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The online community has been outraged by the “shameful” and “disgusting” treatment of a triple-amputee Purple Star veteran of Iraq, who was subjected to an “invasive” search by a TSA agent in Arizona over the weekend.
Strong words of support were voiced for Brian Kolfage after a video surfaced showing the 37-year-old Air Force veteran being “groped” by a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer during an invasive frisk on Saturday in Tucson International Airport.
“They groped and searched under his hips and buttocks, his groin and his half-arm, searching for what?” YouTube user James Hoft wondered in the comments to his video of the incident.
In addition to conducting a full and thorough check on the veteran’s body, the video also shows the federal agent checking Kolfage’s prosthetic legs and wheelchair, apparently for possible arms or explosives.
Shocked by the treatment of the most severely wounded airman in US history, the online community shamed TSA and united to express support for the veteran, who lost both his legs and his right hand in Iraq in 2004.
“Brian Kolfage lost his limbs fighting Muslim terrorism. And now he has to be humiliated being searched at the gate?! The irony is appalling. And Disgusting,” Hollywood actor James Woods said on Twitter.
“There is NO excuse for this!” prominent Arkansas politician Mike Huckabee said, demanding a reaction from the Department of Homeland Security and President Donald Trump.
Many others echoed their disgust, accusing the TSA agent of overstepping a line.
Yet despite the massive online condemnation, Kolfage played down the incident, tweeting: “This happens every time I fly… my kids are always asking “why daddy has to have that done?”
Apparently searching disabled people is a common practice across the US, some Twitterati pointed out. “I’m disabled and use a walker, I can’t go through the scanner thing where you stand up and put your arms up. Instead I get pulled to the side and have to wait for a pat down,” user B.J. Nash noted.
Prior to arriving at the airport on Saturday, Kolfage was in Tuscon to attend a ‘We Build the Wall’ rally, trying to promote a cause the man truly believes in. In December, the veteran started a GoFundMe campaign trying to raise $1 billion to help the government build a fence along the US-Mexico border. So far the campaign has raised about $20 million.