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GAO: TSA scanners may not have stopped Detroit bomb plot

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Homeland Security correspondent Spencer S. Hsu:

President Obama's push to deploy body-imaging scanners at airports worldwide will cost U.S. taxpayers roughly $3 billion over eight years, congressional investigators report, but it is unclear that the controversial devices would have caught an alleged al-Qaeda terrorist who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound jetliner with explosives hidden in his underwear.

The administration has cited the Christmas day attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in pushing to double its planned deployment, to 1,800 scanners, at U.S. airports by 2014, and to encourage foreign governments to use the same new technologies at airports that send flights to the United States.

The benefits and limitations of the machines will be discussed Wednesday afternoon at a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee.

"In the never-ending race to protect our country, we have to stay one step ahead of a nimble adversary. That's what these steps are designed to do," Obama said Jan. 8 in announcing increased aviation security and screening measures.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | March 17, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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