The implementation of the AITs and pat downs were a result of the 2009 Christmas Day bombing plot involving Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab, said Pistole, adding that it is a "two prong approach" to combat a terrorist attack.
Due the terrorist threats coming from al-Qaeda and high threat levels coming from Europe, Pistole said TSA decided to roll out the new procedures and technology. He said it is important for passengers to feel safe in knowing that everyone on the flight has been thoroughly screened.
Children 12 and under will not have to go through the extensive pat downs that others have to and that they will be administered a "less invasive pat down," according to Pistole.
"We try to be sensitive to both children and, of course, the parents," said Pistole said during a conference call. "So in recognition of that, we try and use risked based intelligence that say children have not been used in terrorist attacks, but we have heard teenagers have been used. So if there's something they [children] alarm on, we have to resolve that, but it will not be as thorough as with the adults."
While many feel their privacy is being violated by these AIT machines, Pistole maintains that when a passenger goes through the scanner their image appears so a TSA agents can review it, and then deleted so the next image can appear.
"We're not talking about photos here," he said, "we're talking about a blurred image looking for anomalies and for an object that could take down an air craft. A privacy filter is applied to all images."
One passenger at the Albany airport, Sophie Delano, 85, from Schaticoke had just arrived from visiting her daughters in Georgia, said she had no problem with going through the security checkpoints, adding that she didn't have to experience one of the pat downs.