TSA head: Agency seeks less intrusive scan

Jan. 13, 2011 at 8:31 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Transportation Security Administration is trying to make airport screening less invasive, Administrator John Pistole said Thursday.

In a speech to the American Bar Association, Pistole said the possibilities include a type of full-body scanner that shows bodies as stick figures, The Washington Times reported.

Another is adopting methods used at Israeli airports. Pistole said Israelis rely less on physical searches and more on scrutiny of passengers that begins when they arrive.

Pistole said the TSA's goal is to make screening as "minimally invasive as possible." He said the TSA will decide in 2011 whether to switch to the stick-figure scanners, which are already being used at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

The TSA increased scrutiny at airports after the "underwear bomber" tried to blow up a plane on approach to Detroit with explosives hidden in his underwear. The introduction late last year of full-body scanners combined with all-over patdowns for travelers who refuse the scanning caused a public outcry.

Pistole said the United States has to deal with many more travelers than Israel, with more than 600 million air passengers a year, compared with 11 million.

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