Passengers who opt out of going through the body scanners that have been placed at various airports around the country are put through what they call an invasive pat down. They say the groping and touching of unwanted hands in private areas is always an uncomfortable feeling. TSA says these new security measures are necessary but others say they go too far.
"This gal stepped though and started to do what I thought was completely out of line," said Jason Newstead.
Newstead, the former bassist for the rock band Metallica, has passed through airports and airport security around the world. He arrived in West Palm Beach from San Francisco Thursday evening and says he saw first hand why anyone would be uncomfortable with what TSA calls an enhanced pat down.
"They're doing all this number and feeling up on her top and feeling underneath like this and we both looked at each other like that doesn't seem right," says Newstead.
The full body scanners are an option but he says he witnessed a woman who did go through the scanner still being patted down and he says it wasn't only uncomfortable for her but those watching. "She kept making eye contact with us and saying it's ok and rolling her eyes and we tried to show compassion you know."
Parents say they're concerned their children may be forced to endure an unnecessary pat down.
"I just think there is no reason for our children to be subject to that," says Jeff Rosenholtz.
Some airports have gotten rid of TSA workers and hired private screeners and others are considering doing the same thing, a plan supported by Rep. Republican John Mica of Florida. But some travelers say they are willing to go through the pat downs no matter how intrusive they may be.
"I think it's the safest way to ensure there is no hidden objects," said one traveler.
Parents say while they understand TSA's efforts to have the best security measures to thwart any possible threat, they say too often they are reactive instead of proactive.
"With the shoe bomber they check your shoes, with the liquid they check the liquid, they are not doing any proactive measures", says Rosenholtz.
Two pilots have filed suit against TSA, including one out of Ft. Lauderdale saying their civil rights were violated. Right now 19 body scanners are used at various airports including Palm Beach International. On the web organized protests have been growing and could happen next week as people prepare to travel for Thanksgiving.
Copyright (c) 2010 The E. W. Scripps Company
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