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Chaffetz makes progress in effort to ban 'strip-search' imaging at airports

Published: Friday, May 22 2009 12:00 a.m. MDT

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, won a victory Thursday that vastly increases his chances of banning whole-body imaging at airports — saying "nobody needs to see my wife and kids naked to secure an airplane."

The House Rules Committee voted to allow the wording he first introduced as a stand-alone bill to be considered as an amendment to a Transportation Security Administration reauthorization bill when the full House considers it in two weeks.

"I'm pleasantly surprised on how quickly we're hopefully going to get this passed through the House," he said.

The stand-alone bill would have moved much more slowly with needed hearings and committee votes before it could come to the House floor.

Chaffetz has attracted national media attention for his bill. He complains that whole-body imaging leaves nothing to the imagination, and that people essentially appear nude to the TSA officials who watch the screens.

Salt Lake City International Airport is among those that have been testing a few of the machines with people who volunteer. TSA employees who view the images are in a separate room far from the security checkpoints because of privacy concerns.

"Whole body-imaging is exactly what it says. It allows TSA employees to conduct the equivalent of a strip search," Chaffetz said previously. "Passengers expect privacy underneath their clothing and should not be required to display highly personal details of their bodies as a prerequisite to boarding an airplane."

E-MAIL: lee@desnews.com

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