UPDATE June 27, 2011 1:51 PM
TSA officials are disputing published accounts of the case of an elderly cancer patient who allegedly was asked to shed her adult diaper as part of a security patdown.
Ann Davis, a TSA spokeswoman, said that officers followed procedures and did not require the woman to take off her diaper. She also admitted that the agency's statement to CNN on Sunday failed to make that point clear.
A TSA official said that the woman and her daughter had been provided with other options that would've allowed them to proceed though the checkpoint but the official declined to offer any details, citing passenger privacy.
HERE IS OUR ORIGINAL REPORT:
In the latest controversy surrounding Transportation Security Administration policies over intrusive body pat-downs, the agency sought to defend its actions in the case of a 95-year-old cancer patient who was forced to remove her adult diaper during a search.
Jean Weber of Destin, Fla., said she was escorting her mother, who suffers from leukemia, to Michigan on June 18 to live with family members before moving into an assisted living facility, according to published reports.
Weber told CNN that a TSA officer at Northwest Florida Regional Airport near Pensacola, Fla., felt something "suspicious" on her mother's leg during a patdown. Weber said her mother was taken to a private room. The officer then told Weber that her mother's Depend undergarment was wet and was getting in the way of a complete search. The officer asked for it to be removed, which Weber did in a restroom.
"It's something I couldn't imagine happening on American soil," Weber told the Panama City News-Herald Friday. "Here is my mother, 95 years old, 105 pounds, barely able to stand, and then this."
Weber, who didn't give her mother's name, told the News-Herald that she filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security and was subsequently told that the workers had followed appropriate procedures.
On Sunday, TSA released this statement to CNN:
"While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner," the federal agency said. "We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure."