Video of Pat-down of 6-year-old Reignites TSA Debate
posted at 11:13 am on April 13, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
The video of a TSA agent groping a child at New Orleans’ Louis Armstrong International Airport on April 5 has reanimated the debate over whether the Transportation and Security Administration’s heavy-handed tactics are a bridge too far.
This time around, the TSA itself appears to recognize the error of its ways. Reacting to a fresh firestorm of criticism in the wake of the New Orleans incident, the agency released a statement indicating that it is
exploring additional ways to focus its resources and move beyond a one-size fits all system while maintaining a high level of security [and] has been actively reviewing its screening policies and procedures to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers.
One hopes this round of brainstorming will produce a better plan than the one the TSA devised last December when the agency urged parents to tell their young children that “pat-downs are a game.”
And maybe while they’re back at the drawing board the TSA can also figure out ways of keeping the real potential security threats from breaching the system. Their track record in that department has been less than stellar. In February, a man described as having a history of psychiatric problems sneaked past a checkpoint at John F. Kennedy International Airport and boarded a plane that was ready to take off. Lest anyone dismiss the lapse as a one-off occurrence, it should be noted that the same man, Ronald Wong, did the same exact thing in San Francisco two months earlier. Other similar cases abound.
As to the incident in New Orleans, Marjorie Esman, Executive Director of the Louisiana ACLU, is quoted by CBS News as saying that “a 6-year-old child shouldn’t be subjected to this kind of treatment in the first place if there’s no reason to suspect her or her parents of being criminals.” She adds:
A child who is visibly, audibly complaining, ‘I don’t want to do this,’ should at the very least be given some privacy.
It’s a start, one supposes. But what ever happened to the argument voiced in opposition to the Patriot Act that when we relinquish our liberties, the terrorists have won?
- TSA still keeping America safe—from 6-year-old girls (video)
- Another TSA groping accusation at LaGuardia
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- Bill would subject some TSA screening techniques to sexual predation laws
- Rape victim arrested, manhandled after refusing TSA pat down
- NYC woman sues TSA for injuries after being thrown to the ground
- New report reveals full-body airport scanners not foil-proof
- TSA telling children “pat-down is a game” sends a wrong message