TSA Body Scanners Proven Ineffective

Waiting to be scanned at airport: Photo credit:  David Prasad from Flickr
Waiting to be scanned at airport: Photo credit:
David Prasad from Flickr

At an average cost of $150,000 each since the TSA purchased its first group of 45 in 2008, TSA bodyscanners have shown themselves to be a big waste of money. At a total cost of $160 million, $120 million for the body scanners now in use at hundreds of airports across the country, and another $40 million for the failed “naked” X-ray scanners, which are no longer in use, it seems this technology has failed miserably.

The scanners have missed security threats at airports, angered and frustrated travelers, and finally brought the TSA under the scrutiny of Congress. As for the no longer in-use X-ray body scanners, they were pulled two years ago due to possible health risks to passengers and the controversy over the detailed images the machines produce of travelers’ bodies.

Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Ron Johnson is so disappointed with the performance of the body scanners that he even suggested that TSA force people to walk through metal detectors after they have had their entire bodies scanned.

“If you really want to keep using those, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t, at a minimum we should put a metal detector on the other side,” the Wisconsin Republican said in an interview. “Why not go through two? You’ve just gotta use common sense.”

Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware, the leading Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, says that the TSA should look at other, creative ways, beyond technology, to create more security at airports.

“In a situation like this, if one bad person gets through and they have a bomb or a weapon, it could be a terrible tragedy for hundreds of people,” Carper said in an interview. “So I think we have an obligation to look around the world and to look at technology here and to find better ways, on an ongoing basis, to protect our safety and security.”

Gail Nussbaum

Gail Nussbaum has been involved in politics and diplomacy for over 15 years. Her interest in foreign relations, economics and budget policy has led her to her position as fiscal policy writer at Left Justified. Gail can be contacted at gailnussbaum(at)leftjustified.com.

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