Transcript: Thom Hartmann: TSA, "May I touch your junk please?" 26 January '12
Right now - at this very moment - odds are, someone is getting on a plane some place with a condom full of heroin or cocaine shoved up some hole in their body.
In all probability it's happening right now - as we speak and 24/7.
And TSA security has no chance of finding it - none at all...unless they want to bust out the KY jelly and latex gloves.
But think about this - that balloon could just as easily be filled with C-4 plastic explosive instead of heroin.
And once that person is on the plane - he could go in the bathroom - pull out the balloon - and... well, you can imagine what would happen.
And like the drugs - TSA Security has no chance of finding the explosives.
That's because those high-tech X-ray scanners that are in the airports all around the nation shooting doses of radiation at us and displaying our nude bodies to TSA agents, they only look at the outside of our bodies.
They are not keeping us safe from a terrorist attack.
So why the hell are we using them?
Because we're scared stupid.
We're scared stupid because Bush and Cheney made us that way after 9/11.
We got hit pretty bad - but instead of telling Americans that we'll be ok - and we'll come out of this stronger than before - Bush and Cheney freaked out - and so did the rest of the nation.
Instead of treating 9/11 like the crime it was - and working with our allies to find those who committed it and bring them to justice in the same way Clinton brought Tim McVeigh to justice - we went on the warpath.
We started a war in Afghanistan that we're still fighting today - we went to war in Iraq - and we started an unknown number of covert wars all around the world in countries from Somalia to Yemen to Pakistan.
Everything our nation has done in the name of security after 9/11 has been overkill and hysteria.
Especially deploying these x-ray porno scanners in our airports.
Back in 1998 - a team of radiation experts were shown some new technology by the Food and Drug Administration - in hopes of getting their takes on the public health risks of this new technology.
That new machine was called the "Secure 1000" - or what is now known as the Chertoff x-ray porno scanner.
It was being used in a few prisons to make sure inmates weren't bringing weapons in.
But the machine made the radiation experts uneasy.
As the director of New Jersey's radiation protection program - Jill Lipoti said:
I think this is really a slippery slope. I am concerned … with expanding this type of product for the traveling public.
The inventor of the Secure 1000 - a guy named Steven. W. Smith agreed - but hr assured the health experts that:
The places I think you are not going to see these in the next five years is lower-security facilities, particularly power plants, embassies, courthouses, airports and governments... I would be extremely surprised in the next five to 10 years if the Secure 1000 is sold to any of these.
Famous last words...because three years later - 9/11 happened - we all got scared stupid by the Bush Administration - and now these machines are in airports all across the country.
And as for the concerns by radiation experts in 1998 - they were largely ignored - and their calls for greater research were drowned out by a massive lobbying effort by security corporations who knew they could make a fortune off these x-ray porno scanners.
They knew that they could exploit our fear - and they did.
The company Rapiscan - which built some of these machines - spent $420,000 just in 2008 alone lobbying lawmakers - and their return on that investment in lobbying was a 2009 contract for $173 million worth of these machines for our airports.
Former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff - who played his part is hyping up fear while working for the Bush Administration - went on to became a lobbyist - and then went on TV telling the American people that these machines were needed to keep us safe.
And guess who was one of Chertoff's lobbyists? Rapiscan.
So we all bought it, hook-line-and-sinker, and now we're all being irradiated when we board airplanes with little regard to the health risks - and there are risks.
According to research - as many as 100 Americans could get cancer from these scanners every single year.
And in Boston - union reps at Logan Airport worry that these scanners may be responsible for "cancer clusters" that have shown up among TSA agents.
And despite requests from the union - the TSA has yet to provide individual dosimeters to TSA agents to wear to measure the radiation they're getting hit with from the
So Senator Susan Collins is introducing legislation this week to call for a new independent health study of these scanners.
Now some people might argue that 100 cases of cancer - plus a few sick TSA agents - out of the millions of passengers who fly each year is a risk we're willing to take to stay safe.
But these scanners - as I said earlier - don't work.
If someone wants to blow up a plane - they will - and ultimately - our best security is actually the passengers around us on the plane. I mean, no-one's going to let that happen here.
These scanners are security theatre brought to us by the Bush administration and lobbyists who are making millions.
After all - if they worked so well - then why isn't Israel - which is under more threat than the United States - using them?
And why has Europe banned them?
It's time to stop being scared.
It's time to stop being doused with radiation and getting groped in the name of so-called security.
We need to become the land of the free and the home of the brave again.
As the airport security agent in Germany said to me a year ago, when she said I didn't have to take off my shoes before walking through the metal detector - "We're not that frightened".
So, enough with the X-rays - and don't touch my junk!
That's The Big Picture.