November 22nd, 2010
11:03 AM ET

Pat-down backlash grows during holiday travel rush

Catherine E. Shoichet

As backlash against airline passenger pat-downs intensified with a viral online video, the nation's top airline security official said Monday that his agency is walking a fine line between privacy concerns and public safety.

A short video clip circulating on the internet shows a shirtless boy receiving a pat-down from a Transportation Security Administration agent. His father watches, hands on his hips, obstructing part of the view. But the words playing in the background are clear. "Are they harassing a kid?" one man asks. "It's ridiculous," another voice chimes in. "Unbelievable."

Finance student Luke Tait said he started recording the incident with his cell phone when he saw the "visibly upset" father while waiting in line Friday at the airport in Salt Lake City, Utah. "It was an interesting situation. I never saw a little boy with his shirt off getting a pat-down," Tait told CNN. TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird said screeners searched the child after he set off a metal detector alarm.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Cara St.Louis-Farrelly

    Thank God somebody picked that up. I wanted to send the link. This is nothing less than government sanctioned child molesting and I would rather stop flying than allow a public humiliation and degradation of my child. Really, President Obama? Are you going to let this go by? Would you let this happen to your child?

    November 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm |
  2. Pat

    I am just wondering if members of Congress, the Supreme Court and the Executive branch are required to go through the full body scan - or submit to a pat down.

    As long as EVERYONE has to abide by the same rules, I can live with it, but if not, I think they should.

    Also, what happens for people on chartered, private flights? I know they use a different gate, but are they subject to the same screening procedures?

    November 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
  3. jenny

    Up until now I have felt that what ever keeps the plane flying is just fine. The pat downs that are so agresasive that the seperate the gentlemans colostomy bag was unnesessary and abusive. My Grandmother had a coloctomy bag and I remember how sensitive she was to the chnace of it leaking. The lady with the prosrtetic breast broke my heart. My father in law lost his leg and eventually his life to bone cancer. I cannot imagine the humiliation eithr of the would have felt to have been violated in this manner. This is not keeping us safe it is giving a bunch of thugs a taste of power and they are abusing it. Fortuntely I do not have to fly to get to my family for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

    November 22, 2010 at 2:41 pm |
  4. Denise

    In reference to the TSA pat-downs, the procedures and policies are inconsistent. I also don't hear anyone talk about the business traveler who is subjected to these pat-downs numerous times a week (my husband has had a knee replacement so, therefore, is constantly molested). Most of the times I have traveled with him recently the body scanner machines have not even been on to give him the option of not being groped.

    Why do we not hear about how the "ramp employees" at the airports do not go through any pat downs or scanning at all?

    Again we the public have to be subjected to it every time we fly. Why don't these employees who have total access to an aircraft have the same rules?

    November 22, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  5. adam

    I was going through a major US airport on the east cost and an old TSA woman told me to strip to nothing but underwear. I was 18 at the time when I refused and asked If I could call my parents she told me I had no human rights she said that I have no choice. When I asked her to send me back to Canada where I am from she laughed at me and called me a wimp. I felt like i was raped and will never travel to US again. In fact my dad lives there and begs me to come but im soo terrorized I cant bear my self to go.
    I really hope that children and minors are not molested as I was clearly I was violated. Touched in places I did'nt want to be touched and she told me to enjoy it. Very painful memory and I am considering legal action against TSA. Anyway I want to thank you guys for your great coverage.

    November 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm |