TSA says patdowns to go no further

Nov. 30, 2010 at 9:30 PM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) -- U.S. air travelers likely won't be subjected to more stringent physical search measures than are now in place, the nation's travel security chief said Tuesday.

John Pistole, head of the Transportation Security Administration, said there are no plans for any procedures beyond the enhanced patdowns airline passengers started facing at all U.S. airports at the beginning of the month, USA Today reported.

"I think we are at the most thorough that we will probably be in terms of our physical screening," Pistole said.

He told the newspaper the agency will keep looking for better technology to detect weapons and explosives. He also said the rules might be changed slightly to accommodate certain categories of passengers, such as victims of sex abuse and those with external medical devices.

Pistole blamed a "media frenzy" and some inaccurate information on the Internet for stoking travelers' anxiety about the patdowns and full-body scanners just ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday.

He said he took a low-key approach to implementing the changes out of concern terrorists would be tipped off to weaknesses in the security system.

"I was gravely concerned that we needed to do something with a sense of urgency and professionalism that did not signal to terrorist that we had a vulnerability," Pistole said.

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