TSA Under Fire For Pat-Down Of 6-Year-Old Girl

LINTHICUM, Md. (WJZ) — The Transportation Security Administration says it’s considering major changes to its passenger screening after the pat-down of a 6-year-old girl in New Orleans upsets many. 

Mary Bubala has more.

With her dad taping the incident and her mom by her side, a 6-year-old girl is patted down by a TSA agent.

The screener talked her through it, letting the girl know where she would be touched.

While the TSA says its agent followed proper procedure, the screening process will likely change, according to this statement:

“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.”

But is it necessary to screen young children? Privacy experts say no way, security experts say absolutely.

“You can’t take kids out of the mix because that exemption points terrorists to a gaping hole in our security,” said Bob Orr, CBS News.

Watching the video, the TSA screener appears to behave in a gentle and professional manner. Still the image of a 6-year-old girl being patted down disturbed some parents at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport.

“I don’t think you need to do the physical pat-down. You can do the legs, but it gets too physical,” said Debbie Iannone, parent.  

Others say it’s part of a post 9-11 world.

“If they do it across the board, that’s OK with me, as long as it’s not too intrusive or rough or makes the child uncomfortable,” said Leann Lemke, parent.

“I think safety is number one so whatever we have to do, we have to do certainly in the most appropriate manner,” said Debbie Goldman, parent.

“I’ve been patted down before. I agree it’s for safety,” said Shoshana Goldman, age 13.

“As long as her parents tell her the reason why it’s important, then I think its fine,” said Goldie Goldman, age 15.

The head of the TSA is now indicating he would like to move to more risk-based, intelligence driven screening rather than just the random, one-size-fits-all screening that’s now in place.

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