Big Sis Continues to Hide Details on Mobile Body Scanners

DHS makes a mockery of Freedom of Information Act

Steve Watson

In response to a Freedom of Information Act Lawsuit, the Department of Homeland security, headed by ‘Big Sis’ Janet Napolitano, has released just a handful of pages of documents pertaining to the use of mobile naked body scanners, half of which are completely redacted.

The documents were obtained by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) as part of its lawsuit to uncover details of a secretive program to install radiation firing naked body scanners in all manner of public places, beyond the nation’s airports, in surface transit and even street-roving vans.

The DHS wrote EPIC on August 8, stating “After further reviews we have determined that some documents that were originally withheld in full will be partially released to you.”

The new documents reveal nothing new at all, however, with entire pages having been blacked out by the agency.

The DHS invokes several FOIA exemption clauses, ironically including one that cites “invasion of personal privacy”.

“The privacy interests of the individuals in the records you have requested outweigh any minimal public interest in disclosure of the information.” the DHS writes.

“As a result of the agency’s failure to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, EPIC has filed suit to force disclosure of the records.” the watchdog responded yesterday.

EPIC’s suit asks a federal court to order disclosure of nearly 1,000 pages of additional records detailing the controversial program – records the agency has repeatedly refused to make public, despite freedom of information requests and appeals over the last ten months.

The lawsuit points to an agency under the DHS umbrella, the Science and Technology Directorate, which previously released only 15 full pages of documents on the mobile scanners, whilst heavily redacting another 158 pages and withholding 983 pages of documents.

In February, EPIC discovered (PDF) that the DHS had paid contractors “millions of dollars on mobile body scanner technology that could be used at railways, stadiums, and elsewhere” on crowds of moving people.

According to the documents obtained by EPIC, the Transport Security Agency plans to expand the use of these systems to peer under clothes and inside bags away from airports…

The article, with video reports, continues at Dark Politricks.

Update: The latest DHS public service video, “If you see something, say something.” Paranoia for everyone.

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