Hot Topic:TSA Full-body scanners controversy
The full-body scanners are flooding airports all across the US as we informed in last week's article. The new enhanced TSA's security procedures give each traveler a choice. Either you are scanned by a machine revealing one's intimate parts to a TSA officer to see. Or you receive a thorough “pat-down” search from another. No wonder these practices have raised a lot of controversy.
Do the full-body scanners even work?
The arguments presented by various authorities are uniform, these scanners will help eliminate terrorist attacks by detecting materials that previously slipped through inspection. But do they really do their job? Have a look at the video below. Adam Savage, known from Discovery's series Mythbusters, explains how he accidentally managed to bring a 12 inch blade aboard a plane. Are the scanners really that bad?
VIPs to skip the screening procedures
Not all air passengers have to go through a full-body scan or intrusive pat-down. The officials at TSA admitted an exclusive group of US senior officials are exempt from these nagging security procedures. The VIPs who skip the airport security checkpoints and receive a screening at a “specialized protocol” include the Treasury Secretary, FBI Director and even congressional leaders. As long as they are accompanied by TSA approved security guards, they undergo a check consisting of “identity verification”.
A man from Michigan humiliated by spilled urine
Thomas Sawyer of northern Michigan was humiliated last week during TSA's thorough pat-down procedure. Being a bladder cancer survivor, he needs to carry an urostomy bag under the clothing. The officer performing the pat-down was so unskillful that the urine from the bag spilled all over the passengers shirt and pants. Thomas received a personal apology by Sungshan (TSA) Administrator John Pistole promising a special training to his personnel to deal with passengers with medical conditions.
What images do the scanners produce?
There are two types of full-body scanners. Each is based on a slightly different technology and thus produce distinct pictures. The following graphic by The Washington Post shows the difference:
Source: The Washington Post
Jiří Parimucha, Nov 29, 2010
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