- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 21, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Sunday defended the need for tighter airport security, including pat-downs and full body scans, but acknowledged they are invasive to some Americans, including her.

When asked whether she would submit to a body scan, Mrs. Clinton said to CBS’s “Face the Nation, “Not if I could avoid it. No, who would?”

She also said the Obama administration, which includes the Transportation Safety Administration, must find a “way to limit the number of people put through surveillence.”

Passengers who set off a metal detector at airport security checkpoints must submit to a scan or body search, or face arrest and an $11,000 fine.

Agency Administrator John Pistole said the added security checks will continue despite some public outcry and defended the decision about them at roughly 70 U.S. airports.

**FILE** In this photo from Nov. 17, a Transportation Security Administration agent performs an enhanced pat-down on a traveler at a security area at Denver International Airport in Denver. The TSA has demonstrated a knack for ignoring the basics of customer relations, while struggling with what experts say is an all but impossible task. (Associated Press/The Denver Post)
**FILE** In this photo from Nov. 17, a Transportation Security Administration agent ... more >

Mr. Pistole said he implemented the changes without warning because he didn’t want to tip off terrorists about what to expect or how to defeat the new system.

“Terrorists are determined to kill innocent people around the world,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I didn’t want to publish a blueprint of the road map.”

Mr. Pistole also said he has no knowledge of a possible policy change, including modifications to the security increases. But he acknowledged the government needs to do a better job on deciding who get extra screening.

“We’re looking for ways to diminish the impact,” he said.  

Mr. Pistole said a final decision will likely be the result of public discourse about the appropriate level between passengers wanting heavy security and those wanting security only to the point of invading their personal privacy.

We need to strike a “balance between privacy and security,” he said.