US looking into Ambassador's pat down search: Crowley

"We are aware of the fact that the ambassador was subject to a pat-down," the State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters at his daily news briefing.
"We have actually just learned about this; are looking into it ourselves," Crowley said.
Crowley said there are guidelines that have been published on diplomats.

"They are subject to basic security. So everyone at the airport goes through a basic screening," he noted, adding that from a TSA standpoint they followed their normal procedures.

"It is the responsibility of the Transportation Security Administration to assess each passenger and then work each passenger through security based on what they see," he said adding as to the rationale that TSA used for this, he will let them explain it.
"It is our understanding the (Indian) Ambassador was pulled out for secondary screening, and DHS (Department of Homeland Security) has indicated they're prepared to talk about this," Crowley said.

When asked if India has lodged a formal complaint before it, Crowley said, "We have had meetings with officials from the embassy, since the incident in Mississippi. And as far as I know, they have not raised it with us yet."

Shankar was pulled from an airport security line on December 4 and patted down by an American security agent in Mississippi despite being told of her diplomatic status.
The incident took place at the Jackson-Evers International Airport where sari-clad Shankar was about to board a flight to Baltimore after attending the Mississippi State University's programme.

Shankar presented her diplomatic papers to officers and was escorted by a Mississippi Development Authority representative and an airport security officer, but witnesses said she was subjected to the hands-on search.

Terming the incident as "unacceptable", External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today said the matter will be taken up with the American government.

In the past, many prominent Indians, including ministers, have faced some uncomfortable moments at US airports.

In September, visiting Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel was quizzed by US immigration authorities at the O'Hare airport in Chicago after his name and date of birth matched with that of another Praful Patel, who is on America's watch-list.

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