TSA says Thanksgiving travel went smoothly
Thanksgiving holiday travel didn't go well on the roads (what is it about New Jersey's highways, anyway?), but the Transportation Security Administration insists weeks of intense scrutiny and criticism led to few problems and delays at the nation's airports.
"Everything went smoothly overall," TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee said in an e-mail Sunday evening. "Wait times at more than 450 airports nationwide were consistent with past holiday travel periods with many airports experiencing minimal lines."
TSA plans to release final details later today, but if statistics from last Wednesday are any indication, things should have gone well over the weekend.
At the nation's busiest airport, Atlanta's Hartsfield International Airport, 39 out of more than 47,000 passengers last Wednesday declined to use the machines, TSA said. Among other places, wait times were no longer than 20 minutes in Detroit.
Overall, about 99 percent of airline passengers chose to use advanced-imaging technology (AIT) machines despite last Wednesday's Internet-fueled "Opt Out Day" campaign to protest their use, Lee said. The high participation rates are consistent with numbers dating back to when TSA first started using AIT machines in 2007.
The high participation rates mean opponents of new body scanners and aggressive pat-down procedures will have to shift their efforts from the airports to the courts, according to George Washington University professor Jeffrey Rosen, who penned a Sunday Outlook piece on the issue.
"Courts evaluating airport-screening technology tend to give great deference to the government's national security interest in preventing terrorist attacks. But in this case, there's a strong argument that the TSA's measures violate the Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures," Rosen wrote.
But if things went so well over the weekend and a majority of Americans back the stepped-up security measures, will the hyped-up criticism and legal efforts continue?
Unlikely, so let's just go back to complaining about the lack of leg room on planes, OK?
How was your holiday commute? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below
• Cabinet and Staff News: First Lady Michelle Obama receives lots of fan mail from young students. Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens criticizes the death penalty. Former NASA Adminsitrator Sean O'Keefe (no relation) recounts the harrowing Ted Stevens plane crash. Opponents of Rahm Emanuel hit him where he lives. A Department of Veterans Affairs adviser is drawing GOP fire for his consulting fees.
• New push planned for DREAM immigration act: President Obama is willing to spend "political capital" on making sure the measure passes, according to Education Secretary Arne Duncan.
• Texas challenges the EPA over climate change rules: In effect, Texas is staking out a role as the anti-California.
• FBI foils elaborate bomb plot in Oregon: A tip from the Muslim community that led federal officials to the would-be attacker.
• Dissenters gain clout on Fed panel: Four presidents of regional Fed banks will step into the rotation at the Fed's policy meeting in late January.
• New House overseer suggests it might be closing time for some agencies: But a spokesman for Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) declined to elaborate on whether the congressman had any particular agencies in mind for closure.
• Interior will speed offshore wind leasing process: The department could offer wind leases in the Atlantic coastal areas in late 2011 or early 2012.
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE:
• Toward a World War I memorial: Nowhere in Washington, a city of monuments, is a shrine honoring all of the 116,516 Americans who died in battle or from other causes in what was once known as the War to End All Wars.
| November 29, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener
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