A woman has filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security over how her elderly mother was detained and searched by Transportation Security Administration officers at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport last weekend.
News Herald reported that Jean Weber filed the complaint after her wheelchair-bound 95-year-old mother, who is in the final stages of her battle with leukemia, was asked to remove an adult diaper during a pat down search.
According to Weber, her elderly mother was first taken to a glass-partitioned area and patted down before being taken to another room. As she was waiting outside of the room, officers conducting the pat down told Weber that her mother’s Depends diaper would need to be removed because it was soiled and impeding their search.
“It’s something I couldn’t imagine happening on American soil,” Weber said. “Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this.”
Weber took her elderly mother to the bathroom and removed her diaper, then returned to complete the pat down. She said she did not have another clean diaper with her.
A spokesperson for the TSA said that officers must follow the same procedures for everyone to prevent terrorists from finding vulnerabilities in the security check points.
The American Civil Liberties Union received over 900 complaints in November 2010 alone from travelers subjected to the new screening procedures of the TSA.
Airports across the nation have put backscatter x-ray machines that can see beneath passengers’ clothing into use. If the ticket-holder refuses the scan due to health or privacy concerns, they’re subjected to an invasive physical pat down. The new body scanners and pat down procedure have received intense scrutiny amid reports of travelers feeling humiliated and traumatized.