Which is Worse for Children, the Pat-Down or the Porn Machine?

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Several Goldbloggers have asked me what they should do with their children at airport security checkpoints this Thanksgiving season. Should they send them through the back-scatter x-ray vision scanner, or allow their children to be frisked?

I sent along this question to my security guru, Bruce Schneier, who responded, "Ick. Do I have to choose?"

But he did choose, and he chose the back-scatter imager over the frisk, on grounds that it is less traumatic for a child. I have to agree, though I find this whole matter, particularly as it relates to children, extremely distasteful. It's worth keeping in mind that even at airports that are equipped with the new porn machines, many people will still be funneled through the more traditional metal detectors, so you stand a reasonable chance of avoiding this whole issue.

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Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. He is the author of Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. He was previouslly a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

Goldberg's book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. He received the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism and the 2005 Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

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