Jenna MacFarlane, a Charlotte graphic designer, says she was “humiliated” by a full-body airport pat-down. The Transportation Security Adminstration has launched a “more involved” pat-down procedure, the Charlotte Observer reports. TSA said its officers are trained to treat passengers with respect, doing the procedure with officers of the same gender as the passenger, with a second officer present. “Pat-downs result in the discovery of knives and other dangerous items carried on a passenger’s person on a daily basis,” spokesman Mike England said. “They are a valuable tool in keeping our skies safe.”
Some security experts question whether the screenings are effective, and civil liberties advocates say pat-downs can be nearly sexual in their intimacy. CNN political commentator Angela Rye posted a video of her own pat-down at Detroit’s airport last December. Rye said she fought back tears as a TSA agent twice touched her crotch. MacFarland, 56, filed complaints with TSA and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), saying that her search “was improper, uncalled for, and other searches could have been conducted that would have eliminated the need for invasive touching.” In response to the complaint to Burr’s office, the agency said a test indicated explosives might have been in her bag, prompting the pat-down. None were found.