Janet Napolitano: Body Scanners on Trains, Boats, and Metro

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano says she wants the controversial body scanners installed on America’s trains, boats and metro systems.

Appearing in PBS’ “Charlie Rose” program, Jan Nap said:

“Terrorists are going to continue to probe the system and try to find a way through. I think the tighter we get on aviation, we have to also be thinking now about going on to mass transit or to trains or maritime. So, what do we need to be doing to strengthen our protections there?”

Napolitano’s comments, made a day before one of the nation’s busiest travel days, come in the wake of a public outcry over newly implemented airport screening measures that have been criticized for being too invasive.

The secretary has defended the new screening methods, which include advanced imaging systems and pat-downs, as necessary to stopping terrorists. During the interview with Rose, Napolitano said her agency is now looking into ways to make other popular means of travel safer for passengers and commuters.

Napolitano isn’t the only one who’s suggested that advanced scanning machines could be used in places beyond airports.

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, introduced legislation this past September that would authorize testing of body scanners at some Federal buildings.

The controversial body scanner machines use Backscatter X-ray ionizing radiation, a known cumulative health hazard, to produce images of passengers’ bodies. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with defective DNA repair mechanisms are considered to be especially susceptible to the type of DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation. Also at high risk are those who have had, or currently have, skin cancer. Ionizing radiation’s effects are cumulative, meaning that each time you are exposed you are adding to your risk of developing cancer. Since the dosage of radiation from the backscatter X-ray machines is absorbed almost entirely by the skin and tissue directly under the skin, averaging the dose over the whole body gives an inaccurate picture of the actual harm.

In their letter of concern, UCSF faculty members noted that “the dose to the skin could be dangerously high.” The eyes are particularly susceptible to the effects of radiation, and as one study found allowing the eyes to be exposed to radiation can lead to an increased incidence of cataracts.

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16 Responses to Janet Napolitano: Body Scanners on Trains, Boats, and Metro

  1. Joe in Colorado says:

    I will not be zapped or groped when I travel. I’m perfectly content to stay home or drive my car wherever I need to go. The Feds say traveling isn’t a right but a privilege. In a free society it’s now considered a privilege to go to Las Vegas or the Bahamas for vacation. Fine then. I choose to not exercise that privilege and stay home. If everyone did this, watch how quickly lunatics like Janet Napolitano would be out on their asses.

  2. I hear you, Joe!

    Until the security system at the nations airports is fixed and the choices aren’t

    1. porno x-ray machine or,
    2. porno groping by $7 an hour TSA agents

    I won’t be traveling either. I am perfectly willing to wait it out or drive my comfy SUV when I need or want to go away.

  3. Jolly Roger says:

    I haven’t flown since I became aware of the “no-fly” lists. I don’t see myself reversing course anytime soon.

    As for Napolitano…. if only she’d stayed where she was. We’d never have had to deal with the Nazi dingbat Klan Brewer.

  4. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    We’re at a cultural crossroads.

    We’re either a free and open society or we’re not. The current TSA screening procedures represent an arrow aimed at who we are as a nation and a people.

    I say enough is enough.

  5. Mets Fan says:

    This is all so disturbing on many levels.

    For U.S. travelers who either had cancer, and beat it, have cancer and don’t know it, suffer from an immunological disorder like AIDS, or have a DNA abnormality, getting blasted with ionizing radiation poses a real health risk. From my perch, when it comes to your health you either trust doctors and scientists or, you trust Obama and Napolitano.

  6. Woodcliffe says:

    Once the TSA is privatized and the Feds are out of the equation, I think things will get better for everyone.

    The TSA now employs 65,000 people, 8,000 of these jobs administrative desk jobs in Washington DC. This means 57,000 of the TSA employees aren’t security or medical professionals. Look at the Israeli security model. These men and women are well trained, well educated professionals and they’re compensated for their expertise. In the USA, airport security is a rush to the bottom. You get what you pay for. When will Americans wake up and understand this?

  7. MichaelTAtheist says:

    I believe I have a better solution….. Bomb the Mooselimbs back to pre-historic times…………….. And Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. R.J. Lawson says:

    I am so glad I own a car. That’s how I’m going to roll for now on.

  9. this is all smoke and mirrors – you cannot stop terrorism with a pat down on your junk or massive doses of gamma rays — are we gonna have pat downs and scanners at every movie theater, mall, church, school, bridge, subway, bus, park, concert on anywhere else can attack happen.

    the only way to stop terrorism is to stop funding it – and we fund it every day we fill our gas tanks up with oil from the saudis or libyans or wherever —

    when you choose to live with fear – this is what you get

  10. Rachel says:

    I’m home today, tomorrow and Friday. I’ve been cooking pies and getting ready for the big day tomorrow and I’ve had the TV on. I notice a certain arrogance on the part of the cable news networks about the “Opt Out” grassroots effort opposing the enhanced TSA screening procedures. They’re all rather smug and warble some version of “The Opt Out campaign fizzled.” Clearly, the media is having none of it. It’s very interesting.

  11. Wide Awake says:

    Does any of this make sense to anyone. TSA molesting men, women and children on a daily basis to quote “keep the public safe” when we have open borders, Obama getting rid of the terror alert level, posting a sign at the border warning AMERICANS not to enter out of danger, withdrawing troops from the murderous border, etc. None of this says they care about american safety.

    People, are you guys that stupid to believe the reasons for such intrusiveness, in the airports, on americans? This is to dehumanize us. Plain and simple. Now they want to move to roadways, buses, and any other public transportation? Where will this stop? Answer: keep watching dancing with the stars, are you smarter than a fifth grader and reruns of andy griffith–we are losing this nation if you keep ignoring blatant abuses. WAKE UP.

  12. Wide Awake says:

    Here is the little girl being molested by the TSA agents. AND YES, it is molestation. Just because the government says it isn’t because they are doing it, if a citizen did this they would be in handcuffs. If this were my child, no, this would not be my child’s situation.

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/218028-Three-Year-OldChild-Screams-Don-t-Touch-Me-As-TSA-Agent-Searches-Her

  13. Wide Awake says:

    Here is a little boy being groped:

    http://scaredmonkeys.com/2010/11/22/little-boy-strip-searched-by-tsa-way-to-keep-america-safe-from-terrorism/

    I am sick of seeing this.

    How about the 55 year old who was a cancer survivor who’s urine bag they broke all over him, or the breast cancer survivor who was forced to take her false breast out, or the woman made to lift her shirt up in public exposing her breasts, etc.

    Are you next? Think you just won’t fly? This coming is coming to a bus, train, highway, railway, subway near you.

  14. mauigirl says:

    I see the point of Napolitano’s concern – trains and other modes of transportation are very insecure. But more patdowns and scanners aren’t the answer. We need something less intrusive and less dangerous than this. Surely there are other ways to ensure safety than making everyone give up their personal freedoms.

  15. linda says:

    Napolitano needs to go. I think she’s crazy. These scanners/pat downs are giving people a false sense of security. We need trained personnel who can profile, observe, etc.

    Soon they will want scanners in the schools, your home, your car, scanner check points. The United States, once a free country, is turning into a police state. We, the people, have to stand up and say “Enough!” I think the government has forgotten they work for us. We need to fire all these lunatics!

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