Passenger rights group calls on TSA to stop pat-down searches


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Association for Airline Passenger Rights (AAPR) today called on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (“USDOT”) Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) to immediately discontinue its new aggressive pat-down searches of airlines passengers. The new screening technique seen as doing little to improve safety at the expense of passenger privacy rights,
thus diverting attention and resources from other meaningful safety

Passengers have expressed strong privacy concerns over the new
searches, which involved TSA screeners’ sliding their hands over
passengers’ bodies – including their breasts and genitals. The new
technique will also hit passengers with disabilities disproportionately
hard, raising concerns among disability rights advocates.

“The Transportation Security Administration is supposed to investing
its expertise, personnel and resources into protecting the flying
public from terrorist attacks, not engaging in useless so-called
security screening measures that are flawed at best, and intrusive at
worse,” summarized Brandon M. Macsata, Executive Director of the
Association for Airline Passenger Rights. “TSA has a history of being
a day late and a dollar short on its security measures, and
unfortunately their new ‘aggressive’ pat-down searches are in keeping
with that history. Passengers, by-in-large, have about as much faith
in TSA as they do the commercial airlines – which is what is fueling
customer dissatisfaction so much today.”

TSA’s aggressive pat-down searches are not the first time AAPR has
called into question the effectiveness of security techniques being
employed at domestic airports by the agency.

According to Macsata, AAPR last year wrote to Rep. Peter DeFazio of
Oregon in support of his efforts to “fix” the ill-designed pre-flight,
random passenger security screenings being conducted by TSA. AAPR
contended that since airline passengers have already completed their
security screening prior to even reaching the boarding area TSA was
mismanaging its already limited resources. By conducting pre-flight,
random passenger security screenings, TSA was also pulling away needed
agents from the security check-points that are designed to prevent the
need for such searches in the first place.