Body checks AIT units unveiled inside Terminal A

Media outlets and bystanders waiting to board their flights inside Terminal A got a sneak peak of the new airport security technology unveiled at a press conference last Friday at Logan Airport.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Logan would be one of the first airports to receive advanced imaging technology (AIT) units purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds—strengthening security at airports throughout the country while boosting local economies.

“By accelerating the deployment of this technology, we are enhancing our capability to detect and disrupt threats of terrorism across the nation,” said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano. “Logan Airport will be the first of many to receive this enhanced technology as a result of the Recovery Act.”

Based on security and operational needs, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will deploy AIT units to Logan and 10 other major U.S. airports.

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; 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.

Currently, 40 AIT units purchased previously are deployed at 19 airports nationwide. TSA expects to deploy a total of 450 AIT units by the end of 2010.

Last month, in recognition of the one-year anniversary of the Recovery Act, Secretary Napolitano highlighted the ARRA investments in technology and infrastructure at airports across the country.

The AIT units installed at Logan were operational Monday and additional airports will be announced in the near future.

“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,” said TSA Security Director Lee Kair at last week’s press conference,

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 (GSA). Of the $1 billion allocated to TSA for aviation security projects, $700 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $300 million is allocated for checkpoint explosives detection technologies.

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