Should the Government implement the use of Full Body Scanners in airport security to mitigate terrorist threats?
During the past decade, America has been confronted with a number of terrorist actions that have threatened the security of this country. September 11 2001, was one of the first major tragic events that our country has witnessed. In a series of coordinated terrorist attacks, several members of al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airliners. Two of the airlines were forced to crash into the World Trade Center in New York City. The third airline was crashed into the Pentagon in Washington DC. The fourth airline crashed in a field in Pennsylvania after some of the passengers and crews attempted to retain control of the plane. There were no survivors on any of the flights and nearly 3000 people died altogether (“September 11 attacks”). Approximately 3 months after the terrorist attacks, Richard Reid, another al-Qaeda member attempted to detonate explosives hidden in his sneakers on an American Airlines flight from Paris, France, to Miami, Florida (“Shoe Bomber”). Fortunately, passengers on board the flight obstructed Reid’s plan, and the plane landed safety in Boston. In August 2006, another terrorist attempt to destroy multiple airliners was uncovered. In this case, a terrorist plot was discovered to detonate liquid explosives carried on board at least 10 airlines travelling from United Kingdom to the United States (U.S.) and Canada (“Airlines”). However, British police intercepted the plan before it could be carried out and, therefore, prevented a fatal disaster. More recently, in December 25 2009, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, attempted to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board a Northwest airlines flight from Amsterdam, Holland to Detroit, Michigan (Shane). Fortunately, his attempt to explode the plane was unsuccessful because crew members and passengers subdued him and extinguish the flames. The September 11, 2001 attacks were the beginning of heightened airport security and led to the creation of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to handle passengers screening in U.S. airports (“What is TSA”). These terrorist actions have resulted in unprecedented security measures in airports in the United States and around the world. For example, sharp object such as nail clippers, scissors, and box cutters are now prohibited on board the airliner. Additionally, the shoe bomber attempted attack resulted in the new requirement of all airline passengers having to remove their shoes for inspection before boarding a flight. Furthermore, the liquid bomb explosives attempt led to the banning to all liquids and gels and the adoption of 3-1-1 rule (“Make Your Trip Better Using 3-1-1”). This rule limits carry-on liquids on board the aircraft to be contained in bottles 3.4 ounces or less, stored in a 1 quart-sized bag, and 1 bag per passenger. Finally, the recent underwear bomber attempt has served as the catalyst for the use of the full-body scanners in U.S. airports and around the world. A full-body scanner is a device that creates an image of a person's nude body through their clothing to look for hidden objects without physically removing their clothes or making physical contact (“Full body scanner”). The widespread implementation of these scanners has evoked a public controversy between the right to privacy, and the need to enforce security to combat terrorist acts. I believe, as do many others, that the security benefits outweigh the invasion of privacy. Therefore, I fully embrace the deployment of full-body scanners in airports. Opponents of the technology claim that these scanners are being used to perform virtual strip searches that are illegal and violate basic human rights. Privacy groups are enraged because they feel that the use of the scanners would result in the acquisition of “naked photographs” of millions of American air travelers including young children who...
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