TSA: What Cancer?

The head of the TSA is thinking an independent study to figure out if backscatter x-ray body scanners cause cancer, may be unnecessary. Possibly because the only way the TSA can protect us from getting killed by the terrorists is by slowly killing us themselves. But a couple of weeks ago, he agreed to do an independent study of the machine. Then he came across a study by the Department of Homeland Security saying the machines were ok, that there was nothing to see there, and that they have no monetary bias or interest in seeing them deemed safe; this isn’t the cancer you’re looking for. So in light of all that, an independent study would clearly be superfluous.

Backscatter X-Ray Body Scanner


The machine in question is one of two x-ray glasses the TSA uses to visually inspect people. The other is the millimeter wave body scanner (a.k.a., naked body scanner) which everyone is upset about and which the Germans proved to be ridiculously unreliable — because unlike the TSA, ze Germans test things. Both of these scanners are being used to replace the old, friendly metal detectors. And they’re not guaranteed to work even if they were reliable, because if you’re crazy enough to kill yourself to crash a jet, you’re crazy enough to get a bomb surgically implanted inside you, where the scanners can’t see.

So the whole thing is just security theater put on by the TSA to make us feel safe by wasting our time at the airport. The funny thing is that the cancer complaint is theater too, because flying will dose you with much more radiation than a scanner ever will. And the Europeans already banned the backscatter machines, so that alone makes you wonder if they need to be banned. But, if nothing else, given how much of our time the TSA wastes, they deserve some of their own medicine, administered by having to waste time taking their shoes off for an independent study.

Via Propublica

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