TSA agents forced 90-year-old woman Harriette Charney to strip down for a search at the Portland International Airport in Oregon. The extensive waist-up search was reportedly ordered because the elderly grandmother’s emergency cash that was tucked away in her bra set off alarms.
Harriette Charney was told by Oregon TSA agents to remove both her shirt and bras after the airport security scanners alerted to an abnormality on her chest, Alan Charney, the 90-year-old woman’s son, said during an interview with KATU-TV.
“There was no sanity or sensitivity at all to the work that they were doing,” Alan Charney added. “I assumed they were just going to sort of pat her down.”
— Deborah Wilker (@Debwilker) October 28, 2015
The 90-year-old woman was preparing to fly back to the East Coast to her home after spending several weeks visiting with her son and his family. Charney’s emergency cash was kept in a little pocket in her bra. She carries the money on her person to use in case her purse is ever stolen.
TSA agents pulled Charney aside and escorted her into a side room, where additional and more extensive security checks, like strip searches, are conducted. When Harriette was asked to remove her blouse and bra, she complied without incident, the New York Daily News reports.
During an interview with a local Oregon TV station, a TSA representative stated that it is investigating the strip search of the 90-year-old woman. The staffers also said that asking passengers to remove clothing is “unusual.” Typically, a TSA agent would reportedly ask the individual to lift the shirt to allow for a closer inspection and pat down.
— Adam Tuss (@AdamTuss) October 20, 2015
“They wanted her to take, I guess, take all of her clothes off from her waist up,” her son added. “And so she took of that and took off her bra … and I’m like ‘what?’ ”
Charney said that while he does not disagree with the decision by the TSA agents to search his mother, he believes that their actions went way too far.
An excerpt from a statement about the strip search of the 90-year-old woman at the Oregon airport released by the TSA reads as follows.
“It appears the security system worked as it should. Advanced Imaging Technology safely screens passengers without physical contact for both metallic and non-metallic threats… pat-down screening is used to resolve alarms and anomalies found during the screening process at the checkpoint, including those triggered by imaging technology.”
A federal appeals court recently ruled that the TSA must “move forward” with establishing rules on the use of the strip-search scanners. The court has ordered the Transportation Security Administration continue to establish rules and regulations pertaining to the use of whole body scanners, which some have likened to virtual strip searches.
The court order was issued in response to a joint lawsuit filed by The Rutherford Institute, along with the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) and The Competitive Enterprise Institute — CEI. The federal appeals court compelled the TSA to create a set of issue formalized guidelines to regulate the use of Whole Body Imagers (WBI) and to “subject those standards to public examination and judicial review.” The devices are also commonly referred to as Advanced Imaging Technology scanners.
What do you think about the TSA strip searching the 90-year-old woman after the emergency cash stashed in her bra set of security alarms?
[Image via Carolina K. Smith MD / Shutterstock.com]