TSA chief: US will not change airport screening policy

Clinton says "terrorists are adaptable" and security experts "are looking for ways to diminish the impact" on travelers.

November 21, 2010 18:46
1 minute read.
BEN-GURION SECURITY. The most heavily fortified an

Airport Security 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The head of the Transportation Security Administration says that while new airport screening procedures are more invasive, threats against air travelers rule out policy changes.

John Pistole tells CNN's "State of the Union" that the agency has no plans to change its policy of requiring travelers at many major airports to undergo either enhanced body scans or thorough pat-downs.

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Pistole says screeners are "really the last line of defense" in the effort to keep the traveling public safe against a "determined enemy" that has proved adept in coming up with new ways to conceal explosive devices.

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He says he understands the objections of some passengers.

Would Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton like to submit to one of those security pat-downs at U.S. airports?

"Not if I could avoid it. No. I mean who would?" she told CBS television's "Face the Nation" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Echoing comments from President Barack Obama, she said administration officials should try to make the new airport security measures, including full body scans and intimate pat-downs, less intrusive.

"I think everyone, including our security experts, are looking for ways to diminish the impact on the traveling public," she told NBC television's "Meet the Press."

"I mean obviously the vast, vast majority of people getting on these planes are law abiding citizens who are just trying to get from one place to another. But let's not kid ourselves. The terrorists are adaptable," she added.

"Striking the right balance is what this is about. And I am absolutely confident that our security experts are gonna keep trying to get it better and less intrusive and more precise."

For example, she said it might be possible to consider ways to limit the number of people who go through surveillance.

"Everybody is trying to do the right thing and I understand how difficult it is, and how offensive it must be for the people who are going through it," she said.

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