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U.S. Government Acquires X-ray Technology That Can Scan Vehicles

October 6, 2010 by  

U.S. government acquires X-ray technology that can scan vehiclesA worldwide supplier of innovative X-ray equipment recently confirmed that it finalized a multimillion dollar contract with a U.S. government agency for the delivery of an innovative surveillance and detection system.

American Science and Engineering will provide the government with a modular Z Backscatter system, which can help bomb technicians remotely search vehicles for explosive devices. The technology was designed to scan a suspect object and produce an X-ray image.

If explosive components are detected, the system will allow the operator to defeat the device using precision targeting data. The Backscatter system, which security experts say can help in their counterterrorism strategy, has also been used at U.S. airports to produce full-body images of passengers.

According to The Christian Science Monitor, the government's recent acquisition of car-scanning technology has raised ire among privacy advocacy groups.

"This really trips up the creep factor because it's one of those things that you sort of intrinsically think the government shouldn't be doing," Frederick Lane, a Vermont-based privacy expert, told the news source. "But, legally, the issue is the boundary between the government's legitimate security interest and privacy expectations we enjoy in our cars."

Critics of the technology believe that scanning Americans without their knowledge is a violation of their constitutional protections, according to the news provider. 

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  • newspooner

    Let’s all get working on a simple, inexpensive devise that will quickly reflect X-rays back to their source.

    • john

      tin foil

      • Al Sieber

        You got that right, just double the Reynolds Wrap. I finally figured out what to do with all that lead paint I’ve been saving.

    • Les

      If it can scan through the sheet metal in your car, what do you think is going to stop it or reflect it? And what do you think it will do to you and your family? But maybe thats the plan. Can’t get everyone to walk through those airport scanners so bring the scanners to everyone.

    • RSO

      Back scatter Modular Z = reflected low level gamma emissions the transmitter is the reciever

  • Mark

    This isn’t new, it’s just revealed!!! Don’t let them kid you, they’ve been watching us law abiding ones for a long time. They just haven’t been vigilant with the ones they should have been watching.

    • TIME

      Mark, You got it dude!

  • Vicki

    We should make a detector so we know when we are scanned. That way we know when the vans are near. We can then photograph them for those that do not believe.

    Then again they don’t believe in the black helicopters (actually dark green around here) so why should they believe in the white vans?


    If this is what will stave off a terrorist carrying a explosive then let’s use it, the paranoia can be legislated if the device is being misused…..

    • ValDM

      “If it’s misused”? It’s already being used, how do you define “misuse”? I don’t like the idea of being scanned while in traffic; and especially without my consent. Will we even know it’s being used? How? When? I don’t think my govt. can take of me as well as I can. I also don’t believe this is anything more than to spy on me AND you. Whenever our freedoms are being infringed upon or outright taken away, they always trot out the “terrorists”.

    • 45caliber

      They are already using it in larger air ports. Personally, I don’t care if someone sees me naked (all they’d do would look the other way) but I do have objections to using it on anyone younger than 18 and on young women – some of the favorite people for these operators to select for search.

      • Randy

        It’s one thing for a TSA agent to be jackin’ off in a little room beside the airport check point, now they’re gonna be doin’ it while driving a big friggin’ van down the interstate, comforting to know.

  • Rennie

    I would be concerned about the repetitive public exposure to radiation from said devices, and question their ability to accurately identify, target and destroy a device, “Whoops, that was a pacemaker!” Toyota has raised the possibility of outside electronic interference in their dashboard circuitry causing “anomalies”. Yes, in airports, border crossings, cargo ports it would be a wonderful idea, I’m not sure I’d like them cruising up and down the highway. Exiting a Walmart parking lot between an unmarked RV camper and a tractor trailer yesterday, while troopers searched a nearby pickup truck, I wondered if such an arrangement would be used to randomly check for contraband? I’m not a smuggler, but I am a hunter, and I would be very careful to know the local legal firearms transport requirements anywheres I travel to be prepared for harassment or confiscation attempt should they find my firearm, (which for anti-theft purposes I try and keep locked and out of sight), via scanners. And then we are supposing the bad guys never obtain this technology, or law enforcement never misuses it. If I was trying to hide something, such as burying coin or firearms in oil filled PVC tubes to prevent future confiscation, obviously it must be in a place said scanning vehicles can not travel.

    • 45caliber

      That is one of the warnings listed on the info I saw on this.

    • larryh

      You do not need to fill a pvc tube with oil to store a firearm,just wipe the firearm down with a light coat of oil,put it in a gun sock, then wrap in plastic-(two large trash bags are enough. If you fill the tube with oil, you will have a hell of a time cleaning the firearm up to use it.Rifle barrels should never be filled with oil,ever.If you fill a pvc tube with oil,it is not onlt going to get in the barrel,it will be so thick on the trigger assembly,firing pin,and the stock,that it would take you a week to clean it up good enough to be able to shoot,if the stock can be saved, and if the oil has not eaten away the fiberglass bedding system between barrel and stock.

  • Paul Coonan

    Pie in the face is mild compared to what our *leaders* will get when they realize how many millions of tax dollars that they have to explain to America that they just flushed down the toilet.

    What will trigger this? The first bomb that is triggered by sensing x-rays. There are many x-ray sensors available out there, some as small as a quarter. Just google x-ray sensor.

    All it will take to render each and every one of these 500+ vans across the country useless will be one little x-ray sensing bomb that goes off when one of these vans happens to be “scanning” cars parked on a public street.

    It will be interesting to see how *our leaders* try to spin that one when it happens.

    • 45caliber

      Personally, I think we should have a beam of energy that sets off explosive devices or materials. You have a nice heavy black box at a plane terminal. Each person steps inside, the door is closed, and the beam hits them. Then the door opens and lets them out. Anyone entering with a bomb would allow the rest to hear a loud bang. That would elimnate the bomb and the bomber, adminstering justice without anyone being injured. All you would have to do is clean out the box.

      • Vicki

        This presumes that the carrier of the bomb knew they were. Anyone who knows anything about drug trafficking knows about mules that are unaware. In fact that is one of the reasons airports make such a big deal of “unattended” baggage constantly warning you to know where your bags are.

        • 45caliber

          I seriously doubt that you would find very many innocent people carrying a bomb. And if you did they would undoubtedly be too stupid to help the human race anyway.

  • Ginnisickel

    I believe that whole thing is a hoax. If they would signal a radar transmission beam they would get an echo which could be analyzed for content of an object. However, for X-rays you need at the other side of the item penetrated by cathode ray beams some kind of a display or a comparable receiver to portray the result of a searched item. In other words, X-ray analysis is a one way street and the beams containing the information, unlike those creating an echo, get lost if not picked-up by a suitable device located into between the X-ray source and the item under investigation. How would they do that to put an item next to the object on one side and put the vehicle transmitting X-rays at the other side?

    • 45caliber

      It is not a hoax. I saw an article where a woman agreed to test one for the press. She had a tatoo on her hip they could see. A normal X-ray machine is exactly as you said but this is called a back-scatter machine for a good reason.

      No all X-rays go through; some bounce. They have a method of using the bounce to pick up an image. The image is actually in layers (outer clothing, inner clothing, skin, etc.) They simply have to focus to the layer they wish to see. The other layers are also present but not as noticable so if someone carried a knife, for instance, it would be seen even if the focus was not on it.

      Notice also that that does not require objects to be made of metal to show up. It can identify a plastic comb or folded paper as well.

      • Ginnisickel

        Thanks for your explanations. I was not aware of these new technics. But how strong is the radiation transmitted onto those objects under scrutiny and what happens to the human beings standing close if hit? Isn’t something like that not dangerous to our health?

        • 45caliber

          That was one of the fears listed by the MSM about this unit. No one is apparently saying just how much radiation you get from it.

    • Vicki

      The key word is “backscatter”. What is sad is that you need a lot more power to get that back scatter then just having a screen on the other side.

    • larryh

      t is not X-ray technology. the backscatter system uses the natural radiation found in everything and that is what is reflected back, all it does is measure background radiation.

      “Backscatter X-ray is an advanced imaging technology. Traditional X-ray machines detect hard and soft materials by the variation in transmission through the target; in contrast, backscatter X-ray detects the radiation that reflects back from the target. It has potential applications in situations where non-destructive examination is required, and can be used even if only one side of the target is available for examination.”

      “American Science & Engineering, a company based in Billerica, Massachusetts, has sold U.S. and foreign government agencies more than 500 backscatter x-ray scanners mounted in vans that can be driven past neighboring vehicles to see their contents, Joe Reiss, a vice president of marketing at the company told me in an interview. While the biggest buyer of AS&E’s machines over the last seven years has been the Department of Defense operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Reiss says law enforcement agencies have also deployed the vans to search for vehicle-based bombs in the U.S.

      “This product is now the largest selling cargo and vehicle inspection system ever,” says Reiss.”

    • s c

      G, this technology exists, and Uncle Scam will stop at nothing to get what he wants (what he’s told to do, actually). At this rate, it won’t be long until Big Mutha or Fuhrer will be more fitting names for Uncle Scam.
      Please do yourslf a favor, and do some quick research on this technology. The ultimate goal of those who control Uncle Scam is total domination. You and I are ‘outsiders,’ and Uncle Scam doesn’t trust us. Orwell wasn’t even close in estimating the goals and tactics of a power-hungry government.
      This is not a game, and those who underestimate Uncle Scam and his ‘friends’ will lose everything.

      • Marie Stroud

        “what he’s told to do, actually).” Now here is real knowledge!!!
        Any lingering doubts about xxxxx’s status as an abject puppet of Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Rockefeller Trilateral Commission ended this morning when the withered mummy of imperialism himself appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe* to campaign for xxxxx, urged on by his own moronic daughter, Mika Brzezinski, an xxxxx groupie and sycophant.”

        Is it true that former president Reagan was a puppet? | Answerbag
        Sep 19, 2009 … Is it true that former president Reagan was a puppet? all the 19th century presidents were puppets except jfk and it cost him his life.??? – Similar

  • 45caliber

    I saw this some time ago. You missed a few points.

    First, it is used in airports to do full body scans of passengers, all right. It displays them as if naked to the observer. And they use it on children too. Since the US government doesn’t bother to do background checks of the personnel (“criminals need jobs too”) it will certainly be of interest to pediphiles and people who want to look over others. Why not just require all passengers to be naked? It would work just as well.

    Second, it can also be used to examine passing cars – or cars the van passes. And if cars, why not houses as well? That provides them with the way to bypass a search warrant.

    Keep in mind what they are doing with it – and recognize what they can do with it.

  • honeybadger

    What’s to be done if a bomb is located? Depends on who has it! This is just yet ANOTHER excuse to have ‘THEM’ plunder your privacy! You can BELIEVE they ain’t gonna piss off a muslim, it’s his RIGHT if he wants, to carry ANYTHING he wants in HIS car, you just worry about what YOU are allowed to carry in yours!!!

  • http://BobLvingstone,PersonallibertyDigest richard davis

    Wake up. personal liberty is the first thing to go with a car bomb. What have I to fear if I am living clean and within the law. Those who would overthrow our constitutional government will not honor your privacy once they are in charge.

  • Nancy Kosling

    When buying a gun you have to fill out forms for the ‘government’ to give you permission to buy it. Ammo the same. Gun repair the same. Buy precious metals under $1000 pay sales tax and furnish your name and address. Metal over $1000 gets reported to the ‘government’. The government knows who owns new weapons, how much ammo you bought, how much gold and silver and where you live.. the new mobil x-ray machines will tell them where everything is to knock on your door at three in the morning to get it all. Land of the free… I don’t think so.

    • 45caliber

      Correct. Further, the papers everyone signs are supposed to be held for seven years and are NOT supposed to go to the government. However some years ago (10 anyway) New Jersey passed a law banning semi-automatic weapons. A man I knew from there received a notice HERE in Texas that he had purchased a .22 rifle when he was a young man and that he had to show proof he had disposed of it or turn it in – and that was over 20 years prior to this. For some reason they had the info even though officially they weren’t supposed to have it. I wonder why …

    • larryh

      There is no federal ammo sales reporting requirement,where did you get that piece of misinformation?
      I live in Ohio,and we buy rifles,pistol,and shotgun ammo at any store that carries it, with no writing down personal info.

      • 45caliber

        There used to be a requirement to fill out papers to buy ammo. And the Dems are trying to get it passed again. It is part of HB 45 if I remember correctly and is to be part of the new UN treaty as well. As one of the liberals said, “It may be against the law for us to register all guns but it isn’t against the law for us to register the ammo they use!”

  • Nancy Kosling

    I was at a fund raiser BBQ yesterday. They were taking up a collection to pay added poll watchers for the upcoming November 2 election for suspected voting areas where many bus loads of voters had gone from poll to poll for repeated voting in different precients during the last election. I struck up a casual conversation with a local attorney running for judgeship seated next to me. I expressed my concern that people who believe and support the Constitution were now suspect as if we were terrorists. He reminded me the early supporters of the Constitution were considered terrorists by the British Crown. I guess we were, but I’d like to thing we were the good guys. I expressed my fear that the direction the current government was going, I expect the knock on the door at three in the morning for my gun, my silver and my gold. He said he shares the same fear. From past history in German the night-of-broken-glass was just that.. the confiscation of guns and money (and loss of life). We live in strange and terrible times.

    • 45caliber

      There will be “loss of life” if someone breaks the glass to get into my house in the dead of night.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Jill

    Well I was going to leave a reasonable, common sense blog, But I have somehow forgotten to re-charge the batteries in my mega – bomb that I just so happen to drive the city streets with it, and my children firmly strapped in by their safety belts. So if you’ll excuse me I must get the extra long extension cord, so that I can charge her up.

  • http://PersonalLibertyDigest Jill

    This year the only people who can vote are legals, living and permanent residents of America. Has anybody noticed when you go out to a movie or a grocery store how many more people of a different dilect then yours is out and about? Like their waiting for something to happen that hasn’t happened yet………..

    • Randy

      You’re living in a dream world if you think only legal folks will vote this year. Look for the black pantied panthers to be out in force again, they now know they are untouchable.

  • Marie Stroud

    Not one thing that you are reading is new. Go to this site and follow info. You can find a picture of your home? Try concentraton camps in America for starters.

  • Marie Stroud


    1. Maintain humanity under 500,000,000 in perpetual balance with nature.

    Dr. Henry Kissinger?, who wrote: “Depopulation should be the highest priority of U.S. foreign policy towards the Third World.” Check it out.
    Rice fused with human genes; GMO
    Ever watch a policeman ride behind different cars for a short while? They can hear and see you.

  • Marie Stroud

    Our constitutional government has been going piece by piece for many years. What does the constitution say about committing US Troops to foreign lands for war? What about phone tapping? What about a world court?


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