Former GOP Rep. Bob Barr: TSA 'harassing tots and seniors' with pat-downs

Barr was sharply critical of recent reports the TSA made an elderly woman remove her adult diaper at an airport in northwest Florida, which the agency denied earlier this week.

"Telling a cancer-stricken, 95-year old woman traveling in a wheelchair, that she cannot board a commercial airliner for which she has paid her fare and been 'cleared' to travel, unless she takes off an adult diaper that a TSA agent deemed to be suspicious, is 'professional' and 'proper,'" he wrote.

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"If that is 'proper' and 'professional,' I’d like to see what might constitute behavior that is 'unprofessional and improper'; not that it matters — TSA leadership takes the position that whatever its agents do is, by definition, proper and will be supported by supervisors all the way up the chain of command," he continued.

A TSA spokesman told The Hill this week that the agency "reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally, according to proper procedure and did not require this passenger to remove an adult diaper."

The woman's daughter, Jean Weber, disagreed, telling CNN that the TSA's procedure that impacted her mother needed to be changed.

In his column Wednesday, former Rep. Barr agreed.

"Clearly, President Obama is not inclined to step up and rein in the TSA or its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security," he wrote. "And thus far, TSA has resisted efforts by the Congress – especially the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, headed by California Republican Darrell Issa – to consider any reasonable limitations on the agency’s vast power over law-abiding citizens.

"Whether citizens of this country will arise from their fear-based stupor to declare that 'enough is enough,' and demand they stop being treated like common criminals simply because they need to travel by air, remains to be seen," he continued. "Thus far, despite occasional public revulsion at individual incidents, the fear mongerers are winning."

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