Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Follow the money: Backscatter machines and Homeland Security

I'd heard something about this yesterday and Himself and I had discussed parts of it, but Nikki over at Liberty Zone has such a way with the snark that you should read her whole blogpost here.  It seems that the former head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff,  has a consulting group (it's how bureaucrats reap the benefits of their 'public service').  That group has a client that just happens to manufacture those get-you-nekkid-in-the-airport machines.  Gee, and that client company also happened to get a pretty big chunk of stimulus money too ($25 million).  Per Chertoff's bio on wikipedia here, it seems that his consulting group employs a whole bunch of Homeland Security folks as well as the former head of the NSA and CIA, Michael Hayden.

Now call me cynical or maybe I'm just reading this wrong, but I would think that what we have here is not a failure to communicate, but instead we have a BIG 'OL conflict of interest due to the incestuous nature of Washington DC.  Additionally, per the Washington Examiner, one of the early purveyors of the nekkid machines is a company who employs as one of its lobbyists, a former deputy administrator for the TSA. 

Lest you think it's just the 'R' side of the aisle that's in this mess, the companies hedged their bets by hiring folks from the other side to also lobby for them, such as former Rep. Bud Cramer (D, Alabama), who sat on the House Appropriations subcommittees for both Defense and Transportation.  It's interesting that Mr. Cramer, after a successful career in the House, announced that he was not going to run for another term in 2008, which freed him up for his new gig.

So we've got Napolitano basically doing her version of 'let them eat cake' by telling the American public that they can either submit to the machines or walk, we've got folks who formerly held her position lobbying for the companies that build the machines, and we've got former Representatives stumping for the machines as well.  Hmmmm...  I don't think that the safety of the flying public is their first priority, do you??

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