Passengers may now be subjected to full-body image scanners as part of advanced security screening at Los Angeles International Airport.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was joined by City Council members Bill Rosendahl, Janice Hahn and Tom LaBonge, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and airport officials on July 21 to unveil new state-of-the-art Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) full-body scanners at the airport.

“Combined with our additional security measures and protocols, AIT scanners are helping keep LAX on the cutting edge of security,” said Villaraigosa.

“Because the safety improvement is so significant, I strongly support the use of AIT scanners at LAX and every airport in the country. I would like to thank Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and our federal partners for funding this technology through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.”

The Advanced Imaging Technology machines will be installed at all of TSA’s passenger security screening stations in all nine LAX terminals.—The machines utilize “backscatter” imaging technology, which projects low-level X-ray beams over the body to create a reflection of the body that is displayed like a chalk etching on a monitor located in a private room away from the machine.

According to TSA officials, the full-body imaging is completely optional for all passengers.—Passengers who wish to opt out of AIT screening will receive alternative screening, which includes a physical pat-down.

“This is a fantastic new option for travelers who would rather not undergo a TSA manual pat-down, and certainly for those whose medical conditions prevent the use of the metal detectors,” said Rosendahl.—“It is less invasive, quicker, and has already proven to be a preferred alternative for the flying public.”

Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, added, “With these new scanners, LAX becomes safer.—Scanners are a central part of secondary screening, a key way to make certain that passengers whose affiliations or travel information raise questions do not pose a threat to the traveling public or airport personnel.

“These scanners, manufactured in Torrance, also mean more jobs for Angelenos.—I have been scanned and am confident that the technology is medically safe and TSA protocols protect individual privacy.”

TSA officials said the agency has also implemented strict measures to protect passenger privacy by ensuring the anonymity of each image, which cannot be stored, transmitted or printed, and is deleted immediately once reviewed.

The units are being purchased with American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.—The new machines complement an existing 142 imaging technology units already in operation at 41 airports.