Over 150 radiation spewing body scanners, previously used by the TSA in the nation’s airports, have been redeployed into environments much more fitting of their use – prisons.
The machines, previously used to digitally strip search people who have had all their rights taken away by the authorities, are now being used to… digitally strip search people who have had all their rights taken away by the authorities.
However, because the subjects of the radiation firing scanners are now hardened criminals, it really doesn’t matter that their slave masters can see naked images of them and have a right old laugh about it. It’s also a fact that prisoners have absolutely zero right to be concerned about their privacy, according to the TSA.
Also, who cares if prisoners get cancer – right? There’ll be no more nagging requests from members of Congress demanding that the National Academy of Sciences explore whether people are exposed to unsafe levels of radiation during the screening process.
The truth is that these machines would still be in the airports had it not been for the surfacing of allegations that the manufacturer, Rapiscan, manipulated operational tests on the machines, and the fact that the company was too incompetent to develop the “stick man” software that masks naked images produced by the scanners.
It was only after years of relentless campaigning and complaining to Congress by privacy advocates and everyday Americans alike, that any action was taken with regards to the machines.
Last year, the TSA came under strict scrutiny from Congress over the mothballing of $14 million worth of body scanners. All in all, the 250 backscatter scanners the agency now has are worth a combined total of $40 million.
A total of 154 of those machines have been transferred to state and local prisons in Iowa, Virginia and Louisiana. Sheriffs in Arkansas also received five of those machines this month. The remaining 96 scanners are still gathering dust in a Rapiscan warehouse.
“TSA and the vendor are working with other government agencies interested in receiving the units for their security mission needs and for use in a different environment,” TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said.
Wonderful. The one remaining snag is that the machines don’t work. A TSA whistleblower revealed earlier this year that even the trainers who taught screeners how to use the scanners knew that they did not work.
“They’re shit,” he said, shrugging. He said we wouldn’t be able to distinguish plastic explosives from body fat and that guns were practically invisible if they were turned sideways in a pocket.
We quickly found out the trainer was not kidding: Officers discovered that the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.
Engineer John Corbett independently exposed the fact that the scanners can be fooled by sewing a metallic object into the side of one’s clothing, rendering the entire fleet of machines virtually useless.
A recently discovered Homeland Security report also noted that federal investigators had “identified vulnerabilities in the screening process” involving the scanners.
Of course, the fact that the machines have zero real security capabilities is a side note. If $40 million of hardware was left to rot in warehouses, the government would look slightly worse than if it were deployed into prisons.
You’d think that this would be the end of the road for body scanners. You’d think that the government would learn a lesson from all of this. You’d also be wrong. Instead of laying the technology to rest, the TSA is seeking a new generation of more powerful body scanners.
Better build bigger prisons then.
Steve Watson is a 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, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.