TSA Body Scanning Scam? Follow the Money!

By RightKlik

Who could have guessed that the TSA's draconian new security measures, instituted shortly before the busiest travel holiday of the year, would have been so unpopular? Fighting terrorism with inconvenience, humiliation and terrorist acts against small children... What's not to like?

In reaction to the TSA's new rules, November 24 has been slated as "National Opt-Out Day." Airline passengers are encouraged to opt out of having their genitals irradiated and inspected by strangers. Proponents of Opt-Out Day hope that if widespread, opting out of the pornoscan in favor of the alternative (a thorough groping), will eventually push TSA employees to tell their bosses, "Enough is enough."

Pilots and flight attendants are already saying "no way" to the threat of daily sexual assault.

Who expects this policy to last? How much money will have been wasted on the pornoscanners before the program is finally abandoned? Why go through so much trouble to execute such an ill-conceived and ineffective plan?

For potential answers, follow the money.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) this week awarded Rapiscan Security Systems a $25.4 million contract using Recovery Act funding for whole body imaging systems that will be deployed at some of the nation's airports, marking the first production award to any company for the imaging systems.

Rapiscan's Secure 1000 system is based on X-Ray technology...

The award is a surprise considering how recently the agency began the pilot tests of the Secure 1000 at several airports.

A less surprising choice for the first production award would seemto have been L-3 Communications [LLL], which has sold about 40 of its ProVision millimeter wave-based whole body imagers to TSA beginning in the fall of 2007.
(Don't feel bad for L-3. They've gotten at least $165 million from Uncle Sam for body scanners.)

Rapiscan has a very cozy relationship with the TSA and other government agencies. Just this year, Rapiscan has been awarded an IDIQ (indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity) contract for up to $325 million from the TSA for its checkpoint x-ray baggage inspection system, $35 million for advanced aviation checkpoint x-ray systems, $3.5 million for cargo and vehicle Inspection systems, $9 million for advanced cargo and vehicle inspection technologies, contracts worth up to $12 million for research, $
18 million for cargo and people screening systems, $3 Million for Rapiscan Secure 1000 Portable Body Scanner, $25 million for cargo & vehicle inspection systems. Using my old-fashioned arithmetic, the total for the year is approaching half a billion dollars.

A blogger at ultra-liberal Daily Kos also smells something suspicious:
"Rapiscan's lobbyists include Susan Carr, a former senior legislative aide to Rep. David Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee. When Defense Daily reported on Price's appropriations bill last winter, the publication noted "Price likes the budget for its emphasis on filling gaps in aviation security, in particular the whole body imaging systems."
Very convenient, very cozy! (see Update I below)

Open Secrets charts Rapiscan's recent spending on lobbying:

Data for the most recent year was downloaded on July 26, 2010.

So what if the body scanners end up in the dump after a nationwide revolt?
The windfall profits for Rapiscan will have been well worth their investment.

No one can say Rapiscan didn't hustle for the money!

UPDATE I: Nudie-scan CEO an Obama ally
Rapiscan is one of the two companies that makes the nudie-scanners at airports for the TSA. Rapiscan CEO Deepak Chopra (who has the same name as the more famous Deepak Chopra, M.D.) recently was tapped by Obama to accompany the administration on Obama’s trip to India.

Also, Chopra is an Obama donor.
Chopra gave a maximum donation to Obama in 2008, as well as a $1,000 donation to Rep. David Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee, in 2007.

Update II: Full Frontal Nudity Doesn’t Make Us Safer (via Memeorandum)


  1. Finally somebody asked the right question. Who benefits? And how much?

  2. i would sell pictures.. just saying

  3. Again, the masses of the law abiding suffer due to the few that have no regard for humanity.
    Furthermore, the only time the "terrorists" have been foiled is because of the law abiding passengers and NOT by the airport security personnel...

  4. I think the Chertoff connection needs to be investigated. There's a boat load of money in these scanners and Chertoff stands to benefit from this big time. What official moves (or kickbacks) might he have taken while still at Homeland (in)Security?

  5. Ok first the TSA lies about the scanners being able to ‘inverse’ a scan to make it more ‘lifelike’.
    Then they lie about the scanners being able to save an image, but try to excuse it by saying that it can ONLY do it in “test mode” and that none will actually be saved.

    Then people find out it has a high speed interface to transfer saved images, and after that a story breaks that at least THOUSANDS of scans have been saved, after the TSA assures us that that won’t happen.
    (I have to wonder how many “inversed” images were saved.)

    And if the machines are supposed to be used for what they say they are, WHY would the scanner even be able to ‘inverse’ an image??

    And if the machines are supposed to be used for what they say they are, WHY would the scanner even be able to save an image?

    And if the machines are supposed to be used for what they say they are, WHY would the scanner have a high spend interface to be able to transmit images? (And no doubt cost more money for these options!)

    And if the machines are supposed to be used for what they say they are, WHY the heck are they SAVING THOUSANDS of images, (OR even more), even after they said they wouldn’t?

    NOW they want people to believe that the scanners pose NO RISK, (even to pregnant women, or older people, or people exposed to them again & again like the pilots & crew?).

    When someone lies to you again & again, do you REALLY trust ANYTHING they say?


Commenting here is a privilege, not a right. Comments that contain cursing or insults and those failing to add to the discussion will be summarily deleted.