TSA pat-down pushback: Sacramento traveler outraged over 'hands on' treatment

8:52 PM, Nov 18, 2010   |    comments
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  • Wendy James Gigliotti
  • Gigliotti believes she was targeted for a pat-down because of this loose-fitting skirt

SACRAMENTO, CA - A 43-year-old wife and mother who insists she's no prude was "stunned and shocked" by the pat-down she received by a security screener Tuesday at Sacramento International Airport.

UPDATE: Woman wants TSA screener arrested for pat-down

"It was absolutely dehumanizing. I felt totally violated," said Detroit-bound traveler Wendy James Gigliotti by telephone during a layover in Denver. 

Gigliotti said she had never had a problem with the routine "back of the hand" pat-downs she had experienced on previous trips, and was expecting something similar when she was selected for secondary screening by a female employee of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Gigliotti believes she was targeted, even though she didn't set off the metal detector, because the TSA employee suggested she could be hiding something under her skirt.

"She said 'spread your legs.' And then she took her full palms and started at my neck and ran all the way down my body, full palms, constant contact. And when she got down to my feet, she was in constant contact from my ankles all the way up to my groin, across my groin, and down the other leg. And she did that twice," Gigliotti said.

Gigliotti contacted News10 as soon as the plane landed because she believes TSA has crossed the line of acceptable behavior in the name of security. 

"Can we get together and change this rule? Can we change this procedure? Because it's wrong," she said.

Giogliotti joins a growing number of air travelers expressing "pat-down pushback" after the new procedure was implemented nationwide Oct. 29.

TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird said passengers are chosen for secondary screening involving what the agency calls "enhanced pat-down" if they set off a metal detector.

At airports using full-body scanners, passengers will receive secondary screening if the image is unclear or if the passenger refuses to walk through the machine, Baird explained.

Baird also said some passengers, like Gigliotti, are chosen at random, but he would not discuss the criteria.

Gigliotti challenged the government to come up with a better way to detect a threat.

"They should not be able to touch your genitalia, for goodness sake," she said.

By George Warren, GWarren@news10.net


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