Search techniques differ, but the use of a stick, the cloth is to soften the touch on the skin, it is intended to find an attached object, such as a switch, trigger, 'package,' weapon or wire, without setting off the bomb!! A switch is made for fingers and can be inadvertently triggered with a gloved hand, but less likely with a stick and has the added advantage of being less 'erotic' or stimulating and subject to false accusations of a sexual nature. Order him to strip entirely is the sure method of not touching him, but more humiliating. Thus the more he resisted,being searched the more onerous search methods needed to be used, and his humiliation is self-inflicted. The article twists the search process in the telling of the story by demphasizing certain aspects and focusing on others and playing on the ignorance of the reader regarding security measures and search techniques and minimizing the dangers.
U.S. says working on initiative to de-escalate Syria fighting, with focus on Aleppo (Reuters)
from the article: In a side room at the airport