Pat-down ‘worse than the gynecologist,’ producer says
As the busiest travel days of the year approach, more and more passengers are accusing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) of going too far with their screenings.
Earlier this month, the TSA began new security procedures in many airports including scans that produce images of the naked body and pat-downs.
One employee of ABC News who opted for the pat-down instead of the full body scan claimed that a TSA agent actually felt inside of her underwear.
“The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around,” said ABC News producer Carolyn Durand. “It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist.”
“It was embarassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate,” she said.
Other passengers are also complaining.
A retired teacher from Lansing, Michigan, says he had to walk through an airport and board a plane covered in urine after TSA agents tore open his urostomy bag during a pat-down.
A flight attendant who is a breast cancer survivor says she was horrified when, during an “aggressive” pat-down at the Charlotte, North Carolina, airport, she was ordered to expose her prosthetic breast to two female TSA staffers.
Video of TSA agents searching a shirtless 5-year-old boy has become an internet sensation. A Utah man reportedly removed his son’s shirt during the screening process after the boy was too shy to let TSA agents search him.
Luke Tait, the man who filmed the video, said that the TSA agents asked him to delete it but he refused and left for his gate.
ABC’s Robin Roberts asked TSA Administrator John Pistole if some of the more invasive searches were even warranted.
“I don’t want to tell you how upset people are and some people saying that TSA agents are even going into their underwear as part of the screening process,” Roberts told Pistole Monday. “Is there ever any circumstance where that is warranted?”
“No, no, there should never be a situation where that happens,” the TSA chief replied.
“So what happens, what kind of recourse do they have if they do the things that people are saying?” Roberts asked.
“Again, the security officers are there to protect the traveling public,” Pistole explained. “And there are specific operating protocols in which they are to follow. With the advanced imaging technology, the walk-through metal detectors, all of these different layers of security that we have, there are specific standard operating protocols that they follow.”
This video is from ABC’s This Week, broadcast Nov. 21, 2010.