TSA Body Scanners "Aren't Worth the Cost in Money—Let Alone Civil Liberties"


Writing in today's New York Post, Cato Institute legal policy analyst David Rittgers explains why the Transportation Security Administration's controversial new body scanners "aren't worth the cost in money—let alone civil liberties."

Air travelers now face a few bad choices: Submit to the body scanner, endure an invasive manual pat-down or accept an $11,000 civil fine. This is security theater at its finest. Congress needs to revisit these protocols completely—starting with a total halt to the obscenely expensive and jarringly ineffective full-body scanner.

Despite what their proponents would have us believe, body scanners are not some magical tool to find all weapons and explosives that can be hidden on the human body. Yes, the scanners work against high-density objects such as guns and knives—but so do traditional magnetometers.

And the scanners fare poorly against low-density materials such as thin plastics, gels and liquids. Care to guess what [Christmas bomber Farouk] Abdulmutallab's bomb was made of? The Government Accountability Office reported in March that it's not clear that a scanner would've detected that device.

Read the whole thing here. Read James Bovard's classic Reason account of the TSA's sorry record right here.