Facing outrage after a video surfaced online of a Transportation Security Agency (TSA) worker performing the new enhanced pat-down techniques on a six-year-old girl, TSA defended its decision in a statement Wednesday.
“Some folks are asking if the proper procedures were followed. Yes. TSA has reviewed the incident and the security officer in the video followed the current standard operating procedures,” a TSA spokesman wrote on the agency’s official blog.
Six-year-old Anna Drexel was flagged to undergo an extra screening procedure at the New Orleans airport earlier this month that required an agent to place her fingers inside the rim of her pants, run her hands across her chest and lap, and press her hands up the inside of her leg until she felt “resistance.” Drexel’s parents videotaped the procedure and posted it on the Internet later.
They have asked the TSA to change their techniques for screening.
“We struggle to teach our kids to protect themselves, to say ‘no, it’s not okay to touch me in this way in this area,’” Drexel’s mother, Selena, told ABC News.
The author of the TSA statement, who goes by the name “Blogger Bob,” said that TSA is looking into “assessing less invasive screening methods for low-risk populations” like little girls traveling with their parents.
The agency began using the intimate screenings last year, combined with new technology that allows agents to see items underneath a passenger’s clothing.