Reporting Steve Sandberg
TRENTON, NJ (1010 WINS/WCBS 880/AP) - The procedure for airline security screenings isn’t likely to change significantly so long as air travel’s terrorism threat remains, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Monday.
Few passengers receive pat-down searches and minimally invasive searches must be weighed against security risks, Napolitano said at the Trenton train station.
“I think we all understand the concerns Americans have,” Napolitano said. “It’s something new. Most Americans are not used to a real law enforcement pat-down like that. As we move forward, of course we will listen to concerns. Of course we will make adjustments or changes when called upon, but not changes or adjustments that will affect the basic operational capability that we need to have to make sure that air travel remains safe.”
Napolitano said the new technology is necessary for public safety.
“There is a continued threat against aviation involving those who seek to smuggle powders and gels that can be used as explosives on airplanes,” she said. “The new technology is designed to help us identify those individuals. This is after many layers of security.”
She said pat-downs are the only choice for those who can’t or don’t want to go through body scans or X-rays. They’re also used when a full body scan shows a need for a further search.
Napolitano appeared with Sen. Frank Lautenberg at an event that was to warn travelers to be vigilant as they head into the holiday travel season, and to report suspicious activity to transit authorities or police.
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