A Transportation Security Administration agent performs a pat-down check on an airline passenger at a security checkpoint at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. TSA has instructed its agents to use one universal approach that they are calling "comprehensive," a process the agency admits will make passengers uncomfortable. (Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)
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The U.S. Transportation Security Administration will intensify the way they search passengers and airport employees, according to Bloomberg.
The TSA has used five different methods of physically searching anyone they deem necessary to search, or who volunteer to be searched. Now the TSA has done away with them and has instructed its agents to use one universal approach that they are calling "comprehensive," a process the agency admits will make passengers uncomfortable.
“I would say people who in the past would have gotten a pat-down that wasn’t involved will notice that the [new] pat-down is more involved,” TSA spokesman Bruce Anderson said Friday.
In fact, the TSA has warned local police that they may be receiving some phone calls about conducted searches.
“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,” Anderson wrote in an email to Bloomberg on Friday.
The TSA has not released information as to what the new pat-downs will involve. They wish to keep the procedure somewhat of a mystery just in case people want to attempt to circumvent it. Anderson has said that these new searches won't increase overall wait times at airports, but for those who have the search conducted on them, it "will slow them down."
Airport staff will also have to undergo procedures as well, though the frequency will vary from airport to airport.
This decision to intensify the searches came after a 2015 report critical of the TSA drew attention to its failure to prevent weapons from passing through their checkpoints, Bloomberg reported:
The change is partly a result of the agency’s study of a 2015 report that criticized aspects of TSA screening procedures. That audit, by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, drew headlines because airport officers had failed to detect handguns and other weapons. An additional change prompted by the report was the TSA's decision to end its “managed inclusion” program, by which some everyday travelers were allowed to use PreCheck lanes to speed things up at peak times.
The 2015 report was released to the public after the Department of Homeland Security conducted secret tests to see if "red teams" could get weapons and firearms through TSA checkpoints without detection. After all was said and done, the DHS had discovered that the TSA had a staggering 95 percent failure rate.
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