TSA Forces 12 Year-Old Girl Traveling Without Parents Through Naked Scanner


(AFP)
Recently a 12 year-old girl traveling with friends of the family was separated from her group and forced to go through the naked scanner at the Tampa airport. The girl’s parents say that TSA, “In essence conducted a strip search on a 12-year-old girl without her parents present to advocate for her.”
TampaBay.com reported on the July incident:

A Baltimore family is raising the issue after their 12-year-old daughter was pulled out of line in Tampa and subjected to what they say was an embarrassing and unhealthy scan. The girl was traveling with an adult friend of the family, not her parents.

“Our daughter was scared and didn’t understand what was happening,” said Michelle Nemphos, the mother of the girl. She declined to give her daughter’s name. “In essence they conducted a strip search on a 12-year-old girl without her parents present to advocate for her.”

• • •

The girl told her story in a phone interview:

Okay, I was coming home to Baltimore, Md., from Siesta Key, Fla., and I was with my friend and her parents and I was going to this airport security check.

I put my bag through, and they pulled me aside and told me to go over here. I thought it was some high-tech scan and I walked right through it and this lady said ‘”Hold on, you can’t just walk through this thing. Put your feet on the yellow footsteps and make a triangle above your head.” I guess it was so they could see my whole body.

I heard a beep and she said, “Okay you can leave.”

I heard one of the guards say “affirmative on the female,” and I knew they were talking about me. And that made me worried.

I couldn’t see my friend and her dad, and I was really worried that I was separated from them. I was trying to look happy when I saw them but inside I was really scared.

• • •

When the girl first got home to Baltimore, she didn’t mention the beaches she’d visited or her trip to the aquarium. All she wanted to talk about was what happened at the airport.

“Why did they pick me?” the girl asked her mother.

Nemphos wasn’t sure. She couldn’t imagine the Transportation Security Administration needing to scan a 12-year-old girl for weapons.

Paul Susie, the parent who was with his daughter and Nemphos’ in Tampa, said it all happened so fast.

“I didn’t know it was optional,” he said. “But I thought it was ridiculous that a 12-year-old girl got picked for that.”

He said he was not notified she would be taken to the other line.

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  • Major Kong

    Yeah, and I’m sure the T&A pervs immediately deleted the scan. Only the beginning folks, lots more fun ‘n games to come. But what’s a little lost liberty and dignity for a false sense of security?

  • Granny

    It is against the law to perform a medical examination on a minor without either a parent’s consent or a specific court order. It is appalling that this child was scanned at all. It is beyond the pale that she was separated at ANY time from the adult that she was traveling with. The TSA agents who did this should be FIRED immediately and the parents of this girl should file charges of assault.

  • david

    Did anyone catch that last name – Nemphos. Really? So we are supposed to think this was RANDOM. This crap MUST end and SOON or the torches and pitchforks need to come out.

  • apodoca

    How many Muslims have been scanned and patted down?

  • Major Kong

    FIRE ’em! You really think that once the T&A gropers are full-fledged unionized civil servants it’s going to be that easy? Please. This is going to be Obama’s new civilian para-military force. You don’t have a problem with that do you comrade?

  • Moright

    I am belatedly realizing I’ve already had a scan! It briefly occured to me at the time that it might be one of those scanners. Like the child, this happened quickly and there was no time to question what was going on (if one wanted to make their flight).

  • Granny

    You know, Moright, I am a bit surprised that they are not requiring signatures before these scans. Government immunity for medical consequence is not absolute – see the Tuskegee Experiments or the experimental irradiation of state hospital inmates or the exposure of Vietnam vets to Agent Orange. These scanners have not been proven safe and in fact are known to cause skin cancer. There could be huge liabilities.

  • Joanne

    This is so sick. Do people know how many know pedophiles live in their immediate area? There are lots – they are everywhere and in large numbers. Subjecting a child to this scan doesn’t have anything to do with security.

  • chuck in st paul

    “Why did they pick me?” the girl asked her mother.

    Well heck little girl, everyone knows it’s you damn kids that are flying planes into buildings and hiding bombs on your body to kill infidels. SUBMIT!

    America is being run by idiots, infantiles, and evil loons. When are the parents coming home?

  • chris

    I flew a couple legs that took me through SFO and Houston. The airports are swarming with TSA clowns. Huge groups o them – it is really shocking and we all get to pay for it with fees and security making up 20% and more of our tickets.

    The airlines better get control of this or they are going to lose anyone that can find an alternative to taking a plane trip.

    I could see no evidence that these hoards of people provided any protection. They move in pods and seldom can be seen concentrating on actual visual checks and use of any training in identifying possible miscreants.

    It is a total, expensive joke with every citizen considered to be a terrorist. What a mess.

  • Jess

    “How many Muslims have been scanned and patted down”
    You mean after buying one way tickets w/in 48 hours of the flight & having no luggage? Why, that number would be…

    Zero.

    TSA = Theatrical Security Agency

  • Granny

    Here’s another horror story – cancer surviving flight attendant not only subjected to “enhanced pat down” but forced to remove her prosthetic breast!

    http://www.wbtv.com/Global/story.asp?S=13534628

  • jeff

    And they say Bush was a dictator.

  • Joanne

    I haven’t heard of any muslims complaining as of late about scans of themselves taken or pat downs, so what is up with that? I am sure they would make a big stink if it was happening. People need to keep a look out and watch and see who is getting a pass and who is not.

  • Hotspur

    Frickin’ pervs.

  • Moright

    I know, Granny, right? I travel every week for business. The past two trips I drove instead of flying (4-5 hour drives vs. 1 hour flight): 1) Security has been getting bogged down in the past 2 months -this is before the scanners have become widely known. They’ve been “changing it up” and getting slower, slower; 2) Taxes on rental cars are nuts! While my company pays, it still irks the hell out of me. Kansas City is about 40%. No, I don’t want to pay for your new stadium.

    Spoke with a pilot friend this week who said the pilots, flight attendants and airline industry is livid. Says this is a complete waste of time, and his opinion was that it is a justification for the $$ they spent on the machines and tsa personnel. What a joke.

  • Joanne

    Yah, why aren’t they using those blowers that detect explosives on people’s persons instead of these virtual strip searches and pat downs. If a person was carrying explosives on their person or probably even up a cavity, it should detect them. My sons have been yarded off and put through this security measure without any explanation at the time to what was happening to them. These virtual strip searches and molestation have nothing to do with security measures. Really, the power is with the people – only travel on emergencies and let the airports be deader than doornails. Before you know it, the airlines, airport businesses, and even taxi drivers will be making a lot of noise.

  • m

    I f everyone still compalining about the airport security, I would have stay at home and not go anywhere on a flight. It is Obama’s Homeland Security policy. I am glad that we will have a new Congress coming in January, 2011. The Homeland Security committees need to investigate them.

  • patman

    Maybe her Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn shirt was a little baggy.

    Maybe her Silly Bands could have be made out of explosive materials.

    Could have been her Pikachu notebook that threw off the TSA.

    Maybe they just wanted to take her innocence and smile away because their lives suck so much.

    Next up, taking candy from babies.

  • Chisum

    I can’t wait to see what they do to the guys with prosthetic testicles.

  • CNL

    Now separating children from the adults? THis is disgusting!

  • kansas

    Why do people continue to fly? Just drive for vacation, and use go to meeting for business. About 2 or 3 weeks with no passengers might wake up some of these a-holes. Or not.

  • olm

    I am outraged. This has to stop.
    What is it going to take?

  • CNL

    This TSA needs to go. Impeach Obama.

  • Lily

    I will believe they are serious about security when they start profiling.

  • avery

    Put them,TSA down on the Border.

  • Andreas K.

    This stinks of a pedo attack.

  • wow

    The airlines better get control of this or they are going to lose anyone that can find an alternative to taking a plane trip.

    Speaking of alternatives, has anyone looked into chartering planes…if the group is large enough it may be an alternative.

  • wow

    #
    #22 November 19, 2010 at 11:38 am
    kansas commented:

    That’s what we plan to do. It can be done in a leisurely fashion and you get to see some lovely scenery. This country is really beautiful!

  • Sandy

    What shows more control over a free people then Govt lackeys having the right to put their hands down your pants?

  • Sandy

    When they scan Obama, Congress and all Burka clad women then I will fly again. Until then I will take the car.

  • Mitchell

    Why is this not child pornography? They’re taking photographs of (essentially) naked children.

  • http://www.chipbennett.net/ Chip Bennett

    First, a minor quibble: the girl’s parents put her in the custody of the adult family friends; thus, that the scan took place without her parents’ presence or consent is mostly a moot point. That said: it should have been done in the presence and custody of her current guardians.

    Also, the question of the “unhealthful[ness]” of the scans is essentially specious. The radiation dose of one backscatter scan (about 0.1 mREM) adds roughly the equivalent of the radiation dose of an additional 6-30 minutes of flight time (airplane travel incurse a dose rate of somewhere between 0.2 – 1.0 mREM per hour). Health effects of radiation are entirely stochastic below 20,000 REM.

    That said: looking at a naked image of a minor (or subjecting a minor to an “enhanced pat down”) for no valid reason is sexual assault. These “security” measures have never stopped – and will never stop – a terrorist act.

  • Chisum

    You aren’t going to believe this story.

    http://www.redstate.com/erick/2010/11/18/another-tsa-outrage/

  • Granny

    Chip, there are two different scanners in use. One of them is moderately harmless as you say, though there is an enhanced risk of skin cancer for frequent fliers. The other is not so benign. And essentially no testing has been done on these. There was a time when the FDA swore up and down that mammogram machines were harmless too – until every one of them had to be replaced because the first models in use leaked radiation that caused breast cancer.

    There is the further issue of lying about the scanners. They say the face is never shown, but pictures of the actual scans show exactly the opposite. And after all, what use would a scan that shows a potential bomb be if the face of the person carrying it were not definitively shown? What proof would even exist for a court case. They say the scans “cannot” be saved and yet the machines are equipped with USB ports and there has been at least one incident where 35K scans have been accumulate in a database, then released online.

    And that is before we begin to mention the shenanigans with the ownership of the companies producing the scanners.

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  • http://sailorette.blogspot.com Foxfier

    Chip-
    the scan stats are disputed; for the back-scatter ones, even though the entire dose is in the skin, they calculated exposure like a normal bone-level X-ray.
    If exposure is calculated on the area actually exposed, the stated upper-end exposure of .02 microsieverts becomes 4 microsieverts or 40 mRem, equivilant to a flight from NY to London.
    http://orise.orau.gov/reacts/guide/safety.htm
    Doctors specializing in skin cancer are getting freaked, because skin is already pretty vulnerable. One of the guys who was on the board that approved them says he never would’ve approved it if he’d known they were planning such wide-spread use. (NPR had a big story about these that quoted him)

    For the millimeter wave imaging ones, they haven’t been tested/approved by third parties and several studies show them screwing with DNA, including unzipping it. (isn’t that a lovely image?)

  • Rock

    As much as this story bothers me (have written my representatives twice), the fact that it has gotten the attention it deserves, leaves me with an uneasy feeling. This administration has never listened to the Conservative voice, and now even the left leaning media is on board. What is the other hand doing? Talk of military pay freeze (FM radio this AM), early movement of troops from the Southern Border, Socialist advisory groups suggesting the President use Armed Services to help enact his agenda, coupled with the obvious 4th Amendment Rights violation this story revolves around and I smell a dead rat in the house.

  • Rich

    They are trying to force a domestic terrorist act there are still a few Tim McVeigh types stupid enough to try something because of crap like this and then they can declare marshal law.

  • Alana

    #32 November 19, 2010 at 12:06 pm
    Mitchell commented:

    Why is this not child pornography? They’re taking photographs of (essentially) naked children.

    ——

    I read (in one article only), that in Great Britain they aren’t allowed to scan children under 18 for this reason.

  • Don Rodrigo

    The “official” reason why they picked her is most likely because they have a randomized numbering system they use. It’s another one of those idiotic dodges to avoid profiling likely categories of people.

  • Rock

    #32
    Why is this not child pornography? They’re taking photographs of (essentially) naked children.

    Far to many in this administration are morally challenged, or just in your face arrogant.

  • Michelle Nemphos

    @ Chip Bennett — this was my daughter. She was in the care, custody and control of adults — they had a Travel Consent granting them this custody. The TSA did NOT consult any of the adults she was with prior to doing this scan.

  • Granny

    #43 November 19, 2010 at 1:13 pm
    Michelle Nemphos commented:

    @ Chip Bennett — this was my daughter. She was in the care, custody and control of adults — they had a Travel Consent granting them this custody. The TSA did NOT consult any of the adults she was with prior to doing this scan.
    ________

    I am so sorry this happened to your daughter. My granddaughter – about the same age – is traveling by air in a couple of weeks and I am quite worried. Have you considered filing charges?

  • Joanne

    No one can really say the TSA doesn’t profile, because they do profile. They profile everyone but muslims.

  • Joanne

    Actually pulling people out of lines for advanced searches without them fitting any profile of a terrorist is actually the tactic of terrorists who use this type of tactic to put fear into the people. Saddam Hussein used this tactic – he would have innocent people killed in front of others just to show that no one was safe – it didn’t matter if you did everything exactly how you thought it should be done to keep you safe – you still could be a target. The TSA are in actual effect terrorizing the people with their targeting of people who should never be targeted in the first place, while refusing to target people who should be.

  • TXPatriot

    Sue on the grounds of the 4th Amendment. Take the TSA and the airport in question to court… child pornography laws, sexual assault of a minor, 4th Amendment rights violated.

    File a lawsuit every time against every airport where this stuff is happening. Tie them up in court, make them pay the fines.

  • Granny

    #
    #47 November 19, 2010 at 2:21 pm
    TXPatriot commented:

    Sue on the grounds of the 4th Amendment. Take the TSA and the airport in question to court… child pornography laws, sexual assault of a minor, 4th Amendment rights violated.

    File a lawsuit every time against every airport where this stuff is happening. Tie them up in court, make them pay the fines.
    _____________

    Only works if you have an unlimited amount of money to pay lawyers or are a lawyer yourself or have such an ironclad case somebody will take it for free. Of course some of our wealthier citizens who find this outrageous might take it upon themselves to set up a legal fund to foot the bill. You know Soros will donate billions to keep this in place.

  • CNL

    The idea of randomness irks me. They will molest a 12 year old, while the burqa clad woman with the explosives up her bum gets passed through? Nauseating and indeed terroristic!

  • allyHM

    I ask the same question as some above: why isn’t this categorized as child porn with the accompanying charges?? In Florida, this would be a felony charge, 1st degree. Where the heck is the ACLU????? Oh, right. They only schill for the “left.”

  • Ken Royall

    The Islamists are laughing at us. Very sad state of affairs. The liberals decry Bush era security measures and are strangely silent on this rampant escalation. Useless, all of them.

  • http://www.chipbennett.net/ Chip Bennett

    @Michelle Nemphos:

    Understood! And whether she was in your custody, or the custody of other guardians, her treatment was inappropriate, if not criminal. I certainly didn’t intend to imply otherwise. (Apologies if I did!)

    My main point was that TSA should have only scanned/patted her down in the presence of her legal guardians, since she is underage. (I shiver at the thought of taking my 2- and 3-year-old daughters through this experience.)

  • http://www.chipbennett.net/ Chip Bennett

    @Foxfier (et al):

    Is that 40 mREM a deep-dose equivalent, or shallow-dose? There’s a huge difference. 40 mREM on the skin (shallow-dose) is entirely different from 40 mREM inside the body (deep-dose). Let me try to explain:

    OSHA exposure limit for the skin (50,000 mREM/year) is ten times greater than the exposure limit for the whole body (5,000 mREM/year). While the relationship probably isn’t exactly that linear, it is reasonable to say that a 10 mREM exposure to the skin is roughly equivalent to a 1 mREM exposure to the whole body. Likewise, it would take a 100 mREM skin exposure to equal a 10 mREM whole-body exposure.

    So, even a 40 mREM exposure from the scan would be equivalent only to a 4 mREM whole-body exposure. Here’s another excerpt/summary of part of BIER V, that explains that a 10 mREM whole-body dose poses roughly the same risk of death as smoking 1.4 cigarettes (over the course of a lifetime).
    In other words: if you’re a smoker, every cigarette you smoke puts you at greater risk of death than even a 40 mREM scan.

    To put it in perspective, see this quote:

    “Conclusive evidence that ionizing radiation causes cancer comes from the studies of radium dial painters, underground miners, pioneering radiologists, patient populations, and Japanese atomic bomb survivors.” For radium dial painters, no bone cancer was observed when doses were less than 1000 rads to the bone. For underground miners, no increased risk was found for miners receiving less than 250 rem. Pioneering radiologists who had increased incidence of leukemia and skin cancer received an estimated 100 to 800 rads or more.

    1 rad = 1 REM. So, in these studies, increased incidence of skin cancer involved acute (i.e. not chronic, or accumulative) doses of 100 – 800 REM (1,000 – 8,000 mREM) or more.

    I still am not convinced that the radiation exposure poses any threat, even at 40 mREM per scan (although that’s starting to get pretty high). Background radiation exposure for all of us is 360 mREM per year. NRC/OSHA requirements for radiation workers is 5,000 mREM per year. There is no correlation between radiation exposure and any discernible health effect below 20,000 REM (20,000,000 mREM).

    (I work in a radio-pharmaceutical facility. I hear these numbers all too often…)

  • http://www.chipbennett.net/ Chip Bennett

    Formatting fail. Sorry about that…

    @Foxfier (et al):

    Is that 40 mREM a deep-dose equivalent, or shallow-dose? There’s a huge difference. 40 mREM on the skin (shallow-dose) is entirely different from 40 mREM inside the body (deep-dose). Let me try to explain:

    OSHA exposure limit for the skin (50,000 mREM/year) is ten times greater than the exposure limit for the whole body (5,000 mREM/year). While the relationship probably isn’t exactly that linear, it is reasonable to say that a 10 mREM exposure to the skin is roughly equivalent to a 1 mREM exposure to the whole body. Likewise, it would take a 100 mREM skin exposure to equal a 10 mREM whole-body exposure.

    So, even a 40 mREM exposure from the scan would be equivalent only to a 4 mREM whole-body exposure. Here’s another excerpt/summary of part of BIER V, that explains that a 10 mREM whole-body dose poses roughly the same risk of death as smoking 1.4 cigarettes (over the course of a lifetime).
    In other words: if you’re a smoker, every cigarette you smoke puts you at greater risk of death than even a 40 mREM scan.

    To put it in perspective, see this quote:

    “Conclusive evidence that ionizing radiation causes cancer comes from the studies of radium dial painters, underground miners, pioneering radiologists, patient populations, and Japanese atomic bomb survivors.” For radium dial painters, no bone cancer was observed when doses were less than 1000 rads to the bone. For underground miners, no increased risk was found for miners receiving less than 250 rem. Pioneering radiologists who had increased incidence of leukemia and skin cancer received an estimated 100 to 800 rads or more.

    1 rad = 1 REM. So, in these studies, increased incidence of skin cancer involved acute (i.e. not chronic, or accumulative) doses of 100 – 800 REM (1,000 – 8,000 mREM) or more.

    I still am not convinced that the radiation exposure poses any threat, even at 40 mREM per scan (although that’s starting to get pretty high). Background radiation exposure for all of us is 360 mREM per year. NRC/OSHA requirements for radiation workers is 5,000 mREM per year. There is no correlation between radiation exposure and any discernible health effect below 20,000 REM (20,000,000 mREM).

    (I work in a radio-pharmaceutical facility. I hear these numbers all too often…)

  • http://sailorette.blogspot.com Foxfier

    Chip-

    I found a pretty good article on the worries of the folks from University of California at San Francisco’s who wrote a letter of concern:
    http://preview.tinyurl.com/2787xs9
    There’s a link to the letter,but the PDF thing keeps crashing my browser….
    The folks are named as “John Sedat. PhD., professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Biophysics UCSF, David Agrad, Ph.D, Robert Stroud PhD., and Marc Shuman, M.D.” I do not know if there are more.

    Given your background, the jargon should make a lot more sense to you than it does to me, but here’s a quote from the article:

    “In addition, it appears that real independent safety data do not exist. A search, ultimately finding top FDA radiation physics staff, suggests that the relevant radiation quantity, the Flux [photons per unit area and time (because this is a scanning device)] has not been characterized. Instead an indirect test (Air Kerma) was made that emphasized the whole body exposure value, and thus it appears that the danger is low when compared to cosmic rays during airplane travel and a chest X-ray dose. In summary, if the key data (flux-integrated photons per unit values) were available, it would be straightforward to accurately model the dose being deposited in the skin and adjacent tissues using available computer codes, which would resolve the potential concerns over radiation damage.”

  • Joe Jericho

    Ms. Nemphos, thanks for writing in. It really pains me to read the story about your daughter. I am curious as to what your plans are, if any, both legally and just in reality in terms of future travel. We bought airline tickets for the family to go to my home town over 2000 miles away from here to see my family at Christmas/New Year’s. My family would be heartbroken and devestated if we don’t go. We have two children aged 6 and 8 at the time of travel. As I pour through the articles trying to figure out whether to go, it looks to me like TSA is happy to scan children under 13 and still pat them down if they can’t resolve something on the scan or an alarm goes off. This pat-down is supposed to be more “moderate” than what we adults would get. First, I don’t want my kids being scanned for all the reasons mentioned above. Second, I don’t trust the TSA agents to pat-down my kids in a way that is not offensive to them or me. Third, after a week of the revolt by passengers, I still can’t believe our country has come to this. I have no problem with effective security (see Israel and El Al), but I can’t go along with scanning my wife and kids as well as groping them. I thought John Tyner in Oceanside was pretty composed throughout the ordeal. Don’t know if I could do that. Most parents I have talked to don’t want their kids subjected to this, but I suspect some will ultimately go along. I don’t plan to do that. If we go on this trip, it’ll definitely be the last. Wish I could drive it. I hope your daughter is ok now.

  • Bingo

    The Nazis used to use radiation on prisoners to sterilize them. Coincidence? America itself will begin to resemble a giant concentration camp if we continue to allow this treatment of American citizens. Do you think this is an exaggeration? Look at how much freedom we’ve given up. Look at the overall picture: Cap and Trade; ObamaCare; Net Neutrality; Senate Bill S 510 Food Safety Modernization Act, attempting to take control of our food; the GM bailout; TARP; the Stimulus bill… Wake up, America, wake your friends, family and neighbors. America must be shaken out of her stupor, or we’re doomed.

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  • http://wethepeeps1.twitter.com Hutch

    This security protocol is absolutely unnecessary. Normal and acute observation is what works at the departure areas. Accurate, up to date lists that actually get scanned at the ticket counters and on-line are another piece of the puzzle that works. And, yes, some “profiling” also works, and should be an active ingredient.
    There seems to be a great reliance on “machines” to do the work best done by humans and their senses. The “machine” allows for a human disconnect from the process, so no one can place “blame” on any one person. Blamimg the physical machinery completes and validates the human disconnect.
    But, not to worry! More than just the “pitchforks and torches” will start appearing next Summer. Our policy makers and law makers might entertain finding safe havens before the proverbial “s**t hits the fan”.

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  • ann

    I have a daughter with a medical device. The instruction with this device is that it should not be taken through an x ray machine such as this. She is suppose to ask for a body search. That is even more frightening than the cameras. It sounds like her right to fly has been taken away from her due to her disability. Who would allow their daughter to be groped and prodded in this manner? And evidently once you are at the airport everyone is herded though so that just by choosing to fly you are allowing it.

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