Video: TSA body-searches a three-year-old girl

posted at 4:30 pm on November 14, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

I fly on a fairly regular basis, and usually have no trouble at all going through security at the airports. Even when I’ve been flagged for closer inspection occasionally, TSA agents have always been professional and even friendly about it. That’s probably because I’m old enough to understand the issues involved, and I deliberately get to the airport early enough not to stress about delays at security. But what happens when a three-year-old girl gets upset at having to give up her teddy bear and TSA then flags her for closer inspection? This (h/t Katy W):

Note: This video originally aired in January 2009.

I’m sure TSA must be really happy to have discovered that Daddy works as a television reporter.

We can’t know for certain that terrorists wouldn’t use a child as a mule to get explosives or other weapons through airport security, of course. In fact, we’ve seen al-Qaeda use children and the mentally impaired as “suicide” bombers in Iraq, so we know they have no scruples in doing so. Allahpundit noted three days ago that those who complain about those procedures now would have a very different take on the matter if a plane suddenly exploded in mid-air. However, wouldn’t that require the parents of the child (or those posing as parents) to be the actual terrorists? Shouldn’t TSA have taken the whole family aside and questioned Mom and Dad first to see if they got a hint of some ulterior motive?

This points out yet again how the American approach to flight security misses the point, thanks to an “everyone must suffer equally” approach. The Israelis have not had an incident in decades, thanks to a much more comprehensive but subtle approach that looks for actual clues to danger, rather than using a random-sample method. The Wall Street Journal reported on this almost a year ago, shortly after the Christmas Day terrorist attack attempt on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam:

If we’re mugging random three-year-olds to provide security to air travel, I’d say we need to rethink our approach. And if we continue along this path, is it unreasonable to ask that TSA provide some training on how to conduct a body search on a three-year-old without terrifying children in this manner?

Finally, Minnesota Majority presents a montage of images and video from TSA inspections, along with a heavy dose of Barack Obama and Janet Napolitano, set to The Who’s “See Me, Feel Me” from their rock opera Tommy.  This problem actually predates the Obama administration, but they’ve been in charge for almost two years and they seem to be reinforcing the problem rather than solving it.


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