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90.7 WMFE Investigation Reveals Pattern of Abuse, Retaliation at TSA in Orlando and Other Airports


Tune in Aug. 12-16 for special series TSA in Turmoil, which centers on the suicide of a TSA officer at the Orlando airport in February and link to toxic workplace culture

ORLANDO — On February 2, 2019, Transportation Security Administration Officer Robert Henry jumped to his death from the 10th floor of the Hyatt Regency hotel inside Orlando International Airport.

[caption id="attachment_131706" align="alignright" width="400"]

TSA in Turmoil series runs Aug. 12-16 on WMFE. Illustration by Gabi Tylenda.[/caption]

The last line of his suicide note stated: “Tell my managers I will be waiting for them in Hell. Especially the ones who feel this was necessary.”

TSA in Turmoil, a six-month-long investigation by 90.7 WMFE reporters Abe Aboraya and Danielle Prieur, found a pattern of abuse and retaliation among TSA workers at Orlando International Airport and at other airports across the country. Key findings include:

  • Multiple TSA agents say Robert Henry was bullied at work, but an official investigation by TSA has not yet been released.
  • Robert Henry was trying to leave Orlando International Airport and move back near his family, but couldn't transfer because he had been written up for infractions.
  • His death has brought to the surface years of allegations of retaliation among TSA officers under former Federal Security Director Jerry Henderson.
  • Two other officers responding to a WMFE survey have been hospitalized for suicide attempts or thoughts, and say their workplace environment at TSA was a major contributing factor.

Listen to TSA in Turmoil Aug. 12-16 by tuning in to 90.7-FM in the Orlando area and 89.5-FM in the Villages or stream at wmfe.org or in the mobile app.

Read the investigation and view photos and videos at www.wmfe.org/tsa.

Here’s the lineup of stories:

Ticktock, Monday, 6:44 a.m., 8:44 a.m. & 4:44 p.m.
The TSA in Turmoil series opens with a walkthrough of Robert Henry’s final hours. What we know, and what questions the family still has.

Robert Henry, Tuesday, 7:51 a.m. & 4:50 p.m.
Robert Henry saw Orlando as the most magical place on Earth. But when the bullying got to be too much, he tried to go back home.

Toxic Airport, Wednesday, 7:51 a.m. & 4:50 p.m.
The people and players who allowed the toxic work environment to fester for years.

Mental Health, Thursday, 6:44 a.m., 8:44 a.m. and 4:44 p.m.
A 90.7 WMFE survey of TSA workers found two more who were hospitalized for suicide. Statistics show TSA has a pattern of abuse.

Accountability, 9 a.m. Friday
In a special edition of Intersection, we look at what needs to be done to fix TSA. Does it need fixing? Should officers get more federal protection?

Here are some voices from the stories:

Joe Donadio was a TSA officer at Orlando International Airport. He says he was fired after his anxiety “medically disqualified” him from the job:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/JOE-Made-with-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

Dave Platt is a bomb specialist at Orlando International Airport. He says he’s been transferred and suspended because he reported a supervisor for putting an IED on a plane:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/DAVE-Made-with-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

Sean SanRoman was the third-in-command at Orlando International Airport. He says his security clearance was pulled and he was put on leave because he reported a supervisor for giving a candidate questions before an interview:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/SEAN-Made-with-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

TSA agent Rob Henry’s mom, Sylvia Henry, says she keeps a voicemail her son left her on her phone to remind her of him:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/SYLVIA-Made-with-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

TSA agent Rob Henry’s supervisor and friend Stan Tuchalski says he would talk about the bullying he experienced at Orlando International Airport:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/STAN-Made-with-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

TSA agent Rob Henry’s friend and colleague Brenda Shearer said he became part of the family when he moved onto their farm in St. Cloud:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BRENDA-Made-with-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

Rob Henry died after he jumped to his death from the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Orlando International Airport in February. TSA is still investigating whether bullying played a role. This is a voicemail he left for his mom:

[video width="400" height="400" mp4="https://www.wmfe.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/ROB-Made-by-Headliner.mp4"][/video]

About Community Communications Inc.:
Community Communications Inc. is a non-profit, member-supported, community-based public broadcasting company that operates 90.7 WMFE-FM, metro Orlando’s primary provider of NPR programming; 90.7-2 Classical; and 89.5 WMFV, public radio for The Villages, Leesburg and The Golden Triangle. Part of the community since 1980, Community Communications focuses on providing quality national and local news and programming. Visit  wmfe.org and  wmfv.org for more information.

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MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact Communications & Marketing Specialist Jenny Babcock at jbabcock@wmfe.org or 407-273-2300 ext. 112.