Federal Agent Roughed Up By TSA

January 5, 2010

in Airport Stories

This is more a combination security nightmare and flight dream for a change; hope that’s okay. I am a Staff Sergeant (E-5) in the USAF. I was assigned to embassy detail in Iraq before the great new state of the art embassy was completed. I was three days from flying home and the diplomatic convoy I was running coverage for came under ambush. The attack was repelled but in the process I was hit multiple times in the chest; thank God for that new Dragon Skin body armor! I was also hit in the left shoulder through and through and grazed across the right side of my face.

Anyway my flight is understandably delayed and a week later when I’m set to fly home I take a government charter jet from Iraq to Ramstein AB, Germany and then from Frankfurt to D.C. on Lufthansa. Anyway I go to check in at Frankfurt and I’ll admit that I looked like hell, bruised, battered, rather scary looking I’m sure. I am going through security and the Germans were running GSG-9 troops at their security checkpoints due to a terror alert. Those are German Special Ops troops. They let me pass no problem. I get on the plane and I’m upgraded to First Class because it turns out while having a drink at the terminal lounge I was talking to a guy who asked what happened to my face; he turned out to be Lufthansa’s Frankfurt Airport head of security and a former spec ops guy. That was great.

Then I get to Dulles however. I have to spend the night and the next day I’m back at security and I’m pulled out of line for a flight that I’m already running late for and pinned against the wall as my bags are searched. When they find my sidearm on my person (which by the way as an AF Office of Special Investigations agent returning from Iraq I was authorized to carry), without asking me for or allowing me to retrieve my creds, I was thrown down in front of everyone and roughly handcuffed and dragged off at gunpoint. This was of course resolved when I called the Pentagon across the river for instructions.

These morons at security with TSA said that I looked suspicious and was acting like I was hiding something because I was limping and was pushing people away who got too close to my front. HEEELLLIOOOO I’d been shot several times in the chest. Even with a vest on anyone who’s ever had the experience of being shot vest or no vest you’re black and blue for a month. Then they got so excited when the found my gun they never finished searching me or my bags… idiots! They never even checked my wallet.

The first inkling they had that I was a Federal Agent and that they had screwed up royally was when the Deputy Director of OSI showed up from Andrews AFB and wanted to know why the TSA had wrongfully detained and roughed up a Federal Agent. Needless to say everyone involved lost their jobs as did the shift supervisor that day, but watch out as there are more idiots out there so don’t think you’re safe. If they forgot to properly search me and my bags, who else are they going to forget to search?

Signed- SA Really Pissed Off
Staff Sergeant, USAF
Office of Special Investigations

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Real Agent January 5, 2010 at 5:58 pm

I find the above story full interesting – He flew in from Germany to Dulles, waiting for a connecting flight. Armed on a commercial international flight? OSI would not be doing that, even Federal Air Marshals and USSS Agents have to jump through hoops to do that. Drinking at the terminal lounge? Not while armed as an OSI agent. TSA handcuffed him at gunpoint? TSA has neither handcuffs or guns, except for the rare Air Marshal or Special Agent, who would not be hanging out at the checkpoint. It had to have been Dulles Airport Police. Mistake uniformed police officers for TSA security officers? Not anyone who is a real, gun carrying federal agent, even if you are enlisted OSI. Armed in the normal security line? All armed agents know they do not use the normal entrance. Didn't finish screening him after finding the gun? Screening's over when you find a gun; either they are going to jail, or if they are an armed LEO, then there will be no reason to search, they already know you are armed. I think the above writer has a vivid imagination and is just exaggerating or completely making this up.


david January 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm

and i think real agent is a jerk and a coward….no reason to make that up


Demotage January 5, 2010 at 7:11 pm

Why the ad hominem attack, David? Real officer makes some good points. Answering a reasoned argument with name calling, generally means that you have nothing intelligent to say in return. I'd enjoy hearing the OPs response, but your's adds nothing.

I note also that the Pentagon and Dulles are on the same side of the river and not particularly close to each other. It's also in Virginia, no DC. National Airport is almost directly across the Potomac from the Pentagon, but they don't take international flights.

Thank you to all the brave men and women who defend our country.


BS January 6, 2010 at 2:15 am

This guys story has more holes than swiss cheese. First, gov't charter flights DO NOT fly out of Baghdad. Second, if he had been shot in the shoulder only a week earlier he would have most likely been medevac'd immediately. Third, Ramstein AB is now where near Frankfurt, Germany – in fact, it is nearly 100 miles away and gov't charters do not stop at Ramstein they stop at either Leipzig, Germany or Shannon, Ireland. And if you are on a gov't charter out of Iraq or Kuwait than you are going all the way back to the states on that plane (usually Atlanta or Dallas) and then on to your final destination from there. Fourth, NO active duty military are allowed to travel commercially with their weapons on their person. And they are especially not allowed to consume alcohol even if they have their weapon in their checked baggage. And lastly, if this joker is such a high powered "federal agent" what is he doing providing routine security on a convoy in Baghdad? This guy is a wanna be who needs to get his facts straight before he submits a lie.


Firedawg28 January 22, 2012 at 9:07 am

Actually charter flights do fly into Ramstein AB, I flew into Ramstein on Omni-Air, along with Aviano and Incirlik.


Jane January 6, 2010 at 6:17 am

Have any of you considered that maybe this is the actual truth? That the procedures are different elsewhere in the world? So Staff Sergeant doesn't know his geography–it's been proven Americans are ridiculously dumb at geography–remember Miss South Carolina at the Miss Teen USA Pageant?

And there is such a thing as doing other jobs than your briefed description; it's called following orders and I think his story makes perfect sense. Of course, I don't have the expert opinion that BS and Real Agent seem to have–why do you call his story BS? Have you been through the exact same thing Staff Sergeant has? Are you in fact his secret identity?

Puh-fricking-lease. You should consider the fact that no two flying experiences for any one person are exactly the same, as this blog frequently asserts–see the debate about children on flights.


Increasedosologist March 9, 2010 at 11:05 am

On the side note Jane, your husband is telling you absolute 100% truth when he says he doesn't have a girlfriend.


Cindy January 6, 2010 at 10:09 am

Sorry about the rough treatment. However, in light of the fact that CIA agents were blown to bits by a double agent, I am grateful for the treatment.


A&P Mechanic January 6, 2010 at 11:20 am

Sorry, I agree with BS and Real Agent. For one thing, the fact that this did not make National News (all breaches, real and percieved end up on the news these days).

Second, OSI does not provide security. They investigate. Third, as pointed out, he would not have been allowed to fly with his weapon on his person. On the charter flight, yes (unloaded, ammo stored elsewhere), but he would not have gone through Frankfurt or Dulles. Leipzig, yes. Bangor, Maine; yes. And from Bangor onward.

Too many holes, too many references to SpecOps, too much alcohol. (David is probably the OP and was offended someone disagreed)

(Former USAF and currently a mechanic for one of the very few airlines that contracts with AMC)


Wodoggie January 7, 2010 at 8:02 am

I agree with previous posters. This story is false. My spouse is a federal agent and goes through a different security checkpoint procedure. The TSA agents that check him all know he has a weapon before he goes through security. If my hubby doesn't follow the correct the correct procedures he's going to be the one in trouble. This story sucks


dmb January 29, 2010 at 8:00 am

I seriously doubt everyone was fired…Too far……Just saying.


TSA Nightmare March 8, 2010 at 5:28 pm

Seems like there are more and more TSA nightmare stories everyday. Your story really highlights the problem, low paid poorly trained individuals manning the posts in Dulles vs highly trained professionals in Germany. I work for a private corrections company and they hire individuals at 7 bucks an hour to watch inmates so I know about incompetence in security positions.


Fed April 19, 2010 at 8:53 am

Wow! that is 1 great story told. unfortunatley its BS. Real Agent said it all, pretty much to the "T" If you are a Fed and you are flying armed, you dont go through TSA, you go through a different entrance and TSA already knows about it. oh yeah TSA carrying weapons??? ha yeah right, they're main objective is to prevent any terrorist attempt on an aircraft by searching through luggage and noticing any anomalies on their X-Ray screens. No federal agency will make a dumb mistake like sending an armed Fed through TSA security. come on america wake up!


Officer Doe September 1, 2010 at 10:43 pm

This story is a complete mess.

First of all every armed LEO know that you never go through general boarding, you go through the specifically designed "exit" lane and you are verified by your agency. Second, TSA does not carry, train with, use or draw any authority (even the patriot act) from any law to detain or threaten a passenger. Creds are kept on a person at all times. (many times while going through the metal detector they will not seperate or lose eye contact with their badge and bags. This story is bogus, This person and author is someone that is living in an apartment working for Kinkos part time. That is no agent. No agent reveals Sensitive or classified information such as this as well. So thumbs down sir thumbs down


Retired OSI September 13, 2010 at 11:01 am

The orioginal post, as pointed out by several people already, is complete BS. I am a retired OSI agent- officer type. Before my retirement, as an additionaly duy, I was the HQs AFOSI Weapons Program Manager. One of my responsibilites was insuring agents received mandatory FAA training on carrying weapons aboard aircraft- there are actually procedures for doing so. This "so-called" agent did not seem to know or follow any of them.

Had he had a bullet wound to his shoulder, he would not have been traveling armed because he would have been on leave- his assigbned weapon would have been turned in.

He stated the "Deputy Director" of OSI showed up at the airport – After he called the Pentagon across the river. Dulles is a long way from the Pentagon- Reagan national is across the river. The AFOSI deputy COMMANDER, would not have been at the Pentagon, because his/her office is at Andrews AFB in Maryland. I don't know who this alleged agent would have called at the Pentagon. But since OSI does not have a Deputy Director, it surely wouldn't have been them. If anyone respinded to the airport it would have been the detachment commander responsible for Northern Virginia (Bolling AFB)

AFOSI does more than investigations- they actually provide protection details to dignitaries- I know because I led many as the detail leader. So for those that doubted AFOSI's protectiion mission let me set the record staright. AFOSI lost three agents in Iraq performing such a mission.

Also, he could very well have flown from Frankfurt A.M. to dulles aboard a commercial aricraft, but because US government employees are required by law to fly US flag carriers, it most likely was not Lufthansa. And the local head of security for Lufthansa would not have been sitting at the airport bar.

One more thing, AFOSI enlisted agents generall are staff sergeants at the lowest rank.

TSA screeners are not law enforcemnet officers and do not carry guns or handcuffs. Local police provide the firepower at the airports. He would not have been pukled out of line prior to screening- which would have revealed his firearm. If this were a true story, he would not have been in line at all but would have entered through the exit with the proper paperwork.

Too much BS to be true.


R Gettings June 17, 2011 at 5:25 pm

I agree completely. I'm retired OSI as well (IGQ) and this story is so full of nonsense


Agentl074 December 25, 2010 at 7:11 am

While I was not an OSI Agent, I was USAF Security Forces. I can tell you that 1. yes there are Senior Airman OSI Agents [not many due to the window/reenlistment], NCO's, Commissioned Officers—as well as civilian agents. The great thing about OSI is that YOU DO NOT POST YOUR RANK! There is a reason why rank is not used in OSI…. Rank is only known within the OSI detachment. An OSI Agent is called OSI Agent… they do not sign their rank with their name… it is simply Special Agent, AFOSI. That's it.

This story appears to be shot up like an old refrigerator at the hillbilly gun range on Christmas.


Karl December 25, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Sounds like another fabricated story by infamous "Paul"


Jason August 29, 2011 at 9:50 pm

Hey, I thought that Paul was a cool dude!


ArmyEM-PEE April 23, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Man the guys here have specialty knowledge about this subject from the military and federal side of this so nothing I have to say is needed. I appreciate when guys atand up and call bs on slanderous stories like this. But just about everything he said was false and he should be made to explain himself. And for all you guys, I'm an Army MP (rather young and therefore not much in rank or status but I try) but TSA is where I got my start and i hate it when slander like this pops up. This guy created a rather elaborate story just to impress people and trash the TSA. This is sad.


Jenner April 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Thanks for your service, Army Em-Pee. I agree that there are a lot of falsehoods disseminated about security. If it wasn't for them, we'd have another 911. Kudos for them. However, keep in mind that the first thing lost in war is truth. We have to be discriminating about the information that we receive from both sides.


US Firefighter August 29, 2011 at 2:52 pm

Air Force recalls Dragon Skin body armor, April 24, 2006 after failing test (just saying here is the proof of the BS factor). To all those that serve God Bless, no matter your rank or job you serve us and make us proud as a nation. To those telling stories for entertainment, or attention, or you momma didn't hold you enough when you were little-don't take away from those that have given so much for so little.


Anthony Betz February 15, 2013 at 10:40 am

First of all, he is not a "Federal Agent", he is (allegedly) an OSI investigator. He would not be authorized to carry a weaon on-board a commercial flight. OSI having embassy duty for security purposes sounds totally wrong, as does convoy escort duty. This story is an embarrassment to the military investigative community.Drinking and carrying a firearm? That alone would be enough to believe that none of his story is true. Total lie.


Jay November 23, 2014 at 2:50 am

I am a retired OSI agent who has flown armed on numerous occasions. OSI special agents are federal agents, meaning that we have federal jurisdiction compared to a police detective who may have the title of special agent but is not a federal agent because his jurisdiction is within his city. Special Agent generally denotes someone who is authorized to conduct criminal investigations. They could be local, county, state or federal. I'm not sure what the hang up is about federal agent vs investigator. We're all investigators; there are criminal, fraud, narcotics, counterintelligence and terrorism investigators, all of whom are special agents with federal investigative authority.


David Catoe July 23, 2013 at 10:32 pm

I'm not sure I believe the story either – but I will say that AFOSI Special Agents ARE allowed to carry weapons onboard any type of civilian or military aircraft if they are in the performance of their duties. If an agent was simply flying back to the U.S. – most agents would not fly with their gun as there would be no reason to. If they are in the performance of their duties, their badge and credentials are shown to the airport authority upon entry to the airport and the pilot is notified there is an armed agent on board – and they are allowed to board the aircraft with their weapon. That part is the only part of this story I find plausible. Just thought I would throw that piece into the mix since this was such an interesting story with lots of comments.


AgentSnuffalumpagus September 4, 2013 at 11:46 pm

1. I carry my gun with me everywhere I go. The regs have changed in the passed few years and its completely legal.
2. The people that need to know I have a gun on an airplane and in an airport know.
3. You don't drink while armed. AFOSII 101
4. You don't have a gun on you if you we're seriously injured because you are not fit to carry a weapon. You will be disarmed and you weapons shipped back to your respective DET or Squadron as applicable by international laws.
5. AFOSI Agents are Federally Credentialed Agents. We're an MCIO… Look it up.
6. If this guy was important enough to have any Deputy Director help him out, he wouldn't have been in this (deceptive) situation to start with.
7. We're too good to have dumb things like this happen to us.


dummies October 22, 2013 at 2:58 pm

You're all wrong, DCA and the Pentagon are on the same side of the river! About 2 miles away from each other on Rt.110 Across the river is DC!


RetAgent June 18, 2014 at 8:00 am

Fact: OSI did provide "protective services" for the Embassy (CPA) in Iraq, along with DSS, Army CID and Blackwater. I'm retired OSI and performed that mission while deployed.
Fact: Military can fly Lufthansa from GE to US (I've done it); however Lufthansa won't transport weapons anymore.
Fact: All the other details offered by the OP are highly unlikely given OSI's training/policies as well as FAA travel regulations.
*Entertaining story though.


Jay November 23, 2014 at 2:31 am

I am a retired OSI agent and a former TSA compliance inspector. During my time as an OSI agent I flew armed on numerous occasions and never had problems like our storyteller. Why? Because like many have already stated, there are procedures already in place for law enforcement officers who have a need to fly armed. OSI has mandatory training that all agents do annually to refresh them on the requirements of flying while armed. As already mentioned, you will never enter the secured area of the airport through traditional means; that would let everyone know that you're armed. Funny thing is, some cops have tried to process through the checkpoint and take flights with a gun strapped to their ankle or in a carry-on bag. This lets you know right away that the individual isn't authorized to fly. Even in these situations, no one gets thrown to the ground; an airport cop is at each checkpoint at Salt Lake City Airport and they are immediately notified when anything illegal is found at the checkpoint. They're not going to jump you unless you do something to prompt it. If your gun is in your bag, they're going to signal the cop before they let it out of the X-ray machine. In my job as a TSA compliance inspector, one of my jobs was to write up these incidents and recommend a fine based on the applicable Code of Federal Regulations. If I remember correctly, most cops got a warning the first time. Also, checkpoint screeners are not armed, nor are compliance inspectors. Federal Air Marshals are the only TSA employees that I know of who are armed. Unlike many on this thread, I don't claim to know everything, but I can share from my experiences.

When I flew to Kuwait, I was on a KC-10 and I flew armed. On the way back, I don't remember what I flew on, but I believe it was a KC-135 and I flew to Germany. When I checked in for my flight to the U.S., I showed my creeds and told them I was flying armed. The airline representative asked me where my gun was and I told her it was in my fanny pack. She said I couldn't fly armed and that I had to put it in a locked gun case inside my locked luggage. I called the local OSI Det who hooked me up with some Army folks who let me use one of their pistol cases. I locked that inside my bag and away I went. Once back in the states, I was carrying armed again.

Folks, I understand that you don't know what to believe if you're not on the inside but I can assure you that this guy isn't just stretching the truth, he is an all out liar. I worked for TSA and I saw plenty of idiotic things there, just as I've seen in other jobs. This just didn't happen.


Top Secret Agent=TSA June 3, 2015 at 6:52 pm

You guys are all wrong! If this guy said it happened then it happened…
Yes TSA Federal Officers do have guns and handcuffs you just cant see it. It's on their invisible duty belt.
I always say you can't make up the stuff that happens but this guy sure did. If you don't like DHS TSA then just say so but do not come up with a story that just could never happen not even in the movies… Please post your apology ASAP… Its just a shame you aren't in front of a camera so we could see who you really are and then laugh our ass' off.
Stick to little white lies like how much you can eat at a buffet or how much you can lift in the gym. But please learn not to slander an agency or anyone that is ensuring our family travels safely to and from their destination.

On another note…TSA officers should get BP vests or Knife Proof vests since one got shot in LAX and the other almost decapitated in Louisiana.
And if people were to actually read on what to do when they are at a TSA checkpoint I am sure they would see how fast and easily they would get through it. Reading is fundamental.

A former secret spy for my own made up agency that only I know about.
My rank is above all but below the PROTUS'
I don't deal with terrorism, drug lords, chemical weapons, etc. I deal with ID 10 T's (IDIOTS) like the guy that made up the above story.


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