Remember how we’ve been told for the past two years that the whole body imaging scanners are safe, effective, and can’t record and store graphic nude images? And remember how many of us never believed it? Maybe because they’ve never been independently tested for safety, have been proven to be ineffective — repeatedly — and because 35,000 images were already leaked two years ago?
Well, surprise surprise, the TSA’s “security” contractor par excellence, Rapiscan, has been accused of lying, falsifying its tests, and defrauding the government.
The scanners, at $150,000 to $200,000 a pop, were conveniently introduced right after a mentally disturbed young man, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, set his pants on fire on a flight from Europe. This incident, endlessly hyped and propagandized, was used as justification for the scanners. Even though Abdulmutallab never had a chance in hell of blowing up anything, people have been repeating nightmare scenarios of “underwear bombers” ever since.
And companies that manufacture the scanners have been raking in profits ever since.
Coincidentally, the most vocal proponent of scanners was former head of the Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff, who stepped out of a government job right into one in the private “security” industry — doing PR work for Rapiscan.
The TSA continues to stonewall a court order, now over a year old, to take public comments on the scanners, and has in the meantime started to remove the backscatter (x-ray) versions and mothball them in a warehouse, while replacing them with millimeter wave scanners. And still, the agency buys yet more scanners (more of your tax dollars at work).
Rapiscan has received a “show-cause” letter ordering it to supply information to the Congressional committee charged with oversight of the TSA and DHS. The company says it is cooperating with the investigation.