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TSA responds to baby-frisk uproar

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  May 10, 2011 11:51 AM

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TSA thinks the "poop bomb'' furor over the patting down of an infant at Kansas City International Airport stinks. For those of you completely out of the loop, a Kansas City pastor who had just passed though security snapped the shot this weekend and posted it on Twitter. Copies of the photo were immediately picked up and roared through the blogosphere, particularly as this event came a few weeks after photos of a young girl being patted down were widely circulated online and last week's video charge by former Miss USA Susie Castillo that her genitals were groped by a female TSA agent in Dallas.

The response to all this came on the TSA blog:

The caption used with the photo is “TSA Looking for Poop Bombs?” We reviewed the screening of this family, and found that the child's stroller alarmed during explosives screening. Our officers followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family after the alarm, who by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time. The child in the photo was simply receiving a modified pat-down which doesn’t even come close to what the headline implies.

OK, so the idea is that they took exception to being made fun of and were otherwise just following procedure. Clearly, this will add to the mounting pressure on the agency to find less intrusive procedures that will also ensure passenger safety. Last week, John Pistole, the TSA administrator, disclosed that the agency was working on a "trusted traveler'' program that would allow some passengers on some flights to skirt the scans and patdowns. And a bill is gaining steam in the Texas Legislature that would make patdowns deemed too instrusive to be a criminal offense.


Photo by Jacob Jester

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