Friday, November 19, 2010


Well an good, but why can’t Homeland Security adopt the Israeli method? Israel’s air travel security is based mostly on thorough background checks of all air travelers and on profiling passengers getting ready to board airliners. Israel’s airliners are prime targets for Muslim militants, but that nation’s security system has prevented any of its airliners from being downed.
By Tony Pugh
Jewish World Review
Nov 18, 2010
After 23-year-old Nigerian terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded a flight from the Netherlands to Detroit last Christmas with enough explosives to bring down the plane, officials at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport decided to build a better mousetrap.
So they installed more than a dozen full-body scanners capable of detecting metallic and non-metallic materials, including explosives, gels, powders and liquids.
In the 11 months that the devices have operated, Schiphol largely has avoided the privacy and safety uproar that surrounds passenger screening at U.S. airports on the eve of the holiday travel season.
Ironically, the Dutch can credit their relative success to good ol' American ingenuity: the kind that the Department of Homeland Security is now considering.
Unlike the backscatter imaging devices that provide revealing body images and which have stoked concerns about radiation, the system at Schiphol uses radio waves to detect contraband.
The Woburn, Mass., firm that manufacturers the system, L-3 Communications Security & Detection Systems, claims on its website that the radio waves are "10,000 times lower than other commonly used radio-frequency devices."
If the software identifies a passenger carrying explosives, an outline of the problem body area is displayed on a generic mannequin figure instead of on the actual image of the passenger's body. The mannequin image, which appears on the operator's control panel, "can then be used by security personnel to direct a focused discussion or search," the company website reads.
The "automatic threat detection" system, dubbed "ProVision ATD," sells for $40,000 to $150,000 and doesn't use ionizing radiation or X-rays.
In May, the Transportation Security Administration ordered 200 of the less-advanced ProVision systems to screen passengers at U.S. airports. These units don't feature the "automatic threat detection" capability that can highlight parts of the body without generating actual images. But TSA has contracted with L-3 to develop software upgrades that could provide that capability for the agency's 200 units.
It's unclear how soon the updated software will be made available, but it should go a long way in eliminating the current controversy.

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