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Posted at 3:32 PM ET, 11/17/2010

Full body scanner images released online -- just not images from an airport scanners

By Melissa Bell
height
(Dayna Smith/The Washington Post)

Amid the furor over new security checks at the airports, online tech magazine Gizmodo released a sensational-sounding report Tuesday morning: 100 blurry images of full-body scans.

The introduction to the piece reads:

At the heart of the controversy over "body scanners" is a promise: The images of our naked bodies will never be public. U.S. Marshals in a Florida Federal courthouse saved 35,000 images on their scanner. These are those images.

Gizmodo describes the images as "leaked," but acknowledges later that they were obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. And while the report makes clear that the images come from a federal courthouse in Orlando, Fla., it argues that their release "demonstrates the security limitations" of scanners operated by TSA employees across in airports across the country.

That suggestion, however, is something of a stretch.

The TSA and the marshals service are separate government entities, and courthouses aren't airports. Also, the TSA is the agency that has been arguing that it has strict standards of privacy. The TSA writes on its Web site, "Advanced imaging technology cannot store, print, transmit or save the image, and the image is automatically deleted from the system after it is cleared by the remotely located security officer." After the images were posted to Gizmodo, the TSA reiterated that images cannot be saved on the airport scanners.

The U.S. Marshals Service has been upfront about the storage of these files, writing a letter to the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, admitting that images had been stored on body scanners.

Also, the scanners used in the two locations are different scanners. The courthouse scanners use a millimeter wave machine, which takes lower resolution images does not use radiation to create the scans. The images were stored on hard drives. While some airports do use the millimeter wave machines, most airport machines are more sophisticated x-ray backscatter machines that use radiation to map high resolution images. The TSA said the option to save images on these machines is turned off before the machines are sent to airports.

There are arguments to be made against the scanners: the price of installing and using them, the possible radiation, the displeasure over the opt-out pat-downs, or the need for more training. There are arguments to be made in favor of the scanners: security, security, security.

Either way, it's not clear what these images add to the conversation.

I spoke to Gizmodo author Joel Johnson by phone and he said he disagrees[with me]. "It is impossible for TSA to guarantee a leak will never happen," he said. He thinks that if it could happen in a courthouse in Florida, it could happen at an airport near you -- all it would take is one TSA employee who decides to break the rules one time.

What do you think? Do these photographs have a place in the TSA debate? Or does a courthouse protest need to start?

Elsewhere in the TSA debate, a passenger was arrested for punching a security officer in Indianapolis and the head of TSA said the new pat-down procedure is "clearly more invasive."

By Melissa Bell  | November 17, 2010; 3:32 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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Comments

Allah- Akbar! Peace be upon the TSA and U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano for making our Jihad so much easier this time. In the name of the most merciful we may now employ our new IEEDs, (Improvised Enema Explosive Devices). While you Americans and the TSA are busy having your wives and children violated in front of all and your manhood handled by rent-a-cops, someone else could have been busy too! You see, let's make up a nonexistent character called Martyr Mahmoud, Blessings upon him, and what if he got up this morning after fasting for 30 hrs. Preparing, perhaps a condom filled with .5 pounds of C4.
A little molding elongating, a little olive oil, relax now, ..there that wasn't so bad. Now take 3 showers, scrub any possible residue. The little micro blasting cap is so mixed up with the laptop wiring that even Mahmoud has to look carefully; ah there it is Now you can walk in the scanners with confidence or even endure the infidels enhanced pat down, whatever tickles the TSA's fancy. Now of course this would not work on an Israeli airline, they don't bother groping and scanning, they notice my name, when I buy my ticket and when I check in, my photograph is already zooming through some secure lines, They ask me some questions, check their intelligence data base, profile, then profile me some more and before you know it I would be in a room talking to someone from Mossad and that would be the end of my road.
6 months later...CNN SPECIAL REPORT>>>>>>>"The new rectum probes are being done as a process to make sure the traveling public is safe," she said, adding that the probes did not pose health risks and that privacy safeguards have been adopted".

Americans have a problem with being screened to board an airliner with cosmetic security by a reactive
T otaly
S tupid
A gency
I predicted the underwear bomber a year before it happened, why, DUH, it was common sense.
What is my answer?
Who do the terrorists hate the most?
The Israelis.
Who has a perfect airline security record?
The Israelis.
Who does no routine groping and x-ray strip searches?
The Israelis.
Who profiles more than anyone in the world and has the best intelligence data base?
The Israelis.
Fire Ms. Napolitano and hire Israeli Mossad to manage our airport security.


Posted by: Zerohour | November 17, 2010 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Shame on Janet Napalitano (or however her name is spelled). The whole shpeel about "the images can't be saved" and anyone who that, is now considered a flat out and untrustworthy liar in my book! No matter what freedom act said to be used to obtain the images from an Orlando court house....the fact is, we were told, the images could not be saved PERIOD! True privacy has been violated for at least a hundred people our more. I was all for the safety issue but, in my opinion, we've not only been lied to but some have been violated! I can only pray these people sue the pants off of (so maybe they can have their unclothed image put on the internet!) whoever saved what was supposed to be impossible to save images! They deserve it if anyone has ever deserved it! How sickening! You'll play hell getting anyone to ever believe anything the "so protective TSA" EVER has to say now!

Posted by: adockery72 | November 17, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Impossible to save the images huh?!? what liars! Simply put! The TSA and whoever saved the images deserve to go to jail!

Posted by: adockery72 | November 17, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Shame on Janet Napalitano (or however her name is spelled). The whole shpeel about "the images can't be saved" and anyone who that, is now considered a flat out and untrustworthy liar in my book! No matter what freedom act said to be used to obtain the images from an Orlando court house....the fact is, we were told, the images could not be saved PERIOD! True privacy has been violated for at least a hundred people our more. I was all for the safety issue but, in my opinion, we've not only been lied to but some have been violated! I can only pray these people sue the pants off of (so maybe they can have their unclothed image put on the internet!) whoever saved what was supposed to be impossible to save images! They deserve it if anyone has ever deserved it! How sickening! You'll play hell getting anyone to ever believe anything the "so protective TSA" EVER has to say now!

Posted by: adockery72 | November 17, 2010 11:49 PM | Report abuse

FRankly I'm a lot less worried about scans of my body than about the radical violation of the 4th Amendment, which affirms our right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, without a Warrant that must be issued based on probable cause. This is our Constitution folks. Having my sexual organs groped by a government agent is beyond the pale in anything that dares to claim it is a "free" country. Doesn't anyone find that just a little bit troublesome? Next time I plan to fly, I will choose to strip naked in the middle of the airport and demand that they fondle me there. I will not willingly go into a "private" room with a government thug and allow them to touch my body in any way.

Posted by: betsytoll | November 18, 2010 3:25 AM | Report abuse

The democrats are sexually assaulting our children while letting muslims covered with a sheet pass through without any inpections whatsoever. This corrupt regime must be over thrown

Posted by: ToddPollard | November 18, 2010 5:11 AM | Report abuse

The pictures add nothing useful to the debate. They represent neither TSA policy nor do they have any relevance to the technology actually employed. Consider a computer. That some computers can store information on their hard-drives implies nothing about the capabilities of computers that lack hard-drives.

Posted by: RD_Padouk | November 18, 2010 7:54 AM | Report abuse

I personally opted out of the scanner last week. The process of the pat down was invasive and humiliating. Basically for a women your breasts are lifted up to make sure nothing is hidden underneath and the folds of your vagina are felt on either side, then once up the middle. I was so horrified I began to film my travel companion while she was being searched. A mass of agents came over to surround and stop me.

We have since contacted our local Senators in NC and filed a suit with the ACLU. If we allow this to go on, then surly the terrorists have won.

The TSA has not proved that these machines have made us safer. In fact liquid and explosives can be held in any body cavity and make it through the scanners.

Also the agents feel they are not at risk from radiation. Let's see what they say in 20 years. A chicken cooked in a microwave for twenty minutes or twenty hours still is nasty. An agent exposed to these small amounts of radiation over many years will develop cancer. I kinda feel sorry for the agents, they really do not enjoy the searches and they will all get cancer.

People please contact your Senators, Reps. and Congresspeople. Let them know where you stand on the issue.

Posted by: spikeyfan2003 | November 18, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

I personally opted out of the scanner last week. The process of the pat down was invasive and humiliating. Basically for a women your breasts are lifted up to make sure nothing is hidden underneath and the folds of your vagina are felt on either side, then once up the middle. I was so horrified I began to film my travel companion while she was being searched. A mass of agents came over to surround and stop me.

We have since contacted our local Senators in NC and filed a suit with the ACLU. If we allow this to go on, then surly the terrorists have won.

The TSA has not proved that these machines have made us safer. In fact liquid and explosives can be held in any body cavity and make it through the scanners.

Also the agents feel they are not at risk from radiation. Let's see what they say in 20 years. A chicken cooked in a microwave for twenty minutes or twenty hours still is nasty. An agent exposed to these small amounts of radiation over many years will develop cancer. I kinda feel sorry for the agents, they really do not enjoy the searches and they will all get cancer.

People please contact your Senators, Reps. and Congresspeople. Let them know where you stand on the issue.

Posted by: spikeyfan2003 | November 18, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

I am shocked at the violation of our rights as US citizens. It is a sad day indeed when people have to be treated as criminals, and they are not protected by the constitutional "rights".
Being forced to humiliating body scans which essentially make visible our naked bodies to strangers, or being forced to be groped in such an intrusive manner as to have our genitals touched in anyway and body cavities probed, breasts being touched....it is the equivalent of sexual assault.
My civil liberties have been robbed from me. I cannot fathom being subjected to the above. So, I will no longer fly I guess. For those of you brave enough to suffer the humiliation, I would recommend returning the insult. Wear clothing depicting nude bodies, and have some sort of catchy slogan such as "for perverts eyes only" or "go ahead and grope, make my day"
I could get more graphic, but I have too much dignity to do so.

Posted by: jangeneral | November 18, 2010 2:45 PM | Report abuse

This nonsense from the TSA inspired one of the angriest and funniest song parodies I've written in some time. It's on Soundclick.com at http://www.soundclick.com/player/single_player.cfm?songid=9882924&q=hi&newref=1

Posted by: StevenBryant | November 22, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

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