Facing recent criticism of the Transportation Security Administration's procedures, the head of the federal agency says he is working to bring a better balance of privacy and security to U.S.
Speaking during a luncheon in Oklahoma City, TSA Administrator John Pistole said travelers can expect changes — including to the protocol that allowed the recent pat-down of a 6-year-old girl in a New Orleans airport.
Pistole, who took on his role July 1, said he is working to implement changes that would categorize certain passengers, such as children, as trusted travelers and give then a different screening experience. Travelers can expect to see changes by the end of the year.
However, he said the TSA screener who handled the girl's pat-down acted appropriately, and called the worker and thanked her for her
TSA has been criticized for its security procedures after a video of the girl being screened was posted on YouTube.
Kim Wagner, customer service manager for TSA in Oklahoma City, said her office hasn't received any complaints regarding pat-downs of children.
“We have a kid-friendly screening area. We are one of several airports to include child-sized, decorated chairs to make it a more comfortable area for them in the event they or their parents require additional screening,” she said.
Pistole said he proposes using airlines' frequent flier accounts to identify trusted travelers. People who are willing to share information about themselves would be rewarded with an expedited screening. TSA is also re-evaluating the list of prohibited items. But the administration will always reserve the right to conduct random screenings, he said.
Pistole's comments were made Thursday during Southern Nazarene University's Peer Learning Network luncheon.
At a glance
Pat-downs for kids
Kim Wagner, customer service manager for TSA in Oklahoma City, said very few children receive pat-downs. When one becomes necessary, the following procedures apply: