TSA rolls out changes to pat-downs

  • TSA rolls out changes to pat-downs

TSA rolls out changes to pat-downs

The TSA calls the new physical pat-down method a more "comprehensive" physical screening, reports Bloomberg, and says the change is meant to slim down the various pat-down procedures from five methods to one.

The TSA is set to roll out a new pat-down method at airports that will apparently be more thorough than the methods previously used.

Now the TSA will be making security pat-downs more comprehensive under a new policy. "This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks", according to the TSA website.

The TSA has all pat-downs conducted by an officer of the same sex as the traveller and allows a passenger to request a private area for the screening, as well as to have a witness present.

A TSA spokesperson said he's "limited on what can be shared" as far as what exactly is changing during pat-down procedures, but he said the new method "doesn't involve checking any extra body parts".

Checks will involve "more intimate contact" than before, the TSA warned, but it stressed it will not increase airport delays for the two million people who pass through TSA screening each day.

About two million people are screened every day at airports in the USA by the TSA.

Anderson also commented on the secrecy of the new procedure, and why it hadn't been made public, saying, "Knowing our specific procedures could aid those who wish to do travelers harm in evading our measures". The agency said it doesn't track how many passengers are subject to pat-down searches.

A traveler is patted down after passing through a full-body scanner at Los Angeles International Airport in California, Feb. 20, 2014.

The change is partly due to the agency's study of a 2015 report criticizing different aspects of current agency screening procedures. Travelers routinely complain about screenings that they say cross a line. Airport employees may also be subject to additional, random screenings.

The TSA even alerted law enforcement agencies of the new protocols, anticipating a spike in complaints, according to the same Bloomberg report.