If a body scan machine exists that is effective at finding contraband and weapons that does not reveal private body parts, why aren’t we using it? Holland is using a body scanner that is as effective as the American machines but does not reveal genitals and breasts. I have learned that the company that produces the backscatter x-ray machines that we use in America has increased its lobbying efforts in order to gain business with the TSA and FAA. In other words, this company is paying money to get to the front of the line. Isn’t that called bribery?
As reported in USA Today, the maker of the backscatter machines, L3 communications (one of the American defense contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan) has doubled its lobbying efforts in the last 5 years. If the machines are necessary for public safety, why does L3 have to pay to get them to be used? These machines have not been proven to protect us from anything and it seems that the only reason our government is using them to violate our civil liberties is because a special interest group has lobbied for their use. That should make us all question the motivation of these controversial machines.
In part, the article says:
L-3 Communications, which has sold $39.7 million worth of the machines to the federal government, spent $4.3 million trying to influence Congress and federal agencies during the first nine months of this year, up from $2.1 million in 2005, lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics show. Its lobbyists include Linda Daschle, a former Federal Aviation Administration official.
Rapiscan Systems, meanwhile, has spent $271,500 on lobbying so far this year, compared with $80,000 five years earlier. It has faced criticism for hiring Michael Chertoff, the former Homeland Security secretary, last year. Chertoff has been a prominent proponent of using scanners to foil terrorism. The government has spent $41.2 million with Rapiscan.
“The revolving door provides corporations like these with a short cut to lawmakers” and other decision-makers, said Sheila Krumholz, of the Center for Responsive Politics.
If the machines that are used in Holland only show an innocuous view of the human genitals but can still spot weapons, why don’t we use those machines? Perhaps that company didn’t spend enough lobbying money in our congress?
Don’t just give up your liberty. Question why.
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