Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., former Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the current top Republican on the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, blasts TSA’s invasive “pat downs” during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives on November 17, 2010. Duncan also questions the role of lucrative government contracts in TSA’s new naked body scanning machines. The text of the speech is copied below:
A nationwide revolt is developing over the body scanners at the airports, and it should.
Hundreds of thousands of frequent fliers who fly each week are upset about getting these frequent doses of radiation.
Parents are upset about being forced to have their children radiated or being touched inappropriately by an unrelated adult.
There is already plenty of security at the airport, but now we are going to spend up to $300 million to install 1,000 scanners.
This is much more about money than it is about security.
The former secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff [pictured, above], represents Rapiscan, the company which is selling these scanners to his former department.
Far too many federal contracts are sweetheart, insider deals.
Companies hire former high ranking federal officials, and then magically, those companies get hugely profitable federal contracts.
The American people should not have to choose between having full-body radiation or a very embarrassing, intrusive pat-down every time they fly, as if they were criminals.
We need a little more balance and common sense on this.”
WASHINGTON POST: Since the attempted bombing of a U.S. airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports. What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. The relationship drew attention after Chertoff disclosed it on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question. An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff, who left office less than a year ago, for using his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients. “Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,” said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners. MORE
RELATED: Apologists for the scanners have routinely described the images they produce as “ghostly” or “skeletal” in an effort to downplay the intrusion of privacy they really represent. As we reported yesterday, claims that the body scanners did not provide details of genitals were disproven after a London Guardian journalist who was present at a trial for the machines earlier this week reported that the devices produce an image which make “genitals eerily visible.” German Security advisor Hans-Detlef Dau, a representative for a company that sells the scanners, admits that the machines, “show intimate piercings, catheters and the form of breasts and penises”. Indeed, as was admitted when the scanners were first being rolled out over a year ago, they don’t function properly if areas of the body are blurred out. A report from October 2008, when the naked body scanners were first being introduced at Melbourne Airport in Australia, detailed how the X-ray backscatter devices don’t work properly unless the genitals of people going through them are visible. “It will show the private parts of people, but what we’ve decided is that we’re not going to blur those out, because it severely limits the detection capabilities,” said Office of Transport Security manager Cheryl Johnson. MORE