A growing number of Americans are already outraged over the government’s use of high-powered, ultra-revealing and potentially dangerous backscatter x-ray machines at a growing number of the nation’s airports, and as bad as that problem is, it’s about to get a whole lot worse unless Congress intervenes to stop the madness.
In the late 1990s, travel experts doubted the government would ever employ such machines in a security checkpoint role at airports or other locations. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 dramatically reversed that mentality to the point that now, no doubt afraid of being accused of doing “too little” to enhance security, lawmakers and select government agencies have done a complete reversal, permitting the use of high-powered x-ray machines to “scan” airline travelers (and perhaps, we near bus, train and other modes of travel in the future).
The all-knowing Transportation Security Administration insists the machines it is currently using – some 250 of them – are safe, but the agency relies primarily on its own in-house and government experts to support their claims.
The non-governmental experts speak
But other private-sector experts, including a bevy of health and radiation scientists cited by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, disagree. They include Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., a board certified neurosurgeon, who wrote:
The growing outrage over the Transportation Security Administration’s new policy of backscatter scanning of airline passengers and enhanced pat-downs brings to mind these wise words from President Ronald Reagan: The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help you. So, what is all the concern really about – will these radiation scanners increase your risk of cancer or other diseases? A group of scientists and professors from the University of California at San Francisco voiced their concern to Obama’s science and technology adviser John Holdren in a well-stated letter back in April (2010).
The letter he referred to was signed by doctors John Sedat Ph.D., David Agard, Ph.D., Marc Shuman, M.D., Robert Stroud, Ph.D., all of whom are faculty at the University of California, San Francisco. They wrote:
We are writing to call your attention to serious concerns about the potential health risks of the recently adopted whole body backscatter X-ray airport security scanners. This is an urgent situation as these X-ray scanners are rapidly being implemented as a primary screening step for all air travel passengers. Our overriding concern is the extent to which the safety of this scanning device has been adequately demonstrated. This can only be determined by a meeting of an impartial panel of experts that would include medical physicists and radiation biologists at which all of the available relevant data is reviewed.
These experts went on to say that even though the overall dose of radiation “would be safe if it were distributed throughout the volume of the entire body, the dose to the skin may be dangerously high.”
Despite what the experts say, the government continues to employ more powerful x-ray machines
No matter. Again, the TSA knows better. And apparently, judging by the lack of concern shown by a majority of members of Congress, most of them agree with this rogue agency.
So, law enforcement agencies, including the TSA and others, are continuing to expand their use of x-ray scanners, “including machines that expose people to as much as 50 times more radiation than an airport scanner, and are sometimes using them on people without their knowledge or consent,” AllGov.com reported.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is currently installing some 35 drive-thru x-ray gates that will scan vehicles at the border with passengers still inside.
New York City, meanwhile, has utilized specially equipped vans to scan vehicles for drugs and weapons, again while people are inside them.
Also, prisons have begun to use x-rays that can see through the body in search of contraband that may be hidden inside the bodies of prisoners - and jail employees as well.
Where are the government regulatory agencies?
The Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for the safety of medical machines like x-ray equipment, apparently has no jurisdiction over their non-medical use, according to reports. So, they’ve done nothing about the use of x-ray scanners by police.