Report: TSA Sold Thousands of Full Body Scanner Images to Anonymous Buyer

O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, IL. Are you flying anytime soon? You may want to take the bus. According to recent documents leaked to the, the Transportation Security Administration is selling off thousands of images it has stored over the past two years from its controversial full body scanners. This system was implemented as part of a Homeland Security program to increase screeners effectiveness in spotting deadly threats. The scans are essentially real life images of travelers with their clothing digitally removed. The program caused an outrage over the intrusion into travelers personal lives. The TSA assured the American public that the images were not stored. However, leaked images of some scans appeared online indicating the scans were actually kept on file.

A diagram depicting a typical TSA full body scanner. © Dan Race -
A diagram depicting a typical TSA full body scanner.
© Dan Race –

According to the leaked documents the number of images that have been sold may number in the thousands. The TSA defends it’s actions claiming full rights to the images the full body scanners produced. The administration argues the sales were necessary to cover budget gaps in the shrinking Homeland Security budget.

John S. Pistole, the TSA Administrator, defends his agency’s actions saying, “The full body scanners are part of a publicly funded program therefore the programs results should be subject to public scrutiny. We are simply giving the rights to print those images to one particular party.”

When pressed for the identity of the party who bought the images, Pistole was vague. ” A very major internet based company dealing in the distribution of images purchased a large majority of our images we had on file.” He added that he “wouldn’t be worried” that a large majority of these images could appear in adult entertainment magazines as “a large majority of the people featured in the scanned images were tremendously ugly and not at all attractive in nature.”

Naturally the push back has been tremendous.

Jared is a frequent flier and is outraged that the Administrator of the TSA thinks the majority of Americans are tremendously ugly. “How would he like to be subject to public scrutiny while in his birthday suit?” He asked.

Jackie, on the other hand, isn’t upset by the derogatory comments. “I’m comfortable with who I am. I would rather have them sell publicly owned nude images of travelers than have them raise taxes to close their budget loopholes.”

Joe is a senior citizen who was traveling to Kentucky to see his cousin. “I’ve been naked most of my life, who cares?”

While the ACLU claims that the TSA does not have the right to sell images featuring recognizable people without the subjects consent, Pistole disagrees. Pistole said, “Since late August 2011 we have been including a model release in the ticket sales with all the airline companies. When you buy the ticket that rights release is essentially part of the ‘terms of agreement.'”

Meredith, a TSA screener at O’Hare says she respects peoples privacy. “I always look away from the screen so as not to offend the travelers.” When challenged that this would make the system ineffective, she replied, “Well, you try to stomach seeing hundreds of obese naked people every hour. I don’t care if they blow up the airplane, there are fates worse than death.”

Pummel others with your wisdom!