Local leader says don't overreact to terror

December 30, 2009 4:13:59 AM PST
The leader of the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security at Duke and UNC Chapel Hill says be wary of overreacting.Opinions and criticism have been flying ever since the thwarted bombing attempt on Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day.

Much of it centered on airport security and whether there should be a move from metal detectors to machines capable of full body scans like the one being tested at RDU.

"I'm kind of divided on it," air traveler Greg Tripp said. "I agree with it, but then I disagree with it. Long as they have it in place that no one sees it but the screener, you're away from the person who knows what they're doing, and it's immediately disposed of so it doesn't end up on YouTube or something like that."

"They do need to do the full body check, because so many people can hide stuff on the clothes." air traveler Donald Carlisle said.

While the debate continues inside airport terminals, one local expert is offering his take.

David Schanzer's message is not to scramble to put new screening devices at airports and perhaps instead to invest in more intelligence analysis.

"We have to understand that there's no such thing as a hundred percent security and that any technological device that we take, the enemy will try to adapt towards," he said. "I'm not convinced that we couldn't take the multibillion dollars that it would take to screen everybody in the United States and coming to the United States with that technology that that money wouldn't be put to use through a whole series of other measures that might reduce the risk of this type of event more."

Schanzer suggests money that might go toward new screening devices might be better spent on more intelligence analysts or officers in high-risk nations.

"It's a threat that continues to evolve and change," he said. "We're never going to be finished with this issue."

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