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El Paso Airport To Receive Body Scanners This Summer

The Department of Homeland Security will deploy advanced imaging technology (AIT) units to the El Paso International Airport to strengthen security, U.S. Rep. Silvestre Reyes announced Friday.

The airport is one of 28 nationwide that will receive the body scanners this summer.

The units were made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was signed into law last year to bolster the U.S. economy.

“This technology will make our airport and all outbound flights more secure,” Reyes said in a news release. “These units are more effective in detecting a variety of items that could endanger the safety of passengers, including non-metallic threats. As we have seen with the Christmas Day bombing attempt, this technology is needed to keep up with the adapting tactics used by terrorists.”

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has purchased 450 AIT units with ARRA funding to date, and currently there are 58 AIT units deployed at 24 airports nationwide.

TSA ensures passenger privacy through the anonymity of AIT images-a privacy filter is applied to blur all images; in the operational mode images are permanently deleted immediately once viewed and are never stored, transmitted or printed; and the officer viewing the image is stationed in a remote location so as not to come into contact with passengers being screened.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law by President Obama on February 17, 2009, committed more than $3 billion for homeland security projects through DHS and the General Services Administration (GSA). Of the $1 billion allocated to TSA for aviation security projects, $734 million is dedicated to screening checked baggage and $266 million is allocated for checkpoint explosives detection technologies.

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