GOP's Chaffetz Scolds TSA for Lag on Body Scan Safety Reports

Wednesday, 09 Feb 2011 12:21 PM

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Just try dragging your feet about taking off your shoes or submitting to body scans or pat-downs at the airport, and a TSA agent will jerk you out of line. Well, U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz now is trying to jerk the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) into line for dragging its own feet on safety reports about the radiation from the body scanners that use X-rays. It’s “inexcusable” that the TSA has delayed the reports for months, the Utah Republican bristled to USA Today.

body scanner, TSA, airport, Chaffetz
A body scanner at Chicago's Midway Airport.
TSA officials contend they are trying to make sure that the reports don’t reveal any sensitive material, to which Chaffetz replies: "The public has a right to know, and there isn't something so sensitive that requires holding it back.”

The TSA claims more than 15 million passengers have received full-body scans without malfunctions that could cause a radiation overdose. About half of the more than 400 full-body scanners at airports use X-rays; the rest use electromagnetic waves.

“Despite the reassurance, however, the TSA has yet to release radiation inspection reports for its X-ray equipment — two months after lawmakers called for them to be made public following USA TODAY's requests to review the reports,” the newspaper reported.

Chaffetz, chairman of a House oversight committee on homeland defense, has sponsored legislation to limit the use of the controversial full-body scans.

The agency is taking precautions to make sure that the reports don’t include "sensitive security or privacy-protected information," a TSA spokeswoman told USA Today, adding that the findings are expected to be revealed within the next few weeks.


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