TSA Body Scans Divide Travelers

By Ellen Goldberg
|  Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010  |  Updated 12:28 AM CDT
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Just before the holiday travel season begins, concern is heating up over airport security screenings.

Ellen Goldberg, NBCDFW.com

Just before the holiday travel season begins, concern is heating up over airport security screenings.

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Revealing What Airport Body Scanners See

Full-body scanners that let airport screeners see through clothing are stirring a debate about privacy concerns vs. security concerns.
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Just before the holiday travel season begins, concern is heating up over airport security screenings.

Travelers at many security checkpoints have two choices: a full-body scan where a screener sees everything or a full-on pat-down where a screener touches everything.

"I would rather do the pat-down than the body scanners, because I've seen what it looks like, and it's pretty much everything," said traveler Erin Derbigny, a Dallas physician.

She isn't the only one leery of the full-body image scan.

A traveler refused the body scan at San Diego's airport over the weekend.

But he objected to the pat-down, telling the Transportation Security Administration agent, "We can do that out here, but if you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested."

The video he recorded on his cell phone of his pat-down has since gone viral.

But not all travelers are wary of the scans.

"If it keeps us safe, let them do all the body-scanning they need to," traveler Mark Lankin, of Plano, said.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the TSA is listening to concerns from travelers who feel violated by the agency's new policies.

Napolitano said both the scanners and enhanced pat-downs are part of an effort to keep travelers safe. But she suggested changes could be made over time.

"If there are adjustments we need to make to these procedures as we move forward, we have an open ear," she said. "We will listen."

A Washington, D.C. frequent flier is proposing a protest of the full-body scanners on the day before Thanksgiving, a busy travel day. He is encouraging travelers to refuse the body scan and demand a hand screening. Travel experts say if a lot of travelers participate in National Opt-Out Day, it could create major delays.


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