TSA warns local police about its new airport pat-downs

TSA warns local police about its new airport pat-downs

Ronald Pratt
March 9, 2017

The Transportation Security Administration has introduced a new standardized pat-down procedure for screening passengers at USA airports, which may be considered by travelers to be more invasive.

Last week, one airport, Denver International, notified employees and flight crews that the "more rigorous" searches will be "more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before".

In a statement to FOX 8 News, the TSA said, "This standardized pat-down procedure continues to utilize enhanced security measures implemented several months ago, and does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure".

A seasoned traveler flying to Egypt last Thursday was told by an agent about the new pat-down which "would involve more intense horizontal and vertical pat down" to look for concealed weapons that people typically hide in their trousers.

A TSA agent conducts mechanical 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 new guidelines posted on the TSA website are much more explicit about what passengers should expect: "A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This is something that's happened before.' He's like 'No we need to explain it to you because the rules have changed'".

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Now, security screeners will use the front of their hands on passengers in a private screening area if one of the prior screening methods indicates the presence of explosives.

The officers will focus on the body area that is highlighted by the security x-ray machine. Anderson said the searches will delay flying for those who receive the additional screening but is not expected to cause longer waits for most passengers. Even airline employees, who normally breeze through security as "known crewmembers", will face more random checks, according to the new directive.

One traveler said, " I guess I'm all for it if it keeps everybody safe".

The pat-down change, first reported Friday by Bloomberg News, is "intended to reduce the cognitive burden on [employees] who previously had to choose from various pat-down procedures depending on the type of screening lane", ACI-NA wrote in its notice.

Truth be told, the TSA doesn't have to foil terrorists.