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Will Airport Security Tighten Post Bin Laden?

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By Cynthia Hsu, Esq. on May 06, 2011 6:46 AM

We may have killed Osama, but we have not stopped al-Qaeda. After the death of Bin Laden, airport security has been stepping up to respond to the public's unease over the possibility of a retaliatory attack.

The federal government seems hesitant to incite fear or panic. So will airport security tighten now that the 9/11 mastermind is dead?

The Department of Homeland Security has not issued any official security alerts, reports The New York Times. The State Department, however, has issued a worldwide travel alert to Americans who are planning to travel abroad or leave the country.

When asked about increased safety protocols, the Transportation and Security Administration stated that American travelers will undergo routine procedures at the airport, including "physical bag checks, random gate screening, explosives detection technology, canine teams and behavior detection officers," reports The Dallas Morning News.

However, local and state authorities have increased their vigilance. In cities like Miami, security tightened with the addition of more police officers and random checks.

Traveling Americans are no strangers to airport security measures. In the past decade, new technologies and protocols have been incorporated to address growing safety concerns. These concerns have likely escalated since the May 1st killing of Osama bin Laden.

Amongst the newer procedures is the hotly debated use of full-body scanners at major airports. Body scanners are used to detect hidden weapons or other suspicious activity. They work by creating a three-dimensional undressed image of a person, something that has triggered the ire of privacy advocates.

In the recent year, the TSA has also implemented pat-downs of passengers. These pat downs often seem invasive, as TSA screeners will use their palms to touch areas of the body including the breasts, buttocks and inner thighs.

Many of these increased security measures will have to be balanced against the constitutional protections that Americans enjoy. The Fourth Amendment guards against unreasonable search and seizure, which many see as being violated by the TSA pat-downs and body scans.

The balance between our constitutional rights and national security in this post-9/11 era will likely be tested in the coming months. However, it seems almost certain that to ensure the security of the nation after the killing of Bin Laden, airport security will remain high.

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