WASHINGTON (The Blaze/AP) — Officials are defending new anti-terrorism security procedures at the nation's airports that some travelers complain are overly invasive and intimate.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says in a USA Today opinion piece that body scanners used at many airports are safe and the images viewed in private.
She says pat-downs have been used for years at airports and measures are in place to protect travelers' privacy.
"Rigorous privacy safeguards are also in place to protect the traveling public," Napolitano writes. "All images generated by imaging technology are viewed in a walled-off location not visible to the public. The officer assisting the passenger never sees the image, and the officer viewing the image never interacts with the passenger. The imaging technology that we use cannot store, export, print or transmit images."
She goes on to defend pat-downs: "Pat-downs have long been one of the many security measures used by the U.S. and countries across the world to make air travel as secure as possible. They're conducted by same-gender officers, and all passengers have the right to request private screening and have a traveling companion present during the screening process."
The head of the Transportation Security Administration, John Pistole, said Monday on NBC's "Today" show that "everybody wants the best possible security" and the TSA is looking for a balance between security and privacy:
Some travelers fear the scanners may produce unhealthy radiation and complain the pat-downs, which can include touching the inside of travelers' thighs and feeling their buttocks, are too personal.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.