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This week, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) head John Pistole reported that the TSA received only 49 complaints over the Thanksgiving weekend. But the complaints received by the ACLU indicate that the relatively low number of complaints TSA has received does not indicate that Americans are not concerned about these invasive security measures. Most of the complaints received by the ACLU came from travelers who reported feeling humiliated and traumatized by the procedures, which include aggressive pat-downs and X-ray machines that produce naked images of travelers’ bodies.
The effectiveness of body scanners is also uncertain. It remains far from clear that the machines would have detected the "anatomically congruent" explosives used in the attempted Christmas Day attack and a study by British officials found the scanners would not be effective for stopping terrorist threats to planes.
“The low number of complaints received by the TSA is not an endorsement of the security procedures, but rather a result of real or perceived problems with the TSA’s complaint system. As the abundant complaints received by the ACLU illustrate, Americans do not want to be forced to choose between letting government agents touch their bodies or take naked pictures of them. The government should heed the very real complaints of countless Americans who object to the invasive new procedures and develop security measures that are safe, effective and respect civil liberties. We must strive to be safe without abandoning our most sacred freedoms.”