If You Thought TSA Pat-Downs Were Intrusive Before...They're Getting Worse

Jeannette Daniel
March 9, 2017

The TSA quietly adapted a new, more invasive pat-down procedure on Thursday for passengers traveling through US airports, Bloomberg reports.

The change is the result of the fact that TSA agents found a record number of firearms during routine screenings during the week of February 20: 79, more than four times the previous one-week record of 18.

The Denver International Airport has integrated the new system and has informed their crew and employees that they will be implementing more meticulous body searches.

The TSA, in a statement, said that a full pat-down "does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure".

In a briefing, the TSA told local authorities of the change "in case they are notified that a passenger believes a [TSA security screener] has subjected them to an abnormal screening practice". TSA agents themselves can trigger false positives if they do not change their gloves between screenings. Nearly two years later, the agency is responding to the DHS inspector general's report on the tests with the new, "comprehensive" pat-down procedure.

The TSA pat-downs will still be done by an officer of the same gender. And despite only one passenger we spoke with who was against it, the majority of people say if the new policy is necessary, they are on board.

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The officers will focus on the body area that is highlighted by the security x-ray machine.

The Bloomberg has reported that in the past, United States airport security workers opt to choose among the five different types of physical pat-downs when screening travelers at the check point. 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.

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. Even airline employees, who normally breeze through security as "known crewmembers", will face more random checks, according to the new directive. "It's going to add a couple of minutes to my travel, I'd rather be safe", says air traveler Doug Hoyle.

The new pat-down police has been phased in over the past two weeks.

Nicole Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and lessen the cognitive burden on officers after the "TSA faced a record number of firearms detection during the week of February 20".

Other reports by My Hot News

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