What to Expect When Getting a New TSA Pat-Down
Thanks to a new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy, many passengers are being forced to undergo an extremely intrusive and humiliating “pat down” search that is unlike anything most Americans have experienced before.
In the few weeks since the policy came into effect, the ACLU has received hundreds of complaints from travelers who have been subject to these invasive and suspicionless searches. These complaints came from men, women and children who reported feeling humiliated and traumatized by these searches, and, in some cases, comparing their psychological impact to sexual assaults.
Based on the reports we have received, those who are subjected to the searches will very likely experience the following which appear to be “standard practice”:
- Agents fingering your ankles and running their hands all the way up your legs, including the area between your inner thighs and crotch;
- Agents patting your genital area through your clothing;
- Agents rubbing and squeezing your arms, back, stomach, buttocks, and breasts with open hands through your clothing. Screeners often run their fingers along the underwire of women’s bras;
- Agents running their fingers through your hair and the area around your neck and the collar of your shirt;
- Agents running their fingers several inches down the waistband of your pants or skirt, often involving touching and/or exposing your bare stomach.
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