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EU countries refuse US request for airport body scanners without further study

[JURIST] EU officials told US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano [official profile] Thursday that European airports will not install body scanning technology until the countries have studied the effectiveness, safety, and threat to privacy of such devices. The US already has placed body scanners in some airports, and encouraged their use in Europe following the failed airline bombing attempt on Christmas Day. Napolitano met with security officials [NYT report] from several EU nations at an informal meeting of Ministers for Justice and Home Affairs in Spain to discuss terror concerns [AFP report]. Although the the two sides could not come to an agreement on the use of body scanners [El Pais [report, in Spanish], the ministers and Napolitano released a joint statement [press release] affirming their commitment to share information and work together to eliminate terrorism. The ministers also requested [EU press release] that the European Commission [official website] accelerate a study on using new technologies, including body scanners, to prevent terrorism.

UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced [JURIST report] Wednesday that the UK would improve security using several methods, including the use of body scanners. Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama called for stricter airline security measures [JURIST report] in response to the failed Christmas Day attack. Obama pledged to improve airline passenger security, stating that there had been "a failure to integrate and understand the intelligence," because the US government had sufficient information to uncover the plot, but "our intelligence community failed to connect those dots." Abdulmutallab has been charged [JURIST report] with attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, attempted murder within the special aircraft jurisdiction of the US, willful attempt to destroy or wreck an aircraft, willfully placing a destructive device on an aircraft, use of a firearm/destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence, and possession of a firearm/destructive device in furtherance of a crime of violence. A plea of not guilty [JURIST report] has been entered on his behalf.

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