TSA forced dying woman to strip in public

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, October 10, 2012 9:24 EDT
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Michelle Dunaj. Photo: Screenshot via KOMO 4 News in Seattle.
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A woman who’s dying of leukemia says that agents with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle forced her to lift up her shirt in front of a crowd so they could check underneath her bandages.

The TSA told KOMO 4 News in Seattle that they did nothing wrong, insisting: “At no point did a TSA officer open the passenger’s medically necessary liquids and the passenger was never asked to remove or pull off any bandages.”

That’s not how Michelle Dunaj remembers it. She was on her way to Hawaii to visit relatives, likely for the last time, when agents confronted her about a medically sealed bag of saline solution.

Dunaj claims that agents opened the bag and contaminated it, then asked her to lift her shirt to check under her bandages for any possible security threats. The TSA admitted that at least part of the confrontation was captured on security cameras, but the footage was not released.

Even though she asked for privacy, Dunaj says she didn’t get it: ”They just said that it was fine; the location we were at was fine,” she told KOMO 4 News. “…I didn’t feel that it was fine, because everybody was looking at me.”

Dunaj said that an agent became curious after seeing tubes that connect to her torso due to her medical condition. She said the agent wanted to see beneath her shirt, and became insistent when Dunaj hesitated.

“My issue is: It was in front of everyone, and everyone was looking at me like I was a criminal or like I was doing something wrong,” she told The Associated Press. “It shouldn’t have been in front of everyone.”

This video is from KOMO 4 News in Seattle, broadcast Tuesday, October 9, 2012.


Photo: Screenshot via KOMO 4 News in Seattle.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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