TSA chief in favor of advocates at all airports
Thursday, December 15, 2011
MONTEREY, Calif. — The Transportation Security Administration is in favor of expanding a program that would have consumer advocates at all the nation’s airports, the head of the agency said Thursday.
The agency already has consumer representatives at some larger airports, but the TSA hopes to increase the number of advocates next year, TSA Administrator John Pistole told The Californian newspaper as he spoke to reporters at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey.
Pistole’s comments came after complaints from passengers over security screenings, including a recent claim from an 85-year-old woman that she was stripped searched by security officials at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York.
The woman said she was injured and humiliated when she was searched at the airport after she asked to be patted down instead of going through a body scanner, allegations that transportation officials denied.
Though others have made similar claims, the TSA says it doesn’t conduct strip searches.
After the incident, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer and New York state Sen. Michael Gianaris of Queens proposed placing advocates at all airports.
“Oh, I think it’s a great proposal by Sen. Schumer,” Pistole said.
Besides expanding the number of advocates, the TSA also hopes to roll-out a new toll-free consumer number next year.
The agency screens nearly 1.8 million passengers a day on 1,700 flights at 450 airports, said Pistole.
Information from: The Salinas Californian, http://www.californianonline.com
The Associated Press