Post image for Airport scanners, pat downs to remain

Airport scanners, pat downs to remain

by Jorge Hernandez on December 27, 2010

The controversial airport body scanners and pat down procedures that prompted a major backlash among travelers this year will remain in place as security checks, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on CNN on Sunday.

Napolitano reasoned that the scanners and pat downs have prevented innumerable attacks and dangerous situations and that the nation's airline security is "objectively better" than it was one year ago, reports USA Today.

According to Bloomberg News, Napolitano was referencing a failed terrorist attack one year ago by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a Nigerian who attempted to blow up a plane headed to Detroit on Christmas Day last year.

"The new technology, the pat-downs, is just objectively safer for our traveling public. We pick up contraband now, and we pick up more contraband with the new procedures and the new machinery. What we know is that you can't measure the devices that we are deterring from going on a plane," she said.

The full body scanners use imaging systems that many passengers feel are too intrusive, showing an X-ray image of a person's body. Passengers have the right to opt out of the scanning procedure, but must go through pat downs instead. However, many feel that the pat downs are as invasive as the body scans.

The new technology allows airports to detect various kinds of explosives that metal detectors cannot locate, Bloomberg reports.

However, only about 3 percent of travelers have had to experience pat downs after opting out or failing a metal detector test, TheHill.com reports.

Napolitano also said that studies finding that some major airports failed to detect weapons and contraband as much as 70 percent of the time were "old and out of date," the news source reports.

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