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TSA’s new pat-down procedure gets personal

Flyers will notice Transportation Safety Administration officers at airports becoming more aggressive in how they pat-down select passengers.

The new pat-down policy will include officers using the back of their hands, including at times, palm of their hands to do a more thorough physical search of a person’s body, including sensitive and private areas.

The TSA announced this week it is consolidating past pat-down procedures into a singular procedure at airport security checkpoints.

“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,” a TSA statement said.

It’s estimated TSA officers screen approximately 2 million passengers per day at airports across the country, however, the agency does not keep record of how many passengers are patted-down.

“Pat downs are used to determine prohibited items and other threats,” the TSA said.

The TSA says those selected for pat-downs include passengers who opt out of technology screeners or trigger an alarm with the body scanners. Pat-downs are also ordered as part of TSA’s “unpredictable security measures”.

A 2015 study found that TSA agents missed 95 percent of planted dangerous and hazardous items planted at security checkpoints as part of an undercover test.

The TSA says the new pat-down policy will not extend the amount of time a passenger spends at a security checkpoint.

TSA officers of the same gender as the passenger will use the back of their hand for pat-downs over sensitive areas of the body, including breasts, groin, and buttocks, the TSA website says.

The TSA also says that passengers will be told by the officer exactly what they will do before doing it. Passengers may also request a private screening.

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