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TSA: Patdown of Baby at KCI Justified

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) –  Federal officials insisted Wednesday that screeners at Kansas City International Airport were just doing their jobs when they frisked a baby, an incident that gained worldwide attention after a pastor posted a cellphone picture of the pat-down on Twitter.

The baby’s stroller set off an alert of possible traces of explosives Saturday, so the screeners were justified in taking a
closer look at the boy cradled in his mother’s arms, said Nick Kimball, a spokesman for the Transportation Security
Administration.

The Rev. Jacob Jester, an Independence evangelist who snapped the photo Saturday after he cleared security for a flight to Albuquerque, N.M., said it didn’t sit right with him to see the baby being patted down.

He said he thought the boy was about 8 months old.

After taking the picture, he posted it on the social networking site Twitter, commenting that the search was “extreme.”

His wife and another pastor also posted it, and soon it was a cyberspace hit with more than 300,000 viewers.

It eventually made it onto such websites as The Drudge Report and London Daily Mail, sparking complaints from many readers that the TSA’s actions crossed the line.

“That was definitely a surprise,” Jester said of the reaction to the photo. “I didn’t expect to get all the attention I’ve
garnered from that picture.”

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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