After removing prosthetic breast, flight attendant says TSA goes - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

After removing prosthetic breast, flight attendant says TSA goes "too far".

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Cathy Bossi Cathy Bossi

By Molly Grantham - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  Since our first story with a Charlotte-area flight attendant forced to show her prosthetic breast during a pat-down, the cancer survivor says she has been bombarded with media requests and phone messages from strangers around the country.

"The only reason I'm bringing this up," says Cathy Bossi, "is that I do believe the government is getting too intrusive with our bodies.  I do believe in security.  I honest to God believe in security.  But I do believe it has gone too far." 

Since first telling this story to WBTV on November 18th, Bossi has received 180 phone messages.  When she "Googled" her own name, thousands of sites instantly returned articles from media outlets she has never spoken with.

"It's all kind of crazy," she said.  "I'm not trying to make a name for myself.  That's why it also took me so long to report it.  I just now think what they're doing to crew members is wrong.  Crew members were the first victims to fight back against the terrorists, with Flight #93.  Crew members have background checks with the FBI.  It doesn't make any sense to have the TSA treat us like we're the next terrorist."

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Bossi says virtually all the messages she's receiving are from people in support of her coming forward.   

We asked her about those who don't appreciate her candor.

"What do you say to those who say to you, 'Stop whining -- this is just the way of the world now?'", we asked. 

Bossi paused before answering.

"What's next?", she then answered.  "Body cavity searches?"

Bossi lives in south Charlotte and has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, working the past 28 for U.S. Airways. 

In early August she was walking through security when she says she was asked to go through the new full body-scanners at Concourse "D" at Charlotte Douglas International. 

She reluctantly agreed.  As a 3-year breast cancer survivor she says she didn't want the added radiation through her body.  But, Bossi says she did willing walk through.

"The T.S.A. Agent told me to put my I.D. on my back," she said.  "When I got out of there the agent said because my I.D. was on my back, I had to go to a personal screening area."

She says two female Charlotte T.S.A. agents took her to a private room and began what she calls an aggressive pat down.  She says they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast… the one where she'd had surgery.

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"She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?'.  And I said, 'It's my prosthesis because I've had breast cancer.' And she said, 'Well, you'll need to show me that'."

Bossi was asked to show her prosthetic breast, sticking her hand down her own shirt and removing the prosthesis from her bra. 

"I did not take the name of the person at the time because it was just so horrific of an experience, I couldn't believe someone had done that to me.  I'm a flight attendant.  I was just trying to get to work."

Bossi is part of the Legislative Affairs Team, a group through the flight attendant union.  She says she wants to see a crackdown on these personal pat downs.

She also hopes to be able to talk with U.S. Representative Sue Myrick who represents parts of Charlotte and is a breast cancer survivor herself.

"There are blowers and there are dogs out there that can sniff out bombs," she says.  "There's no reason to have somebody's hands touching your body parts."

A T.S.A. representative says agents aren't supposed to remove any prosthetics, but are allowed to ask to see and touch any passenger's prosthetic. 

T.S.A. says it will review this matter.

More information: TSA policy concerning prosthetics

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