News

TSA increases security measures

Some travelers have questioned the effectiveness of new Transportation Security Agency regulations.

In an attempt to make air travel safer the Transportation Security Administration increased security regulations,as the war on terror and threats from extremist groups such as ISIS continue.

TSA officers previously had five options for pat-downs, with varying levels of physical invasiveness, according to Bloomberg news. Those options have now been removed, and replaced by a single procedure – a more physically invasive pat-down option.

A TSA spokesperson described the new pat-down procedure as a more comprehensive physical screening, according to Bloomberg.

David Vila, professor of religion and philosophy at John Brown University, said that he does not believe the added regulations will make air travel safer.

“There’s no real benefit from it, other than just the security we feel, and feeling like we’re doing something in a situation where we really have very little control. It’s about us feeling secure, but I don’t think we are any more secure,” Vila said.

Trisha Posey, director of the Honors Scholars Program and associate professor of history at JBU, also said she does not feel more safe with the change.

“People who want to do harm are always finding more creative ways to bypass security.  My sense of security is not necessarily tied to the search practices and x-ray machines at the airport,” Posey said.

Posey commented on how she believes the change may affect the average air passenger. “It depends on how often this ‘more rigorous’ search is being conducted. If most passengers are not experiencing this, the average air passenger will not be affected. But for those who experience it, I’m sure it will be a significantly different experience than normal,” she said.

Vila said that although airport security is becoming stricter in the U.S., airports in the Middle East and other places outside the U.S. may still have weak security regulations, adding that security in many airports he travels through is nonexistent. 

“I think people who want to get through [security] and do [illegal] things can find ways to do that, especially in airports outside of the U.S.,” Vila continued. “I think it’s kind of silly – you fly to Denver and you get majorly pat down…I think if you’re flying through Beirut, that makes a bit of a difference, but I’ve been in airports throughout the Middle East where ridiculous things [pass through security].”

The new screening isn’t expected to cause further airport delays overall. However, “for the person who gets the pat down, it will slow them down,” Bruce Anderson, TSA spokesperson, said, according to Bloomberg.

Vila said he understands the government’s desire to try to protect the American people.

“I think that’s one of the obligations of the government – to protect its people, but that always comes with a cost, both financial and personal,” Vila said. “Sometimes liberty has to be sacrificed in order to gain safety, and there’s a give and take there, but there’s a certain point where you’re losing too much.”

All pat-downs are conducted by a TSA officer of the same gender as the passenger, according to Bloomberg. The passenger may also request a private area for the screening and to have a witness present. These policies have not changed.