Mark Alexander / November 12, 2010

PatriotPost.US Alert: TSA Invasive Body Scanners

Breaking: An investigation by The Patriot Post has determine that the three primary manufacturers of full body scanners being purchased by TSA with Obama (taxpayer) “stimulus” funding, are located in (you guessed it) Democrat congressional districts favored for such boondoggle funding in California and Massachusetts.

L-3 Communications ($165 million contract) is in Massachusetts congressional district 7 (Demo Rep. Ed Markey). American Science and Engineering is in Massachusetts congressional district 5 (Demo Rep. Niki Tsongas). And, Rapiscan ($173 million contract) is in California’s 36th congressional district (Demo Rep. Jane Harman).

If you think the TSA scanners now being deployed at airports around the nation – thanks to $73 million in Obama (taxpayer) stimulus funding – are not invasive, you might reconsider after viewing this virtual strip search, which is a low resolution of the much higher resolution TSA scans now being used.

Is there a privacy issue here? Want your wives and daughters scanned or searched using the “enhanced pat down procedure” if a woman refuses to subject herself to the scan? Did you know that TnA, er, uh, TSA employees have cached these images? Reuters reports and thousands of them have been posted on the Web. Further, there are also health related concerns about scanner radiation.

When it comes to airport security matters, we put some stock into what the Israelis have to say. In April of this year, former chief security officer of the Israel Airport Authority, Rafi Sela, who has been an expert in security and defence technology for 30 years, said of the body scanners: “I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747. That’s why we haven’t put them in [Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport].” (Obviously Sela’s security decisions are not directed by politicians with stimulus money to burn.)

Sela believes a “trusted traveller” network would be better because pre-approved low-risk passengers would be subject only to expedited screening and higher risk individuals could then be subject to much more proven technology like automatic sniffers now used to detect explosive residue on airline baggage.

As for the “random search” procedures in effect at U.S. airports, Sela says, “Random searches are like Russian roulette.” He is an advocate of behavioral profiling, but that would offend the sensibilities of travelers who actually fit the profile of a terrorist.

Oh, and a footnote: This writer has walked perimeter gun for two presidents. Knowing colleagues in supervisory roles with presidential details, I can tell you that the Secret Service’s primary means of protecting the president when he is on greeting lines with the public is, you guessed it, behavioral profiling of those who approach the president, the same method of profiling that the TSA should be using for anyone approaching an airport security checkpoint.

View a list of airports with scanners.

Links to more info on the new TSA protocols:

Assume the position:

Assume the position 2:

Assume the position 3:

Pilot Association says NO:

Columnist Steve Chapman concludes, “The war on terrorism is going to get personal. Very personal. Americans have long resented the hassles that go with air travel ever since 9/11 — long security lines, limits on liquids, forced removal of footwear and so on. But if the Transportation Security Administration has its way, we will look back to 2009 as the good old days. The agency is rolling out new full-body scanners, which eventually will replace metal detectors at all checkpoints. These machines replicate the experience of taking off your clothes, but without the fun. They enable agents to get a view of your body that leaves nothing to the imagination. For the camera-shy, TSA will offer an alternative: "enhanced” pat-downs. This is not the gentle frisking you may have experienced at the airport in the past. It requires agents to probe aggressively in intimate zones — breasts, buttocks, crotches. If you enjoyed your last mammography or prostate exam, you’ll love the enhanced pat-down. And you’ll get a chance to have an interesting conversation with your children about being touched by strangers. Besides the indignity of having one’s body exposed to an airport screener, there is a danger the images will find a wider audience. The U.S. Marshals Service recently admitted saving some 35,000 images from a machine at a federal courthouse in Florida. TSA says that will never happen. Human experience says, oh, yes, it will.“

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