British PM Gordon Brown’s plans to foil terrorist attacks by installing body scanners at UK airports are doomed to failure, according to an MP who helped to design the machines.
Tory MP Ben Wallace, who worked on the scanners at defence research organisation QinetiQ before entering Parliament in 2005, said the £100,000 ‘millimetre wave’ machines would not have stopped syringe bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab from trying to mount his attack on Christmas Day.
The terrorist had sewn high explosives into his underpants, which he attempted to detonate as the plane flew over Detroit.
The Prime Minister vowed to use technology to fight the threat from Al Qaeda. But Mr Wallace warned: ‘I must advise the Prime Minister – and the British public– that the scanners are not a “silver bullet”. You would be mistaken to think that they would counter the new threat.
The millimetre wave technology is harmless, quick and can be deployed overtly or covertly. But it cannot detect chemicals or light plastics. ‘They have their uses. They give a sharper image of objects – especially metallic – than the “metal arch” scanners now in use. ‘And as they scan the whole body, they would speed up security checks as there would be less need for the “pat-down” search.
‘They are also able to scan crowds at a distance. But they cannot detect everything.’ He said that the only type of scanner that might be able to pick up concealed explosives were X-ray machines – but they pose health risks and are too slow to operate.
Mr Wallace, the Shadow Scottish Minister, added: ‘Scanners are only part of the solution. A method better than any scanner is profiling. Why is it at airports we all are put through security the same way?’ UK DAILY MAIL
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