msnbc | December 30, 2009
>>> the dutch interior ministry now says that they will be using full-body scans on all the departing flights in amsterdam. that's where the suspect's flight originated. here in the u.s., chicago's o'hare airport will get the scanners which provide a detailed under-the-clothes view of passengers in the first half of this year. not everyone is supporting the increased use of technology . mike german is a former fbi agent. now policy council for the aclu which oppose it is use of these scanners. mike, thanks so much for joining us.
>> thanks for having me.
>> former home land security secretary michael chertoff , among other people, say if these scanners had been in place it would have likely picked up the device this suspect was carrying. isn't this a reason enough to put aside the objections of privacy over security?
>> well, you know, first of all, it is very easy to say that. it is less clear whether that's actually a true statement. long before this event, concern about this body scanning imaging from a security standpoint was that it wouldn't detect something like plastic explosives , malleable and could be hidden easily and clearly where these terrorists are now hiding these things. sometimes apparently even in body cavities . this type of technology would not have helped. so the idea that this type of technology would have stopped it, number one, is not necessarily true .
>> mike, even if it is just one more layer of security, one of your arguments, one of your objections, as you said, was that -- it brought up images that maybe could be posted online, that could be september out to the internet. but the tsa says these machines can't store, print, transmit images of any kind. so do you still have that argument?
>> of course that's still an argument. this technology , whale again untest whether it would actually work to solve today's threats, also creates a picture of your naked body and not every american who wants to travel should have to submit to a virtual strip search that creates a digital record of that image.
>> the tsa is saying it doesn't keep any record of it. the images are not restored anywhere.
>> well, i -- i would doubt very seriously, you know, as a former fbi agent, i know that would be very valuable evidence if the tsa then takes some action. so clearly, they are going to be keeping some of the images. and once the technology is in place to keep some of the image, who is going to oversee to make sure the images aren't misused in some way in first place? the second place, before we even get to what they do with the image, you know, why should every american traveler have to submit -- to standing naked in front of a government agent? when that's not necessarily a way that's actually going to improve security.
>> just -- to clarify also that the face would be blurred and there would only be one person in the room according to the tsa. the person standing next to the scanning device would never see that image, according to the tsa. right? again, it is the government saying trust us , just like they said, you know, when we want to take away the right to privacy in your communications with the patriot acts and trust us , this will make you safer. well, here we find out nine years later, we are not any safer. so the idea that we should just trust the government and that there is magic bullet out there that will protect everything isn't true. it is up to the government that will prove this technology is effective before it is implemented. plus, if we are going to be investing in other technology -- new technology , let's invest in technology that doesn't have this huge privacy impact. you know, there's this puffer technology that will detect trace elements of plastic explosives . that would be far more effective if it works than this where -- plastic explosives could be hidden. so why not put the money into that type of technology that doesn't have this huge privacy downside? why would you want to subject every traveler to the most intrusive -- where the government has reason to believe somebody is doing something wrong, they have ample authority to investigate them and need to do that rather than throwing money after new technology that is completely unproven and that may not solve the problems we are facing today.
>> all right. mike german , thanks so much for joining us. we appreciate it.