Since the terror attacks on 9-11 Americans have come to accept that getting groped, squeezed and having your genitals inspected is all part of an elaborate web of national security. We accept the longer lines, the racial profiling, the nude inspections and harassment of children because the Transportation and Security Administration tells us that ultimately these actions stop terrorists and make Americans safer.
But what if they don’t? What if all of the extra security measures are really just a smokescreen for government waste and abuse? That’s what Congress is going to hear today when Jonathan Corbett, the TSA slayer, goes to Washington.
Jonathan Corbett is a blogger and president of Fourten Technologies, a company that specializes in web development, apps and internet marketing. But it’s not the newest droid app for a local restaurant that has made Corbett famous, it’s been his blog exposing some of the most egregious problems currently plaguing the Transportation and Safety Administration. His viral You Tube video “How to Get Anything Through TSA Nude Body Scanners” is disturbing in its simplicity. Corbett points out that the body scanners can easily be fooled by inseam pockets on long coats and shirts, something that would never have gotten past the old metal detectors. Throughout the video he points out that the exposure to radiation, leaked nude photos, false positives, 70% of weapons getting past current TSA scanners, and not to mention an 87 million dollar price tag, expose the body scanners as a civil rights violation without purpose.
And you don’t have to just take Jonathan Corbett’s word for it. Ben-Gurion airport in Israel, the most security conscious airport in the world, considered the body scanners to be a bust as well. Rafi Sela, head of Israel’s Airport Authority while testifying in front of Canadian government officials about the scanners stated:
“I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747. That’s why we haven’t put them in our airport.”
So if the body scanners miss key terror threats, expose the U.S. government to countless civil liberties law suits, create possible health problems, not to mention cost the taxpayer millions of dollars in expense and repairs, why is Congress still funding these machines?
When in doubt, follow the money.
The money goes all the way back to Michael Chertoff, the second head of Homeland Security, and head of the Chertoff Group. Using the kind of revolving door crony capitalism that allows government officials to slip back and forth between policy making and profit making in the private sector, Chertoff has used his influence as former Homeland Security director, as well as his frequent appearances as an ‘expert’ on cable news to promote the body scanners – which are made by Rapiscan … a client of the Chertoff Group. With so many members of Congress and their staffers getting a slice of the security money pie it’s no wonder that activists like Jonathan Corbett, and groups like Freedom to Travel USA are in an uphill battle when they face Congress on Tuesday.
Hopefully the hearings will result in some positive changes for our national airport security. It would be horrible to think that national security could be compromised by the financial interests of members of Congress. That would never happen, right?