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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