Wednesday, February 15, 2012

TSA Officers Focus on Security, not Good Looks

The internet is abuzz with posts, tweets and news articles regarding allegations that TSA officers required a passenger to go through a body scanner multiple times because she was attractive.

First, I want to reassure all passengers that TSA does not profile passengers.   

Second, I’m pleased to inform all concerned parties that every single one of our millimeter wave units in the field, including those at Dallas/Ft. Worth (DFW airport), have been equipped for quite some time with privacy software that no longer displays a specific image of the person being screened.

The monitor is mounted on the scanner itself, and here’s what both the passenger and officer see:

AIT ATR Monitor
That’s it. In fact, if there are no alarms, a green screen with “OK” is all that’s displayed. There is no longer a need for an officer to review images in a remote location because there are no longer any privacy concerns with the image. 

Even when we did review the images in a remote room, they looked more like fuzzy photo negatives than the images that some make them out to be. Furthermore, it’s not TSA’s policy to scan passengers multiple times. 

We have no record of the passenger filing a complaint when this allegedly occurred more than six months ago. Had it been reported to TSA at that time, we could have reviewed CCTV and interviewed the officers. We were instead notified about these allegations by the media more than six months after the alleged incident. 

In situations such as these, passengers should use Talk to TSA to contact a customer support manager at the airport they traveled through. Passengers can also call our contact center. We want to hear from you, good or bad. We take your feedback seriously and will use the details you provide to look into your concerns. 

Our backscatter units (another type of body scanner) will eventually use the same software and still required the need of an officer in a remote private location to view the images. That officer never sees the passenger, just their image. In case you’re wondering, DFW only has millimeter wave units.

When it all comes down to it, our officers are focusing on keeping passengers safe, not their good looks.

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.