- The Washington Times - Friday, January 18, 2013

The Obama administration says it will scrap the controversial airport X-ray machines that critics said showed a little too much of travelers’ bodies.

The Transportation Security Administration told the Associated Press it would get rid of the machines and instead rely on full-body scanners that show generic images telling screeners where to look on a person’s body, but don’t show intimate details.

TSA officials blamed new requirements from Congress for the decision, telling the wire service that the company that makes the machines couldn’t meet the standards lawmakers set.

Indeed, the scanners have produced rare bipartisanship on Capitol Hill, where they have been the subject of much derision.

Late last year, the TSA said it was beginning to remove the detailed scanners from some airports because they were causing delays. TSA officials had said they would move them to smaller airports — which drew yet more fire from Congress.

Speaking on Wednesday, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy mocked the scanners, calling them a “dumb idea” and ridiculing TSA assurances that the images would maintain passengers’ anonymity.

“Sure. Like to see that in Burlington, Vt., where everybody’d say ‘Gosh, there’s so-and-so.’” Mr. Leahy said. “People finally said, ‘Wait a minute, that’s not making us safer,’ and so a few hundred million dollars later, they said, ‘Whoops, let’s go back to the drawing board.’”

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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