Controversy has generated a YouTube video showing an airport security officer in New Orleans giving a detailed, full-body search to a 6 year-old girl; the TSA calls it an approved "modified pat-down".
The girl's father, Todd Drexel, recorded the video because the intensity of the search, which took place on April 5, caused him deep disgust. He said that although his daughter Anna was quiet during the pat down, following the contentious check for weapons she was very confused and began to cry and wonder what she had done wrong and why a stranger touched her that way.
The video shows a female airport security officer meticulously searching Anna in the security area of the air terminal. The security officer goes as far as touching her groin and buttocks.
Selena Drexel, Anna's mother, said her daughter was confused and argues that this sort of extreme frisking is inappropriate for children because they're regularly told not to allow adults touch them in sensitive areas.
"I asked them to replace the frisking by an alternative, such as going again through the scanner, but they refused," said Mrs. Drexel.
The girl's parents asked that these procedures be changed, especially in the case of small children.
The administration of airport security at New Orleans upheld the extreme search carried out by its staff. "The Transportation Security Administration has reviewed the incident and determined that the officer followed “existing protocols” for performing a "modified" pat-down, used on children under 12," they said according to a NYDailyNews report.
However, the TSA spokesman acknowledged that the agency is "reviewing its policies and scanning procedures" to improve on this matter, especially for "young passengers."