Ex-TSA agent's shocking confessions

(WJLA) - It is something so many of us have wondered while{ }standing in an airport security body scanner: am I being gossiped about?

According to POLITICO Magazine, don’t be surprised if you were.

Author Jason Harrington called the piece Confessions of an ex-TSA agent and he heavily criticizes the body scanners.{ }

{ }“… the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hiding explosives or guns,” he writes. "Jokes about passengers ran rampant… many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display.”

“I think it’s terrible,” says Melanie Sponsler, an airline passenger. “It makes me feel a little uncomfortable next time I go through one.”

Sponsler says she’d rather take the pat-down.

“I prefer that. You don’t know where those images are going.”

“I just think, more than anything, it’s just an invasion of privacy,” says Glenda Davis.

Last January, the TSA canceled the contract for the body scanners{ }described in the article, replacing them with ones that provide a more generic image of the body.{ }

The TSA has responded, stating:

TSA’s top priority is to protect the traveling public, and every policy and security procedure in place is designed to mitigate threats to passengers and the aviation sector – which we know our adversaries continue to target. TSA is always taking steps to enhance our procedures, to most importantly stay ahead of evolving threats, and wherever possible to also improve the experience of the traveling public.

Many of the TSA procedures and policies referenced in this article are no longer in place or are characterized inaccurately. Every passenger deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) policy upholds this standard. TSA does not tolerate any form of unethical or unlawful behavior by its employees and takes swift disciplinary action if discovered.

Since November 2011, TSA has aggressively implemented risk-based security procedures to move away from a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. Since that time more than 55 million passengers have experienced some form of expedited security screening – dramatically different than the procedures of years past.

TSA has installed Automated Target Recognition software on every Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) unit in use, eliminating the analyzed images referenced in the article.

In addition, TSA has implemented changes in screening for passengers 12 and under and over 75, implemented programs to accommodate Wounded Warriors, and has instituted one-step removal procedures in many cases for employees behaving unethically or unlawfully.