Blumenthal Calls Out TSA for Posting Giant Lobster Picture

A photo of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener holding a more than 15 pound lobster is pinching the federal agency with some public scrutiny.

"Before (the TSA) shares photographs of packaged contents with the world, it ought to ask permission from the owner," Sen. Richard Blumenthal said at a press conference at Atlantic Seafood Market in Old Saybrook, where the giant lobster was sold.

Blumenthal said the TSA violated personal privacy after an agent posed in a picture with the lobster that was in a checked bag at Boston’s Logan Airport.

The picture was posted on the agency’s Twitter and Instagram before being shared thousands of times. 

According to the TSA's website, a live lobster is allowed through security if it is packaged correctly. That's why the owner of the nearly 20-pounder has some questions. 

"What other things (of ours) are you handling that you don’t have any reason to be handling?" asked Atlantic Seafood owner Lisa Feinman.

The screener didn’t handle the lobster properly, either, Feinman added. She said a lobster is supposed to be held by its body, underneath the arms, to support the weight — especially a 20-pound lobster that holds most of its weight in its arms.

TSA explained on Instagram that they needed to remove the giant lobster from its container to resolve a checked baggage alarm.

"I wrote to (the TSA). They wrote back saying they never release passenger identifying information," Blumenthal said. "That’s not good enough!"

NBC Connecticut asked TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy via email if agents are allowed to take pictures with people’s property.

"TSA is in direct communication with Senator Blumenthal’s staff and also reached out to the individual directly to discuss her concerns. TSA shares images through social media to better inform the traveling public about TSA's mission with behind the scenes look at operations around the country, but our posts never reveal passengers identities or include inappropriate content," McCarthy responded. 

TSA could easily make a rule about handling and photographing items, according to Blumenthal, who added, "But if they fail to do the right thing, I would certainly consider legislation."

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