Video: India “outraged” over TSA patdown of ambassador

posted at 12:55 pm on December 10, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

As it turns out, the new security protocols from TSA don’t just make American travelers unhappy. India has lodged a formal protest after an incident in a Mississipi airport in which their ambassador to the US, Meera Shankar, got a TSA patdown because she wore a sari while traveling.  The State Department now says they’re “concerned” about the treatment given the diplomat despite repeatedly telling the TSA agents that Shankar had diplomatic immunity:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton expressed concern Thursday that India’s ambassador to the U.S. was patted down by a TSA agent in Mississippi.

India’s foreign minister called last week’s pat-down of Ambassador Meera Shankar unacceptable. Shankar had attended a conference at Mississippi State University and was catching a flight to Baltimore from Jackson-Evers International Airport.

Witnesses told the Clarion-Ledger newspaper in Jackson that Shankar was told she was singled out for additional screening because of her sari, which drapes across the body and is worn by many Indian women.

Shankar reportedly said she would never return to Mississippi, but it hardly seems as though the state is at fault here.  TSA says that diplomats are not immune from searches, and Janet Napolitano defended that position this week.  CNN’s report also notes that other travelers seemed to think that if they have to put up with TSA’s groping, then the high and mighty should be subject to them as well.

But that’s the point, really.  Lt. Governor Phil Bryant is right; we should be using common sense.  Did we really face a threat from India’s ambassador to the US?  No, and we don’t really face a threat from nuns and 3-year-olds, either.  Pretending that we do is not just a waste of resources, it’s a source of embarrassment for everyone involved.

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Why blame Mississippi? Isn’t TSA a federal organization? Do they answer in even the slightest way to anyone in the state?

And wasn’t that part of the reason the Democrats demanded that all airport screeners work directly for the federal government?

If she blames anyone, it should be the Democrats who demanded we create the TSA to screen all airports, and the current administration that actually sets their policies.

tom on December 10, 2010 at 8:03 PM

You know, for some reason people seem to get upset by sexual assault. Don’t know why, but lots of people really don’t feel that the mere act of buying an airline ticket is an invitation to a sexual assault on their person. An assault by the way, that can only be avoided if one is willing to subject oneself to a civil violation and a fine. So, you have a choice, participate in a peep show as the “model”, be sexually assaulted (what else can any sane person call having another person touching one’s genitals without freely consenting?), or pay the perp (the TSA in this case) a huge fine ransom to leave the area after being selected for a sexual assault.

Glad to see they did this to the ambassador, not because I like seeing anyone of any rank assaulted, but because by doing this to the wrong person, it helps show the absurdity and just how wrong this whole approach to “security” really is.

AZfederalist on December 10, 2010 at 9:47 PM

Nobody should ever get to claim “diplomatic immunity” ever again….

psychocyber on December 11, 2010 at 6:35 PM

TSA practices are a direct assault upon American Citizens.

They do more damage to us than the terrorists ever could!!!

landlines on December 12, 2010 at 1:32 AM

I don’t think the TSA is doing enought to keep us safe. Back scatter X-ray pornographic imaging and genital and breast fondling, gropping, and molestation are not enough to protect us!

TSA should be performing endoscopes, sigmoidoscopes, colonoscoies, rectal examinations, vaginal and cevical examinations, chest and abdominal cavity examinations and palplations, and even skull contents examinations.

Babies should be tested to see if they are actually bombs disguised as infants. As you know, a baby could really be just a disguise for a bomb.

Women’s breasts could be bombs, or compomonents for bombs, and not really their breasts.

Breast milk could actually be some kind of toxic material, or components of weapons of mass destruction.

Women’s long hair could be used as a weapon. Maybe they are planning on using their long, beautiful hair as a garrot, to choke out and crush the windpipe of the pilots and crew on board.

I think that only people wearing full coverage in Muslim Garb, includinb Burkhas, etc., should be permitted to pass security without such extra special scrutiny, for as we all know, Muslims are not terrorists. They are members of the Religion of Peace, Love, Truth, Tolerance, Justice, Mercy, Compassion, Enlightenment.

It is Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, Ba’hais, Zoroastrians, Jains, Buddhists, Guru follers, yogis, atheists, Conservatives, Pro-lifers, they are the real dangers, the real terrorists. Those people who cling to their Bibles, their guns, their religion, they are the real terrorists to fear. Those homeschoolers, those breast feeding mothers, those families with their married to one another father and mother and their children, those are the real terrorists to fear.

Those old men and old ladies, those people in wheelchairs, those people missing limbs, those are the people to fear and scrutinize.

US military personnel, and US military veterans, those are the scarey ones who should be feard, but not those loving, tolerance, downtrodden, oppressed Muslim militan Jihadis.

William2006 on December 12, 2010 at 2:11 AM