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More body scanners headed to U.S. airports

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond International Airport is one of 19 airports across the country to use whole body imagery at security checkpoints. But those devices could soon be coming to airports across the country and even across the world. The need for tighter airport security screening has increased after a terrorist attempted to bomb a plane on Christmas day. A newer form of screening, once thought of as invasive, is now being accepted by more travelers.

"To be quite honest, with the way things are right now I don't mind," said traveler, Hazel Kelly.

"I feel like it's more important to protect me from potential people that could be bringing things on that could potentially hurt other passengers on the airplane," said passenger, Megan Isaacson

The device used is referred to as Millimeter Wave Passenger Imaging Technology. It scans a person's body in seconds and can detect if they're hiding something beneath their clothes. In addition to the 40 devices at 19 airports nationwide including RIC, 150 more have been purchased as of October.

"I think it is a greater sense that you're flying safer and you're not sitting amongst people who have carried contraband or forbidden items on board," said RIC spokesman, Troy Bell.

Since the attempted December 25th bombing, TSA has released a statement saying "Because effective aviation security must begin beyond our borders...TSA is mandating that every individual flying into the U.S. From anywhere in the world traveling from or through nations that are state sponsors of terrorism or other countries of interest will be required to go through enhanced screening."      

While many people have voiced concerns about what's done with those images after their body is scanned, airport officials tell me those images are immediately deleted.

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