Vice President Joe Biden is defending the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) controversial new pat-down technique, calling it a "necessary policy."
Biden acknowledged people have concerns that the TSA's use of full-body scanners and pat-downs are frustrating and intrusive but argued they are crucial to prevent another incident like the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing.
Even though the TSA's new policy has riled lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Biden's comments indicate the agency will continue to scan or pat down passengers at the nation's airports.
Biden is the highest-ranking member of the administration to comment on the policy since it was put in place. Asked if anyone in the administration is against the pat-downs, the vice president said: "No. We're all in the administration saying continue to look to see what the best technology and the least intrusive that gives us the greatest security."
TSA, under its new policy, must screen airline passengers using whole-body imaging systems. But passengers who feel that the scans are too intrusive are permitted to go through a metal detector or receive a pat-down, which some have said comes too close to groping.
GOP Rep. Ted Poe (Texas) said on the House floor Tuesday that the full-body scanners violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures.
TSA Administrator John Pistole this week offered to have airport screeners come to Capitol Hill to give lawmakers pat-downs in order to assuage their concerns.