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Photo of pat-down of baby at KCI goes worldwide
Here’s the picture the Rev. Jacob Jester took at KCI.
The Rev. Jacob Jester wasn’t trying to start anything.
But when he saw security screeners at Kansas City International Airport patting down a baby — a baby — he took a picture. And then he shared that picture on Twitter.
It went viral, and voila: Jester’s snapshot is the flashpoint of the day in the debate over who should be considered a threat to the flying public.
Not what he intended, Jester said Tuesday, after the image had been picked up by The Drudge Report and the Daily Mail in London, among others, and viewed nearly 300,000 times.
“I thought it was a curious situation,” said Jester, a pastor at a youth ministry in Independence. “I have a son about the same age — 8 months old — and I thought that I would not want that to happen to my own child.”
Jester had just cleared security Saturday afternoon on his way to Albuquerque, N.M., when he saw that the woman and young baby were about to be searched. The baby’s stroller had “alarmed” during explosives screening.
Jester tweeted his picture with the message: “Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport Pretty sure that’s extreme.”
His wife retweeted it. Another local pastor did, too.
The picture spread across Twitter as others, many with no connection to him, shared the image through retweets.
“The picture took on a life of its own,” Jester said.
The Transportation Security Administration, which has contracted with FirstLine Transportation Security to handle screening, issued a statement saying the officers followed proper procedures.
After the stroller set off the alarm, “officers followed protocol to conduct additional screening on members of the family, who were very cooperative,” the TSA said.
The agency said it has been reviewing its policies “to streamline and improve the screening experience for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers.”
Jester’s personal opinion: “An 8-month-old doesn’t pose a threat to airplane or national security. I am grateful for TSA’s willingness and desire to protect, but I believe in this instance that was extreme.”
TSA gets flack for baby's KC airport patdown
New security procedures by the TSA at the nation's airports continue to bring negative attention to air travel
A photo alleging to show a baby receiving a patdown by TSA agents in the Kansas City airport. (@jacobjester/Twitter)
Less than a month after a public outcry over a 6-year-old's patdown at the New Orleans airport by TSA agents, a photo showing TSA agents examining what appears to be the rear end of a baby at Kansas City International airport has gained a lot of attention.
Twitter user Jacob Jester, who describes himself as an "evangelist, founder of reaching innovations, son of god, husband to kristin, father to jude and cruz, pastor of @theremixlife", posted the photo over the weekend, with the description: "Just saw #tsa agents patting down a little baby at @KCIAirport Pretty sure that's extreme. Check the pic."
In response on its TSA blog, a spokesman wrote: "We reviewed the screening of this family, and found that the child's stroller alarmed during explosives screening. Our officers followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family after the alarm, who by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time. The child in the photo was simply receiving a modified pat-down."
In April, a TSA agent at the New Orleans airport gave a 6-year-old a pat down, even after the little girl said, "I don't want to do this," drawing rage and condemnation across the spectrum. TSA defended itself in a similar manner, saying it was just doing its job.
CBS News correspondent Bob Orr said at the time: "Privacy experts don't like it at all, the critics call it security theater, but we have to say the screener here appears to be doing her job. This patdown happens all the time ... somewhere in America. Whether we like it or not, the truth is it's part of the post-9/11 security."