Protest Of Airport Body Scans, Pat Downs Planned

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

And John Williams, Heard On NewsRadio 830 WCCO

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Airport full body scanners and enhanced pat downs are creating a nationwide backlash that could affect travel plans on the busiest travel day of the year.

A national grassroots movement is calling for airline passengers to opt out of the body scans, which is their right. If they do so, in order to fly they must instead agree to a time-consuming and more invasive “enhanced pat-down” by a screener from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

John Tyner of Oceanside, Calif. started a website calling for the protest after an incident in San Diego. Hoping to fly to a family hunting trip in South Dakota, he opted out of the body scan.

“I didn’t want to be viewed naked,” Tyner told John Williams on WCCO Radio Monday morning.

He said he didn’t want to be “felt up by the TSA,” either, and decided not to take the flight.

“Only my wife and maybe my doctor, if it comes to it, are allowed to touch me,” said Tyner.

The day that is being targeted for the protest is the busiest travel day of the year — Nov. 24, the day before Thanksgiving.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, only one of the security checkpoints has the scanners, so the impact of a boycott would cause less disruption than at some bigger airports like New York, Atlanta and Chicago.

The internet is providing a platform for concerns about the full body scanners and the pat-downs. A Facebook page is urging fliers to participate in the protest.

Some passengers said they don’t mind the scanners, which project a silhouette of a person’s naked body on a screen for TSA workers to look at. Any problem a scanner detects will lead to a pat-down that involves someone of the same sex running their palms over the entire body, including the breast and crotch areas.

While traveling through Chicago O’Hare International Airport, WCCO Web Producer Sara Boyd forgot she had a penny in her jeans and ended up having a pat-down.

“She started at the very top [of my hip] and then just kind of worked all the way down,” said Boyd. It was very awkward and kind of uncomfortable, I guess.”

Some frequent travelers feel the added security isn’t worth it.

“If somebody wants to sneak something on a plane they are going to find a way to do it or beat it, and I don’t think this does anything. I don’t think it makes us safer, I just think it causes more hassle,” said traveler Peter Quist.

But other travelers strongly defend the measures, saying in a post-9/11 world, it’s necessary.

“You go to the doctor to a gynecologist you don’t even know. A body scan doesn’t seem to be a very big a deal,” said traveler Lissa Weimholt.

Those who are organizing the opt-out protest hoping major delays and long lines will get the government to reconsider the scanners and pat-down procedures. But the TSA in a statement said they are planning to install 1,000 more of the full body scanners by the end of 2011.

Interview by radio host John Williams:

  • Sam

    We are scanned and our luggage is searched. But what really irks me is that ZIP happens to the cargo!!

  • Glenda

    How can any one in their right mind complain because we are searched or our luggage is searched. Hello, it’s for our safty. keep up the good work.

    • sam

      If this security theatre actually had any positive impact, that would be one thing, but it doesn’t. The only effect it has is to make people _think_ that the government is doing something to protect us.

  • Kayla

    I would much rather be frisked at the gate and feel safe boarding the plane then crash into Earth at 500 mph because someone/something was not searched. This guy is just an idiot, if you dont want to be frisked enjoy your drive to SD.

  • Me

    If you don’t want to be viewed naked or patted down, don’t fly. It is really that simple.

    If you don’t want all of the above and you must fly for your day job, start looking for a new career.

    • Mark

      I would have also added bus service. I think they still let anyone bring on whatever they want.

  • Frequent Flyer

    Flying is not a constitutional right. I’ll gladly give up a free grope for a few more years on this planet. Safety 1st!!

    • Bill

      No it is not, but the 4th Amendment protects us against unlawful SEARCH and seizure without the minimum of probable cause. Wishing to fly is not probable cause, and a plane ticket is certainly not a court order from a judge who was presented with evidence to support a search.

  • Mike

    You people who support this police state mentality are despicable. Have fun being the slaves to this tyranny. Idiots!

    • Will

      Have fun blowing up on your next trip!

  • Gene

    Boot lickers all of you who are buckling to this nonsense. For God’s sake, the US State Dept ordered the guy in Amsterdam onto the plane without a passport knowing that he was on a watch list. How can you all be missing how obvious it is that 9/11 and all of it is a set up? Wake up!!!!!! It’s almost too late.

  • red

    Sheesh, some of you are stupid. Is this really how you want to live in America? What’s next, papers for crossing state lines? How about a tattoo identifying you as an American citizen? This is going to far.

    If you think this is ok, think about marching your 11 year old daughter or 5 year old son up through one of these machines, and being “looked” at by some middle aged rent a cop with a tendency toward child porn. He just hasn’t be caught yet, you see, but he’s in the right job now.

    I’m never flying again.

    • Tony

      If you live life this parinoid Red, then I feel sorry for you. You better not bring your kids anywhere then. This whole argument is stupid and I will gladly not have people like you ever fly with me again.

    • Will

      The agents who are viewing these scans are looking at semi nude bodies all day. They don’t care or have time to look at the body. They are doing the job that keeps us safe. I understand people are anxious about showing their bodies but the outline of your body that the scan shows is really not showing much. Your children has a greater chance of being exploited by a family member, neighbor, teacher or pastor than the TSA officials.

  • Mark

    Do these people really want to miss their family Thanksgiving by refusing the scan and taking the pat down? The official time given from TSA is 2 min. but it takes longer to get a staff person available and sometimes longer to find a same gendered staff. I was at the airport this weekend and the person in front of me refused. I was scanned and on my way while she was waiting for her pat down. I never saw her physical search but I saw another person and that seemed more unpleasant than the scan.

    I just hope we don’t have another 9/11 to remind people of why we have so much security.

  • Essme

    What gets me is that they are doing everything to ensure our safety on the planes…which…Is great…anyone who feels the need to complain should just stay home better to be safe.

    But…what about the trains, subways and buses??? Anyone ever thought of that? We aren’t even safe from our own citzens or from the gangs that take these transportation services over. Time to implement security in ALL TYPES of public transportation..Boats…Planes…Buses…and Trains.

  • Ted

    Um, just stay home? Afraid much? I really hope that you are satirizing here.

    Boats? I think the largest act of terrorism ever to be committed with a boat was probably perpetrated by an oil company.

  • Essmeee

    Ted what I mean is that I’m tired of hearing people complain about the TSA doing their job to ensure our safety. If they don’t like the security measures implemented to ensure our safety, then maybe they should stay home and not fly. Because I for one am grateful for the security implemented, and think it should be implemented in all modes of public transportation. Like another person said. Flying…or any mode of public transportation is NOT a Right, it’s a convience. if you don’t like the security then too bad.

  • Esssme

    By the way…Ted…are you forgetting about the Pirates that have been in the news as of late? Seriously even the boats aren’t safe these days. Security IS NEEDED!

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