Friday, January 8, 2010

Security and technology expert lies about body scanners on TODAY Show; says they would have stopped Detroit terror attempt


Segment also shows the scanned body blurred out in genital area; a blatant admittance body scanners show clear nudity

by Larry Simons
January 8, 2010

On Friday morning’s fourth [and final] hour of the TODAY Show, hosts Hoda Kotb and fill-in host Piers Morgan [of 'America’s Got Talent', filling in for Kathie Lee Gifford] discussed airport security, specifically body scanners.

They introduced Mark Laustra, Vice President of Transportation Security Technology & Programs for Smiths Detection, who demonstrated an airport body scanner by having a man stand in front of the scanner and turn his body around.

What I found interesting is that right before the man [named Jim] stepped in front of the scanner, host Hoda Kotb says:

“So he’s [Jim] got some contraband, uh, different various things on him, so why don’t you take a stroll through the uh, through the machine and let’s see what happens. And we’ve sort of fuzzed out a little bit ‘cause it’s uh, a little bit funky, alright..”

What she meant by the phrase “a little bit funky” is that the scanner shows Jim “a lotta bit NAKED”; a clear admittance that the body scanners show naked images of human beings. Notice after Kotb mentioned the fuzzing out of Jim’s image, Laustra makes no attempt to rebuke or correct her.


Laustra pointing at scanned naked image of a man. Notice the blurring out of the genital area

Laustra begins pointing at Jim’s naked image on the body scanner and describes the different items of contraband that Jim is carrying on his person [boxcutter, plastic knife and explosive simulant]. Co-host Piers Morgan says, “Which is like what the guy had before Christmas, right? So, with this technology, would you have stopped that guy, do you think? If they were vigilant when they watched the procedure, do you think the people at the airport would have seen what he had on him? That’s the crucial question.”

Laustra evades Morgans question and says, “This is a tool, another tool for the screeners to use to detect this, these types of things, and uh..” , Morgan interrupts Laustra, clearly illustrating that Laustra ignored his question and says, “But specifically on that guy with what he had and the way he packaged it. Would your machine have identified that?”

Laustra still evades the question and says [clearly stuttering and appearing nervous], “Well yeah, you, youu, uuu, you, can plainly see the anomaly underneath the clothing, yes.”

Well, first of all, Laustra admitted in the segment that the scanner only detects anomalies, not SPECIFIC objects. He pointed at an object on Jim’s torso area and called it an “explosive simulant strapped to the body”. How in the hell would he know it was an explosive simulant? It was clear in the segment that all the scanner showed was a dark object on Jim’s torso, and Laustra could tell it was an explosive simulant?

Secondly, Laustra ignored Liers Morgan’s question [about whether the scanner would have stopped the Christmas day terror attempt] twice. Morgan did not ask whether you could see an anomaly underneath clothing. He asked if airport employees would have known an explosive was on the would-be bombers’ person. Laustra stepped around the specific thing Morgan was asking and ignored it, two times.

Earlier Laustra pointed to an object on Jim’s left leg and said, “We see a plastic knife right about here.” How could he tell it was a plastic knife? The only thing that must have been clearly identified was Jim’s penis, since NBC felt the need to blur it out.

Laustra is a liar, simply because it was reported on January 3, 2010 that these machines cannot detect chemicals or light plastics. In fact, the report says that the only devices that can detect these things are X-ray machines, but that they pose health risks and are too slow to operate. In the TODAY Show segment, Laustra told Morgan and Kotb that the scanners were completely safe and pose no health risks from the radio waves.

I wonder why they didn’t use a female as the body scanner guinea pig, or a child? Were they too afraid that it would be blatantly obvious that the body scanners would be seen by millions of viewers as a total violation of our privacy? Or that the scanners would violate child porn laws?

watch the clip [starts at 4:55 into the clip]

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