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TSA Head: Airport Screeners Must Avoid Pat-Downs Of Children

The Transportation Security Administration is changing its policy on how screeners can search children, the agency’s head has said.

TSA Administrator John Pistole announced the change at a Wednesday meeting of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee.

The change was prompted by outrage over a video-recorded pat-down of a 6-year-old airline passenger at the New Orleans airport on April 5. The video, which was posted on YouTube, shows the girl protesting at first to the search, although she complies quietly while it is under way.

Pistole explained to committee members that a female security screener performed a pat-down search on the 6-year-old girl because the child had moved while passing through an airport body imaging machine. That prevented the device from getting a clear reading that the child was not carrying any banned objects through airport security.

“We have changed the policy to say that there’ll be repeated efforts made to resolve that without a pat-down,” Pistole told committee members.

The new policy will apply to children 10 years old or younger, Pistole said.
The incident renewed debate over the the TSA’s security practices, especially their use on such low-risk passengers as young children. A backlash against passenger pat-downs — an alternative to full-body scans in some locations — swelled during the holiday travel season last year. Pistole maintained at the time that the agency walks a fine line between privacy concerns and public safety.

However, during the committee meeting, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, grilled Pistole for erring thoughtlessly too far on the side of safety.

“This isn’t to say we don’t believe in safety procedures,” Paul said. “But I think I feel less safe when we’re doing these invasive exams on a 6-year-old. It makes me think that you’re clueless, that you think she’s going to attack our country, and that you’re not doing your research on the people who would attack our country.”

Pistole suggested a pat-down of a child is not entirely unjustified.

“Unfortunately, we know that terrorists around the world have used children as suicide bombers,” Pistole replied.

(Source: CNN)

5 Responses

  1. If they don’t want to profile and terrorists are strapping bombs onto children then what are we supposed to do?

  2. If you read the article and not just the headline, you’ll see that they’ll let kids walk through body scanner a few times and only then do a pat down if they can’t get a clear reading. It seems that in this case, they patted her down after the scanner didn’t work the first time. They’re not so stupid that they’ll let any kid through without reasonable security measures.

  3. When they hit the trade center they destroyed our economy and our freedoms. Look how much we have to spend 10 years later in security measures. Look how we have lost our freedom for children to board a plane. They a laughing while we are crying. How about only let people fly only if they openly condemn the terrorist organizations. Believe me certain people wouldn’t do it and those are the people you want to get off the plane.

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