Society

10-Year-Old Frisked By TSA After Juice Pouch Triggers Airport Alarm, Dad Says

| by Nik Bonopartis
Vendela's Pat-Down.Vendela's Pat-Down.

After authorities claimed they foiled a 2006 terror plot that involved jihadis using liquid explosives in bottles of Gatorade and Tang, the Transport Security Administration (TSA) limited carry-on liquids to 3-ounce containers (video below).

But they probably didn't have 10-year-olds with juice packs in mind when they decreed that passengers caught with more than 3 ounces of liquid should be searched and subjected to intense scrutiny on airport security lines.

That's what happened in San Diego, according to a California man who said his 10-year-old daughter was subjected to an invasive frisking and an extra layer of security screening that lasted almost an hour, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

Kevin Payne and his daughter, Vendela, were headed home to San Diego from Raleigh-Durham International Airport on Dec. 30 when TSA agents reportedly found a pouch of Capri Sun in Vendela's pack. Capri Sun is a fruit drink marketed to children that comes in 6-ounce laminated foil packets.

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The Capri Sun pouch triggered a false positive for explosives, Kevin told the Union-Tribune, and a female TSA agent subjected Vendela to a two-minute pat-down, allegedly touching the girl's groin and buttocks repeatedly. Payne began recording the incident on his cellphone, capturing the search and a conversation with a TSA agent who tries to explain why Vendela was subjected to the extra scrutiny.

"You have to understand, [when the wand] alarms, no matter what, we have to do the test," a male TSA agent is heard telling Kevin before the pat-down. "That's the way it is ... We don't live in a make-sense world."

For her part, Vendela stoically handled the extended pat-down, in which the female TSA agent appeared to warn the young girl when she was going to search sensitive areas. When it was done, the girl sat down to put her shoes back on and flashed a wide smile at her father.

“I just kept it as calm cool compliant as possible, and she followed suit,” Kevin said, adding that he understands TSA agents have a job to do. “Deep down I was absolutely fuming, but I knew letting emotions out was only going to worsen the situation for everybody.”

The TSA has modified its rules to make potential pat-downs of children younger than 13 less likely, according to its blog.

That change was prompted by similar videos, including a video of a 2011 incident in which a female TSA agent is seen patting down a 6-year-old girl, and an incident in 2009 in which TSA agents reportedly made a 4-year-old disabled child walk to pass through a metal detector without his leg braces or help from his father, the Union-Tribune notes.

Sources: San Diego Union-Tribune, The TSA Blog (2) / Photo source: San Diego Union-Tribune via YouTube