It's something most students learn in elementary school -- the United States is made up of 50 states and the District of Columbia. But Cox Media Group reporter Justin Gray found out it's a lesson that an Orlando agent with the Transportation Safety Administration seems to have missed.
Gray, who lives in Washington, D.C., was flying out of Orlando International Airport when a TSA agent said Gray's District of Columbia driver's license wasn't a valid form of identification. Gray said his license is legal and up-to-date, but the TSA agent didn't seem to know what the District of Columbia was
when Gray arrived at the security checkpoint over the weekend.
When Gray handed the man his driver's license the agent demanded to see Gray's passport. Grays told the agent he wasn't carrying his passport and asked why he needed it.
The agent said he didn't recognize the license.
Gray said he asked the agent if he knew what the District of Columbia is, and after a brief conversation Gray realized the man did not know.
Gray was able to get through security and then stopped to complain to a TSA supervisor.
Critics of the TSA said that what happened to Gray is a sign that the problems at TSA are bigger than just not knowing geography.
"They simply have not been either applying or maintaining standards for good personnel," said Douglas Kidd, with the National Association of Airline Passengers.
A TSA spokesman contacted Gray just minutes after he tweeted about the problem. He confirmed that a District of Columbia license is an acceptable form ID.
The spokesman said, "Officers are trained to identify fraudulent documents, which can potentially deter and detect individuals attempting to circumvent this layer of security."
"It makes you wonder what's going on with their training and their policies," said Kidd.
A TSA spokesman told Gray that all of the TSA agents in Orlando are being shown copies of District of Columbia driver's license.
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