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Monday, October 22, 2012

TSA backing away from body scanners at big airports

Posted By on Mon, Oct 22, 2012 at 1:08 PM

PUT EM UP: More body scanners for smaller airports?
  • PUT 'EM UP: More body scanners for smaller airports?
Pro Publica reports good news on the airport security beat for people who live in major cities.

The Transportation Security Administration has been quietly removing its X-ray body scanners from major airports over the last few weeks and replacing them with machines that radiation experts believe are safer.

The TSA says it made the decision not because of safety concerns but to speed up checkpoints at busier airports. It means, though, that far fewer passengers will be exposed to radiation because the X-ray scanners are being moved to smaller airports.


I believe TSA. Anybody who travels knows that processing through the full-body scanners is slower. It has created huge headaches everywhere, including the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock. We've noticed at busy times in Chicago that the body scanners were not being used, that all travelers were being funneled through the old-fashioned machines — more quickly.

This is the potentially bad news:

"They're not all being replaced," TSA spokesman David Castelveter said. "It's being done strategically. We are replacing some of the older equipment and taking them to smaller airports. That will be done over a period of time."

He said the TSA decided to move the X-ray machines to less-busy airports after conducting an analysis of processing time and staffing requirements at the airports where the scanners are installed.

The radiation risk and privacy concerns had no bearing on the decision, Castelveter said

What are smaller airports? Chopped liver? Does this mean Little Rock could actually get worse? Might we go entirely to full-body scanners?

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