The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is receiving heavy criticism after an ‘enhanced pat-down’ of a six year old girl was filmed by her parents and posted on YouTube.
The pat-down happened earlier this month at Armstrong International Airport, in New Orleans. The video shows the 6 year old girl, identified by her parents as Anna Drexel, undergoing the pat-down. While the pat-down proceeds, another child, identified as Anna’s two year old sister, cries and says she does not want that done to her.
AP reported that Todd Drexel, Anna’s father, said Anna was upset and cried afterwards because she thought she had done something wrong. Anna’s mother, Selena Drexel, said on ABC’s Good Morning show, that she ask for alternatives, such as being rescanned. But according to her, the TSA agents refused.
This has many asking why the TSA would single out a 6 year old girl traveling with her parents and a younger sister, for such a personally invasive procedure.
“I am personally outraged and disgusted by yet another example of mistreatment of an innocent American at the hands of TSA,” wrote Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, in a letter to TSA chief John Pistole. Chaffetz is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security. “This conduct is in clear violation of TSA’s explicit policy not to conduct thorough pat-downs on children under the age of 13.”
However, the TSA is defending its actions. In a released statement, they said the “TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that this officer followed proper current screening procedures.” But they did hint at a possible change, saying that the TSA “has been actively reviewing its screening policies and procedures to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers.”
Bob Orr, a national security correspondent for CBS News, also defended the TSA’s screening procedure, saying on CBS’s The Early Show – “You can’t take kids out of the mix, The exemption would point terrorists to a gaping hole in our security.”
A video of the pat-down, filmed by the family and posted on YouTube, is below.