Mike Frassinelli
The Star-Ledger
Friday, January 1, 2010

Newark Liberty International Airport is in line this year to receive full-body scanners, x-ray machines that proponents say could have stopped “underwear bomber” Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he boarded a plane headed for Detroit on Christmas Day.

The call for more full-body scanners — high-tech machines that can show hidden contraband, but controversial for leaving too little to the imagination — has grown louder after the latest terror attempt in the skies.

Newark Liberty, one of America’s busiest airports, is undergoing a modernization of its Terminal B that has dramatically increased the size of its passenger screening areas and reduced its waiting times. Given the latest terror incident, airport officials are hoping the scanners arrive early in 2010.

A Transportation Security Administration representative said 150 full-body scanners will go to airports throughout the U.S. this year and Newark Liberty is likely to be among the airports that get them, considering its heavy flight volume and the fact one of the planes hijacked in the deadly Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks departed from Newark.

Nineteen American airports, the closest being Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, already use the Star Trek-like, full-body scanners, which opponents say are too costly and violate privacy.

Newark Airport’s Terminal B will have a total of 12 passenger screening lanes when construction of all sections of the terminal are completed in March. Given the recommendations that full-body scanners be placed at every other lane, that would mean the airport would install six scanners at a total cost of nearly $1 million.

Full story here.