Thompson calls on TSA to reconsider pat down procedure

WASHINGTON, DC (WLOX) - The chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security is adding his voice to the growing chorus calling for changes to the new, enhanced airport security screenings.

Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, along with Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, sent a letter Friday to John Pistole, Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. In it, he reminded Pistole that back in September, members of the Homeland Security Committee expressed concerns about the intrusiveness of the new searches during a demonstration.

Thompson called on the Administrator to reconsider use of the controversial enhanced pat down protocols.

"The American public has agreed, time after time, to submit to new screening protocols in the interest of security," Thompson wrote. "Americans understand and accept the need to take off their shoes and coats and discard their liquids to foster greater aviation security. Before implementing this new, more invasive pat down procedure, as a preliminary matter, TSA should have had a conversation with the American public about the need for these changes. Even before that conversation, TSA should have endeavored to ensure that these changes did not run afoul of privacy and civil liberties."

He went on to request:

  • All documentation supporting TSA's decision to implement the enhanced pat down procedures
  • Information on where and how the pat downs are being conducted and how the TSA deals with complaints
  • Information on all complaints already on file
  • Any forthcoming Privacy Impact Assessment and Civil Liberties Assessment

Click here to read the full letter from Representatives Thompson and Jackson-Lee.

Copyright 2010 WLOX. All rights reserved.