NAPA, Calif. – FlyersRights.org asks why the TSA continues to mislead the public about the efficacy of body scanners in detecting devices like the one reported to have been used in the most recent plot foiled just two weeks ago in Yemen. The bomb, a refined version of the so-called underwear bomb used by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his Christmas Day 2009 attempt to blow up Northwest Airlines Flight 253, is now at the FBI crime laboratories in Quantico, Virginia.
“The salient question is whether or not the body scanners would have detected an underpants bomb; and the answer is, ‘No’,” said Kate Hanni, Founder and Executive Director of FlyersRights.org. “If the scanners could have detected these low density explosives inside underpants, the TSA would be able to demonstrate this to the public, but they haven’t done it. Either they haven’t tested the equipment for this type of bomb, or if they have, they don’t want us to know the results.”
Noting that, after a recent intelligence briefing, Senator Dianne Feinstein reported that the device would have been “undetectable,” Hanni continued, “Undetectable means just that. None of our current protocols at TSA checkpoints would have detected this bomb, and officials at DHS and TSA know it.”
Hanni stated, “The public needs to know the limitations of the TSA screenings, and particularly those of Rapiscan’s body scanners. This technology has not been shown to be effective at catching devices like the one used by Abdulmutallab or in this most recent plot. Rapiscan’s own website says that its machines cannot detect anything more than one-tenth of an inch below the skin’s surface, which means they cannot detect cavity bombs or implant bombs. By glossing over these important distinctions, it is clear the TSA is more concerned with lulling our citizens into accepting the use of these machines in highly invasive searches, even though TSA knows they have not been shown to be effective. In fact, no terrorist has ever been caught at a TSA checkpoint.”
For a Demonstration of the Rapiscan Backscatter Body Scanner (German with English Subtitles) watch a failed demonstration in the Netherlands on YouTube. Clearly these machines will NOT detect low density powdered explosives, liquid slurries, or detonators in most cases.
FlyersRights.org has 50,000 members and a toll free hotline 1-877-359-3776.