Former TSA security director: No one likes Fourth Amendment violations, but we’re going to have to do it

posted at 7:41 pm on November 16, 2010 by Allahpundit

Via Left Coast Rebel, skip ahead to 2:30 for the money line. I’ll say this for the guy: He’s not one for sugar-coating. If he has to break a few constitutional eggs to make a security omelette, not only is he going to do it, he’s going to tell you that he’s doing it. Bend over — this Fourth Amendment violation won’t hurt a bit. I wonder what that’ll do to the poll numbers: As of yesterday, fully 81 percent of the public supports the use of full-body scanners at the airport, but as Nate Silver notes, that may be because relatively few people have had to endure them yet. Poll it again in a month, after “don’t touch my junk” fee-vah has had term to percolate culturally, and who knows where it’ll be.

Speaking of which, Gizmodo’s touting the fact that it’s obtained 100 images from a full-body scanner used at a courthouse in Florida showing photos of people side-by-side with their (fuzzy) X-rayed selves. Which isn’t supposed to happen, of course, per the endless assurances from the feds that the machines don’t save images they record. Two things, though. One: We already knew about this incident. That doesn’t diminish the privacy breach, but strictly from the standpoint of public awareness, everyone should already know that these things are indeed capable of exporting images. (Which makes sense: They’d want that as evidence afterwards if a suspect is apprehended.) As for the side-by-side real-life/X-ray comparisons, if you believe Napolitano — a very big if, I know — that wouldn’t happen at the airport. She’s sworn up and down that images from the full-body scanner are viewed at a remote location in the airport so that the screener observing them doesn’t see the actual passenger. In theory, at least in airports, side-by-side comparisons that identify people shouldn’t be possible. But then, in theory, the machines aren’t saving images either. Go figure.

Update: Elsewhere, Greenroomer Howard Portnoy explores the claims about dangerous radiation. Are these things really firing off damaging rays? Well … maybe, yeah.


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