Dutch and Nigerian officials say the two countries will begin using
full-body scanners to tighten airport security after a Nigerian
passenger tried to blow up a U.S. airliner heading from Amsterdam to
the midwestern United States.
The interior minister of the Netherlands (Guusje Ter Horst) said Wednesday Dutch authorities will begin using full-body scanners within three weeks at airports to screen passengers flying to the United States.
Later Wednesday, the director of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Harold Demuren, said the scanners will also be installed in Nigerian airports.
The scanners, unlike metal detectors, produce a whole-body image of a passenger and can reveal plastic or chemical explosives hidden in clothing.
But the security scanners are controversial because they display a detailed image of a passenger's body on a computer screen.
Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is accused of attempting to detonate an explosive on a Detroit-bound plane that left from Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.
On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said a "systemic failure" among U.S. security agencies allowed the Christmas Day (December 25) bombing attempt.
Speaking from Hawaii, Mr. Obama said U.S. agencies did not properly share information after receiving warnings from the father of a Nigerian man suspected of trying to destroy the Northwest Airlines jet.
The president called the security lapse "totally unacceptable" and said the U.S. must quickly fix the flaws in its homeland security. He has ordered preliminary investigations into the government's intelligence-gathering and aviation-screening initiatives. The results are due Thursday.
A senior Obama administration official later told reporters there is "some linkage" between the suspected attacker, 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, and the al-Qaida terrorist network.
U.S. news outlets say the intelligence community had information that leaders of the network's Yemeni branch had communications with an unnamed young Nigerian national. The information was sent to Washington from Yemen before the attempted attack.
A group calling itself al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility Monday for the failed attack, saying it was in retaliation for U.S. support for operations against the group in Yemen.