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TSA backs down on shirtless boy story

Published December 17, 2010 4:30 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2010, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It appears Rep. Jason Chaffetz is already enjoying his new-found authority with regard to the Transportation Security Administration. The Utah Republican, who soon will take charge of the House subcommittee overseeing the agency, says he forced the TSA to come clean on an incident in which a young boy was given a pat down at Salt Lake City International Airport, prompting the child's frustrated father to remove the boy's shirt to allay any concerns.

TSA's initial statement on the incident said the boy set off the alarm on the metal detector, a point disputed by a man who taped the screening and posted it online. Chaffetz says the airport's top TSA official admitted the boy didn't trigger the alarm and the congressman went to bat to get the agency to correct its statement.

"I said, 'You guys knew that at the beginning. You lied at the beginning,'" Chaffetz said Friday.

The TSA's blog now says that the boy was given a pat down because of bulky clothing and not because metal was detected.

"New information was brought to light that indicated the initial report was incorrect," the TSA said.