Full-body scans may be boycotted by passengers the day before Thanksgiving, on one of the busiest days of the year for air travel.
The chief of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) does not recommend this boycott, as he defends the current methods of body searches, as a measure of precaution. A national boycott at airports would not only make lines longer for passengers waiting to get through the security checks, but it would significantly delay those trying to get through security quickly.
In a public speech recently, President Obama urged the TSA to continuously re-evaluate the current policies and procedures that include the “enhanced” pat-downs that examine every fold, nook, and cranny on a person’s body. Protesters are in outrage that people are no longer granted certain privacies as TSA representatives thoroughly touch every part of their body. Some passengers feel “dirty” after someone from TSA has violated their personal space by examining every protrusion on their body.
CNN reported one special case as a “little boy was receiving a pat-down with his shirt off, and a visibly upset father standing nearby”. The TSA spokesman said that the child set off a metal detector and warranted this type of search. Another rare example was reported by WBTV when a flight attendant -who also happened to be a three-year breast cancer survivor – was asked to remove her prosthetic breast during a pat-down in Charlotte, NC. She later said, “It just blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that somebody had done that to me.”
The TSA administrator, John Pistole, said that “pat-downs are only given if they refuse to be screened with the advanced imaging machine.” He also adds that “very few people receive the pat-down…” He also recognized that these new methods of screening passengers can be invasive and uncomfortable, but stresses the need for the TSA to prevent terrorists by these procedures.
Hillary Clinton was asked on the CBS show, Face the Nation, if she would willingly receive a pat-down in an airport. Her response was: “Not if I could avoid it. No. I mean, who would?”
The Secretary of States’ response is very similar to most of the American people. Who wants their privacy to be invaded, and personal space to be encroached upon? To avoid getting a pat-down from a TSA agent this holiday season, go with the advanced imaging technology, and try to ignore the fact that someone is examining your body underneath your clothes.
Ben Mutzabaugh. TSA chief says ‘opt-out’ boycott would be a mistake. USAToday.
Catherine E. Shoichet. Pat-down backlash grows during holiday travel rush. CNN.
Jim Abrams. TSA Chief: No Change in Screening Policy. TIME.