How Far Is Too Far For Airport Security?

BOSTON (CBS) – With full body scanners in place, and a T.S.A. policy allowing “firm pat downs”, some airline passengers are asking, “How far is too far for security?”

The security vs. privacy debate has been raging at airports since 9-11. Over the years, airline passengers have found themselves taking off their shoes, handing over their toothpaste and bottled water, without much complaint.

Now many travelers are calling the latest security methods – body scans and very thorough pat downs – invasive and humiliating. Some passengers are so upset by these measures that they’re refusing to fly.

A video that went viral online over the last several days added fuel to that debate.

David Robichaud reports

A man named John Tyner was flying out of San Diego. He refused to step into the full body scanner, which displays a revealing picture of your body to a screener in a private room. Tyner was told his other option was a pat down.

He met with a supervisor to challenge the rules, and recorded the exchange on his cell phone.

“I don’t understand how a sexual assault can be made a condition of my flying,” Tyner said. In the end, he refused to fly, and is hoping other passengers will do the same.

Related: TSA Explains New Screening Methods

The new website is asking people to boycott airline travel next Wednesday, the busiest travel day of the year. The site’s owner said it’s getting about 70,000 hits per day.

At Logan Airport, many passengers echoed the sentiments expressed by Tyner.

Carl Stevens reports from Logan Airport

“I don’t like some stranger touching my body,” one female passenger told WBZ News Radio’s Carl Stevens. “I think it’s gross; I don’t think it’s necessary… I think it’s invasive.”

At the same time, there are plenty of passengers who accept the security measures as necessary changes. “We’ve had reasons for these things happening,” another woman at Logan said. “It’s not like someone just woke up one morning and decided, ‘let’s do the most we can to inconvenience everyone as they go to the airport.’”

For its part, the government says – get used to it. “We’re doing this; airports in Europe are doing this. This is just the next generation of airport security,” said Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano.

More from Carl Stevens
  • Tuts

    It doesn’t matter – as long as we just pretend everything is alright. There is no security if these are the lengths we have to go through to get it. It’s a false one and if getting patted down doesn’t make you uncomfortable then there’s a kinky wrestling rink that just opened in Boston you could join. Two people hardly speaks to the climate of the entire populace. It’s the trend to be accepting anyway so people feel they have to respond a certain way.

  • Mass Citizen

    If you want to submit to a search that’s your right. But.. It’s my CONSTITUTIONAL right also NOT to have to submit to UNREASONABLE searches. So when you say that to fly I have to submit to searches or can’t fly then you are telling me that I have to choose between my rights and keeping my
    job which requires me to travel. Or seeing my family which is scattered all over the country. These searches will NEVER guarantee air safety. Next it will be trains, then buses, then who knows. Now is the time to assert reasonable limits.

  • jaygee

    Aside from Timothy McVeigh, just about all of the terrorism has been committed by one group of people who originated from particular countries in the Middle East. Notice how I didn’t mention the M word. I’ll be politically correct here.
    TSA workers frisking 3 year old children, 80 year old grandmothers on their first flight and blind men from Kansas going to New York makes it perfectly clear that the system is ludicrous. Of course we can’t use racial profiling because certain groups of citizens (and non-citizens) might be offended,

  • SloppyJoe

    Go back to bed, America. Your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed, America. Your government is in control again. …….Bill Hicks

  • M L Peters

    “Those who are willing to give up liberty for security do not deserve either liberty or security”. Benjamin Franklin

  • Cynic

    I hope they check the Sex Offender lists before they hire the people doing the patting.

  • emom

    If people do not want pat downs or body scans,, may I ask then how in the heck should we assure the safety of the people of the united states both in the air and on the ground,,, 911 may not have happened if these measures were in place, but sadly we will never know and we should never have to relive the horror of the devistation we had to endure… I also agree it can be a bit much to have all this at the air ports, but look at how terrorist have found new ways to get to us… now they are looking at the postal service, cargo on planes and soon ships and other modes of transport,,,,,, the recent bomb threat should be a testement of their never ending threat to the american people, other countries that do not have any or much in the way of security have paid the ultimate price,, and still have not changed their ways…. I am glad they take the extra steps to protect us… \
    And yes Cynic,,,,, staying on top of the sex offender list would be a grand idea ,, guess its a work in progress….

  • Vivian

    I don’t think it’s a bad thing either way being screened or pat down….you have to get patted down when you go into concerts,sporting events etc.I feel if you don’t do it you have something to hide

  • Veteran

    As a former eight year federal TSA Officer, U.S. combat veteran for the Lebanon peacekeeping mission, and a Oklahoma City federal Murrah Building bombing rescue worker volunteer, I have to say that both TSA and DHS have a sharp eye on trying to insure everyone’s safety through evolving and enhancing both technology and anti-terror attack intelligence. Ever since 9-11, our nation continues to suffer one terror bombing attempt after another targeting the taking down of U.S. planes so as to kill their flight crews and passengers. I have seen firsthand the inconsoleable grief when murdering terrorists succeed in killing our citizens. When the bad guys kill you, there is no rewinding the tape of life. You are dead period and you aren’t coming back. Our government and the airline industry learned a brutal lesson in failed oversight of aviation security on 9-11, failing miserbally in their joint obligation to insure the safety of both flight crews and passengers. If you want to choose misplaced self righteous indignant privacy, over the more necessary safety of the majority, please by all means, roll the dice and go live somewhere else. Instead of continuely whining in a security underrmining fashion, please offer up some actual security enhancing solutions. The government already gave in to these same types of complaints, purposefully tamping down what TSA’s new body scanners can see when it scans you [and even publicly told the bad guys they did so] and you know where that got all of you??? The result is what you are now crying about as your ‘Outcry of the Month’…TSA’s subsequent need to make up for the agency’s foolish tamping down of the agency’s utilized full body’ scanner’s screeing capability. Now, because of that obvious security gap, you now face a very personal full body pat down that no TSA Officer in the country enjoys having to perform, but, that they all will do—because every single one of these brave Americans volunteered and swore an oath to give their life to protect all of yours. Gee whiz, give me a friggin break! This time, Boston’s top TSA boss, George Naccara, you got it right! Stand by your TSOs.

  • Seasons

    I can’t understand WHY ANYONE would object to the body scans. My gosh people WAKE UP!! If these scans SAVE AMERICA from the TERRORISTS missions of murder – then I question those who object. I cannot even imagine the Employees of Airports who do the 1,000’s of body scans of traveling men and women a day WOULD EVEN look at the human body as a sex object or anything in that nature…….seeing 1,000’s of scans of bodies a day the employees are just looking for “foreign objects” in body cavities and that’s it! If you’re that “HUNG UP” about privacy of your “body that will turn to dust someday” THEN DON’T TRAVEL AND JEOPARDIZE the rest of us – You are only ENABLING THE TERRORISTS TO USE ANY AMUNITION available to them to sneak into their body cavities – the TERRORISTS DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR OWN BODIES (becasue they blow themselves up in order to blow innocent people up and U.S. people ). So these traveling women and/or men WHO ARE SO MODEST about their bodies need to learn about “Terrorists” that don’t give a damn about anyones bodies including their own and the Terrorists would absolutely love the fact that their is now controversy of the SCANS – THE BODY SCANNERS ARE IN PLACE IN THE U.S. BECAUSE AMERICANS/U.S. LEADERS CARE ABOUT OUR PEOPLES BODIES. I cannot understand the logic of people that don’t want ANYONE to be body scanned – bet those people against it are getting all kinds of praises and spam mail from Terrorists organizations……………

  • Seasons

    I have to wonder about the ignorant American Travelers who are whining and crying about the body scans actually have mental issues. I’d like to say to these ignorant people putting us in harms way to GET OVER IT!!!!! NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR BODY IN THE SICK WAY YOU ARE THINKING!!!!! The Body Scans are TO PROTECT US and not to check you out! Jeeeeeeeesh.

  • Carol

    Where are the statistics that show that these security measures are effective? What security checks do all airport workers undergo? What is being done to insure that all pilots and flight crew are not terrorists in disguise? What about planes coming in from foreign countries? I have heard only opinions about the new security scans and pat-downs, but nothing about the overall picture!!

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