I passed through security without setting off the metal detector. A female who I was traveling with was not so lucky. I saw her set off the alarm as I was putting my shoes back on. Her husband, who had also passed through the detector without incident, was collecting scanned bags oblivious his wife was about to receive the 'enhanced pat down'. I got his attention and told him to go tell his wife to request the agent put on a new pair of gloves. She was in that special glass-walled-off section where the pat downs are administered. He walks over, gets her attention, and tells her to make the request. Multiple TSA personnel heard the man, including the agent, it appeared to me would eventually give the pat down to his wife. Instead of giving what I understand is a mandatory pat down if someone sets of the metal detector, the agent took her to the conveyor belt to pick out her shoes. The agent took the shoes to do a secondary bomb screening. The women was not subjected to any further examination; not wanded, not sent to go through the detector again, not Naked Body scanned, and not given a pat down of any kind. She was allowed to continue on as if the metal detector had not gone off in the first place.
Now this lady was not a security threat; I know that, but TSA did not. This lady was unarmed (no knives, guns, metallic bats...); I know that, but TSA did not. All they knew was that a person set off the metal detector, and they let her pass without any further inquiry. If this was the result of an oversight or some mistake it would be bad enough. Instead it appears to be an intentional lapse because someone did not want to be bothered with the task of tracking down a new pair of gloves.
I have clearly distinguished the events/facts from my opinion. She set the detector off, was pulled aside for additional screening, and was let go without that follow up screening right after the TSA agent knew she wanted a fresh set of gloves. What other conclusions could be drawn?