WASHINGTON — The head of the agency responsible for airport security, facing protests from travelers and pressure from the White House, appeared to give ground Sunday on his position that there would be no change in policies regarding invasive passenger screening procedures.

WASHINGTON — The head of the agency responsible for airport security, facing protests from travelers and pressure from the White House, appeared to give ground Sunday on his position that there would be no change in policies regarding invasive passenger screening procedures.

Transportation Security Administration head John Pistole said in a statement that the agency would work to make screening methods "as minimally invasive as possible," although he gave no indication that screening changes were imminent.

The statement came just hours after Pistole, in a TV interview, said that while the full-body scans and pat-downs could be intrusive and uncomfortable, the high threat level required their use. "No, we're not changing the policies," he told CNN's "State of the Union."

Pistole said that, as in all nationwide security programs, "there is a continual process of refinement and adjustment to ensure that best practices are applied."

Still, he pointed to the alleged attempt by a Nigerian with explosives in his underwear to try to bring down an Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight last Christmas. "We all wish we lived in a world where security procedures at airports weren't necessary," Pistole said, "but that just isn't the case."

In his earlier TV appearance, Pistole appeared to shrug off statements by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the agency would look for ways to alter screening techniques that some passengers say are invasions of privacy.

Clinton, appearing Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," said she thought "everyone, including our security experts, are looking for ways to diminish the impact on the traveling public" and that "striking the right balance is what this is about."