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Dutch to Use Full Body Scanners for US-Bound Flights

Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst says the body scanners will be in place within three weeks.

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The Dutch Interior Minister says that all passengers flying to the United States from the Netherlands will have to pass through a full body scan. The move comes in the wake of last week's incident involving the Nigerian man who was able to pass through security in Amsterdam with explosives in his underwear and successfully boarded an airplane for Detroit.

Dutch Interior Minister Guusje Ter Horst spoke at a news conference in The Hague Wednesday.

"No security is ever water proof, which is why we will immediately be using body scanners for all flights to the States," she said.

She said the body scanners will be in place within three weeks. Schiphol airport in Amsterdam already has at least 15 body scanners, but their use has been restricted because of fears over privacy as the scanners reveal intimate areas of passengers' bodies.

But Ter Horst said new software has eliminated that problem. The new software can scan the image and alert airport officials to foreign objects on the body so that a full body search can then take place.

"There is a way we can detect if they are carrying anything additional on their body and as soon as there is something - a foreign object or a foreign substance these can then be taken forward by a body search," she said.

Ter Horst said a passenger scanner may have been able to spot the explosives carried onto a transatlantic jet last week.

On Christmas Day 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded a flight headed to the United States city of Detroit with explosives concealed under his clothes.

Abdulmuttalab was tackled on board the Northwest Airlines flight after attempting to detonate the explosives.
 
Ter Horst said before boarding the flight from Amsterdam Abdulmutallab had gone through a full security check, including passing through a metal detector and having his bags checked. She said he was carrying a valid Nigerian passport and a valid United States visa.

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