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Thu, Apr 21, 2011

Group Protests TSA Pat-Downs For Kids

Calls For A "Call Flood" Campaign Targeting TSA, Homeland Security, White House

A self-proclaimed travel advocacy group "We Won't Fly" says it is organizing a mass "Call Flood" campaign in an attempt to force the TSA to stop touching children, as they did to 6-year-old Anna Drexel last week.  The campaign is focused on TSA administrator John Pistole, President Barack Obama, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Disneyland and other travel industry participants that serve families.

A video posted on YouTube shows a TSA agent giving a "modified" pat-down to the girl at New Orleans International Airport. The agent runs her hands over the child's chest and groin, as well as checking under the waistband of her pants. Appearing later on Good Morning America, the child's parents said they did not protest the professionalism if the procedure, but they did question its appropriateness. TSA said in a statement that it was looking beyond a "one size fits all" approach.

The group says the goal of the campaign is to highlight the immorality of TSA pat-downs of minors, force the TSA to immediately and permanently halt all touching of minors and encourage travel industry players to join them.

In a December 2010 interview, expert in the fight against child sexual abuse Ken Wooden said that TSA patdowns could "desensitize children to inappropriate touch and ultimately make it easier for sexual offenders to prey on our children."

YouTube Frame Capture

"We need a zero-tolerance policy against child abuse in airports," said We Won't Fly co-founder Jim Babb. "We urge parents to take the necessary steps to protect children from TSA predator-prepping."

We Won't Fly is circulating a petition as part of the campaign. When the goal of 100,000 signatures is reached, Babb and fellow co-founder George Donnelly will personally deliver the petitions to Pistole, Obama and Napolitano. "This is for the children. Nothing is more important than the next generation. When measures ostensibly taken to protect them are more dangerous than the actual threat of terrorism, the cure has become the sickness," said Donnelly.

The recent TSA pat-down of 6-year-old Anna Drexel sparked international outrage and re-opened the debate on TSA touching of minors. Last November, the TSA succeeded in calming similar fears when it promised to use only "modified" pat-downs on minors. "The TSA never said how 'modified' pat-downs for kids were different from 'enhanced' patdowns for adults, and finally we have the answer. The TSA was lying. They are the same thing - and we are opposed to both," said Donnelly. "What family vacation could possibly be worth having our children felt up at the airport? As a dad, my primary responsibility is to protect my daughters from harm. I will not allow a stranger to put his hands in my child's pants. PERIOD!" said Babb.



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