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January 7 2016

Video: TSA Gives Ten-Year-Old a Ten Minute Pat Down

Patrice J. Lee

A father posted video footage of his ten-year-old daughter being given an invasive, extensive pat down by a female agent of her entire body. The agent at Raleigh-Durham Airport touched and groped the girl’s private area in the open multiple times. The young girl was singled out after agents found a Capri sun drink pouch in her bag and a cell phone that set off the screening machine’s alarm.

The TSA claims that the pat down was entirely appropriate because of the juice pouch, but her father is not convinced.

CNN reports:

"I was HELPLESS while my 10 yr (sic) old daughter was ASSULTED (sic) infront (sic) of me," Kevin Payne, the girl's father, wrote in a video of the pat-down he posted online on January 1. "Watching this heinous act makes me SICK to my stomach."

Payne in the video also repeatedly described the female TSA officer's actions as groping and said TSA officers initiated the additional screening after finding a Capri Sun drink in her bag. Passengers are not allowed to bring liquids over 3 ounces past security checkpoints.

A TSA spokesperson rejected the father's accusations of improper conduct and said the officer's pat-down "followed approved procedures."

The entire episode was a couple of minutes long, but the dad and daughter spent almost an hour discussing it with the TSA agents security screening protocol.

This is not the first episode of questionable pat downs for kids. In 2011, a six-year-old girl’s full body pat down in New Orleans led to the TSA reviewing it policies and announcing later that year changes in how it screens children, including allowing those under 13 to keep their shoes on.

As we’ve always contended, security at our airports is a paramount goal, but the bureaucratic TSA has failed to detect weapons in journalistic hits, includes workers who  are on watch lists themselves. How does a Capri juice pouch raise flags, but agents miss 67 out of 70 test of an explosive in baggage? And months after these failures came to light, the TSA still failed to identity weapons.

We have to question whether putting our children and our elderly – much more ourselves - through invasive pat downs is what we should consider an effective response to security. I’ve been patted down by TSA agents too many times to count and have felt the embarrassment of the intimate way that a random agent has touched me. In any other circumstance it would be considered assault.

Once again, we ask what should be done about the TSA? At minimum overhauling the TSA and retraining TSA agents to view passengers not as enemy but as human beings. Privatizing the operation would go a long way to ensuring that passengers are treated as valued customers and agents fired if they aren't.  



Independent Women’s Forum’s mission is to improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty. Sister organization of Independent Women’s Voice.
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