TSA Blasts Planned Boycott of Body Scanners on Thanksgiving Eve as ‘Irresponsible’
The growing backlash over the government’s use of high-tech body scanners finally comes to a head Wednesday, the day activists have urged airline passengers to opt out of what they call a virtual strip search and submit to an “enhanced” pat-down.
National Opt-Out Day arrives the day before Thanksgiving, one of the busiest travel days of the year. More than 24 million people are expected to fly on U.S. airlines over 12 days ending Nov. 30.
The boycott has not been organized beyond a website — a weakness that will likely undermine the goal of organizers to cause headaches at airports across the country.
Yet TSA Administrator John Pistole still called the boycott “irresponsible.”
“On the eve of a major national holiday and less than one year after Al Qaeda’s failed attack last Christmas Day, it is irresponsible for a group to suggest travelers opt out of the very screening that could prevent an attack using non-metallic explosives,” TSA Administrator John Pistole said in a written statement.
Don’t touch my junk: TSA workers face a tough job (Awww)
TAMPA, Fla. – They’ve been called molesters, threatened with violence and ordered not to touch “my junk.” One woman headbutted a TSA officer who was searching her laptop. Other screeners report being punched, kicked and shoved during pat-downs. Security officers know the new searches are more invasive but want Thanksgiving travelers to keep in mind they are just doing their jobs to keep people safe.
~Can you even believe how MSM reports?! Smacking self on forehead…
“We just want the public to understand that we’re not perverts,” said screener Ricky D. McCoy, who heads a local TSA union for Illinois and Wisconsin.
TSA chief John Pistole has heard the complaints and seemed more open to trying to balance safety with invading people’s privacy with the pat-downs.
Despite the firestorm of controversy over the use of high-tech body scanners at airports, the hundreds of millions of dollars that the Transportation Security Administration is spending or looking to spend on them makes it unlikely that they’ll be getting shelved anytime soon.
~HERE is the kicker, the whole ball of wax…
Each scanner costs about $130,000 to $170,000, the agency said, and President Obama’s budget request for this year calls for $88 million to buy and install 500 new scanners.
The TSA already has already spent $80 million on body scanners, including $73 million received in stimulus funds.
Needless to say, the technology is big business, and the two companies that supply the scanners to the TSA, L-3 Communications and Rapiscan Systems, have a record of using high-powered political operatives and lobbyists to influence lawmakers. A number of other companies also are vying for future government contracts.
“TSA competitively bids technologies and makes selections through a comprehensive research, testing, and deployment process,” the agency said in a written statement. “Technologies must meet detection standards and TSA tests these technologies in both laboratory and field environments
Here’s the breakdown friends:
L-3 Communications, which has sold $39.7 million worth of machines to the TSA, has spent $4.3 million on lobbying the federal government thus far this year, though it is not clear how much of that money was spent on lobbying the TSA. Among the key figures lobbying on L-3’s behalf is Linda Daschle, wife of former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat.
Rapiscan, which has sold $41.2 million worth of body scanners to the TSA, has spent $221,500 on lobbying the federal government. Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff worked briefly last year as a consultant for Rapiscan, but the company said the work was unrelated to the federal government.
“Mr. Chertoff and his staff of experts provided Rapiscan with advice and analysis with respect to a limited set of well-defined subjects unrelated to aviation security,” Peter Kant, executive vice president of the company, said in a written statement. “Chertoff Group’s activities in that engagement were advisory, and neither Mr. Chertoff nor his staff has ever represented Rapiscan in any communication with the U.S. government.”
An official with L-3 Communications told FoxNews.com that it has a $16 billion defense contract and that most of its lobbying money is spent on defense and service branches.
The official said that any company certified to sell body scanners to TSA goes through a two-year process of having the machines tested in a laboratory and a pilot program before they are accepted.
L-3 Communications began its contract with TSA nearly a year ago.
Sheila Krumholz, executive director of the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks lobbying expenditures on Capitol Hill, said it’s common for these companies that have or hope to have contracts with the government to invest in lobbying that can lead to “make or break moments.”
“In this case, $4.3 million is an enormous amount of money but a small price to pay for the potential profits they could reap,” she said, adding that without the money, companies may not be able to make their case “forcefully enough.”
“From our perspective, we want to put a spotlight on the money,” she said. “It’s big bucks, big business. Where it has an impact on policy decisions, we need public oversight. We need the public to take the time to understand the players involved, the money involved and what the outcome is involved.”
~Oh, believe me you arses we comprehend & that is precisely what you are angry about! ~JP
TEHRAN, Iran – Iranian state television has reported that the woman sentenced to death by stoning on an adultery conviction will likely be spared from execution.
The stoning sentence against 43-year-old Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani drew an international outcry. It was then put on hold and is now being reviewed by Iran’s Supreme Court.
English-language Press TV on Monday night quoted Mohammad Javad Larijani, head of Iran’s High Council for Human Rights, as saying: “We think there is a good chance that her life could be saved.”
Ashtiani was convicted in 2006 of having an “illicit relationship” with two men after the murder of her husband the year before. Iranian authorities say she has also been convicted of involvement in the murder.
~Bobby should teach Obama HOW to be presidential..I will vote for Jindal, should he decide to run in 2012. ~JP
Criticizing both the Bush and Obama administrations for failing to execute adequate domestic security policies, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal went on a tear Sunday, criticizing Washington for playing defense, relying on luck and apologizing for protecting the nation from terrorists.
The federal government has to face the fact the War on Terror is about enemies who hate the U.S. way of life, not about social justice, he said.
“The reality is, this isn’t about people who don’t have enough jobs, who don’t have enough social aid, this is about fighting an enemy that hates our way of life,” Jindal said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“This is a fundamental clash of cultures. … This isn’t, well, let’s go and figure out a way to apologize for Americans. This isn’t how we offended them because we’re supporting Israel,” he continued.
Jindal, who has had a very public feud with the White House over the administration’s handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, added that the current president is responsible for leading the country down the wrong path.
“You look at some of President Obama’s writings, you look at how he talks about, ‘Well, we need to understand the disadvantaged background, this is a matter of social justice and more foreign aid.’ Nonsense. The analysts have looked at the terrorists that are coming at us of a disproportionate share or educated, come from privileged backgrounds,” he said.
But Jindal also saved criticism for former President George W. Bush, saying his administration handled Shoe Bomber Richard Reid in much the same way.
In his new book “Leadership and Crisis,” Jindal writes that the United States’ “current therapeutic approach to national security is dangerous. I’m just not interested in empathizing with the grievances of our sworn enemies. Let’s figure out where they’re vulnerable and destroy them.”
Jindal said body searches of 6- and 12-year-old girls traveling to visit their grandparents is illogical. Instead, it’s time to dip into methods that rely on information without “political correctness.”
“It’s so hard to understand why they’re so worried about the terrorists’ rights and not our rights,” Jindal said. “You go back to the Miranda rights for the underwear bomber. What evidence did they need? I mean they caught him with a device. What was the purpose?”
Jindal said a better approach would be using information available to figure out who’s most likely to strike.
“I don’t think it’s profiling, I think it’s using information we know. You look at things like, for example, you look at travel patterns, you look at how they purchased their ticket. You look at the information, the intel we’ve got,” he said.
Jindal added that so far the administration has claimed luck in stopping the bombing of Times Square, the diversion of cargo packages containing bombs and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Mutallab.
“Luck is not a strategy. We need to be rooting out networks; we need to be killing these terrorists. I think the American people, when they see an administration worried about reading Miranda rights to the underwear bomber. They worry when they see an administration committed to civilian trials,” he said.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal describes President Obama as “absolutely” thin-skinned following the 2010 BP oil spill.