Airport body scans may begin in February - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Airport body scans may begin in February

MADISON (WKOW) -- A Dane County official told WKOW27 News body scanning as part of security at the Dane County Regional Airport may begin within three months.

"It could be February of next year,"  former airport commission chairman Dennis O'Loughlin said.

WKOW27 News reporter Colby Robertson reported exclusively Tuesday on the coming of the much talked about technology to the Madison airport.   Dane County county board chairman Scott McDonell told Robertson body scanning equipment for local use had already been ordered.

U.S. Transportation Security Administration officials install and operate body scanning equipment at airports.

TSA spokesman James Fotenos said "no announcement" has been made on whether body scanning equipment will be deployed at Madison's airport, but said the number of airports with the technology as part of their security regimen will increase from sixty-eight to one thousand by 2012.

County officials praised the coming security upgrade.

"We have to adjust in the world to threats and keep air travel safe,"  Supervisor Dianne Hesselbein said.

"It is appropriate,"  Supervisor and airport commission member Bill Clausius said.   "It is either that, or the profiling of air passengers."

Supervisor O'Loughlin said he shared increasing concerns over pat-downs when passengers opt out of going through the low level radiation of the completely exposing scans.   O'Loughlin said some profiling based on intelligence-gathering to allow scan by-pass may come about.

"Some countries do that now.   (Develop) The safe list.   I think there has to be more data gathering between agencies."

The security technique is controversial.  

Airport commission vice-chair, supervisor Duane Gau told WKOW27 News airport director Brad Livingston briefly informed commission members of the coming installation of the technology at the airport, but minutes from the last two commission meetings make no note of the subject.  

Airport spokesperson Jennifer Miller said security at the airport is a function of TSA and declined further comment. 

McDonell said TSA will cover the entire cost of the airport's equipment.

Online reporting by Tony Galli.


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