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Congress Hears Public’s Concern with Full Body Scans

Washington, DC
Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Representatives from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), joined by health and security experts, responded to concerns raised by the use of body imaging technology and other airport security measures at a House Oversight & Government Reform Subcommittee hearing.

The Subcommittee on National Security heard first-hand accounts from members of the traveling public as lawmakers seek to assess the effectiveness, health risks and privacy issues involved with using such technology. Other witnesses included Alaska Rep. Sharon Cissna, who refused a pat-down at a Seattle airport and maintained that it was invasive given her mastectomy from breast cancer. Also joining the hearing was the executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), which is suing TSA to halt whole-body imaging machines.

The hearing did not come without controversy. Last night TSA Administrator John Pistole informed the subcommittee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) that he would decline to send any of his senior officials to attend the hearing after the chairman refused to sit those officials on a separate panel from the civil rights group. Chaffetz relented halfway through the hearing, allowing the TSA officials to appear on the last panel. That issue was resolved during the hearing which allowed TSA to send staff to testify.

Updated: Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 5:26pm (ET)

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