TSA officials commenting for the article, “added that checkpoint requirements for passengers departing from the United States haven’t changed since the underwear bomber incident last December.” That suggested pat-downs were still the same as they had always been.
However, when meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA later that month, I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners.
With this latest announcement, TSA admits that it has been clandestinely punishing passengers for refusing to go through the invasive whole-body scans with an even more intrusive aggressive pat-down and that soon those more invasive pat-down will creep from airport to airport.
What does "more invasive" mean? At some airports, this. It also comes with verbal abuse from TSA agents, as recounted by Jeffrey Goldberg during his own encounter.
Welcome to George W. Bush and Joe Lieberman's America.