The TSA is instituting new regulations for airport security pat-downs, and the techniques are reportedly so invasive that the agency preemptively warned local police to expect calls from concerned travelers.
TSA officers will use the Millimeter Wave Whole Body Imaging Technology machine randomly to screen for weapons and explosives beginning this week, according to officials, despite complaints from privacy advocates that the technology reveals too much of one's private anatomy to strangers. On its website, the TSA says employees "use the back of the hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body". Now, there will only be one way and they'll still be performed by agents of the same gender. 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.
"It's needed. Whatever TSA is going to do I'm in support of it".
"When we had multiple ways of doing the pat-down search it was a little bit complex and depending on the individual there were some inconsistencies in how it was applied", said TSA Federal Security Director Aaron Batt.
There is no evidence yet that the more invasive pat downs will do much to dissuade terror threats.
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Previously, they used several types of pat-downs usually after a person sets off the metal detectors. Even airline employees, who normally breeze through security as "known crewmembers", will face more random checks, according to the new directive.
"Made me feel anything but safe", said Jim Broderick, who travels across the country at least once a week. TSA critics have for years decried the agency's efforts as "security theater", giving the appearance of security without actually providing it.
Twitter user JE Gallagher, the associate executive producer of the No Agenda podcast, tweeted that the TSA's latest move is "pure theater to groom Americans to accept tyranny", asking, "When was the last [time] they [the TSA] prevented a terrorist plot?"
Nicole Melendez, a public affairs manager at the TSA, said the procedure was streamlined to reduce confusion and lessen the cognitive burden on officers after the "TSA faced a record number of firearms detection during the week of February 20".