TSA criticized for treatment of mute passenger

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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is facing criticism for allegedly denying boarding to a mute passenger at the Los Angeles International Airport.

The passenger was a woman who suffered a stroke that left her unable to speak. She was attempting to board a flight to Phoenix using an expired driver’s license, according to a report in the New York Post.

TSA officials denied the passenger access to her flight, forcing her to take an eight-hour bus ride to reach her destination.

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A TSA official who has knowledge of the situation told The Hill on Thursday that the decision to deny the passenger's boarding was made because her identification was not valid, not because she was mute.

The agency said in a statement released to the media that it has a help line called TSA Cares that is designed for passengers to call ahead when they are traveling with someone who has disabilities or medical conditions that require extra attention.

“Travelers may call TSA Cares prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint,” the agency said in a statement.

Lawmakers in both parties have often criticized the TSA for its airport security practices. Republicans in the House have sought in recent years to privatize airport security, but the agency has pushed back by saying such a move would return airport security to pre-Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack levels.