Business Travel Coalition Slams TSA, Warns on Protests


Camile Olson, a traveler at Chicago O'Hare airport, said she thought the controversy over the scanners may be a bit overblown.

"I didn't have an issue today in terms of feeling that there was an invasion of privacy," Olson said.

Some travelers, including Catherine Bossi, have had entirely different experiences, and have been left feeling vulnerable and violated.

Bossi, a flight attendant and breast cancer survivor, said she was forced to remove her prosthetic breast while a TSA pat-down was administered.

"I was horribly shocked," she said. "Yes, I was I felt embarrassed and ashamed. I had cancer and this was the way I was being treated."

Erin Chase, a mother from Ohio who was recently traveling with her infant, said the TSA pat-down was a complete violation of her privacy.

"She went down to the bottom of my legs and moved up my inner thighs and touched my genital area," Chase said. "As a law-abiding American citizen, mom traveling with a baby, I should not have been subject to that sort of a search."

TSA agents have defended these practices by saying they are merely doing their jobs. Under new rules, security staff members are allowed to use the back or front of their hands to pat down any part of a passengers body.

"TSA are professional people -- they're public servants -- it has to be done with courtesy. It has to be done in the proper manner. With 35,000 people, are you going to have people make mistakes? Yes," John McGaw, first head of the TSA, told "Good Morning America" today.

Hoping to clear up confusion and calm nerves over the pat-downs, the TSA released a video message to airports and airlines Saturday that spell out security options.

"You have the option to request that the pat down be conducted in a private room. You have the option to have that pat down witnessed by a person of your choice," said John Pistole, Administrator of the TSA.

Officials are concerned that security may be slowed this week by a growing grassroots internet movement - encouraging travelers to "opt out" of full-body scans Wednesday, one of the busiest travel days of the year. Thousands on Facebook have vowed to opt-out, however this incipient movement may be overstated.

"The truth is, most travelers just want to get to their destination as fast as possible," said Genevieve Shaw Brown.

Can TSA Full-Body Scanners Be G-rated?

Meanwhile, technology and political pressure may move American scanners in a more G-rated direction, even as foreign countries are getting more invasive.

The TSA is testing new X-ray technology that will show a "stick figure" instead of a passenger's full-body image. Viewers on the other end of the X-ray would see anomalies -- anything from a suicide vest to a cell phone on a belt clip -- highlighted on the anatomically-ambiguous figure.

The United States, however, is not the only country employing unpopular security methods. Canada installed full-body scanners at 16 major airports in January, which also is when it started aggressive pat-downs with airport officials running hands inside pants waistbands.

Over in Europe, London's Heathrow Airport has been using body scanners for the last eight months as part of a pilot program. Nearby countries, security experts say, also are looking into body scanners.

"Europe is certainly looking into the way the technology is being implemented in the U.S.," said Rafi Ron, CEO of New Age Security, a security consulting firm. "I think we can expect sometime soon similar technology [will] be another European standard."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 12204725.
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...