TSA Admits Plotting Nude Body Scanners for Rail & Bus, Refuses Environmental Impact Study

“If you don’t like it, don’t fly!” That has been the refrain of the few people left who support allowing the TSA to digitally strip search us and molest us and our families. We’ve already seen the TSA’s mission creep, expanding to patrolling Amtrak stations, Greyhound terminals, music festivals, and political events. But, the TSA thus far has not brought their nude body scanners and genital groping out of the airport, and has never stated an intention to do so. So, maybe TSA abuse will solely be confined to airports?

Not a chance. Through a Freedom of Information Act response that I’ve obtained of formerly unreleased, secret (“Sensitive Security Information”) documents, it now comes out that the TSA has been plotting since 2008 to bring nude body scanners to “ferry terminals, railway, and mass transit stations” as well as unspecified “other locations” — in other words, everywhere. You can expect them at train stations, bus stations, subways, highways, cruise ships, and anywhere that “transportation” happens (i.e., everywhere). And, where the body scanners go, so does the groping, since the body scanners have at least a 40% false positive rate which needs to be resolved by blue-gloved gestapo.

Further, the TSA notes that they have refused to conduct an environmental impact study of any kind. According to the document, DHS has issued an order “exempting” security devices from environmental review. Why not conduct an environmental impact study? Unless, of course, your device is leaking radiation everywhere…

So, why hasn’t the TSA told the public that they intend to bring nude body scanners to every mode of transportation we use? Because, of course, the only way they can convince the American people to allow for their rights to be taken away is slowly. Only a small percentage of people fly and only a small percentage of fliers are scanned. Combined with the fact that people are afraid of flying and are therefore more easily tempted to trade liberty for (a false sense of) security, there are not many to complain, and the government hopes that those of us who are complaining eventually give up. Then they can inch forward. Perhaps just the extra-fast Acela Amtrak trains will be scanned next. Then only buses that seat more than 100 people. Then those who are driving commercial vehicles on the highway. Until everywhere we go, we are scanned, groped, abused, and violated. Sensational? Read the document — the TSA admits in black and white what their intentions are, even if it is unpleasant to believe. Body scanning must be stopped now, or it will be a part of your daily life soon.

These “orders” of the TSA — declaring that body scanning will be everywhere and for all, declaring that no study is required, and declaring that your privacy is “protected enough” — are issued by this guy:

Anonymous. The TSA redacted the name of the guy who decided all of this. “Change I can believe in” should have been transparency in government. “Change I can believe in” should have been full environmental studies before deploying radiation devices across the country. What the hell kind of change have we actually received in nearly 4 years?

TSA – Deploy Nude Body Scanners Everywhere, Conduct no EIS (.pdf)

28 thoughts on “TSA Admits Plotting Nude Body Scanners for Rail & Bus, Refuses Environmental Impact Study

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  1. I think your gripes about environmental impact statements are off target. You wouldn’t expect environmental impact from such devices as they’re always within larger facilities. (That’s not to say that the larger facility might not have an environmental impact, though.)

      1. I might add that the workers are usually close by, all day during those scans.

        They say if we don’t like it, don’t fly. I took that to heart. I have never even been to a airport since 9/11. Not once. I have not even went to one to drop someone off. I refuse to put myself in a place where the Constitution does not apply. If they closed all the airports to passengers tomorrow, I wouldn’t notice the change.

      2. What *ENVIRONMENTAL* impact will an x-ray have?

        While an evaluation certainly is needed it’s not environmental. This argument seems like a case of having a hammer so you treat everything as a nail.

  2. Screw them all to hell. I’ll take my own personal hybrid and continue my part to put the TSA out of work. And when they put x-ray machines on Interstates, it’s only ten miles from here to Canada, and very cheap to rent an apartment on this side of the border to keep my Social Security. F**kem.

  3. Great work! The fact that TSA is showing up at the conventions and other public venues is an indication that DHS intends to grow TSA into a national police force that will scan and search anyone at anytime without cause.

    What will lines at the train and bus stations look like once they put scanners in them? They did wonders for slowing up airports. Charlotte airport is now telling people to arrive three hours before their flight!

  4. FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEM WITH SCANNERS: I have decided that I have a fundamental 4th amendment issue with the scanners – EVEN if they are the ATR kind which theoretically display a Gumby-like image and don’t use hidden peep-show rooms anymore.

    Here is the problem: The scanners do NOT specifically detect explosives or other threats based on something unique to their technology. All they “detect” is what the ATR software – or the TSA voyeur if using the non-ATR scanners – shows as something that is likely not part of the human body. This is COMPLETELY contrary to previous administrative searches which look for SOMETHING related to the threat or object or code violation that is the purpose of the ‘administrative’ search. Here are 3 easy examples:

    – Metal detectors detect the presence of …. metal. The theory is that guns are usually made of metal, so by SPECIFICALLY looking for metal – and not detecting wood, plastic, or other material – then there MIGHT be a weapon.

    – If your house is searched for fire code violations, the inspectors DO NOT perform a foot by foot search of your entire house…they focus on things like electrical wiring (they don’t open your toilet or look in a standard bathtub or search shelves in your closet).

    – If we have a pandemic, technically the government could force you to provide a blood sample to quarantine you. If they did, they don’t test for EVERY DISEASE and then see if a subset of the tests show the specific virus tested for. Again, they don’t test for HIV or Hepatitis when looking for the Andromeda Strain or whatever.

    Contrast these (3) examples with any of the scanners. What the scanners do is a COMPLETE inch-by-inch search of your body, even if convenient to the searcher and less criminal than running their hands over every inch of your body and violating assault laws.

    The scanners :
    – DO NOT look for explosive compounds by evaluating a chemical analysis from the search
    – DO NOT identify shapes as specific weapons – guns, knives, bombs, bomb materials
    – DO NOT keep secret private details such as colostomy bags, feminine protection, rings on genitals or breasts, mastectomy operations, testicular damage, or other similar medical and physical issues.

    THE OVERALL RECORD of scanners is 0 detections of anything resembling a working non-metallic bomb or non-metallic explosive material – the SOLE PURPOSE for which the TSA claims they need these devices. This is over their entire pilot period and since 2010 when they foisted these unconstitutional searches on innocent travelers. This is currently running at about 40% of ALL passengers which is over 250 MILLION illegal scans a year. This is BS.

    THE KICKER: If their poorly run scans detect something, travelers are made to submit to a ‘swab’ to test for explosives! Why the F*** don’t they do this in the first place…since these swabs MUST work since the TSA is using them? It is illegal for law enforcement to even do a swab without reasonable articulable suspicion, but in the context of what the TSA does…an explosive test is less unconstitutional than a scanner by a large factor.

    SUMMARY: The TSA goal – and thus Dept. of Homeland Security’s goal – is to make the public accept scanners with Gumby images everywhere. This SHREDS the 4th amendment. If a technology was invented that could be pointed at your house to find “suspicious” items, without physically searching your house which is the only way they could find these items otherwise, the Supreme Court wouldn’t allow it. In fact, just this past year they ruled against infrared imaging to detect houses with “hot spots” indicative of marijuana cultivation. The majority opinion said “absent a physical search, the items would not be detected, so therefore it is illegal”…fairly close paraphrase.


    RANDOM NOTE: The privacy impact described in the attached documents are lies as the machines do show private parts in detail, which is why they of course deployed these scanners with the peep-show rooms.

  5. TSA Kicks Woman Off Flight For Bad Attitude.

    A TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.

    The audio and video in the clip above is scratchy, but the woman is heard saying, “Let me get this straight, this is retaliatory for my attitude, this is not making the airways safer it’s retaliatory.”

    “It pretty much definitely is,” the TSA screener responds.

    The incident began when the woman refused to allow TSA agents to carry out a controversial policy where they test drinks for explosives that are purchased by passengers after they have already passed through security.

    “This was inside the terminal at the Houston airport,” the woman writes on her You Tube channel. “I was not allowed to board a plane (even though I had already been through airport security) because I drank my water instead of letting the TSA “test” it. The TSA agent finally admitted that it wasn’t because they thought I was a security risk – it was because they were mad at me!”


  6. you can see the titles of the three people who signed the document:
    1. Project Planner
    2. TSA Environmental Planning Program Manager (EPPM)
    3. Director, Office of Safety and Environmental programs

    “Kathryn Jones serves as the Environmental Planning Program Manager at TSA.”
    contact information:

    David Reese
    ORG: DHS, Office of Safety and Environmental Programs

    other people of interest:
    Teresa Pohlman

    trying to find the project planner at tsa but coming up blank.

    1. actually, the project planner on that page is only responsible for the environmental aspect . its not actually the person who came up with the idea to put TSA on buses.

      have to foia a different document to find that out…

  7. amtrak issues press releases about working with TSA in operations like ‘RAILSAFE’ and ‘ALERTS’.

    google for “rail stations” “tsa” filetype:pdf
    to find more.
    this is an interesting one

    Click to access Amtrak%205%20Yr%20Plan%20FY12_16%20%20FINAL%20w_Appx.pdf


    Click to access d10650t.pdf

    talks about VIPR teams

    wow the tsa has been doing this since 2004!
    In May 2004, TSA completed a 30-day test to screen Amtrak and commuter rail passengers for explosives at a Maryland train station by having them walk through a trace detection portal that the TSA is also considering for use at aitports.

    too many pdf to read and much too depressing. good luck!

  8. Dear TSA, My Football Preferences and Vacation Plans are None of your Business: A First-Hand Experience With the TSA’s “Chat-Downs”

    I was scheduled to return from my summer vacation at 6 a.m. Sunday morning flying out of Vermont’s Burlington International Airport in a state most often thought to be ahead of the civil liberties curve. If you’ve ever had a crack-of-dawn flight, you can relate to my blurry eyed exhaustion after waking up at 3:30 a.m. to make it to the airport with enough time for what we now consider to be the standard, if annoying, airport security rigmarole. I expected to have to strip off my belt and sweatshirt, take off my shoes, show my ID, and be subjected to a naked body scan or all-too-personal pat down. What I didn’t expect was a full-on TSA interrogation about my summer vacation before I even reached the identification checkpoint.

    That morning the security line was far longer than usual; my husband and I slowly snaked along the line dividers as folks began pulling out their toothpaste and laptops. As we got closer to the front of the line, I noticed a TSA agent stationed in front of the ID check, just outside of the line dividers, with no apparent assignment other than to chat with the waiting passengers.

    As we inched closer, I heard the chatty agent try to strike up a conversation with the man in front of us about his New England Patriots sweatshirt. “Hey, the Pats are playing in a preseason game with the Eagles on Monday, huh? I’m an Eagles fan myself.” In classic New England style, the questioned passenger shrugged disinterestedly, muttered “whatever,” and shuffled along. (I say this as New Englander myself.) My first thought was, “what a rude way to treat this poor agent who is just trying to do his job.”

    The agent then turned to me with grin that was a bit perky for even my taste given the early hour. “So where are you folks off to?” he energetically inquired.

    I like to think that I’m a friendly person, so I answered him, expecting a brief innocuous exchange about the Washington DC heat and the scourge of Capitol Hill gridlock. Instead, the agent responded to my answer with a barrage of questions about where in Vermont we had stayed, how long we had traveled, and why we had traveled there. I could feel a suspicious expression involuntarily creep across my face. The New Englander inside me was screaming “you don’t know this person from a hole in the wall and you certainly don’t want to divulge to him the details of your family vacation!” And yet it seemed that the more discomfort I expressed, the more persistent the agent’s questioning became, following us down the line, grilling me unrelentingly about our vacation plans and baggage status.

    When we finally passed through security, I turned to my husband and asked, “What on earth was that all about?” My husband shrugged and suggested that perhaps the agent was just a chatty guy. To me it felt entirely inappropriate and intrusive.

    It was only after I fully reentered the world of easy Internet access that I saw that while I was on vacation I had missed a news breaking New York Times article about the “controversial” use of “behavioral officers” at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts. I don’t work on airline security issues for the ACLU, so I hadn’t known about this program. According to the Times, “behavioral assessments” were being used at Logan not only to scan the lines of passengers for unusual activity, but also to “speak individually with each passenger and gauge their reactions while asking about their trip or for other information.” Sound familiar? And it turns out that this airport “assessment” procedure is not only an inappropriate invasion of privacy, as I experienced. According to U.S. federal officials, it’s also leading to increased racial profiling, in part in response to managerial pressure to meet certain threshold referral numbers. Of course, many minority communities have been suffering discriminatory secondary checks and unjustified delays at airports for years.

    Apparently it’s not enough for TSA to examine every inch of our bodies and personal effects; they are now asserting the right to search our conscience through pre-boarding cross-examinations. And to what end? The Government Accountability Office concluded in a 2010 report that no behavioral detection program has ever been scientifically validated. There is also considerable doubt among scientists about the usefulness of the methodology with behavioral researchers asserting that TSA agents “would achieve similar hit rates if they flipped a coin.”

    To be clear, I have nothing but respect for friendly TSA agents who do their best to make the security experience more tolerable by making small talk with impatient passengers. I have nothing but smiles for the ID checker that cracks a joke about my license picture or the enormity of my carryon. But there is a world of difference between friendly small talk and unwelcome interrogation about my personal business. I never want to have to second-guess my travel plans and itinerary or consider how they might appear to a government agent.

    I won’t be volunteering any more personal information to the next TSA agent that interrogates me while I’m in line for airport security. The next time I encounter a TSA “behavioral officer” I intend to invoke a tried and true New England adage that served my ancestors well: Mind your own business.

    1. I thought this was the way Israel did their check points? I don’t fly and certainly never been outside the country but have seen people talking about the way Israel does their check points. This sounds sort of like what they do which for them, works pretty well.

      That said, they may not like my responce. I’m from the south and my Redneck could be showing real fast. It may come out my mouth but they may doubt it when it hurts their feelings. lol Nosey buggers.

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