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More from Travel
- US TSA officials have streamlined the process for pat-downs at airport security
- The new process will be more thorough and much more invasive than previously
- Officers used to choose between five different types of pat-down at screening
United States TSA officials have created a new, more invasive process for physical pat-downs in airport security.
The new process will be more streamlined, in that officials have for a long time had the options of using five different types of physical pat-down in the screening lines.
Those selected to have a pat-down will go through a 'comprehensive physical screening,' which will include more rigorous searches that, according to a notice at Denver International Airport, 'will be more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before'.
Speaking to Bloomberg, TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said: 'I would say people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn't involved will notice that the new pat-down is more involved'.
This will represent a shift from the previous risk-based assessment on which pat-down procedure an officer should apply.
The TSA screens about 2million people daily in the United States, but doesn't track how many passengers receive pat-downs after passing through an imaging scanner.
Many passengers may find the new pat-down more intrusive, but it is not expected to increase overall security delays.
This will represent a shift from the previous risk-based assessment on which pat-down procedure an officer should apply
Anderson did tell Bloomberg that it will cause delays for the individual receiving the pat-down.
The change is primarily due to an audit by the Department of Homeland Security that drew headlines because airports were failing to detect handguns and other weapons.
The study showed that TSA failed 95 per cent of airport security tests by allowing undercover agents to successfully and repeatedly bring mock explosives and banned weapons through security checkpoints.
Many passengers may find the new pat-down more intrusive, but it is not expected to increase overall security delays
While the TSA occasionally conducts random searches of these employees, the number of searches isn't changing and will remain a very small percentage. However, airport employees may face more checks, reported Bloomberg.
The intensity and frequency of searches will also vary by airport, and will depend on the screening program.
Physical screening has for a long time been a part of travelers strongest dislikes regarding airport security protocol.
In the past, many people have come out to criticize the TSA after what they believed were inappropriately humiliating pat-downs.
CNN political commentator, Angela Rye, posted a graphically detailed article online describing her humiliating during a pat-down at the Detroit Airport.
Additionally, in 2016, a woman battling with breast cancer described a humiliating experience being pulled to the side and 'aggressively' patted down by agents.
HOW TSA SECURITY PAT-DOWNS WILL CHANGE
The TSA is preparing to introduce 'more rigorous' and 'comprehensive physical pat-downs at airports around the country.
The agency is replacing its five different types of physical pat-down with one universal method.
This universal, streamlined method will involve a more intimate and invasive touching process.
Individuals at the TSA security checkpoint who have opted out of technology screening, or alarmed technology or a canine team, will undergo a more thorough pat-down than before.
Additionally, more airport and airline staff will be subject to the same invasive pat-downs.
Generally airline pilots, flight attendants, and people who work at airports receive less scrutiny at TSA checkpoints, according to Bloomberg.
Now, the number of searches for airline crews won't change, but airport employees may receive more random checks, and they will be just as thorough as those given to anyone coming through airport security.
On the TSA's website they describe the current pat-down procedure as: 'Used to determine whether prohibited items or other threats to transportation security are concealed on a person.
'A pat-down may include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso, legs, and feet. This includes head coverings and sensitive areas such as breasts, groin, and the buttocks. You may be required to adjust clothing during the pat-down. The officer will advise you of the procedure to help you anticipate any actions before you feel them. Pat-downs require sufficient pressure to ensure detection
'TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In limited cases, additional screening involving a sensitive area pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist.
'You will receive a pat-down by an officer of the same gender. TSA officers will explain the procedures to you as they conduct the pat-down'.
In a response to Gizmodo, TSA officials said: 'The new protocol does not mandate the touching of a passenger's genitals'.