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Former Miss USA feels 'violated' by TSA pat-down

/ Source: msnbc.com

Just weeks after a video was released showing a TSA agent patting down a 6-year-old, another video has surfaced of a very upset former Miss USA after a pat-down at the Dallas-Forth Worth International Airport. In the video, Susie Castillo says a TSA agent touched her "vagina" four times during a pat-down.

"I'm crying because I'm really upset that as an American, I have to go through this. I do feel violated. ... I completely feel violated," Castillo said in a video of the April 21 incident which was posted on her blog and on YouTube.

Castillo said the pat-down resulted after she deliberately stood in a security checkpoint line that lacked full-body scanners because she "didn't want to be radiated on" any more than she normally is from her frequent travel and from everyday life.

Transportation Security Administration agents can request a pat-down of passengers that set off metal detectors or who opt out of going through the full-body scanners, which have also been a polarizing issue for air travelers. The agency said that less than 3 percent of passengers require pat-downs as part of secondary screening.

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Castillo's complaint about TSA agents' actions is among the latest in a recent string: Parents complained after a TSA agent patted down a six-year-old in New Orleans; a man at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., airport said a security officer put their hands down his pants; and a father at a Tennessee airport became upset after a search was conducted on his 3-year-old daughter.

As a frequent air traveler, the former beauty queen said she knows that pat-downs are inevitable. Castillo, who had just flown back to the United States after being in Brazil, said she went through a pat-down at a checkpoint at the Los Angeles International Airport before she flew out of the country. But her experience at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport was different.

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"To say that I felt invaded is an understatement," she wrote in her blog. "What bothered me most was when she ran the back of her hands down my behind, felt around my breasts, and even came in contact with my vagina! Honestly, I was in shock, especially since the woman at LAX never actually touched me there. The TSA employee at DFW touched private area 4 times, going up both legs from behind and from the front, each time touching me there. Was I at my gynecologist’s office? No! This was crazy! I felt completely helpless and violated during the entire process (in fact, I still do), so I became extremely upset."

Castillo, who was Miss USA 2003 and was a former MTV VJ, said she talked with a TSA supervisor and filed a complaint on a comment card, online and via email.

The TSA has reviewed Castillo's complaint and "found that the officer followed proper procedures."

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In a statement, Kristen Lee of the TSA's public affairs office said: "We welcome feedback and comments on the screening procedures from the traveling public as we are constantly evaluating and adapting our security measures, and are always seeking to strike the right balance between privacy and security while providing the security that the American people want and deserve."

In an update on her blog, Castillo wrote: "My work requires me to travel often, and I don't want to be degraded and driven to tears (or go through those dangerous body scanners) every time I fly. If I could, I would boycott airline travel altogether, but that would mean I wouldn't work."