Janet Napolitano’s contention that Matt Drudge is “just wrong” about privacy worries surrounding airport screening technology is completely at odds with the facts, which illustrate how the DHS has been caught time and time again lying about both privacy and health issues in a transparent ploy to undermine genuine concerns
A quick fact check however shows that it’s Napolitano who is “just wrong”. The DHS has repeatedly lied about the privacy and health threats posed by naked body scanners in an effort to keep the controversy under wraps, as well as withholding evidence.
- Privacy concerns were completely justified after a recent release under the Freedom of Information Act of DHS plans for the mass rollout of mobile body scanners, documents which were largely redacted, with entire pages having been blacked out by the agency.
- Before the agency was forced to roll out new “stick man” software upgrades, to deflect genuine privacy concerns, the DHS simply lied about the fact that the scanners produced naked images of the body which showed genitalia in crisp detail.
- When the agency was finally forced to admit that the scanners do produce naked images, they then claimed that it was not a privacy concern because such images could not be printed or saved in any way. This claim was exposed as yet another act of mass public deception when documents emerged confirming that the U.S. Marshals Service had surreptitiously saved thousands of naked images from a scanner at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse. The Electronic Privacy Information Center also obtained documents from the DHS showing that the machines used by the department’s TSA screeners are not only able to record and store naked body images, but that they are mandated to do so.
- In claiming that the body scanners were safe, DHS cited a study by Johns Hopkins University. This was a complete lie. In reality, Dr Michael Love, who runs an X-ray lab at the department of biophysics and biophysical chemistry at the Johns Hopkins school of medicine, concluded that “statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays”.
- In brushing aside radiation concerns, Big Sis also completely ignored the warnings of numerous highly respected scientific bodies and academic authorities that the scanners posed serious health risks, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety, and the University of California. When a “cluster” of cancer cases developed amongst TSA screeners at Boston Logan, the TSA attempted to cover up the story.
- Big Sis was also caught lying about the level of radiation emitted by the scanners. Scientists at Columbia University found that the dose emitted by the naked x-ray devices could be up to 20 times higher than originally estimated, likely contributing to an increase in a common type of skin cancer called basal cell carcinoma which affects the head and neck.