12 year old Girl Forced in Chertoff's Naked Body Scanner w/out Parents Knowing

Airport body scanners reveal all, but what about when it's your kid?

By Leonora LaPeter Anton, Times Staff Writer
In Print: Sunday, July 18, 2010

There's been lots of talk lately about body scanners — the new airport security tool that allows screeners to see through clothes. People are concerned about privacy, delayed flights, health effects.

Now there's another concern. What about kids? Do they have to go through this, too? And what are parents' rights?

A Baltimore family is raising the issue after their 12-year-old daughter was pulled out of line in Tampa and subjected to what they say was an embarrassing and unhealthy scan. The girl was traveling with an adult friend of the family, not her parents.

"Our daughter was scared and didn't understand what was happening," said Michelle Nemphos, the mother of the girl. She declined to give her daughter's name. "In essence they conducted a strip search on a 12-year-old girl without her parents present to advocate for her."

• • •

The girl told her story in a phone interview:

Okay, I was coming home to Baltimore, Md., from Siesta Key, Fla., and I was with my friend and her parents and I was going to this airport security check.

I put my bag through, and they pulled me aside and told me to go over here. I thought it was some high-tech scan and I walked right through it and this lady said '"Hold on, you can't just walk through this thing. Put your feet on the yellow footsteps and make a triangle above your head." I guess it was so they could see my whole body.

I heard a beep and she said, "Okay you can leave."

I heard one of the guards say "affirmative on the female," and I knew they were talking about me. And that made me worried.

I couldn't see my friend and her dad, and I was really worried that I was separated from them. I was trying to look happy when I saw them but inside I was really scared.

• • •

When the girl first got home to Baltimore, she didn't mention the beaches she'd visited or her trip to the aquarium. All she wanted to talk about was what happened at the airport.

"Why did they pick me?" the girl asked her mother.

Nemphos wasn't sure. She couldn't imagine the Transportation Security Administration needing to scan a 12-year-old girl for weapons.

Paul Susie, the parent who was with his daughter and Nemphos' in Tampa, said it all happened so fast.

"I didn't know it was optional," he said. "But I thought it was ridiculous that a 12-year-old girl got picked for that."

He said he was not notified she would be taken to the other line.

Sari Koshetz, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, said anyone can be selected from the line and given a body scan, even children, as long as they can hold their arms over their heads for five or more seconds.

But parents may opt out of the body scan for themselves or their children and receive a patdown by an officer instead. Koshetz said there are signs saying everyone has the option to reject the screening, though at TIA there is one sign per machine.

Koshetz said officers don't have time to ask everyone's permission on the way through.

• • •

Today, there are 134 imaging technology units in use at 38 airports. But by next year and beyond, 1,000 of them will likely be deployed around the country.

At Tampa International Airport, four millimeter-wave machines were installed in 2008. Another seven to nine are expected by the end of the year, and they will become the primary form of passenger screening in the future, said Brenda Geoghagan, a spokeswoman for TIA.

The TIA machines use high-frequency radio waves that bounce off the passenger's body to create a black and white three-dimensional image. Passengers are pulled randomly and sent into the booth, where they must raise their hands and stand for the scan.

A screener in a closed room with no windows looks at the image to see if the passenger is carrying weapons. Passenger and screener never see each other.

"There are legitimate concerns about an adult viewing strikingly graphic images of a child's body," said Maria Kayanan, associate legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida. "It's basically a nude picture."

In the United Kingdom, scans are not performed on anyone under 18 because they would violate child pornography laws.

Koshetz of the Transportation Security Administration said the faces and body parts on the images are blurry and never saved.

"There's no way to associate that fuzzy black and white image to a particular person," she said.

• • •

Nemphos, 39, has talked to lawyers and spoken with her daughter's pediatrician about blood tests to determine potential health effects. Though Transportation Security Administration officials say cell phones emit 10,000 times more waves than the body scan, Nemphos remains unconvinced.

She said she tried to explain to her daughter why they were pursuing the issue. When her daughter learned about her parents' concerns with the body scanner, she started crying.

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Comment by fireguy on July 22, 2010 at 11:43pm
"Seriously though, vote with your wallet and stop flying. Let your friends and family know that flying is unacceptable behavior that looses them your respect and admiration. Lose friends over it if you have to, lose family over it if you have to."

My family is driving in two vehicles for two days to attend my fathers 80th birthday bash in So. Cal. Screw the airlines and their obedience to the NWO.

Two years ago we all flew down for my niece's wedding. But there were no naked body scanners then, just a bunch of Nazi TSA fools checking everyone out.
Comment by TastyKake on July 21, 2010 at 10:58am
I travel regularly and YES the scanners DO see the faces and All body areas, regardless of what age or consent..TSA personal are tough on this and it's not a choice..you go thru or you'rekicked out of the airport..Fl airports are tough in some areas and lax in other airports why??they want to assimulate all faces and body pics for future "profiling" of any cause of theirs..the end is near as the world as we know it..there is going to be a huge change very quickly. I hope we can survive as a site and can keep in touch!
Comment by Locutus on July 21, 2010 at 1:43am
Apparently this BAltimore family didn't get the memo...You will comply even if you are ignornat of your responsibilities. Prepare to be assimilated into the "awakened" continuum.
Comment by Marklar on July 21, 2010 at 1:20am
They could have at least offered her parents the option to purchase a couple of 8x10s they could include in her grade school year book.

Seriously though, vote with your wallet and stop flying. Let your friends and family know that flying is unacceptable behavior that looses them your respect and admiration. Lose friends over it if you have to, lose family over it if you have to.

The time to resist is now. The time for acting like apathetic acceptance is socially acceptable is over.
Comment by Blakout on July 20, 2010 at 11:39pm
"Don't have time to ask everyone's permission"?! Bullshit. If they have time to pull someone out of line, the have time to ask "Do you agree to a full body scan". What they don't have time for is for that person to say 'no', then have to do a pat-down. We're just bloodbags to them. The slaves don't have the option of saying 'no'. The signs are just a way of keeping the sheeple placated.
Comment by Tara on July 20, 2010 at 5:33pm
That poor girl, she felt violated at the young age of 12 and was utterly confused by the whole experience. How traumatizing for children to have to go through this. "Teacher.....leave them kids alone" already! This is just sick and wrong....period!


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