thousands of Americans are leered at “in the buff” by U.S. Transportation Safety
Administration employees. This uncomfortable -- to some -- situation
is justified in the name of national security. Unfortunately, independent
testing has shown the scanners to have trouble detecting some of the most dangerous types of
materials -- low-density chemical products like explosives or
In a measure to placate a disgruntled public, the Democratic-controlled U.S.
Senate has moved to make it illegal to share images taken in the scans.
Under the pending provision in the Security Screening Confidential Data Privacy Act,
sharing such an image could land you in jail for a year or net you a $100,000
Supposedly the scanners don't have the capability to save or transfer pictures.
Recent documents from cases involving the
U.S. Federal Marshals reveal, though, that the scanners not only have these
capabilities, but they are regularly used.
The bill is sponsored by Senators Charles Schumer (NY-D) [profile] and Ben Nelson (Nebr.-D) [profile] and
co-sponsored by Senators Daniel Akaka (Haw.-D) [profile], Sheldon Whitehouse (Conn.-D) [profile], Jeanne Shaheen (NH-D) [profile], Jon Tester (Mont.-D) [profile], and Robert Menendez (NJ-D) [profile]. None of the Senate's 49
Republicans and neither of its 2 Independents sponsored the bill.
The new guidelines for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration are expected to
pass through Congress relatively smoothly. However, Democratic U.S.
President Barack Obama, like the Republican President George W. Bush before
him, will likely continue to push to expand the deployment and funding for the
invasive body scans.
At the end of the day the question was, and still is -- how far is the U.S.
prepared to go in the name of security? With suicide bombers in places
like Saudi Arabia trying increasingly unorthodox like inserting bombs in their
rectal cavities  , one has to wonder exactly how intimately the
federal government is willing to intimately poke, prod, and image its citizens
in the name of the "War on Terror" -- and how much taxpayer money the government is willing to spend to