Full-Body Airport Scanners May Not Have Thwarted Alleged Christmas Day Bomber, GAO says.

From: CNS News

The Transportation Safety Administration has started installing full-body scanners purchased with stimulus funds in airports around the country, but the Government Accountability Office says those scanners might not have detected the underwear bomb that made it onto a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day 2009.

“While officials said AITs (Advanced Imaging Technology devices) performed as well as physical pat down in operational tests, it remains unclear whether the AIT would have detected the weapon used in the December 2009 incident based on the preliminary information GAO has received,” the GAO said in a recent report.

That assessment from GAO’s March 17 report on the scanners seems to directly contradict one made by TSA Acting Administrator Gale Rossides last week. She suggested in comments made to CNN that the technology could thwart others like 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who attempted to detonate a bomb sewn into his underpants on board Northwest Flight 253 in Detroit.

“I think what was so telling about the Christmas Day attack was that it exploited our cultural norms, that we don’t frequently pat down persons in that part of the body. This technology will give us the image of the entire body,” Rossides told CNN. …

“We reviewed the testing results, which are classified, and it was just based upon our review of the testing results,” he said.

Rossides, meanwhile, also hedged before the congressional committee….

The deployment of the scanners, which are being introduced at major airports including Los Angeles International and Chicago’s O’Hare, was specifically stepped up in response to the Christmas Day attack. …

Photos posted on the TSA Web site show that the scanners are capable of creating detailed images of passengers’ bodies, including genitals.

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