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More New Documents Show TSA Intends To Deploy Body Scanners At Rail, Bus, Ferry Terminals

Posted By steve_watson On September 7, 2012 @ 11:34 am In Featured Stories,Tile | Comments Disabled

Mobile body scanner program was not discontinued, as agency claims

Steve Watson
Infowars.com
Sept 7, 2012

Yet more documents uncovered under the Freedom of Information Act have revealed that in the year prior to rolling out radiation body scanners in airports, the TSA was drawing up long term plans to deploy the machines at “ferry terminals, railway, and mass transit stations” as well as unspecified “other locations”.

The documents, dating from 2008 were released to engineer Jon Corbett who made headlines last year by infamously posted a video of himself demonstrating how the body scanners can easily be bypassed.

“You can expect {the scanners] at train stations, bus stations, subways, highways, cruise ships, and anywhere that “transportation” happens (i.e., everywhere).” Corbett writes. “And, where the body scanners go, so does the groping, since the body scanners have at least a 40% false positive rate which needs to be resolved by blue-gloved gestapo.” he adds.

The documents also detail the fact that the TSA refused to conduct any form of study on what effect the radiation firing scanners would have on the environments they are placed into.

Indeed, the DHS specifically issued an order “exempting” the scanners from environmental review.

“Why not conduct an environmental impact study? Unless, of course, your device is leaking radiation everywhere…” Corbett notes.

He has a valid point, given that in March of this year, The TSA was forced into a promise that it would retest every full-body X-ray scanner after maintenance records on some of the devices showed radiation levels 10 times higher than expected.

Scrutiny over radiation exposure was heightened last year following apparent efforts by the TSA to cover-up a “cluster” of cancer cases amongst scanner operators at Boston-Logan airport. According to FOIA documents obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), when Union representatives in Boston discovered a “cancer cluster” amongst TSA workers linked with radiation from the body scanners, the TSA sought to downplay the matter and refused to issue employees with dosimeters to measure levels of exposure.

The documents indicated how, “A large number of workers have been falling victim to cancer, strokes and heart disease.”

In addition, further documents obtained by EPIC show how the TSA “publicly mischaracterized” findings of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in stating that the agency had positively confirmed the safety of full body scanners in tests.

We have exhaustively documented how many experts are on record saying they feel the scanners are significant health risks. The TSA has cited numerous studies in its defense, yet no actual indpendent tests have been carried out.

The DHS has claimed that it dropped plans for mobile body scanners a long time ago. However, last month a separate set of documents obtained by EPIC revealed that the DHS continued to pursue the plans.

The DHS was still operating the program in March 2011, just two days prior to claiming it had “dropped the projects in a very early phase after testing showed flaws”.

Previous EPIC FOIA work also produced records showing that the DHS is actively moving to install radiation firing scanners in all manner of public places,

The technologies include “intelligent video,” backscatter x-ray, Millimeter Wave Radar, and Terahertz Wave, and could be deployed at subway platforms, sidewalks, sports arenas, and shopping malls.

EPIC filed a specific lawsuit against the DHS for attempting to keep the program secret.

In February 2011, EPIC discovered (PDF) that the DHS had paid contractors “millions of dollars on mobile body scanner technology that could be used at railways, stadiums, and elsewhere” on crowds of moving people.

According to the documents, the TSA plans to expand the use of these systems to peer under clothes and inside bags away from airports.

The documents included a “Surface Transportation Security Priority Assessment” [PDF] which revealed details of conducting risk assessments and possible implementation of body scanners in “Mass transit, commuter and long-distance passenger rail, freight rail, commercial vehicles (including intercity buses), and pipelines, and related infrastructure (including roads and highways), that are within the territory of the United States.”

The DHS maintained that it had discontinued the program, but refused to provide the proof, invoking several FOIA exemption clauses, ironically including one that cited “invasion of personal privacy”.

EPIC also noted that the DHS has actively deployed “mobile body scanner technology in vans that are able to scan other vehicles while driving down public roadways.”

“These vans, known as ‘Z Backscatter Vans,’ are capable of seeing through vehicles and clothing and routinely store the images that they generate.” EPIC’s lawsuit notes.

As we previously reported, while the focus remained on the TSA’s use of naked body scanners at airports, the feds had already purchased hundreds of x-ray scanners mounted in vans that were being used to randomly scan vehicles, passengers and homes in complete violation of the 4th amendment and with wanton disregard for any health consequences.

WSBTV reported on once instance of the mobile scanners being used to check trucks for explosive devices at an internal checkpoint set up by Homeland Security, the Department of Transportation, and the TSA. Officials admitted there was no specific threat that justified the checkpoint, and although it was labeled a “counter-terror operation,” the scans were also being conducted in the name of “safety”.

The TSA has wholly failed to inform the American people before rolling out such technology. Indeed, EPIC continues to fight another ongoing lawsuit against the agency, which has already found that the TSA was in violation of federal law when it deployed scanners to airports in 2009 without holding public notifiction hearings. Since that time the TSA has completely ignored a court order to set the public comment process into motion.

As we have previously documented, airport security style checkpoints and inspection procedures are already in place at bus terminals,train stations, and are rapidly being expanded to the streets of America. The body scanners, it seems, are not far behind.

Agents have even been spotted roaming around at public events such as sports games and music concerts, political events, and even at high school proms.

The ‘Transportation’ part of the TSA’s acronym has presumably been dispensed with as the Department of Homeland Security attempts to create an occupying army of security goons at every public event.

The TSA even moved beyond its own borders this summer as agents were dispatched to airports in London for the Olympic Games.

The TSA has also announced its intention to expand the VIPR program to include roadside inspections of commercial vehicles, setting up a network of internal checkpoints and rolling out security procedures already active in airports, bus terminals and subway stations to roads and highways across the United States.

Jon Corbett has continued his efforts to expose flaws in the body scanner program by interviewing TSA whistleblowers who have admitted that the scanners routinely fail to pick up prohibited items such as knives, guns and powder designed to resemble explosive material. Corbett also recently testified in a congressional hearing on the scanners.

As we have previously noted, multiple other security experts have gone on record saying that the scanners are ineffective.

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Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.


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