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Posted at 9:04 AM ET, 11/22/2010

TSA responds to child pat-down video

By Michael D. Bolden

The Transportation Security Administration issued a statement this morning on its blog about a video being circulated on the Internet that shows a young boy receiving a pat-down at Salt Lake City International Airport.

The TSA has been embroiled in controversy since installation of the new scanners began last month. TSA Administrator John S. Pistole defended them in the face of questions from two Senate committees last week and and made the rounds of news shows Sunday and Monday morning.

A California man became an instant folk hero among the protestors when a recording he made at airport security in San Diego went viral on the Internet. In the video he threatens a TSA agent with arrest if "you touch my junk" during a pat-down. A passenger was arrested in Indianapolis after he punched a TSA agent who didn't respond to his questioning about security procedures.

Here is the TSA's statement on the Salt Lake City incident:

A video is being widely circulated showing a shirtless boy receiving secondary screening from a Transportation Security Officer (TSO). A passenger filmed the screening with their cell phone and posted the video on the web. Many are coming to their own conclusions about what's happening in the video which is now perched at the top of the Drudge report and being linked to in many other blogs and tweets. We looked into this to find out what happened.

On November 19, a family was traveling through a TSA checkpoint at the Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC). Their son alarmed the walk through metal detector and needed to undergo secondary screening. The boy's father removed his son's shirt in an effort to expedite the screening. After our TSO completed the screening, he helped the boy put his shirt back on. That's it. No complaints were filed and the father was standing by his son for the entire procedure.

It should be mentioned that you will not be asked to and you should not remove clothing (other than shoes, coats and jackets) at a TSA checkpoint. If you're asked to remove your clothing, you should ask for a supervisor or manager.

According to an earlier post on the TSA blog, "Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat down."

Poll: Which would you choose: a full-body scan or a pat-down?

Graphic: How the scanners work

Related stories:

What to expect from TSA screening

TSA discourages body-scan boycotts

Government scientists offer alternative to scanner images

Dealing with Thanksgiving airport security

Instead of a TSA airport search he'll take the train

TSA officials get 'pat-downs'

Will you undergo a pat-down?

Full-body scanners installed at Dulles

By Michael D. Bolden  | November 22, 2010; 9:04 AM ET
Categories:  Airports, Aviation  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: TSA discourages scanner boycotts
Next: Thanksgiving transportation help

Comments

I think that it should not be a problem because everyone wants to be safe. If they dont do it and we get another attack everyone is going to be blaming the government for not taking measures to prevent this from happen.

Posted by: mariatarrance6307 | November 22, 2010 9:30 AM | Report abuse

all the fuss is for what if bush would have said it need to be done ppl would have not had anything to say.

Posted by: mariatarrance6307 | November 22, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

My issue is that it feels as though the TSA does not have a straight set of rules. Every time I travel there's a twist to my security experience. Sometimes I have to take my laptop out of the skin, sometimes I don't. Do I really need to take off my shoes? Well...that depends on whether or not I make enough of a fuss at a certain airport. How about baggy clothes? Sometimes I have to take off that open shirt, but when I balk b/c I have a tank-top on underneath, I don't. Get it straight and have all the guards on the same page.

Posted by: townhousekids | November 22, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

I simply don’t understand the rationale behind these body scanners. The so-called shoe and underwear bombers were both on flights that originated overseas, not in the USA. Yet here we are scanning and frisking old ladies and children on purely domestic flights. What’s the point in scanning a middle aged woman flying from Dulles to Denver to attend a conference? Or a ten year old boy going to visit his grandparents in Seattle? We should be scanning USA bound passengers at Heathrow and de Gaulle, not Chicago or L.A.

And then there is the matter of implementing the correct technology. There are many excellent sniffer devices on the market that can detect minute trace amounts of explosives simply by testing the air coming off a person’s body and clothing. Why not install these at the boarding gates and check the passengers as they file by? It would be every bit as effective as x-rays and frisking. And perhaps more so, because it could detect explosive residue on a would-be terrorist’s hands. And lets face it, if a terrorist has gone to the trouble of inserting a bomb up his anal cavity, there’s no way anyone is ever going to detect that with a superficial scanner or a pat down.

Posted by: quillmob | November 22, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

I simply don’t understand the rationale behind these body scanners. The so-called shoe and underwear bombers were both on flights that originated overseas, not in the USA. Yet here we are scanning and frisking old ladies and children on purely domestic flights. What’s the point in scanning a middle aged woman flying from Dulles to Denver to attend a conference? Or a ten year old boy going to visit his grandparents in Seattle? We should be scanning USA bound passengers at Heathrow and de Gaulle, not Chicago or L.A.

And then there is the matter of implementing the correct technology. There are many excellent sniffer devices on the market that can detect minute trace amounts of explosives simply by testing the air coming off a person’s body and clothing. Why not install these at the boarding gates and check the passengers as they file by? It would be every bit as effective as x-rays and frisking. And perhaps more so, because it could detect explosive residue on a would-be terrorist’s hands. And lets face it, if a terrorist has gone to the trouble of inserting a bomb up his anal cavity, there’s no way anyone is ever going to detect that with a superficial scanner or a pat down.

Posted by: quillmob | November 22, 2010 9:48 AM | Report abuse

The terrorists have won.

Thank you, Obama, for making me miss President Bush.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 22, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

how long would this security go on if any member of congress was subject to it? about as long as those telemarketing calls for auto warranties lasted once a senator got one would be my guess.

let's call this what it is, bullshiat window dressing security conveniently timed for the busiest travel time of the year.

and yes, this is one more example of how the terrorists have won regardless of the head puppet in charge.

Posted by: rev_ollie | November 22, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha. Let me clear the smoke they're now successfully blowing up your whazoos. Body porn machines are there to make money for Michael Chernoff and fellow pornographers. There is NO OTHER PURPOSE for these stupid machines. NONE. When & if someone wants to take out a plane, they will not bother getting in line like the rest of you low-lifes and being humiliated like all the other sheep of the brave USA. Don't even think they're going to subject their own children to the pedophiles of the TSA or their willies being felt up by still-in-the-closet homosexuals. They will take the plane out the old fashion way. NO ONE ever blew up a passenger plane by suicide in the history of aviation. However, many a plane have gone down by sabotage nevertheless. Considering what people - in particular those who don't make such great salary - would do for a few dollars more, good old fashion bribery will get you into any security apparatus that is supposed to be "protecting" you. The plane blower-upper could do the dirty work and be home in time for dinner. No suicide necessary (ruins his Gucci/Armani threads). Stupid people of America, you could know all these things, but you don't - not because the information isn't there for you - but because you first label everything "liberal" or "right-wing" rather than to look at fact and science. This mode of thinking will keep you always in the dark and the swindler grinning from ear-to-ear. Dig deep, dear peon taxpayers. All this nonsense costs you dearly and they're still whining for more of it. Dig deep. Safety is a fiction.

Posted by: Cutting_the_Bull | November 22, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Ha ha ha. Let me clear the smoke they're now successfully blowing up your whazoos. Body porn machines are there to make money for Michael Chernoff and fellow pornographers. There is NO OTHER PURPOSE for these stupid machines. NONE. When & if someone wants to take out a plane, they will not bother getting in line like the rest of you low-lifes and being humiliated like all the other sheep of the brave USA. Don't even think they're going to subject their own children to the pedophiles of the TSA or their willies being felt up by still-in-the-closet homosexuals. They will take the plane out the old fashion way. NO ONE ever blew up a passenger plane by suicide in the history of aviation. However, many a plane have gone down by sabotage nevertheless. Considering what people - in particular those who don't make such great salary - would do for a few dollars more, good old fashion bribery will get you into any security apparatus that is supposed to be "protecting" you. The plane blower-upper could do the dirty work and be home in time for dinner. No suicide necessary (ruins his Gucci/Armani threads). Stupid people of America, you could know all these things, but you don't - not because the information isn't there for you - but because you first label everything "liberal" or "right-wing" rather than to look at fact and science. This mode of thinking will keep you always in the dark and the swindler grinning from ear-to-ear. Dig deep, dear peon taxpayers. All this nonsense costs you dearly and they're still whining for more of it. Dig deep. Safety is a fiction.

Posted by: Cutting_the_Bull | November 22, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

If polls indicate 81% of the public think full body scans are ok and necessary, why does the Post poll show a decidedly different response. When was the national poll collected and has a more recent one been made. Responses like getgiggly1 above suggest how completely misinformed some people can be, as if POTUSm regardless of party, have anything to do with terrorist schemes.

Posted by: manv | November 22, 2010 12:18 PM | Report abuse

The terrorists have won.

Thank you, Obama, for making me miss President Bush.

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 22, 2010 9:54 AM

This program was begun under the Bush administration. It's been under development for 4 years. Alternative technology is available that is non-invasive, but it will not be used because of they are already 4 years down this road. That's the way the Federal government managers, who are not political appointees, work.

Posted by: Instructor5 | November 22, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

One of the KSA's for the job of TSA airport security officer is demonstrated experience as a pedaphile.

Posted by: SouthernBoy3 | November 22, 2010 12:27 PM | Report abuse

How come no one in either administration think it is important to spend federal R&D money to develop non-invasive scanning technology for our own citizens?

We spent money to develop technology to fly people to the moon, but we won't spend it to develop effective, non-invasive technology.

According to the Washington Post, engineers at the Livermore Labs have developed a software fix to the new scanners that has promise of being non-invasive. But the govt. won't test it in pilot airports.

I am not boycotting. I just am not flying. I objected to being on the same list with Sen. Kennedy and having to take my belt and shoes off before.

Some people are afraid to fly because they fear a crash. I won't fly because of the way security is handled. Not a boycott. Just a life choice for personal dignity.

It should be a non-partisan election issue.

Posted by: Instructor5 | November 22, 2010 12:31 PM | Report abuse

One poster wrote: "If polls indicate 81% of the public think full body scans are ok and necessary, why does the Post poll show a decidedly different response."
-----
That 81% poll was completely BOGUS! Only 1,137 people were polled...just "a bit short" of 81% of Americans. As far as I know, it was only ONE poll, which asked if those few people called would mind a "full body x-ray." No description was given...from what I've seen...of the actual nature of the "backscatter full-body scanners" and no mention was made of the sexual attacks necessary if one rejected the new scanners.

It's really unfortunate...and monumentally misleading...to have the 81% poll number used so widely.

Posted by: Rigged | November 22, 2010 12:54 PM | Report abuse

One poster wrote: "If polls indicate 81% of the public think full body scans are ok and necessary, why does the Post poll show a decidedly different response."
-----
That 81% poll was completely BOGUS! Only 1,137 people were polled...just "a bit short" of 81% of Americans. As far as I know, it was only ONE poll, which asked if those few people called would mind a "full body x-ray." No description was given...from what I've seen...of the actual nature of the "backscatter full-body scanners" and no mention was made of the sexual attacks necessary if one rejected the new scanners.

It's really unfortunate...and monumentally misleading...to have the 81% poll number used so widely. I'd be willing to bet a large amount that the number would be much, much lower now after more people under what is actually involved.

Posted by: Rigged | November 22, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

If this was happening under a Republican administration these born-again libertarians would gladly bend over and beg for a cavity search.

Posted by: MidwaySailor76 | November 22, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting that the TSA is now claiming on its blog that the kid alarmed the WTMD, yet the person who took the video & posted it on YouTube, several days ago, said in his comments directly under the video the kid didn't alarm.

Don't know about the rest of you, but the TSA has zero creditability left w/me, so I believe the photographer in this case.

More boo-birds to the TSA for trying to justify that which can't be justified.

Posted by: txrus | November 22, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I have a simple question. Are these scanners being installed all over the world. Is it the TSA's assumption that future attacks will be domestic? Didnt the Abdul Muttalab board the flight in Africa or somwhere. Are passengers having connection flights in Europe gonnab be re-screened if the flight originates from a country where there is no body scanning or pat downs? To me the TSA needs to look at who is coming in foremost.

Posted by: Observer811 | November 22, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Theocons who fret about gays in military showers have no problems with TSA agents who haven't been screed for child molesters frisking little boys like this.

What the hell is wrong with you people? Is it that you can't speak out of both sides of your mouth at once or has your addiction to Fox News made you all brain dead?

Posted by: areyousaying | November 22, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I think its probable the kid didn't alarm -- but his sweat shirt was big and bulky, and generally pat downs are done on bulky items. But TSA doesn't want to release statements on their screening procedures so I imagine they wouldn't say this if this were the case.

Posted by: ntpierce | November 22, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Theocons who fret about gays in military showers have no problems with TSA agents who haven't been screed for child molesters frisking little boys like this.

What the hell is wrong with you people? Is it that you can't speak out of both sides of your mouth at once or has your addiction to Fox News made you all brain dead?

Posted by: areyousaying | November 22, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't pass the smell test.

"The boy's father removed his son's shirt in an effort to expedite the screening."

Why? Was he asked to by the TSA officer?

Posted by: RepealObamacareNow | November 22, 2010 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't pass the smell test.

"The boy's father removed his son's shirt in an effort to expedite the screening."

Why? Was he asked to by the TSA officer?
******************
The cameraman in the video gives his account here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSQTz1bccL4

Posted by: darkglobe5 | November 22, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Spin this anyay you want but it is pedophilia, government sponsored and government carried out peophilia. Defund TSA!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | November 22, 2010 1:33 PM | Report abuse

I've been really shocked by some of the stories coming out about the TSA over the last few days, and certainly won't be travelling to the US again with my children anytime in the near future. We spend years teaching our children self-protective strategies, so what are we supposed to tell them about treatment that in any other situation would be labelled abusive - 'well, it's ok if the government says so'?

Of course, we all want to be safe, but that doesn't mean all reason and personal rights (especially children's rights) should be trampled in the process. For the more vulnerable in society these new security procedures are far more than just an inconvenience or annoyance. One of my older sons has Aspergers Syndrome and I cannot begin to imagine how he would handle this, or how I could explain it to him. My heart goes out to every parent who has had to deal with this situation.

Similarly, as a counsellor I work with many clients who have experience abuse or deep trauma in the past - being treated in this way at an airport would be deeply painful and traumatic for them.

Somewhere along the line, things have gone terribly wrong...

Posted by: lizzyj1 | November 22, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

The TSA blog is a spin machine. This is what state-run media would look like if we did not have an independent press. Reports in Utah, where the event occured, have a witness stating two things that TSA either doesn't report or reports the other way: the fact that the kid DID NOT set off the alarm, AND that the father was upset about having to put his son through this process. Also, the TSA is trying to add their side of the story without any evidence. The video is evidence for all to see. If we are going to consider TSA statements as evidence explaining what happened, then we also must take into consideration the statements of other witnesses who were there, including the film-maker who is a college student in Utah. Maybe the father will come forward and speak up as well. Don't just take the TSA's word for it. Consider the full body of evidence.

Posted by: Coullion | November 22, 2010 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Taking the Airforce one keys away and all private jet travel by Congress and the House,( currently arrogance at the public's expense) , not only makes these public servants one of us and from among us, but a living part of what is going on.


It would shut those loosey borders down tomarrow and quickly sort and deport trouble.

Posted by: dottydo | November 22, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

***simply don’t understand the rationale behind these body scanners.***

that's easy: to make millions of money for michael chertoff -- who now represents the no-touch strip search industry; and the other is to teach you to OBEY and SUBMIT.

they hate us for our freedom...

Posted by: mycomment | November 22, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse

The Bush shadow Government continuation has become an emabarrassment to not only the new administration , but to the entire FED for allowing the unConstitutional agency.

TSA frisks a kid, grandpa who swore an oath and fought for this Country while the maids and coffee services at the airports are Muslims in Berkas or illegals who ran over the borders?

Good grief.

Posted by: dottydo | November 22, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Looks like we have ex-Catholic priests working airport security now.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | November 22, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Different sets of rules for various types of citizens: John Boehner, politician, walks AROUND security. Airline pilots will no longer be subjected to this type of screening. 13 year old girls with braces on their teeth: fair game.

Posted by: readerny | November 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Different sets of rules for various types of citizens: John Boehner, politician, walks AROUND security. Airline pilots will no longer be subjected to this type of screening. 13 year old girls with braces on their teeth: fair game.

Posted by: readerny | November 22, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

what is creepy is that the TSO dressed the kid -- he should have given the shirt back to his father; especially given the father probably took the sweatshirt off so the kid wouldn't get mauled by the TSO in the first place.

Posted by: ntpierce | November 22, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

A great way to protest while complying would be to sing the National Anthem while being groped. Opt-out of scanner, comply with grope, after the grope has started in public, start singing! I think this would be great way to draw the attention of other waiting passengers and force them to think of what is happening in our "free" country.

Posted by: FWarn | November 22, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely terrible! TSA has essentially declared that we sign away our rights as citizens by entering the airport. The defense for their actions is the spat of security breaches that have taken place. The problem here is that the security breaches have occured because the TSA was not enforcing the rules already in existence and had nothing to do with a shortage of invasive protocols. The answer then is that the TSA needs to focus its attention on enforcing the existing rules. People on the "no-fly" list should not be able to actually fly! Security cameras at gate entrances should actually be able to record comings and goings! It will cost less money, be more efficient and inflame far fewer tempers that way. Otherwise this becomes an example of a government agency punishing citizens because of their own incompetence. Adding more rules simply means that there are more rules for TSA to enforce and their track record to date indicates that is not in their best interest.

Bottom line: take responsibility for doing your jobs and stop putting it on the rest of us.

Posted by: mrcook128 | November 22, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely terrible! TSA has essentially declared that we sign away our rights as citizens by entering the airport. The defense for their actions is the spat of security breaches that have taken place. The problem here is that the security breaches have occured because the TSA was not enforcing the rules already in existence and had nothing to do with a shortage of invasive protocols. The answer then is that the TSA needs to focus its attention on enforcing the existing rules. People on the "no-fly" list should not be able to actually fly! Security cameras at gate entrances should actually be able to record comings and goings! It will cost less money, be more efficient and inflame far fewer tempers that way. Otherwise this becomes an example of a government agency punishing citizens because of their own incompetence. Adding more rules simply means that there are more rules for TSA to enforce and their track record to date indicates that is not in their best interest.

Bottom line: take responsibility for doing your jobs and stop putting it on the rest of us.

Posted by: mrcook128 | November 22, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Such scanners are used in other countries. I think the Amsterdam airport was one of the first. I went through that in 2008, and I didn't think twice about it. As today's acronym goes: NBD.

The pat downs are more questionable. I don't think the boy would have been patted down if he didn't set off the metal detector or if he wasn't the random number they choose to screen. I think the father overreacted by taking his child's shirt off.

Where did the molestation stories stem from? From where did the term "security theater" originate? It seems to me that people are making mountains out of mole hills, trying to blame something else on Pres. Obama.

Like I said, I do have a problem with invasive pat-downs, but, like any President, Pres. Obama is following the advice of security advisors. Whether that's good or not, it is what presidents do, no matter what their party affiliation is.

Posted by: cartoongal | November 22, 2010 4:43 PM | Report abuse

The TSA child molesters and deviants are absolutely nauseating.

Posted by: SCOTTSCHMIDTT | November 22, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

The real lesson of the TSA and patdown | #tsapatdowns | http://tinyurl.com/22ul732

Posted by: lewisporetz | November 22, 2010 6:08 PM | Report abuse

I think the people have been unfairly critical of TSA. They want to have the security but have it for free. Well that is impossible. The proper way is to profile using various methods, but TSA's hands are bound - the moment it will start profiling there will be enormous amount of squealing.

So the only option left is to somehow randomly screen people... What else do you can TSA do???

Posted by: diligans | November 22, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

Bodies were lined up at a hospital in Phnom Penh.
Crowd Panics During Water Festival
By SETH MYDANS
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Hundreds were killed and hundreds more were injured in what the prime minister called Cambodia’s worst tragedy in decades.
The Lede: Video Shows Aftermath of Deadly Stampede

749 of 749: William Hale (hinging0) Mon 22 Nov 2010 (09:50 PM)

Cambodia role models biologic masks on TSA agents so one suicidal,
logical person cannot infect the entire airport traffic stream who
comes in contact with the infected agent(s); xref: Cholera, Avian bird
flu, etc.

So should a passenger or two refuse to let a TSA agent approach until
he, or she, dons a safe air mask? [Thn/] Video of whom patiently
waiting, and time lapse? waiting, and waiting, and waiting, until
finally?

Posted by: randomsample | November 23, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

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