A prolonged security pat-down of a 96-year-old woman has sparked outrage on social media, but the TSA says its agent was polite and followed protocol. (John Moore/Getty Images)
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Outrage was sparked by a video of a 96-year-old woman in a wheelchair who received an extensive security pat-down at Dulles Airport in Washington.
The woman’s daughter told CBS News the six-minute pat-down was “prolonged and repetitive.”
"What the hell do you think she's going to do? Set off a shoe bomb?" the daughter is heard asking as she films the video. It has received nearly 9 million page views on Facebook.
"I couldn't believe they were doing this to my 96-year-old mother," Jeanne Clarkson told CBS News. "It was just shock and frustration because they would not talk to me. I felt helpless."
Clarkson said she, her fiance, and Evelyn LaBrier were traveling back home to Anderson, Indiana after visiting her son in Maryland, according to the report. Clarkson acknowledged that the TSA screener “was polite and explained what was happening” as she searched LaBrier's chest and pelvis area.
But the family was still upset.
"It was just like, how can they get away with this?" Clarkson told CBS News.
Washington Dulles Airport wrote on its Facebook page: "Many of you have reached out to us to express concern over a video of a security screening taking place at Dulles International Airport. Security screening at our checkpoints is directed and conducted by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). We have shared customer comments with the TSA for their immediate review and appropriate action."
How did the woman react?
Clarkson said her mother didn’t know what to say or do. She later said she never wants to fly again.
A TSA spokesman told Clarkson it appeared proper procedure was followed. He said a two-minute video by the agency demonstrates what kind of security check a person in a wheelchair can expect before flying. The demonstration only takes about 15 seconds, however.
A statement given CBS News said: "TSA is committed to ensuring the security of travelers, while treating all passengers with dignity and respect. In this instance, the TSA officer provided advisements during the pat-down and was extremely polite. The passenger was very cooperative and gave no indication that she was agitated or in discomfort. She received a pat-down and was cleared for her flight."
The family’s bad luck continued after the pat-down. Their flight home was canceled and they were stranded overnight at Dulles, according to the report.
Clarkson said she felt like her family was singled out. She also told CBS News she was disappointed no one from the TSA contacted her.
"Why did they do that to me?" she asked.
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