From: Campaign for Liberty
Smutty Scanners and Private Planes
By Becky Akers
Twice in as many months, events have conspired to give the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) exactly what it wants despite the public’s intense opposition. You need not be a skeptic for this to seem oddly convenient rather than merely coincidental.
First was the Underwear Bomber’s attempt on Christmas Day to emasculate himself aboard his flight. The TSA immediately exploited that fashion faux-pas to push its favorite toy, whole-body imagers. These pornographic scanners peer through passengers’ clothing to photograph the bombs so many tape to their bodies — and the bodies themselves.
The TSA has been trying to turn airports into peep-shows courtesy of these strip-machines since 2002. But judging from passengers’ refusal to submit, they preferred to lose the War on Terror rather than exhibit themselves to government agents. The idea was so patently offensive that Congress, never known for its prudery, introduced legislation last year restricting the scanners’ use.
Then along comes Umar Farouk Abdullmutallab and his burning britches and bingo, resistance to titillating the TSA drops (at least among Congressmen: Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), sponsor of the aforementioned legislation, mourned that though “it passed in the House with overwhelming support on both sides of the aisle,” Abdullmutallab’s stunt renders “the Senate . . . very reluctant. And I understand why.”) Whole-body scanners are now zooming along the fast track and coming very soon to an airport near you.
Never mind that “it is unclear whether the [scanners] or other technologies would have detected [Abdullmutallab’s] weapon,” as the Government Accountability Office put it, nor that his diaper wasn’t imminently dangerous since the odds of his successfully detonating it were low. (Explosives are notoriously temperamental: they require careful handling and precise conditions. Yes, Abdullmutallab might possibly have blown a hole in his plane — just as birds could fly into its engine and force a landing on the Hudson River. But both are unlikely). Game, set, match, with the TSA and manufacturers gloating over $300 million in “stimulus funds . . . allocated for technology to detect explosives carried by passengers.”
The TSA pants to control private planes as much as it does to see us naked. And so it’s muttered for years about the dangers of “General Aviation.”