Airline Travel Bustles Along Despite 'Opt Out' Protest

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The National Opt-Out Day protests that threatened to boycott invasive screening procedures at airports has done little to slow down security lines at the nation's airports.

Organizers had hoped to gum up the works at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints by having travelers picked to go through body scanners opt out and instead insist on a pat-down. 

Scanning can take as little as 10 seconds and pat-down as much as four minutes, so security lines on one of the year's busiest travel days could quickly become tied up.

"There's no guarantee that people will get on that flight if there are a large number of people who are protesting," TSA Administrator John Pistole said.

"I'm a little frustrated at that because I'm flying with my family and don't want a lot of delays," said Topher Anderson, an airline traveler.

However, others are directing their anger at the intrusive security screenings.

"It should be emphasized that the delays are because of the protocol that the TSA is refusing to revise," protest organizer Jonathan Schaeffer said.

A new poll shows that 57 percent of passengers are angered or bothered by the new, more thorough pat-downs.

"It's a little creepy in the sense they're definitely going to places they've never gone before," said A.G. Breitenstein, another concerned air traveler. "Is it what they have to do? I don't know, but you wish they didn't have to do it."

Forty-two percent are angered or bothered by the full-body scans.

"There's got to be something else they can do besides the nakedness type thing," traveler Kathy Jaeger said. "They could do something to cover that up."

One thing bothering many people is they don't believe these sometimes humiliating security procedures will really stop determined, wily terrorists -- or they don't trust the TSA workers to keep this from becoming sexual or personal.

Eliana Sutherland, a Maryland woman, said she saw male TSA screeners eyeing her and talking about her, then picking her out for the full-body scanning.

"Women know how it feels when somebody -- you know -- there is the innocent look and there is that 'let's send her through security,'" Sutherland said.

Does Sutherland feel the agents were taking advantage of their position?

"Those guards, yes," Sutherland said. "I don't want to generalize but yes those guards were."

Men, too, have had humiliating moments.

Harry Liebowitz always sets off the metal detectors because of a metal femur and other artificial parts in his body. Yet, the other day he was picked for a pat down that ended horribly.

"And when he got to the lower body, they grab your leg like this and he pulled," Liebowitz said. "And my pants came right down around my ankles...right there in full view of everybody in the airport."

People were laughing at him and he was left shaking all over at treatment he labels "embarassing" and "rude."

"I mean, to pull my pants down in public, to grab my testicles in public; I'm sorry, there has to be rules," he said.

In the meantime, there's now talk of putting the full-body scanners at train and subway stations -- and even courthouses.

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Paul  Strand

Paul Strand

CBN News Washington Sr. Correspondent

As senior correspondent in CBN's Washington, D.C., bureau, Paul Strand has covered a variety of political and social issues, with an emphasis on defense, justice, and Congress.  Follow Paul on Twitter @PaulStrandCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/PaulStrandCBN.