The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has been under scrutiny for some time now over what are said to be intrusive airport search techniques and policies. Likely responding to public complaints and outrage, the TSA announced earlier today that it will be revising its policies when it comes to screening young children. TSA chief John Pistole made the pronouncement in a Senate committee hearing.
Consumerist has more:
Speaking to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, TSA chief John Pistole said screeners have been told to make repeated attempts to screen young children instead of resorting to a pat-down. [Emphasis added]
The change seems to hinge on the word “repeated.” Before, screeners were able to resort to a pat-down almost immediately.
Still, despite the change and while child pat downs have been immensely unpopular, Pistole attempted to explain why they were implemented. Additionally, he discussed the importance of finding alternatives. According to AOL Travel:
Pistole cited foreign terrorism as one reason the agency is working on a new method, saying that terrorists outside the U.S. have used children as young as 10 as suicide bombers in the past.
Critics claim that children and the elderly should be immune from these searches, as they generally pose the least serious security threats. Back in April, there was outrage when video surfaced of a 6-year-old girl getting a pat-down in New Orleans’ airport and an 8-year-old boy getting similar treatment in Portland.
Then, last month, the picture of a baby being patted down went viral.
In the case of the 6-year-old, the parents requested the girl be re-scanned, but that request was denied. Under the new guidelines, however, the girl could now be scanned again.
During today’s hearing, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul critiqued the “invasive” pat-downs and regulations, saying he was “unhappy” and that the TSA had gone “overboard.” You can watch that below:
(h/t The Consumerist)