Scanner Protest Could Trigger Delays

Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 9:17am

Analysts fear planned body scanner protest could disrupt holiday travel.

From pilots to passengers, the government's tougher new airport security measures are coming under fire, with a new website calling on travelers to "opt out" of enhanced body scanners the busy day before Thanksgiving.

"People across the country are really fed up," said Brian Sodergren, who created a website promoting "National Opt-Out Day" as a personal protest. "Somebody has to put something together to say 'enough is enough.'"

Sodergren, of Washington D.C., said he is a frequent flyer but declined to answer questions about his profession.

TSA allows passengers to refuse enhanced body scans and request a pat-down, which Sodergren also views as invasive.

"They make the alternative even worse," Sodergren said. "'We're going to grope you.'"

Some pilots object to what they see as the humiliation and the health risk.

Concerned about repeated exposure to radiation, the Allied Pilots Association has called on members to decline to undergo the enhanced body scans and request a private pat-down.

"It's the cumulative affect of all this radiation we're taking in, that we're saying you know what? We're not going to participate in this," said APA Secretary-Treasurer Scott Shankland.

The union has received reports from pilots who believe the pat-downs have also gone too far, Shankland said.

Pilots have already undergone security checks and should not be considered a threat, he said.

"Safety and security are the most important things for pilots as well," he said. "So we want those limited resources spent looking for the real threat. And I guarantee you we're not it."

In a statement, the Transportation Security Administration said the body scanners and enhanced pat-down procedures are necessary.

"We are frequently reminded that our enemy is creative and willing to go to great lengths to evade detection," the statement said. "TSA utilizes the latest intelligence to inform the deployment of new technology and procedures in order to stay ahead of evolving threats."

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