POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Isakson, Chambliss question TSA policies

Camie Young

Camie Young

This holiday travel season, Georgians angry over the new Transportation Security Administration full-body scans and pat downs have a sympathetic ear in Washington.

Both of the state’s U.S. senators have questioned the security measures, which caused a boycott Wednesday, the busiest air travel day of the year.

“It is the TSA’s responsibility to provide the strongest security possible to ensure the safety of our nation against terrorists. However, there is a careful balance we must maintain between security and an individual’s right to privacy,” U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson said. “I think the administration needs to do a better job of letting our national security intelligence guide our airport screening, rather than using a one-size-fits-all approach to security.”

U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss penned a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano over the controversy, specifically addressing concerns about pat-downs of children.

“I have received numerous complaints and have heard concerns from hundreds of constituents in Georgia regarding these new pat-down procedures,” Chambliss wrote. “Specifically, constituents question the increasingly invasive nature of these procedures given the heavy burden the traveling public is already facing.”

The Moultrie man asked for clarifications about many of the procedures, including the efficiency of screening pilots.

“Pilots and flight attendants have expressed concerns over the effects of these new procedures on members of their profession,” he said. “Atlanta, Ga., home to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest airport in the world, is also the home base of many flightcrew members who are directly impacted by TSA policies and procedures every single day. Therefore, I ask you to detail the measures TSA is pursuing to expedite and improve the efficiency of the screening process for flightcrew members. ...

“I recognize the sensitive and vital nature of TSA’s work and applaud the agency for its efforts to protect air passengers. I believe that, by taking concerns such as these into consideration, a balance between secure air travel and privacy protection can and must be reached.”

Political Notebook appears in the Thursday and Sunday editions of the Gwinnett Daily Post.

Camie Young can be reached via e-mail at camie.young@gwinnettdailypost.com.

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