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Klobuchar wants air travelers better informed of new pat-down procedures

At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing this week, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar called on the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to better inform U.S. air travelers about new passenger screening and pat-down procedures recently put in place in advance of the holiday season. Klobuchar questioned Administrator John Pistole on recent changes in TSA's aviation and surface security initiatives and underscored the need to fully explain the new safety procedures for travelers.

"As we approach the holiday season, I believe TSA can do a better job explaining the new procedures that were put in place for a reason," Klobuchar said. "Ultimately, this is about keeping Americans safe and I support the work of TSA to protect American air travelers from new security threats."

Earlier this month, TSA implemented new enhanced pat-down procedures as means to counter evolving terror threats. During today's hearing, Klobuchar discussed specific details about the passenger screening with Administrator Pistole. Under the new procedures, the pat-down is used only if a traveler opts not to use Advanced Imagine Technology (AIT), triggers alarms while walking through a metal detector or AIT scanner, or is selected for a randomized search.

Klobuchar also noted that the new enhanced pat-down procedures will not be used on children under the age of 12, and that private screening is always available for any passenger who requests it.

There have been several failed airline security threats in the last year, including an international plot to conceal and ship packages containing explosive devices on passenger and all-cargo planes in October and an unsuccessful attempt to detonate explosives mid-air on a Detroit-bound international flight last Christmas.

Klobuchar is a member of the Commerce Subcommittee on Aviation and is a cosponsor of the SAFER Air Act, legislation to strengthen airport security by requiring Advanced Imaging Technology machines in commercial airports.