xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement

I don't know. I've got whiplash this morning from catching up on the state of safety measures at airports here and across the globe. What I do know is that starting today, passengers traveling to the U.S. from or through certain countries (Iran, Sudan, Somalia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Yemen...and more, but not Saudi Arabia, the home of the 9/11 bombers. Why?) will have to undergo extra screening such as pat downs, body scans, bag searches and questioning.

Also, over the weekend, Britain said it would begin introducing full body scanners at Heathrow and would require all U.S.-bound passengers to go through the scans. As a result, a British newspaper has questioned the effectiveness of the scanners, quoting a study that found the machines did not detect low-density substances like plastics and powders. An expert we quoted in a story last week in The Baltimore Sun, said the scanners almost certainly would have detected the material (PETN) that the alleged Nigerian bomber was carrying. TSA, obviously, says they work, with Homeland Secretary Janet Napolitano endorsing them nearly a year ago.

Advertisement

Meanwhile, advocates are lining up in favor or against the scans. Some recognize the intrusive nature of the machines, which show body contours and crevices (photo here), but say we should do it anyways to stay safe. (Men may have a particular view of it considering that the recent attacker hid the explosives in his underwear and that area seems to be getting the full attention of TSA in routine pat downs. Just ask Regis Philbin. So indeed a scan provides a more "hands-off" approach.) Others ask how far is too far and can you trust TSA to keep the scans private?

I tend to agree that using the scans is a no-brainer - if TSA can say with certainty that the scans will detect 90? or 95% of these materials - and there are no health concerns (one type of machine uses radio waves; the other type uses X-rays - not sure that's good for frequent fliers), then I say beam me through, Scotty. Don't want to miss my connection.

Advertisement

Getty Images Photo

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement