During a stop in New Jersey Monday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that the TSA and its new screening procedures could see some "changes," but not during the Thanksgiving travel rush. The admission follows statements by the TSA Sunday that it was not considering changes.
According to Politico, the Secretary said the TSA will “make adjustments or changes when called upon” to its screening procedures at airports, but emphasized not if such changes make Americans less safe on airplanes.
The statement, however, came with a doubling down of sorts. “It’s only a small percentage of passengers who get patted down,” Napolitano told reporters regarding the invasive touching that has grabbed headlines. “Nonetheless, I think we all understand the concerns Americans have. ... Most Americans are not used to a real law-enforcement pat-down like that. So, as we move forward, of course we will listen to concerns.”
Napolitano's comments, however, are slightly confusing. On Sunday, TSA head John Pistole made it clear his agency would not consider any changes, even while admitting the pat-downs are "clearly invasive."
The Secretary also heavily criticized those who have called for a national "opt-out" day, where passengers are encouraged on Wednesday to request pat-downs instead of going through advanced imaging machines that produce graphic pictures. She called that plan "counter-productive."
“I regret any kind of opt-out day,” she said. “We hope people will appreciate and understand the goal, the purpose and the need for what is being done.”