Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano today announced deployments of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)-funded advanced imaging technology (AIT) to eight additional airports nationwide—strengthening security at U.S. airports while creating local jobs. She also announced that TSA has installed its 200th total AIT unit nationwide.
“Deploying advanced imaging technology at these airports strengthens our ability to protect the traveling public in the face of evolving threats to aviation security,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Through the Recovery Act, we are able to continue our accelerated deployment of enhanced technology as part of our layered approach to security at airports nationwide.”
“Advanced imaging technology is an integral tool in TSA’s layered counterterrorism approach that enables us to stay ahead of evolving threats to aviation security,” said TSA Administrator John S. Pistole. “We remain committed to deploying imaging technology to protect the traveling public.”
In addition to the airports Secretary Napolitano announced earlier this year, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will begin to deploy AIT units to the following eight airports:
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE)
James M. Cox Dayton International Airport (DAY)
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY)
Memphis International Airport (MEM)
LA/Ontario International Airport (ONT)
Portland International Airport (PDX)
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL)
Many factors are taken into consideration before AIT units are deployed including airport readiness, checkpoint infrastructure, and capacity to ensure privacy protections—including a separate, remotely located room for viewing images. Additional airports will be announced in the future.
Advanced imaging technology is designed to bolster security by safely screening passengers for metallic and non-metallic threats—including weapons, explosives and other objects concealed under layers of clothing. The ARRA-funded machines will include the latest security enhancements to detect new and evolving threats.
TSA ensures passenger privacy through the anonymity of AIT images—a privacy filter is applied to blur all images; in the operational mode images are permanently deleted immediately once viewed and are never stored, transmitted or printed; and the officer viewing the image is stationed in a remote location so as not to come into contact with passengers being screened.
Imaging technology is safe for all travelers. The amount of radiation from a backscatter scan is equivalent to two minutes of flight on an airplane and energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is thousands of times less than what is permitted for a cell phone.
ARRA, signed into law by President Obama on Feb. 17, 2009, committed more than $3 billion for homeland security projects through DHS and the General Services Administration. Of the $1 billion allocated to TSA for aviation security projects, $734 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $266 million is allocated for checkpoint explosives detection technologies.