90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Security and Full-Body Scans
A Transportation Security Administration officer views a full-body scan during a demonstration of passenger screening technology, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009, at the TSA Systems Integration Facility in Arlington, Va. (AP)

A Transportation Security Administration officer views a full-body scan during a demonstration at the TSA Systems Integration Facility in Arlington, Va., on Dec. 30, 2009. (AP)

Post your comments below

The Christmas Day terror attempt on a flight to Detroit has thrown airport security and explosive underwear into the headlines.

It has also thrown a spotlight again on the technology for full-body scans — and the question of whether they should be the norm. Routine.

These aren’t x-rays, but scans that look at the body beneath the clothes. Proponents say it’s foolish not to look — and say Christmas Day was naked proof of that.

Critics say it’s a virtual strip search and an offense to dignity and privacy that is not worth it.

This hour, On Point: privacy, air security, and the call for full-body scans.

Guests:

Joining us first from Baltimore is Benet Wilson, online managing editor for Aviation Week, where she’s reporting on airline security.

Joining us from Reno, Nevada, is Douglas Laird. He was director of security for Northwest Airlines from 1989 to 1995, and previously served 22 years in the U.S. Secret Service. He is currently president of Laird & Associates, an aviation security consulting firm.

From Washington we’re joined by Michael German, a 16-year veteran of the FBI, where he was a special agent in domestic terrorism and covert operations. He is now policy counsel on national security for the American Civil Liberties Union, a senior fellow at GlobalSecurity.org, and adjunct professor for Law Enforcement and Terrorism at the National Defense University.

Also from Washington we’re joined by James Carafano, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies. He is a 25-year veteran of the Army, where he rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel.

And from Napa, Calif., we’re joined by Kate Hanni, founder of Flyersrights.org, a consumer advocacy group she started in 2006 to represent airline passengers.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Oct 21, 2014
David Perdue, Michelle Nunn

Two weeks to go till Midterm Election Day. We’ll look at how the biggest issues are playing out around the country.

Oct 21, 2014
This undated image provided by Google, shows an early version of Google's prototype self-driving car. For the first time, California's Department of Motor Vehicles knows how many self-driving cars are traveling on the state's public roads. The agency is issuing permits, Tuesday, Sept. 16, 2014 that let three companies test 29 vehicles on highways and in neighborhoods. (AP)

The future of the car: from the fuels they’ll run on, to the materials they’ll be made of, to the computers that may drive them.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 20, 2014
In this Oct. 2, 2014 photo, patrons line up for “Nightmare: New York,” a haunted house attraction in New York. (AP)

Afraid of snakes? Heights? Ebola? We’ll unpack the science of fear.

 
Oct 20, 2014
A statue of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt on New York City's Roosevelt Island. (Flickr / Alexisrael)

Greatness and the American Presidency. Aaron David Miller says aim for good. Really good.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
Comment
 
Two LIVE Tracks From Jazz Violinist Regina Carter
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Regina Carter shares two live tracks — one arrangement, and one original composition — with Tom Ashbrook in the On Point studio.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 17, 2014
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

We talk Facebook mishaps, whether Katy Perry was actually right and the glory of architectural giants and their iconic windows.

More »
Comment