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Posted at 1:40 PM ET, 11/22/2010

What to expect from TSA screening

By Michael D. Bolden

With all of the discussion about the new body-scanning technology and pat-downs, we've assembled some advice and information from the Transportation Security Administration. If you have additional suggestions or observations, post a comment below.

-- TSA's new screening techniques are in place at all domestic airports, even if security is handled by a private company instead of the TSA.
-- Only passengers who set off a walk-through metal detector or advanced imaging technology machine or opt out of the AIT receive a pat-down, the TSA says.
-- Items that might set off an alarm on the metal detector include: keys; loose change; mobile phones; pagers; heavy jewelry (including pins, necklaces, bracelets, rings, watches, earrings, body piercings, cuff links, lanyards or bolo ties); clothing with metal buttons; snaps or studs; metal hair barrettes or other hair decoration; belt buckles; and under-wire bras.
-- Travelers are required to remove their shoes and put them through the X-ray machine for inspection. Slip-on shoes make the process easier.
-- Prepare for screening by removing everything from your pockets and alert the security officer if you have a hidden medical device. The TSA says only a small percentage of passengers end up needing a pat-down.
-- Pat-downs will take longer than body scans. According to the TSA, the body scan takes about five seconds, with an extra 10 to 15 seconds for processing. Pat-downs take 1 to 2 minutes
-- Pat-downs are conducted by TSA officers who are the same sex as the person being screened.
-- Children 12 years old and under who require extra screening will receive a modified pat-down.
-- Travelers have the right to request that screening be conducted in private.
-- Travelers have the right to request that a witness be present for a screening.
-- TSA officers are prohibited from bringing electronic devices such as cell phones into the AIT viewing room. Officers can be fired for violating the policy, the TSA says.
-- The AIT machines used by TSA at airports cannot store, print or transmit images, the TSA says.
-- An iPhone app from the TSA, called My TSA, provides wait times for airports and a guide on what you can bring through airport security.

Poll: Which would you choose: a full-body scan or a pat-down?

Graphic: How the scanners work

Related stories:

Who is exempt from airport security?

TSA responds to child pat-down video

TSA discourages body-scan boycotts

Government scientists offer alternative to scanner images

Dealing with Thanksgiving airport security

Instead of a TSA airport search he'll take the train

TSA officials get 'pat-downs'

Will you undergo a pat-down?

Full-body scanners installed at Dulles

By Michael D. Bolden  | November 22, 2010; 1:40 PM ET
Categories:  Aviation  
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How do the images get to a separate viewing area if they cannot be transmitted? Oh that's right, they can be transmitted. They just assume their security will be adequate enough, and the public too dumb to argue. If anyone, anywhere, other than at the scanner is viewing these images in a separate area, they have been transmitted.

Posted by: spynnal | November 22, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

Auto travel is risky, there are over 40 thousand deaths each year due to highway accidents, and yet most take the gamble. Even if there were 40 thousand air passenger deaths each year travelers will continue to fly. Living in fear is not living at all, when airline terrorists see they have not stopped traffic no matter how hard they have tried, the battle against airline terrorism will be won.

Posted by: morristhewise | November 22, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

If there were 40,000 air passenger deaths every year the system would grind to a halt.

What bizarro world do you live in?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | November 22, 2010 3:06 PM | Report abuse

People who Opt out of the Imaging Technology are going to get pat downs which I think they are going to like a LOT less than the digital image...and those who opt out cannot think for themselves which is the worst part of this whole issue. We live in a world of people who cannot think independently.

Posted by: idontgetit1 | November 22, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

The second to last one is a flat out lie, they in fact CAN store and transfer images. Supposedly they DON'T, but that is much different than CAN'T, which is a flat out lie.

Posted by: fqwefqwe | November 22, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

"TSA officers are prohibited from bringing electronic devices such as cell phones into the AIT viewing room. Officers can be fired for violating the policy, the TSA says."

Like everything TSA does, this is a reactionary response. Firing someone doesn't get the damage undone or images off the Internet. And a TSA 'apology' is worthless.

Posted by: itsallsogoofy | November 22, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

Americans are sheeple. They would drop there drawers and bend over if the government told them it was for there safety. Obey your masters.

Posted by: gdod25 | November 22, 2010 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Since it’s still not against the law let’s try to think this thing through; like where and how did it begin and what can be done to change what is becoming a grimy situation that may only be the prelude to random strip searches and full body scans in the malls. Clearly the freedom and liberties we once enjoyed and, unfortunately took for granted are being downsized. Now many are obviously upset about the airport procedures. This situation didn’t just happen out of the clear blue sky. WE HAVE OUR ARMIES IN MUSLIM LANDS. Damage done and the potential damage by our opponents won't be limited to downing planes. The huge expense of airport safety, the indignities now suffered by Americans not to mention feeling up kids is only the start of the price to be paid if we don't get our armies out of Muslim lands. Two guys and a rifle tied up the Eastern sea board with random shooting of whatever was in front of them. Imagine a few hundred of these teams from coast to coast. That Israel can't prevent attacks within its comparatively small borders with a highly refined security organization and heightened public levels of public awareness, should tell us something. Some ask how many bombs have been detected at our airports; no answers are available. Terror attacks in this country will remain a possibility and change in form as we are not fighting the Viet Cong, who at least had the decency to stay home. The only way to stop the diminishment of freedom attendant to the terror war, (downsizing of freedom being one of Osama’s goals) is to declare victory, pull out of Muslim lands, wait a few years and then our corporations can do business with today's terrorists as we now do with yesterdays', the Viet Cong. Perhaps we'll resuscitate strategic alliances with today's terrorists like we are doing with yesterday’s terrorists, the North Vietnamese. Free no log-in editorial cartoons

Posted by: saintpeterii | November 22, 2010 5:06 PM | Report abuse

They don't store the images? Oh really? So all that hard drive space on the scanners is to TIVO the TV shows the screeners are missing?

In order to establish probable cause for a prosecution they have to store that image for evidentiary purposes. Duh!

Posted by: adolphemenjou | November 22, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

Please do not propagate mis-information (or blatant lies as the case may be). It was recently and publicly proved that these machines can and do save and transfer images. Check the records concerning a certain court facility employing these machines in Florida, where many tens of thousands of images were found stored on them.

Posted by: Bryan383 | November 22, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Please do not propagate mis-information (or blatant lies as the case may be). It was recently and publicly proved that these machines can and do save and transfer images. Check the records concerning a certain court facility employing these machines in Florida, where many tens of thousands of images were found stored on them."

What the blog entry says is accurate. The blog entry says that the TSA SAYS the machines can't store, print, or transmit images. That's true--the TSA does indeed say that. Whether the TSA is telling us the truth (and I agree with the people who don't believe a word of it--I mean, look, the machine MUST be able to transmit the images to wherever someone is viewing them, right?) is a completely different question.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 22, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

Is this all a bit of theater? Of course. But keep in mind, 2200 Americans were killed on 9-11, and due to our irrational, uneducated populace, cynical politicians were able to convince these rubes that we needed to invade a country that never attacked us to be safe. Now these same rubes are saying their rights are being infringed, (though I've yet to hear of someone being MADE to fly), because they are afraid (or ashamed of) their privates becoming public. Isn't it time we stopped letting the clowns run the circus?

Posted by: whereareweandwhatarewedoinginthishandbasket | November 22, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse

michelle obama is exempt from TSA pat downs...they aren't qualified to pat down a wookie so they contract with 'The Discovery Channel'

Posted by: JWx2 | November 22, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Which is to say, if you don't mind having your nipple ring pulled out, being occasionally thrown to the floor, wetting your pants or even having the odd prosthetic limb held up for inspection this upcoming holidays look to be a humiliating delight. But then again, if anyone were going to blow anyone up, wouldn't it just b easier to do it in some shopping mall- assuming they don't mind the less dramatic visage of frantic shoppers clambering for dear life.

Posted by: iamandami | November 22, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Next time I travel, I will have a nice big bowl of beans and rice with some fresh onions. When I opt for my enhanced pat-down, I'll make sure that TSA Agent has a refreshing experience.

Posted by: eightbit | November 22, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Serious question: the first time a bad guy hides something in a body cavity, is the American people going to be OK with TSA body cavity checks?

Because, for those who haven't been keeping up with current events, there has already been one high-profile attack involving hiding a bomb in a body cavity.

Having the TSA feel you up, or irradiate you in their expensive see-you-naked machines, has NOTHING to do with security (you can still take anything you want onboard the plane, as long as it fits in your rectum), and everything to do with government trying to make it look like they're "doing something." The fact that they're putting on this meaningless show by trampling on Americans' civil rights makes the TSA especially odious.

Posted by: vfr2dca | November 23, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

Dear TSA: Please strongly consider applying KY to the anal probe prior to insertion. Thank you in advance.

Posted by: blackforestcherry | November 23, 2010 8:27 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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