AS&E CEO Testifies That Backscatter X-Ray Technology Provides a Higher Level of Detection

WASHINGTON -- Mr. Anthony R. Fabiano, President and Chief Executive Officer of American Science and Engineering, Inc., a leader in X-ray detection technology, will testify today before the House Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Economic Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Cybersecurity on "how to make our airports safer and our traveling public more secure." The panel testimony, "Leveraging Technology to Improve Aviation Security," will be held today at 2:00 p.m. EST (11:00 a.m. PST).

In his statement, Fabiano highlighted the need for Backscatter X-ray Imaging at airport security checkpoints, citing it as "the technology of choice for protecting most high threat facilities around the world," and is a technology used by the U.S. Military to "effectively find Improvised Explosive Devices hidden in vehicles and on people in the theater of operations--Iraq."

Today, airport security checkpoints primarily use metal detectors to find threats concealed on travelers, only "alarming on" metal objects, leaving many non-metallic weapons and explosive devices undetected.

"Backscatter can provide a much higher level of detection over a broader range of threats, including metallic weapons, non-metallic weapons and explosives, than any technology currently employed at airports for inspecting carry-on baggage and people," said Fabiano. He added that "Backscatter X-ray Imaging, when used to scan people, is a safe and effective method." The amount of radiation exposure given to the person during a Backscatter scan is extremely small, "equivalent to the exposure a traveler would receive in only three minutes when flying in an airplane at altitude."

Fabiano said, "We have worked diligently with TSA to develop solutions to address privacy concerns. AS&E has developed software algorithms for modifying the images that present only an outline of the scanned individual, distinguishing potential threats on the body, while securing the person's privacy."

Fabiano further commented, "American Science and Engineering stands ready to deploy its Backscatter personnel scanners at airports today with software algorithms to address privacy concerns." Fabiano urged the committee to "support DHS and TSA in their plans to deploy available Backscatter systems at airports as soon as possible," and cited a follow-on March 2005 report from The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) that concluded by "encourag(ing) TSA to expedite its testing programs and give priority to technologies, such as backscatter x-ray, that will enable the screening workforce to better detect both weapons and explosives."