Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wheelchair user tries to avoid TSA pat-down in her underwear, but gets hour-long search instead

From ABC News:

OKLAHOMA CITY - Airport security agents got a surprise on Nov. 30 when a woman in a wheelchair approached a checkpoint in Oklahoma City and took off her trench coat although she was wearing only a black lace bra and panties.

It was the latest protest in the United States in recent weeks over enhanced methods of patting down passengers carried out by the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA).

A video of the underwear-clad woman, Ms Tammy Banovac (picture), wearing a pearl necklace and holding a small white dog in her lap, was shot by a passerby and posted on YouTube.

The woman, a 52-year-old retired surgeon, told ABC news in Phoenix later that an incident with airport security two weeks earlier had prompted her to strip down.

"The TSA agent ran her hand up my skirt, it was the most unpleasant experience," she said. "I would rather (strip down) than go through what I did the first time."

Airport and security officials said that she was questioned before being allowed to proceed to security.

Ms Banovac was then given an "enhanced" pat-down because she was in a wheelchair. During screening of her carry-on and laptop, an alarm for nitrates was triggered and Ms Banovic was not allowed to proceed to her flight to Phoenix, the TSA said in a statement on Wednesday

The authorities said nitrates could legitimately be present in medication, or if someone was hunting recently and there were traces of nitrates from the bullets.

Ms Banovac returned to the airport on Wednesday morning, again clad in her underwear, but she covered up after clearing security. She carried the same bags as the day before but this time no nitrates were detected.

"Wonder where (the nitrates) went overnight," she noted pointedly.