TSA to retest airport scanners after missing data, reporting errors

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The Transportation Security Administration has promised to launch new radiation testing on many airport scanners after finding reporting errors in tests done by contract workers.

But an airline passenger group Monday called on the TSA to halt the use of all airport scanners that use low levels of radiation to peek under passenger clothes until the retesting is completed.

The latest controversy over the full-body scanners was sparked last week when the TSA posted online radiation testing reports for airport scanners to allay passenger fears. The tests showed no excessive release of radiation by the machines.

But the TSA said the reports included some missing data and calculation errors caused by the contractors hired to test the machines.


The TSA has ordered contractors to retest by the end of March all full-body scanners that use X-ray technology and all of those machines where reporting errors were found. TSA scanners either use X-rays or radio waves to create what appears like a nude image of the scanned passengers.

Still, the Association for Airline Passenger Rights on Monday demanded that the TSA halt the use of all scanners until the retesting is completed.

‘Airline passengers have enough concerns about flying -- including numerous ones about how TSA conducts its haphazard security screenings -- so it is TSA’s responsibility to ensure passengers are not being exposed to unhealthy amounts of radiation,’ Brandon Macsata, executive director of the group, said in a statement.

-- Hugo Martin

(Photo: Airport scanners are in use at Los Angeles International Airport. Credit: Los Angeles Times.)