Q: What is really being seen by these machines?
A: In theory, it sees stuff that isn't part of the body. So if you've got a stapler in your pocket, it will show up. The thought is that it will see stuff that a metal detector won't detect, like a ceramic knife. But this doesn't seem to be borne out by reality.
Q: The machines have shown up in the wake of the so-called underwear bomber, who tried to blow up a plane with chemicals stored in his briefs. Would this technology have stopped him?
A: The guys who make the machines have said, "We wouldn't have caught that."
Q: So what kind of attack will this prevent, that otherwise might be successful?
A: There are two kinds of hijackers. There's the lone nutcase, like someone who will bring a gun onto a plane because, dammit, they're going to take the whole plane down with them. Any pre-9-11 airport security would catch a person like that.
The second kind is the well-planned, well-financed Al Qaeda-like plot. And nothing can be done to stop someone like that.
It is time for the government and the TSA to get their collective heads out of heads out of their collective butts and take steps that will actually secure us against attack. The fact is, if the explosives have made it inside the airport, Janet, your security plan has already failed.