TSA Tries to Sneak Past Scrutiny

When folks want to hold government accountable for their activities, it appears that sometimes the best route of action is to simply take Uncle Sam’s word for it — or just have one bureaucracy vouch for the other. At least, that’s what’s happening amid questions surrounding the health-risks of using Backscatter X-ray machines. ProPublica reports:

Earlier this month, a ProPublica/PBS NewsHour investigation found that the TSA had glossed over research that the X-ray scanners could lead to a small number of cancer cases. The scanners emit low levels of ionizing radiation, which has been shown to damage DNA. In addition, several safety reviewers who initially advised the government on the scanners said they had concerns about the machines being used, as they are today, on millions of airline passengers.

At a Senate hearing after the story ran, TSA Administrator John Pistole agreed to a request by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, to conduct a new independent study of the health effects of the X-ray scanners, also known as backscatters.

But at a Senate hearing of a different committee last week, Pistole said he had since received a draft report on the machines by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general, or IG, that might render the independent study unnecessary.

“My strong belief is those types of machines are still completely safe,” Pistole said. “If the determination is that this IG study is not sufficient, then I will look at still yet another additional study.”

Ever been to a gathering where an acquaintance brings along a less-than-savory character everyone just can’t help but feel uneasy around? Something ends up destroyed, or they eat all the damn food. It’s an easy analogy to make in this scenario. The DHS is the sketchy acquaintance, and the TSA is his shady cousin Louie.

DHS: ‘Hey no worries, these TSA guys are with me. It’s cool man, trust me.’

Even as the TSA evades independent scrutiny in the U.S., the European Union adopted new airport screening policies that ban the use of Backscatter machines. What for? Safety and health concerns!

In order not to risk jeopardising citizens’ health and safety, only security scanners which do not use X-ray technology are added to the list of authorised methods for passenger screening at EU airports.

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2 responses to “TSA Tries to Sneak Past Scrutiny

  • Noorish

    Mind,For many, the issue regarding the bakttcascer x-ray / millimeter-wave scan is that there is not enough known to assure that there are no health risks involved. Just because the TSA says it’s safe, doesn’t mean that everyone believes or trusts that statement blindly. In addition, I believe that most people don’t like the idea of nude pictures of themselves.The company who has the contract to sell these scanners to the government spent $5 million on lobbying key gov’t. personnel in order to win the deal. In fact, the president of that company just went along with Obama on his recent trip to Asia. When there is a lot of money involved, people will say just about anything, including that the machines are safe. Therefore, a bit of skepticism is a good thing.In fact, the pilots union have opted out of bakttcascer scans for the very reason of health concerns. Until more scientific information is produced as proof, I agree with them..You bring up a good point regarding TSA employees and the likelihood that they do not like having to perform the new pat-down procedures. Who would They are doing what they are told.I believe that the Opt-Out protest (if it materializes) will be a way of pushing back against the US government policy makers (not the TSA employees I do feel that you are right that they are getting a bad end of the deal too, and surely most of them do not enjoy the grief that they must be getting). No quarrel here you just happen to be the type of person who is willing to give up more of your rights to make you feel safer. I know many people and have friends that believe similarly. I can still be friends with them, but I just don’t agree I just happen to be the type of person who believes that this is going too far against American freedoms. I believe it is a dangerous road, and where would it stop? Scanners and strip searches at bus and train stations too? etc OK, this is coincidental after having just posted this comment, a story pops out there saying that the . We are living in a police state now. I personally believe that there should be Profiling when trying to discover the terrorist . No one seems to want to say that, but I believe it is the only effective way. We should not be subjecting our kids, grandparents, (and ourselves) to such over-the-top scrutiny. In my opinion of course.As far as I know, all of the past attempts to blow up airplanes has come from someone from another part of the world. I think we have a fairly good idea who the people are who want to do us harm, and it’s not us.So in conclusion, I do believe this has everything to do with modern survival, especially the survival of our way of life without excessive government intrusion.

  • Bang

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