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Old April 13th, 2011, 05:55 PM
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Default Is anyone else outraged by this?

Apparently, having common sense is NOT a requirement to be hired as a TSA agent.

6 Year Old Girl Groped By TSA


What is this country coming to?
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Old April 13th, 2011, 06:01 PM
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The video has been all over the talk shows....everybody's jaw dropped on this one...the TSA said this was a modified search.... The Mother asked to go back through the scanners again too
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Old April 13th, 2011, 06:06 PM
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Here are the parents being interviewed on "Good Morning America".


Parents: TSA Supervisor Hinted... We WILL Frisk Your 6-Year ...
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Old April 13th, 2011, 10:09 PM
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The outrage should be at the terrorist who have in the past, places explosives in the clothes of children. I was very uncomfortable with the little girl having to go through that, but think of the outrage if the plane had blown up, and killed many others.

I think the TSA agent was doing her job, and did it with compassion. She probably wishes she had a job, where this was not necessary.

Sadly, the world that we once knew is gone, and probably for good. I had an 10 month old done that way. Last year you ask? No, 1988 in a German airport. If we had done this years ago, then maybe we would still have twin towers and a whole lot of people that have been lost to us.
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Old April 13th, 2011, 11:34 PM
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I have a neighbor who is currently a TSA agent . They are damned if they do and damned if they do not . I agree with Luanne on this topic .
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Old April 13th, 2011, 11:48 PM
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Back in Vietnam it was commonly known that women pretended to have babies when they were really bombs - but I don't think I know the story of a terrorist using a child to hide explosives - although the concept is not beyond comprehension.

I have to be honest, however, and say that I think this was wrong. We spend so much time telling our children how to watch out for strangers touching them that this experience had to have left the little girl feeling very confused.

Now, if the mother had said "it's OK honey because I am here and I trust this woman is a government security official" then the child probably would not have been so traumitized. The attitude of the mom didn't help any.

I DO have a problem with people acting as if the TSA doing their job is a personal imposition to them.

But the truth is I would prefer that TSA agents not go after little children unless they have a real suspicion about them. I would like to know WHY this TSA agent chose to frisk this little girl. Did she really think there might be explosives on her?
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Old April 14th, 2011, 12:24 AM
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I've no idea in this case but I once knew a Customs Inspector Supervisor at Kennedy Airport. He was in his early fifties at the time.

Mybe it's intuition, maybe it's experience or maybe a combination of both. He himself did not know. But every person he personally inspected over the last ten years of his career had something they were attempting to smuggle into this country, be it extra money, drugs, jewelry (usually that was it), something and albeit not always, it was usually significant. He said the ages and descriptions of these people fell all over over the map including virtually every ethnic group, country of origin, age group, sex, fat, skinny, whatever.

I don't know if this is still the case, but he told me inspectors found drugs on people on most flights from Jamaica and Columbia. And this was in the days before they had dogs ferreting out the drugs.

Because I have an ICD, I have to take a pat frisk and I was treated with utmost courtesy and everything was explained. Merely because I was retired law enforcement made no difference whatsoever. I would joke with them and tell them I had frisked more people than they ever would, so I'd know if they did a good job and by George, they did!

You don't even know what real security entails until you fly El Al to Israel. From the time you actually enter the terminal you are being watched and actually questioned without even knowing it by seeming strangers who appear to just be making friendly conversation. There are heavily armed security people on board whom you actually never see! If a flight to Israel is ever blown up or hijacked you can bet your last dollar it won't be an El Al plane.

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Old April 14th, 2011, 12:41 AM
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Todd...

Drugs on planes from Columbia? say it isn't so!

I'll bet you every hippie who ever went to Columbia or Thailand in the 60s had something on him somewhere - and I'll bet many customs people suspected but let them go by anyway - because they weren't a danger.

But this is TSA we are talking about (not customs) and I hope none of them think they are there to catch diamond smugglers. I want them concentrating on our homeland security, and I don't care about anyone who bought an expensive ring in Columbia (which is known for gold & emeralds) and is trying to avoid paying duty on it.

This is just another example of giving up a freedom in the name of homeland security. Was the little girl a terror suspect at all? If not they had no reason to frisk her.

I don't disagree with "random" searches, but once again, use some common sense. When was the last time they found an IED on a 6 y.o. child? I am really asking, because I think even "random" searches should be based on probability.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 01:04 AM
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This may be indelicate but the way thing's are going, I believe that a cavity search on a young child will not be un-think-able in the near future.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 04:19 AM
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I guess you missed my point, Paul.

I'm fully cognizant that the TSA and Customs have two different functions. My point was that at Some point many TSA personnel will be able to better identify threats. That is why I wrote about El Al.

Do I agree with the search of a six year old girl? Assuming there was no knowledge beyond what TSA knew at the time (meaning no underlying reason), there was absolutely no reason to search the child.

I personally believe in random frisks but I also strongly believe that since TSA is responsible for preventing terrorist attacks, that they develop a method of profiling and I have every reason to believe that this will develop over time. I know that's a "dirty word" to many but in fact, that is what my friend did at Customs and even if they don't know what it may yet entail, that such profiling based upon previous information gained from experience will prove invaluable. It's not some set of "rules" but often goes on gut experience resulting out of daily routines.

I'm again apologize for misinterpretation of my intent that I was trying to make. Evidently I could and should have explained in better detail.

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Old April 14th, 2011, 04:53 AM
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I concur with Luanne and Todd..summer is coming, lots of families with young kids flying...with all that's going on in this unstable world, we may be on an higher alert then the public knows and even thou it has drawn the scrutiny of the media, I think the TSA was doing her job (as best she could considering the circumstances) and sends the message to terrorists that we will search our children, so hopefully our children will not be identified as possible carriers for our enemies
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Old April 14th, 2011, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Motter View Post
But the truth is I would prefer that TSA agents not go after little children unless they have a real suspicion about them. I would like to know WHY this TSA agent chose to frisk this little girl. Did she really think there might be explosives on her?
Whilst agreeing, the problem that I can see with that is the number of people who would soon be screaming of victimisation and trying to sue on those grounds ...
"Why did you pick on me & not the person in front / behind? By picking on me you have identified that you believe me to of dubious character and therefore of some suspicion when you have no reason for this."

If this child had been selected at random because they were the next in line after the TSA became avaiable, or were the 20th person through, then so be it. But for all our safety the TSA no doubt closely guard the rules of selection so that genuine cases cannot work the rules to gain access.

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Old April 14th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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I am of two minds on all of this. First, it is undoubtedly true that we're always fighting the last war (or in this case, the last terror threat). I can't understand a personal search of a child without what the cops call "probable cause," especially when the plane cleaners, food service workers and the like are all coming in through a gate on the other side of the field with essentially no security checks at all. Similarly, pilots still have to go through the same drill as passengers, even though the LAST thing they need to bring down a plane is a freakin' bomb (assuming they wanted to, which they don't). That's thousands and thousands of screenings a day for people who've had 15-year very serious background checks done on them before they're given a crack at a job, who have more laser-encoded ID badges hanging around their necks than a White House staffer, who are subject to random drug tests, and who, when all is said and done, are just trying to go to work. The TSA admits that it's certainly possible to have a database of all pilots (and their employment status) linked to fingerprint machines or retinal scan machines. But they just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Some of you know that one of our kids is an airline captain, and I always laugh at the story he told us back when the post 9/11 panic included a ban on simple nail clippers. One day he accidently went to the airport with one of those horrible weapons in his pocket and was busted at security. He said to the TSA guy, "OK, you got me. But I want you to think about something: in five minutes I'm going to sit down next to a fire axe." He's got a million stories like that, as do most people who have to confront the TSA every day as part of making a living. What these people learned very quickly is that the TSA has never fulfilled its promise of being consistent with its policies nationwide; of operating equipment that is consistently accurate (it's out of whack often); of being consistently civil and compassionate to the passengers and airport staff that they "serve and protect." Yes, some of their people are good, and there's validity to the "damned if you do and damned if you don't" argument. But there's a long way to go systemwide before they earn the respect they think they're entitled to. Believe me, airport workers have a "book" on which TSA people are decent and which are jerks, which metal detectors chronically don't beep, and which beep even if you don't have any metal at all, and on and on.

On the other hand, the TSA is still better than nothing, I guess. This was brought home to me in Egypt not long ago when we were boarding a quick domestic hop in Cairo. Long story short, they issued our boarding passes without ever checking our passports (honest). At the gate they collected the boarding passes by sliding them out of our passports without even opening them. I could go on, but the bottom line was that we were sashaying around the sky in the Middle East on an EgyptAir 737 full of people whose IDs hadn't been looked at. Talk about the polar opposite of El Al just across the way. Yikes. I almost never feel uncomfortable on a plane, but I was happy to get on the ground that day.

But I do have a lot of compassion for the little kid. It doesn't appear that there was any overriding reason to do that. Terry has two metal knees (and as of a couple weeks ago a metal shoulder to go with them), so she gets the "preferred" treatment most of the time. She's used to it, but she doesn't care for it. It's also how we know that sometimes the equipment is out of whack. Sometimes it doesn't beep even though she's full of metal. We just laugh and move on.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 09:46 AM
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I've no idea in this case but I once knew a Customs Inspector Supervisor at Kennedy Airport. He was in his early fifties at the time.

Mybe it's intuition, maybe it's experience or maybe a combination of both. He himself did not know. But every person he personally inspected over the last ten years of his career had something they were attempting to smuggle into this country, be it extra money, drugs, jewelry (usually that was it), something and albeit not always, it was usually significant. He said the ages and descriptions of these people fell all over over the map including virtually every ethnic group, country of origin, age group, sex, fat, skinny, whatever.

I don't know if this is still the case, but he told me inspectors found drugs on people on most flights from Jamaica and Columbia. And this was in the days before they had dogs ferreting out the drugs.

Because I have an ICD, I have to take a pat frisk and I was treated with utmost courtesy and everything was explained. Merely because I was retired law enforcement made no difference whatsoever. I would joke with them and tell them I had frisked more people than they ever would, so I'd know if they did a good job and by George, they did!

You don't even know what real security entails until you fly El Al to Israel. From the time you actually enter the terminal you are being watched and actually questioned without even knowing it by seeming strangers who appear to just be making friendly conversation. There are heavily armed security people on board whom you actually never see! If a flight to Israel is ever blown up or hijacked you can bet your last dollar it won't be an El Al plane.

Todd
My best friend is a retired Customs Inspector who was stationed at Kennedy Airport .He has told me many times about people of all ages who have attempted to smuggle drugs into this country .He was the arresting office in a celebrated drug smuggling case in the 80's of 4 young women who flew into JFK from Bolivia .
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Old April 14th, 2011, 11:17 AM
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I have mixed feelings on this.

I watched the video and I fail to see what could be deemed as groping. I don't have issue with how the inspection was carried out; just that it need to be carried out AT ALL.

I understand what Luanne is saying, and I agree. But there has to be some "common sense" or "profiling" to say this chilld looks like risk.



I guess I have strong feelings because my 3 year old was just subject to a "detailed inspection". He did not trigger any warnings (i.e. metal dectector) other than some random signal bell that tracks every X people through the scanner.

I asked to be subtstituted for him - no go. Like Paul said, I was the mother that over-reacted and made a big deal; but come-on, a 3 year old boy obviously returning from holidays with his normal looking family? My son was patted down and finger-tip swabbed. I know my son is a close to genius, but he's not capable of building bombs. So why the finger tip swab? It's ridiculous, if you ask me. My husband was much more calm and rational, he and put some super-hero spin on it, so my son would not get worried. I will state that at first they wanted to take my son by himself. We insisted that we be allowed to supervise, and they allowed my husband to go in.

I've seen little old ladies go through the nth level of security, whereas the next guy in line "looks" like a terrorist and is let through no problem.

I've mentioned before that I am of Indian descent. While I look to be of more Hispanic descent (at least in my younger years!); my brothers look more typicallly East Indian. One brother in particular looks like he could be of middle eastern descent. With his bald head and full beard, he looks somewhere between a "brown" castro and a terrorist. He frequently travels for business (1-2 times per week) and has NEVER been subject to a detailed security check. He tells me stories of how the little old lady in front gets flagged, and he walks right through. He even jokingly admits that he probably looks like a terrorist and should be checked be checked by TSA. In his eyes, if they are not checking him for fear of profiling, who else are they letting through that really is a terrorist. Random, just doesn't cut it.

It reminds me of a trip we took over the boarder in our early twenties. There were several of us in the car; and Indian, a Thai, a Filipino, a Vietnamese and a white guy. Who do you think got hassled for his ID? I think the border agent was so fearful of being accused of racism, that he targeted the white guy.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 01:47 PM
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Queen..with that combination I would have questioned the White guy alsomy smooth jazz cruising cabinmate lives in a suburb of Detroit which has a large Arab population and she often shares about the obstacles they encounter when she goes shopping with her friend who is of an Arabic background

this situation with the TSA screening will be addressed and modified processes put in place..it's picking up alot of local press here in New Orleans but a much different perspective from the national media spin

today is that situation..tomorrow it will be something else
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Old April 14th, 2011, 07:35 PM
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If you're going to pat down a little 6 year old girl, what's wrong with profiling!!!

Why are we so scared of offending some group when the said group are the ones who are doing all the major damage???

Let's start with profiling and go down from there ... not the other way around.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 08:16 PM
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I just returned from a trip from SW Florida to JFK with my 88-year old mother-in-law. She was thoroughly (embarassingly so) searched at Fort Myers, while her wheel-chair pusher and I observed. I felt she was groped more than she had ever been in her married life of 63 years or had I been in my 43 years of marriage! Then, upon our return from NY, she was again singled out (I must say with 4 other ladies) for inspection including the hand-wipe deal with the pads. What's up with this? When I asked her if she had been asked if she could walk through the scanner, she said that she felt a little "dizzy" and opted to have the pat-down. I told her that I would have crawled through the scanner rather than be so invasively examined. I was appalled at the groping down her pants, etc. I am all for security, but there should be some practical thoughts. Am I wrong?

I must state that I was never stopped during either trip.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 09:05 PM
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I am all for security, but there should be some practical thoughts. Am I wrong?
No, of course you're not wrong. As I said earlier, you've got to remember that these people are not usually the sharpest knives in the drawer, and they're working under a crushing bureaucracy that sends them often conflicting signals about what to do. Still, they're better than the rent-a-cops we had before 9/11 in that at least we demand fluency in English. If you remember, that wasn't part of the deal with the rent-a-cops.

As for screening people who don't meet the profile, it happens all the time because we're so mortified of being accused of profiling, which any security, customs or police officer will tell you they do all the time (if they're honest). So they have to make a show of frisking Granny to avoid accusations.

Now, I trust that your mother-in-law doesn't have any moving metal parts inside her (you said she had a wheelchair), because if she does, she can count on getting either the scan or the frisk every time (well, every time the metal detectors are working right, anyway). That's just the way it is.

In fact I laughed over the hoidays during the initial dust-up about the more "vigorous" frisk routine, when Transportation Secretary LaHood (another guy who's never gotten a Final Jeopardy question right) proclaimed that we shouldn't worry because only 3% of passengers have to suffer the indignities. Of course what he didn't say is that some individuals like my wife will be selected for this honor virtually 100% of the time.

You, and your mother-in-law will just have to weigh the cost-benefit of going through this vs. getting to your destination at 500+mph. Because despite all the noises about customer service, this situation ain't gonna get any better. History tells us that it will continue to get worse as we react and over-react to every nuance of every new threat.

As long as your mother-in-law doesn't have any metal parts, chances are it was a fluke that she got stopped twice in a row. Keep flyin', keep smilin'.
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Old April 14th, 2011, 09:10 PM
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Skipper's Mom,

All I can tell you is my experience in Orlando and Knoxville. I was treated with utmost courtesy. Even though I'm a retired law enforcement officer I was not given any slack (which really impressed me). Every move they made was fully explained in advance (i.e.: the pat frisk of private areas would be done with the back of the hand, etc.).

I certainly, however, see your point. However, I can't condemn their methodology because we don't know what it is. It probably does have flaws but remember, the family is looking upon all of this as, well, family. Those doing the job are in effect, following orders.

As an example, a few months ago there was an elderly man who boarded a flight in China to the US. Mid flight he went to the restroom and came out a man in his 20's! It was a world class make-up ruse to escape communist China. I shall tell you this and that is you too would have sworn it was an 85 year old.

Please don't accept the above as a justification to what happened to your mother but rather to offer some possible reasons why it was done.

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Old April 14th, 2011, 11:24 PM
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I still believe there is tighter security at the canadian borders than at the airports .
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Old April 15th, 2011, 03:46 AM
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I am sure the parents were outraged at the search of their dhild and I am sorry it had to happen. However, searches are a fact of life these days. We all know that a terrorist would not think twice about wiring a child to blow a plane full of people to H***. It is life as we know it, sad but true.

Laura
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Old April 15th, 2011, 03:30 PM
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I am sure the parents were outraged at the search of their dhild and I am sorry it had to happen. However, searches are a fact of life these days. We all know that a terrorist would not think twice about wiring a child to blow a plane full of people to H***. It is life as we know it, sad but true.

Laura

True, but, the child does not travel alone; they travel with family. There needs to be consideration for other profiling factors. Granted, we can't always predict what a terrorist will look like but there are other cues like accents, nationality, behaviour. I'm fine with my brother being flagged for security everytime because he looks like a terrorist, but that just doesn't happen;, which means that other people who look terrorists (9/11 bombers come to mine) are given a free pass through security.

Forgive me, for I am not a bomb expert, but if a bomb is strapped to a child, wouldn't this be picked up with the child walks through the scanner? Is the purpose of a pat-down to find concealed bombs or concealed weapons?
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Old April 16th, 2011, 05:31 AM
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I feel sorry for the TSA - they can't win!

I accept it as a condition of air travel that I could be subject to a pat-down and/or scanner.

On a recent flight via Amsterdam, their scanner machines picked up I had left a packet of tissues in a trouser pocket - fair play. I was then subject to a pat-down.

All travellers should be treated equally irrespective of age, mobility etc .

If you are not happy with the prospect of scanners and possibly pat-downs, simple solution is don't fly!

Believe me TSA checks are a walk in the park compared to some countries.

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Old April 16th, 2011, 08:45 AM
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My take is that if you want to fly safely you need to adhere to all regulations.
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Old April 16th, 2011, 10:30 AM
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Annie, my beef is not with the how the process works per se; it is more with who is subject to the process. Innocent people are subject to the "process" like my 3 year old, and others who should be targetted based on profiling, are breezed right through.
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