TSA starts new pat-down screening method

LOS ANGELES Many people are uncomfortable with the new pat-down method, but the /*Transportation Security Administration*/ said the procedure is for the safety of passengers.

In some cases, TSA agents will be allowed to touch body parts that were once off limits.

"The way you used to pat down a passenger in the airport was with the back of the hands. Now we've switched it to the front of the hands. You go down the body, up to the breast portion, and if it's a female passenger, you're going to see if there's anything in the bra," said Charles Slepian of the Foreseeable Risk Analysis Center.

While some travelers are uncomfortable with the more invasive procedure, many felt it was worth it for the extra security, particularly in light of the recent bomb scare.

"I guess it is for our safety. There are some really weird people out there that do some really bizarre things. And if it's going to save us from being terrorized, I'll agree. You never know, because people put things in their shoes and women's bras," said Deborah Whittman from Florida.

TSA officials said the procedure will continue to be conducted by screeners who are the same gender as the passengers.

Anyone who requires additional screening could be subjected to the full pat-down. If a passenger sets off the metal detector, the imaging technology detects anything suspicious or the passenger chooses not to go through the electronic screening method, then they will have to go through the new procedure.

/*TSA*/ defended its position, and said, "Pat-downs are designed to address potentially dangerous items, like improvised explosive devices...and their components, concealed on the body...to stay ahead of evolving threats."

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