November 19, 2010

Who's getting rich selling those see-you-naked TSA body scanners?

As noted in the previous post, I want to follow the money. Let's start with this article in The Examiner. It lists these "research results":
  • In 2008, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff authored a 38 page report warning of terrorists exploiting our security deficiencies – including air travel.
  • On Christmas Day 2009, just before the “attempted bombing incident” on board flight 253, there were a total of 40 body scanners in use in 19 airports in the U.S.
  • On Christmas Day 2009, numerous witnesses watched while Abdulmutallab, the supposed 'terrorist' was escorted TO the plane by several men in suits.
  • After the 'bombing attempt' Chertoff made a flurry of media appearances suggesting that the “attempted bombing incident” could have been avoided if all airports were using full body scanners.
  • The Washington Post printed an article on January 1, 2010, calling Chertoff out for using his government credentials to promote a product that benefits his clients. It was revealed that Rapiscan Systems, the manufacturer of the naked body scanner Chertoff was recommending, was a client of Chertoff's security consulting agency.
  • Rapiscan has since received over $250 million in scanner orders.
Abdulmutallab, the supposed 'terrorist'... Oh, lord. That's too conspiracy-theory for  me. And the Washington Post story from last January is behind a pay-wall now. There's this time line at Firedoglake:
  • 2005: Michael Chertoff, as head of Homeland Security, orders the first batch of porno scanners from a company called Rapiscan Systems. After his departure, Chertoff gave dozens of interviews using his government credentials to promote the device. What he didn’t tell people was that Rapiscan was one of the clients of his consulting company, The Chertoff group.
  • March 2009: The Department of Homeland Security says they will apply $1 billion in stimulus money to the nation’s airports. Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, personally promises to oversee the distribution of stimulus funds so money goes toward the goal of creating “4 million jobs” and not on “boondoggles”
  • December 2009: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz inserted language into the Homeland Security appropriations bill barring the use of full-body image scans as “primary” screening tools at airports, and it passed the House on a bipartisan vote of 310-118. Both the ACLU and the NRA backed it. The amendment also made it illegal to store and copy these images. It died in the Senate.
  • December 25, 2009: The “Christmas bomber” attempts to detonate plastic explosives hidden in his underwear while on board a flight to Detroit.
  • December 29, 2009: Joe Lieberman calls for “more widespread use of the full-body scanners after the aborted attack.”
  • January 2010: Since they couldn’t get money for the porno scanners from Congress, TSA uses the “Christmas bomber” scare to appropriate $25 million they had received in stimulus money to buy the “backscatter” scanners — from Rapiscan, Chertoff’s client. Rapiscan said the contract “helped create” 25 jobs. The government gives the TSA the green light to spend a total of $173 million on the scanners. TSA spokesperson Sarah Horowitz said “the agency has enough funds that would come from the stimulus program and other federal sources” to purchase 300 more porno scanners, per CNN. Total jobs created, per the government’s own website: 1.
  • April 2010: The GAO reports that “it remains unclear whether the AIT would have detected the weapon used in the December 2009 incident based on the preliminary information GAO has received.”
  • November 8, 2010: US Airline Pilots Association tells its members “NOT to submit to AIT screenings.”
  • November 15, 2010: Joe Lieberman says he “comes down on the side of the patdowns.”
The boldfacing is mine, but go to the link for the internal links in that text.
So the “groping” technique was developed as a way to punish people into using the scanners — because there are $148 million more on the way. And just so nobody gets the idea to follow Tyner’s lead, the TSA is using threats and intimidation to guarantee the market for the porno scanners. Whether Tyner is prosecuted or not, people will hear about what happened to him and think twice before refusing to become fodder for their new machines.

CORRECTION: I had the wrong link to the Examiner, which went to a website I didn't want to link to. Why is it so hard to find this information about the scanners?! I couldn't find anything recent in the NYT or the Washington Post.

162 comments:

campy said...

A better question would be, "Who's getting rich ... ?"

E.M. Davis said...

A better question would be, "Who's getting rich ... ?"

She's been reading Trooper York too much.

Maguro said...

More jobs saved or created by the Obama administration.

Alternate conspiracy theory: Make air travel so unappealing that the entire country goes garage mahal and falls in love with high-speed choo-choos.

vw: obomati. The progressive wing of the illuminati.

Crimso said...

Why is this this technology not being pushed for jails and prisons as well? Seems to be an enormous untapped market for Chertoff's friends, assuming the conspiratorial view of all of this is correct.

garage mahal said...

Strange bedfellows, ye of Althouse and commenters, with Firedoglake and commenters.

Maybe Palladian was right with that circle, not a line, theory.

E.M. Davis said...

Strange bedfellows, ye of Althouse and commenters, with Firedoglake and commenters.

Maybe Palladian was right with that circle, not a line, theory.


Indeed. But I'm just a militant individualist.

MadisonMan said...

Very interesting. Thanks for compiling it in one place.

traditionalguy said...

The first act of a thief is to create a diversion so that the police are all gone somewhere else while the unguarded area of town is looted. That is also the reason widows and orphans get looted so often even by Religion leaders whom no one would suspect. People lulled to sleep have no one there to guard them. Reality therapy for Trooper is that ethical Lawyers are the guards that our society relies upon. That is what we need being taught in Law Schools. That is also why I respect Palin...she has always sided with the victims and exposed the robbers, especially the GOP robbers who are quaking in their soft toed shoes frantic to stop her.

Larry J said...

Why is this this technology not being pushed for jails and prisons as well?

One of the great military procurement fallacies is buying the equipment needed to fight the last war. TSA is once again being reactive in their response to the underwear bomber. Instead of thinking about how to prevent the next tactic, they're spending millions on technology designed to stop the last one. Meanwhile, those would-be attackers are moving on to the next tactic that these scanners are unable to detect such as hiding explosives in body cavities. Hiding stuff in body cavities has been used for a long time in drug smuggling and in prisons (which is why these scanners are of limited use there) and also in an attempted assassination attack in Saudi Arabia last year. When it happens on an airliner (and it will), what will TSA's reaction be then?

MadisonMan said...

When it happens on an airliner (and it will), what will TSA's reaction be then?

We did the best we could with the technology available to us. This successful attack does not mean you should cut our funding.

(That's my prediction)

Trooper York said...

Hey I am just trying to create a new usage like my hero Sarah Palin.

Thanks for the link. Here is the
"Whose that Girl" series.

Big Mike said...

Wasn't Chertoff the direct supervisor for Michael D. Brown, and also the man who named "Brownie" as the Principal Federal Officer in charge of Katrina?

Big Mike said...

TSA is once again being reactive in their response to the underwear bomber.

Sorry, Larry, but there seems to be a body of research that suggests the scanners would not have caught the Underwear Bomber.

Should we rename Abdulmutallab the "Junk Bumber"?

former law student said...

And the Washington Post story from last January is behind a pay-wall now.

Prof, can't you read it on LexisNexis? You wouldn't be able to link to it obviously, but you could verify or summarize.

Larry J said...

Sorry, Larry, but there seems to be a body of research that suggests the scanners would not have caught the Underwear Bomber.

Perhaps. If so, then that makes the TSA's actions even more suspect. They're spending large sums of money on technology of questionable value. The old saying "follow the money" always applies to anything that the government does.

former law student said...

Althouse's link does not go the Examiner, but to a John Birch Scoiety publication.

Original Mike said...

I predict "porno scanner" will join the ranks of "death panels" in our lexicon.

Trooper York said...

Jeeez porno scanner was my part time job back when video stores first came out. My buddy needed someone to scan the new pornos to see if he wanted to buy them for his store.

It was a dirty job but somebody had to do it.

garage mahal said...

Althouse's link does not go the Examiner, but to a John Birch Scoiety publication.

Yes, and it appears George Soros is behind this too.

DAMN YOU GEORGE SOROS!

AlphaLiberal said...

Why it's the security-industrial complex!

Who would have thunk?

(Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Trooper York said...

I mean the regular pornos were cool but the weird ones did take a little getting used to.

I remember one where these girls wore bustiers and high heels and stepped on bugs for an hour. Just crushed 'em.

Luckily we sold those tapes to the blogging cockroach for a lot of dough. Good times.

dave in boca said...

I wonder if the cringeworthy Chertoff has a deal where he gets part of the vig for each scanner sold. "Rapiscan is a brand-name inspired by a mad poet...!

Ray Fowler said...

Rapiscan is the name of the company making these machines? I know it is probably short for "rapid scan," but it seems a poor choice to potentially put the words "rape" and "scan" together for a company that makes full body scanning machines.

Bob Ellison said...

I keep wondering how the TSA would have handled, so to speak, the "Elephant Man".

AlphaLiberal said...

Rapiscan has to be the dumbest name in marketing history, if somewhat appropriate for the company.

Crimso said...

I should have been more specific. Why not push this technology for scanning visitors to jails and prisons? Body cavity searches are indeed standard for those "checking in," but not for those visiting. And it is well-known that at least some contraband enters prisons through visitors, and that at least some of these visitors aren't using body cavities to do it. If it stops even one contraband cigarette from entering one jail, won't the enormous expense have been worth it? (OK, that last bit was sarcasm...)

Crimso said...

No real comment, just had to say that the currently showing Turing word is "copatlan." Hmmm.

Leland said...

Eh, some of us get to vote for good Congress Critters. See video

HDHouse said...

The entire conspiracy seems so outlandish - so convoluted - filled with a cast of characters who seem wierd to begin with....

I vote yes.

AllenS said...

There's no money in profiling.

Titus said...

I would like a job for a day feeling titties for the TSA.

MayBee said...

April 2010: The GAO reports that “it remains unclear whether the AIT would have detected the weapon used in the December 2009 incident based on the preliminary information GAO has received.”

This is the big issue to me. It's my issue with the gropedowns, too.
Will they work? What are the safeguards against abuse?

If someone is getting rich and has our best interests in mind, that's fine with me. If someone is getting rich and subjecting us to embarrassment just for the sake of their wealth, then I have a problem.

traditionalguy said...

Matbee...That was well stated. Asking the correct question is the key to judging the answers that we get. No TSA guy will ever answer that one, but instead will start in to a spiel on the terrible dangers we face and end that their is no other choice except to just shut up and trust them.

jr565 said...

Sorry, Larry, but there seems to be a body of research that suggests the scanners would not have caught the Underwear Bomber.


Ok, I'll bite. Since no one wants anyone to be patted down nin that region and noone wants to undergo the full body scans, how are they proposing to actually find the bomb in the guys underwear? What body of research suggests that not looking someplace will find something there?

jr565 said...

Maybee wrote:
If someone is getting rich and has our best interests in mind, that's fine with me.


Seriously. Suddenly the libertarians are all anti coprorations, as if the designers of the scanners are Haliburton (which are also for profit). Oh no, conspiracy theories!

madawaskan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

Flew yesterday-I think Glenn Beck will be dissappointed;no one protested-and things weren't any slower.

I will say that because of the failings-on the day of the Christmas Day bomber-we all get a chance at extra doses of radiation?

Anyone remember the list of things they screwed up on that day?

Like didn't the guy pay cash, and get a last minute one way ticket-and his name was on the list but didn't make it on that particular airport's list? [I can't remember the specifics.]

And I know there was some Liberal that was arguing against Trad Guy's radiation argument and they linked to *proof* that Trad Guy was wrong but the damn article actually supported the fact that you should be worried about the radiation.

I'm not really concerned about naked and all the rest.

I think Glenn Beck and others hurt their case when they insinuate that it's opposite sex guys feeling up women. That's hyper "bull".

That isn't the case-and they hurt their credibility when they keep trying to make that the visual.

I think even I am uncomfortable enough with the truth.

The *protesters* or instigators to *Turkey Uprisings* should try sticking to that.

Roger J. said...

I am seldom in agreement with Mr House--but hell has frozen over and there will be a hockey game on the river styx tonite

Titus said...

I would be very gentle and thorough while feeling up the titties.

No weapons or toxins would get by me.

Those tits would be clean and ready to fly.

madawaskan said...

jr565

Let's say I am inclined to agree with you but feel like debating anyways.....

Weren't there all kinds of opportunities to "catch" Mr. Underoos with the procedures that were supposedly already in place?

IOW wasn't there a whole list of mistakes that they made that day-and now because they can't follow those elementary procedures everyone has to possibly run through this?

Titus said...

I would talk to the titties while examining them.

Saying things like, "hi little titties, are you excited about your travels: where are you headed too; wear sunblock".

Larry J said...

Ok, I'll bite. Since no one wants anyone to be patted down nin that region and noone wants to undergo the full body scans, how are they proposing to actually find the bomb in the guys underwear? What body of research suggests that not looking someplace will find something there?

The Israelis use a combination of techniques starting with checking the person against computer databases as soon as he purchases the ticket. Is he on any watch lists? Did he buy the ticket with cash (as reportedly the Underwear Bomber did)? Did he have any luggage? There are also things a trained person can look out for when questioning people to detect if they're likely lying.

You can't profile based on race or even religion. What does a would-be Muslim bomber look like? There are about a billion Muslims on Earth and they come from just about every race. For example, the most populus Muslim country isn't in the Middle East, it's Indonesia. Likewise, there are Filipino and Chinese Muslims as well as millions of them from Africa. Richard Reid (the Shoe Bomber) was a white convert from the UK. No, you can't profile based on race or even religion (see: Tamil Tigers and Shining Path terrorist groups). But you can profile based on intelligence and behavior.

madawaskan said...

Titus-

Did you read Ann's red meat makes people placid post?

I almost wrote-we all don't want to know what feelings Titus gets when in the presence of a turkey.

Titus said...

I would want the tits to go into one of three lines:

regular size tits

tiny tits

enormous tits

madawaskan said...

plus Titus-

It's same sex pat downs so you'd only get the chance to be cautious with -

Man boobs.

Yuck.

[wv:weepe]

Fen said...

my issue with the gropedowns, too. Will they work?

Mohammed now knows that his disciples cant hide bombs under their junk. The obvious next step for him is to smuggle inside the vagina and rectum.

Its a win-win. He either blows up a plane or forces the US government to rape its citizens.

What are the safeguards against abuse?

Travel in pairs, video-tape each other. Insist on private room for pat-downs, with a supervisor and lawyer as witness, same-sex same-gender (no mixing of gays/straights) personnel only. And be prepared to miss your flight and/or be detained for refusing a grope.

[I'm wondering why the ACLU isn't staging lawyers at each checkpoint?]

If someone is getting rich and has our best interests in mind, that's fine with me. If someone is getting rich and subjecting us to embarrassment just for the sake of their wealth, then I have a problem.

You're getting groped/probed because liberals refuse to allow profiling. Direct your anger there.

Titus said...

I believe the tits should get a "stamp" on them once receiving the approval to fly.

Kind of like a cube steak.

traditionalguy said...

Titus...Remember that Profiling is not the same as feeling tits, even though tits have a profile that will vary among body types, unless of course they are filled with Silicone Explosives.

Titus said...

When accepting my tit job I will have an addendum that states that I will not feel manboobs.

Fen said...

I believe the tits should get a "stamp" on them once receiving the approval to fly.

The breasts are getting a nice dose of radiation. Does that titillate you?

MayBee said...

Weren't there all kinds of opportunities to "catch" Mr. Underoos with the procedures that were supposedly already in place?

IOW wasn't there a whole list of mistakes that they made that day-and now because they can't follow those elementary procedures everyone has to possibly run through this?


This.

On a related note, intelligence also had tipped us off about the printer cartridge bombs. Thank goodness we eventually found them even though they were already on the planes.

TSA has now banned printer cartridges in passenger plane cargo. That is the best illustration of the absurdity of it all.

Titus said...

I don't want any tits harmed in the probe.

I want it to be as pleasant and seamless as possible.

Titus said...

Perhaps evaluations given to passengers after the screening will allow us tit inspectors to gain feedback on the process?

jr565 said...

Larry J wrote:
The Israelis use a combination of techniques starting with checking the person against computer databases as soon as he purchases the ticket. Is he on any watch lists? Did he buy the ticket with cash (as reportedly the Underwear Bomber did)? Did he have any luggage?

And we also use terrorist watch lists. And the Israelis other techniques also include long interrogatoins, and pat downs. I wouldn't be surprised if they had scanners there too, even if they aren't heavily advertised.
But suppose the person you're looking for is not on the terrorist watch list,and is smart enough to know to not pay for his ticket in cash (as suppose he's read this blog), and yes, he has luggage, but is that so suspicous? Who doesn't have luggage? Or is it suspicious that he wouldn't have luggage. if you're a sophisticated terorist, wouldn't you know what the profiles are looking for and then simply not be that? If they're looking for people paying in cash, don't pay cash. if they're looking for somoene with no luggage bring luggage. Just as it's easier to resist interrogation if you know how your interrogator is going to interrogate you, you can beat a profile by knowing what the profile is looking for.
So it's a useful tool, and certainly can weed down a lot of people (like say an unsophisticated terrorist), but it's not the be all and end all. You still have to have adequate security measures just in case someone is smart enough to get past the initial profile.

madawaskan said...

Titus-

I'd give you instant

feedback-McDonald's style....

Like my kneecap searching your groin area. I'm just sayin'.

jr565 said...

Fen wrote:
Mohammed now knows that his disciples cant hide bombs under their junk. The obvious next step for him is to smuggle inside the vagina and rectum.

Its a win-win. He either blows up a plane or forces the US government to rape its citizens.


Well, we're obviously not going to rape people, or conduct cavity searches, but wouldn't a body scan potentinally find something smuggled in their rectum?And if Mohammad now knows he can't put a bomb in his underpants, isn't that a good thing? It makes it harder for him to put a bomb there. If he knows we won't ever search there, then that's the safest place to put a bomb.

Hagar said...

There is no need for any devious conspiracy.

There are plenty of opportunists quick to take advantage of timorous bureaucrats with taxpayers' money to spend and badly frightened by rampaging pols and media hacks!

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

JR the point is, that El-Al asks QUESTIONS, not just pats everyone down.
1) Why are you going to Israel? You don't have a Jewsih last name.
2) Is it business? What business?
3) How much do you make? Who's paying your way?
4) Where will you be staying? How much does it cost per night?

That sort of thing, the sort of narrative that begins to unravel for most terrorists..."uh"..."I don't know" "I make $15,000 a year"...the sum of the answers taken in their totality suggest that the passenger is NOT on the up-and-up....

THEN the pat downs and body scanners.

madawaskan said...

So it's a useful tool, and certainly can weed down a lot of people (like say an unsophisticated terrorist), but it's not the be all and end all. You still have to have adequate security measures just in case someone is smart enough to get past the initial profile.

I already see a huge hole in it.

A terrorist is still going to be willing to play the odds games-and right now as I saw it implemented yesterday-you don't have enough machines. The *odds* are still highly in their favor should they want to run them.

When they are willing to die-that isn't a big enough hurdle.

Also-are we really implying that this *hole* in security was only discovered after the Christmas Day attack?

DEA agents could have told you it was always a possibility....

[Again to reiterate I am really undecided about the trade offs.]

Bryan C said...

I don't think there's a conspiracy. I think someone just decided that investing in equipment was wiser than investing in people. And, under the circumstances this might have made sense. There's only so much you can expect from an unskilled and transient labor pool. And, now that they've decided that the explicit "no unions" TSA clause somehow doesn't count, that situation will only get worse.

"Why not push this technology for scanning visitors to jails and prisons?"

Cynically, I'd suggest that it's because most of the contraband going into prisons comes in via the prison guards or other prison employees. Or at least with their knowledge.

jr565 said...

Madawasan wrote:
Weren't there all kinds of opportunities to "catch" Mr. Underoos with the procedures that were supposedly already in place?


That's the whole reason the security keeps getting tighter and tighter. Because noone checked this guys underpants and now securtiy has egg on his face. The solution - check peoples underpants. Same thing with the shoes. Shoe bomber gets on a plane with a bomb in his shoe, no one bothered to check his shoes. Solution - check peoples shoes. The fact that these people got on planes means that security didn't adequately do its job.
At a most basic level what is security so supposed to do? If they recognize that there is a hole in their security then don't they fix it? The robber was able to get through the hole in the fence. Solution - fix the hole in the fence. the 9/11 terrorists were able to get to the cockpit because the door wasn't locked. Solution, lock the cabinet doors.

there were opportunities to catch the underwear bomber, but they were all failures. So then, security, whether it's the TSA or a private security sees where the flaws are and then addresses it so it doesn't happen again.

And how else are you going to check someone's unerpants, if not look there or feel there. What else is left? You don't want them to do a pat down and you don't want them to do a scan, what's left? And don't say "profiling" because that will not in fact find out that you have weapons in your undies.
What's left is, you've basically told people, if you want to get a weapon or bomb on board put it in your underpants, because they will not check you there.

traditionalguy said...

These useless scanners can be surplussed out either as punisment devices or as Mammogram devices with a few add ons.

Chef Mojo said...

Of course, all this will be rendered moot when the next big strike involves attacking a shopping mall. Or a stadium. Or a high school. Just the random car or truck bomb here and there.

We're 9 years into the evolution of enhanced security techniques. There's big money in it, whether for a bureaucracy or a corporation. The lobbyists are entrenched and the palms are greased.

Meanwhile, the terrorists will adapt.

Clyde said...

Yup, 'Qui bono?' is definitely the question. Follow the money.

traditionalguy said...

A massive Federal Scam Scheme ( a/k/a US government in action)is par for the course when MOST of the politicians went merrily along with our financial doom to create for themselves Tillions of dollars in Cap and Trade theft.

Original Mike said...

Should we rename Abdulmutallab the "Junk Bumber"?

I like the name Mark Steyn gave him: The Knicker Bomber

traditionalguy said...

Oops. Tillions of dollars is way more than Trillions of dollars.

Original Mike said...

"but wouldn't a body scan potentinally find something smuggled in their rectum?"

No.

jr565 said...

Joe said:
JR the point is, that El-Al asks QUESTIONS, not just pats everyone down.
1) Why are you going to Israel? You don't have a Jewsih last name.
2) Is it business? What business?
3) How much do you make? Who's paying your way?
4) Where will you be staying? How much does it cost per night?


But doesnt that take longer? So then if you're complaining about the added time required for scanners you can't want more time for interviews. And aren't those questions invasive? If you don't want the TSA getting in your business and think them looking at an xray of you is going too far, what about grilling passengers and trying to second guess them? The point being, that's even more invasive than making some get a pat down. And after all that you then say we'll have the scanners and xrays anyway. So, imagine if you're a flustered passenger who doesn't stand up to authority well, and you have somebody in authority getting in your face asking loaded questions, then reading your being flustered as a reason to be suspicous of your itineray, and then having to step through a scanner anyway. If you're a terrorist I imagine noone would have a problem with you being put through the ringer, but if you're just some businessman who got the wrong interrogator and now has to get the third degree. or to put it another way, I just want to fly from point a to point b, I don't want to be interrogated.
People are all about profiling, but no one wants to be profiled themselves. They seem to want security to magically determine things and simply appy a different standard to them and the terrorist. There are a million people going through airports in a day, how is security determining this? it requires things like x ray machins, and scanners and questions, and pat downs (and profiling). People want the result but they don't realistically think about how security gets that result.

John said...

Oops. Posted this in the wrong thread originally.

In the morning to all the slaves, human resources and all the ships at sea!

Those of us who listen to the No Agenda Show with Adam Curry and John C Dvorak knew all this stuff a year ago. Naked body scanners were first discussed in show 173 on Feb 11, 2010.

They have been all over the Chertoff connection for several months now.

They discussed the underpants bomber at considerable length back in Dec and Jan last year. Including the reports that a number of people saw him escorted onto the plane.

No Agenda is a 2 hour podcast every Sunday and Thursday with John C Dvorak and Adam curry at www.noagendashow.com

It is commercial free and they are making a living off of listener donations (I send them $50 every year)

You will learn a lot of stuff you might not otherwise hear.

John Henry

WV: Orogynes Is this a new word for cunnilingus?

jr565 said...

Chef Mojo wrote:
Of course, all this will be rendered moot when the next big strike involves attacking a shopping mall. Or a stadium. Or a high school. Just the random car or truck bomb here and there.

And then the shopping malls will realize that there is a security hole and work with security firms to beef up security at their shopping malls.



We're 9 years into the evolution of enhanced security techniques. There's big money in it, whether for a bureaucracy or a corporation. The lobbyists are entrenched and the palms are greased.

There's big money in security period. But enhanced usually means more expensive, but also often means better (though not always). Wow security firms make a profit selling a service that will protect people or places. That is so sinister.

Meanwhile, the terrorists will adapt.

Yes of course. And we then adapt to terrorists. And they then adapt to us (ad infinitum). They try putting a bomb on a shoe. We get caught and it gets passed our security. we beef up security. They can't put a bomb on a shoe because we look there. They try to put a bomb somewhere else. We get caught and it passes security. We learn our lesson and beef up security so it doesn't happen again.
This is like a reverse of all the talk about how we can't kill the terorrists if we kill them we only make them stronger. We can't implement security measures because if we do they will only adapt. Well so do we. By getting better security measures that prevent the same trick from happening twice.

jr565 said...

Chef Mojo wrote:
Of course, all this will be rendered moot when the next big strike involves attacking a shopping mall. Or a stadium. Or a high school. Just the random car or truck bomb here and there.

And then the shopping malls will realize that there is a security hole and work with security firms to beef up security at their shopping malls. But before they do, the public will demand to know why the shopping center didn't protect them from terrorism, and how they should have known. And then the shopping centers will be sued for ignoring basic security. And then they will beef up their security and people will complain about how their beefed up security is incovenient to their lives and how they won't go the shopping center ever again now that they've installed the cameras or whatever they implement.

Anglelyne said...

jr565: Ok, I'll bite. Since no one wants anyone to be patted down nin that region and noone wants to undergo the full body scans, how are they proposing to actually find the bomb in the guys underwear? What body of research suggests that not looking someplace will find something there?

Since the older thread on this subject seems to have died, and I'm lazy, I'll repost the response I gave to your similar comment there:

jr565: For me it's all about security threats. The fact that a guy got through security and noone checked his underwear and he ended up having a bomb there signifies that we have a glaring hole that no one is addressing. We got lucky and it also showed one of the flaws in the system, namely noone looked at the guys underpants.

(Rolling eyes.) No, the flaw in the system was not that his underwear wasn't checked. The huge gaping flaw in the system is the utter incompetence of the staff of the "system" who refused to act on huge beeping flashing neon warning signs and intelligence out the wazoo that this guy was trouble. (If your memory of the chain of events surrounding Panty Man's excellent adventure is already hazy, refresh it.) That he was allowed anywhere near an airplane in the first place is a consequence of the glaring incompetence of Janet "the system worked" Napolitano and the rest of the imbecile clown posse, not some "glaring hole" in mechanical scanning protocols.

If it's a "all about security threats" for you then you ought to be against letting imbeciles continue to ignore those security threats because they're too busy play-acting at "security" for fun and profit. Or you think that instituting mandatory anal probes is the prudent and effective fix for the "glaring hole" in our security system that was recently exposed by that failed butt-bomber in Saudi Arabia.

Freeman Hunt said...

Maybe this whole thing is supposed to boost economic incentive for success in preparation for confiscatory taxation. Everyone will want to fly private, and you need to make some money to do that.

A.Worthing said...

i will say, i would rather have someone touch my junk than have it photographed via scanner.

i mean in the first case, only one person is violating me. in the second, a few billion people might violate me.

also i am going to insist on a female junk toucher, being a man. :-)

madawaskan said...

A couple of points take them for what they are worth: about 2 cents because I am multi-tasking.

Random people do not put bombs in their underwear-terrorists do.

Terrorists are usually-well you fill in the blanks.

Why can't I say *profiling*?

Maybe I love profiling because profiling=efficiency?

It can be done somewhat -ahead of time.

El Al seems to be doing it well- it's hard to argue with the results.

They haven't had a protest of air travel because a critical mass of passengers were inconvenienced by the interrogations-that result leads me to believe that they've mastered the ratio of who they question and who they do not.

Now I will grant you that maybe their passengers are willing to tolerate more because they perceive the threat to be greater.

Quite honestly I think I'd rather be questioned.

jr565 said...

Anglelyne wrote:
(Rolling eyes.) No, the flaw in the system was not that his underwear wasn't checked. The huge gaping flaw in the system is the utter incompetence of the staff of the "system" who refused to act on huge beeping flashing neon warning signs and intelligence out the wazoo that this guy was trouble. (If your memory of the chain of events surrounding Panty Man's excellent adventure is already hazy, refresh it.) That he was allowed anywhere near an airplane in the first place is a consequence of the glaring incompetence of Janet "the system worked" Napolitano and the rest of the imbecile clown posse, not some "glaring hole" in mechanical scanning protocols.

You've just explained the limits of just relying on profling or consulting a terrorist watch list. He got past the first layer. If you want to say it's due to incompetence or that they need to beef up their ability to see these people before they even get through the airport i have no problem with that. But that's just the first layer of defense. I hope you have plans for the times when people bypass that layer. Becuase it sounds like you're saying if they get passed that layer then if they have a bomb in their shoe or their underpants there's no point in looking for it. It's te first layer of defense or bust.

If it's a "all about security threats" for you then you ought to be against letting imbeciles continue to ignore those security threats because they're too busy play-acting at "security" for fun and profit.

Except you seem to be the one ingorng the security threats. Namely, a guy is in an airport with underwear explosives. And that guy cna't be patted down or have a scanner determine that he's packing because, why that would be uncivilized or some shit. And who's ignoring security holes. If some security guard simply was able to pat this guy down they would have found his explosives. Ignoring security threats is not a good example of security.

jr565 said...

madawaskan wrote:
They haven't had a protest of air travel because a critical mass of passengers were inconvenienced by the interrogations-that result leads me to believe that they've mastered the ratio of who they question and who they do not.

I"m sure they have had plenty of complaints, considering they've been doning this stuff for ages. But we're not going to hear about it in the news, because thats simply El Al's way of doing security. And people wait on three ohour lines, and then have the guy interrogate them as par for the course, becuase they recognize that security is not a game, and they don't have little hissy fits about how the mean El Al guy is "groping them, boo hoo". That's what happens if you travel. You don't have an unlimited freedom to never be accosted by security. If you're a palestinian I'm sure you complain constantly and I'm sure Israel says tough shit, I don't care if you're groped/patted down, that's just how we make sure our planes aren't blown up.
HEre, we are such dainty creatures though.

Hagar said...

jr and madawaskan,

As I understand it, El Al personnel question the passengers while filling out their tickets. There is not a separate State of Israel bureaucracy set up to fubar the works.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Yeah El-Al tells you to get to the gate two hours before lift-off….It’s not no-one wants to be PROFILED, it’s that the US can’t bring itself to admit who the threat is…HINT: generally Muslim Men, 19-25 or those associated WITH Muslim men, 19-25….
El-Al’s system works, TSA’s does NOT, JR…the last bombings have NOT been stopped at the gate, but in-flight by the crew and/or terrorist incompetence.

Another note JR, most terrorists aren’t very competent…and I bet if you asked a set of questions of Swarthy Men, with Korans, aged 19-25 a set of questions about why they were going to their particular destination, who they were going to see, and where they were going to stay, and how much their room was costing them per night, 95% of the Terrorists would fail…they haven’t thought that far! For the 5% that have thought that far, at least you’ve driven up their operational costs, because now they need a TWO-WAY ticket, a room reservation and a car rental agreement.

You make a False Dichotomy..either feel my junk up or have no security. And that’s not true, there ARE alternatives. You keep wanting to substitute technology for thought…You are akin to school administrators who like “zero tolerance policies” because they require little thought and very little justification, you just follow the rules…even if they make no sense or punish the innocent. So too here, every time there is a “hole” don’t address the issue of who the threat is and how that threat might be addressed, simply add more machinery and pat-downs, even though they haven’t stopped the terrorists yet.

Finally as to car bombings or Mumbai-style attacks at the “mall.” How about this, more concealed carry permits and fewer Malls outlawing weapons. When the Mumbai attackers struck they faced UNARMED police, much less armed citizens…so yes they went to town and shot pretty much indiscriminately. In the US, in many places, they’d face people with pistols shooting back. And I will remind you that the last mall attacker was stopped by an off-duty policeman who retrieved his firearm and stopped the attacker…it was not the ON-DUTY police! Remember, “when danger is but seconds away, the police are MINUTES away.”

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AllenS said...

jr565,

Do me a favor, would ya? When quoting someone, please use quotes or italics to designate their words, and to separate those words from your own.

Thanks.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

Oh, lord. That's too conspiracy-theory for me.

Althouse and the lefty blogs..

Although, I suppose her poll showed we kinda asked for it.

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
You make a False Dichotomy..either feel my junk up or have no security. And that’s not true, there ARE alternatives. You keep wanting to substitute technology for thought…You are akin to school administrators who like “zero tolerance policies” because they require little thought and very little justification, you just follow the rules…even if they make no sense or punish the innocent. So too here, every time there is a “hole” don’t address the issue of who the threat is and how that threat might be addressed, simply add more machinery and pat-downs, even though they haven’t stopped the terrorists yet.

what are these other procedures? Because this guy got on a plane. And just as the patdowns failed, so too did the terrorist watch list and profiling behind the scenes. I certainly woulndt suggest that you shouldn't profile, it's a valuabe tool. But so is the pat down, scanning for those times when the intial defenses fail.
YOu need multiple layers of security not just one. The top down approach is important as is the bottom up approach.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



Well JR all I can say is that the TSA approach doesn’t work…had we relied on TSA the Shoe Bomber or the Underwear Bomber would have succeeded…Their incompetence and the passengers and crew stopped THEM!

Yeah when someone buys a one-way ticket, with cash, at the last minute, with No luggage it ought to ring alarm bells, it didn’t… so now we have to have our B@lls felt up because TSA booted the ball? Wow, you must be an interesting coach, “Ok guys that last play was a TOTAL goof on my part. So I want all of you to run 50 laps, because I blew it!” Either you are a complete goofus OR you’re a TSA agent, but I repeat myself….

madawaskan said...

Hagar

As I understand it, El Al personnel question the passengers while filling out their tickets. There is not a separate State of Israel bureaucracy set up to fubar the works.

Interesting-I didn't know that.

Funny how fubar and bureaucracy seem to go together.

Speaking of which, I can't remember- did anyone get fired for the Christmas Day bomber muck up?

madawaskan said...

Or is it just the general public getting *rewarded* with naked body pics and pat downs for this Holiday Season?

edutcher said...

Since stuff like C-4 doesn't show up in the scan, so they'll be junked after the next ____ (fill in the blank) bomber is stopped by a bunch of passengers. But, since garage is trying to discredit the idea Soros has money invested in the scanners, it's obviously true.

Trooper York said...

Thanks for the link. Here is the
"Whose that Girl" series.


As opposed to who's that girl?

The first is Shirley McLaine in the movie version of "Irma La Douce". The camel toe is Pussy Galore herself, Honor Blackman.

PS I don't know if I'd use a site like firedoglake as a source.

PPS Titus, nobody buys the idea you want to fondle any bosoms. You just want to embarass Ann, but she and Meade drive everywhere, so tough luck.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Hagar

As I understand it, El Al personnel question the passengers while filling out their tickets. There is not a separate State of Israel bureaucracy set up to fubar the works.

Interesting-I didn't know that.

Funny how fubar and bureaucracy seem to go together.

Speaking of which, I can't remember- did anyone get fired for the Christmas Day bomber muck up?


You people do realize that El-al is the STATE Airline of Eretz Ysrael, right? Just like Quantas is the state-owned airline of Australia. So the guy at the El-Al ticket counter or gate IS a “state employee.” It’s not a simple public (TSA) v. private (Al’s Airline Security) question. If Al was confiscating toe nail clippers he’d be as useless the TSA. It’s that the STATE AIRLINE of Israel recognizes what works and what doesn’t.

Ann Althouse said...

campy said... "A better question would be, "Who's getting rich ... ?""

Oh, damn. The homophone typos are so easy to make, and I was off recording a Bloggingheads instead of proofing this post.

former law student said..."Althouse's link does not go the Examiner, but to a John Birch Scoiety publication."

Oh, fucking hell. I researched that link, saw what it was, decided not to link to it, found something else, then failed to copy the link properly, and linked to the first thing anyway. GRRRRR. Fixed.

FormerTucsonan said...

Why is this this technology not being pushed for jails and prisons as well?

I'm guessing that it would be ruled a violation of prisoner rights in real hurry.

Original Mike said...

That's OK, Althouse. No one here thinks you're a closet Bircher.

Well, no one who matters.

Original Mike said...

Or, maybe I should say no one who is sane.

Titus said...

I want to be a tit screener really bad.

madawaskan said...

Ha! I thought FLS was just being dry...

********

Joe

Well that explains why I didn't know that but also adds fuel to jr565's arguments then....

The parallels don't exactly equate then, right?

********************

jr565

Let me change terms on you-you're right I'm deciding against saying the word *profiling* and instead would replace that with *questioning*.

Essentially in an effort not to *profile* and violate the supposed rights of a few who elect to travel, we are going to ask the flying public to give up an expected level of privacy because they make the choice to fly?

The many over the few...

So how about a series of questions?

My airline already does some of that at the time of reservation.

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
Well JR all I can say is that the TSA approach doesn’t work…had we relied on TSA the Shoe Bomber or the Underwear Bomber would have succeeded…Their incompetence and the passengers and crew stopped THEM!

I would certainly agree that security failed. But it's ludicrous to suggest that the TSA approach doesn't work, but say another approach does. Very often the procedures between the TSA and El Al are the same. And just because an xray machine didn't spot a bomb in underpants doens't mean that that procedure doesn't work in the cases where it does work. What didn't work is that there was no procedure to deal with a guy with a bomb in his underpants who got passed the initial screening? And why, simply because they didn't pat him down there. So, now they are correcting their procedures so that doesn't happen again. And you're faluting them for it. You fault them when their lack of procedure doesn't produce the result you want then fault them when they try to fix the error by checking. It's quite apparent that you wouldnt' find that bomb either since you refuse to look there. So you'd be guilty of the same incompetence as the TSA. At least they are trying to fix that hole. You, knowing that there is a hole still haven't come up with a procedure to address it,so it's not just incompetence but willful blindness.

Yeah when someone buys a one-way ticket, with cash, at the last minute, with No luggage it ought to ring alarm bells, it didn’t… so now we have to have our B@lls felt up because TSA booted the ball? Wow, you must be an interesting coach, “Ok guys that last play was a TOTAL goof on my part. So I want all of you to run 50 laps, because I blew it!” Either you are a complete goofus OR you’re a TSA agent, but I repeat myself….


except you're still not addressing the fact that they never checked the underwear. They goofed because they dind't properly profile him, and because they didn't have a procedure to deal with what happens if someone gets passed their initial screening. So they double goofed. But you're still not adressing what to do when someone gets passed the initial screening and has a bomb in a place that you don't think they should look.

Big Mike said...

Why is it so hard to find this information about the scanners?! I couldn't find anything recent in the NYT or the Washington Post.

In fact, I bet you found hardly anything after Obama's inauguration in either of those two publications that could cast a negative light on anything the TSA did or does.

Or am I being perhaps a bit too cynical?

c3 said...

Government programs, no matter how well intentioned, always get bigger and spend more money.

jr565 said...

madawaskan wrote:
Let me change terms on you-you're right I'm deciding against saying the word *profiling* and instead would replace that with *questioning*.

Essentially in an effort not to *profile* and violate the supposed rights of a few who elect to travel, we are going to ask the flying public to give up an expected level of privacy because they make the choice to fly?

but is your expected level of privacy realistic? You are travelling, not in your home but in a private corporations airline. How much privacy do you expect? Is it reasonable to say that you shouldn't expect an xray machine look at your bags for example? Why, or why not? Airlines, are responsible for their passengers, as such need to set up security protocols that protect their passengers, but also themselves from you and customers who will sue them if anything goes wrong.
Also, you are talking about a company deliberately violating the rights of the few, don't see why anyone should therefore care about how your rights are violated since you've already established that you don't care that certain peoples rights are violated. It's made worse by the fact that a lot of people who are supsected of being terrorists are not in fact going to be terrorists, so you are essentially arguing that those people should be treated as if they were terrorists and be made to jump through hoops. But that you shouldn't. Why are you so special? What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
But in any case, what you're suggesting is setting up a protocol that does get in peoples faces, and business and bags, and giving them pat downs where needed, even if ultimatley the aren't terrorists. That person who is initially thought to be a terrorist, or is suspicious and is put through the ringer, is the equivalent of the perosn who isn't a terorist and is put through the ringer.

c3 said...

Didn't we all know we were going to get to this point some day; where ever more intrusive safety inspection would lead to the backlash.

Someone recently said:

"What did we expect would happen when a potential bomber hide his bomb in his underwear?"

My response:

"And how shall we respond to the first rectal bomber?"

jr565 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
madawaskan said...

jr565-

Ya it's a difficult question.

Basically I think I admitted I am against profiling-I'd rather have questions for everyone rather than scans and pat downs for everyone.

I think there's a different issue of privacy for a person's body as opposed to their baggage.

I think a person's expectation of privacy for their own body is a higher threshold than their expectation of privacy for an inanimate object-their baggage.

edutcher said...

Ann Althouse said...

...

Oh, fucking hell. I researched that link, saw what it was, decided not to link to it, found something else, then failed to copy the link properly, and linked to the first thing anyway. GRRRRR. Fixed.

In the immortal words of Barry Fitzgerald, "Och, dat red hair is no lie".

AJ Lynch said...

I find it significant nay earth-shattering that a liberal e-rag like the Huffpo is following the money trail!

Maybe next week Huffpo will reveal how Bill Moyers was paid tens of millions of dollars by PBS & its affiliates.

Shanna said...

Since no one wants anyone to be patted down nin that region and noone wants to undergo the full body scans, how are they proposing to actually find the bomb in the guys underwear? What body of research suggests that not looking someplace will find something there?

You have clearly not been listening to the umpteen people mentioning profiling. Or just paying attention to odd behavior and questioning those people. Looking at people flying one way with names on the terrorist watch list and sketchy passports paying in cash. Someone in government passing things on when a dad calls and says “my son is totally a terrorist you probably shouldn’t let him fly”. Stuff like that.

jr565 said...

Here are some picures of what you look like under the scanner. Can you figure out who the person is by looking at the image?

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/safety/the-truth-about-tsa-airport-scanning

You can't see apersons face, but it will catch things you have on you, like drugs or knives. Leaving aside the question of bombs, what about all the other things it can potentially catch not even terrorist related. And it doesnt show any details of the person so that the leaking of the persons photo would be embarrasing.
As to whether it works or not, use a different metric and compare it to an x ray machine. Can anyone think of a better way to quickly look at carryon baggage? or would anyone suggest that x ray machines are useless tools to check bags? is that also a useless tool that should be abolished becuase they TSA uses it. If it's determined that El Al uses it, can we then keep using them, or are is that still too much of an imposition for passengers.
So,we have a tool that can scan your body and doesn't show any relevant details but can show weapons on your body, and it takes a few minutes to run. And if you walk through it noone has to touch your junk. And the cancer risk is negligible (as per the article).
So where again is all this outrage coming from?
This guys photo is in plain site in popular mechanics for the world to see. Does he even know it's him?

jr565 said...

Shanna wrote:
You have clearly not been listening to the umpteen people mentioning profiling. Or just paying attention to odd behavior and questioning those people. Looking at people flying one way with names on the terrorist watch list and sketchy passports paying in cash. Someone in government passing things on when a dad calls and says “my son is totally a terrorist you probably shouldn’t let him fly”. Stuff like that.


Again, I never said don't profile. I said profile is not the only answer. Even El Al uses x ray machines and pat downs. They don't JUST profile. It would be like setting up a network and only putting up a firewall. It doesn't negate the value of a firewall, but if you want a secure network you don't JUST setup a firewall.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)



JR, you seem PURPOSEFULLY oblivious. No one objects to X-rayed luggage or carry-on, AS LONG AS IT DOESN’T DESTROY MY PC OR CAMERA, no one objects running some thru a body scanner or giving a Full Body Cavity Search or pat-downs…what people object to is searching NUNS, or THREE- YEAR OLDS in order to demonstrate “we don’t profile.” And we DO object to the “system” missing out on, arrives, late, pays in cash, has no luggage, I believe his father said, “He’s a TERRORIST” and everyone blithely passes Mr. Bomb-Wearer onto the ‘plane…and when the TSA Screws the Pooch, in this case, WE have to pay the price.

Can you not grasp or are you a TSA employee, that there are alternatives to the current system, that work, without groping my crotch for no other reason than because my crotch is there to grope and we are hoping to show the world just how Non-Profiling we can be, because we all remember the injustice meted out to the Japanese!

Original Mike said...

"JR, you seem PURPOSEFULLY oblivious."

That's why I disengaged.

Cedarford said...

Cui bono, indeed.

Chertoff is another money-grubber parlaying his Bush/Clinton/Reagan etc. years into getting rich on the public weal while doing actions that damage US society and the economy - any surprise there?

The ones out lobbying for China over American interests - or the Wall Street bankers - or terrorists rights - do more damage than Chertoff angling for his little squalid piece of the pie. BUt Chertoff is still a nasty little behind the scenes, reptilian character.

Anglelyne said...

Joe: Can you not grasp or are you a TSA employee...

Rapey-scan rep or investor would be my guess.

Harry said...

Ann wrote: "And the Washington Post story from last January is behind a pay-wall now.

Isn't this article you were referring to? It seems to be available in its entirety.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123102821.html

jr565 said...

Here's an article by Joe somesuch in Popular Mechanics that does a good job going through this exact discussion and making a few good points.
namely:
fact: Given the rise in attention to domestic terrorism risks, a more robust offense means more invasive tactics aimed at U.S. citizens. So, in trying to identify terrorists before they strike, it's a choice between the government scrutiny you see (airport scans) and the scrutiny you don't see (data mining, phone taps, covert surveillance and undercover stings, to name just a few). More effective no-fly lists could do a lot of good, but they rely on something that's in short supply, namely, a mix of good intelligence and interagency coordination.

So again, profiling and no fly zones are a good tool, BUT they are not completely effective AND they also rely on intel gathered from things like tapped phones and data mining, yet more things that the privacy advocates fought to the death to strike down.

"2) Remember, if it were not for the failed airplane (read: underwear) bombing attempt last Christmas, installing the new body scanners would not be such a pressing need this holiday season. If the offense had stopped these attacks before they came so close to fruition, the use of full-body scans might not be as widespread. In this regard, the offense/defense balance seems off."

In other words, it was the failure to actually stop this guy that is prompting an increased rush to look for a quick, technological fix. and it sounds like not just the TSA fell asleep on the job. As on 9/11 agencies had within their grasp details that if they had connected the dots could have prevented an attack. In this case the guys father warned agencies about his son. But did these agencies notify all other agencies in time, were they aware he was flying at the time etc. The fact that inter agencies are bad at relaying information simply shows that while they have to refine their abilities to disseminate info even further, we shouldn't rely on that info as a failsafe. We have that info now, in media reports, but we can't determine where it fell apart in the whole chain of info gathering. And that's a problem with info gathering. It's imprecise. it relies on a chain (think of the idea of the phone game where someone starts a call by whispering something into the first persons ear andthen everyone continues. And by the time it gets to the last persons ear its a totally different message. This is not a fault of govt alone. Communication itself is imprecise.

jr565 said...

3)3)There are no better technological options. Let me repeat that. There are no better options.
" you see the threat from a narrow perspective—passengers smuggling bombs onto airplanes—then a noninvasive scanner seems like a great solution. It's relatively quick, effective and exposes a wide range of threats, including knives, liquid explosives, firearms and edged plastic weapons. The option to a scan is a pat-down search, a time-consuming effort that requires extra training for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) staff.

That's the purely strategic view (not taking personal privacy issues into account): The government simply can't take the risk of another successful airborne terrorist attack. The entire Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was set up to stop these threats, after all.


" Sure, it would be possible to employ other methods to determine whether a passenger is hiding something, such as devices that find explosives by detecting chemical molecules in the air, and preboarding interviews by trained personnel. But nothing is as all-encompassing as a body scan.

Critics of the DHS decry its embrace of a purely technological solution. But it's relatively inexpensive, undeniably effective and to date no one has come up with anything better. "
And that's the truth. Its undeniably effective and there is no more efficient way to show that someone has weapons on their body. The other means of determining this are just as invasive and even more laborious, and will not produce the same result as efficiently.
So in sum, you have a way to show someone's body without showing any of the dtails of their features so there is no privacy issue. It works faster, is cheaper and shows more more quickly then an interview would, while not precluding the idea that you could also conduct interviews as well.
You've seen the photos. Show me where the privacy issue is. Considering its harmless and takes literall a minute and is far less invasive than questioning people would be, where is the outrageous harm?

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/aviation/safety/airport-security-vs-personal-privacy

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

So again, profiling and no fly zones are a good tool, BUT they are not completely effective AND they also rely on intel gathered from things like tapped phones and data mining, yet more things that the privacy advocates fought to the death to strike down.

JR, you missed again. Sorry, El-Al asks questions, it just doesn’t just look at a “No-Fly list”..It asks, Did you just arrive? Where’s your luggage? Why did you pay in cash? Why only a one-way flight? Who’s the guy with you that paid for the ticket? Why are you flying to Israel? What is your occupation? Where will you be staying? How much is that running a night? Who’s paying for that? Why are you sweating, so? Why are you so fidgety and nervous?

Do you see any data-mining in that? The Millennium Bomber got searched because he looked “suspicious” not because he was on a No Entry List…The Underwear Bomber shouldn’t have been let on the flight without an extensive search for failing a number of the “questions” above.

You are:
1) 13
2) A TSA employee
3) An investor in Backscatter Scanners,
Aren’t you?

Original Mike said...

#1.

jr565 said...

Anglelyne wrote:
Rapey-scan rep or investor would be my guess.


No, I just think you're making mountains out of molehills. The scanner itself is harmless, it takes almost no time to work, it gives you accurate pictures of what someone has under their clothes that might be tagged as dangerous, and it completely hides the persons face and body so there is no privacy issues. For those who say don't tread on me, if people were questioning your itinterary like they do in El Al they would in fact be treading on you more.
Just as those arguing that the federal govt being able to look at the books you took out in the library (gasp!) was some encroachment of civil liberties akin to nazi germany, so to is this overreaction nothing but hysteria.

Coketown said...

"Oh, damn. The homophone typos are so easy to make, and I was off recording a Bloggingheads instead of proofing this post."

Ann, out of curiosity, how long does it take for a recording to be posted? I always look forward to your blogginghead installments. Any other juicy tidbits, such as content or who your co-host is, would be awesome. Please don't make me wait in anticipation!

Cedarford said...

Many posters seem to think the way we "make ourselves perfectly safe!" is to allow everyone in the world to be free to show up at an airport departure area - then with no consideration for who is in the mass of people - then subject each and everyone to a battery of magic machine tests and gropes and questions posed by people dumber than the average Islamoid terrorist.

That all our measures must start and end there.

As realists point out, the "defense" we have is absolutely prone to being bypassed by thinking, intelligent Islamoids searching for and finding alternate means.

Attack subways vs. airplanes. Hit the cargo transport side. Put explosives in body cavities. Move away from explosives to clothing soaked in a combination of chemicals that when lit, emit a gas deadly enough to kill everyone on a plane at 6 miles up and using recirculated air.

I submit in the days before Free Trade for Freedom Lovers, Open Borders, Globalism and Rubberstamp Visas - we did pretty well Blocking people from the 4 corners of the Earth from countries that meant us harm from showing up at our airports, travelling in and even emigrating to the US. It was tough for Germans in Nazi Germany to claim they were tourists wanting into the US. It was tough for Soviets, NORKS, N Vietnamese, Chinese to get in.

We need to think about that with Islamoids, especially those from or who have visited Somalia, Etria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Lebonan, and Yemen. The Saudis have actually made progress - but need more - especially on the matter of subsidizing fire-breathing anti-infidel clerics globally.

We are less PC with packages. They try mailing bombs inside packages, the West shut down airmail from Yemen the next day. The Yemenis, aghast, immediately began a major crackdown.

You should deal with Islamoids that way - not think that some TSA drone groping a 80-year old black granny or a visiting Japanese tourist family "makes us safer" by one iota.

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
JR, you missed again. Sorry, El-Al asks questions, it just doesn’t just look at a “No-Fly list”..It asks, Did you just arrive? Where’s your luggage? Why did you pay in cash? Why only a one-way flight? Who’s the guy with you that paid for the ticket? Why are you flying to Israel? What is your occupation? Where will you be staying? How much is that running a night? Who’s paying for that? Why are you sweating, so? Why are you so fidgety and nervous?

Why are you so so sweaty and fidgety and nervous? Maybe because security is asking me why I'm so nervous? These are loaded questions, that can produce tension in people who are not terrorists. Such questions can be seen by some as bullying, and many people don't respond well to bullying or loud overbearing people out to get to the bottom of your story. And you may not have a story, but simply get nervous that you have to explain yourself. If you've ever dealt with a boss who screams to get his way, many people simply cave and start agreeing with them bcause they're cowed by his overdominant bullying.It can be an effective tool, but not all nervousness is because of the person being a terrorist. And if the person is not in fact a terrorist, you are saying that it's ok for that interogator to still get in their face and interrogate them. I thought you were all about don't tread on me.

Do you see any data-mining in that?

the data mining would be what was used to compile the no fly list or the list of suspected terrorists. That is based on data mining,and intel among other things.

The Millennium Bomber got searched because he looked “suspicious” not because he was on a No Entry List…The Underwear Bomber shouldn’t have been let on the flight without an extensive search for failing a number of the “questions” above.


And if the person did pay with a credit card, and doesn't appear nervous? You're talking about hte reactoin of a single individual. Some people might respond well to questions and some might respond poorly. If they respond well, I guess that's all you got for securty right? If they don't appear nervous and get past your human lie detector they're free to go?

jr565 said...

As far as the idea that i'm a plant of some kind I don't even know the name of the company that makes them, and have flown twice in the last 20 years. I have no relation to airlines or the TSA.

PZ said...

Why is it so hard to find this information about the scanners?! I couldn't find anything recent in the NYT or the Washington Post

Becuase those are real newspapers with a long tradition of careful reporting. The Wash. Examiner is a recent start-up tabloid given away free.

kwood said...

What's left is, you've basically told people, if you want to get a weapon or bomb on board put it in your underpants, because they will not check you there.

Actually we WILL check you there...

IF you bought your ticket with cash
AND/OR you've got no luggage
AND/OR you're walking funny
AND/OR you look unreasonably nervous
AND/OR your on a suspect list
etc.

Oops. That's profiling. Can't have that!

Instead we have profiling of a different sort:

"Psst! Here comes a hottie!"

"I'll let these bikers go through. They look mean and make me nervous. Hey, that old asian guy looks pretty suspicious!" (puffs up chest and starts to look official)

Cedarford said...

jr565 said...
3)3)There are no better technological options
..........................
jr565 has posted intelligently, but like so many appears fixated on "point defense" doing it all as an unscreened unprofiled mass of people from anywhere show up wanting to fly somewhere. And the debate is about which hoops each and everyone of them must jump through "so we can all be safer" - and what is "effective" against any possible threat the whole world, potentially, showing up at a El Paso airport travelling to Minnepolis could pose.

The debate should more properly be - how we prevent dangerous Islamoids from being in a position to show up at an airport inside America in the 1st place. Why we now consider domestic travel inside the US as potentially rife with terrorist threat as a flight from Yemen coming in.

Could it possibly be that accepting 200,000 noble Somali fundamentalist refugees to settle in the US might be a bad idea? That maybe we should be far more vigorous in standing up to the lawyers and the ACLU and deport dangerous and undesirable Islamoids back to the Ummah? That maybe we need to have a de facto travel ban to and from Somalia, Pakistan, Afganistan, Sudan, Yemen as a quarantine wall until whenever the Islamoids decide to abandon Jihad - or the "vast majority of Muslims, who are peaceful" decide to crush the Islamoids withing because they don't care to be considered global lepers? That we say "no more Muslim refugees - find a Muslim land to settle in - but don't come here"?

AST said...

When I see stories like this, I think "Just another reason why the government is too damn big." Concentrated power creates concentrations of money that rip us all off in ways that nobody can keep track of.

For instance, I've only noticed reports about the high pay given to government employees recently, but it must have been going on long before we heard about it.

I'd start The Cost of Government Is Too Damn High Party, but I don't know anything about fundraising. The cost of campaigns is too damn high too.

wv: shunster

peter hoh said...

Why, Chertoff must have taken some pointers from Billy Tauzin.

Mark said...

Why is it so hard to find this information about the scanners?! I couldn't find anything recent in the NYT or the Washington Post.

I have to assume that's a rhetorical question.

WV: "debalses" - the process being inflicted on male airline pilots and frequent fliers.

Mark said...

I'd start The Cost of Government Is Too Damn High Party,...

No need, the Tea Partiers are working on it.

Big Mike said...

@jr565, if you've only flown twice in twenty years then you don't have much standing to comment. Some of us fly a lot on business and we are not amused.

A number of stories, blog posts, and columns have been posted just today that describe the pat-downs as painful and humiliating, so it's not simply some conspiracy to make the Obama administration look bad. As I said above, I travel a lot for my company and sometimes I have to fly into little airports that I suspect never will have those scanners. My metal knee sets off the detector every single time and I assure you that the old pat-downs, where the TSA examiner felt my crotch area with the back of his hand, was right up my limit. I do not look forward to my next trip to the boondocks under the new, more enthusiastic, pat-downs.

Penny said...

Personally, I'm less interested in who's getting rich and much more interested in who's NOT dying at the hands of terrorists, Islamic or otherwise. *That would be us.*

It's only because we are NOT dying at the hands of terrorists that we are even having this particular discussion about airport intrusions. SOMETHING is going right, so far, and we might want to take some time to notice that.

rjschwarz said...

Another way to look at it is... If you were trying to devise a system that would annoy Religious bombers, who shave their genitals and go through cleaning rituals before suicide, in a way that wouldn't target their religion specifically (as profiling or swine-leather seats are likely to do) you could arrange to have them fondled by dirty infidels. The fear of such a groping would probably discouraging volunteers from such missions and do more than the actual groping.

The rest of us are victims of the political correctness that refuses to allow behavioral profiling.

As a wiseguy once said, it's Just my opinion, if you don't like it, I have others.

Paddy O said...

Penny, were people dying a couple years ago? What went wrong that makes a need for such a change as now? Maybe they need to think about that.

Seems like that was working then, and when it didn't work, and attempted terrorists got farther than they should it wasn't because the TSA didn't have more intrusive policies. It was because the policies in place weren't followed like they should.

Don Meaker said...

It is my understanding that some contraband in prisons comes in by the way of criminal defense lawyers, who are not searched.

Once we decide to not search grandma, the terrorists will target grandmas by holding their grandkids hostage.

M. Simon said...

Did you hear about the rectum bomber in Saudi Arabia?

I'd like a contract for a probe machine. It is a dirty job but some one has to do it.

I'd also like the Fleet concession at airports. You wouldn't want to be embarrassed by an inspector yelling out "I have a really stinky one here."

Anglelyne said...

Penny: It's only because we are NOT dying at the hands of terrorists that we are even having this particular discussion about airport intrusions. SOMETHING is going right, so far, and we might want to take some time to notice that.

Yes. I thank God every day that most terrorists are apparently at least as stupid and incompetent as Janet Napolitano and the rest of the apparatchiks, if not as venal and quite as cognitively incapacitated by mindless ideology.

M. Simon said...

Dang. C4 is actually making sense today.

WV: cowerset - they have you just where they want you.

What it is really all about: Islam Inc.

M. Simon said...

I would only do D's and above. I have big hands and could cover more area in less time. Perfect for the job.

I don't do guys. But I have a gay friend who would be perfect for that job.

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Yo JR, here ya go:
Michael Totten
Israeli airport security does profile — but not racially
Israeli Arabs breeze through rather quickly, but thanks to the dozens of dubious-looking stamps in my passport — almost half are from Lebanon and Iraq — I get pulled off to the side for more questioning every time. And I’m a white, nominally Christian American.
If they pull you aside, you had better tell them the truth. They’ll ask you so many wildly unpredictable questions so quickly, you couldn’t possibly invent a fake story and keep it all straight. Don’t even try. They’re highly trained and experienced, and they catch everyone who tries to pull something over on them.
Because I fit one of their profiles, it takes me 15 or 20 minutes longer to get through the first wave of security than it does for most people. The agents make up for it, though, by escorting me to the front of the line at the metal detector. They don’t put anyone into a “porn machine.”

Stephen A. Meigs said...

The x-ray backscatter scanners look to me (minored in physics) as though they are much more likely to be dangerous than the millimeter wave scanners. They are about a hundred times more scary to me. The radiation is less penetrating than standard higher energy x-rays, and so is going to have its effects concentrated in the skin and shallow tissues, which this letter which sounds reasonable suggests was not taken into account by the propagandists. Something else that is scary to me is that the radiation will be all at once, which to my thinking is much worse than gradual radiation exposure inasmuch as the body's mechanism to repair DNA (using the other strand in the molecule) might be expected to not work well if the radiation is all at once (e.g., both strands could get broken before either can be fixed by the other). And common sense indicates sudden skin exposure to ionizing radiation is much worse than gradual skin exposure, as anyone who can differentiate between the ugly agony of sunburn and the attractiveness of a moderate tan from an enjoyable ~15 minutes of basking per day will recognize.

The millimeter wave microwave radiation is not ionizing. It's lower energy than visible light--even lower energy than infrared. People have known for years that ionizing radiation is dangerous, but microwaves aren't so clearly dangerous, their obvious effect being that they heat things up. Their safety should be studied more carefully to look for subtle phenomena (especially with wifi and cellphones so ubiquitous), but they, like the rest of the radio waves, don't have the capacity to send electrons from living tissue flying or have other patently scary properties. (That's how Compton scattering in x-ray backscattering works--the radiation strikes electrons and gets scattered as it imparts some of its momentum to the electrons that fly off.) I'd say it would be a prudent thing to do if one is flying and has a choice to choose the sub-millimeter scanner.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Correction: I meant in last line of previous comment to write that it would be prudent to choose the millimeter wave scanner.

pm317 said...

Ann, this was my comment on your original post with the poll below:

pm317 said...

Opt for grope: 18%,
Accept scanners: 48%

in time they will make the grope so gross that everybody will want to go through the scanner, then they will need more scanners, Mission accomplished..money from the Rapiscan (yep, how aptly named) CEO to Soros (who benefits from this) puppet Obama's campaign well spent. Follow the money (Check firedoglake blog for more info).

11/18/10 8:28 PM

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
Israeli Arabs breeze through rather quickly, but thanks to the dozens of dubious-looking stamps in my passport — almost half are from Lebanon and Iraq — I get pulled off to the side for more questioning every time. And I’m a white, nominally Christian American.
If they pull you aside, you had better tell them the truth. They’ll ask you so many wildly unpredictable questions so quickly, you couldn’t possibly invent a fake story and keep it all straight. Don’t even try. They’re highly trained and experienced, and they catch everyone who tries to pull something over on them.
Because I fit one of their profiles, it takes me 15 or 20 minutes longer to get through th

that doesn't sound like a very pleasant experience, and michael totten doesn't meet the proifle of an arab terrrorist. For someone who doesn't want to be treaded on, that sounds like an awful lot of treading on that would occur if you simply are part of the profile they're looking for. So, if Meghan McCardle is complaining about how the TSA are a bunch of goons for treating her so shabilly as an american, what if that were the TSA giving her that 20 minute interrogation because she fit the profile?
What Im not understanding is why making someone get patted down or walk through a machine is something that would make her stop flying but getting browbeaten and making her wait an extra 20 minutes would somehow be hunky dorey. What would you rather do in a day, get an x ray or have some cop yell at you?
And come one Michael Totten, a rape box? I just lost all respect for him.

jr565 said...

What about if a muslim american doctor who's not a terrorist said "Don't Tread On Me' when the security agents who are not the TSA went to profile him?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)

Dood, again you present a false dichotomy:
1) This or
2) NOTHING;
When Totten points out THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE. One that actually works...

Again, did the Shoe Bomber or Underwear Bomber get stopped by the TSA?

Uh, No...they didn't, Reid was stopped by the passengers and The Underwear Bomber failed in his attempt....

So I don't know, is answering questions about your trip, your family, or otehr issues WORSE than being violated? I say yes, apparently you'd rather be felt up...

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
What about if a muslim american doctor who's not a terrorist said "Don't Tread On Me' when the security agents who are not the TSA went to profile him?



JR, you goob, that's what happens NOW, in order to show we DON'T profile, we're feeling up 3 y.o.'s and nuns.

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
Dood, again you present a false dichotomy:
1) This or
2) NOTHING;
When Totten points out THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE. One that actually works...

No you're the one making the false dichotomy, I don't deny that El Al's techniques also work. THere is no either or for me, there is both. Profiling works, and scanners complement those other security measures making them work even better, because security has more information, at a minimal cost. And at any rate. El Al is one airplane. We have hundreds of airplanes with thousands more flights coming and going each day. you couldn't do El Al if you wanted to in this country i fyou wanted to (which is not to say you couldn't adopt said tactics that El Al uses). On a practical level if you are going to profile people as your main defense, you are going to be profiling thousands (hundreds of thousands) more people every day. If you had to spend 20 minutes on thousands more flyers who looked suspicious you'd never be able to get to them all. How many security agents are you going to hire for each airline?

"Again, did the Shoe Bomber or Underwear Bomber get stopped by the TSA?

Uh, No...they didn't, Reid was stopped by the passengers and The Underwear Bomber failed in his attempt....

So I don't know, is answering questions about your trip, your family, or otehr issues WORSE than being violated? I say yes, apparently you'd rather be felt up..."

Because they weren't captured by El Al you can't say that EL Al would have effectively captured them. YOu can say that we had holes in our own security that allowed them to go through but I don't see how you're actually addressing those holes. As for whether I'd rather be felt up or verbally harrased? Certainly I wouldn't want to be felt up? But patted down? No problem. It's been done to me before and it was done totally professionally. But I have another option. Rather than spend twenty minutes getting yelled at and harrased I can instead spend two minutes have them take a picture of me and I can walk out the other side, none the worse for the wear. Then they know I have no weapons and I can go about my business. Problem solved.

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:
JR, you goob, that's what happens NOW, in order to show we DON'T profile, we're feeling up 3 y.o.'s and nuns.

No Im talking about when all the non muslim americans tell the TSA to stop treading on them and putting them through the ringer but still want the non terrorist american muslims to be put through the ringer. And I'm asking what happens when a totally upstanding non terrorist muslim objects to being profiled since he's not a terrorist?

Joe said...

(The Crypto Jew)
1) So your position is that because El-Al MIGHT not have caught these two we should accept the pat-downs...
2) Again your position is that because people will not like answering questions, then our only option is pat-downd...
BTW, I'm not convinced that the populace WON'T accept the questions. Given the options of:
1) Another 9/11; or
2) The Sexual Assault;
3) An El-Al system that can be shown to work...
the populace might choose 3).

Cedarford said...

Stephen A. Meigs said he was concerned about radiation.

1. The soft Xray exposure is far less than the exposure from cosmic rays, unattenuated solar gamma and Xrays you get on a normal flight in a commercial jetliner. Anytime you fly anywhere, you sign up for extra rad esposure. As you do if you live on the Rocky Mountains Plateau, uranic granite New Hampshire, or certain spots in high K-40 isotope Florida or Georgia.
But nothing like Kerala India where they get hit with the equivalent of between 50,000 and 127,000 "porn machine scans" a year living on top of some magnificent thorium deposits.

2. Exposure is additive, but it is hard to bitch about taking a pass through a scan on radiation grounds when you are willing to take 300 times more flying off to Atlanta if they allow you to proceed to the flight.

3. There are good arguments about not submitting to "porn scanners" - but "deadly radiation" is not a particularly cogent one.

Penny said...

"Penny, were people dying a couple years ago? What went wrong that makes a need for such a change as now? Maybe they need to think about that."

Paddy, I guess that is the point I am trying to make. Remember, it was only AFTER 9/11 when some of the details of what was known by security circles BEFORE 9/11 started surfacing, and much of that in a review of what we might do better next time. Getting better at what we do is always a good thing, but never more important that when our job is keeping our citizens safe.

It's not only entirely possible, but I would hope fact, that those RESPONSIBLE for the safety of American citizens will have absolutely no need to hear us do our Monday morning quarterback review ever again.

Yes, we all know that is asking too much, but the point is...the longer the period between the disasters...the better.

Is it "by chance" that we have avoided another catastrophe like 9/11? Does anyone really believe that?

There are damn good reasons to have "security clearances", and I, for one, would say clearly and without one bit of pause, that each and every one of us should NOT appear on any list marked "For Your Eyes Only".

"Transparent Security Policy" is an oxymoron. NOT POSSIBLE!

Anyone who doubts that can send me, or anyone else who asks, the key to their homes with at least one member of the family happening to be there at all times.

Oh? Those of you who went the extra mile and got a double lock or a security system installed in your home to protect your family when you aren't there with your loadable gun... got robbed anyway?

Damn!

I am not going to roll my eyes at you, but there are many here who would, and shame on them. I think that you are doing the best you can.

I am going to go a step further and suggest that your neighbor who brings in your mail, lets out your dogs or waters your plants when you are gone, has always been quietly wishing you had never installed that security system that cost you a lot of money and FAILED anyway. It was a giant pain-in-the-ass for your friend to get into your home to do what they had to do.

And here you are...doing the very best you can to protect your family because it's your job. It's your fucking function!

You are NOT going to give up. Instead you will go back to the drawing board and try something new. You will try ANYTHING "new" until it works.

Protecting those we love or are responsible for is hard-wired in human brains.

Some do better than others, but, hey. There are many reasons for that.

Topic for another day, maybe.

John St. Clair said...

My wife has been telling me since it happened that this whole thing was a false terror alert. It is now apparent Michael Chertoff should be arrested.

jr565 said...

Joe wrote:(The Crypto Jew)
1) So your position is that because El-Al MIGHT not have caught these two we should accept the pat-downs...
2) Again your position is that because people will not like answering questions, then our only option is pat-downd...
BTW, I'm not convinced that the populace WON'T accept the questions. Given the options of:
1) Another 9/11; or
2) The Sexual Assault;
3) An El-Al system that can be shown to work...
the populace might choose 3).

You saying we should do like El Al does is like libs talking about the high speed rails that will be zipping across the country. El AL is one airline. One. WE have thousands (or hundreds, whatever the numer) and milions of people travelling back and forth each day.Many of our airports are hubs for world travel. it would be inconceivable to apply an El Al system of security to deal with that number of passengers coming from all over the world. That doesn't meant that we cant use El Als techniques in our own airports, but its not realistic to expect us to be El AL. Unless you want all traffic in this country to go through one airport. Imagine if we had interrogators holding people aside for twenty minutes at a time. How many millions of people come through a terminal in a day. And how many security guards are you going to dedicate to each airport?El Al is highly trained, but are you going to find enough trained agents of El Al's calibre to be able to work at all the major airlines? How many terminals are at JFK alone. So then we'd need how many well trained El Al agents just for JFK? So based on the sheer enormity of our airline system we're going to be left with a shortage of trained agents and instead will rely on what we have now. Low paid grunts who don't particularly care whether someone is a sikh or a hindu or a muslim and is not going to be highly trained like the El Al guy. it's just not realistic to expect that degree of concentrated expertise for our airlines. And that only addresses one aspect of security anyway. Then you have a scanner that is cheap. It shows you things that an interrogator doesn't have to finesse out of you. And you can go through it in a few minutes. It's just a very efficient means to get immediate security. Its not the be all and end all of security measures and it shouldn't be used at the expense of everything else. But like an xray machine it gives security at the gates a hell of a lot of info which will let them determine who to put on planes and who not to. For those times when El Al's security somehow let a stray suspect get past them (it can happen). What are your objections to uisng the scanner? Is it your argument that open scanners don't actually show you thihng? if the TSA finds weapons on people (even non terrorists) then in fact that proves you wrong. Is it because it shows naked pictures of you. While technically true the pictures are non descript so how valid is the charge. Is it bcasue they take too long to go through? They take a minute or two tops.
The TSA is simply weighging the fact that they would like to keep weapons off planes and scanners are the most efficent means, on the ground of doing so. How are the TSA wrong? So then if they are patting peple down it's not because they want to feel womens tits, it's because that is the best way, absent a physical scan, to see things that people are trying to hide on their body that somehow got past the other layers of security.

jr565 said...

John St. Claire wrote:
My wife has been telling me since it happened that this whole thing was a false terror alert. It is now apparent Michael Chertoff should be arrested.

You guys can be the next truthers. Chertoff is merely stoking the threat so that he can enrich his buddies at (whoever makes the scanners) just as Bush went to war in afghanistan to enrich his buddies at Haliburton.

Stephen A. Meigs said...

Cedarford:

According to a study done by a NIST researcher while he worked at FDA, the machine puts out 9.6 microRoentgens per frontal scan. I believe I read somewhere it also scans the back, with less radiation. So let's say 15 microRoentgens total. Typically background radition according to Wikipedia amounts to 23 microRoentgens per hour. But exposure to the gonads is considered to be 25% of the danger of absorbed radiation. High energy x-rays might be expected to mostly pass right through the gonads, and higher wavelength ultraviolet might be expected to be unable to penetrate so far, but who's to say that low energy x-rays in this backscatter device might be just the right wavelength to release energy into the (rather exposed) testes well. Should one give credence to the sceptics at San Francisco State or believe that the computer program PCXMC that the NIST researcher used modeled the risk situation accurately? It wouldn't seem a stretch to doubt whether if the computer model turns out to have been a poor one that the radiation could on average be as harmful as a half day of normal background radiation, which in the aggregate over many people and trips amounts to something significant.

Here's a good reference I find helpful in understanding radiation units, and here is the official response by the President's Assistant for Science and Technology to the concerns from SFSU. If the NIST study (done at FDA) is to be believed, a frontal scan puts out about 3 microrems of effective dose, which according to my calculations is about as bad as 6 minutes of normal background radiation.

The Crack Emcee said...

I think it's Oprah.

You fools will make anything possible for that woman.

jr565 said...

Cedarford wrote:

The debate should more properly be - how we prevent dangerous Islamoids from being in a position to show up at an airport inside America in the 1st place. Why we now consider domestic travel inside the US as potentially rife with terrorist threat as a flight from Yemen coming in.

Actually I agree with you. That should be a factor in our security system. But finding the way to restrict traffic that is least harmful is going to be the sticking point. You obviously dont want terrorists flying from Afghanistan, but not everyone flying from afghanistan are terrorists, and you don't want to restrict all flights from there if that's possible. Its not an easy answer.
Back when we had the whole ports security debate I actually thought those arguing against Ports World were actually being short sighted. Yes it was a Dubai company, but by the same token we would have access to Dubai ports where govt officials could have worked with the company to check manymost suspicious packages before they ever left the port, and so long as Dubai was willing to give us that access it worked in our favor. You should still also check some packages that get here, but the odds would be much lower that a bomb got through. Better to nip it in the bud then to let it get here and explode. which is the same principle as checking for guns and explosives with a scanner.

Ronnie Schreiber said...

AlphaLiberal said...

Why it's the security-industrial complex!

Who would have thunk?


You do know that it was Pres. Eisenhower who named Charlie Wilson to be Sec of Def, don't you? Wilson, who was a GM executive and headed the WWII era War Production Board, was the father of the dedicated American defense industry. After his experience overseeing the problems and delays in switching civilian industries to military production Wilson warned that in the next war, there wouldn't be time to switch and that we needed a permanent dedicated military industry.

Eisenhower's warning didn't mean what you think it does.

West said...

Crimso said...
Why is this this technology not being pushed for jails and prisons as well? Seems to be an enormous untapped market for Chertoff's friends, assuming the conspiratorial view of all of this is correct.

11/19/10 10:31 AM

Why, how dare you suggest such a thing. That would violate the prisoners rights!

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