Home > Uncategorized > techdirt – Chris Matthews Says That Pointing Out Chertoff’s Conflict Of Interest Over Rapiscan TSA Scanners Is Slander?

techdirt – Chris Matthews Says That Pointing Out Chertoff’s Conflict Of Interest Over Rapiscan TSA Scanners Is Slander?

From techdirt:

Chris Matthews Says That Pointing Out Chertoff’s Conflict Of Interest Over Rapiscan TSA Scanners Is Slander? (Overhype)

by Mike Masnick from the ah,-the-media dept on Monday, November 29th, 2010 @ 3:05PM

Michael Chertoff’s conflict of interest over the Rapiscan full body “naked” scanners used by the TSA in airports is old news. It was reported on widely earlier this year, and again in the past few weeks. So it does seem kind of odd (as pointed out via Radley Balko) that MSNBC TV guy Chris Matthews appears to accuse someone of slander for pointing it out. Of course, if you watch the video, what Matthews does is even more insidious — which is taking what Ginger McCall actually says, and twisting it to pretend she said something different. She points out — accurately — the conflict of interest, and he claims she’s saying that the only reason we have these devices was because of corruption and “sweetheart deals” back when Chertoff was head of Homeland Security. But McCall was merely pointing out that there’s a “revolving door” at these agencies, and machines are pitched by former government folks, with little evidence that they’re effective. Matthews totally takes what McCall actually says and pretends (falsely) that she claimed he made a corrupt deal while still in power. This is what passes for journalism these days?

Also…

Why The TSA’s Searches Are Unconstitutional (Privacy)

by Mike Masnick from the hello-4th-amendment dept on Monday, November 29th, 2010 @ 12:01PM

Law professor Jeffrey Rosen has an excellent analysis of why the TSA’s new searches are unconstitutional. He notes that, even if the majority of people aren’t too bothered by the searches, that doesn’t change the fact that they appear to be illegal. This is even though the courts have generally been quite deferential to the government when it comes to claims of “national security” in doing things like preventing terrorism. He notes that, while the Supreme Court has not heard such a case, there are various appeals court rulings that set the standards for such searches:

the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled in 2007, that “a particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it ‘is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.’ ”

In a 2006 opinion for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, then-Judge Samuel Alito stressed that screening procedures must be both “minimally intrusive” and “effective” – in other words, they must be “well-tailored to protect personal privacy,” and they must deliver on their promise of discovering serious threats. Alito upheld the practices at an airport checkpoint where passengers were first screened with walk-through magnetometers and then, if they set off an alarm, with hand-held wands. He wrote that airport searches are reasonable if they escalate “in invasiveness only after a lower level of screening disclose[s] a reason to conduct a more probing search.”

Of course, as Rosen notes, the new searches do not pass that test by a long shot. He also points out that an analysis of the machines suggests that — despite claims to the contrary by the TSA — new research shows that last year’s underwear bomber would not have been caught with these machines, which suggests that such machines are not “effective” under the above basic definition. Perhaps the Supreme Court will finally weigh in on this topic… though, by the time it reaches that level, the TSA will probably have moved on to even more ridiculous security theater practices.

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