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House committee to explore TSA body scanners

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security will hold a hearing tomorrow on the TSA body scanners.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has decided to replace backscatter Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) machines, worth $14 million, in large airports with millimeter wave AIT machines, and send those backscatter machines to a storage facility in Texas.

The hearing -- titled “TSA's Recent Scanner Shuffle: Real Strategy or Wasteful Smokescreen?” -- will examine TSA's process for testing, evaluating and deploying backscatter technology, the timeline for implementing Automated Target Recognition (ATR) privacy software on backscatter machines, and TSA's plans for its remaining 155 backscatter machines currently deployed in the field, according to U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

"TSA is about to warehouse 91 body scanners that cost taxpayers $14 million," Rogers said in a statement. "Despite initial reports, these scanners, which were removed from large airports, will not be used in small airports, nor will they be updated with privacy software anytime soon.

"This raises serious questions about the entire process for developing this technology and how much taxpayer money is at stake," Rogers added. "At this hearing, the Subcommittee will investigate the actions that got us to this point."

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