November 23, 2010

What Body Scanners Really Show

. . . is that (1) our leaders are in corporate pockets, and/or (2) our leaders are more afraid of US than they are of terrorists.

Body scanner makers doubled lobbying cash over 5 years
". . . Rapiscan Systems, meanwhile, has spent $271,500 on lobbying so far this year, compared with $80,000 five years earlier. It has faced criticism for hiring Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary, last year. Chertoff has been a prominent proponent of using scanners to foil terrorism. The government has spent $41.2 million with Rapiscan. . . ."

Body scanner CEO accompanied Obama to India
". . . The CEO of one of the two companies licensed to sell full body scanners to the TSA accompanied President Barack Obama to India earlier this month, a clear sign of the deep ties between Washington politicians and the companies pushing to have body scanners installed at all US airports. . . ."

Body scanner caught masturbating
". . . as a team of High School netball players went through the scanner. 'The young ladies were going through the scanner one by one, and . . . .'"

And see this translation of what John Pistole means when he talks about providing the "high level of confidence" we weren't clamoring for:

But it's not the waste of money I mainly object to, and it's certainly not the invasion of my bodily privacy, or even the damage to my DNA; it's the rape of my Fourth Amendment rights.

What's next, scanning before travel by train? bus? toll roads? TSA is performing a police function with respect to a public, common carrier. The government cannot be allowed to unilaterally repeal the Constitution merely by subcontracting its obligations to private corporations.

UPDATE: If you had any remaining doubt about the real purposes of this "security theater," see this documentary: "Some facts from Please Remove Your Shoes . . . : 'During the first 3 months of 2007, the TSA Logistics Center received 8 explosive detection systems units at a cost of about $7 million. As of January 2009, all 8 explosive detection systems units remained in storage at the Logistics Center. TSA paid out $98 million in bonuses and pay raises in 2008. According to GAO, TSA inspectors spend 33% of their time inspecting, 8% on incidents, 5% investigating, 5% on 'outreach' 49% of their time on 'other.' Other?'" (Link inserted; from BoingBoing via Ben – thanks!)

FURTHER UPDATE: I thought I was kidding about scanning before boarding a bus!

FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE: Mark Denninger makes a great point: none of the 9/11 hijackers or the underwear bomber had the documentation to remain in or enter the U.S. legally, and the technology to turn up that fact in time to have prevented them from flying here has been commercially available for 20 years, but only now has the Obama admin finally announced we'll start using it. (Meanwhile, we've spent billions on "worthless virtual strip-search machines" from Chertoff & Co.)

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