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TSA agent admits nude body scanners are useless


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(NaturalNews) What is the Transportation Security Administration but government-mandated irradiation of our bodies and sexual abuse of the traveling public? Those are the only conclusions one can reach based on recently released observations of someone who ought to know.

In a column for Time magazine online, former TSA screener Jason Edward Harrington, in response to the firing of two TSA agents who conspired to grope attractive male travelers via "enhanced" pat downs, says that's just business as usual for employees of the hapless agency.

Harrington notes in his column:

The recent story of two Transportation Security Administration screeners at Denver International Airport manipulating full-body scanners in order to grope men's crotches is disturbing, but it came as no surprise to me.

Over the course of my six years with the TSA, the leveraging of rules and surveillance tools to abuse passengers was a daily checkpoint occurrence. Has the TSA screener searching your luggage suddenly decided to share with you the finer points of official bag-search procedure just as your final boarding call is being announced? There's a good chance that he or she just doesn't like you. Or in some cases, as we've seen, it may be that the screener finds you attractive and wants to use the TSA rules as an excuse to get his or her hands on you
[our emphases].

How's that for travel "safety?"

This is what fighting terrorism is supposed to look like?

While some may find the story comical, Harrington further notes that what the two TSA agents committed was no less than sexual assault, pure and simple. He also cautions against focusing all of our ire on just those two agents (who have been fired, by the way); the bigger issue is that there are just "far too many federal hands on people's private parts in airports."

But it's more than just assault; it's the exposure to harmful radiation-emitting scanners that don't really work like they're supposed to that has Harrington and others equally concerned.

"What most people don't realize is that the full-body scanners the two agents used to assault those passengers -- the scanners that millions of people pass through each day -- are practically useless," he wrote. "The TSA, in its rush to replace the controversial 'nude' radiation scanners that they phased out in 2013, swapped out one poorly functioning line of machines for another. The current millimeter wave scanners, with their outrageous false-positive rates, regularly cause unnecessary pat-downs: The agent running his or her hands over you after you pass through the scanner is almost never doing it for a good reason."

How "outrageous"? According to an expose by ProPublica, current scanners often qualify even perspiration as a threat; literally, if you are sweating -- maybe from running to catch your flight -- the scanners often treat it as a weapon.

The false positives are so bad that two of Europe's largest countries - Germany and France -- have decided to stop using them. In Germany, the false positive rate was 54 percent.

As for the TSA, just a few weeks ago, Harrington notes, the agency reached a settlement with the ACLU regarding pat-down search procedures for black women's hair.

Pat-downs of crotch and buttocks areas ought to be more rare

"The reason? The scanners single out areas on passengers' bodies for pat-downs for just about anything, from the hair of people with braids or barrettes, to the crotch areas of people whose pants are slightly sagging (usually due to the fact that the TSA makes people remove their belts)," Harrington wrote.

But the most disturbing part of the recent TSA sexual abuse scandal is that most passengers likely had no idea what was taking place; they view it as just part of the normal "screening" process.

"It's difficult to tell where airport security ends and sexual assault begins these days. Pat-downs of people's sensitive areas should be much rarer than they are at the airport," he wrote.

Read Harrington's full report here.

Sources:

http://time.com

http://www.nbcnews.com

http://articles.latimes.com

http://www.propublica.org

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