Comments from the mother bullied and detained by TSA

Her name is Stacey Armato.


I am the brunette in black getting my items ready for screening (you will see me about 45 seconds into the video). I travel every week and bring home breast milk with me through Phoenix Sky Harbor. TSA rules allow for alternate screening (no xray) for breast milk and I almost never had a problem…until the week before this screening. I was held for 30 minutes that week while the TSA manager called to find out the rules. I was told to “pump and dump,” asked why the milk wasn’t clear, and asked where my baby was if it was really milk (uh traveling, working mom pumping doesn’t usually have the baby with her). After begging him to figure it out, they finally let me through. I called and complained to TSA and was instructed to travel with the TSA breast
milk rules printed out and present them whenever there is a problem. As my items come through security this time, I notice immediately that I was dealing with the same people from the week before. The woman tells me right away that my milk might have to go through xray, and then I tell her I printed the rules. I go to grab the rules on top of my bag and she freaks out and pushes my arm away. Another guy comes over and calls for “back up” and they put in me back in the glass cage. Standing 50 ft away are the same manager and supervisor I had dealt with the previous week. They will stall for 20 minutes before coming over to me.

Meanwhile, one of the guys comes over to me and tells me “to be quiet if I know what’s good for me.” At the end of this portion I have been locked up for just under 10 minutes. The whole ordeal takes just under 1 hour.

my brother in law did me a favor by helping me put the videos together, speed them up, and narrate. He didn’t know all the details so there were a few errors but he tried to get it up as soon as possible knowing that the issue really needed to get out there. My son was 7 months old at the time and I was not pregnant during the video. I got pregnant 6 weeks later and am due any week now with our next little one. Travel and pumping will start again for me in February 2011…
staceyarmato 21 hours ago

@mommy2kdk: I get to the airport just over an hour before my flight. It is a weekly commuter flight b/t PHX and LAX and I don’t check luggage. Usually the screening takes 5 extra minutes and lines are short. Clearly I wasn’t planning on an hour long screening which is why I missed my flight. @kcornishscott: I am working on getting women and men together on a blog soon. TSA is a major power-house and we need to band together otherwise this abuse of power will continue. I will update soon.
staceyarmato 21 hours ago

@mommy2kdk, you bring up a very good point. TSA does a very poor job of communicating the rules for breast milk. However, they are as follows: medical liquids can have an alternate screening (which means no x-ray) but must be announced before the x-ray machine. Breast milk is classified as a medical liquid. Also, the 3.4 oz requirement does not apply to medical liquids and as such does not apply to breast milk.


  1. Tara Donovan

    November 25, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    Hi Stacey,
    Former breastfeeding mom up in Canada just writing to support you and to say how important it is that you’re trying to inform people about your scandalous treatment by the TSA. The blatant violation of both your civil liberties and your rights as a breastfeeding mother is shocking. Your rights are everyone’s rights. By standing up for them, you stand up for everyone. Even though I’m not American, I appreciate you taking a stand on this issue.

    You must be extremely level headed to have remained so calm in this situation. I can assure you had it been me I would have lost my cool completely and been arrested.

    Take care,


    Tara Donovan

  2. Kit

    November 25, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    =Quote from Tara: Even though I’m not American, I appreciate you taking a stand on this issue.=

    I have to say, I am an American and I appreciate the stand that you have taken on this. I appreciate that you werent coerced into screening the milk, and I appreciate that your brother made this video. Truly, I thank you.

    I have spread this video over my normal stomping grounds, and its no doubt gotten elsewhere. Everyone who has commented on this has been a solid voice of disgust.

    My question is, are you going to press charges? I would fight for the firing of the TSA manager who clearly went against federal policy, the TSA agents who threatened you, and the cop, who should have known better.

    I sincerely hope this doesnt happen to you again.

  3. Don

    November 26, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    I, too, believe that you were seriously abused by the system. As a retired federal employee, I’m both disgusted and, frankly, a bit embarrassed. I take great satisfaction in my service to our citizens and these people have brought shame upon their heads and, by inference, the entire federal work force.

  4. Jessica Flota

    November 26, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Stacey, are they going to do anything about this or did they get away with it? I’m outraged.

  5. Soil Work

    November 29, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Here is the phone number to call & complain
    report the violation and pressure them to fire EVERYONE in that scene of harassment

    Phone: 1-866-289-9673
    ^TSA violations

  6. Trish

    November 30, 2010 at 8:00 am

    As a breastfeeding mother I am appauled at the way that you were treated. I hope that you do find someone to represent you and that you are successful in your proceedings. It is amazing that you were treated this way, and all in tha name of what… passenger safety… national security? I feel so much safer (note the sarcasm)! I praise you for you ability to stay calm. I am not sure what I would have done, but I am sure it would have ended in my arrest. Good luck, and I am so sorry that you had to go through that!

  7. howard

    December 1, 2010 at 7:38 am

    Not one main stream media outlet reported this story. Think about that, then ask yourself why.

  8. Carolyn

    October 1, 2012 at 11:04 am

    If this happens to you again, I think you should spray the walls of the glass jail with your breastmilk.

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