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TSA responds after CNN commentator's video of grabby pat-down

The TSA has responded after  Angela Rye, a CNN political commentator and NPR political analyst, posted a video of herself getting a grabby pat-down the Detroit airport this week. The federal agency noted that Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab "flew from Amsterdam to Detroit wearing an explosive device in his underwear" seven years ago in its statement declaring all proper procedures were followed.

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The entire statement:

"The Transportation Security Administration takes reports of alleged impropriety very seriously. TSA looked into the specific details related to the screening process and concluded that our security protocols were followed. It is worth noting that just seven years ago on December 25, 2009, Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab flew from Amsterdam to Detroit wearing an explosive device in his underwear.  AbdulMutallab pleaded guilty to carrying that explosive device on an aircraft with 289 passengers and attempting to detonate that device.  TSA's procedures, including pat down screenings, are designed to prevent such an act. TSA officers must work to resolve all alarms at the checkpoint to ensure everyone arrives safely at their destination.  We regret any distress the security screening process may have caused the passenger. We are in contact with the passenger and will continue to work with her directly to address her concerns."

The TSA objects to the characterization of the screening as "grabby."

A spokesman said the term "is inaccurate, and could lead a reader to believe the person being screened was assaulted. The pat down is (and was) done with the back of the hands, therefore there is no grabbing."

Rye posted video of her screening here. Watch it and judge for yourself. At one point she winces and is in tears by the end.

“I was just thoroughly traumatized by the TSA,” she said in a Periscope video. “I’ve been randomly selected maybe three times in my life. Even if they think this is ok, it’s not. I’ve never been a victim of unwanted touching until today. I literally started crying while this was happening. It’s not right.”

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About the Author

Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for