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)