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TSA Pulls Dozens of ‘Naked Body’ Scanners After Vendor Accused of Fraud

Full body scanners pulled over controversy
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The Transportation Security Administration is again taking fire after one of its body scanner vendors is accused of faking tests on its machines.

Rapiscan and other vendors of what are called backscatter machines, or advanced imaging body scanners (sometimes called “naked body” x-ray scanners), have brought criticism upon the TSA from dozens of citizens and travel groups. One of these machines is being used at the Pasco Airport.

The TSA ordered the vendors to change the software to display a more “stick-figure” image for privacy. reported in mid-November that Congress was told Rapiscan did not change the software, and allegedly faked tests so the TSA would think the imaging equipment was changed. The TSA pulled 91 of these machines after Rapiscan claimed it was a glitch. However, instead of repairing them and sending them back out, the machines are sitting in a Texas warehouse.

The TSA has spent over $140 million on such equipment — $40 million of that on these backscatter machines that offer vastly-improved detection capability and are 75 percent faster than doing a physical pat-down on a traveler.

Members of Congress are upset over credible information that Rapiscon faked the tests. Oddly enough, after the 91 machines were taken out of service in (mostly major) airports,  passenger processing speed and efficiency actually went up!


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