New TSA pat-downs getting more invasive?
The next time you go through security at the airport, you may notice TSA officers getting more up close and personal.
A new pat-down procedure was rolled out nationwide Thursday, and some see it as more invasive.
The screening will be random. Some people may go through it, others won't. According to TSA, a pat-down will include inspection of the head, neck, arms, torso and legs. However, you may even be inspected in sensitive areas like the chest, groin and buttocks.
The checkpoints and lines at the airport are the same, but you might notice a change when you pass through security.
“It's pretty personal and it gives you that sense that 'hey, that person is getting into your space,'" said Joe Hillyer from Alaska.
While filming at the Portland International Airport, a TSA officer is seen patting down one man’s genital area several times at the security check point.
The TSA says this new procedure is a result of a classified 2015 study done by the Department of Homeland Security.
Lorie Dankers, a spokesperson for TSA, couldn't go into specifics on the new screening techniques citing security reasons, but says it doesn't involve checking extra body parts.
TSA issued this statement:
“Effective March 2, 2017, TSA consolidated previous pat-down procedures into one standardized pat-down 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.
“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 TSA’s unpredictable security measures. TSA continues to adjust and refine its systems and procedures to meet the evolving threat and to achieve the highest levels of transportation security.”
At PDX, some passengers think the enhanced screening seems a little excessive.
“I don't think I would like that. I don't know that that would be necessary,” said Sandy Strasburg of Portland.
For others, it’s just another part of security.
“I think I'd be uncomfortable, but I'd rather be safe than sorry,” said Teresa Aiello of Dallas Fort Worth.
“They’ve got a job to do. It makes it safer for all of us,” said Bill Lamoreaux of Alaska.
The ACLU doesn't think it's that simple. Members don't believe these enhancements are effective, nor do they think they’re productive.
“Touching people's genitals does not seem to be the policy balance that we need,” said Matt dos Santos, ACLU representative. “A lot of what TSA does is to give the appearance of safety without engaging in efforts that make us feel safer.”
The reality of the matter is, new procedures could be a reflection of the changing times.
“Our world is not getting simpler,” said Hillyer. “It's getting more complicated.