Video shows TSA agent screening shirtless boy

Save Story

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SALT LAKE CITY -- The heated controversy over airport screening methods boils over at Salt Lake International Airport.


Cell phone video shows a shirtless kid undergoing a pat down by a Transportation Security Administration official. The video was posted on YouTube and just adds more fuel to an already intense debate.

The cell phone video was taken Friday by another passenger, Utah Valley University student Luke Tait.

He was waiting to go through security when he saw the 4-year-old boy having trouble getting through security. The boy was shy, so the father tried to hold him still, but got frustrated, pulled his son's shirt off and gave it to the TSA agent. That's when Tait took out his cell phone.

Tait says agents searched the clothing, finished the pat down, but then he got stopped by TSA.

Tait said, "He started questioning me why I was taking video of TSA procedures and why I would take a video of that situation. And I kindly told him, I was taking the video because I had never seen a young boy with his shirt off getting pat down at a security checkpoint and it was a pretty interesting situation."


Tait says the TSA agent then asked him to delete the video, but he refused.

Passengers at the Salt Lake Airport Monday said the whole thing goes too far.

David Hackett, of American Fork, said, "I'm a little concerned why they'd be wanting to screen little kids."

Kirsten Boehme said, "It's a little bit crazy."

"It's a little bit crazy. Maybe everybody should just travel naked instead," said Greg Boehme.

TSA Administrator John Pistole said, "What I understand is, the boy walked through the metal detector and an alarm \[went off\]. His father decided to take matters into his own hands and took his shirt off to resolve it. There was no issue there, and so the father and the security officer helped the boy get his shirt back on and they went along."

TSA adds passengers will not be asked to remove clothing -- other than shoes, jackets and coats.

As for Tait, he says after being questioned by TSA, four agents showed up at his gate and waited there until just before he boarded his flight.

A better way to secure airports?

Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, says full-body imaging scanners aren't the answer to securing airports. He told the "Doug Wright" show that an article in the magazine Wired, -- which covers current and future trends in technology -- reported that the Pentagon spent $19 billion on ways to detect bombs, and the best bomb-detector was a bomb-sniffing dog.

Chaffetz said the best way to secure planes is, "Number 1, we've got to profile terrorists, not based on skin color or ethnicity, but go after the terrorists. No. 2, walk through metal detectors, have your carry-on bag go through the machine, even pilots, but then walk by the bomb-sniffing dogs. This is much more effective, a lot less invasive."

Chaffetz sent a letter to President Obama Monday pointing out the incident in Salt Lake City and calling for change.

"This is the United States of America," Chaffetz said. "You should not have to go to the airport and be harassed."


Story written with contributions from Anne Forester , Courtney Orton, Sandra Yi, Andrew Adams , Mary Richards and Randall Jeppesen.

Related links

Related stories

Most recent Utah stories

Related topics



    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast