Skip to main content
CNN.com International
The Web    CNN.com      Powered by
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
ON TV
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Travel

TSA modifies pat-downs to exclude breasts


story.travel.tue.jpg
The holiday travel season is in full swing at airports across the nation.
more videoVIDEO
The TSA has refused to reveal the regulations allowing passenger pat-downs.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Transportation Security Administration
Airport security

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Transportation Security Administration announced late Wednesday that it is modifying pat-down procedures at airports -- a decision that comes after hundreds of complaints, most of them from women, that the procedure is too intrusive.

Under the new guidelines, screeners will not be able to pat-down a passenger's breast area unless the handheld metal detector goes off or if there is an irregularity in the passenger's clothing outline, said TSA spokesman Dave Steigman.

Steigman said that under the new policy, passengers will have their sides patted down. Once that is done, there will be a limited torso pat-down from front to back, from a line below the chest area to the waist. Screeners will pat the entire back.

He also said people in wheelchairs will not have to get out of their wheelchairs for the pat-downs. The screening will be done while they are seated, using the wand and explosive trace detection machines, he said.

However, he said other passengers who cannot walk through the metal detector, including people with walkers, will have to undergo the full body pat-down.

The new procedures take effect Thursday, Steigman said.

He would not say what prompted the change. He said criticism to the agency of the pat-downs has amounted to a few hundred complaints out of an estimated 50 million passengers who have flown since the procedure was implemented.

The TSA began conducting the full body pat-downs in August after female suicide bombers downed two Russian airliners, killing 89 people.

Many of the complaints about the pat-downs have come from women who said they felt violated by them.

Helen Chenoweth-Hage, a former Republican congresswoman from Idaho, said screeners at the Boise airport refused to reveal the regulations allowing them to pat her down -- angering her so much she drove the more than 300 miles from Boise to Reno, Nevada.

"I was absolutely astounded at the fact that they thought they could violate my Fourth Amendment rights, violate my privacy, violate my body because of some secret law," she said.


Story Tools
Click Here to try 4 Free Trial Issues of Time! cover
Top Stories
Sri Lanka's gaol attracts travelers
Top Stories
EU 'crisis' after summit failure

CNN US
On CNN TV E-mail Services CNN Mobile CNN AvantGo CNNtext Ad info Preferences
SEARCH
   The Web    CNN.com     
Powered by
© 2005 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.
A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines. Contact us.
external link
All external sites will open in a new browser.
CNN.com does not endorse external sites.
 Premium content icon Denotes premium content.