Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Opting-out of Advanced Imaging Technology and the Pat-down Doesn’t Fly

TSO in AIT Resolution Room
A recent incident in San Diego where a passenger opted out of Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) and also refused a pat-down has been raising some questions, so I wanted to help clarify a few things with this blog post.

AIT is optional for everybody. However, if you decide to opt-out of AIT screening, you must undergo alternative screening, which will include a pat-down. As I’ve said before, there is nothing punitive about it- it just makes good security sense. Obviously a passenger can’t completely opt out of all screening if they opt out of AIT. That would not make good security sense. AIT is deployed to help us find non-metallic threats, so if you’re selected for AIT and choose to opt-out, we still need to check you for non-metallic threats. That’s why a pat-down is required. If you refuse both, you can’t fly. It is important that all screening procedures are completed.  This ensures that terrorists do not have an opportunity to probe TSA’s procedures by electing not to fly just as TSA’s screening procedures are on the verge of detecting that the passenger is a terrorist. Also, it’s important to remember that TSA screens nearly 2 million passengers daily and that very few passengers are required to receive a pat-down.

Some have asked why we just don’t use the handwand. Good question. Threats can be both metallic and non-metallic. Pat-downs, like AIT, allow us to screen for nonmetallic threats that handwands would not find.

And finally, the $10,000.00 question of the day… Will you receive a $10,000.00 fine if you opt out of screening all together and leave the checkpoint? While TSA has the legal authority to levy a civil penalty of up to $11,000.00 for cases such as this, each case is determined on the individual circumstances of the situation. 

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

CBS News Poll: 4 in 5 Support Full-Body Airport Scanners

You’ve heard TSA say how most passengers support the use of our Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT).  Well, this time you don’t have to hear it from us. You can read a recent public poll that was conducted by CBS News where 4 in 5 polled support TSA’s use of AIT.


Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team