A Portland, Oregon, man was outraged when TSA agents allegedly demanded that his 90-year-old mother remove her blouse and bra during a search.
Alan Charney told KATU that he and his mother, Harriette, was visiting him in Portland and just about to head back to her home on the East Coast when she was pulled aside during a full-body scan at the airport.
“It was obvious,” Charney said, ““they were going into a search, but I presumed they were just going to sort of pat her down.”
Charney soon learned that his mother had sewn a small pocket in her bra to hold extra money in case her wallet as stolen. The body scanner alerted agents to the pocket, and the woman was taken to a room and told to remove her blouse.
“They wanted her to take, I guess, take all of her clothes off from her waist up,” Charney said, “and so she took off that and took off her bra … and I’m like ‘what??!!”
The TSA acknowledged that it was not typical for a screener to ask passengers to completely remove their shirt instead of just lifting it up.
“It appears the security system worked as it should,” TSA officials said in a statement.
“Advanced Imaging Technology safely screens passengers without physical contact for both metallic and non-metallic threats…pat-down screening is used to resolve alarms and anomalies found during the screening process at the checkpoint, including those triggered by imaging technology.”
Charney said that regardless of whether or not the search was necessary, it wasn’t handled properly and ultimately left his mother shaken up.
“There was no sanity or sensitivity at all to the work that they were doing,” he said.
The TSA is currently investigating the incident.