TSA Vendor Accused of Faking Body Scan Software
One of the vendors that provides the TSA with x-ray body scanning machines has been accused of faking tests of software which was supposed to eliminate naked images of passengers passing through the devices.
Rapiscan “may have attempted to defraud the government by knowingly manipulating an operational test,” Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Transportation Security Subcommittee, said in a letter to Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole Nov. 13. Rogers said his committee received a tip about the faked tests," reports Bloomberg.
While L-3 Communications Holdings Inc, the other vendor that provides the federal agency with body scanners, responded to the TSA's request to write "privacy friendly" software that eliminates the need to display a naked image of the passenger, Rapiscan failed to do so.
On November 9, Rapiscan received a show-cause letter from the TSA demanding to know why the company was not complying with the TSA's terms in failing to develop the privacy friendly software.
Rogers slammed the TSA's "apparent lack of oversight throughout the testing and evaluation of this technology," and is set to grill members of the agency on when they discovered Rapiscan's alleged manipulation of test results, which the company itself denies.
Dan Gordon, former head of federal procurement for the Obama administration, said criminal charges could follow for Rapiscan as a result of an upcoming enquiry.
“Fake test results are incredibly serious,” said Gordon. “Every false statement is a criminal act, sending someone in that company to jail.”
The TSA recently relocated Rapiscan machines from larger to smaller airports, a move some quarters of the media falsely characterized as a scrapping of the devices. The TSA denies the relocation was related to the allegations of faked software tests, claiming it was fueled by the fact that the backscatter machines take longer to scan passengers.
Numerous prestigious health bodies have indicated that the backscatter x-ray devices will statistically cause an increase in cancer, including Johns Hopkins, Columbia University, the University of California, and the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety. To put that in perspective, the probability of dying in a terrorist attack is the same as the probability of getting cancer when passing through the x-ray scanner just one time.
Johns Hopkins’ biophysics expert Dr Michael Love warned that, “statistically someone is going to get skin cancer from these X-rays,” after conducting a study of the naked body scanners.
It has also been proven that the scanner can be fooled by sewing a metallic object into the side of one's clothing, rendering the entire $1 billion dollar fleet of machines virtually useless.