Homeland Security gets 400 useless body scanners

Well, at least the lines should get a little shorter.

Homeland Security announced plans this week to purchase 400 new radiation detection machines to be added to US airports, despite an increase in outrage from an American public fed up with TSA.

Additionally, the Government Accountability Office claims that Homeland Security skipped over its own internal requirements to test the machines out, which is costing the country around $300 million.

Earlier this year, the National Academy of Sciences was reported by the Washington Post to say that there was no way to know if the machines even worked, and that Homeland Security of presenting them to Congress “in ways that are incorrect and potentially misleading.”

The Government Accountability Office says that, without proper testing, Homeland Security is unable to tell if moving forward with production and deployment is actually worthwhile.

“This is especially important, given that program’s troubled history,” continues the report.

When the Post reported on the Advanced Spectroscopic Portal machines earlier this year, Homeland Security initially dropped the ASP as their main screening tool, but now they are looking at having several hundred new machines in place by 2016.

Joe Lieberman, in addition to serving as a Senator, is also the chair at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. He tells the Post that the program has so far “cost the department five years in the race to strengthen the nation’s domestic defenses against nuclear terrorism,” and adds that, at this point, “it is critical that the department begin working on a plan B for accelerating improvement in the performance of current generation radiation portal monitors.”

President Barack Obama had earlier this year requested that $76 million be used towards 300 new scanners, but Homeland Security Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt’s (R-AL) Fiscal Year 2012 Homeland Security Appropriations Bill shot-down that request in May. At that time there were nearly 400 scanners being used across the country.

The TSA purchased and installed 450 of the units in March 2010, purchasing them with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the economic stimulus package enacted by Congress a year earlier.

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