TSA warns local police about its new airport pat-downs

Airport passengers who opt out of electronic screening will face a full pat-down by security officials as the Transportation Security Administration consolidates methods in use at its checkpoints.

Air travel has been a trying experience for decades, but the security precautions spearheaded by the TSA since the 9/11 attacks have taken an unpleasant experience and turned it into a downright frustrating one for many travelers.

"Passengers who have not previously experienced the now standardized pat-down screening may not realize that they did, in fact, receive the correct procedure, and may ask our partners, including law enforcement at the airport, about the procedure", TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson told media in an emailed statement.

"This was the most intriguing, intense and invasive pat-down I've had by the TSA since they came into existence", Joe Stratee-McClure told WNBC.

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Aviation expert Denny Kelly doesn't believe the pat-down is as effective as it could be and said the changes to the procedures comes two years after a report found major security lapses across the country.

The TSA screens about 2 million people every day at US airports and says it doesn't track how many passengers are patted down after passing through the imaging scanner. "We need to be secure". 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.

The pat-down may include sensitive areas such as breasts, buttocks and the groin area.

Until last week, TSA screens could employ any of five pat-down procedures to check the few passengers who chose not to through a millimeter wave imaging booth or walk-through metal detectors. Pilots and flight attendants had been able to undergo expedited security checks since 2010, thanks to pressure from the pilots' union.

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The TSA is standardizing its physical search procedure rather than allow screeners to choose among types of searches to reduce the chance of poor decisions at crucial security checkpoints.

But does the new procedure really make flying safer?

But the agency does expect some passengers to consider the examination unusual.

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