Passenger support for TSA scanners decreases, survey shows

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A new ABC/Washington Post poll found that travelers are not as sympathetic towards full body scanners at the airport as when they were asked at the beginning of the month. Only 64 percent of individuals now support the scanning machines. This is a 27 percent drop from the same poll conducted earlier this month. In addition, 50 percent of individuals polled say that the procedures go too far.

Full body scanning machines and pat-downs by TSA officials is one of the few issues right now that is not a partisan debate. It seems that internal party opinions are not cohesive. In fact, political commentators are finding themselves on the same side of the issue with individuals whom they despised during the 2010 midterm election. For an example, James Fallows, a liberal writer, found himself agreeing with conservative writer and analyst Charles Krauthammer and conservative radio host Mark Steyn. All three agree that the pat downs are not effective and “stupid,” according to Politico.

It is not only passengers who are worried about flying during the holidays. TSA officials are also worried about hostile travelers. For an example, in Indiana, a man going through security punched a TSA official after he was upset with the screening process. Since then, President John Gage of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), which represents all TSA workers, released a statement that said, "Like all Americans, TSOs deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. These men and women are the first line of defense against those who seek to harm this country." AFGE is the largest federal employee union in the U.S, according Jim Kouri, Law Enforcement Examiner.

With the continuous stories coming into news stations every day about passengers who felt as if they have been violated, some experts are looking into if what the TSA officials are doing is a crime. One argument is that the searches are in violation of fourth amendment rights which protect individuals from unlawful searches and seizures. The problem with this argument is that the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that an airport search is lawful if it, "is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose." TSA officials and the current administration stand firm that these regulations are necessary to protect the safety of the American people.

To see more about your rights as passengers click here.


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