How Much Worse Is It Supposed to Get Before We Can Shut Down the TSA?

by Pejman Yousefzadeh on April 25, 2012

I ask, because I cannot imagine a story more appalling than this one:

The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.

The incident has been garnering increasing media and online attention since the child’s mother, Michelle Brademeyer of Montana, detailed the ordeal in a public Facebook post last week. The Transportation Security Administration is defending its agents, despite new procedures aimed at reducing pat-downs of children.

The child’s grandmother, Lori Croft, told The Associated Press that Brademeyer and her daughter, Isabella, initially passed through security at the Wichita airport without incident. The girl then ran over to briefly hug Croft, who was awaiting a pat-down after tripping the alarm, and that’s when TSA agents insisted the girl undergo a physical pat-down.

Isabella had just learned about “stranger danger” at school, her grandmother said, adding that the girl was afraid and unsure about what was going on.

“She started to cry, saying ‘No I don’t want to,’ and when we tried talking to her she ran,” Croft said. “They yelled, ‘We are going to shut down the airport if you don’t grab her.’”

But she said the family’s main concern was the lack of understanding from TSA agents that they were dealing with a 4-year-old child, not a terror suspect.

“There was no common sense and there was no compassion,” Croft said. “That was our biggest fault with the whole thing — not that they are following security procedures, because I understand that they have to do that.”

Or maybe this story is more appalling:

The Transportation Security Administration is once again the subject of national scrutiny, this time after aggressively screening a 7-year-old female passenger with cerebral palsy which caused her family to miss their flight.

The girl, identified as Dina Frank in a report by The Daily, was waiting with her family on Monday to board a flight departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York headed to Florida.

Since Dina walks with the aid of leg braces and crutches, she cannot pass through airport metal detectors, and must instead submit to a pat-down by TSA agents.

Dina, who is also reportedly developmentally disabled, is usually frightened by the procedure. Her family reportedly requests that agents on hand take the time to introduce themselves to her.

However, the agents on duty at the time began to handle her aggressively instead.

Air travel is difficult to the family due to Dina’s disabilities, but the nature of Monday’s inspection was especially traumatic for the child.

Maybe the fact that the TSA also decided to assault a congressman will ensure that the agency is finally called to account. But really, the TSA ought to have been raked over the coals well before this.

  • ◀ Jim ▶

    Of ALL the federal government agencies I detest, the TSA is FAR at the top of my list.  F A R! 

    What I DON’T understand is how parents stand by and watch their kids being molested by perverts and terrorized by those supposed to be preventing terrorists. 

    What I DON’T understand is how people stand like sheep allowing themselves to be molested by the perverts.

    What happened to a person’s self esteem?

  • David Friedman

    What strikes me about the TSA is not these particular cases, which might be due to faults of individual agents. It’s the fact that the agency as a whole clearly does not care whether its agents pilfer or vandalize the luggage they are permitted to open and search.

    How do I know that? The obvious way of discouraging such behavior would be for the note left in a searched suitcase to identify in some way the agent who searched it. That way, if there were multiple complaints pointing at the same agent, the agency could investigate and take action. TSA has been going for more than a decade now, and still has not taken that obvious and inexpensive precaution. The most plausible explanation is that not only do they not care, they would prefer not to know which agents are responsible for such incidents, since if they knew they might have to do something about it.

    On one recent trip, my wife and I noticed that the searched luggage note in one of our bags did include a number identifying the agent. Looking at it more closely, we discovered that it was not from TSA but from a private firm that had been subcontracted for that airport.

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