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The TSA agents, just like US Border Patrol and US Customs agents, are not bound by the same rules as the police. Those three agencies are exempt under the "Special Needs Beyond Law Enforcement" Doctrine. That doctrine recocognizes that the mission of those agencies are so critical that ordinary police procedures where suspicion is required would result in an absurd result. Imagine if the TSA needed individualized suspicion before they could pat down or scan a passenger. Obviously, guns, bombs, knives, etc. would make it on to the plane with a bad result. So, you are absolutely correct when you say that the TSA is not subject to the same rules as the police in the community. Also, if you work in a defense plant building military weapons, planes, etc. you also give up your rights concerning search and seizure.