Homeland Security officials and a congressional committee will get an earful from an Alaska politician this week. Rep. Sharon Cissna (D-Anchorage) is heading to Washington to argue that enhanced pat-downs at airports go too far and amount to air passengers being "felt up" rather than a smart security measure.
Her goal is for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to revert to its previous, less-invasive procedure where pat-downs used a light touch, with screeners using the back of their hands, she tells AOL Travel News.
Cissna has some weight behind her cause. On Friday, the Alaska House of Representatives passed a resolution asking the TSA to end its invasive pat-down procedure implemented last year and immediately revert to the prior, less invasive, protocol. The state senate is expected to vote on a similar measure on Monday, Cissna says.
The politician, who is also a breast cancer survivor, became a face for those who oppose the intrusive, hands-forward pat-downs last month when she was singled out for the procedure by screeners at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport after a full-body scanner showed scars from her mastectomy.
Cissna said at the time she had experienced the "invasive, probing hands of a stranger" during a prior airport pat-down and wasn't going to go through that again. Her decision to instead leave the airport, and make a four-day journey back to Juneau – where the legislature was in session – gained national attention.
The politician says invasive pat-downs can be particularly demeaning for those with medical conditions – including scars and prostheses – and survivors of sexual assault. (link)
I'd be happy with going back to metal detectors, myself--especially given the failure rate of TSA inspections.