A lobbyist who worked for the company that built TSA’s naked body scanners is now working in the government department responsible for TSA spending, it has been revealed.
Christopher Romig, who worked as a go between for Rapiscan, has secured a position within the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee.
Romig’s record indicates that he actively lobbied Congress on “aviation, port and border security,” in addition to “budget and appropriation.” Just by coincidence, these are the very areas he will now oversee on the Homeland Security Subcommittee.
‘Conflict of interest’ does not seems to be a phrase that Congress has much time for.
At the height of it’s push to win government business, Rapiscan Systems spent over a quarter of a million dollar per year lobbying for contracts just with the TSA.
Rapiscan’s X-ray body scanners were rolled out in airports across the country from 2007 onwards. However, the company lost the contract in 2013. The official reason was that Rapiscan was unable to develop the “stick man” software that masks naked images produced by the scanners.
After a widespread backlash against the machines, it was demanded that such software be developed. Rapiscan could not apply it to its existing technology, and TSA took its business elsewhere.
This led to the mothballing of $14 million worth of body scanners. All in all, the 250 backscatter scanners the TSA now has are worth a combined total of $40 million.
However, many believe that the real reason some of the machines were removed from airports is because of allegations that Rapiscan manipulated operational tests on the machines.
Bloomberg reported that Rapiscan “may have attempted to defraud the government by knowingly manipulating an operational test, Representative Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Transportation Security Subcommittee, said in a letter to Transportation Security Administration chief John Pistole Nov. 13. Rogers said his committee received a tip about the faked tests.”
Security experts also suggested that Rapiscan’s machines were wide open to hacking, to the point where “Someone could basically own this machine and modify the images that the operators see.”
With a man on the inside now, how long will it be before Rapiscan wins a new contract to work for the TSA once more?
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.