Rep. Chaffetz: Airline attacker should have gone through full body scanner

A lawmaker who has been critical of the use of full body scanners at airports said Tuesday that the man who attempted to bomb an airplane Christmas Day should have been screened with one.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said that 23-year-old Nigerian national Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should have been screened by the machine, which he believes should be used as a secondary means, because his name raised red flags.

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"This is the poster guy who should have gone through this machine, not once, twice," Chaffetz said on Fox News.

Chaffetz has introduced legislation to ban the use of the full body scanners as a primary means of security screening. The freshman Republican says that they invade an individual's privacy.

"[It's a question of] how do we balance our civil liberties...and at the same time secure the airplane?" he said. "I just want to make sure we have a balance and don't give up every measure of privacy we have."

The House and Senate Homeland Security Committees have both said they will hold hearings next month to examine how Abdulmutallab evaded security measures and boarded the Northwest Airlines flight carrying an explosive device. 

Abdulmutallab's name appeared on some security lists but not the more exclusive "no-fly list" of suspected terrorists.

The Nigerian attempted to light the explosive on board the plane but was subdued by passengers and crew after the detonator failed.

The Utah Republican had a well-known run-in with the TSA in September.

Chaffetz accused TSA agents of harassment after he was forced to enter a whole body scanner at Salt Lake City airport. The TSA's union said he was treated as any other passenger.