By Thomas Ahearn, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) News Editor
A blog on titled ‘Alternative to TSA pat-downs: More background checks’ proposes that if Americans don’t like the invasive techniques used by the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) to improve air travel security – such as full-body scans that can penetrate clothing and “enhanced” pat-downs some label groping – an alternative may be background checks that scrutinize information of airline passengers.

The blog’s author, reporter Josh Gerstein, writes that the vocal backlash against the body scanning and pat-downs by the federal government could pressure the government to introduce security measures such as background checks of airline passengers that would include in-depth interrogations of travelers at airports, government scrutiny of airline information of passengers, and the creation of a secure and standardized national ID card.

Many security experts favor background checks instead of body scanners and pat-downs as a method for screening air travelers. This alternative approach to airport security looks for terrorists in advance and calls for singling out suspicious passengers and subjecting them to intense questioning instead of spending equal time screening all passengers. By gathering background check information about passengers before they arrive for flights, security can focus more time on the careful screening of those who raise red flags and less time frisking the elderly, pregnant women, and young children, experts say.

The more intrusive pat-downs in particular – which “some passengers have compared to sexual molestation,” Gerstein writes – were seen by some as a tipping point in the fight against terror over the question of how much privacy should U.S. citizens relinquish in the name of improved security against terrorism. A security adviser said that American culture views “the laying on of hands by anyone in authority” as a more serious invasion of privacy than investigating a passenger’s travel history through a background check. Even so, an ABC News/Washington Post poll cited in the blog found that public reaction was roughly split, 50-50, on whether the pat-downs were a good idea.

Employment Screening Resources (ESR), an accredited provider of background checks, believes effective background checks occur at the intersection of privacy and security. For more information about instituting background check programs, visit the Employment Screening Resources website at and read the ESR News blog at

Founded in 1996 in the San Francisco Bay area, Employment Screening Resources (ESR) is the company that wrote the book on background checks with ‘The Safe Hiring Manual’ by ESR founder and President Lester Rosen. Employment Screening Resources is accredited by The National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) Background Screening Credentialing Council (BSCC) for proving compliance with the Background Screening Agency Accreditation Program (BSAAP). For more information about Employment Screening Resources, visit or contact Jared Callahan, ESR Director of Client Relations and Business Development, at 415.898.0044 or [email protected].