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TSA Should Develop Better Airport Body Scanners - Former US Inspector Gen.

© Nam Y. Huh, FileA TSA agent checks a bag at a security checkpoint area at Midway International Airport in Chicago.
A TSA agent checks a bag at a security checkpoint area at Midway International Airport in Chicago. - Sputnik International
The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) should invest in advanced body scanners at airports rather than implement other security reforms, former US Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo told Sputnik on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — On Monday, a cost breakdown provided to Congress revealed that the TSA had spent more than $150,000 per unit of failing body imaging technology since 2008, according to media reports.

"I don’t think money should be spent on something besides the machines," Schiavo said. "[T]he money should be spent on developing better machines, because the things that really work, the direct human interaction, people certainly in the United States… don’t like the intrusion."

Schiavo argued it is not surprising to spend such amounts of money on security-related technology because aviation security is "so important."

Asked about how the TSA security system failed to identify explosives and weapons in more than 95 percent of tests at US airports, Schiavo said routine checks are the culprit.

"It’s a constant reassessment by the terrorists and it should be a constant reassessment by the TSA, and Congress has to understand that."

Congress should understand, Schiavo argued, that the authorities have to develop new technologies and test them "all the time."

"[S]o when we hear criticisms of the TSA — well it’s different every time I go to the airport? Yes, it should be."

Moreover, Schiavo called for implementing testing, changing and upgrading aviation security daily in order to avoid security breaches.

"We always think we can put in a quick fix. We’ll get the magic bullet, then we don’t have to change anything, and that’s the mindset that has led aviation into trouble time and time again."

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In May 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that TSA’s officers were unable to say which airport security screen equipment worked and which did not.

TSA has come under intense criticism in recent years for its intrusive approach to inspecting passengers; spectacular failures to discover explosives in vast majority of tests at airports; and failures to identify numerous employees who had ties to terrorist organizations.

TSA has spent $540 million on checked baggage screening equipment and $11 million on training since 2009.

The agency has been allotted $7.2 billion for Fiscal Year 2015, according to the DHS.

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