Body Scanners Don’t Detect Explosives

Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010 11:10 AM

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Many Americans have complained about the new body scanners at airports around the country. But it’s worth it if the machines detect terrorists’ explosives, right? Maybe. “Except, they don’t,” writes Politico columnist Roger Simon. “As it turns out, the machines don’t detect explosives at all. They detect images on your body that shouldn’t belong on your body,” he explains.

airport, body, scanner, training“It’s not an explosive detector; it’s an anomaly detector,” Clark Ervin, who runs the Homeland Security Program at the Aspen Institute, told The Washington Post. “Someone has to notice that there’s something out of order.”

As a result, “those security employees who stare at the screens have to be sharp enough and well-trained enough to detect things that are abnormal,” Simon writes. “And some experts think that if the explosives are flat and pancake-shaped and taped to your stomach, they could not be detected anyway, because the picture would look too normal.”



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