Open Communications Key to CAIR Visit at Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Los Angeles Assistant Deputy Federal Security  Director Jason Pantages briefs CAIR's Ameena Mirza Qazi.Recognizing the value of stakeholder and passenger relations is one of the cornerstones of TSA. A recent visit to TSA’s operations at Los Angeles International Airport by a representative from the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) provided an opportunity for open dialogue and a better understanding.

Larry Fetters, federal security director at Los Angeles, welcomed Ameena Mirza Qazi, CAIR’s staff attorney, to a demonstration of the airport’s whole body imaging machines and a briefing on the new shoe scanner. They also discussed head wear screenings and TSA showcased the airport’s new self-select program.

"I believe in the tools we use and the people who operate them here at LAX," said Fetters."Demystifying our technology, programs and processes helps members of the CAIR community and truly allows them to see we are providing security fairly and equitably across the board."

Throughout the two-hour meeting, Qazi shared concerns from the CAIR community and received a demonstration of the backscatter and millimeter wave machines. Qazi also received a briefing on private screening, a detailed account of how passengers are informed of selectee screening and saw a new CastScope, which is used to screen passengers with prosthetic devices, casts and support braces.

"We appreciate the TSA providing us information on and addressing our concerns regarding whole body imaging technology and other pertinent security procedures at LAX," said Qazi. "We will continue to work together to find ways to ensure travelers' privacy and maintain their civil rights while seeking to strengthen the security of our nation."