A 27-year-old Ph.D. student says a TSA agent touched her vaginal area during a pat-down at a California airport; however, a representative told The Huffington Post the agents followed procedure.
Ashley Jessica, a psychology student from Toronto who has recently campaigned to raise awareness about invasive TSA practices, told HuffPost that she and her mother chose to opt out of a full-body scan at San Diego International Airport on May 23.
Because they opted out, TSA agents said they had to give her an "extensive pat-down." Jessica and her mother filmed the whole thing, and video of the pat-down has gone viral since being posted online Sunday.
About halfway into the procedure, a TSA agent feels the area between Jessica's breasts, and Jessica puts up her hands as if to protect herself from further touching.
Less than two minutes later, the agent appears to run her hands all the way up the inside of Jessica's leg. Jessica pulls away and becomes visibly uncomfortable.
"OK, you need to hold still for this process," says another TSA agent, who is off-screen.
"She just touched my vagina!" Jessica replies. "Seriously! That was not my upper thigh." (Jessica eventually submitted to the pat-down and was cleared to fly to Toronto.)
In a emailed statement obtained by HuffPost, a TSA representative said the officers followed procedure.
In review of the closed-circuit video, it is abundantly clear that the two TSA officers conducting the pat-down carried out their responsibilities in a professional and polite manner and according to procedure, offering the passengers the opportunity to have the pat-down conducted in a private setting and taking time to explain each step along the way.
After the incident, Jessica posted the video to her Twitter account:
Was violated pretty badly by TSA at San Diego International Airport yesterday. Video will be on my YouTube channel Missashleyjessica— Ashley Jessica (@ashleyjessica) May 25, 2013
In the fall of 2012 Jessica partnered with conspiracy-theory site InfoWars to run an awareness campaign called "Opt Out And Film," which encourages people to videotape the full-body pat-downs they get from TSA agents.
Jessica told HuffPost she started the campaign after an awkward incident at an airport in Norfolk, Va., where a TSA agent told her she wouldn't be allowed to fly unless she submitted to having her private areas touched.
(h/t LA Weekly)
Also on HuffPost:
An unidentified TSA agent left a note asking a woman to "<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/24/woman-finds-sexual-note-in-luggage_n_1029382.html" target="_hplink">Get Your Freak On Girl</a>". The TSA agent was later fired.
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Ashley Yang poses for a photo at Los Angeles International Airport, LAX on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in Los Angeles. Yang, a transgender woman, was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/04/tsa-transgender-training-_n_918838.html" target="_hplink">fired from her Transportation Security Administration</a>, TSA passenger screener job at LAX for using the women's room. She recently received a five-figure settlement, back pay and mandatory transgender sensitivity for TSA managers at the LAX airport. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/14/donald-rumsfeld-patted-do_n_899348.html" target="_hplink">received a patdown</a> while traveling through Chicago's O'Hare airport in July. (AP Photo/Dennis Cook, File)
In July 2011, a 61-year-old Denver woman named <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/17/yukari-mihamae-61yearold-_n_900969.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">Yukari Mihamae</a> was accused of groping a TSA agent. People rallied around her, even creating a <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Acquit-Yukari-Mihamae/193771357344518" target="_hplink">Facebook page</a> in support of her acquittal. Associated Press
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In July 2011,<a href="http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/07/25/thomas-sawyer-cancer-survivor-gets-soaked-by-his-own-urine-aga/" target="_hplink"> former cancer patient Thomas Sawyer</a> was soaked by his own urine when his urostomy bag was burst by a TSA inspector during a patdown. Sadly, this was the <a href="http://www.gadling.com/2010/11/20/tsa-pees-on-tom-sawyer/" target="_hplink">second time this had happened to him</a>. NBC
Ron Paul has come out firmly against the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/05/ron-paul-tsa-_n_890511.html" target="_hplink">TSA saying it should be abolished</a>.
This undated photo provided by Jean Weber shows her mother, Lena Reppert. The gravely ill 95-year-old woman had to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/26/tsa-pats-down-elderly-wom_n_884902.html" target="_hplink">remove her wet diaper at an airport</a> so that she could be patted down by security screeners and nearly missed her flight, her daughter said. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Jean Weber)
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee member Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. shows a picture he says is of a young girl being searched by the TSA, during the committee's hearing to examine ongoing transportation security threats, Wednesday, June 22, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
In this Saturday, May 7, 2011 handout photo, a baby boy, held by his mother, is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/11/baby-receives-pat-down-at_n_860436.html" target="_hplink">frisked by TSA agents</a> at Kansas City International Airport in Kansas City, Mo. Federal officials insisted Wednesday that screeners at Kansas City International Airport were just doing their jobs when they frisked the baby, an incident that gained worldwide attention after a pastor posted a cellphone picture of the pat-down on Twitter. (AP Photo)
Former <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/28/susie-castillos-tsa-rant-_n_855038.html" target="_hplink">Ms USA Susie Castillo filmed her breakdown</a> at the Dallas airport after she felt she was inappropriately touched by a TSA agent.
Selena Drexel, of Bowling Green, Ky., sits in front of her home computer Wednesday, April 13, 2011, with a video showing her <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/04/13/tsa-pats-down-6year-old-g_n_848626.html" target="_hplink">6-year-old daughter Anna getting frisked</a> at the New Orleans airport earlier this month by the TSA officials. (AP Photo/Joe Imel)
Rep. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, center, answers questions from members of the press after <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/24/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa_n_827934.html" target="_hplink">disembarking the Alaska Ferry Matanuska</a>, in Juneau, Alaska Thursday, February 24th, 2011. Cissna's four-day ordeal began when she <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/21/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa-patdown_n_825851.html" target="_hplink">refused to be patted down</a> by TSA agents in the Seattle-Tacoma airport following a full body scan that detected her mastectomy, which the TSA agent felt necessitated the extra security precaution of a full body pat down, Cissna's second in three months. She refused, and took a ferry from Prince Rupert, British Columbia to Juneau to return to her legislative duties. Cisna vowed Thursday to fight for the rights of travelers who have been subjected to what she considers intrusive airport searches by federal airport screeners. (AP Photo/Chris Miller)
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Former Minnesota governor <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/24/jesse-ventura-sues-tsa-ov_n_813460.html" target="_hplink">Jesse Ventura sued the TSA</a> over their techniques last winter. Earlier this month, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/jesse-venturas-tsa-lawsui_n_1075676.html" target="_hplink">lawsuit was thrown out </a>; Ventura has since <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/04/jesse-ventura-lawsuit_n_1076670.html" target="_hplink">vowed to move to Mexico</a>. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/Getty Images)
Surveillance video of <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/31/aaron-b-tobey-airport-pas_n_802995.html" target="_hplink">Aaron Tobey</a> going through airport security at Richmond International Airport Dec. 29, 2010 after stripping to his undershorts in protest of the TSA surveillance methods. Related story: bit.ly
Who could forget <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/02/tammy-banovac-wheelchairb_n_791222.html" target="_hplink">Tammy Banovac</a>, a 52-year old woman from Oklahoma, who stripped down to her skivvies (aka black lingerie) to get through security at Will Rogers World Airport? YouTube
In December 2010, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/07/khloe-kardashian-tsa-rape_n_793059.html" target="_hplink">Khloe Kardashian compared the TSA's patdown techniques to rape</a>. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
An illustration shows lobbying material protesting against full body scans outside of a conference on Transportation Security Administration procedures at the Carnegie Institute for Science in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Former "Baywatch" actress<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/08/donna-derrico-baywatch-st_n_793909.html" target="_hplink"> Donna D'Errico said that a TSA agent "singled her out"</a> for a full-body scan at LAX. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
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Paul Gambill, of Tempe, protests curbside at Sky Harbor International Airport Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010 in Phoenix. Gambill was participating in the National Opt Out Day protest against the use of body-scanning technology by the TSA.(AP Photo/Matt York)
My friend Jimmy successfully navigated a TSA security checkpoint in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/speedo-tsa-_n_788137.html" target="_hplink">speedo swimsuit</a> at the Salt Lake City International Airport on Tuesday, November 23, 2010 with the words, 'SCREW BIG SIS' written on his back. Why the speedo?
Activist Lori Lamb distributes stickers to travelers to protest against TSA's new security procedures at Los Angeles International Airport, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010. Holiday travelers dismayed by airport body scans <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/24/opt-out-day-how-_n_788002.html" target="_hplink">planned protests</a> at bustling airports, while the head of the nation's transport security agency urged passengers to comply with searches to reduce the possibility of delays on one of the busiest travel days of the year. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A Taiwanese animation company took on the TSA's practices in a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/taiwanese-tsa-cartoon_n_784709.html?ref=tsa" target="_hplink">holiday-themed mocking </a>last year. <em> <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBL3ux1o0tM&feature=player_embedded" target="_hplink">NMA World Edition</a></em>
Whoopi Goldberg has called<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/22/whoopi-tsa-pat-downs_n_786756.html" target="_hplink"> TSA's patdowns "necessary</a>." (AP Photo/Jeff Christensen)