TSA turns off naked body scanners to avoid opt-out day protests
Nov 25, 2010
Anticipating a nationwide grassroots surge of protests against naked body scanners and aggressive pat-downs, the TSA simply turned off its naked body scanners on Wednesday and let air travelers walk right through security checkpoints without being X-rayed or molested.
All across the country, air travelers are reporting that the TSA simply deactivated the naked body scanners and let people go right through without a scan. “Backscatter scanners are off. No scan. No patdown.” reported a traveler from the Seattle airport. “Backscatter machines aren’t being used at LAX,” reported another traveler. “They’re all roped off.”
Much the same story is being reported all across the country.
The TSA is desperate to avoid protests
Shutting down the “National Opt-Out Day” by turning off the machines is the only logical move for the TSA, of course: The agency needed a way to defuse the growing grassroots resistance to its criminal violations of Americans’ Fourth Amendment rights. So instead of facing what was sure to be widespread protest, the agency simply decided to turn off the machines for a day.
This action tells us all sorts of fascinating things about the TSA and its fabricated security excuses. Perhaps most importantly, it proves that the naked body scanners are not needed for air travel security in the first place. When it wants to, the TSA can just turn the machines off and resort to baggage X-rays and metal detectors. That’s worked for years, and it apparently worked today, too.
And yet, up until today, the TSA has insisted that the naked body scanners are absolutely essential to detecting hidden bombs, and that “travelers won’t be safe” unless they use the naked body scanners. So all of a sudden today it’s okay for the TSA to put air travelers at risk of being blown up?
The TSA can’t have it both ways. Either the naked body scanners are vital for air security and they need to be running 24/7 to keep everybody safe, or they’re just another security con game being played out for the financial benefit of Chertoff and others who profit from the sale of such machines.
How can the TSA — with a straight face — say that naked body scanners are vital for air security but not on the busiest air travel day of the year?
As you can see, there are some serious holes in the TSA’s mythology, and interestingly, this National Opt-Out Day indirectly exposed them by getting the TSA to turn off the naked body scanners. This is effectively an admission that they aren’t important to air security.