Sen. Isakson Probes Heightened Airport Screenings


ATLANTA - U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., questioned the Transportation Security Administration on Wednesday over new aggressive airport security measures.

In a news release, Isakson said he has received a number of constituent complaints in recent days regarding the images produced by the whole-body scanners as well as the intimate nature of the physical screenings.

"It is the TSA's responsibility to provide the strongest security possible to ensure the safety of our nation against terrorists. However, there is a careful balance we must maintain between security and an individual's right to privacy," Isakson said. "I think the administration needs to do a better job of letting our national security intelligence guide our airport screening, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach to security."

At a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing, Isakson said he shared the concerns of his constituents regarding the intrusive nature of the aggressive pat-downs and said he plans to work with his colleagues to review the physical screening process and make changes if possible.

Isakson said he asked the TSA to meet with the committee in a classified setting and reveal the specific intelligence that sparked the drastic changes to airport screening.

Isakson said he is concerned with the image produced by the whole-body scanners and asked what progress TSA has made in moving to the automated target recognition feature that would eliminate the private viewing room and instead use a cartoon stick-figure image on the machine itself, visible to the passenger. Isakson also said his constituents have expressed concerns over increased radiation levels from the whole-body scanners.

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