You may have heard in the news about an elderly woman who is stating she was strip searched at New York's JFK airport by TSA officers. TSA contacted the passenger to apologize that she feels she had an unpleasant screening experience; however, TSA does not include strip searches in its protocols and a strip search did not occur in this case. We're currently gathering information and reviewing the screening of this passenger, but we wanted to share what we know so far.
A review of CCTV indicates the passenger opted out of advanced imaging technology and requested a pat-down. It is TSA’s policy that screening procedures are conducted in a manner that treats all passengers with dignity, respect and courtesy.
CCTV shows that the passenger arrived at the ticket counter at 12:19 p.m. for her 1 p.m. scheduled flight which left early at 12:50 p.m.
She entered the checkpoint line in a wheelchair, walker in hand.
The passenger opted out of advanced imaging technology screening, requested a pat-down and told the officers that she was wearing a back brace or support belt which required private screening.
Private screening was conducted by two female officers. The item was removed, rescreened, and the passenger was cleared for travel. Nothing unusual was depicted on the CCTV as the passenger and two female officers entered and exited the room. The wheelchair attendant assisted the passenger in departing the checkpoint area for the gate.
Terrorists remain focused on attacking transportation through tactics such as concealing explosives under clothing. Further, as evidenced by the Christmas Day 2009 attempted bombing, concealed anomalies under clothing must continue to be resolved and cleared as part of the screening process to ensure the item does not pose a threat to the safety of the traveling public. Terrorists and their targets may also range in age. Read here about a group of elderly men who were planning on using toxic ricin against U.S. citizens, U.S government and officials.
TSA Blog Team
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