Reporting Steve Sandberg
NEWARK, N.J. (CBS 2/1010 WINS/ WCBS 880) — He’s threatening to sue. An airline passenger says the new security pat-down measures went way too far and he recorded it all on his cell phone.
CBS 2’s Christine Sloan saw the video and reports on how some say the new procedures violate a passenger’s rights.
One passenger from the West Coast has become a hero of sorts on the Internet by refusing to go through a body scan and pat-down at airport security.
John Tyner videotaped the following confrontation with his cell phone.
Tyner: “I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made as a condition of my flying.”
TSA agent: “This is not a sexual assault.”
Tyner: “It would be if you weren’t the government.”
Travelers flying out of airports like Newark Liberty now go through full body scanners and a small percentage, according to the Transportation Security Administration, will be subjected to a pat-down.
The American Civil Liberties Union opposes the scanners because attorneys say it’s almost like showing someone naked. On Monday the ACLU teamed up new with New Jersey lawmakers to push through a resolution that calls on the U.S. Congress to end full-body scans and pat-downs.
The head of the ACLU is questioning why people are so quick to discard their civil liberties in the name of security — even if there’s no guarantee the latest high-tech screening measures at airports will prevent a terrorist attack.
“Terrorists react and adapt to security measures,” Deborah Jacobs told 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg. “Terrorism is a dynamic threat.”
“Security is never absolute and it never will be,” Jacobs added.
The TSA said both scanners and pat-downs are necessary to detect hidden explosives like the one we saw in the failed terrorist attack last Christmas. A TSA spokesperson also said: “Pat-downs are conducted by same-gender officers and all passengers have the right to request private screening at any point during the screening process.”
One retired federal agent, who specialized in security at John F. Kennedy Airport, was patted down on Sunday.
“It’s a thorough search. It’s one we would use in effecting a criminal arrest,” Joe Occhipinti said.
“They actually did a pat-down starting in my groin area, actually touching my groin area going to my leg and then the opposite side.”
Even so, many passengers Sloan talked to said they don’t mind the intrusion.
“The bottom line is we all want to be safe when traveling,” said Chris Danneberg of Denver.
“I don’t care. It’s the safety of the airport,” another traveler added.
TSA officials said if the alarm goes off on the scanners you could be patted down, and the best way to avoid that is to remove everything, including your belts and shoes.
Sloan asked TSA inspectors why they require passengers to take off their shoes and belts if the scanners can see through every piece of clothing. They told her it is still necessary to screen for items that might be concealed.