Paul Bedard
U.S. News & World Report
November 22, 2010

  • A d v e r t i s e m e n t
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The flying public has won a small victory in the fight over airport pat downs and more intrusive searches with the Transportation Security Agency: For now, the agency isn’t planning to take the next step toward body cavity searches. “We’re not going to get in the business of body cavities, that’s not where we are,” says TSA Administrator John Pistole.

Continuing a P.R. offensive today, he told reporters that there are ways to detect explosives in a body cavity other than a strip search. “Even if it is a body cavity [bomb], you still have to have an initiator, you have to have some external device to cause that initiation,” he said. “There’s got to be something external that you can then initiate the device and that’s what the advance imaging technology machine will pick up: Any anomaly outside of the body.”

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Still, he said, not taking the next step is risky, even though he hasn’t seen any evidence that terrorists are trying to carry explosives in their body cavities. “We are taking some risk by not doing any screening, but it’s the balance of what is the appropriate level of risk versus screening,” he said.

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