TSA pat down video generates outrage

Earlier this month the TSA announced a new pat down procedure which would be “potentially more invasive” than the old procedure. Today we’re getting a look at the new procedure after a TSA agent at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport searched a 13-year-old boy Sunday. The boy’s mother filmed the pat down and published the video on Facebook. The video went viral and has now been picked up by dozens of news outlets including CBS:

A mother is outraged with the Transportation Security Administration after she said officers treated her family “like dogs” at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. Jennifer Williamson posted a video to Facebook on Sunday that shows a TSA agent thoroughly patting down her 13-year-old son for about two minutes. She said her family spent about an hour at the checkpoint and missed their flight…

“We were treated with utter disrespect as if we were criminals,” Williamson said in an interview you’ll see only on “CBS This Morning.”

The pat down lasted about two minutes but the kid is wearing shorts and a thin t-shirt so it’s pretty hard to see where he could be hiding anything. But I guess the new rules require everyone to get the same pat down, even if that’s clearly unnecessary. Naturally, TSA released a statement saying they did everything by the book:

TSA allows for a pat-down of a teenage passenger, and in this case, all approved procedures were followed to resolve an alarm of the passenger’s laptop.

The video shows a male TSA officer explaining the procedure to the passenger, who fully cooperates. Afterward, the TSA officer was instructed by his supervisor, who was observing, to complete the final step of the screening process.

In total, the pat-down took approximately two minutes, and was observed by the mother and two police officers who were called to mitigate the concerns of the mother.

The passengers were at the checkpoint for approximately 45 minutes, which included the time it took to discuss screening procedures with the mother and to screen three carry-on items that required further inspection.”

So the fact the child passenger had a laptop in his bag made it necessary to pat him down or was this optional? I’d love to hear someone from the TSA explain the potential threat here. And if this wasn’t necessary, why was it done?

TSA claims the pat down took 2 minutes. So why did it take another 43 minutes to get the family through the checkpoint, causing them to miss their flight? According to TSA, the delay was caused by three carry-on bags that had to be inspected. I’m willing to bet the mother was letting people know they had a connection to catch, but it took TSA 43-minutes to go through 3 bags. Did the agents break for lunch in the middle of that search? Seriously, are we supposed to believe TSA searches bags at the rate of 4 an hour?

The point of all this effort is supposed to be to keep us safe. If our screening procedures can’t rule out this 13-year-old kid we’re doing something wrong. That’s point one. Point two: If TSA is slow-walking passengers as a way to punish them for complaining about manhandling their children, someone should be fired.