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New concerns arise over body scanners

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Ken Dilanian
LA Times
June 15, 2010

As the government begins deploying whole-body imaging machines to replace metal detectors at airports nationwide, some security experts worry that the new technology could make it easier, not harder, to sneak weapons and explosives onto airplanes.

In the wake of the attempted Christmas Day airline bombing, the Transportation Security Administration decided to double its investment in the new machines, with a goal of installing 450 across the country by the end of the year and 1,800 by 2014.

The machines are best-known for the privacy issues they pose, because they can peer through clothes and present screeners with an image that some have likened to a virtual strip search. The government has addressed those concerns by obscuring the faces of those being screened, preventing examiners from seeing the passengers, and allowing the option of a physical pat down.

But the TSA has not been able to ease concerns among some aviation security specialists about the body imagers.

“I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” said Rafi Sela, former chief security officer at the Israel Airport Authority, who is now a security consultant.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 at 8:09 am

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