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New Scanning Equipment Coming to Houston

Houston Airport System
September 24, 2010

© Houston Airport System
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee and TSA administrator John Pistole were both in Houston for the announcement regarding new equipment.

The latest technological advances in passenger screening will soon be on display and in operation at both commercial airports in Houston, according to an announcement from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The new screening method is called “Advanced Imaging Technology” (AIT) and it’s already begun to arrive
in Houston.

George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) is scheduled to receive a total of 18 AIT machines, while an additional 6 are slated for installation at William P. Hobby Airport (HOU).

The machines’ arrival is part of a nationwide allocation program overseen by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The program calls for 39 different airport facilities to receive the AIT technology in 2010.

United States Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee was on hand at IAH when the news broke that Houston would be part of the latest wave of distribution, and she says the selection of her hometown makes perfect sense.

“Houston is an international city, intricately connected to the global economy and the movement of goods and people around the globe,” said the Congresswoman. “Unfortunately, this also exposes Houston to the risks associated with a large and active transit hub. Implementation of AIT at our airports ensures that we keep our city and our local citizens secure as we move into the future.”

TSA administrator John Pistole, who was in Houston recently visiting IAH, used the opportunity to lay out a broad agenda for the many TSA employees who had gathered to hear his remarks.

“We intend to have TSA operating as a national security, counter-terrorism-line of defense, using the latest intelligence and technology to prevent bad people from doing bad things,” said Pistole. “My second priority is to engage and support the workforce and third is to engage external shareholders and the traveling public who have input on how we do our business.”

Once the AIT machines are fully operational, Houston passengers will be asked to enter the unit with their feet slightly spread apart and their arms raised overhead. While the customer is in this specified position, an x-ray type image is taken which allows TSA staff to better detect threats such as weapons, explosives or other objects which may be concealed under layers of clothing.

Trained screeners review the x-ray type image in a separate room, but TSA officials stress that no image is ever stored for any reason and each passenger can opt for a different method of screening, should they feel uncomfortable with the AIT units.

Pistole wants feedback from the public and encourages passengers to log on to regarding
their travel experiences.

Copyright © 2010 - Houston Airport System

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