Experts say North Texas airports need more full-body scanners

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by DAVID SCHECHTER / WFAA-TV

Bio | Email | Follow: @davidschechter

wfaa.com

Posted on January 3, 2010 at 7:36 PM

Security experts are calling for more full-body scanners at D/FW International Airport to keep passengers safe.

Concerns about privacy have limited their widespread use because the scanners see under clothes.

But with the attempted Christmas bombing of a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit, privacy may be another thing we give up in the fight against terrorism.

Because they can see everything, full-body scanners are a powerful security tool. But there are only two at D/FW International Airport and 40 in airports across the country.

Aviation analyst, Denny Kelly, said not having them in every airport terminal greatly reduces their effectiveness.

"If I want to go through and I don't want to be scanned, I just go to someplace where there's not a full-body scan … and that doesn't just mean Terminal D at D/FW,” Kelly said. “I can go through security at Terminal C and ride the tram over to Terminal D. It's just that simple."

The two scanners at D/FW were installed about a year-and-a-half ago. The Transportation Safety Administration said the primary purpose was to test the technology and gauge public response to it.

But several security experts News 8 spoke with said the equipment should've long ago been installed at every gate at D/FW and across the country.

"The political pressure has been immense not to use them,” Kelly said. “So, once again in this country we're bowing to political pressure and the economics of it instead of having good security. It's just that simple."

Much of the political pressure is about privacy.

Civil rights groups have complained the images are too graphic ― an assault on personal privacy. Some passengers, though, seem willing to accept the trade-off.

Alanda Figuero of Puerto Rico said she doesn’t have any privacy concerns about going through the scanners.

"I know it's a routine that has to be done so we're safe," she said.

“If they need to do it to be safe, I'm willing to do it," said Larissa Velez of Dallas.

"I think it's necessary, so I wouldn't feel personally offended if that happened,” said Keith Richmond of Little Elm.

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