Monday, December 19, 2011

Alaska State Rep. Chris Tuck Speaks Out Publicly Against The New Body Scanners At Anchorage International Airport

A second member of the Alaska State Legislature has taken a public stand against the body scanners in use at Alaska airports. On December 19th, 2011, Rep. Chris Tuck (D29-Anchorage) unveiled a T.V. commercial in which he warns people that the new scanners can emit radiation, and advises people they can elect a patdown in lieu of the scanner, and that they should call airport police if TSA's patdowns become too intrusive. Rep. Sharon Cissna (D22-Anchorage) is the other lawmaker who's publicly criticized the scanners as well as TSA's overall screening procedures.

Tuck started running the ads on Sunday December 18th during KTUU's news broadcast, which airs statewide. His commercial is scheduled to appear during the morning and 6 p.m. newscasts for a total of eight airings up through Wednesday. The cost to Tuck is $2.060, which he paid out his Public Offices Expense Term (POET) account, which is a place legislators are allowed to put surplus campaign cash after winning an election. Video of commercial embedded below:



One fly in the ointment, though. Rep. Tuck insists that scanned images can be stored and transmitted, and will continue to believe it until TSA proves to him that there is no storage capability. TSA spokespersons have repeatedly denied that they store and transmit images, either from the older backscatter machines or the newer millimeter-wave technology, more completely described in my previous post.

TSA's reaction was also documented by CNN. TSA spokesman Greg Soule says the ad is flawed on several accounts. First, the body imagers now installed in Fairbanks and soon to be installed at Anchorage, Ketchikan, and Juneau all use software that displays a generic body outline to protect people's privacy. Second, all use harmless radio waves instead of low-level radiation. And finally, none record images. In response, Tuck called it good news, but said his concerns remain because Alaskans also travel out of the state, where the older body scanners are in use. Alaskans are far more dependent on air transportation than all other Americans except for Hawaiians.

Alaskans' Freedom to Travel USA praised Rep. Tuck for speaking out, writing "Three cheers for Chris Tuck's Public Service Announcement - covered by CNN today. Check out the story and be sure to leave a comment. Also share the story on your Facebook page. Let Rep. Tuck know you appreciate having a public official who will speak out against the abusive tactics of the TSA".

Because of re-districting, Chris Tuck has now been placed in the same district as another incumbent House member, Mike Doogan. It is now known as District 22. Doogan has already said he will not seek re-election, so Tuck has the Democratic field to himself so far. Jeff Landfield is providing the Republican opposition.

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