Missoula County Coverage

Mar 30, 2012 10:40 AM by Dennis Bragg (KPAX/KAJ Media Center)

Body scanners coming to Missoula airport next week

MISSOULA- Passengers traveling through Missoula International Airport security will be subject to search with those controversial "body scanners", starting later next week.

The scanners, which allow Transportation Security Administration workers to completely check a passenger for weapons or other contraband hidden under clothing, have been deployed at other airports around the U.S. for more than a year. But they are just starting to be used at Montana airports.

Missoula International managers say the newly installed Advanced Imaging Technology, or AIT stations along with the "Automated Target Response" software will be unveiled during a special press conference next Tuesday.

The AIT scanners check passengers for "metallic and non-metallic threats", including explosives without TSA workers having to make any physical contact. TSA says the software "enhances privacy" by eliminating "passenger specific images", creating a "generic, computer-generated outline" of the passenger. However, those assurances still haven't calmed all the controversy over the scanners and TSA screening in general.

Passengers still have to take off their shoes, belts and remove other items to go through a metal detector in addition to being scanned. The scanners went into service earlier this month in Bozeman, this week in Kalispell and in Helena by the end of April.

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