Attack re-opens privacy vs. safety debate

The Chaffetz measure would require TSA to give passengers the option of a pat-down search instead of going through the machine. Chaffetz cited privacy concerns in backing it during an interview in the fall.

“It’s crazy what you have to do to get on an airplane,” he said. “I’m on an airplane every three or four days. I want the airplane to be as secure as possible, but oh my goodness, you get treated like a criminal.”

New screening devices are designed to pick up dangerous materials that can be hidden under clothes, which is precisely what the would-be bomber in Detroit tried to do. But the scans also show intimate details of bodies, from prosthetic devices to breast implants.

In an interview with The Hill earlier this year, Wilson said he had “faith” in metal detectors.

“Simple, little metal detectors that we’ve had for 40 years. And there are devices that detect chemicals, which are good. But after that I don’t know what else you need. I feel very secure for the American people with those. A metal detector should be about 90 percent of airport security.”

Opinions might shift in the aftermath of last week's failed attack.