February 6, 2014 by History in a Hurry
‘Useless’ TSA scanners provided endless fodder for employees, former agent alleges
Published time: February 01, 2014 02:53
The Transportation Security Agency was aware that, before they were even introduced, the full-body scanners used at airport security checkpoints were flawed, according to a former TSA agent who alleges employees regularly peered and laughed at travelers.
Jason Edward Harrington, who spent years for the TSA as he studied for a creative writing degree, wrote a long piece in Politico detailing the ineptitude and casual jokes that often came at the expense of the agency’s own inability to prevent an airplane hijacking.
The TSA decided to begin using full-body scanners in 2010, after an Al-Qaeda extremist tried to ignite a bomb in his underwear on a Christmas Day 2009 flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. The reaction was overwhelming and immediate, with civil liberties advocates asserting that a potential traveler would unnecessarily expose themselves to TSA agents, and that the radiation from the machines was dangerous.
Despite controversy, the agency pressed on an eventually doled out between $130,000 and $170,000 for each of the hundreds of machines in an effort to ramp up security at airports across the country.