'cookieChoices = {};'


You Guys
Are In
Big Fucking Trouble

click.jpg

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

TSA Porn Kings -- Follow The Money

Washington Examiner:

'Naked scanners': Lobbyists join the war on terror
By: Timothy P. Carney
Senior Examiner Columnist
November 12, 2010

The degradations of passing through full-body scanners that provide naked pictures of you to Transportation Security Administration agents may not mean that the terrorists have won -- but they do mark victories for a few politically connected high-tech companies and their revolving-door lobbyists.

Many experts and critics suspect that the full-body "naked scanners" recently deployed at U.S. airports do little to make us more secure, and a lot to make us angry, embarrassed and late. For instance, the scanners can't see through skin, and so weapons or explosives can be hidden safely in body cavities.

But this is government we're talking about. A program or product doesn't need to be effective, it only needs to have a good lobby. And the naked-scanner lobby is small but well-connected.

If you've seen one of these scanners at an airport, there's a good chance it was made by L-3 Communications, a major contractor with the Department of Homeland Security. L-3 employs three different lobbying firms including Park Strategies, where former Sen. Al D'Amato, R-N.Y., plumps on the company's behalf. Back in 1989, President George H.W. Bush appointed D'Amato to the President's Commission on Aviation Security and Terrorism following the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. Also on Park's L-3 account is former Appropriations staffer Kraig Siracuse.

The scanner contract, issued four days after the Christmas Day bomb attempt last year, is worth $165 million to L-3.

Rapiscan got the other naked-scanner contract from the TSA, worth $173 million. Rapiscan's lobbyists include Susan Carr, a former senior legislative aide to Rep. David Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee. When Defense Daily reported on Price's appropriations bill last winter, the publication noted "Price likes the budget for its emphasis on filling gaps in aviation security, in particular the whole body imaging systems."

An early TSA contractor for full-body scanners was the American Science and Engineering company. AS&E's lobbying team is impressive, including Tom Blank, a former deputy administrator for the TSA. Fellow AS&E lobbyist Chad Wolf was an assistant administrator at TSA and an aide to Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, who sits on the Transportation and Defense subcommittees of Appropriations. Finally, Democratic former Rep. Bud Cramer is also an AS&E lobbyist -- he sat on the Defense and Transportation subcommittees of the Appropriations Committee.

The full-body scanners have caused an understandable uproar. Even before the devices were rolled out, they sparked predictable mischief: During training on the scanners, a group of TSA workers noted and mocked the genitalia of the guinea-pig employee sent through the scanner. The guy soon beat down one of his mockers and was arrested for assault.

After assurances by contractors and the TSA that the nude images of the scanners' subjects weren't being stored and saved, the U.S. Marshals Service admitted that it had stored thousands of such images.

Homeland Security insists that the "naked scans" are optional, but if you're randomly selected for one and you "opt out," you're subject to a very intimate frisk.

There's good reason to doubt these scanners significantly reduce the chance of a successful terrorist attack on an airplane. Deploying these naked scanners was a reaction to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed attempt to blow up a plane on Christmas 2009, but the Government Accountability Office found, "it remains unclear whether [the scanners] would have been able to detect the weapon Mr. Abdulmutallab used."

But there's a deeper question to ask: how far are we willing to go to prevent weapons or bombs from getting on airplanes? In the past decade, terrorists on airplanes have killed just about 3,000 people -- all on one day. Even if the Christmas Day bomber had succeeded, the number would be under 3,500.

Those are horrible deaths. But in that same period, more than 150,000 people have been murdered in the United States. We haven't put the entire U.S. on lockdown -- or even murder capitals like Detroit, New Orleans and Baltimore.

While reducing the murder rate to zero is very desirable, we also understand that the costs, in terms of liberty and resources, are too great. But when it comes to air travel, 9/11 seems to have stripped away our ability to put things in perspective.

Politicians feed into that paranoia with their rhetoric. And lobbyists and government contractors feed on the paranoia.

Bush’s Homeland Security Secretary flacking for nudie-scanners, too
By: Timothy P. Carney
Senior Examiner Columnist
11/15/10 12:20 PM EST

The companies that make the airport nudie-scanners have high-priced lobbying teams that include former congressmen, top Capitol Hill staff, and former TSA brass, as I reported in my column yesterday.

But because I focussed on registered lobbyists, I left out the highest-profile revolving-door character in the pay of the nudie-scanner industry: George W. Bush’s Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. After the undie-bomber attempt on Christmas 2009, Chertoff went on a media tour promoting the use of these scanners, without disclosing that he was getting paid by Rapiscan, one of the two companies currently contracted by TSA to take a nude picture of you at the airport.

Here’s Chertoff in the NY Times just days after Christmas last year:

Screening technologies with names like millimeter-wave and backscatter X-ray can show the contours of the body and reveal foreign objects. Such machines, properly used, are a leap ahead of the metal detectors used in most airports, and supporters say they are necessary to keep up with the plans of potential terrorists. “If they’d been deployed, this would pick up this kind of device,” Michael Chertoff, the former homeland security secretary, said in an interview…

Chertoff was quickly reamed for not disclosing how he had monetized his public service.

The whole situation is depressing for two reasons:

1) It’s tawdry how much our “public servants” use their government jobs as meal tickets.2) It’s sad how much companies set up their businesses to depend on government, and thus lobbyists.

Influence magazine is a trade publication of K Street, and one of Rapiscan’s hired guns, McKenna Aldridge, is touting this article on its website:

Rapiscan’s Presence on Capitol Hill Pays Off

…Rapiscan Systems, an OSI Systems Inc. subsidiary, has already taken note. The Hawthorne, Calif.-based company puts around 15 percent of its revenues back into the company to develop new technology.

But Rapiscan knows it needs to play ball in Washington to increase its profits. Like all companies that deal in homeland security, Rapiscan faces myriad legislative issues involving privacy, liability, customs, and the implementation of the 9/11 Commission recommendations. To compete with Boeing, Northrop Grumman, and L-3 Communications Corp., among other companies, two years ago Rapiscan opened a Washington office and hired more outside lobbyists and agency-specific federal marketing and sales staff.

The results have been apparent. Last year the company did $17 million t $20 million in contracts. Over the past six months, the company has had $40 million in sales to the U.S. government, compared with $8 million in 2004.

Two parting notes:

1) ”Play ball” is an interesting choice of words, considering that the alternative to walking through the Rapiscan is a friendly pat-down. 2) You’d think parent company OSI systems, when naming its nudie-scanner subsidiary, would have come up with a name less similar to RapeScan.

Boston.com (from January!)

Group slams Chertoff on scanner promotion
January 2, 2010
WASHINGTON - Since the attempted bombing of a US airliner on Christmas Day, former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has given dozens of media interviews touting the need for the federal government to buy more full-body scanners for airports.

What he has made little mention of is that the Chertoff Group, his security consulting agency, includes a client that manufactures the machines. Chertoff disclosed the relationship on a CNN program Wednesday, in response to a question.

An airport passengers’ rights group on Thursday criticized Chertoff’s use of his former government credentials to advocate for a product that benefits his clients.

“Mr. Chertoff should not be allowed to abuse the trust the public has placed in him as a former public servant to privately gain from the sale of full-body scanners under the pretense that the scanners would have detected this particular type of explosive,’’ said Kate Hanni, founder of FlyersRights.org, which opposes the use of the scanners.

Chertoff’s advocacy for the technology dates to his time in the Bush administration. In 2005, Homeland Security ordered the government’s first batch of the scanners - five from California-based Rapiscan Systems. Rapiscan is one of only two companies that make full-body scanners in accordance with current contract specifications required by the federal government.

Currently 40 body scanners are in use among 19 US airports. The number is expected to skyrocket, at least in part because of the Christmas Day incident. The Transportation Security Administration has said it will order 300 more machines.

In the summer, TSA purchased 150 more machines from Rapiscan with $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. Rapiscan was the only company that qualified for the contract because it had developed technology that performs the screening using a less-graphic body imaging system, which is also less controversial. (Since then, another company, L-3 Communications, has qualified for future contracts, but no new contracts have been awarded.)


And finally, lookie whose fingers are in the pie

Washington Examiner:

George Soros also profiting off controversial new TSA scanners
By: Mark Hemingway
Commentary Staff Writer
11/15/10 12:55 PM EST

Be sure and read Tim Carney’s Examiner column today on the politically-connected lobby for the controversial new TSA scanners that are upsetting airline employees and travelers everywhere. Carney notes that a company called Rapiscan got a $165 million contract for the new body image scanners four days after the underwear-bomber incident this past Christmas. Not surprisingly, Rapiscan is politically connected, observes Carney:

Rapiscan got the other naked-scanner contract from the TSA, worth $173 million. Rapiscan’s lobbyists include Susan Carr, a former senior legislative aide to Rep. David Price, D-N.C., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee. When Defense Daily reported on Price’s appropriations bill last winter, the publication noted “Price likes the budget for its emphasis on filling gaps in aviation security, in particular the whole body imaging systems.”

Then this morning Carney also noted that former Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff was flacking for Rapiscan.

As for the company’s other political connections, it also appears that none other than George Soros, the billionaire funder of the country’s liberal political infrastructure, owns 11,300 shares of OSI Systems Inc., the company that owns Rapiscan. Not surprisingly, OSI’s stock has appreciated considerably over the course of the year. Soros certainly is a savvy investor.

Labels:

Bookmark and Share
posted by midnight rider at permanent link#

2 Comments:

Blogger Will said...

Hi Midnight.
Unconfirmed sources claim they want to instal scanners everywhere,sports events,trains station ,bus terminals etc ,etc ,it's about control not security!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5:09:00 pm  
Blogger midnight rider said...

It's about control and money.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010 5:17:00 pm  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


Older Posts Newer Posts