As the whole mess with the TSA scanners has received a lot more attention in the last week or so, a few folks are noticing that ex-Homeland Security boss Michael Chertoff, who’s been quite busy defending the naked scanners, happens to be making a ton of money from one of the main ones, Rapiscan, made by OSI, a client of Chertoff’s consulting firm. Of course, similar concerns were brought up a year ago when Chertoff was busy promoting the scanners, but it appears that many in the mainstream press continue to highlight his old Homeland Security title, while downplaying his current role making money from seeing those scanners sold.
However, perhaps even more interesting is the news that President Obama was finally asked to address the whole thing this weekend, and (not surprisingly) defended the scans and the pat downs as “the only [procedures] right now that [the TSA] considers to be effective,” to prevent terrorism (while also admitting that he doesn’t have to go through security to get on airplanes, so he hasn’t experienced the scans.
No surprise there. Of course, what he didn’t mention is that he just got done traveling with the CEO of OSI, the parent company of Rapiscan, the makers of the main naked scanner that is being purchased and put into all these airports. Apparently, OSI CEO, Deepak Chopra (no, not the new agey guy), “was selected to accompany US President, Barack Obama, to Mumbai and attended the US India Business Entrepreneurship meeting…”
Now, of course, all of this may be perfectly legit and reasonable. There may be plenty of reasons why all of these things happened. Chertoff and Obama may really believe these scanners are the best way to protect us. But, as Larry Lessig has been fond of pointing out lately with his anti-corruption project, it’s these kinds of “connections” that make the American public lose trust in their government, since it can certainly be read in a rather corrupt manner.