Is the TSA using scripts to push us through its full body scanners?

Elnavigante/Shutterstock
Elnavigante/Shutterstock
Roberta Ling is a 73-year-old woman from Austin, Texas. Statistically, she’s likelier to be the next Miss America than a terrorist. But that doesn’t stop the TSA from harassing her whenever she flies.

Ling expects it. She has an artificial breast prosthesis, and is forced to make a difficult choice between a full-body scan and an uncomfortable pat-down when she’s screened. (Disclosure: I am opposed to the TSA’s current screening methods, and believe the choice between a scan and pat-down violates our Fourth Amendment rights.)

What Ling doesn’t expect is the hard sell on the scanner, which has sounded strangely similar lately.
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Speak out now on the TSA’s full-body scanners

hyxdyl/Shutterstock
hyxdyl/Shutterstock
It’s been almost five years since the Transportation Security Administration quietly began installing its so-called Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) — better known as full-body scanners — at airports nationwide. And now the government wants to know what you think of the machines.

In 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ordered the TSA to engage in what’s known as notice-and-comment rulemaking on its use of the technology. You can share your opinion on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at the Federal Register Web site until June 24.
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Is this the beginning of the end for the TSA’s full-body scanners?

Time to make the scanners disappear?

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the mainstream media last week ignored a legitimate grassroots protest against the TSA’s allegedly invasive full-body scanners.

Oh sure, there were whispers of National Opt-Out Week here and there. The trade publication Government Security News reported them, although it left readers with the impression that this action would fizzle. A lone op-ed in a New Jersey newspaper recognized the protest and supported it.
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Is this the only way to change the TSA?

Here’s a question everyone should be asking after last week’s stunning verdict against Andrea Abbott, the Nashville mother who tried to stop TSA agents from patting down her teenage daughter: Where do travelers turn when they have a legitimate grievance against the agency charged with protecting America’s transportation systems?
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Did TSA turn off its scanners again to keep things moving during the holidays?

That’s the question asked by Tom Westerman, who flew from JFK to Atlanta on Dec. 23 and returned the 30th. Both were among the busiest travel days of the year.

“We saw the scanners at both airports and they were just turned off,” he says. “I didn’t see anyone else going through them on other lines. At JFK they had a rope across them to prevent people from going through. At ATL we were just directed to go around them.”

When I heard from Westerman, my initial thought was: “Oh no, does this mean I have to write another post about the TSA?”

The topic is so old that media outlets are starting to recycle stories.

Then I flew on Jan. 1, and wouldn’t you know it — the Rapiscan Secure 1000s “backscatter” X-Ray machines were powered down and roped off at our screening area in Orlando, too.
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