Turns out the scanners pretty much don't work and that Congressional lawmakers are kind pissed off about that. A report by the Government Accountability Office concluded that the system wasn't checking IDs against state and federal databases and wasn't reducing costs and it wasn't doing a whole bunch of other things. It turns out that TSA never did a cost-benefit analysis to check whether what it was promising about the technology was actually true, which is something you'd expect for a system supposed to cost $130 million and last 20 years (something else the GAO also didn't totally believe).
All of this is beginning to seem eerily familiar. TSA officials got enamored with some new multimillion dollar technology that was supposed to automate some part of a checkpoint. The agency told everyone that its people are doing due diligence, making sure the new technology worked, and so on. Instead what actually happened is that the technology got rushed into airports without even basic tests.
With full-body scanners, it looks very much as if well-funded scanner lobbies pushed the agency into a multimillion dollar boondoggle, until eventually an entire new kind of scanner had to be purchased. Who knows what we'll find out about the ID scanners?
[Photo: niiicedave / Flickr]