What I find interesting about this is how the state-friendly media (or do I repeat myself) deals with this kind of information. The original announcement that the TSA was looking for this was back in November. The ominously named Government Security News let its readers (many of whom are apparently government contractors) know that DHS "issued a presolicitation notice on Nov. 2 inviting technology companies to describe... handheld detectors that could provide such secondary screening in the event that the AIT body scanners now being rolled out to dozens of U.S. airports pick up an 'anomaly' during their primary inspections of passengers."
At the beginning of last week, there was a solicitation (not presolicitation?) for white papers on handheld naked scanners, again reported in GSN. Fast forward 6 days and this turns from a bland request for proposals-type announcement in an industry rag to a positive PR story for the TSA. Sample headlines:
- 5/26/11, LA Times, New technology may reduce TSA pat-down searches in U.S. airports
- 5/29/11, Seattle Times, TSA working on way to reduce pat-downs
- 5/29/11, Boston.com, TSA seeks tech device to cut patdowns
The agency, backed by Democrats in the Senate, wants to increase the security fee everyone pays with a ticket from $2.50 a flight. to $5.00 per one-way ticket. A total of $10.00 would be added to round-trip tickets.Uhhh... why is the idea of cutting the budget of this really truly terrible agency off the table? The cynic in me knows the answer, but it's a good question to put to other citizens to get them to think about what is going on here.