Airport security forced 82-year-old to reveal prosthesis

Breast cancer survivor felt “humiliated”

An 82-year-old woman from B.C. was in tears after an airport official in Calgary made her reveal her fake breast, which she had made after she lost one to breast cancer. An airport scanner detected Elizabeth Strecker’s gel prosthesis and an agent forced to lift her arm for a pat down, which caused her physical pain. The incident also caused Strecker emotional pain and embarrassment, she says. She is seeking an official apology. Transport minister Chuck Strahl said that airport security must treat travelers with respect.

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Airport security forced 82-year-old to reveal prosthesis

  1. Hiding explosives in shoes and underwear coupled with the inability of airport security to spot young travelers disguised as the elderly will lead to the inevitable conclusion that some "elderly" are really hiding plastique in novel places. Remember the good old days when folks dressed up to fly, there were smoking sections on board and nail clippers could be used with impunity while at 30,000 ft…

    • Wardair……sigh

      • I think the Israeli airline has the right of it. They rely more on psychological screening. They watch to see which passengers appear nervous and uncomfortable. They also ask passengers a lot of questions about where they are going and who they are going to see. That is how they learned that an Irish woman was going to meet her Arab boyfriend and was carrying a package to him in her luggage that he had not had room for when he had travelled on an earlier flight (it was a bomb). We need to learn from the experts. Patting down octogenerians sounds like a dubious plan for ensuring safety in the skies.

        • Also Sensitivity Training can go a long way when dealing with Individuals………..

        • we should be following what works, not these paranoid schizophrenic security protocols. step one, WATCH WHO IS ACTUALLY COMING INTO THE AIRPORT.

  2. The whole thing would have been avoided if she had honestly answered the question, Have you any liquid or gel. She said no, while it could be seen on the scanner. She lied because she was embarrassed by her fake breast. The reason does not matter, a lie to a security official is still a lie. She probably will get her undeserved apology because of her age and public relations, not because anything wrong occurred.

    • While it could be seen on the scanner: Now would have been the appropriate time to use some of that basic training you thought was useless and boring when you were in Staff College. If indeed her Prosthesis could be seen on the Scanner, and taking her age into consideration and by simply engaging the woman in a dialogue about what was detetected, this situation probably could have been avoided. I would like to know if she flew into Calgary from B.C….If so, she had to go through security before this, and never encountered a problem…so why now ? Possibly the Officer that frisked her needs a refresher course…..

    • So a woman her age is supposed to know that her prosthetic is a forbidden liquid or a gel? I think most of us assume they mean bottles or jars. I hope to God you're not working in the field with that attitude.

    • You sound as if you are even less intelligent than our so called security personnel !

    • She did answer the question.
      What she said was that her prothesis never crossed her mind. She also feels that the world does not need to know about it.

  3. How is an old granny who isn't um a certain particular profile going to blow up a plane anyway?
    I hope this woman never flies again and complains to all the right airline security headquarters.
    This entire security thing is ridiculous beyond words. One person in another forum said
    "How about a plane for the rest of us who would prefer NOT to be searched and take our
    risks head on but at least NO scans & NO pat-downs?" Really, not such a bad idea.
    Or go for the Israeli approaches of security measures.

  4. Come, come, now folks.. service like this is why we have to pay the airport tax.. err.. user fee.

  5. That is the thing with security. To be effective, rules have to be applied evenly across the board. Can you do that while staying civilized? Of course you can. But at the end you are dealing with someone who has very strict rules to follow.

    During the first years in Irak, soldiers used to focus on cars with single occupants for security checks. It did not take long for the suicide bombers to to figure that one out and to get a couple of kids to sit on the back seat of their cars, thus being able to go through at least one level of security before blowing up their cars.

    • Are the rules evenly applied. I am not so sure. How can a young Muslim travel to the States with no luggage and get through yet they hassle the you-know-what out of an old lady. I think the left wingnuts who have taken over our society target caucasisns to a far greater degree to prove they are not racist. Phoney you-know-whats if the world ever saw any. Personally I will not fly again until and if this lunacy stops. I could care less if every airline goes under. I agree with whoever said set up a plane for the passengers decide who and who not to frisk and take our chances. Far better than power hungry bottom feeders on the taxpayers dime.

  6. I'm waiting for them to check of an ostomy bag.

    • @ Selena… Already been done..Google, ""Thomas Sawyers bladder bag broken "" Sad and avoidable….

    • Or some old guy with fake testicles?

  7. It is ridiculous.
    All that hassle and costly security systems could be avoided if airport services would stop apologetic
    political correctness and start looking for threat where it is really coming from. Israeli services got it right.

    Potential terrorists are muslims: Pakistanis, Afghans, Arabs, Somalians, etc…
    I don't remember when last time 90year old nun from Sweden or 10 year old child did suicide bombing or kidnapped airplane.
    Airport services should use psychological questions and they should look straight to the traveler eyes!

    • they are until they figure that one out to and start sending white 40 year old women. maybe a kid tagging along to look convincing. as monstrous as these people are, it is important to remember they have human level intelligence, and must be treated as such. the fact is, as soon as they get into the airport it is already too late.

    • Firstly, Muslims can be white. Ever hear of Bosnia (a great recruiting ground if policymakers listen to you)? Or Adam Pearlman ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adam_Yahiye_Gadahn )? Or for that matter, how different do say, Muslims from Pakistan look from any given Hindu from Indian?

      Secondly, suicide bombers come in all ages. There are plenty of children, and certainly some old women ( http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2006/nov/24/israe… ). That is assuming what looks like an old person to airport security isn't just a young person with an unconvincing mask.

      Airport security isn't perfect, and it sounds like they were insensitive in the way they addressed this situation. However, I'm sure they'd be much happy with the story "airport security are jerks" than "airport security lets woman with fake breast full of C-4 on plane."

    • I do not know how effective your suggestions would be. I do know that if anyone in the security field tried to implement them, they would be fired before the first coffee break.

    • The problem with "profiling" is that sometimes innocent people might be carrying an explosive and not know it – like the Irish woman I told you about in my earlier blog. She does not fit the profile but if you ask her some questions about herself, you find the link to terrorism. Another thing the Israelis have are bomb-proof boxes that hold all the luggage in the belly of the plane. Another very good idea.

  8. How is it that Canadian authorities have capitulated to the American TSA system without even a wrinkle of protest? Disgusting.

    Scientists are still uncertain about the safety of these scanners. Witness the explosion of the idea that these scanners can "tear apart DNA" based on this Los Alamos National Laboratory study: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2010PhLA..374.1214A

  9. Welcome to Stephen Harper's new Canada, full of fear and cowardice. Look out, there are terrorists under your bed! Look out, there are unreported crimes all over Canada and we must waste taxpayers money on building huge new prisons so we can arrest people for growing cucmbers in their basement!

    Look out, scary terrorists! http://drdawgsblawg.ca/2011/01/jihad-follies.shtm

    Rightwingers are cowards.

    • Thank God for National Newswatch for posting Dawg's post. None of the media seem to have dug into this. They're too busy with election speculation.

    • Those who take their security lightly usually do not live long enough to regret it.

      The PM has nothing to do with this and you know it. This is the way it is going to be for the foreseeable future no matter who is in the PMO. Unless, of course, you think that the Toronto 18 were just a joke. In that case, no need for nothing, all is good and all security issues can be solved by smoking a big fat one.

        • Listen, you are free to think what you want. This is a free country after all. No one benefits from security issues. It is costing us gazillions and is keeping our economy on the slow path.

          Have a good terrorist-free Sunday night.

    • Once again, you are so on topic. This has nothing to do with the PM, but with political correctness. As for your cowards remark, most people who join the army and fight are right wingers.

      • When terrorists set off bombs in Spain, the next day many thousands of Spaniards were out on the streets showing that they would not be cowed. After 9/11, Americans (and rightwing Canadians), just sat in front of their TVs demanding that someone else go drop a bomb on somebody somewhere else. Dropping bombs on people who do not have the weapons to harm your airplane is not a particularly courageous thing to do.

        Most people who join the army are not rightwingers, though some might be conservatives.

        • You do realize that the US did react to 9/11. They did not ask anyone to take their place, so I'm not sure what you are trying to argue when you say the "Americans (and rightwing Canadians), just sat in front of their TVs demanding that someone else go drop a bomb on somebody somewhere else".

          Not courageous? Tell that to the families of the hundreds of soldiers that have died since 9/11.

          • How about all those citizens who did not join the armed forces. American soldiers have had to do multiple terms of duty in Afghanistan and in the illegal Iraq war, so clearly they need new recruits.

          • You are grasping at straws.

  10. I find it incredible that anyone would turn this into a Canadian political issue. The tighter security rules have been adopted as a result of demands made by the US. If planes that originate in Canada want to fly across their airspace, Canada has no choice but to comply with their requirement for strict security screening prior to plane boarding. Anyone who thinks that a Liberal, NDP or Green Party govt would change the rules and throw out the tight screening is truely delusional. I will say that once up in the air, Westjet pilots leave the cockpit on a regular basis. Apparently, they didn't get Stephen Harper's email that they should be "full of fear and cowardice". Maybe you can forward it them, Holly Stick.

    • And we should suck up to American paranoia for what reason exactly?

      • Holly it is just the way of the world.

      • Presumably you'd want to travel there for a myriad of reasons, to work, to vacation, to visit friends and relatives, etc. Besides that, it's not like Canada's skies have been free from terrorist caused airborne disasters.

        In addition Harper has about as much to do with this story as I do. Which is to say, pretty much nothing at all.

  11. Hi,

    Am wondering about a factor that may have some meaning to Elizabeth Strecker's story.

    We have all heard the horror story at the Calgary airport but there is no mention of the apparent lack of security screening when she left BC ;I'm assuming,by air. If Calgary's screening is called standard, then by logic ; BC's is less than standard because of what that Airport's security did not find ;her gel-filled prosthesis .

    If she did travel by Air from BC and the same screening process is suppose to take place across Canada ,then why was there this issue in Calgary if there was no issue in BC ?

    If there is to be applied, the same standard of security across Canada and to the high degree that Calgary applied; then why is it we are not hearing about the lax security standards that did not find Ms Strecker's gel-filled prosthesis on her trip from BC to Calgary ?
    The two faces of Government ?
    Either way there is a security issue and no CSA Standards of applied security for the traveling public; just government BS if and when they maintain that both airports have the same security standards .
    Thanks for helping this lady .

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