Parents Livid over Airport Pat Down of 6-Year-Old

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An airport security pat down of a 6-year-old girl is raising more questions about the methods used to screen passengers.

The Drexel family was going through security in the New Orleans airport, headed home to Bowling Green, Ky., from a vacation.

"And for some reason, Anna was selected for a pat down," the girl's mother Selena Drexel recalled. "I can only speculate as to why. I didn't get a lot of information."

Mrs. Drexel asked for her daughter to be re-screened through the metal detector, but was refused.

"And not verbally, but in no uncertain terms. Apparently the TSA supervisor is very skilled in non-verbal communication, letting me know there would be trouble if I caused a fuss," she said.

The Drexels recorded video of the pat down and posted the footage on YouTube.

"Afterwards, she broke down crying because she really didn't understand what she had done wrong," Anna's father, Todd Drexel, said. "And so we were really struggling with how (to) explain this."

He added that he and his wife had taught their daughter it was not appropriate for anyone to touch her private areas.

"Now she's been pat down in a public setting, in an airport," he said.

The Drexel incident is the latest in a long line of complaints about the Transportation Security Administration's treatment of children and other passengers.

Last year, Harry Leibowitz's artificial hips set off airport metal detectors.

"They grabbed my leg like this and my pants came right down there around my ankles," he said. "Right there in full view of everyone in the airport."

TSA workers reviewed the video of Anna's pat down and said the security agent behaved properly. But the Drexels want changes.

"There needs to be different screening procedures, especially for children," Selena Drexel said. "And if we don't find other ways, we're making them more vulnerable to people that would harm them in that manner."

Homeland Security officials said they'll review the way children are screened. Meanwhile, many Americans will continue to ask how such random pat downs help prevent the U.S. from terrorist attacks.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.