New airport security measures, such as the Advanced Imaging Technology body scanners, are making headlines everywhere, especially during this holiday travel season. Whether you support or disagree with the use of body scanners, airport security has an interesting legal history.
The Transportation Security Administration was created in 2001 after the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center as part of the Aviation and Security Transportation Act. It is a division of the Department of Homeland Security. The 9/11 Commission Report, published in 2004, recommended that the Congress and TSA improve passenger screening checkpoint security.
In the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004, Congress implemented these regulations, authorizing a pilot program for advanced screening technology at a minimum of five airports by March, 2005, and established funding for this program (Section 4014).
The Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 ordered additional funds for checkpoint screening establishing a Checkpoint Screening Security Fund (see 49 U.S.C. §44940(i)). The law also stated that the TSA should be screening 100% of all airline cargo should be screened no more than three years after enactment (see 49 U.S.C. §44901).
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorized $1 billion to the TSA for checkpoint screening technologies, $700 million of which was used for developing and implementing body-imaging scanners.
For more information on airport body scanning technology, see Changes in Airport Passenger Screening Technologies and Procedures: Frequently Asked Questions, a Congressional Research Service report on the topic.
To submit comments or complaints about the airport body scanning technology, you can submit them through the TSA Complaint Form.