The Israelis don't use airport scanners

Has Airport Security Gone Too Far?


The larger question is whether the TSA's tech-centric approach to security makes any sense at all. Even the most modest of us would probably agree to a brief flash of quasi-nudity if it would really ensure a safe flight. That's not the deal the TSA is offering. Instead, the agency is asking for Rolando Negrin-style revelations in exchange for incremental, uncertain security improvements against particular kinds of concealed weapons.

It's the same kind of trade-off TSA implicitly provided when it ordered us to take off our sneakers (to stop shoe bombs) and to chuck our water bottles (to prevent liquid explosives). Security guru Bruce Schneier, a plaintiff in the scanner suit, calls this "magical thinking . . . Descend on what the terrorists happened to do last time, and we'll all be safe. As if they won't think of something else." Which, of course, they invariably do. Attackers are already starting to smuggle weapons in body cavities, going where even the most adroit body scanners do not tread. No wonder that the Israelis, known for the world's most stringent airport security, have so far passed on the scanners.


The TSA uses two models of body scanner. One zaps the passenger with a tiny amount of X-rays that penetrate the clothes, but stop at the skin. The other scanner uses millimeter waves—a close cousin of microwaves—to pull off the same trick. (Regarding radiation exposure, the FDA says there's "no more than a minimal risk to people being scanned.") By measuring the direction and frequency of the waves that come back, the system can tell what's beneath a traveler's garments.

Comment: I think Janet Napolitano should be fired! The TSA is a joke and a colossal waste of money!

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