As soon as the media started reporting that Opt-Out day was a bust (see 40 + articles here), reports started coming in from blogs stating that TSA had intentionally shut down the Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines. This claim is utterly and completely false as AIT operations were normal throughout the holiday travel period. We tried to think of some reasons that people might have come to this conclusion.
· First off, everybody is not necessarily screened by AIT. I think people need to understand that TSA operates out of 450 + airports. Of these 450 + airports, 70 currently have AIT. There are a total of 430 machines in the field right now. (We’re working quickly to deploy more units to the field - above and beyond the 430).
· Even at airports with AIT machines, they are not yet deployed at all checkpoint lanes.
· At times, machines could be shut down for routine maintenance, or maintenance issues.
· If the technology just arrived at the airport, it's possible passengers would see a unit in the checkpoint but not in use. Several things have to happen before we can start using them, they have to be installed, tested and we have to fully train officers on how to use the technology.
TSA Blog Team