News Releases

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Isakson Questions TSA over New Airport Security Measures
Shares Complaints from Georgia Constituents

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today questioned the Transportation Security Administration over the more aggressive security measures that are now in place for air travelers. Isakson has received a number of constituent complaints in recent days regarding the images produced by the whole-body scanners as well as the intimate nature of the physical screenings.

"It is the TSA's responsibility to provide the strongest security possible to ensure the safety of our nation against terrorists. However, there is a careful balance we must maintain between security and an individual's right to privacy," Isakson said. "I think the administration needs to do a better job of letting our national security intelligence guide our airport screening, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach to security."

TSA Administrator John Pistole testified before the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee during a hearing on the administration's policies and procedures. During the hearing, Isakson requested the TSA return to the committee in a classified setting and share with the committee the specific intelligence that has caused these drastic changes to airport screening.

Isakson also expressed his concerns with the image produced by the whole-body scanners, or Advanced Imaging Technology, and asked what progress TSA has made in moving to the automated target recognition feature that would eliminate the private viewing room and instead use a cartoon stick-figure image on the machine itself, visible to the passenger. Isakson also said his constituents have expressed concerns over increased radiation levels from the whole-body scanners.

Additionally, Isakson shared the concerns of his constituents with the intrusive nature of the aggressive ''pat-downs" and said he plans to work with his colleagues to review the physical screening process and make changes if possible.