Video of TSA frisking 6-year-old sparks anger

Associated Press Modified: April 13, 2011 at 5:43 pm •  Published: April 13, 2011
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The chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security said he was "personally outraged and disgusted" over the girl's pat-down at Louis Armstrong International Airport.

"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, of Utah, said in a statement Wednesday.

The top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee said the head of the TSA assured him that reviewing pat-downs for children was a priority.

"I understand that TSA has an important job to do; however, subjecting our children to pat-downs must be a last resort," said Mississippi's Rep. Bennie Thompson.

Drexel said she posted the video on YouTube because she wanted to influence debate over TSA's screening policy for children. She said she took down her posting on Saturday, but others have put the video up elsewhere.

Jennifer Mitchell, a child safety advocate who watched the video, said 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, Vt., organization that works to prevent crimes against children.

Mitchell 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.

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.

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Associated Press writer Eileen Sullivan in Washington contributed to this report.