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Consumer

TSA Calls For Vigilance Amid Airport Patdown Debate

Backlash spurs online efforts ahead of new security campaign
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(AP)

(AP)

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Federal and local officials urged travelers on Tuesday to report any suspicious activity they may see at airports ahead of what is typically the busiest travel season of the year.

But with an estimated 1.5 million people expected to pass through Los Angeles International Airport over the coming Thanksgiving week, many passengers are raising concerns over new techniques employed by the Transportation Security Agency, including a hand pat-down that resulted in passenger John Tyner’s now-infamous “Don’t touch my junk” video.

The “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign being expanded to Los Angeles will include signs at airports and transit stations encouraging travelers to report things such as abandoned baggage or cars parked in no-parking areas.

But a growing backlash over what some say are excessively invasive measures has sparked online efforts such as “National Opt-Out Day” on Nov. 24, a campaign aimed at what the group’s organizers call “porno-scanners” that encourages Americans to boycott security scanners while flying to protect their health and privacy — and even to avoid patronizing airliners altogether.

Despite the national uproar over the measures, the Thanksgiving flying season is expected to be busier than recent years, and officials say that’s exactly why passengers should help contribute to security measures instead of opposing them.

“We might get a number of reports that amount to nothing, but among those many reports may be the prevention of a disaster,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.

Anyone who sees anything suspicious was urged to contact a law enforcement officer or call (877) A-THREAT, which is (877) 284-7328.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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