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TSA says all backscatter machines will be removed by summer

TSA checkpoint

All of the controversial backscatter X-ray body scanners will be removed from TSA checkpoints by June said the airport security agency.

TSA said the maker of the backscatter systems, Rapiscan, will remove the systems at Rapiscan’s expense and stored until they can be re-deployed to other mission priorities within the government.

The TSA and Rapiscan’s parent company reached an agreement on the machines because they wouldn’t meet a deadline to shift to new software.

In a Jan. 18 post on the TSA’s blog page, the agency reiterated a statement issued by Rapiscan’s parent, OSI Systems, which said the company couldn’t meet the congressionally-mandated FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 requirement that all TSA body scanners should be equipped with new Advanced Target Recognition (ATR) and software requirements that produce less-revealing images, by June 1, 2013.

“At this point, all Millimeter wave units have been equipped with ATR, but even with the extension to 2013, Rapiscan was unable to fulfill their end of the contract and create the ATR software that would work with backscatter units. As a result, TSA terminated the contract with Rapiscan in order to comply with the congressional mandate,” said TSA’s “Blogger Bob” Burns.

The Rapiscan AIT units currently operational at checkpoints around the country, as well as those stored at the TSA Logistics Center, will be removed by Rapiscan, said TSA. “Most of the backscatter units being removed will be replaced with millimeter wave units. The millimeter units will be moved from the inventory currently deployed at other airports and from an upcoming purchase of additional millimeter wave units,” said Burns.

Burns added that by June 1, 2013 travelers will only see machines which have ATR that allow for faster throughput.