Winning a Nobel Prize might earn you a few perks and even a handshake from a world leader or two, but former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger learned the hard way this week that, no matter who you are, you're never excused from a TSA pat-down.
Kissinger, 88, was instrumental in advising the administrations of US Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and arguably played a pivotal role in ending America’s involvement in the Vietnam War. He also — as of last Friday, that is — can add his name to the long list of people that have been pulled aside by TSA agents and given a hand-on screening before attempting to board a plane at a US airport.
Secretary of State Kissinger was at LaGuardia Airport outside of New York City on Friday when freelance reporter Matthew Cole spotted him receiving a very personal pat-down from agents employed by the US Transportation and Security Administration.
According to Cole, the TSA officer seemed unaware that they were groping and prodding the body of not just their regular geriatric would-be terrorist.
“He stood with his suit jacket off, and he was wearing suspenders. They gave him the full pat-down. None of the agents seemed to know who he was,” says the reporter.
The TSA has not formally offered a statement explaining why Kissinger was singled out, but presumably were happy with the change of pace. After all, only last week the agency was forced to answer questions after they allegedly yanked an 18-month-old toddler off of a flight because the child reportedly was on a no-fly list maintained by the agency.
Whether or not the TSA will issue an apology or explanation to either the small girl’s parents or Mr. Kissinger could be anyone’s guess, though — a report released on Monday by the US Department of Homeland Security revealed that, on average, only half of the security breaches identified by TSA agents at the United States’ biggest airports were reported to administrators at the agency for further investigation.