albert wrote.  

She said pressure was used to search her body. 

"They then started to tell me they would apply pressure from head to toe and I got very upset because I wear a wig. I didn't want them to touch it, move it, or ruin it," Albert wrote. "So I ripped it off for them to pat my head without damaging my wig (that I paid for and insurance didn't cover!)"

During a phone interview with Local 10 News, Albert said the agent "went right in between my legs, smirk on her face the whole time." 

When the TSA agent attempts to search Albert's chest, Albert turns to her in the video and says firmly, "You can't touch me there."

"What's the issue?" another agent said.

"I have breast cancer. I had a lumpectomy. I have a port in me. You can't touch me there," Albert said. 

The agent then told Albert that touching is part of the procedure and that the agent has to "clear the area" in order for her to clear security.

Albert, who is the daughter of sportscaster Marv Albert,  wrote that a supervisor later arrived and she was taken into a private room for a pat down.

"Even though all of my bags (went) through X-rays without incident as well, they opened my bags, removed everything and another TSA agent joked about all of the eyelashes I had," Albert said. "I told her, 'It's because I don't have real ones from my cancer treatment.' I would have thought at that point, the humiliation would have ended."

Albert wrote that she hopes no one has to "experience this." 

"I was crying," Albert told Local 10 News. "I was visibly shaken up. I couldn't help it. I was in shock. I was humiliated." 

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