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

TEXT SIZE - +

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

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Open Source Seeds Hit the Market, Raise Awareness

First open source seeds include 29 new varieties of broccoli, celery, kale, quinoa and other vegetables and grains 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid