TSA Institutes New Universal ‘Comprehensive Pat-Down’ Policy At Airports

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The Transportation Security Administration has introduced a new “comprehensive pat-down procedure” for travelers at airports.

As CBS2’s Alice Gainer reported, the TSA previously had several pat-down procedures for travelers to choose from should they opt out of using the body scanners or other technology, or if they set off a detector.

But now, the TSA has created one standardized procedure. The agency calls it comprehensive, but some say it is invasive.

At security checkpoints, agents ask passengers to stretch their arms out for pat-downs and then used a gloved hand to check the front of her shirt.

According to the TSA, officers use the back of their hands for pat-downs over sensitive areas. But in some cases, additional screening of sensitive areas is required and a “pat-down with the front of the hand may be needed to determine that a threat does not exist,” according to the TSA.

“To be patted down in a very uncomfortable position — not what I’m looking forward to,” said traveler Susan Dawson.

The change in pat-down policy comes two years after a report found major security lapses across the country.

“If the person doing the search does not do it properly, it is of no value,” said retired airline captain and aviation expert Denny Kelly.

Kelly is a retired airline captain and said a better solution is proper training, rotating agents to avoid fatigue, and using scanning equipment.

But not everyone is upset by the universal pat-down policy.

“Of court, I’m all for it. You know, security’s number one thing, and I don’t care what happens to me as long as I get there in one piece,” said Thomas Aquinas of Brooklyn.

“If it’s what it takes, I don’t mind,” another man said.

“I really don’t care, because I think safety first,” a woman added.

The universal pat-down policy went into effect on Thursday. Late Monday afternoon, passengers at Newark Liberty International Airport told CBS2’s Gainer they had not noticed it.

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