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TSA agent fakes cancer to get government-paid time off

TSA agent

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(NaturalNews) A former TSA employee pleaded guilty on May 11 to faking cancer in order to scam other employees into letting him use their sick and vacation days.

Forty-two-year-old Marc Bess admitted that, while working as a TSA agent at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, he pretended to have cancer in order to take advantage of a TSA program known as "voluntary leave transfer." This program allows employees to donate some of their paid time off to another employee who is undergoing an emergency. In order to qualify for donated leave, however, an employee must provide supporting documentation to verify their emergency.

"Bess deceived his coworkers who donated their own paid vacation time out of concern for their colleague so he could take time off from work at the public's expense," said acting U.S. attorney John Horn.

Agent defrauded $60,000 worth of paid leave

According to prosecutors, Bess received approximately 2,240 hours worth of paid time off, amounting to about $60,000 in salary and benefits, more than a year's pay.

They said Bess has never been diagnosed with or received treatment for any form of cancer.

Prosecutors said that, between 2009 and 2014, Bess submitted three separate written applications for voluntary leave transfer, along with documents supporting his claims that he was receiving treatment for lymphoma in his abdomen. They said that Bess forged doctors' notes describing the surgery and radiation therapy he was supposedly receiving.

The scam was uncovered when Bess submitted documents with a forged signature from a doctor who had died several months prior. Following the revelation of his misconduct, Bess resigned.

"Mr. Bess' thoughtless actions to defraud his fellow employees was indeed despicable; he betrayed the general trust of many compassionate TSA employees, who were willing to donate their hard-earned leave in support of a fellow employee," said James E. Ward, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General. "We are pleased with Mr. Bess' guilty plea, and the acknowledgment that he will be held responsible for his treachery."

Bess is scheduled to be sentenced on July 24.

TSA exposes passengers to real health risks

Meanwhile, the TSA continues to expand the use of airport full-body scanners that irradiate passengers, potentially increasing the risk of very real health problems.

Two types of full-body scanners are commonly used in airports around the world: backscatter X-ray and millimeter wave. The X-ray scanners are no longer in use at U.S. airports, although they may make a reappearance if the company that makes them can program a way for the devices to be used without showing "naked photos" of passengers.

Millimeter wave scanners use much lower frequency radiation than X-rays, instead using electromagnetic waves on the same scale as that used by cellular phones, Wi-Fi and other wireless communications. The TSA insists that, because these devices use non-ionizing radiation, they pose no health threat.

However, a 2014 article in the Journal of Radiation Research & Applied Sciences warned that "although millimeter-wave scanners are becoming the primary full-body scanners used at airport security checks, there is still an alarmingly small amount of information about its potential health effects." The article concurred with TSA's assessment that the energy emitted by millimeter wave scanners is probably not enough to cause significant tissue heating, but warned that other potential health effects of the scanners have simply not been looked for.

Notably, evidence continues to emerge that radiation in the same part of the spectrum, in the form of cellular or wireless Internet signals, can cause DNA damage, tumors and other serious health effects.








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