Ignore 'Privacy Ideologues,' We Need Body Scans

Passengers are at risk without them, says Michael Chertoff

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 1, 2010 9:42 AM CST

(Newser) – For one former director of homeland security, it's a no-brainer: President Obama must ignore "privacy ideologues" and put full-body scanners at the nation's airports. Otherwise, it's just a matter of time before al-Qaeda strikes successfully with plastics explosives, writes Michael Chertoff. The notion that these imagers amount to "virtual strip searches" is ridiculous—"as if screening is meant to reveal people's private parts to TSA officers."

Besides, the TSA already has policies in place to protect passengers' privacy, writes Chertoff in the Washington Post. Screeners, for example, can't store images, and software blurs people's faces. "The administration must stand firm against privacy ideologues, for whom every security measure is unacceptable," he writes. "Failing to use all available tools to plug a gap in security puts the lives of airline travelers needlessly at risk."

A computer monitor displays a full-body scan during a demonstration of passenger screening technology by the Transportation Security Administration.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
An airport employee stands inside a body scanner during a demonstration at a press briefing at Schiphol airport, Netherlands.   (AP Photo/Cynthia Boll)
A passenger is checked inside a body scanner at Schiphol airport, Netherlands.   (AP Photo/Cynthia Boll, file)
A Transportation Security Administration officer views a full-body scan during a demonstration of passenger screening technology Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
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Watch lists surely are an important layer, as is intelligence-sharing, but others, such as the deployment of advanced detection technology, are just as important. - Michael Chertoff, former HSA director

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