House Republicans oppose more airport scanners

Jeremy Pelofsky | Reuters

(Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives on Thursday spurned the Obama administration’s request for funds to buy 275 additional airport full-body scanners and to hire personnel to run them.

The scanners generate a revealing image of a person so security personnel can determine if someone is trying to hide a bomb or other weapon underneath clothing. But they have provoked criticism from privacy and civil liberties advocates.

Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee, unveiling their proposed fiscal 2012 budget for the Department of Homeland Security, said they rejected President Barack Obama’s requested $76 million for the scanners and personnel.

The bill “reflects the unquestioned need for fiscal restraint, reduces spending wherever possible, and prioritizes taxpayers’ limited dollars toward the vital security programs that will have an immediate impact on our nation’s safety and security,” said Representative Robert Aderholt, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security subcommittee.

So far, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has deployed about 500 of the full-body scanners at 78 airports in the United States. The agency also has funds to buy 500 more and hire 250 to staff them.

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