WASHINGTON – Congressman John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-Tenn.) blasted the Transportation Security Administration Wednesday during a speech on the floor of the House of Representatives for invasive “pat-downs” of U.S. citizens and the role lucrative government contracts played in the use of body scanning machines at airport checkpoints.Duncan, former Chairman of the House Aviation Subcommittee and the current top Republican on the House Subcommittee on Highways and Transit, said: “Unfortunately, for the traveling public, big brother never makes a mistake, so I am not surprised they are trying to defend the purchase of these scanners.”The text of Rep. Duncan’s speech is copied below:
Mr. Speaker:A nationwide revolt is developing over the body scanners at the airports, and it should. Hundreds of thousands of frequent fliers who fly each week are upset about getting these frequent doses of radiation. Parents are upset about being forced to have their children radiated or being touched inappropriately by an unrelated adult. There is already plenty of security at the airport, but now we are going to spend up to $300 million to install 1,000 scanners. This is much more about money than it is about security. The former Secretary of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, represents Rapiscan, the company which is selling these scanners to his former department. Far too many federal contracts are sweetheart, insider deals.
Companies hire former high ranking federal officials, and then magically, those companies get hugely profitable federal contracts.The American people should not have to choose between having full-body radiation or a very embarrassing, intrusive pat-down every time they fly, as if they were criminals.We need a little more balance and common sense on this.