Pardon my modesty, but why is there such an unseemly rush by Department of Homeland Security officials and assorted terrorism experts to sneak a peek in my underwear?
Lest you think I've tumbled into full-tilt paranoia, let me note that they want to look into your undies, too. In fact, in a ridiculous, authoritarian, knee-jerk response to the Christmas Day underwear bomber, our officials are pushing to install thousands of super-sophisticated X-ray scanners in America's airports, so screeners can look right through the clothing of every man, woman and child who flies.
Authorities want to require you to stand in a scanner, spread your legs, and raise your arms in the arrest position, while your friendly screener gets a front-and-back, full-body view of your nakedness. Supposedly, faces and genitals will be blurred out, but the body contours of every single passenger will be on display – and many will undoubtedly begin popping up on Internet postings.
So what, bark authorities? Freedom has a price.
I'll say. Personal liberties aside, these invasive scanners go for about $160,000 each. Who's behind this technological hustle? Michael Chertoff, for one. In dozens of interviews following the Christmas Day bombing attempt, the former Homeland Security honcho demanded that these machines be deployed in every airport.
Why is Chertoff pushing so adamantly to subject every single American passenger to this peek-a-boo technology?
Perhaps because the Chertoff Group, his Washington lobbying firm, happens to represent Rapiscan Systems — a corporation that makes the machines and will enjoy windfall profits if we're all forced to stand in them, virtually naked.
This connection between his advocacy and his client's profits is something that Chertoff never volunteered during his many interviews. Curious, huh?
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.