Elisabeth Meinecke

Pistole also said the TSA is looking at Automated Target Recognition software modification to the existing body scanner hardware. ATR does the same thing as the Advanced Image Technology, only the images are projected as stick-figures in most configurations.

“We have trained and retrained our security officers to make sure they’re doing their thing from a security basis,” Pistole said.

Part of the reason for the enhanced pat-downs, Pistole confirmed, came from the TSA, the GAO, and the Homeland Security Inspector General’s Office policing themselves –they would send testers through security checkpoints to see whether the security could be breached. Pistole also cited the Christmas Day bombing attacks and the recent cargo plot as reasons for the AIT and enhanced pat-down.

Townhall submitted three follow-up questions to the TSA: 1)Has the TSA taken any additional measures to ensure those conducting the pat-downs have been vetted thoroughly, and what does that vetting consist of, 2)Where a passenger can find information that says what the standard operating procedure is so that they know if it’s been violated, 3) whether Muslim women are allowed to conduct the entire body pat-down themselves.

Update: The TSA's response confirmed that all people with baggy clothing who opt out of an AIT scan will not be allowed to give themselves the full body pat-down. The best option for those who feel they have been improperly screened is to speak with a TSA manager at the security checkpoint. Also, TSA screeners are subject to checks when being hired that cover the terrorist watch list, criminal records, immigration, and also a drug test.

Elisabeth Meinecke

Elisabeth Meinecke is TOWNHALL MAGAZINE Managing Editor. Follow her on Twitter @lismeinecke.