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Body Scanners: The Story So Far

The Transportation Security Administration is planning to roll out body scanners at nearly every airport security lane in the country by 2014. Right now, it has deployed more than 500, split about evenly between two technologies -- one using X-rays and another using radio frequency waves.

Several prominent radiation safety experts have raised concerns about exposing millions of airline passengers to X-rays. While the dose is extremely low, research studies have estimated that six or 100 cancer cases may result among the 100 million passengers who fly every year. In 1998, a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee recommended a federal safety standard for the X-ray scanners. But the agency decided to go with a voluntary standard set by an industry panel made up mostly of manufacturers and government agencies that wanted to use the machine.

The TSA says tests show the machines are safe, but several scientists have pointed to flaws in those tests. Facing doubts, TSA administrator John Pistole agreed to conduct a new independent study of the health effects but backed off after receiving a draft report on the machines by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. Meanwhile, the European Union prohibited the use of X-ray body scanners “in order not to risk jeopardizing citizens' health and safety."

The body scanners can only detect explosives hidden on the body; they cannot detect any that might be implanted inside the body.

No - They cannot detect explosives hidden on the body. That’s one of the major problems. There have been reports that explosives flattened out against the body cannot be detected. They cannot detect powders either.

They are clearly chasing the boogyman and are unlikely to catch one, if one were to surface.

Meanwhile, Americans who travel from one part of America to another by plane are subjected to degrading pat downs and electronic surveillance that by no means has been proven medically safe.

Because some bad men attacked us ten years ago, we created a nanny security state in which poorly trained bottom rung employees of a vast security apparatus are given god-like powers over those poor schlubs who find themselves in need of a plane ride.

Nothing degrades this nation more than the cowardly ways in which we responded to a one-day flurry of terror. Out of fear of terrorism, we opened the doors wide to fascism, and I for one have not boarded an airplane since.

Amen, Wimpie!
ABOLISH THE TSA. When an agency promotes pedophilia and strip-searching our elderly friends and neighbors as “proper procedure,” it threatens us more than any terrorist ever could.

Malcolm McLean

Dec. 22, 2011, 11:21 a.m.

As a side comment on the TSA - an ex co-worker joined the TSA (he could find anyone else to employ him) and boasts that they are so deficient in quality people (sic) that they actually help applicants with the test - basically cheating on their own test and guideline.

He said (without any racial intent) - look who are the TSA ‘agents’ at airport security.

Many have police records of credit card fraud, check kiting, theft, and assault charges - but these are overlooked because the TSA needs staff, that can do this type of unpleasant work.

Also the TSA regularly engages in fraud - in that they illegally overtime staff if they are below budget - because then the budget will be cut for the following year.

So when you arrive or leave an airport, and security is abnormally overstaffed - you know they are all on overtime to make up the budget.

Another government scam that in the end will not stop a determined bomber - because he will check the bomb in with his baggage!

Forget the ingested Semtex - that was used in the unsuccessful attempt to blow up a Saudi Minister in his offices - it’s the checked luggage where the danger lies!!!

Abolish the TSA?

I don’t get it. Who would do it instead? A private company who calculates the cost of lost lives as a “cost of doing business” and places that calculation into their bid to protect passengers?

Only government can have 100% security as a goal. Private industry must assess risk vs. benefit and decide if it is worth while to take the job.

This article is part of an ongoing investigation:
Body Scanners

Body Scanners: Risking Health to Secure Airports

In an effort to detect explosives hidden under clothing, is the TSA jeopardizing passenger safety?

The Story So Far

The Transportation Security Administration is planning to roll out body scanners at nearly every airport security lane in the country by 2014. Right now, it has deployed more than 500, split about evenly between two technologies—one using X-rays and another using radio frequency waves.

Several prominent radiation safety experts have raised concerns about exposing millions of airline passengers to X-rays.

More »

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