TSA agent pulls down dress to expose the breasts of 17-year-old niece of US Congressman
- Rep Ralph Hall of Texas says TSA ‘badly mistreated’ his gran-niece and wants officer fired from at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Georgia
- The girl was part of a group traveling to Australia from Southwest Christian school two years ago
A U.S. Congressman has instigated a federal investigation of the TSA today after his teenage niece had her breasts exposed during a security pat-down.
Representative Ralph Hall of Texas said his gran-niece, 17, was ‘badly mistreated’ when she had her dress pulled down during security screening at an airport.
The young woman was part of a group of pupils traveling from Southwest Christian School, Texas to Australia.
Close: Young women are patted down by the TSA at Orlando International Airport (stock image). A U.S. congressman has expressed outrage over his niece’s treatment by the TSA after her breasts were exposed
Scrutiny: Hartsfield-Jackson Airport where the 17-year-old had her breasts exposed while going through security
The Congressman wants the agent who touched his niece fired from Hartsfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta, Georgia.
In a statement to MailOnline today, the TSA said: ‘We regret that the incident of more than two years ago was one that caused embarrassment to the young lady, however, an investigation concluded that the event was accidental.’
MailOnline was awaiting a response from Mr Hall’s press office in D.C.
The senator for Georgia, Saxby Chambliss, has also contacted the TSA in his state about ‘potentially invasive screenings’.
The incident involving Mr Hall’s gran-niece happened two years ago but has just come to light under the Freedom of Information Act after it was caught on CCTV.
A Transportation Security Administration report said ‘during the pat-down of her stomach area’ the straps of the girl’s dress slipped and her breasts were exposed, according to wsbtv.
The agency, which is continually criticized for increased numbers of pat-downs, said the officer was given more training and apologized.
Solange Knowles tweeted her outrage last week after claiming that TSA officers at Miami airport searched her afro for explosives.
Outrage: Rep Ralph Hall of Texas wants a federal investigation into the TSA after his niece, 17 had her breasts exposed during pat-down
Intrusive: There have been thousands of complaints made to the TSA over their airport search procedures
The DJ wrote ‘I kid you not. This just happened to me’, and posted a link to a news article about a woman who was left humiliated after a hair pat-down at the Hartsfield-Jackson International airport in Atlanta, last year.
Ms Knowles, Beyoncé’s sister, later said: ‘Discrim-FRO-nation… My hair is not a storage drawer… Lets play a little game called: What did TSA find in Solange’s Fro?’
FLYING IN THE FACE OF DIGNITY? THE TSA AIRPORT RULES
According to the TSA, there is a strict process regarding pat-downs. The close body search occurs if passengers cannot or choose not to go through imaging technology or metal detector. The rules state:
- Pat-downs must be carried out by an officer of same gender
- Travelers can ask to be screened in private and this should be offered if the search involves sensitive body areas
- At least two TSA employees must be present during private screening and the passenger can bring a companion
- A seat should be available if a passenger needs
- The passenger should let the TSA know if there are painful areas on their body and thus be treated with according sensitivity. They should not be asked to remove clothing from this area
The passenger Ms Knowles was referring to was hairdresser Isis Brantley.
She was stopped at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last year after she had passed a scanning device.
As she travelled down an escalator, she claims she heard someone yell: ‘Hey you, hey you, ma’am, stop. Stop – the lady with the hair, you.’
Two TSA agents told her she could not go any further until they checked her hair for explosives, said Miss Brantley, of Dallas, Texas.
Reluctantly she allowed them to do it and the TSA staff patted her hair down right there instead of asking to return to a private area for screening.
‘And so she started patting my hair, and I was in tears at that point,’ Miss Brantley told NBC News. ‘And she was digging in my scalp.’
In a separate incident last month, a Boston woman claimed TSA agents walked off with thousands of dollars’ worth of jewellery from her luggage.
Terri Ivester said an agent at Logan International Airport, who stopped her at a security checkpoint, took the bag, and returned it with the jewellery missing.
Offended: Solange Knowles tweeted that her afro was searched by TSA officers last week in Miami