New TSA policy? Empty your pockets when you’re being screened

If you’re confused by the TSA’s many new security protocols — from enhanced pat-downs to printer cartridge bans — then you probably don’t want to know about Eugene Solomon.

When Solomon was screened in Bozeman, Mont., a few days ago, a TSA officer instructed him to remove everything from his pockets before he walked through a magnetometer.

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The TSA officer told me they had a new protocol and I was to empty all of my pockets. This was not secondary screening. I asked if this included my wallet and cash in my pocket. The response was “we would like you to.”


If TSA is going to begin asking us to empty all of our pockets before we pass through the metal detector, that could be problematic.

I am surely not alone concerned about surrendering my wallet and cash to the tray through the x-ray machine. I certainly don’t like being separated from my identification in a place that demands this item multiple times during screening. Care for my credit cards and cash is also an issue.

Last time I checked, emptying your pockets of loose change and other items that might set off the magnetometer was optional.

When you’re subjected to a full-body scan, you also empty your pockets, but you get to hold them above your head, which is fine. I think Solomon’s worry (mine, too) is that your wallet and ID have to go through the conveyor belt and may or may not come out the other side.

A valid concern, given some of the recent incidents involving theft of personal property by TSA agents.

I asked TSA if the “empty pockets” policy was limited to Bozeman, to the region, or if it was being rolled out nationwide. A representative responded to my inquiry, but could not answer the question.

So I guess we’ll have to wait to find out if everything has to come out of our pockets now. This should be interesting.

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