Unreliable airport body scanners?

FRESNO, Calif.

In the report, critics claim the machine can't tell the difference between body sweat and a bomb.

Kent Scott of Fresno says the manufacturer who makes these body scanners dependable and its product is sound.

But law enforcement agencies in Germany claim the scanner like the one here in Fresno is a big waste of money and an invasion of privacy.

Fresno's Yosemite International Airport houses one of the controversial body scanners. It uses radio frequencies to scan for hidden explosives and weapons.

The TSA believes this $170,000 piece of equipment is the best deterrent to a potential terrorist threat in the skies. But confidence in these scanners aren't being shared in parts of Europe.

German officials announced this week that a ten month study shows the machines and software fired off false alarms half of the time.

In most cases it detected sweat under the arms of a person, identifying it as an explosive instead.

"The German experience has demonstrated exactly how ineffective the devices are. When they can't distinguish between body sweat and explosives, or the pleats of someone's pants and underwear bomb, it's not making anyone safer." said John Verdi of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Local aviation expert Kent Scott of Fresno disputes those claims. He says the American company that makes the body scanners has an impressive record of performance.

"L3 is a wonderful company that's had years and decades of technological expertise. So I would take the German commentary as just sort of jealousy or something like that." said Scott.

News of the German findings surprised some Valley passengers but not everyone.

"Not really. It's just I work in systems and business applications. Nothing is perfect." said Amad Hussein of Fresno.

"Yes it does. I thought that was new technology and it's supposed eliminate all the other whatever." said Sherry Colgate of Oakhurst.

The TSA says there are roughly 250 of these body scanners in question located in forty airports across the country.

Kent Scott tells Action News he doesn't believe anything else needs to be modified for passenger screening because he says that's not where he expects the next terrorist bomb threat to come from.

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