President Obama, After Traveling With Naked Scanner CEO, Defends Naked Scans

from the well,-look-at-that... dept

As the whole mess with the TSA scanners has received a lot more attention in the last week or so, a few folks are noticing that ex-Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff, who’s been quite busy defending the naked scanners, happens to be making a ton of money from one of the main ones, Rapiscan, made by OSI, a client of Chertoff’s consulting firm. Of course, similar concerns were brought up a year ago when Chertoff was busy promoting the scanners, but it appears that many in the mainstream press continue to highlight his old Homeland Security title, while downplaying his current role making money from seeing those scanners sold.

However, perhaps even more interesting is the news that President Obama was finally asked to address the whole thing this weekend, and (not surprisingly) defended the scans and the pat downs as “the only [procedures] right now that [the TSA] considers to be effective,” to prevent terrorism (while also admitting that he doesn’t have to go through security to get on airplanes, so he hasn’t experienced the scans.

No surprise there. Of course, what he didn’t mention is that he just got done traveling with the CEO of OSI, the parent company of Rapiscan, the makers of the main naked scanner that is being purchased and put into all these airports. Apparently, OSI CEO, Deepak Chopra (no, not the new agey guy), “was selected to accompany US President, Barack Obama, to Mumbai and attended the US India Business Entrepreneurship meeting…”

Now, of course, all of this may be perfectly legit and reasonable. There may be plenty of reasons why all of these things happened. Chertoff and Obama may really believe these scanners are the best way to protect us. But, as Larry Lessig has been fond of pointing out lately with his anti-corruption project, it’s these kinds of “connections” that make the American public lose trust in their government, since it can certainly be read in a rather corrupt manner.

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Companies: osi, rapiscan

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Comments on “President Obama, After Traveling With Naked Scanner CEO, Defends Naked Scans”

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Gumnos (profile) says:

Dateline Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Transportation Security Administration announces its recent partnership with the Roman Catholic Church. Beginning in time for the Christmas travel season, the Vatican will supply additional staff to perform pat-down searches and monitor the full-body scanners.

A small but vocal minority of fliers have expressed concern regarding the program. TSA spokesman Dick Tickle dismisses the opposition as an aggrieved minority, stating that the financial savings and increased security benefit taxpayers and travellers alike.

“My co-workers and I are uncomfortable with the intimate nature of the pat-down searches required for those who opt out of the full-body scannings,” notes TSA agent Willie G. Roper. “The priests don’t seem to object, the people trust them, and they reportedly bring years of experience with them.”

Father John Geoghan eagerly looks forward to helping secure America’s transportation network. “I’ve seen the images produced by the backscatter/millimeter-wave systems, and there’s no hiding anything.”

Given the expected success of the new program, Tickle hints that the agency plans to extend its subcontracting relationships, starting with state correctional institutions. “A number of parolees and work-release prisoners have a difficult time finding jobs because of their record. In some cases, their names will appear on the sex-offender registry for the rest of their life. We offer them hope at reintegrating into society while making travel safer.”

ISolve says:


Folks stop your whining. Accept the fact that there are people who are trying to kill Americans. What is your solution? Should we only pat-down people who look like they could be a killer? This is not a political issues. Stop trying to make it one. This is about safety. If you don’t want to accept the security measures imposed by TSA don’t travel by airplane. Our security is soft compared to other countries. If you traveled you would know that. Also, stop the Obama crap. Either you want security or you don’t. If you do, accept the reality or keep your butt at home.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

“Folks stop your whining.”

No. And this isn’t whining, it’s angry shouting….

“Accept the fact that there are people who are trying to kill Americans.”

Meh. Big deal. When hasn’t there been?

“What is your solution? Should we only pat-down people who look like they could be a killer? This is not a political issues.”

….you’re kidding me, right? If you don’t see how govt. is using fear for political, and more importantly business gains, then you’re beyond help.

“This is about safety.”


“If you don’t want to accept the security measures imposed by TSA don’t travel by airplane.”

This is a RIGHTS issue, you dolt. The TSA is a govt. entity restricting the ability of innocent citizens to travel as they please. Govt. ain’t supposed to do that….

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Scanners

“This is a RIGHTS issue, you dolt. The TSA is a govt. entity restricting the ability of innocent citizens to travel as they please. Govt. ain’t supposed to do that….”

I’m with DH on 99.99% of his posts around here… but I do want to point out one thing with this statement: we’re not… or, I guess, ‘I’m not’… arguing about the freedom of travel. I still hold that we have no protected right to fly if no one wants to fly us. If airports are putting in security measures to protect themselves and their customers, and you receiving their services is dependent upon complying, that’s their business decision. Don?t like it? Find a competitor who treats their customers better.

What I’M arguing is the unlawful & unconstitutional searching being done by agents of the federal government.

DH, I?m with you on the fact that this is wrong? but I didn?t agree with the ?right to travel as we please? part. ๐Ÿ™‚

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Scanners

“DH, I?m with you on the fact that this is wrong? but I didn?t agree with the ?right to travel as we please? part. :)”

Don’t think I ever argued that we have a “right to travel”. What I AM arguing is that the govt. has no right to restrict our movement, and that is all they are doing here. If the airliners want this stuff in, that’s one thing. These are govt. employees administering these procedures…

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Scanners

And I’m with you on that part too… the government should never impose into private business like that… like they should never have imposed a law to require businesses to make themselves non-smoking establishments.

I was harking back to an older ‘rights to travel’ argument that brewed a while back concerning whether or not the right to freely travel was implicitly granted by the constitution. And I wanted to keep the unlawful-search part of this in the foreground too.

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Scanners

Dark Helmet, I will argue that we do have a right to travel as we wish, especially considering that we are PAYING for the means in question.

It is a HUMAN AND CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to move around this country USING THE MEANS THAT WE WISH, without being treated as a criminal or potential criminal.

If we allow them to do this bullcrap in airlines, what is to stop them from doing it on buses? On cruise ships? ON YOU WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING YOUR OWN PERSONALLY OWNED CAR!

No, these things are not necessary, and a better thing to protect Americans would be to do BEHAVIORAL and FACIAL RECOGNITION screening. After all, 99% of the ‘terrorists’ that have tried to get on planes to bomb them have been KNOWN to the FBI or another organization.

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Scanners

“Unfortunately airlines are not currently allowed to perform there own security – hence you cannot find a competitor.”
I used to think this too, but then I started seeing articles like this one:

Do a Google search for “airports not required to use TSA” or something similar. You’d be surprised how many results there are!

It’s going to be interesting to see the outcome of this. First step in smacking the TSA back down? Maybe!

Christopher (profile) says:

Re: Re: Scanners

Righ in one, Dark Helmet. There have ALWAYS been people trying to kill Americans…. that is not a good enough reason to give up our Constitutional and human right to not be treated as a criminal without reasonable suspicion or proof.

It’s time to stop saying that these things are necessary to ‘protect Americans’. 9/11 [b]WOULD NOT HAVE HAPPENED[/b] if Bushie the Dunce Boy would have allowed the FBI to pursue the 9/11 hijackers six MONTHS before 9/11, when they first came to the attention of the FBI because they were learning to FLY planes but not how to take off nor land them!

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

Ok dokes.. if it is about safety why isn’t everyone forced to go through the scanner rather than pull out people at random? Why do most people walk through the magnetic scanner or get wanded (sp?)?

This has nothing to do with safety, it is about lining the pockets of big business who just happen to contribute cash to political campaigns and have CEO’s who fly around the world with the President.

Since 9/11 the US has become paranoid about airplanes… to be honest any self respecting terrorist should move his target from the plane to the airport, shutting down JFK or one of the big international hubs would cost millions in lost revenue and also seriously knock the US who have this thing about being “attacked on home soil”…

As a Brit who’s used to having terrorists (funded by lovely US citizens) blow up his country I’m quite used to it, as well as the Londoners who went about their normal business after teh terrorist attacks in London. You’ve already lost the war on terror, look at what you are doing to your own people in the name of “security”.

iNtrigued (profile) says:

Re: Re: Scanners

I completely agree with your first half, but fail to see your logic in the second half.

First off, that little jab about the terrorist being funded by “lovely US citizens” was in bad taste. Second, no country should be OK with being attacked on their own soil. It’s one thing to be tough about being attacked, but to not be bothered by it is just insanity.

And as far as the “war on terror” goes, if you have been listening to Obama, the US has stopped fighting that war since about his fourth day in office. Now the US is in a “war on al Qaeda”.

You should probably be a little less concerned about how citizens should be treated in the US and focus on your own homeland. Britain is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, nanny state of them all. Maybe you should be more focused on how your country is treating its citizens and stop being so judgmental about other nations’ actions.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Scanners

Oh I am concerned by my own country and am active in all manner of activities questioning my own government and it’s actions.

Regarding my little jab, maybe it was in bad taste, but 100% accurate. Lots of dollar bills made its way to the Emerald Isle during the “Troubles”… and I’ve seen first hand what that money helped pay for.

The War on Terror / The War on Al-Qaeda… semantics mate, thats all… same thing, unless Al-Qaeda have moved into the flower delivery business?

The point still stands… What have you gained from all of this? Security? I don’t think so….

iNtrigued (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Scanners

“Oh I am concerned by my own country and am active in all manner of activities questioning my own government and it’s actions.”

Glad to hear that.

“Regarding my little jab, maybe it was in bad taste, but 100% accurate.”

I never doubted its accuracy, just thought it was unnecessary.

“The War on Terror / The War on Al-Qaeda… semantics mate, thats all…”

I actually completely agree with you on this one. This was my subtle jab at the President for playing the semantics game.

“The point still stands… What have you gained from all of this? Security? I don’t think so….”

Again, completely agree. We gain nothing from this kind of unadulterated invasion into personal privacy and space. We only lose. Hence the thunderous outcry against these measures.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

Folks stop your whining. Accept the fact that there are people who are trying to kill Americans.

Their purpose is not to kill Americans – Killing Americans is the means towards their true purpose – which is to terrorise America into giving up its historic liberties.

By adopting these aggressive security measures we are fulfilling their true purpose just fine.

What is your solution?

If we really want to frustrate them we should give up all the obtrusive security and impose a publicity blackout on terrorist attacks. What we have to do is to deny them the oxygen of publicity.

Frankly the risk from terrorism is tiny. It is less than one hundredth the risk from ordinary criminal murder, one thousandth the risk from ordinary accidents (including road accidents) and one millionth the risk from disease.

Sixty years ago the country from which I write this was attacked on a nightly basis by 60,000 well funded German terrorists, armed with the latest military resources of a major state. Even this level of attack did not break the spirit of the people or stop the nation from functioning.

Anyone who thinks that these pathetic modern terrorists can have any significant direct military effect on a modern western nation need their head examining.

Frankly the terrorists would be better advised to spend their resources trying to de-stabilise the financial markets.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

What security does it give you? a FALSE sense of security, that’s what!
The TSA has so far only reacted to terrorist acts, and hasn’t stopped a single one of them.

Oh someone hijacked our planes with boxcutters, hand in your nail clippers and other sharp objects.
Oh someone tried to explode a plane using a liquid concoction, hand in your water bottles and other liquids are limited to 3oz.
Oh someone lit his underpants on fire, better do a naked scan.

That’s the TSA! Security Theatre: “Look, we’re doing something aginst them terrists!”

Next time there will be a moron that hides a bomb in his ass, then we’ll have mandatory cavity searches at the airports.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Scanners

Um, don’t you see “us Americans” here complaining about what our “GOVERNMENT” is doing to us? It isn’t what we, the MAJORITY wants, it is what a few people in high places are imposing on us. Some of us, mostly those on the left, are against this. The group that yells the loudest about us losing our rights is the same group taking them away.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Scanners

Actually, I have reasons to believe that no, it’s not what the majority wants (it’s what they should want, but that’s another question).
Most people are just going through this checkpoint without asking any questions. And there are even people who say that they are sick and tired of those people who complain about their civil rights…
Sadly, it’s only a vocal minority taking up this case. ๐Ÿ™

interval (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

“Accept the fact that there are people who are trying to kill Americans.”

Oh? And what did you suppose we Americans were thinking this was all about? Corrupt politicians in Washington making a ton of dough on “terrorism”?? Nawww…

Yeah, our security is soft compared to Israel. Every been through Ben-Gurion? No naked scanner machines. And yet very effective.

out_of_the_blue says:

Re: Scanners

“here are people who are trying to kill Americans” — And many of them are in Langley, Virginia, and Washington DC. I don’t at all accept the fear you try to induce. It’s an observable fact that one’s own gov’t is *always* the biggest threat to life and liberty. The gov’t acts in broad daylight, and is prepared to shoot you for going 5MPH over an arbitrary speed limit. The alleged “terrorists” — all you claim is merely what the gov’t story has put out — have thus far, by the palsied reaction of fearful little weenies, gotten the US involved in two wars against peoples who didn’t attack us, and are trying to start 3rd, 4th, and 5th fronts in Pakistan, Yemen, and Iran, to fuel the military machine.

No, I don’t want the security of a prison, or to degrade to the level of “other countries”, police states such as China or Israel. Way to prevent the small number of real terrorists — offhand I can’t recall any, the FBI always seems to be central to those exposed — is to STAY THE HELL OUT OF OTHER PEOPLE’S COUNTRIES, instead of spend a trillion dollars murdering upwards of a million of them. — IN FACT, it’s amazing that real terrorism ISN’T being seen here, by which I deduce that those who are being terrorized by the US military have decided not to fall into the trap of hitting back in that way, just against US military in *their* country. Against any other invader, we’d cheer those “insurgents” as “freedom fighters”, but the rabid right has so twisted the facts and opinions with their constant fear-mongering that even the lessons of Vietnam have been forgotten.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

I’d just like to point out here that the TSA is responsible for more than just airplanes. They handle security for all form of public transportation, such as trains, subways, and buses. You walk through a metal detector to get on these. There are no pat downs unless repeated attempts to pass a metal detector occur and a wand test is failed (The old airport standard). People are scared because a plane is a high profile target. That doesn’t make it right to force people to give up their right to privacy because a terrorist may use it as a weapon. Truth be told, a subway would probably make a much better target. There could possibly be thousands of people in one place and it would ruin the infrastructure of the area. But killing people isn’t necessarily a terrorist?s goal. Terrorism is defined as the systematic use of violence to achieve a goal ( Take it for what you want, but a school yard bully is a terrorist. Regardless, we have the right to privacy. The military has even said that new recruits have the right to a personal space. It is unacceptable that the average person should be subjected to criminal like security screenings because of a threat of terrorism. If you want to make planes safer, make the cockpit bullet proof and securable only from the inside. Then require it to be secured before passengers board and only opened when passengers have disembarked. There are many alternatives to invasive pat downs and millimeter or x-ray scanners. These technologies haven?t even really been proven to be safe for humans, even though the FDA says it is. The FDA has made numerous mistakes that have cost thousands of peoples? lives.

javabri (profile) says:

Re: Scanners

That’s BS. Even with the increase activity in terrorism, flying is still the safest form of travel. I am an active, frequent flyer, traveling over 100K miles a year both domestic and international. I absolutely understand the risks of air travel and want to ensure my safety when flying. However, these new procedures are way too excessive and expensive. There are better ways to ensure the safety of the flying public.

We are forcing greater than 99.99% of the population to undergo humiliating procedures when there is 0 indication they have done anything wrong. At minimum this should qualify as illegal search and siezure, but the govt. continues to trample on our citizens rights.

Under any other cirucumstances this would be invasion of privacy at the least and criminal sexual harrasment or worse. If you tried any of this on your own, you would certainly be arrested, but the government can do it in the name of “safety”.

As stated, there are better, more effective ways to catch the real threats without feeling up innocent flyers or taking naked pictures of them via these full body scanners.

Heck, trained police professionals with trained dogs could be very effective and produce a greater intimidation factor to those that would do us harm. Sniffer systems have proven effective in catching trace particles of explosives and drugs. Better sensitivity metal detectors combined with other methods could ensure safety without undue burden on the flying population nor invading their privacy.

By the way, the greater threat is from foriegn travel into the US, not domestic travel. With the exception of 9/11, most of the threats via air came from OUTSIDE THE US. Hmm, where do we need greater security again?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Scanners

I traveled the world, and the most intrusive security in the world is the American one.

Damn did you ever got to an American embassy?
In London a child can’t open the door to enter because it has a door with bomb proof glass that is almost a yard in depth(not kidding), the first time I saw that it got me by surprise, I also forgot my cellphone at the entrance where we were told to leave it there, no electronics inside the embassy.

But you didn’t see those things right?

This is not about security is about the impression of security. They didn’t do a pat-down before because they didn’t felt it was necessary, they do it know to force people to go through a machine, but the machine is not perfect either, will they do cavity searches on people too, since terrorists can use those cavities to hide things?

Experts said they can fool the machines why are the security not listening.

Anonymous Coward says:

Says it all really

) defended the scans and the pat downs as “the only [procedures] right now that [the TSA] considers to be effective,

So… clearly he really went out of his way to solicit a wide and informed input on the whole thing, considering every possible viewpoint and opinion in conjunction with experts in the field to form a full and balanced opinion in touch with…..

Oops sorry – bullsh*t generator broke at that point.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Naked

Even with the naked flying, a full body cavity search must administered before boarding. Feel safe yet?

But, wait! What if some nasty person injects themselves with a chemical that will make them explode??? A cavity search would never reveal that! I say we go for mandatory blood tests, urinalysis, and full cardiovascular screening during a minimum 2 week wait where they have to show up to the airport every day to have their GPS tracking tag tested and to check DNA, fingerprint, retina, heartbeat pattern and gait analysis, all of which should be stored and monitored just to ensure it’s the same person gets on the plane. THAT’ll make us all safe from those terrorists… they’re EVERYWHERE you know? IF WE DON’T MAKE IT SAFE NOW EVERY SINGLE PLANE WILL BE BLOWN FROM THE SKY WITH LITTLE CHILDREN ON BOARD THINK OF THE CHILDREN PLEASE.

*pauses and goes to fetch bucket and mop* Uh… whaddaya think? Too far maybe? or… (DUN, DUN, DUUUUHHHH) not far enough?
well…. you started it ๐Ÿ™‚

Anonymous Coward says:

“what he didn’t mention is that he just got done traveling with the CEO of OSI, the parent company of Rapiscan, the makers of the main naked scanner that is being purchased and put into all these airports. “

Amazing how the MSM never mentions this, despite the fact that they’re supposed to be the “investigative journalists.”

Almost makes you think these people have an agenda.

These people are corrupt. Almost the only politician that actually cares about the public interest is Ron Paul, which is why he doesn’t get much in campaign contributions from big corporations and hence was never elected president.

iNtrigued (profile) says:

First Family

A few others have touched on this already but if Obama is so OK with their methods, why not lead by example?

I say just to show everyone how reasonable these methods are, the entire First Family should proceed through these scanners followed by being fondled by the TSA agents. I am sure he will be completely fine with this, since after all, these are the only effective ways of finding terrorists…


On a side note, shouldn’t it bother EVERYBODY that there is a government issued scanner that must delete the scanned images from fear of said pornographic images being released? Doesn’t that alone scream “somethings not right!” or at least quietly whisper “rut-ro”. Why even scan such sensitive images?

If you say “security”, I call BnllSh!t!

Gabriel Tane (profile) says:

Re: Sincerely, Chertoff

Milton Friedman was an economist. In the book that quote is taken from, he was talking about Free Market and special interests. He wasn’t talking about constitutional rights or government intervention into privacy.

Specifically, he was talking about a hypothetical situation where the steel industry appeals to the government for subsidization on grounds of national security due to all steel being cheaper from over-seas.

Please don’t quote out of context.

Brian (user link) says:

Dont let facts get in the way of hating Obama

Justso you know, Rapiscan got the first of a long, long line of contracts to build these scanners back in 2005.

But for sure dont let that stop you from implying that Obama was bribed into buying them. dont let a little thing like the facts get in the way.

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