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TSA Protests Turn Out to be All Talk

Airports across the country braced for the holiday rush this Thanksgiving weekend, as well as protestor backlash against TSA screening measures. As travelers at Houston's largest airport found out, all that worry was for nothing. Laurie Johnson reports.


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“We actually are here quite a bit early; we’re about two hours early for our flight, anticipating that it would be quite a madhouse. But it doesn’t appear to be.”

Gary Gonzer, like many other travelers this Thanksgiving weekend, was surprised to find out how quiet Bush Intercontinental Airport was.

Angry protestors on National Opt-Out Day were due to make Thanksgiving air travel a nightmare this year. The organizers stirred up a storm in the national media, planning to protest against added TSA pat-downs and screening measures.

Houston Chronicle reporter Jena Moreno represents one of the many news outlets that showed up to cover the protest. She says, as it turns out, nothing happened.

“I think maybe some people exaggerated the situation, or exaggerated how many people would avoid walking through the body scanners.”

Ann Testa is the Federal Security Director at Bush Intercontinental Airport. She says the TSA went the extra mile to prepare for holiday traffic as well as the backlash from National Opt-Out Day.

“Totally overblown. A lot of hype, over nothing. The passengers have been very, very pleased with the process.”

Testa estimates only 2-3 percent of travelers have opted out of the body scanners, and have been very cooperative.

This story was voiced by Laurie Johnsion, reported and written by Evin Erdowdu, one of our fall interns.