Running the TSA’s Twitter account
There are a lot of fake TSA accounts on Twitter. The only verified one for the Transportation Safety Administration is @TSABlogTeam, and the people who run it might have the most challenging social media jobs of the week.
In response to the TSA’s new Advanced Imaging Technology body scanning and pat down procedures, some demonstrators will try to further disrupt a busy travel day by opting out of the scanners and requesting a pat down.
Some people have been complaining about the TSA, while others are defending the TSA through social media. The person behind the TSA blog has been responding to tweets, but for the most part they’re staying out of the debate and instead offering travel advice on their blog.
They do touch on the subject of pat downs:
A very small percentage of passengers will need to receive a pat-down. To reduce the need for a pat-down, the most important thing you can do is take everything out of your pockets before you go through screening. You can put these items in your carry-on bag. Don’t wear clothes with a high metal content, and put heavy jewelry on after you go through security. You will also receive a pat-down if you choose to opt out of our Advanced Imaging Technology.
The TSA also offers these myths and facts about the pat down:
Myth: All children will receive pat-downs.
Fact: TSA officers are trained to work with parents to ensure a respectful screening process for the entire family, while providing the best possible security for all travelers. Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat down.
Myth: The TSA pat-down is invasive
Fact: Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. For this reason, it is designed to be thorough in order to detect any potential threats and keep the traveling public safe. Pat-downs are performed by same-gender officers and all passengers have the right to a private screening with a travel companion at any time.
Myth: The pat-down is a punishment for opting out of the AIT.
Fact: Thereâ€™s nothing punitive about it – it just makes good security sense. And the weapons and other dangerous and prohibited items weâ€™ve found during pat downs speak to this.
Myth: Everyone who travels will receive a pat-down.
Fact: (Updated 11/23/10 to show percentage) No. In fact, less than 3% of passengers receive pat-downs. Only passengers who alarm a walk through metal detector or AIT machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down. It is one layer in our tool kit to address the nonmetallic explosives threat. Administrator Pistole said: â€œThe bottom line is few people in the overall scheme of things will actually receive those pat downs. Now, we’ve heard some examples, and obviously, there’s a vocal group out there who have experienced this for the first time, and, rightfully so, raising concerns, what’s behind this. And the bottom line is we, the transportation security officers in particular, are trying to work in partnership with the traveling public to say we want to ensure that you are safe on this flight. Work with us in a partnership to provide the best possible security. And that’s what it comes down to.â€
Myth: Complaints about the pat-downs are extremely high.
Fact: Only a small percentage of the traveling public receives a pat down as they travel through the security checkpoint. Approximately 2 million people fly in the United States every day. The number of complaints is extremely low.
Myth: Pat downs for certain individuals are limited to the head and neck.
Fact: No one is exempt. Everyone is subject to the same screening. TSA is sensitive to religious and cultural needs, but everyone must be screened effectively.
AP file photo