Airport body scanner backlash

Terry Bane
Terry Bane
June Newman
June Newman
Trish Wimmer
Trish Wimmer

By Teri Okita – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)- The busiest travel time of the year is right around the corner.

And the Transportation Security Administration has rolled out more full body scanners, and more personal patdowns.

Some passengers say it's an invasion of privacy, but the government insists it's keeping you safe.

Honolulu Airport just got its first full body scanner a month ago. Plans call for about half-a-dozen machines here, but now, across the country, many passengers are saying, "Wait a minute."

Passenger John Tyner wasn't comfortable and refused both a body scan and a pat down in San Diego last Saturday. He recorded this on his cell phone.

"I don't understand how a sexual assault can be made as a condition of flying," Tyner said.

"This is not a sexual assault," the agent said.

"It would be if you weren't the government," Tyner said.

Frequent flier Trish Wimmer also wonders where personal privacy ends and safety begins. When she opted for a pat down instead of a scan, she says the TSA went too far.

"She went up my legs and used her hand to go up my skirt. That's when I freaked out," Wimmer said.

The TSA says its review of Saturday's incident shows officers handled the situation professionally. It confirms pat downs are becoming more thorough, but makes no apologies for its methods. Passengers should expect an unpredictable mix of security.

"The enemy that we're facing isn't stagnate, that our procedures continually need to be refined," TSA's Michael Aguilar said.

Just weeks ago, the TSA in Honolulu showed Hawaii News Now its new body scanner. We returned Monday to get passengers' reaction to it.

"I've been through the scanners and we have to do it. We have to do it. I think it's good. I don't like them, but we have to do it," frequent flier Terry Bane said.

"Don't think it's an invasion of privacy?," Hawaii News Now asked.

"Even if it is, if it saves your life, sometimes, you have to give up a little," passenger June Newman said.

Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano is asking the flying public for cooperation and patience to help defend against terrorism. Concerned passengers say the devil's in the details of that request.

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