Airport Security Gets Mellow

Millimeter Wave airport scanning scanner security TSA transportation security administration CBS

CBS News Producer Robert Hendin wrote this story for CBSNews.com.
A new airport security system, designed to better identify a terrorist or a suspicious traveler by reducing anxiety levels of passengers, was introduced today at Baltimore 's Thurgood Marshall International airport.

The airport security checkpoint of the future will combine new high-tech x-ray machines with calming lights and soothing music. The new system is aimed at reducing the stress of passengers as they shove carry-ons through airport metal detectors while trying to balance themselves as they remove their shoes and dig for their boarding pass.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff told CBS News in this exclusive interview that the old high anxiety system was creating such a tension-filled atmosphere at the checkpoints that it made it difficult for TSA officers to detect a suspicious person with "guilty anxiety" who may be acting nervously or oddly for a sinister reason.

Chertoff said that by lowering the stress level for everybody with a more soothing environment, it is hoped that someone who is up to no good will stand out more.

The new system is expected to be installed at airports across the country in future.


By Robert Hendin
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    Robert Hendin is senior producer for "Face the Nation" and a CBS News senior political producer.

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