When Laura Adiele went through security at Seattle's SeaTac airport last month, she was asked to go through a full-body scanner. She complied, but then was told she would have to be searched in one more place: Her hair.
"They were saying that my hair was poofy and that they needed to inspect it for that reason," Adiele told MSNBC. She said TSA told her they need to inspect "anything that poofs from the body."
She resisted at first, but said she agreed to it once TSA officers threatened to have her arrested. She's speaking out now, charging the only reason her hair was searched is because she is black.
"I played the race card in this because I looked around and didn't see anyone else being searched in that way," Adiele said. "The whole thing seems fishy to me, I had TSA agents laughing at me while I was standing there, I was barefoot, everyone was watching, it was really uncomfortable."
Afterward, she said an African American flight attendant came up to her and confided that she'd had the same experience and was seeing it happen with more frequency to other passengers.
Adiele said she filed a complaint with TSA but has not heard back.
"For me my hair is my breaking point...everyday somebody has their hand in my hair or they're comparing it to buckweed or Aunt Jemimah," she said.
A TSA statement to MSNBC said: "All passengers are thoroughly screened coming through the screening checkpoint. Additional screening may be required for clothing, headwear or hair where prohibited items could be hidden. TSA has no record of this passenger coming through the security checkpoint. We are happy to work with the passenger directly and address her complaints."