The much-maligned Transport Security Authority (TSA) is once again in hot water after it accused an innocent four-year-old girl of attempted gun smuggling as she hugged her grandmother in the security zone.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Michelle Brademeyer describes the story of her family being detained as potential terrorists by the TSA on a flight out of Wichita, Kansas. The TSA is responsible for screening passengers as they board and disembark from planes.
Brademeyer was passing through security checks with her mother and her small daughter, Isabella. When the older lady triggered the metal detector, and was told to go for a pat-down, Isabella ran over to and briefly hugged her grandmother.
The TSA immediately said Isabella would now also have to undergo a pat-down, in case the grandmother passed contraband to her during the hug.
When the child shouted “I don’t want to,” the TSA declared Isabella a “high security threat,” and said that they would close down the airport if she moved.
Afterwards, the by-now-hysterical four-year-old was taken to a separate room, and told to stop crying. When she could not, the officers called for backup – saying “the suspect is not cooperating.”
Once the girl calmed down enough to be patted down, Brademeyer claims the transport police repeatedly stated that the girl might be carrying a weapon, as they had previously “seen a gun in a teddy bear.”
Neither the grandmother, nor the child had anything illegal on their person.
Eventually, Isabella and the rest of her family were allowed to board the flight.
The TSA has not questioned Brademeyer’s version of events, but refuses to apologize.
“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper current screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child,” said an official statement.
Recent controversial TSA security procedures have included patting down a wheelchair-bound boy, making a woman with a “cute figure” repeatedly go through the body scanner, and forcing a mother to produce a bottle of her breast milk for inspection, before allowing her breast pump onboard.
Brademeyer’s Facebook page has been flooded with hundreds of comments of support from outraged passengers who also claim to have suffered at the hands of over-zealous TSA agents.