TSA unveiling 'more thorough' pat-down process

Judith QuinnMar 09, 2017

Earlier, TSA screeners could choose from several pat-down procedures if passengers opted out of using full-body scanners used at major US airports or if they set off a warning from the machine.

"I said 'Oh no, you don't have to explain it to me, I've been pat down many times". On its website, the TSA says employees "use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body".

"Safety first, so I'm all for it", says another passenger.

One passenger who noticed was Joel Stratte-McClure, a travel writer from Redding, California, who blogged about his experience with the new procedure.

The decision to alert local and airport police raises a question of just how intimate the agency's employees may get. The TSA says a second officer of the same gender will always be present.

"Frisking procedures at airport security checkpoints are changing, and they're being described as more thorough and comprehensive". That particular audit, conducted by the Department of Homeland Security's Inspector General, reported that airport officers failed to detect handguns and other weapons. But upon learning of the porous nature of checkpoints, which have allowed many weapons to pass through undetected, the new TSA policy removes the less invasive options. That may well be necessary considering that one needn't have so much as a high-school diploma to get a job as a TSA screener, but it's hardly reassuring.

Two million people are screened by TSA daily throughout airports nationwide. Those who refuse to go through the agency's imaging scanners are automatically subjected to pat-downs.

There is no evidence yet that the more invasive pat downs will do much to dissuade terror threats.

They're also not expected to slow lines down, but they will be a longer ordeal for the person patted down than they have been in the past. However, WLS noted, "some passengers are not convinced". Christina Lindstrom tells us her pat-down was not out of bounds; but if it had been, she would have left. Stratte-McClure said TSA agents told the waiting passengers: "You're not going to like the new pat-down regulations". Pilots and flight attendants had been able to undergo expedited security checks since 2010, thanks to pressure from the pilots' union.

But does the new procedure really make flying safer?

You'll be hearing "the TSA touched my junk" more often under the agency's recent rule changes.

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