It’s now becoming clear exactly how many tens of millions of dollars the TSA spent on body scanners that have missed airport security threats, outraged passengers and brought the agency under congressional scrutiny.
The $160 million bill includes $120 million for the body scanners now in place in hundreds of airports nationwide, according to newly disclosed figures obtained by POLITICO. The rest of the money went to the agency’s “naked” X-ray scanners, which it pulled from airports two years ago amid worries about health risks and the devices’ detailed images of travelers’ bodies.
The cost breakdown, which the TSA recently turned over to some members of Congress, provides the latest look at the agency’s investment in body imaging technology since it decided to make the scanners the centerpiece of the checkpoint screening process. The price tag averages more than $150,000 per unit since the agency bought the first batch of 45 devices in 2008.
As Politico notes, the naked scanners had to be removed. That’s $40 million down the tubes. And, the other scanners, were part of this debacle, in which TSA checkpoints missed 96 percent of agents posing as threats.
Now, Sen. Ron Johnson, of whom I’m generally a fan, is bringing attention to the ineffective scanners but with the most government solution that every governmented:
“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.”
I’m looking for the original interview. I’m hoping this was an aside and not a plan of action. Because nope, nope, nope. Let us not compound this expensive failure and inconvenience. Every checkpoint already has a metal detector sitting mostly unused next to the expensive failure scanners, which could be used instead of the scanners until they prove more effective via software patch or whatever other expensive remedy the feds will apply. But don’t put us through double the ineffective scanning.