TSA Clarifies Policy For Pat Down Refusal In Time For Thanksgiving

Tomorrow, Tuesday, the 23rd of November, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is expected to publicly announce its clarified policy for those who refuse a pat down. This clarification comes in time for National Opt Out Day and Thanksgiving.

The new clarified policy for those who refuse pat downs by a TSA Transportation Security Officer (TSO), any pat down, is that the person who is refusing the pat down will be advised that they will be denied entry into the airport, and be escorted from the security screening area by TSA TSOs or police officers. If the person refuses the pat down again, they will be approached by a Supervisor TSO (STSO), who will again explain that a refusal of the pat down will result in the immediate removal from the security area by police officers.  Following an escort out of the security area to the pre-security area the person will be informed that that they are being denied entry and that they may not attempt to reenter security.

If any person who has refused a pat down makes any attempt to go towards the gate area the TSA security checkpoint will be immediately shut down. The shutting down of a security checkpoint may result in a passenger evacuation of a terminal due to a security breach. Any evacuation of passengers would be based on a threat assessment at the discretion of the TSA and law enforcement at the terminal.

Once a Checkpoint has been shut down due to a person that has refused a pat down attempting to head towards the gate area, that person will then be deemed to be disruptive and interfering with airport screening and may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties.

TSA TSOs and STSOs are not required to collect the name and personal information of those escorted from a TSA screening area for refusal of a pat down, however law enforcement may determine if they need to collect the information if they are involved in the escorting of a person from the screening area.

So for those of you who intend to refuse a pat down and leave with no argument and peacefully … there will be no US$11,000 fine for your actions.  This new policy may also give the TSA additional 4th Amendment wiggle room in allowing people to refuse the pat downs without legal consequences.

Happy Flying!


  1. […] that would allows you to enter the US without being x-rayed or groped by issuing a new policy where refusing a pat down will cost you an $11,000 fine, they might haven’t gone completley mad just yet because at least transgender people can ask […]

  2. […] body scanner AND the pat-down. If you don't like either of those, you will not be allowed to fly and will be escorted away. You might not like it, but it's currently a fact of life right now. Another interesting tidpit – […]


  1. We have met the enemy. I’m far more concerned about the TSA than the Taliban! With friends like these who need enemies?

    Oh… they’re protecting our constitution. I forgot.

  2. see this is actually something that makes sense.. you can opt out of being virtualy strip searched and opt out of being groped, that just means you opt out of flying that day.
    I’m ok with that.. its the being given a 11000 dollar fine after option out i really had the biggest problem with.

    I think the invasive pat down is going to go the way of the do do though.

  3. Right…until they claim that you went toward the gate after sending you a foot in that direction to claim your baggage. When you are arrested and sue, they will tell you the security cameras weren’t working that day and it’s your word against theirs…

  4. I’m sure inquiring terrorists want to know when Osama can legally re-attempt to gain admittance to the sterile area again? An hour from then, 24 hours, week, month, year, or is it a lifetime ban? That way, if Osama is packing a dyanmite in his underwear, he can try again and hope he avoids the pat down and the scan.

  5. I wish their clarification was more clear. They say that if you attempt to enter the gate area without being searched, you “will then be deemed to be disruptive and interfering with airport screening and may be subject to both criminal and civil penalties”.

    So I “may” be subject to penalties? What law am I breaking? It sounds to me like neither TSA policy nor the law cover this situation, and they are being intentionally vague.

  6. This sounds like something TSA would institute. So someone who declines to be frisked after being warned about the consequences will be prohibited from ever again trying to cross the TSA barricade and enter the terminal? Or prohibited from doing so for the next few minutes? For weeks? Will TSA keep a list of the names of those people who are banished?

    When the rules people are required to follow are not based in law, the details seldom matter.

  7. The minute the passenger who refused a pat down and is being “escorted” from the security area TURNS BACK or asks to return to COLLECT HIS luggage, wallet and POSSESSIONS he will be opening himself up to the $11,000 fine and criminal charges.

  8. If someone ever wanted to know how to easily shut down a passenger terminal… well now they do!

    It would be nice if the TSA and their political masters were motivated to genuinely improve security. But as far as I can see, their only motivation is to let there be a slow but steady supply of “security incidents”, each time differing in a few details.

  9. @mcavity
    No, this does not make sense, americans (or other nationalities) should not be subjected to warrantless searches, breaches of privacy and unconstitutional behaviour when they have done nothing to warrant any suspicion. Wanting to fly from one destination to another is not suspicions behavior.

  10. It’s a sad day when liberty is at risk due to security theatre.

    If these pat down gate rapes actually started catching terrorists then I’d have some sympathy. But thus far, the only thing the pat downs seem to have done is seriously annoy passengers.

    How about we start doing enhanced pat downs on teh senators and congress men/women as they enter their offices? Or better yet, why not force the TSA m anagemente to be fondled each time they try to entere their offiuce.
    Once that happens, I’d bet on a change to TSA policy within hours.

  11. I have no problem with the full body Scanner, however it is time to say enough is enough. We need to dress in our swim wear, men in our Speedo’s and flip flops and girls in a bikini and flip flops. With this visual presentation will there be a need for the pat-downs. The answer is yes the perverted TSA workers will still want to touch our body’s to get their thrills.

  12. One more question… can you go to a different security checkpoint? Many airports have more than one, of course.

  13. Haven’t you heard the thing about the infinite monkey theorem? If we put a dozen monkeys at a security checkpoint, EVENTUALLY they could catch a terrorist and write all of the works of Shakespeare.

    I think they are testing to see whether the same theory applies to the TSA.. but without the Shakespeare part.

    So far, it hasn’t happened. But the infinite monkey theorem does call for an infinite amount of time, too, so I’d say it’s a little premature to end the experiment.

  14. One evidence of the TSA’s general lack of understanding of the public has been its totally inept PR campaign, for which it is now going to deploy resources (time, people, money) to enhance. It’s not that I’m against PR campaigns — for more than 40+ years, I have been in the communications business, having served numerous organizations at the most senior levels. What I AM against is PR campaigns that are badly executed and ill-conceived, which are the compounded flaws of the TSA. If you want to know my logic in more detail, I wrote about it here: http://www.nuuko.com/2010/11/understanding-pr-the-real-lesson-of-the-tsa-and-pat-downs/

  15. Hilarious. Except for the part about letting people opt out of the security and leave,* this makes no sense.

    So the TSA implements a policy that can be MORE disruptive? What, what? Let’s see, someone hell-bent on protesting fails the metal detector (easy enough) and gets shifted to the AIT. At that point, the person declines and is sent to the patdown procedure. Said person refuses the patdown and is told to leave. The person says, no, and starts walking toward gate. Alarms go off; security checkpoint closed!

    Presto hundreds of really pissed off passengers.

    Who will they be angry at, the person they don’t know or the large gov’t bureaucracy causing them to wait even longer?

    This is the asinine idea that does not instill trust in the TSA. What are the odds that, tomorrow, at least 2 security check points will be “closed” for some period of time because of this?

    * I will note that of course the problem with this is the try-try-try again problem. A potential terrorist gets selected and then is allowed to LEAVE to try again another day! From a security perspective this clearly does not make sense, but this is a result of their own other stupid policies.

  16. The government is not just after airports… essentially, they demand and execute the power (because they have no legitimate right) to search ANYONE, ANYTIME, ANYWHERE, for ANY REASON. There is no probable cause. 9/11 was a controlled demolition.

    Backscatter VAN http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iABPKd0vFxQ
    VIPER http://www.wsbtv.com/video/25201350/index.html
    FAST http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XxD-nEtu90
    ARMY http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/US-Army-To-Buy-Backscatter-Trailers-to-Monitor-Checkpoints-in-Afghanistan-06340/
    OVER 500 ZBV Deployed http://www.infowars.com/feds-deploy-mobile-x-ray-fleet-to-radiate-scan-americans/
    MILITARIZED ZBV http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_6712/is_32_235/ai_n29374449/
    SkySeer http://www.boingboing.net/2006/04/06/npr-xeni-tech-survei.html
    SkySeer http://www.octatron.com/prodSkySeer.php

    They know there is no legitimate authority- only that they have more guns, tasers, billy-clubs, surveillance and bullies on their side. We tacitly approve for as long as we do not en masse protest- and I don’t mean opt out- I mean take up arms.

    If when a TSA agent called over about 5 or 10 LEOs and you had pre-arranged up to 20 private security guards to defend you by fighting them off, this would be a much different story.

    So some $9/hr TSA agent can push around a $80k computer programmer. No one comes to his aid in line- no one encircles him so he can get through the checkpoint unmolested. No one cuts the two-way radio of the tsa workers trying to make the call for “backup” – oh my god this man is trying to get a straight pin thru security!!

    Now, if more people encircled each other to protect each other, or fought off the onslaught we would win. As the saying goes, they can’t throw us all in jail, and they can’t kill us all- who else would pay those illegitimate taxes? Hint: there are no legitimate taxes. STOP paying taxes.

    As long as we give them our money- they will spend it with the government contractors that devise more intrusive ways to enslave us.

    The Terrorists are the government, and WE are paying them. STOP.

  17. BTW- if the supposed terrorists that the government wants you to be afraid of- instead of the actual terrorists- the govt, saw us fighting to get through checkpoints maybe they would think twice before attempting to go through themselves.

    We need to keep our eyes and ears open- the government and police are not your friends.


  18. @Thomas Lee
    If these searches uncovered terrorists? So that’s the only thing they’re looking for? lol They have uncovered numerous hidden “weapons” that have been apart of media news stories for years. So idiots are still trying to get weapons on to airplanes even though they know they’re going to be searched. What does that say about the average intelligence of Americana? You know when you buy your ticket that the TSA will search you. Its the law and security at airports has been going on for ages! So stop whining now because a person is touching you to make sure you don’t have a gun under your pants. 9/11 changed our world. I am sure you were part of the mob that was wondering why our government didn’t do enough to stop 9/11. Guess where the people that flew the planes into the trade center went through before they got on the plane. SECURITY in the airport. If we would have had pat downs and body scanners then that would have never happened!

  19. This is a true story. You can check it out on my facebook page.

    I have a friend in Bhutan who claims he has the “gift” of x-ray vision and that he can see through people without those glasses you get in the comic books. He is willing to work for TSA. He also said that for fun he would like to learn several facial expressions (i.e., shocked and awed) and, especially, a sexy wink, to prove to the travellers that he did, indeed, see them intimately. He wants to wear a tshirt that says, “For a dollar, I won’t tell what color your underwear is”. He says his perceptive panty prowess is remarkable. He also says he has made quite a bit of money in Thimphu doing just that.

    He also claims that he can get people to pose for a photograph for him by not giving them a choice, as well as a piece of cheap candy.

    I am convinced of this guy’s legitimacy.

    I also got this email without any attribution to its author, but it seems like a good Plan B:

    Finally — a great alternative to body scanners at airports.
    The Israelis are developing an airport security device that will eliminate the privacy concerns that come with full-body scanners at the airports.
    It’s a booth you can step into that will not X-ray you, but will detonate any explosive device you may have on you.

    I believe creativity is the only thing that will stop TSA. They will not understand what creativity is and it will be easy to slip it under their radar.

    I send this sincerely.

  20. Greg-
    If the cockpit doors were locked and we didn’t treat terrorists like hostage takers, 9/11 wouldn’t have happened either.

    I am certain that I can manufacture multiple weapons from my carryon to replicate the weapons the 9/11 terrorists had. Taking my snow globe and swiss army knife dont make you any safer.

    This is absurd security. It is security for the sake of having security. There are so many easier soft targets in this country that it makes no sense to have this level of security for airliners. Most every passenger on a plane now is profiling every other passenger: who can I count on to help and who is potentially a threat. If the weird passengers act funny, the other passengers step in to shut him down. TSA hasn’t been involved in preventing anything.

    They are the laughing stock of the federal agencies. The local police departments loathe the TSA. State agencies cringe at having to work with them and federal agencies refuse to work with them in most cases. The TSA is constantly trying to expand its role (drugs, patrol, criminal investigations, etc). They are bloated, dysfunctional, and constantly suffering from mission creep.

  21. Why is the TSA telling angry passengers how to commit a denial of service attack on their system?

    This seems like poor judgment on their part. Not that I’d expect any better from those who chose to implement these policies in the first place.

    Not considering the impact on their own employees alone tells me that their judgment is useless.

  22. @Greg – perhaps these measures would have prevented it. But the terrorists just would have attacked their targets in another manner. See, for example, the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

    Terrorism doesn’t need airplanes. It never has (for that matter, it predates airplanes). The best that airport security can possibly do is make terrorists shift their tactics.

    This is why I find most airport security (including nearly all of the post 9/11 security) questionable at best.

  23. What happens if you agree to the pat down, but insist that it be performed by a member of the opposite sex?

  24. Gosh, Fish. This would have been a step in the right direction … if they’d actually come out and made the announcement.

  25. The TSA has never captured, found, stopped any terrorist or attack..
    TSA just stated that the flying public could place their valuables in their own carry-ons for safety however, TSA also has posted the fact that they have arrested and are prosecuting their own employees for passenger valuables theft from our carryon bags. If to be scanned our carry-ons are far away from us – in plain sight and within reach of all the other travelers to help themselves to – it has happened. The TSA workers standing around are free to look in these bags if they wish after the passenger has been ordered to the scanner area or the pat down area – public or private – when ask to bring our belongings over where we can watch them we are yelled and told that we cannot have them….TSA is a disaster – The sky’s and the passengers are no safer than before TSA. The intelligent EDD dogs are the only form of life that have found, stopped terrorist placed items. Scanners no big deal. pat downs by uneducated, unskilled people performing pats that are illegal – has happened – TSA will not listen or follow up or ever get back to the person that filed a complaint – TSA does not fire on the spot the employee that is rude, filthy, yelling as us etc. We do not want to see either of these head people on TV stating that all this hell people are going through and is turning out perfect is their doing. Neither of them has had one thing to do with our safety – only our irritation and increasing dislike for TSA and its rude workers. We do not need TSA – per secret TSA report – it found that the private companies performing the security is rating much higher…We need these companies.

  26. For all the whining people do about these full body scanners people do, I have seen none of it in the last few days. I have been through 3 checkpoints in the last 3 days, two with full body scanners, and I saw plenty of people getting scanned, and nobody opting out. This is yet another case of a silent majority, which constitutes about 99% of the flying public.
    When I flew out of Singapore this morning, I went through the metal detector, without setting it off, then I was patted down, which was nearly the same as the TSA deal and had my stuff tested for explosive residue. I couldn’t care less that they did that, because they are protecting the flying public. And I was really hoping when I came through security at Chicago this afternoon I would be selected for a body scan, but I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

  27. “So for those of you who intend to refuse a pat down and leave with no argument and peacefully … there will be no US$11,000 fine for your actions. This new policy may also give the TSA additional 4th Amendment wiggle room in allowing people to refuse the pat downs without legal consequences.”

    Indeed. It also removes the potential jeopardy of actual Criminal Code violations (under US Code Title 18, Section 2246) that TSA was placing their screeners in by threatening $11,000 fines if one opts out of the scan and refuses pat-down. That fine constituted “coercion” to force one to submit to sexual molestation in public, and that is a crime under Title 18. If any screener forced someone to submit to the touching of their genitalia through the threat of an $11,000 fine, that screener would be individually liable for Criminal Charges under Title 18, Section 2246. This change in procedure helps ameliorate that issue. In other words, it is not against the law to deny a government official the “right” to physically manhandle your sexual organs, and if they do so through the use of coercion, you can file criminal charges against them afterwards. It is still possible that violations of Criminal Code, title 18, 2242 and 2244 are still possible given the current procedures, but so long as they don’t attempt coercion to get you to agree to the molestation, they’re safe from 2246.

  28. The TSA may make policy, but only Congress can make and pass law. Policies are supposed to be in accord with law.

    I don’t see anything in the TSA act that grants TSA agents authority to sexually assault passengers as a condition of boarding an aircraft. On the other hand, Forced sexual contact under duress is illegal in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, as well as under federal law.

    A prosititute engages in sex acts for money. To paraphrase Rush L, what does that make TSA employees? What does that make the security screening area?

  29. This is the penalize TSA Clarifies Policy For Pat Down Refusal In Time For Thanksgiving – Flying With Fish journal for anyone who wants to assay out out virtually this substance. You mention so such its near tiring to present with you (not that I real would want…HaHa). You definitely put a new extend on a theme thats been shorthand nearly for life. Pleasant personalty, but large!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.