White House: Terrorists Have Discussed Use of Prosthetics to Conceal Explosives

VIDEO: An ABC News poll shows half of Americans think pat-downs go too far.
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U.S. intelligence has picked up terrorists discussing the use of prosthetic or medical devices to conceal explosives, sources tell ABC News.

The revelation about the intelligence, which is not new but relevant to debate over new security measures at airports, comes as the White House today acknowledged that the implementation of the security procedures has not gone perfectly.

Americans by a 2-to-1 margin support the use of naked image full-body x-ray scanners in airport security lines, but fewer than half back aggressive new pat-down procedures, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll. Opposition to both rises among those who fly with any frequency.

The Transportation Security Administration has come under fire for new body scanners and what some say are highly invasive pat-downs.

Thomas Sawyer, a bladder cancer survivor, said he was humiliated after a pat-down broke his urostomy bag, leaving the 61-year-old covered in his own urine. Sawyer said he warned the TSA officials twice that the pat-down could break the seal.

Cathy Bossi, a long-time flight attendant and breast cancer survivor, said the TSA made her take off her prosthetic breast.

"She put her full hand on my breast and said, 'What is this?' I said 'It's a prosthesis because I've had a breast cancer,'" Bossi said. "And she said, 'You'll need to show me that.'"

In recent days, several passengers have come forward to tell such shocking stories about their experiences with TSA officers.

An ABC News employee said she was subject to a "demeaning" search at Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday morning.

"The woman who checked me reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around," she said. "It was basically worse than going to the gynecologist. It was embarrassing. It was demeaning. It was inappropriate."

The head of the Transportation Security Administration John Pistole today said that at least one airport passenger screening went too far when an officer reached inside a traveler's underwear, and said the agency is open to rethinking current protocols.

That search was against protocols and "never" should have happened, TSA administrator Pistole told "Good Morning America" today.

"There should never be a situation where that happens," Pistole said. "The security officers are there to protect the traveling public. There are specific standard operating protocols, which they are to follow."

Pistole, responding to complaints from passengers, has said the TSA would not change its pat-down procedures but today said the agency was "open" to changing security procedures.

"The bottom line is, we are always adapting and adjusting prior protocols in view of the intelligence and in view of the latest information we have on how the terrorists are trying to kill our people on planes," Pistole said. "If that means we need to adjust the procedures, then of course we're open to that."

Only a small number of travelers have been subject to pat-downs, officials say. The White House says roughly 340,000 people -- or 1 percent of all travelers -- have been subjected to more intense searches since the new TSA procedures began Nov. 1.

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