Steve Watson
April 29, 2011

More Photos: The – Photos: Bauer-Griffin

The TSA’s latest headline generating act comes in the form of putting a popular music superstar through it’s radiation firing naked body scanners, in a blatant show of power that the agency knew would serve as a PR coup.

The singer Rihanna was stopped at a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday and asked by TSA agents to walk through a full body imaging device.

The TSA maintains that air travelers are chosen completely at random to be put through the machines, yet it is difficult to believe that was so in this case.

Clearly a message is being sent here – even your pop culture icons are not untouchable, you should take a leaf out of Rihanna’s book and submit to the radiation firing naked scanners with a smile on your face.

Some of the more savoury comments on the various news reports of this incident betray exactly the message the TSA wants to get across, in effect…

“I guess they shouldn’t exclude anyone, no matter who they are.”

Though the TSA denies that the naked images produced by the scanners can be stored, transmitted or printed, documents obtained by The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), have proven that the machines are designed to do this.

Therefore it would be no great surprise to see naked scanner images of Rihanna or some other celebrity appear in the public domain at some point. Indeed, Indian film star Shahrukh Khan last year publicly stated that he had witnessed images of his own body scan printed out and circulated by airport staff at Heathrow in London.

The TSA has faced months of backlash and fierce criticism over its increasingly invasive security procedures, in particular the imaging machines and the enhanced pat-downs, which involve agents reaching inside the pants of travelers.

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Even children are not exempt. Despite TSA claims that minors under 12 are not required to undergo the procedures, in recent weeks there have been numerous high profile cases of children being groped down by agents at airports around the country.

These stories have been set to a backdrop of consistent disturbing reports of TSA employees having records of sexual deviancy, including, in the latest disgusting case, the distribution of child pornography.

Earlier this week, a former miss America went public with her disgust over being intrusively handled by TSA agents in Dallas, Texas.

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In the video below, the former beauty queen who held the Miss USA title in 2003, Susie Castillo, says a TSA “screener” extensively fondled her vagina during an intrusive pat-down.

Many other young women have complained that they have been singled out by the TSA far from randomly, but based on the size of their breasts or their figures.

Recently a California woman filed a lawsuit against the TSA following an invasive pat-down conducted in full public view and front of her son at Albuquerque International Sunport. When a TSA supervisor arrived on the scene and the woman’s son asked why he had also not been subjected to the body search, the TSA agent told the boy “well you don’t have boobs”.

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

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