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If you thought the TSA already went too far with X-ray scanners and “random” pat-downs, be prepared to be even more perturbed. The TSA has announced that it will be implementing a new, more invasive, pat-down method.
According to a TSA spokesman, the updated searches will provide a more “comprehensive” physical screening. Flight crews and employees at Denver International Airport were informed that pat-downs will be “more rigorous” and “more thorough and may involve an officer making more intimate contact than before.”
“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,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson told Bloomberg.
Previously, TSA officers had five choices of the type of pat-down they could perform on someone they thought could be a security risk. But the new rules call for a standardized physical search which the TSA says is more thorough.
The introduction of the new screening comes after a 2015 report that revealed the TSA failed to detect a multitude of weapons, even handguns and explosives, when undercover agents were going through security.
Traveler Joel Stratte-McClure told NBC News that a TSA agent warned him Thursday the new policy “would involve a more intense horizontal and vertical pat down” to look for concealed weapons that people typically hide in their pants.” He added it “was the most intriguing, intense and invasive pat down I’ve had by the TSA since they came into existence.”
Physical screenings will still be conducted by a member of the same sex, in a private area if the traveler requests. They even allow for a witness to be present.
The TSA says the new method shouldn’t slow down security times. Airport and airline employees will also be subject to more scrutiny, although the number of random searches will stay very low.
Some travelers have also been noting that the TSA has been requiring them to take books out of their carry-on bags when going through security.
We reached out to TSA spokesman Michael England about the new policy, and he said:
“Books are generally permitted in carry-on bags. However, even if an item is generally permitted, it may be subject to additional screening or not allowed through the checkpoint if it triggers an alarm during the screening process, appears to have been tampered with, or poses other security concerns. The final decision rests with TSA on whether to allow any items on the plane.”
Featured image courtesy of Scott Olson/Getty Images.
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