News / USA

US Holiday Travelers Face New Security at Nation's Airports

Transportation Security Administration screener Marlon Tejada, left, watches as Randy Parsons, TSA acting Federal Security Director, right, goes through a full body X-ray scanner for a security screening, 22 Nov.  2010
Transportation Security Administration screener Marlon Tejada, left, watches as Randy Parsons, TSA acting Federal Security Director, right, goes through a full body X-ray scanner for a security screening, 22 Nov. 2010

Multimedia

As millions of Americans travel during the country's Thanksgiving holiday, they face new heightened security procedures at the nation's airports. Federal authorities instituted the measures earlier this month and some fliers say the techniques are too intrusive.

It's the first time holiday travelers have faced such tough security measures at the nation's airports. Fliers now go through full body X-ray scanners at many airports. The scanners produce revealing body images and some are offended.

One male traveler said, "Generally, I'm opposed to it. I think that the technology can be abused no matter what they are telling us."  

If air travelers refuse to go through the imaging machines they are physically examined in public by security screeners. A USA TODAY/Gallup public opinion survey finds a majority of fliers don't like this either.

A woman traveler said, "It's embarrassing to stand in front of all those people and it's like getting groped."
During pat-downs, screeners of the same sex physically examine travelers, including intimate parts of the body. This woman said one security screener went too far.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       "She ran her hand like this, up the inside of my leg, but she did it so hard and so rough that she lifted me, my heels right up off the ground."
Transportation Security Administration officials say less than three percent of the more than 35 million airline passengers who have traveled since November 1 have received pat-downs, and the agency has received about 2,000 complaints about the new measures. Yet surveys indicate two-thirds of air travelers say strict security measures are necessary to prevent  terrorist attacks.
Another man traveling said, "I was in the military so I remember 9/11 [September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks] vividly, and anything to kind of make everybody safer and ensure everybody's safety I am usually all for."
Federal authorities instituted the new measures following several foiled terrorist plots against U.S. targets. A Nigerian man is charged with attempting to blow up a U.S.-bound airliner December 25, 2009 with explosives hidden in his underwear.  

Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole said the agency is trying to strike the right balance between privacy and security. "We know the threats are real so that's what we try to deal with here. To keep it in context, the reason we are doing these type of pat-downs and using advanced imaging technology is trying to take the latest intelligence of how we know al-Qaida and its affiliates would want to hurt us [the United States], and how they want to bring down, whether it's passenger aircraft or cargo aircraft."
Some who oppose the screenings called on air travelers Wednesday to protest against the full-body scans and demand the pat-downs. That takes much longer and could lead to longer security lines.

Government officials say they will continue to evaluate the new security measures and make changes where necessary. They say the full-body scan machines are here to stay and will be used at 450 commercial passenger airports by the end of next year.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid