by Mark Albert
WASHINGTON (TVR) – Passengers are now more likely to get intense physical pat-downs when going through security checkpoints at US airports.
The Transportation Security Administration confirms to The Voyage Report the five previous types of pat-downs are being “consolidated into one standardized pat-down.” So passengers who, up until now, would have received a modified, less invasive, version will now be subjected to the full physical screening.
The new procedures went into effect Thursday, a spokesman said.
“This standardized pat-down procedure continues to utilize enhanced security measures implemented several months ago, and does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure,” said TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson.
Those selected for pat-downs could include passengers who set off the scanner machines, opt out of technology screening, are picked out by a canine team, or as another part of what the TSA describes as “unpredictable security measures.”
Pat-Downs Changed After Test Failures
The agency’s screeners failed to stop 95% of fake weapons and mock explosives smuggled through TSA checkpoints during a 2015 internal review, CBS News reported, and has been under scrutiny by Congress to improve.
TSA seized 21 firearms at airport screening checkpoints in a single day recently—a one-day record. Confiscated items also included a “realistic replica suicide vest and claymore mine” and a live smoke grenade.
The agency said this week it is prepared to screen a “10-year high” number of passengers during Spring Break in March, which the TSA estimated to be about 62 million people.
“Meet the Evolving Threat”
Here is part of the TSA’s statement to The Voyage Report:
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. This standardized pat-down procedure continues to utilize enhanced security measures implemented several months ago, and does not involve any different areas of the body than were screened in the previous standard pat-down procedure. Individuals transiting the TSA security checkpoint who have opted out of technology screening, or alarmed the technology or a canine team, will undergo a pat-down. Passengers may also receive a pat-down as part of our unpredictable security measures. TSA continues to adjust and refine our systems and procedures to meet the evolving threat and to achieve the highest levels of transportation security.
–Bruce Anderson, TSA Spokesman