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Expert: TSA Screening Is Security Theater

TSA Head Disputes Claim, Tells <b>60 Minutes</b> Measures Are Necessary Because "This Is A War"

"Nineteen airports were looked at and IEDs got through," Stahl told Hawley.

"IED components…in some cases," he said.

"But why do I hear a 60, 70 percent failure rate?" Stahl asked.

"I don't know," Hawley replied.

"You don't know what that number is?" Stahl asked.

"I don't know what…I'd have to go look at that report," he said.

"You can't tell me, can you?" Stahl asked. "That you have a chart that shows failure rates going down like that?"

"Well, I can tell you that our results have improved. Knives and guns do not present a huge problem for us now. We're very, very good at those. And completed IEDs, we're very good at those. The small pieces, we have to continue to work to get at even the smallest pieces of an IED," he said.

TSA's solution has been to invest even more money in checkpoints, adding a new layer of state-of-the-art technology, like $200,000 advanced x-ray machines that highlight suspicious objects for the screeners in red boxes.

There's also technology to put an end to one of the most intrusive - some say creepy - procedures: wanding or the pat-down. It's the whole body imager, which has been nicknamed "the peeper" because it sees through our clothes searching for bombs.

When privacy groups raised a fuss about the government "seeing us naked," TSA cut back on the program.

Kip Hawley wants travelers to know that the only place the images are ever seen is inside a locked, windowless room. The machine automatically blurs the face so the operator doesn't know whose body he or she is looking at.

During a demonstration, Stahl noted she was able to see a woman's bra, which according to the screener was normal. "To be frank, I thought I was going to see something almost pornographic," Stahl remarked.

"No," Hawley replied.

Asked what happens to the image, Hawley said, "It's destroyed as soon as the next one comes. The machines are not capable of storing images."