US transport security deny Morrissey claims of sexual assault by airport staff in San Francisco

Transportation Security Administration state that they've reviewed CCTV footage from the alleged incident

A spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration has denied claims made by Morrissey that he was sexually assaulted by airport security at San Francisco International Airport earlier this week.

Posting a statement to fan site True To You, the former Smiths frontman previously alleged that the incident took place on Monday (July 27) as he prepared to board a British Airways flight to London.

Morrissey had claimed that a security officer “crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles”.

However, TSA spokesman Mike England has said in a statement obtained by The Guardian: “TSA takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and strives to treat every passenger with dignity and respect.”

The statement continued to state that the incident, in the TSA’s opinion, “followed standard operating procedures”.

The statement added: “Upon review of closed circuit TV footage, TSA determined that the supervised officer followed standard operating procedures in the screening of this individual.

“During the screening process, if an anomaly is detected, secondary screening is required to ensure the passenger does not have threat items, such as explosives, concealed under clothing.

“TSA works with numerous groups to continuously refine and enhance our procedures to improve the passenger experience while also ensuring the safety of the traveling public.”

The Transportation Security Administration is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security, with authority over all transport security in the United States.

NMEAndy Hughes/NME

Morrissey wrote in his original statement: “I went through the usual airport security procedure including the stand-up ‘scanner’, and all was well – no bleeps and nothing unusual.”

He added: “Before I could gather my belongings from the usual array of trays I was approached by an ‘airport security officer’ who stopped me, crouched before me and groped my penis and testicles. He quickly moved away as an older ‘airport security officer’ approached.

“The officer who sexually assaulted me was identified as the General Manager On Duty. Luckily I was accompanied by two members of British Airways Special Services, who were horrified at the sexual attack and suggested that I lodge a complaint.”

The singer says that he was initially reluctant to filing a complaint, writing: “I asked if there would be any point in lodging a complaint since, as with any complaint against a figure in “authority”, the complaints are simply collected in order to protect the guilty officer should the matter go further.

“The British Airways Special Services employees assured me that a complaint was worthwhile, and so I filed the appropriate information.”

Morrissey also claims that the alleged offender denied that a sexual assault took place.

He revealed: “Apart from “that’s just your opinion”, he would not comment, even though, since the penis and testicles were mine and no one else’s, then my opinion must surely have some meaning. But, of course, what the airport security officer was saying was: your opinion will never count in the eyes of the law.

“The words “that’s just your opinion” volunteered themselves from this ‘officer’s’ mouth before he had even heard the question. He knew he could be confronted, but he also knew that he could never be challenged (even though the entire incident is most certainly on CCTV camera).

“In the interests of imperishable bureaucracy my submitted complaint against this ‘officer’ will obviously be either unread or ignored because, as we all know, on matters of officialism it is not possible to be pleasantly surprised by anything at all.

“However, what is clear is that, should you find yourself traveling through San Francisco International Airport, you should expect sexual abuse from the so-called ‘security officers’ who, we are unconvincingly warned, are acting only for our security.”

NME have approached British Airways and San Francisco Airport for a comment on the matter but have yet to receive a response.