The U.S. Transportation Security Administration has declined to say exactly where-and how-employees will be touching air travelers as part of the more invasive physical pat-down procedure it recently ordered.
Effective March 2, 2017, TSA consolidated previous pat-down procedures into one standardized pat-down procedure at airport security checkpoints and at other locations within the airport.
Airport pat-downs are about to get more intimate for passengers who receive them. It "does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure".
Ron Paul, the Republican former congressman, tweeted: "TSA Launches "Invasive" Pat-Downs With 'More Intimate Contact Than Before.'" He republished an article on his website that referred to the new procedure as a "universal method which would involve heavier groping".
One woman at Dallas Love Field got a thorough check as a female TSA agent asked her to stretch her arms out and proceeded to rub gloved hands down the front of the woman's shirt.
The change in protocol came after a 2015 study by the Department of Homeland Security revealed that the TSA failed to detect banned substances or weapons in 67 out of 70 tests administered by undercover teams, ABC reported.
To ease concerns, the TSA says female officers will pat-down female passengers and male officers will pat-down male passengers.
Earlier, TSA screeners could choose from several pat-down procedures if passengers opted out of using full-body scanners used at major USA airports or if they set off a warning from the machine. As of Thursday, the agency is now conducting "comprehensive" pat-downs on all passengers who require pat-downs. "This is something that's happened before.' He's like 'No we need to explain it to you because the rules have changed'".
TSA officers use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body. In fact, a successful plot on the TSA's watch would probably only lead to more funding for the agency - as government failures usually do - and even less freedom for travelers. Moreover, the pat-down would slow a person's travel time because it will take much longer. However, for those who would rather not be patted down in public, TSA is offering private screening rooms with two officers present and the option of having a companion witness the pat-down.
"The UPD [universal pat-down] lessens the cognitive burden for our officers and reduces the possibility for confusion with passengers and employees as well", the agency said.