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Sen. Lisa Murkowski Sends Letter to TSA Administrator Seeking Clarification on Airport Pat-Down Policy

Attempt to Pat-Down State Rep. Cissna Highlights Passenger Privacy Concerns

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today sent a letter to Transportation Security Administration Administrator John Pistole requesting the TSA immediately clarify it's screening policy for airline passengers with special medical conditions.

Murkowski sent the letter following an incident on Sunday at Seattle's airport involving Alaska state Rep. Sharon Cissna, D-Anchorage, a breast cancer survivor who was singled out for an invasive pat-down search by TSA agents after they noticed scars from her mastectomy during a body scan.

"This kind of invasive probing should not be the price of travel," Murkowski wrote in the letter. "I appreciate that the TSA has a difficult task in keeping air transportation safe.... However, this incident highlights specific privacy concerns that must be addressed. I am concerned there is an imbalance between safety requirements and overly invasive procedures targeting air travelers who have undergone mastectomy surgeries or use prosthetics."

Rep. Cissna was prevented from boarding the flight to Juneau after she refused the pat down. She had to take a state ferry from Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to get back to Juneau. 

"Air travel to Alaska should never require submission to a stranger's intrusive touching of one's sensitive body area," Murkowski wrote.

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