150 more full-body scanners to go in U.S. airports

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Pastor Dale Morgan

Dec 31, 2009, 7:31:03 PM12/31/09
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*Life With Big Brother.....

150 more full-body scanners to go in U.S. airports*

December 31, 2009 1:05 p.m. EST


* Forty body scanners are currently in use at 19 U.S. airports
* The TSA has purchased an additional 150 machines
* Currently use of the technology is optional, according to TSA's
Web site

Washington (CNN) -- One hundred and fifty new full-body scanning
machines are set to be placed in airports across the United States as
federal authorities work to close security loopholes exposed by the
attempted Christmas Day bombing of a U.S.-bound airliner.

The Transportation Security Administration ordered the scanners before
the bombing attempt for up to $170,000 apiece. Plans are also in place
to purchase an additional 300 units by 2012, TSA officials said.

Forty body scanners are currently in use at 19 U.S. airports. Use of the
technology -- considered overly invasive by critics -- is optional,
according to the TSA Web site. Passengers who opt out of the screening
receive an alternate form of checking, which includes a pat-down procedure.

There are two types of full-body scanners. One uses "backscatter"
technology to produce an X-ray image of a person. The other uses
millimeter-wave technology, which shows a detailed photo negative.

TSA officials have attempted to address privacy concerns by promising to
blur pictures of passengers' faces and delete all images produced.

One former TSA official told CNN that a body scanner could have stopped
Umar Farouq AbdulMutallab, the man accused of trying to blow up a
December 25 Northwest Airlines flight from Amsterdam, Netherlands, to
Detroit, Michigan.

"I firmly believe in the whole body imaging system as a screening
device," Charlotte Bryan said.

"I believe that it would have detected that there was something there in
that position on his body. It may not have detected it as an explosive,
but it certainly would've raised some flags that would have required
further detection and a review either by an officer or further scanning."

Critics, however, warn that full-body scanners should not be the only
answer to continued airport security problems.

"Right now the system is not working as effectively as it needs to be,"
said Geoff Freeman, a representative of the U.S. Travel Association.

"It's time to hit the pause button and do a wholesale review of what we
have today and put in place the policies that will (give) America the
most secure and efficient travel process."

CNN's Mike Ahlers and Sandra Endo contributed to this report

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