TSA Chief blasts boycott of backscatter machines

… as reported in the UK’s Daily Mail newspaper…

The head of the Transport Security Administration (TSA) today pleaded with passengers not to boycott airport body scans as a nationwide ‘opt out’ protest threatened to cause Thanksgiving travel chaos for millions of Americans.

John Pistole has said he understood public concerns about privacy in the wake of the TSA’s tough new airline boarding security checks.

But he said that only a small portion of the 34 million people who have flown since the new procedures have taken effect have had the body patdowns.

Mr Pistole implored passengers not to take any delaying actions or engage in boycotts, saying this would only serve to ‘tie up people who want to go home and see their loved ones’.

In light of the public outcry in recent days, Mr Pistole has pledged to review security procedures but says the TSA must balance people’s demands for privacy with the need to protect passengers from terror threats.

Disgruntled passengers have started a loosely organised internet boycott of body scans scheduled for tomorrow in the hope to cause as much disruption as possible on one of the busiest travel days of the year.

National Opt-Out Day as it has been penned is of concern to the TSA and Mr Pistole said he hoped people would exercise sound judgment tomorrow and over the holiday season.

‘Just one or two recalcitrant passengers at an airport is all it takes to cause huge delays’, said Paul Ruden, spokesman for the American Society of Travel Agents which has warned its 8,000 members about the effects of the delays stemming from the boycott.

Mr Ruden added: ‘It doesn’t take much to mess things up anyway – especially if someone purposely tries to mess it up’.

Body scans take only 10 seconds to process but those who decline and submit to a full patdown will take up more of the TSA agents’ time.

President Obama weighed into the debate while in Lisbon over the weekend and said he had asked TSA officials whether there is a less intrusive way to ensure travel safety.

‘I understand people’s frustrations’, but added that he had told the TSA, ‘You have to constantly refine and measure whether what we’re doing is the only way to assure the American people’s safety’.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said she would not submit to a security patdown if she could avoid it.

‘Clearly it’s invasive, it’s not comfortable’, Mr Pistole said of the patdowns but added, ‘If we are to detect terrorists, who have again proven innovative and creative in their design and implementation of bombs that are going to blow up airplanes and kill people, then we have to do something that prevents that’.

What I find most irksome about this entire controversy is how the government, especially the TSA, act as though they are the boss.  This is a democracy, we are the boss.  I urge everyone to boycott the backscatter machines EVERY TIME you fly.  Their goal is to get us accustomed to submitting to these privacy violations; once the scans are accepted by the general public, they will become mandatory.  Once this has happened, we have surrendured a freedom that we will never get back.  These backscatter machines and invasive searches are not needed.  I urge everyone to boycott them and to voice your opinion to your elected representatives.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1332469/TSA-chiefs-plea-protesters-plan-boycott-body-scans-holiday-rush.html#ixzz16Cxc0kmq

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2 Responses to TSA Chief blasts boycott of backscatter machines

  1. Jayce Krinkle says:

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  2. Mark Randolph says:

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