Video: TSA revising screening for kids

  1. Closed captioning of: TSA revising screening for kids

    >>> the government now says it's working on revising airport screening procedures for children after this video of a 6-year-old getting patted down went viral. the female screener does a routine pat-down running her ? hands around the inside of the girl's waistband explaining every step in advance as the child's mother watches. still, her mom calls the process groping. the tsa says the agent followed proper procedures. charlie is director of the consumer travel alliance. as you see this and watch this, i'll admit it made me a little uncomfortable. do you think the tsa agent went too far?

    >> the tsa agent did her job. unfortunately, tsa is going too far with these kind of pat-downs by making this part of the protocol. they're offering parents no good choice, either carry your child through whole body scanner that could hit you and zap you with radiation and other kinds of electromagnetic sources or you have to go and have your kid felt up by a tsa agent. we're stuck with a choice which is terrible. it's a real the lem ma f -- dilemma for a lot of parents. tsa worry it's a dilemma for them. they worry if they start exchanging the rules for certain people, that provides an opening for the terrorists. do they have a point?

    >> you might say they have a point. i don't think there's been one instance, even in war zone , where they've taken babies in and young 6 year-olds and loaded them up with bombs. the terrorists love allah but they love their families and children as well. later on when the children get older, it's a different story. when they have this kind of situation, i don't see it really applies. this is an example that spills over to other areas of tsa, such as now still taking away small little pen knives and box cutters and so on. these are rules that were put into effect years ago when the cockpits were not yet hardened. all the reasons for that kind of search is gone. so -- the reasons for having tsa search a 6-year-old, i don't know where that came from. they're just doing that in order to ? not profile, guess. i really don't understand it.

    >> charlie leocha. they are re-examining

NBC, and news services
updated 4/15/2011 12:27:08 PM ET 2011-04-15T16:27:08

A Kentucky couple wants the TSA to change how it screens children after their 6-year-old daughter was frisked at the New Orleans airport.

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Selena Drexel told ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday the family was returning home from a vacation earlier this month when their daughter Anna was selected for a pat-down. She said she asked for her daughter to be re-scanned, but was refused.

"We struggle to teach our kids to protect themselves, to say, 'No, it's not OK to touch me in this way in this area,' " Selena Drexel told the network.

TODAY Moms: How to prepare kids for an airport security screening

The incident drew attention and outrage after the Drexels posted a video of the search on YouTube.

The girl's father, Todd Drexel, said Anna was confused by the search and started crying afterward because she thought she'd done something wrong.

Selena Drexel says such searches are inappropriate for children because they're usually told not to let adults touch them in sensitive areas. She said she posted the video because she "had a very bad feeling that what happened was wrong."

In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration says the officer followed proper procedure but that the agency is reviewing its screening policies for "low-risk populations, such as young passengers." The statement says the agency is exploring ways to "move beyond a one-size fits all system."

TSA screeners are instructed to use a "modified" pat down for children 12 and younger, according to the agency's website.

Vote: Should kids get frisked at the airport?

A congressman whose subcommittee oversees national security issues said he was "personally outraged and disgusted" over the security pat-down.

"This conduct is in clear violation of TSA's explicit policy not to conduct thorough pat-downs on children under the age of 13," Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, said in a statement Wednesday.

Jennifer Mitchell, a child safety advocate, said after viewing the YouTube video that the pat-down seemed "a little invasive."

"This is a hard issue because we have national security on one hand... and children's safety on the other," said Mitchell, co-president of Child Lures Prevention, a Shelburne, Vermont, organization that works to prevent crimes against children.

Mitchell said she knows families who have declined to fly because they don't want their children frisked. She recommended that parents tell children before going to the airport that they may get a pat-down.

But children should be told "the only reason it would be allowed is the parents are right there, the clothes are not being removed, the parents are watching to make sure it's done OK," Mitchell said.

Story: Whistle-blowing witch grounded by TSA

Martin Macpherson, the director of the London-based Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, said he is not aware of instances when terrorists have used children as young as six in an attack.

NBC's Pete Williams reported that while the TSA didn't want to exempt an entire category of people from pat-downs, the agency's boss John Pistole wanted to move away from the one-size-fits-all system and improving screening of low-risk passengers such as children.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Vote: Vote: Should kids get frisked at the airport?