GOP lawmaker: Full-body scanners violate Fourth Amendment

A GOP lawmaker said Tuesday the full-body scanners now employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) violate the Fourth Amendment to the constitution, which protects against "unreasonable searches and seizures."

During a one-minute speech on the House floor, Rep. Ted Poe (Texas) also blasted former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff as a "political hack" and accused him of profiting from the proliferation of the devices.

"There is no evidence these new body scanners make us more secure. But there is evidence that former Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff made money hawking these full body scanners," Poe said. 

He went on to explain that Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, had given interviews promoting the scanners while he was "getting paid" to sell them.

"[T]he populace is giving up more rights in the name of alleged security. These body scanners are a violation of the Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches and seizures ... There must be a better way to have security at airports than taking pornographic photographs of our citizens, including children, and then giving apparent kickbacks to political hacks." 

Chertoff has advocated for the use of full-body scanners since he took his post at DHS in 2005.

As of January, his consulting agency, the Chertoff Group, counted among its clients one of the machines' manufacturers.  

The group responded with a statement on Wednesday.

"The Chertoff Group played no role in the sale of whole body imaging technology to TSA," said spokeswoman Katy Montgomery. "Further, Secretary Michael Chertoff was in no way compensated for his public statements, in which he has consistently expressed long held beliefs in the deployment of effective technologies and techniques that eliminate security vulnerabilities such as those illustrated last year during the terrorist attempt on Christmas Day.  Any statements to the contrary are false."

—This post was updated at 2:42 p.m.