We may need another “tea-party-like” reaction and uprising to reign in the TSA with its invasive full-body scans and pat-downs at airports, but for a reason not mentioned in most of today’s headline stories.
Two objections are garnering the most media attention:
First, security experts ask why TSA is imposing such extreme and excessive measures when the TSA itself admits the measures can be easily circumvented by terrorists and when other more effective, less costly, and non-invasive methods are available.
Second, though TSA cites reports that the full-body scanners are safe, others challenge the data itself and question whether government workers can be trusted to properly calibrate and run the scanners without exposing air travelers to dangerous levels of radiation.
Beyond all the media hype is a question that receives little attention: who’s making money on this? “If you want to find out what’s behind government boondoggles,” a wise editor told reporters, “just follow the dollar.” That principle is what exposed so much wasteful defense spending when reporters noticed how many retired generals were on the payrolls of defense contractors.
Is it merely a coincidence that former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff is the one most responsible for government purchases of the scanners? And is it merely a coincidence that “the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines,” as the Boston Globe reports?
Should TSA now be written T$A? Has the security bureaucracy now become the Department of Homeland Paranoia?