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Father Outraged at TSA’s ‘Uncomfortable’ Pat-Down of His 10-Year-Old Daughter

Father Outraged at TSA’s ‘Uncomfortable’ Pat-Down of His 10-Year-Old Daughter
Jeff Edwards

A two-minute video showing a very thorough and some say aggressive TSA pat down of a 10-year-old girl is causing a firestorm of controversy surrounding the agency’s treatment of the child.

A video of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screener performing a pat down on a young girl at Raleigh–Durham International Airport (RDU) over the holidays has become one of the first viral video sensations of the new year. The short video captured on a mobile device by the girl’s father has also created controversy over what some are calling a clear case of overzealousness by the screener.

The girl is repeatedly inspected and prodded by a female TSA screener for nearly the entire length of the two-minute video. The captured images have caused widespread outrage on social media and led to questions about the federal agency’s policies regarding the treatment of minors.

The girl’s father, Kevin Payne, who called the ordeal “an uncomfortable situation,” said he did not raise an objection at the time, but later posted his video online. ”My goal was just to clear security as quickly as possible so we could make our flight even though I knew that in my mind they shouldn’t be doing what they were doing,” Payne told NBC affiliate KNSD in San Diego. “I didn’t want to make an issue of it there or then because it wasn’t the time or place and I didn’t want to further traumatize my daughter.”

For her part, 10-year-old Vendela said it was the seemingly endless nature of the pat down that made her feel uncomfortable. “I know it’s to keep everybody on the plane safe, but she kept patting me down,” the girl told NBC News in an on-camera interview. “Pat down, pat down. It was like, over and over.”

Payne says it took his family nearly an hour to clear the TSA checkpoint because of the extra security screening that was triggered because his daughter inadvertently left a pouch containing juice in her carry-on bag.

[Screenshot via YouTube]

View Comments (16)


  1. Centurion

    January 7, 2016 at 8:22 am

    I watched the entire video and see nothing wrong and think the TSA did a fine job.


    January 7, 2016 at 8:49 am

    absolutely outrageous – someone has to call the TSA to account. No need for this

  3. cmd320

    January 7, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Looks like a pretty typical pat-down to me. I’ve had it done tons of times back when they were using the irradiating backscatter X-rays.

  4. AS Flyer

    January 7, 2016 at 9:30 am

    Interesting that he says his daughter was molested but was cool with it in the interest of getting his family to their airplane on time. Seems if he really believed all the drama he was putting out there he would have done whatever he needed to see to his daughters well being. This man is looking for a grandstand.

  5. drvannostren

    January 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

    A couple things struck me here.

    First off, MOST of the moves were pretty standard. The waist band etc, I never saw “thumbs being pressed into the buttocks” either.

    Assaulted. Spelled correctly and I still disagree. I would also ask the dad why he didn’t check for juice and such. Not only that, but why not complain? If you’re THAT uncomfortable, speak up. I understand they’re in a hurry, but speak up, that way you can get a supervisor immediately and an explanation. I would also like to let the father know, military service, and being a former pilot for UA doesn’t mean a goddamn thing, nor should it. So why even mention that nonsense?

    I’d also like to mention the shoes, if she took them off, the agent (depending) on the shoes, might be able to take a quick glance and be done with them. Why the father seemed so outraged about specifically shoes is beyond me.

    Now, my assessment of the search…it’s standard bordering on excessive. I can come up with 2 totally reasonable explanations as to why it would be that way.

    1. The agent is new, has been told how to do a search and is trying to follow protocol. Much like if you had liquids not in a clear plastic bag, she’s been told to give you a hard time about that, so she probably will.

    2. She’s never needed to search a kid before, so she’s attempting to do it with totally “kid gloves”. While this might not look it, she also appears to be explaining what’s going on to the kid. Whereas, for me “sir we just have to…” and I’ve already got my feet on the spots, arms up, no belt. So my search takes 20 seconds.

    If somehow this was a male agent, it would’ve been 1000% creepier. Yes, there are female creeps out there too, but the only 1 move I saw that I disagreed with here, was when she seemingly followed a bra line. I thought that was a bit odd, but again, it’s probably in the manual and goes straight back to point #1.

  6. live5

    January 7, 2016 at 11:22 am

    I do think that this search was excessive, as the agent appears to check the same areas multiple times, but not to the point that it deserves some kind of public outcry. The agent appears friendly as she explains to the child exactly what is happening. As others have said, if the father was really thought it was assault, he would have stopped it, not stood there filming it on his cell phone.

  7. gbcflyer

    January 7, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    I travel with 2 very young girls – it was the parents’ responsibility to ensure that nothing is taken past security which is non-compliant on the child or her self. The video shows that the agent was careful and, fully knowing that they were being filmed. the TSA agents would respond with greater care not to ‘cross any lines’. I believe they were just doing their job.

    It really takes a perverted and dirty to convolute such a video as ‘sexually’ offensive or demeaning to a child.

    ADVISE TO THE FATHER – please get a reality check and perhaps stop going thru airports from hereon.

  8. BJM

    January 7, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    Me thinks Father protests too much!

  9. redreeper


    January 7, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    It looked liked an extra-patty pat down to me and I’ve worn long skirts lots of times. Never had that much touch and swipe even when I had a boho skirt with metallic paint that blew up the detector. But if dad thought his child was being touched inappropriately then he needed to drop the camera and take charge and make it stop, not film it and whine. Poor kid :(

  10. Grog

    January 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    The added slow-motion seems more for effect than for clarification. Either leave the video unedited and in real time or don’t bother providing it.

    And if the actions were in fact considered by the father or the girl to be a traumatizing molestation, I would ask myself, as her father or as the victim herself, if we really want a video of said event–in creepy slow-motion no less–to be released and available on the Internet for eternity.

  11. adrouault

    January 8, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    All I see here is a self-righteous kettle looking for a few moments of attention.

  12. d00t

    January 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm

    If you really thought your girl was being assaulted, you would be in there ripping the TSA agent off in your daughter in a heartbeat — and if you DIDN’T do anything and your daughter was being assaulted in front of you – it’s child neglect. Which one is it?

    Video is a waste of time. It’s standard pat down and the girl showed no signs of physical distress.
    This parent needs to get a grip on life.

  13. williamdowell

    January 9, 2016 at 3:17 am

    I am one of those people who cant stand full body scanners and aggressive agents etc, but I see nothing wrong with how the TSA woman behaved towards this girl.
    May be I’m blind but I don’t see an assault.

  14. zilberbrand

    January 13, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    Wow, just wow. All you people above me are concerned with is if the pat down is normal TSA procedure. What happened to us?? NONE of it ok. NO pat down like should ever be done to a child. Is the agent molesting the girl, doesn’t look that way to me, just being a government cog executing her line of code like a toaster.

    Now here we are debating how much groping of a 10 year old is ok. You’re all pathetic, making me sick.

  15. coastguard

    January 14, 2016 at 5:15 am

    I guess the agent would have made a quicker check if she would not have been filmed. She did her job. Period.

  16. asantaga

    January 14, 2016 at 5:59 am

    I dont see anything wrong with the pat down. Maybe a little “over the top” but when you have someone “filming you” you are bound to make sure you follow the book 1000% and Id rather all pat downs be over the top and nothing gets through than.. well it looks ok….. I bet if she missed something the father would have been outraged that she missed something.

    Also the TSA lady was explaining everything in detail to the little girl so again nothing wrong..

    Bottom line, with security the way it is, get used to it, or… dont catch planes and drive everywhere…

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