Geek Out

Why Was This Boy Strip-Searched At Airport Security?

This is getting way out of hand: The TSA wanted to pat down this little boy, who first went through the metal detector without setting it off. Here’s what happened, as told by the person who filmed this video:

This video was filmed at Salt Lake City International Airport on November 19 around noon.

Before the video started the boy went through a metal detector and, while he didn’t set it off, he was selected for a pat down. The boy was shy so the TSA couldn’t complete the full pat on the young boy. The father tried several times to just hold the boys arms out for the TSA agent but i guess it didn’t end up being enough for the guy. I was about 30 ft away so i couldn’t hear their conversation if there was any. The enraged father pulled his son shirt off and gave it to the TSA agent to search, that’s when this video begins.

After I finished videotaping the incident I went through the check point myself. I collected my things and went over to talk to the father and son. Before I could get to them a man in a black suit who had been talking with the other TSA officials approached me. He asked to speak to me and I obliged, wondering what was to come. He then proceeded to interrogate me about why I was videotaping the “procedures of the TSA”. I told him that I had never seen such practices before on a young child and decided to record it.

The man being frustrated at this point demanded to know my plans with the video, of which I didn’t respond. Repeatedly he asked me to delete the video, hoping his mere presence could intimidate me to obey, but I refused. By this point it became obvious that he felt TSA had done something wrong and that I caught it on tape. After the interview, I left for my gate. I called my brother who told me I should put the tape on YouTube because this had been a recent hot topic in the news.

My gate was a long way off, but about 15 minutes after arriving 2 TSA agents came and sat 15 feet or so away from me. I stood up and moved so that they were in front of me and then took a picture. A 3rd and then a 4th agent came and sat down with the others. They would occasionally glance at me and talk on their walkie-talkies. I don’t know why they were there or if it was a huge coincidence but they stayed for 30-45 minutes and left just before I boarded the plan. Interesting to say the least, intimidating? Maybe a little…

So not only the TSA is getting crazy, but they are also trying to intimidate people recording their practices.

Update: The TSA has admitted the incident in an official statement, but they claim that no claims have been filed by the father:

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.

They don’t explain why a little boy needed extra screening after passing the metal detector. That’s the crucial question here: Why do these policies seem so arbitrary? [YouTube via Drudge Report]


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