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  (Source: Cynthia Boll/AP)

Pricey new "millimeter-wave" full body scanners may seem promising, but in reality they do little to detect liquids, plastics, or chemical explosives, say UK government officials.  (Source: IOS Graphics)
Turns out we might really not be any safer with new semi-nude scans

On Christmas Day Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, 23, attempted an audacious terrorist attack on a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.  Fortunately, the Nigerian native's scheme failed due to faulty explosives and he was taken into custody after being restrained by passengers.  However, in the wake of the attacks, U.S. President Barack Obama is considering rolling out current test-phase 3D scanners on a national basis.

Privacy advocates are outraged as the scanners show basically a nude image of the passenger -- with genitals and breasts blurred by software (though the raw image is fully nude).  However, there may be a far greater problem with the scanners. According to British government officials -- they don't work.

The British Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office tested the new 3D scanners thoroughly and found that while they were relatively accurate in catching high-density materials that pat-downs missed (such as knives, box-cutters, or other problem items), they failed to detect most low-density items, including bags of liquid.

The Christmas Day bomber used a 3 oz. package of the chemical powder PETN (pentaerythritol tetranitrate), disguised in his crotch.  Hard to detect in a pat down, British politicians familiar with the country's internal research say that "millimeter-wave" scanners would also likely fail to spot the bag of low-density chemical explosives.

According to Ben Wallace, the UK Conservative MP, tests showed that the new scanners failed to detect a variety of low-density materials, including, plastic, chemicals and liquids.  The waves pass through these materials, hitting the body and then bouncing back, revealing only the underlying skin.

Like the U.S., the UK is now considering adopting the scanners on a broad basis.  However, emerging evidence from government studies on the scanners indicates that the rollout may be nothing more than a pricey game of "security theater" designed to make people feel safe, while doing little in reality.  This is significant, considering the investment may amount to hundreds of millions, if not billions of dollars, an expense that will surely be passed on to taxpayers.

Mr. Wallace comments, "[UK Prime Minister] Gordon Brown is grasping at headlines if he thinks buying a couple of scanners will make us safer. It is too little, too late. Under his leadership, he starved the defence research budget that could have funded a comprehensive solution while at the same time he has weakened our border security.  Scanners cannot provide a comprehensive solution on their own. We must now start to ask if national security demands the use of profiling."

Mr. Wallace is among the politicians in the U.S., UK, and abroad that's suggesting some sort of profiling system as an alternative to more effectively increase security.  Such a system might involve additional searches of foreign nationals, particularly from volatile regions like the Middle East and Africa, while potentially lightening the searches on certain groups, like the elderly.



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RE: Finally some common sense
By HighWing on 1/4/2010 4:33:31 PM , Rating: 2
you are forgetting one little detail as to the "why" "we" are in their lands. They've had their country to run on their own, but they then also attacked other countries that then came to us for help. (insert what ever war in the middle east you want here) So it was either not help out someone asking for help, or go into these lands and help. We are in their lands because at one time we were "asked" to be there. Now weather we should still be there is another topic of debate as well.

Fact is these extremists don't want to play nice with our allies. And don't want our allies to have their own country and run it either. So in a way denying the extremists that right seems more logical to me. but then that's just my opinion.

Personally I would be all for just not letting anyone in or out of these war zones in the middle easy till they figure it out on their own. I agree that if they don't want us in their lands, then maybe we should leave. However, often it's not "their" land that they don't want us in.


RE: Finally some common sense
By Reclaimer77 on 1/4/2010 6:32:12 PM , Rating: 2
Don't try to reason with him, I have already given up. If it wasn't for the US and it's allies, all the Jews in the middle east would be dead or displaced. And we would STILL be hated.

He's trying to establish a rational and logical cause!=effect pattern of behavior to people who blow themselves and innocent people up. Insanity.


RE: Finally some common sense
By AEvangel on 1/5/2010 6:41:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If it wasn't for the US and it's allies, all the Jews in the middle east would be dead or displaced.


An what is the problem with that?? Considering Israel State we know today was established by Terrorists??

quote:
He's trying to establish a rational and logical cause!=effect pattern of behavior to people who blow themselves and innocent people up. Insanity.


I know...it's crazy to apply human logic to a situation when you can just BLOW THEM UP!! I guess all those FBI Profilers must have it all wrong you can't make any rational to what crazy murders do and why they do it.

Cowards like you slay me you have no problem sacrificing other peoples lives while sit there comfortable at home with your smug confidence of doing the right thing no matter how many innocent people are killed in your grand crusade of stupidity.


RE: Finally some common sense
By chick0n on 1/5/2010 8:42:21 AM , Rating: 1
and have you wondered WHY the US help?

Jewish, Oil.

there are wars every fuxking where, you dont see our o-holy USA send all their troops to clear those pirates up.

Why they want Iraq? w00t free oil. USA have been talking $hit about North Korea for ages, you dont see Bush send dozens of army to clear it up.

Oh speaking of jews, last I know there were NEVER a country called "Israel" in history, where did that come from ... oh yeah, because some "RICH JEWS" said "THAT location" is where they start, so guess what, send a group of army there so they can KILL & kick them out so these Jews can start their own "country" ROFL OMG WOW give them a round of applause !!!

If you support the Jewish, I guess you should support the American Indians to start a War right now and take the US back then. Cuz this land originally belong to the American Indians, it was the "white men" who came ships and took it.


RE: Finally some common sense
By Reclaimer77 on 1/5/2010 9:43:27 AM , Rating: 2
lol, and they say I'm racists on here...


RE: Finally some common sense
By AEvangel on 1/5/2010 6:42:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
lol, and they say I'm racists on here...


No...I don't think your racist just ignorant.


RE: Finally some common sense
By AEvangel on 1/5/2010 6:35:40 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
They've had their country to run on their own, but they then also attacked other countries that then came to us for help.


Ok, then explain to me of the two wars we are involved in now and who they attacked that asked for help?

quote:
Fact is these extremists don't want to play nice with our allies.


You ever think it's because our "allies" don't want to play nice with them?? I mean almost everyone we call and Ally in that region is an Oppressive Dictatorship or commits heinous human rights offenses.


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