Why Doesn't The TSA Use Porn-Scanners for Delta Shuttle Flights?

Periodically, people ask Goldblog, who plays the role of TSA Answer Man when my colleague James Fallows isn't playing TSA Answer Man, why the Marine Air Terminal at LaGuardia airport in New York is not equipped with the advanced scanners the TSA deploys at other, less sensitive airports. (Jack Shafer was the first one to point this out to me.) In my Bloomberg View column this week, I discover the answer:

The TSA deploys two types of advanced passenger- screening machines in U.S. airports: Millimeter-wave whole- body imagers and so-called backscatter X-ray devices, both of which can detect non-metallic objects under a person's clothing. These very expensive machines are crucial to the TSA's protocol, which is why it strikes me as strange that the security checkpoint at the Marine Air Terminal goes without one, and instead relies on an old-fashioned metal detector.
On busy days, more than a dozen flights are dispatched from the Marine Air Terminal to Washington's Reagan National Airport, which, as anyone who has flown there knows, is mere seconds by air from the White House and the U.S. Capitol (as well as TSA headquarters, it should be noted). Why would the federal government not equip this particular terminal with its most advanced machinery? The answer is both banal and telling.

Click here to read more.

By the way, Vanity Fair has an interesting piece now up about a visit to an airport with the security guru Bruce Schneier. I wish I had thought to do this!

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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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