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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Colorado man to use boxers to fight airport X-rays

    DENVER — A Colorado man thinks he’s found a way to protect your private parts from unwanted radiation and government peeping at airports.

    Jeff Buske of Larkspur, Colo., is selling tungsten-lined underwear online, with fibers of the X-ray-repelling material strategically placed over the crotch. He says he’s seen his sales skyrocket in the past week, since the Transportation Security Administration began rolling out new full-body scanners at several airports and conducting aggressive pat-downs of people who refuse to use them.

    “”You shouldn’t have to be digitally strip-searched or doused with radiation to visit your grandmother,”” Buske, a 52-year-old electrical engineer, said by cell phone Monday from New Jersey, where he is trying to find facilities to manufacture more of his undergarments.

    Buske hit upon the idea in January after a Nigerian man unsuccessfully tried to detonate a Christmas flight with a bomb in his underpants. That led the TSA to speed its deployment of full-body imaging machines across the country. Buske anticipated an inevitable backlash.

    He began selling the undergarments in March. The opaque parts are emblazoned with a fig leaf or other patterns and positioned over the crotch or, on brassieres, the nipple. He peddled them through an ad on the website, which tracks the intelligence community, and got so many orders that it crashed the servers. He sold the undergarments, which retail for up to $35, at street fairs and to friends.

    After a local television station did an item on his product last week, Buske sales have jumped. He said his total orders are in the “”thousands.””

    Nonetheless, a TSA spokesman said Monday the agency has yet to hear from any screeners who were foiled by one of Buske’s underwear. Buske himself has traveled wearing the special-made shorts, but when he approached a full-body imaging device last week, the contraption was out of order.

    He said he’s tested the product at various Denver-area hospitals and determined it does repel X-rays.

    The TSA has said repeatedly that the new scanners are safe and do not dose passengers with excessive radiation. But Buske, who used to design X-ray devices for General Electric Co., doesn’t believe the government. He said he designed the undergarments with safety in mind.

    “”Short of wearing an actual radiation suit, which would be impractical,”” he said, “”you protect what you can.””

    Lawrence Johnston, from the Denver suburb of Littleton, said he bought 10 of Buske’s underwear earlier this year but hasn’t worn them yet.

    Johnston, who is friends with Buske through an activist group called We Are Change, which is skeptical that the Sept. 11 attacks were performed by al-Qaida terrorists, said he, too, was primarily motivated by fears of radiation exposure but added that he hoped they would preserve a semblance of privacy when his family flies.

    “”I don’t want pictures of my wife on the Internet,”” said Johnston, 42, referring to the possibility that unclad images could find their way online.

    Buske said that although the patches would mask key parts of passengers’ bodies, the TSA shouldn’t be worried because little could be stuffed inside.

    But if the TSA can’t see what’s going on, it may have to take more physical measures.

    “”If there is an anomaly that needs to be resolved,”” said TSA spokesman Nico Melendez, “”a pat-down would occur.””

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