TSA relocating some body scanners; firing 25 workers
NEW YORK—The Transportation Security Administration is moving backscatter advance imaging units, its so-called body scanners, out of some major airports and putting them in smaller facilities.
The 3-D scanners have raised privacy and safety concerns since they were introduced in 2010, but the TSA says its reason for relocating them is to make checkpoints at the smaller airports more efficient, according to ABC News Radio. The body scanners at the major airports will be replaced with millimeter-wave scanners, which rely on low-energy radio waves similar to those used in cell phones, NBC News reported. “The machines detect potential threats automatically and quickly using a computer program. They display a generic cartoon image of a person's body, mitigating privacy concerns,” NBC said.
The scanners are being removed from Los Angeles International, New York's John F. Kennedy and LaGuardia airports, Boston Logan, Chicago’s O’Hare, Charlotte Douglas and Orlando International, a TSA spokesman said, and it has not been decided which smaller airports will take them in.
Meanwhile, the TSA has taken steps to fire 25 workers and suspend 19 others at Newark Liberty International Airport for what it said was improper screening of checked luggage, The Associate Press reports.
The alleged screening failures were uncovered last year after surveillance cameras were installed in one of the airport's 25 screening rooms to check for possible thefts, the TSA said. Eight employees were fired in June. The latest action raises to 52 the number of TSA employees at Newark caught up in the investigation, making it the biggest single disciplinary action taken by the TSA at a U.S. airport.
A union official representing some of those involved said the workers carried out their jobs as they were trained, AP said.