TSA Installs New Body Scanners at San Diego International Airport

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Airport security has long been regarded as a necessary evil—remove the shoes, pull out the laptop, undo the belt…and on and on until you’re given the go ahead to board your flight and sail off into the atmosphere. But, while most are comfortable with stringent airport search methods, a new security device has people cringing—full body scanners. The Transport Safety Administration (TSA) is currently in the process of installing the devices in San Diego’s very own San Diego International Airport.

Each machine costs around $200,000 dollars, and screens for illicit drugs, metal objects, ceramic, etcetera. According to Rapiscan Systems, the machine’s supplier, a low energy backscatter x-ray beam is directed at an individual’s anterior and posterior, and the data the beam collects is then compiled into a computer, which is run by a government official. Therein lies the problem—while the scanners are undoubtedly powerful and able to locate dangerous materials and devices in an efficient manner, they also give airport officials the ability to essentially see underneath people’s clothing: the scans are detailed enough to identify a person’s gender. In addition, the beam is powerful enough to identify a passenger’s surgery scars, or to discern whether a woman is on her menstrual cycle or not.

While privacy groups are in an uproar, the TSA insists privacy is not an issue with the scanners—only one agent will be able to view the images, and that agent will be in an isolated area where he or she cannot have any contact with the passengers. In addition, the machine automatically deletes the digitally scanned images after a passenger passes through security.

The new technology will officially launch on Tuesday, August 31st, with a demonstration in Terminal 1 of the San Diego International Airport.

Photo from Marcin Wichary via flickr


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    September 1, 2010 at 9:40 am

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    Steve C.

    September 1, 2010 at 9:56 am

    This is disgusting. There is no reason that every one of the 2,000,000 passengers flying in the US every day should be subject to this invasive attack on personal privacy.

    The metal detector and ETD can deal with any number of threats.

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    September 1, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Lets all get Cancer and have our DNA reassembled.

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    SPG-DL Traveler

    October 30, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    Get over it folks, the scanning is a simple fact of trying to increase the security of air travel. Does it work? I does make it much easier to find hidden weapons. Evasive? Who cares. If people are so concerned about the images, they should block out you face, however remember travelers, every person walking through the screening areas of every US and most EU airports is being filmed and the data is being stored for facial recognition systems. London has been using facial recognition profiling for several years now. Learn to live with the changes.

    I travel A LOT for business and pleasure and since the full body scanners have been installed, I have been through them nearly 100 times. Once the image has been viewed the image is electronically destroyed by the system software, so there are no records kept for fear of legal reasons. The ONLY images that are retained are those where objects of question are found during the scanning.

    I would rather have a non contact device scan my body, then to have some goon grab my private regions. There are those individuals who should not be exposed to the radiation such as children and women who are pregnant. Hell, when I get scanned I’m sure they wonder why I have so many metal screws and plates in my body. The fact is IF you have a pace maker make sure that you select to opt out of the screening.

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    November 11, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    To “SPG-DL Traveler” who thinks we need to “learn to live with the changes” and who thinks that it is better to allow TSA to take child pornographic pictures of our children rather than letting TSA goons molest your children… You don’t need to chose between these two unacceptable options. TSA hasn’t stopped a single terrorist plot and they fail to detect over half of the weapons smuggled through checkpoints during known testing drills. Its a typical government operation aimed at employing lowlives who can’t find employment in the private sector. This is America and we are not to be treated like criminals simply for flying. People like you are not helping.. TSA is “security theater” aimed at making you sheep feel safe, but it does nothing but keep you controlled and obedient to federal goons who will molest your wife and children in front of you.

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    Rob Reiken

    November 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    WMD’s for the Nazis what they call Body Scanners really known a Porno Scanners
    Well lets look at this situation some:

    1. The radiation i have heard they emitting of is some 20 times more greater than any other type of machines , so will cause CANCER , which is a plan for their Agenda 21 depopulation program

    2. They will record your Naked Body Scan which they lie about it is in accordance with their Nazi Police State Identification Grid because we are all clased as TERRORISTS, which they would refer to us as (Goyim) Cattle. & as such are able to set us up to be framed for things when they want any of us removed from society

    3. They were implemented because a kid Umar Farouk was marched onto a plane without a passport by a CIA Agent & had a cameraman to film the stageing , now to be known as the underwear bomber on a Xmas Day in 2009

    4. Government has removed screen checks for Pedophiles & Rapists for TSA Employees to get the TSA jobs , so they’ll get to molester , feel up , grop & humiliate their victims all they want & plus to steal passengers belongings while passengers are being body scanned as they can’t see their belongings while it is happening

    5. Is now revealed in some airports they are begining to make people go through all 3 measures of security: metal detectors, body scanners, & the molestation gropping feel me up pat down search
    6. If you opt out they’ll make a scene about it by yelling it out to make a spectacle of it to raise awarnes to other people around to humiliate you & they don’t always use same sex for the pat downs

    7. They are begining & or getting ready to implement these scanners in all other areas of our society such as sport arenas, shopping centres, public transport , & on the streets with Scanning Trucks that drive by while they scan into anything really cars, trucks, people etc

    8. These machines cost hundreds of thousands of dollars , so wouldn’t that money be better put into better design of planes or better maintenance so that the planes don’t crash all the time due to poor mechanical repair work ,failures & flaws, for they always seem to be cutting back in these safety measures ( expecially maintenance)

    Well i gotta wonder if there gonna make money from this by putting together magazines with pictures of naked kids to sell on some black market enterprise. Could be to make up a database collection for CPS to pick from when they need some kids to kidnap for their child slavery pedophile rings which makes them allot of money, expecially the custom order ones that sell for half a mill.
    Well it seems the government really do love us all , but just not in the way you think they do. & remember you really are all USELESS EATERS because leaders in our society like Bill Gates say you are, so get your dose of RADIATION & smile for the snap shot Matrix Dwellers, BBBAAAA BBBAA AAAA goes The Sheeple, OBEY NOW cause your MASTER TYRANNT says so.

    iF YOU DON’T REFUSE IT NOW , THEN TOMMOROW IS TOO LATE ONCE IT’S IMPLEMTED TO STAY FOR GOOD, Just like the CARBON EMMISIONS TRADING SCAM they trying to bring in to set up their ONE WORLD GOVERNMENT , NEW WORLD ORDER to kill 8 or 9 out of 10 of all people on earth so they can control EVERYTHING (no more freedom).

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    November 15, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I agree with Private. The one’s spouting the “don’t worry” or the “if you have nothing to hide” are the one’s using government funded computers to watch child porn.

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    November 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    You all whine too much. Seriously, just deal with it.

    Sorry i’m not a government funded computer watching Child Porn, Anne. I’m a 20 year old female. Don’t be such a cunt and generalize everyone and judge everyone. You’re the kind of person that is bringing down this world, because you judge people and hate without thinking.

    Although I believe money could be spent better elsewhere, these are, in principle, a good idea. I just think the idea got jumbled up a bit, and needs more work.

    TSA employees need to be chosen better, as well.

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    November 15, 2010 at 10:29 pm

    @ Raeleigh:

    Gotta love how you rant about judging people and hating and then you’re the one using vulgarity, generalizing, judging and showing hatred toward those who have a different view on this issue than you do.

    What gets me most is how you say all of this in all seriousness, and then at the end have the nerve to say we’re the ones not thinking.

    Thanks for the laugh!

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    Doug Terry

    November 16, 2010 at 8:08 am

    This article contains unproven assumptions in the first paragraph, including this one:
    ” while most are comfortable with stringent airport search methods”. Who says most people are comfortable with being treated like escaped prisoners? There is no need to treat every American getting on an aircraft like a potential hijacker, especially since there will never be, in all likelihood, another hijacking from the air. Why? Because after 9-11, the crew stations on all commercial airliners were fortified. No pilot would ever again like anyone inside because the consequences are well known.

    These steps to “increase security” only make sense if you think there is no alternative. In England and the rest of Europe, airline and other personnel are taught to ask simple questions to passengers to watch their reactions. People who have even the vaguest connection to any potential terrorism source are put on special status for extra checking. They don’t assume 300,000,000 people are likely terrorists, they look for those who have at least some potential. This narrows the search and allows them to concentrate more on tracking real terrorists. Their tracking abilities in Europe, especially for foreign visitors, are very good indeed.

    As the TSA has shown, there is no end to what they will try to impose on traveling Americans. Take our your dentures, sir. Let me see you roll your eyes all the way back in your head. Please stand on one foot and say your ABCs backwards. Whatever it takes, they are there, ready to protect America! From what? They are building an iron wall that the terrorists will one day just walk around and attack us.

    Part of our national overreaction to terrorism stems from our inherent belief that we had always been safe before 9-11. Yet, terrorism was moving around the world and headed our way. Most people didn’t pay much attention to the bombings of the USS Cole and our embassies in Africa before that, so the shock was fairly total. Now, almost ten years later, we need to calm down and do security right, not just throw money and technology at the problem.

    Once you start these things, there is no stopping them. Are they going to be babies through the scanners? If not, do they then need to take the baby and pat it down? Are they going to force children of ten and eleven to be exposed to radiation? How is the child going to react to being told to lift her arms as if she is at the doctor’s office? What if a woman has just become pregnant in the last few days and doesn’t know it yet? Will the fetus be damaged?

    Why are these things “effective” if they are just sending every 10th passenger through them? If we really need them, don’t we need to check everyone? From watching the video of TSA screening areas, I would say they are using these machines just because they are available and they are mainly yet another PR effort to try to convince the public that it is safe to fly. For this purpose, we are spending hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Doug Terry

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    Doug Terry

    November 16, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I will be covering these issues on a continuing basis at

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    November 16, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    People are so misinformed about these scanners… it’s truly sad the ignorance that people spread in articles & to the public! Surgery scars??! Menstruation?! Where do you get this from? I have worked on the scanners since the day they arrived at my local airport & can ASSURE everyone on this site these things are not visible. Take everything you read on the web w/ a grain a salt, because as someone who works w/ these machines day in and day out I have read many, many lies. Stop whining about everything and if it really bothers you that much, take your business to greyhound or amtrak.

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    November 17, 2010 at 4:38 am

    Follow the money…

    … George Soros, the billionaire funder of the country’s liberal political infrastructure, owns 11,300 shares of OSI Systems Inc., the company that owns Rapiscan. Not surprisingly, OSI’s stock has appreciated considerably over the course of the year. Soros certainly is a savvy investor…

    “Anti-Sanctuary” Chertoff Owns Rape Scan Machines the TSA is Molesting Air Travellers With–guess who is making money off these machines–Former Homeland Secretary Chertoff

    Chertoff’s group represents Rapiscan, a California based firm “which until recently was the only company qualified to sell full-body scan machines to the TSA.” Last summer, “TSA purchased 150 machines from Rapiscan with $25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.”

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    Just Plain Stupid

    November 18, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Just one question: How will either of these searching techniques detect explosives in a condom hidden in either the rectum or vagina of a flyer?

    Is there a reason we can’t just ask each flyer a couple questions at security and see how they respond? Beyond a metal detector and trace explosives sniffer, we should be using intel and observation to reduce terrorism threats. The rest is just for show.

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    Doug Terry

    November 19, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    To “Jessica”: being concerned about our rights as citizens is not whining. Maybe you should have a talk with Thomas Jefferson and the boys back then. There are accurate reports in regard to women having their period and having the tampon appear on the screen and then being subjected to further screening, i.e. pat down.

    Yes, there is a lot of misinformation on the web. I, for one, however, do not accept at face value any assurances from the TSA and certainly not from employees of that agency. You are being paid to believe everything is okay and people who are paid to take a position will probably stick with it even if every third person came out with cancerous sores on their body.

    My primary objection to naked scanners is that they are ineffective. However, I believe as law abiding citizens, we should be able to travel about our country without undue searches, as our Constitution provides. ABC News tonight had a rundown of the procedures and stated that some women might be asked to remove their skirts inside a private area. If this pleases you, might I suggest you head to the airport where you can enjoy yourself.

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    November 20, 2010 at 9:28 am

    Imposing punitive and highly intrusive measures on US citizens for the sake of political correctness and “safety and security” is not an answer. TSA is too lazy, unintelligent and bureaucratic to really look for terrorists, so they see an easy way out in this not proven technology that violates our Constitutional rights. I have yet to see any proof that they caught any real terrorists.

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    November 20, 2010 at 9:51 am

    To Jessica,

    Spoken like a true government bureaucrat that you are. It is sad that you think people’s objection to their Constitutional rights being grossly violated is whining. But then what can be expected of a government agent. Your agency has no proof that these scanners are effective and not hazardous to health. On one of his CNN show episodes Anderson Cooper asked John Pistole, the head of TSA, if these scanners can detect the kind of powder that the Christmas bomber had in his underwear. He could not say yes, or give a straight answer in any shape or form. Instead, he went into some vague rantings about how TSA is doing the best they can to assure our “safety and security” and this technology is the best tool available now. That’s a pretty weak reason/argument to me and it’s a shame that a person in his position would resort to this ambiguity to defend Homeland Security’s and TSA security theater. It is unreasonable at best and frankly idiotic to suggest that passengers should give up their rights and liberties when they buy an airplane ticket. People travel by car, by boat, by train, and plane is another method of transportation. These machines and TSA are not making us safer, it’s just a fairy tale that the government wants us to believe because it allows them to censor us without any repercussions and big technology companies like L-3 and Rapiscan are making millions on these machines because they have very strong lobbyists in Washington. Did you know that? So, they really do not care about our safety and security. It’s all about corporate greed and political power. Sorry dear, I think you are defending these new “security measures” just to assure yourself and others that they protect us and to guarantee you keep your job. It is you who should take your business to greyhound or amtrak, the rest of us will accept that risks are inherent in life, use our common sense, keep our Constitutional rights and travel with dignity.

    By the way, have you yourself gone through one of these scanners or went through an enhanced pat down? And if not, why? If it’s for everyone you should not be exempt.

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    November 20, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Raeleigh says: “Although I believe money could be spent better elsewhere, these are, in principle, a good idea. I just think the idea got jumbled up a bit, and needs more work.” – How is virtual strip search with no probable cause a good idea? They arbitrarily pluck a person from the line to go through this highly invasive scanner. There is not a single thought in their mind, no reasonable suspicion when TSA agents do it. Your logic or rather lack of it is beyond me. It is people like who help to turn this country from the country of the Free and the Brave into a surveillance state. Maybe you like to be treated like cattle led to butcher block but a lot of us still have our dignity and desire to keep our Constitutional rights intact and do not wish to go through this security farce like obedient sheep for the sake of false sense of security.

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    November 20, 2010 at 11:22 am


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    Fred Flintstone

    November 20, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    First of all we DON’T LIVE IN A DEMOCRACY. That is mob rule, we live in a republic where the Rule of Law prevails. We live under the Rule of Law where everyone is supposed to be equal and no one is above the law. A democracy is best described as three wolves and one sheep voting on what to eat for lunch. Three wolves vote to eat the sheep while the sheep votes against, the majority wins and the sheep becomes lunch for the three wolves.

    I don’t want to be scanned at the airport with a $200,000 machine that will show my virtually naked body to some unionized sex offender employed by the government nor do I wish to be felt up by his or her friend. I want to be profiled. I want them to ask me questions and listen to my answers with the trained ear of a law enforcement officer. I want to be observed by such a person and if I’m seen as sweating in December at a northern located airport I want to be singled out for further interrogation. In short I want the security agent looking for the bombers not just the bombs.

    Profile me and everyone else like they do in Israel. You can be assured no bombs or bombers get on flights departing from Israel primarily because they are looking for terrorists not for objects. Israel isn’t all ate up with political correctness like the US is. Oh we can’t offend anybody by asking any questions. So we go through the most asinine security procedures that violate our Constitutional guaranteed 4th amendment rights just to get on an airplane. How soon before we are subjected to these procedures at other public areas?

    We have the right to abolish our government when it no longer serves the people. We should further be able to abolish the parts of the government that no longer serve us. I think we should start with the TSA. Make security the responsibility of the airlines. Privatize it and have the companies that do this be trained over in Israel on how to do this correctly.

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    The Captain

    November 25, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    It’s a blatant violation of our rights. Oh, but wait. This is America. We, (the sheep), don’t have REAL rights.

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    The Observer

    November 26, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    About time we expose the Zionist control in the USA. We must get rid of them and get back to business without the influence of these criminals. Remember they are an ethnic group with serious psychological issues for the past 10 centuries. Being expelled from every nation in the planet consistently for all that time. It’s an absolute fact. Don’t forget they are foreign invaders usually from Russia, Germany and Poland. Also the ethnic misnomer they go by which appeared first in 1775 on an English comedy drama. USA wake up and eliminate Zionism now and forever. Some who have posted here mentioned the word Cattle. They use the equivalent Goyim. Also Jake mentioned two particular names. See where those two come from and their DNA. For the misnomer check Benjamin Freedman’s Facts are Facts article. We don’t need no psychopathic element to give us Cancer everywhere much less at an Airport. Fred the place you spoke about is just a detraction and an convenient excuse. The true Zionist headquarters are in NY, DC and London.

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    December 14, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    This really isn’t a big deal. It’s for our safety and if you want to be killed like the people where killed on 9/11 then keep on ranting on about how obnoxious this device is. It’s for the safety of everyone going through the airport. Why in hell would anyone think you would get child pornography from this? Your all a bunch of sick fucks thinking like that. You should be ashamed putting children in your minds like that. ew

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    December 18, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Yes, Jesus, et el, it IS that big of a deal.

    Look around the world. Allegedly the U.S. is full of violent people, yet we’re all so sedated by municipal fluoridated water supply we just sit around doing nothing while our 4th amendment PROTECTED (not granted, huge distinction) rights against search and seizure are violated. Yet in supposedly more ‘civilized’ and liberally minded countries where citizens are disarmed, people have been taking to the streets and rioting over all manner of Governmental indignities.

    I am not advocating violence here, I’m saying we have the power as the people to rise up and speak our voices, here in the U.S. the Citizenry are the masters and the government employees are our public SERVANTS, but we’re told they’re ‘Officials’ pfft what the fuck is an official anyway? and we just go along with whatever we’re told Home of the Sheep Land of the Slave.

    Stop COMPLYING. that’s all that is really required. Not violence.
    Stop agreeing to everything.
    Stop OBEYING.
    Start COMMANDING instead, you as the citizen are the one that must be obeyed.

    All freedom loving people regardless of nationality need to start resisting by refusing to comply.
    If you are traveling this holiday season OPT OUT.
    Sure it won’t make the machines disappear overnight and you will be singled out to be publicly humiliated in front of your fellow travelers in an attempt to shame you into compliance, but it is the principled thing you can do.

    As for all you TSA shills, you are at even more risk then the travelers, you’re being exposed to hundreds nay thousands of times the radiation. You’ve been lied to and told it is safe.
    Yea, we’ll see how you feel several years down the line.
    Then you will want our sympathy and our tax dollars to pay for your medical costs when you are riddled with cancer. Wake up, you are being poisoned. They do not care about you, your loyalty to the system will not save you, it will only hasten your demise. Seriously – think about it.


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    December 24, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    John Pistole is a disgrace,this so called ex fbi agent is forcing americans to use full body scanners by using enhanced pat downs, molesting, men women and children so so investors can make millions off of those devices, just imaging some TSA thug sitting in a dark room looking at naked pictures of kids, pistoile has become americas number one pervert, it’s not about security it’s about money.

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    Shavon Grisby

    February 2, 2011 at 4:24 am

    There is clearly a bundle to know about this. I consider you made various nice points in features also.

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