Thursday, March 11, 2010

Advanced Imaging Technology: "Radiation Risk Tiny"

You may have read a recent article stating that Advanced Imaging Technology used at TSA checkpoints is not safe. Because of the discussion the article has created, I wanted to share this with you.

The American College of Radiology posted an article titled: ACR Statement on Airport Full-body Scanners and Radiation and then WebMD followed up with an article titled New Airport Scanners: Radiation Risk Tiny which quoted the ACR article.

From the ACR article: "An airline passenger flying cross-country is exposed to more radiation from the flight than from screening by one of these devices. The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement (NCRP) has reported that a traveler would need to experience 100 backscatter scans per year to reach what they classify as a Negligible Individual Dose. The American College of Radiology (ACR) agrees with this conclusion. By these measurements, a traveler would require more than 1,000 such scans in a year to reach the effective dose equal to one standard chest x-ray."

"The ACR is not aware of any evidence that either of the scanning technologies that the TSA is considering would present significant biological effects for passengers screened."

We also asked the Johns Hopkins University of Applied Physics Laboratory to perform an independent radiation safety engineering assessment of our Advanced Imaging Backscatter Technology and they determined that the radiation dose to scanned individuals from this general use system is within the requirements of ANSI N43.17 2002 and 2009.

In the coming weeks, the FDA will be posting similar information on their web page.

For your reference:

Backscatter technology projects an ionizing X-ray beam over the body surface at high speed. The reflection, or "backscatter," of the beam is detected, digitized and displayed on a monitor. Each full body scan produces less than 10 microrem of emission, the equivalent to the exposure each person receives in about 2 minutes of airplane flight at altitude. It produces an image that resembles a chalk-etching.

Millimeter wave technology bounces harmless electromagnetic waves off of the human body to create a black and white image (not a photograph). It is safe, and the energy emitted by millimeter wave technology is the energy projected by the system is thousands of times less intense than a cell phone transmission. This technology is not new. TSA is not the first to use this technology. It's currently being used in Canadian airports and U.S. courthouses in Colorado and Texas as well as international locations.

This Standard limits the reference effective dose2 delivered to the subject to 0.25 microsieverts (25 microrem) per screening.

For your reading pleasure, here are some documents relevant to security screening of humans using ionizing radiation:

ANSI/HPS N43.17-2009 Radiation Safety for Personnel Security Screening Systems Using X-Ray or Gamma Radiation

NCRP commentary 16, Screening of humans for security purposes using ionizing radiation scanning systems

NCRP Statement 10, Recent Applications of the NCRP Public Dose Limit Recommendation for Ionizing Radiation (2004)

NCRP report no. 116 Limitation of Exposure to Ionizing Radiation (1993) ISBN 0-929600-30-4 recommends annual limits on radiation dose for the general public. Report 116 also introduces the concept of a negligible individual dose.

NCRP report no. 160, Ionizing Radiation Exposure of the Population of the United States (2009)

Screening Individuals with Backscatter X-Ray Systems by Daniel Strom

HPS Position Statement Use of Ionizing Radiation for Security Screening Individuals

HPS Public Information Radiation Exposure During Commercial Airline Flights

American College of Radiology (ACR) Statement on Airport Full-body Scanners and Radiation

EPA.gov Ionizing Radiation

Information on laws and regulations applicable to manufacturers of people screening security systems that use x-rays is on FDA's X-Ray & Particulate Products other than Medical Diagnostic or Cabinet page.

ANSI/HPS N43.17 is not a mandatory standard. More information on the ANSI standards setting process is available on the ANSI website.

The concept of justification based on a societal benefit appears in the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP) report 60 (see paragraph S14).

Random Facts:

For comparison, the energy projected by millimeter wave technology is 10,000 times less than a cell phone transmission.

We, and all objects around us, generate millimeter wave energy - and we are exposed to it every single day.

Backscatter technology uses low level X-ray and a single scan is the equivalent of two minutes of flying on an airplane.

Full Body Scanners at Security Okay by Travelers - When it comes to the newest addition to airport security, 79 percent of travelers said they are comfortable with U.S. airports using full body scanners that can see through clothes.

We've written many posts on Advanced Imaging Technology and you can read them all HERE.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

197 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Bob, but your agency has lied to the traveling public so much and for so long that we've lost trust in them to tell us the truth.

RB said...

Backscatter + flight = greater accumiltive radiation dose.

What long term studies have been completed to backup these claims?

Oh, you can keep on calling these Strip Search Machines "AIT" be we all know they are no less than "Kiddie Porn" Machines.

Sandra said...

"When it comes to the newest addition to airport security, 79 percent of travelers said they are comfortable with U.S. airports using full body scanners that can see through clothes."

That survey was done almost immediately after the underwear bomber tried to strike.

Dollars to donuts a new survey, done properly, would show a much lower acceptance rate.

Didn't the TSA try to tell us that the acceptance rate was about 95% at one time - before people learned what WBI really does. Can you explain the difference in the figures?

Bob, why was WBI renamed AIT?

What's being done by TSA to assure air travelers that perverts aren't looking at their naked scans or patting them down?

Has TSA instituted psychological assessments yet in its hiring practices?

Bill said...

Anonymous said...
Sorry, Bob, but your agency has lied to the traveling public so much and for so long that we've lost trust in them to tell us the truth.

Imperturbable Point Man Bob is undoubtedly overwhelmed by your sagacity. (sarcasm)

The post was up all of 25 minutes before you graced it with your wisdom--certainly not enough time to have read the 20+ links from scientific and medical experts. In fact, only the first paragraph (two sentences) are Bob's. The rest of the post are properly attributed quotations.

I'm not Bob.

Anonymous said...

Even the smallest bit of radiation should be avoided if there is no need for it. Radiation damage is accumulated. Should we all be hysteric? Probably not. But why sink millions of USD into a technology that doesn't provide additional security for passengers?

There are western countries that prohibited the use of these scanners for the reason that they don't detect WEI.

As a frequent flyer I'm relying on airport security. But I don't want the voodoo scurity the TSA does. It takes too long, it is not effective and it is an invasion into our privacy. So why does the TSA do it?

winstonsmith said...

Even if I were going to stipulate to your safety data (I have no reason to believe you, but I have no evidence to counter you either), I certainly take issue with your citing an unsubstantiated 79% acceptance claim of your unconstitutional strip search technology based on a 2-line filler item on a travelers' news blog that cites nothing about who commissioned the study, when the study was done, who was asked, and how well the survey respondents understood exactly what the technology could do vis à vis their rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure versus your permissible blanket "administrative search" are. Further that with the dimunition already cited above from your once touted 95% acceptance and you have the beginning of a public awakening of TSA's continuing and ineffective overreach.

I renew my call for the TSA budget to be slashed, for the funds to be redirected to constitutionally permissible off-airport investigation and surveillance of actual suspect persons, and to go back to the simple screening procedures we had pre-9/11 with the addition of a smarter flying public and hardened cockpit doors.

Anonymous said...

What steps is TSA taking to ensure every passenger asked to be strip-searched knows he or she can decline the strip-search?

Anonymous said...

Bill spewed:

Imperturbable Point Man Bob is undoubtedly overwhelmed by your sagacity. (sarcasm)

The post was up all of 25 minutes before you graced it with your wisdom--certainly not enough time to have read the 20+ links from scientific and medical experts. In fact, only the first paragraph (two sentences) are Bob's. The rest of the post are properly attributed quotations.


That's the problem with lying. TSA destroyed its credibility with many frequent travelers years ago and recently has done next to nothing to rebuild that same credibility. If a member of TSA management told me that the sky was blue I would check it out before believing them.

Anonymous said...

So the TSA admits that the devices are harmful but belittles the public by condescendingly telling us the flight is even worse for us.

I'm so not surprised by this behavior.

I choose to accept the risks associated with flight but choose to NOT accept the risks - health and otherwise - of these invasive machines.

Anonymous said...

How do we know that a guy like this http://www.thebostonchannel.com/mostpopular/22785620/detail.html is not going to be in the WBI viewing room?

Anonymous said...

Are you completely oblivious to the irony of the words "risk tiny" in the title of your post? How would you characterize the risk of dying in a terrorist attack targeting commercial aviation? Significant?

Ayn R. Key said...

The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer.

Is it lower cost? Does backscatter cost less than mmw?

WRoberts said...

As a qualified expert, within the meaning of 10 CFR 35, there are two sides of this issue. Side one is what is the minimum acceptable "safe" radiation dose? Our knowledge of radiobiology seems to demonstrate that a low level radiation is apparently harmless. However, the current regulatory agencies and the NCRP (National Commission on Radiation Protection) all base their regulatory activities on the assumption that risk of harm from radiation is a linear function with no lower dose limit threshold.

The FDA commissioner is probably correct in that an individual will likely not experience any direct adverse effects.

However, this must be contrasted against the BEIR VII report (Biological Effects of Ionizing Radiation 7th Committee). As did its predecessor committees, this group looked at Atomic Bomb survivors, dosimetry from the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, UNSCEAR and others.

They looked at the various models of risk of radiation injury:
Linear No safe Threshold dose model
Safe threshold of radiation;
exposure and linear increase in risk above that threshold;
Linear quadratic model;

These three models have been debated for decades.

The conclusion of the BEIR VII:
They state that their goal was not to prove or disprove any of the models, but rather develop a model that best fits the physical, biological and epidemiological data.

They looked at cellular radiobiology, genetic effects, and epidemiological effects. After studying the scientific evidence, including laboratory studies,and populations exposed (radiation workers, Chernobyl, Semipolitinsk, Urals, A-Bomb survivor data.

They conclude as follows:
For solid cancers the LNT (Risk of cancer increases in a straight line with any exposure above zero) model best fits the data. IE any radiation will increase the risk of developing a cancer, and the more exposure over a lifetime the greater that risk. They state that cancer risk is clearly greater at exposure above 100 mSv.

For genetics, the doubling dose of risk to genetic (heritable damage) is estimated at 1 Sv (1000 mSv).

The final conclusion in the summary report is the Linear No Threshold model is a best fit with the current scientific evidence, but also notes that at very low doses the risk is also very small.

The problem is this: we are using radiation increasingly in society for medical testing, non-destructive testing, treatment of disease, and now proposed and actual travel inspection.

All of this increases the population doses and individual doses. If the BEIR VII and the National Academy of Science concludes that these doses add up and increase the risk of radiation injury, eventually as we keep adding radiation exposure in our ordinary environment, then we increase the risk of having a less healthy population.

Backscatter technology per the BEIR VII report which affirms its predecessor committee reports, adds population exposures and individual exposures and thus increases risk, albeit small. But this risk is avoidable as other technology is available.

In keeping with the principle of ALARA (as low as reasonably achievable radiation exposures) we should probably not deploy these machines.

Anonymous said...

Posh! Why is everyone so hot and bothered about being stripped, exposed to radiation and treated as an inmate? It's a new world. If the government wants to inconvenance you they have that right. You gave it to them through your elected representatives.

You might show how brilliant you are on this blog, but do you really believe anyone that can change anything is parked in front of a keyboard waiting for your thoughts?

The change makers are at the $2,500/plate fundraisers getting ready for the next campaign.bri

Ayn R. Key said...

Very funny, Bob. Many of those links are to sites that request you pay to receive the information. Some of the links don't work very well.

But here's from one of the free sites, HPS Position Statement Use of Ionizing Radiation for Security Screening Individuals.

"In radiation protection, no exposure is justified unless it produces a positive net benefit"

Since you have a valid alternative, then according to one of your supportive links, backscatter is NOT JUSTIFIED! You can claim that the benefit is increased security, but did you mention to HPS that you have a valid workable alternative? Did you? Or did you simply tell them "this is the technology we have, is it safe?"

In other words, did you lie to them by omission?

Did you tell your friendly sources that there is a safe alternative?

Bob, answer the question. Do I have to file a FOIA just to get the answer to that one question, because in this case I am quite willing to.

Anonymous said...

Thanks but I will continue to decline the AIT devices. If I don't have to expose myself to that extra radiation why should I?

Did these research studies also test to see if radiation used in these devices only exposes those being scanned? What about the poor TSOs who work around the devices all day. Will they be suing the Feds in years to come for radiation exposure related disorders?

RB said...

Ayn R. Key said...
The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer.

Is it lower cost? Does backscatter cost less than mmw?

March 11, 2010 5:58 PM
......................
TSA greasing the right pockets?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Thanks but I will continue to decline the AIT devices. If I don't have to expose myself to that extra radiation why should I?

Did these research studies also test to see if radiation used in these devices only exposes those being scanned? What about the poor TSOs who work around the devices all day. Will they be suing the Feds in years to come for radiation exposure related disorders?


Workman's comp claims here we go. FWIW, they really don't care about the front line TSOs as they are replaceable. They develope cancer/cataracts? Too bad, so sad. Fire them before they go on long term disability.

Anonymous said...

What about increased cataract risk?

What about the studies that suggest destruction of DNA in outer and middle layer skin cells for wavelengths near the MMW frequencies and for ionizing radiation like backscatter? Particularly for those of us with history of melanoma in first-degree relatives?

How often will these machines be calibrated to make sure they haven't gone out of spec and started overdosing passengers? Will the controls be as strict as those on my physician's and dentist's x-ray machine? Who at TSA will be held accountable when passengers are overdosed? Who will lose their job? Who will guarantee the passengers receive appropriate compensation?

avxo said...

I'll ask here again, since my post on the other thread hasn't been approved yet:

Can the resolving power of the XRB and MMW machines be increased while they are deployed? If so, who can make the changes and under what conditions? Does that operation require modifications to the machine itself, or it is a software option?

More specifically, about the X-ray machines:

How often are the units tested to ensure that they remain in safe operational conditions? Who conducts these tests?

Do the machines employ fail-safe protocols and automatically shut down if they detect internals faults? Are these machines certified by any independent authority?

Do the machines employ any sort of flattening filters, collimators, waveguides, or other devices used to attenuate the generated X-ray beam? If so, are those components fixed, or can they be removed? Will the machine operate if those components are removed?

Is the TSA personnel that operates the machines trained in the principles behind the XRB machine and general radiological safety, or will they only be trained to look at the picture and click oversized "Good" or "Bad" buttons?

avxo said...

Ayn R. Key wrote: "The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer.
"

That's an awesome question. Given the fact that MMW has none of the nasty side-effects of XRB (no matter how insignificant those side-effects may be) why not just go with MMW, which has no such side-effects?

Anonymous said...

I definitely prefer the body scan to being "patted down" by some agent who seems to think she is the most important person in the world and claims she doesn't enjoy the process of patting down. The safety of the body scanner is a consideration but IMHO a better choice for security.

Anonymous said...

Okay. Let's just mess with some numbers here.

A TSO is on the line for 8 hrs. At 25 seconds or so a person, that is (60/25*60*8)scans occuring per shift. Considering the radiation delivered by these scans falls of at according to RMS rules (doubling the distance quarters the power exposed), that means that a TSO standing 8 feet away will recieve a 1/16th reflected scan. Let's be generous with the assumption that the scattered radiation reflected from the person in the scanner is 1/4th the original exposure. So, now that we have the problem set up... what's the answer?

A TSO standing 8 feet away from one of these will recieve, in an eight hour shift, will be exposed to 1152 scans, each of 1/64 the original power emitted. Now, this works out to works to the same as 18 passes through one of these machines a day in an 8hr shift.

Given that there won't be just one of these machines at each checkpoint, and that your average TSO is going to be standing a little bit closer, I'd say a nice round number of 20-25 scans a day equivelancy for secondary exposure is more accurate. Now, at this rate, it would take a horribly long 10 weeks for a TSO to achieve the same radiation exposure as 1 chest X-ray. Hrm.. 5 chest X-rays a year at 8 feet starts looking a little bit on the glow-in-the-dark side of radiation safety on the job, doesn't it? At six feet (roughly where the female TSO is standing) your looking at 32 scans a day equivelant exposure, 6 weeks to reach the magic chest X-ray, and 9 chest X-rays a year. I really hope she has a lead-lined corset on under that uniform, cause if she wants to have children, she's going to need it!

So, what is the safe distance for the TSO to be standing from the scanner for 8hrs a day? Does the TSA intend to comply with OSHA's placarding requirements for low level radiation in the workplace?

Ayn R. Key said...

RB wrote:
TSA greasing the right pockets?

That's a good point. I notice the change from mmw to xrb occurred about one year ago.

Did the manufacturer of mmw donate to McCain while the manufacturer of xrb donate to Obama?

Gunner said...

OK, simple question:

Will the person who is ogin gto be viewing the images have to go through to scanner to ensure they do not have any USB or hidden recoding devices planted on their body?

If not, why not?

Ayn R. Key said...

Thanks, avxo. But given that I am the one who asked it, it is certain Bobbo won't answer it.

He's waiting for a very snarky comment from me so he can respond to that instead.

RB said...

Ayn R. Key said...
RB wrote:
TSA greasing the right pockets?

That's a good point. I notice the change from mmw to xrb occurred about one year ago.

Did the manufacturer of mmw donate to McCain while the manufacturer of xrb donate to Obama?

March 12, 2010 12:11 PM
......
Find out who Chertoff is working for and I think you will have your answer.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Considering the radiation delivered by these scans falls of at according to RMS rules (doubling the distance quarters the power exposed), that means that a TSO standing 8 feet away will recieve a 1/16th reflected scan."

RMS? You're thinking of inverse-square law, not root-mean-square. Regardless, your math is wrong there -- and fundamentally flawed. On top of that you make assumptions that may not necessarily hold true.

I'm no fan of x-ray backscatter devices, and there are plenty of legitimate points to be made about them.

Anonymous said...

Chertoff's got both of his hands up to his elbows involved with the backscatter technology. No surprise.

Leave DHS/TSA and become an influential lobbyist making big $$$$$ shilling for equipment that may or may not be useful in the WOT.

Anonymous said...

Bob, tiny does not equal nonexistent especially for cancer survivors.

Ayn R. Key said...

These are some pretty serious allegations, RB. Accusing the TSA of putting our health at risk when there is a safe alternative, because the manufacturer of the unsafe equipment has better political connections ... that's a pretty big accusation of corruption.

So do you think Bob is going to address this?

Dave Nelson said...

For WRoberts:

Thanks very much for your discussion. I would like to see exactly how the questions were put to the FDA and others and the specific ground rules and assumptions the other evaluations used as well.

The TSA has no interest in a scientific debate on the subject. As a matter of fact, they fear a public debate. I read a white paper written by someone in the TSA or DHS about their concerns about introducing strip search machines. The primary concern was that public opposition could derail the entire program and that the TSA needed to engage in an intense campaign to "sell" this to the public to win their consent and acceptance.

When I think about it for a few minutes, you can determine all of the sell-job tactics the TSA has been trying:

1. It's not really intrusive. They go to great lengths to explain the operator set up and, trust us, we don't keep images.

2. It will go a whole lot faster if you people roll over.

3. We have to stay one step ahead of the bad guys -- the good old fear-mongering approach

4. Forcing us to choose between two equally invasive and needlessly intrusive alternatives -- strip search or (call it what it really is) a police-type frisking.

5. Nobody is forcing you to fly.

6. It's safe; trust us.

7. I have no problem with my wife & kids going through it. (... still waiting for those pictures, Nico.)

8. 90% of people like it! Of course, there is no supporting data to back this statement up.

The TSA and their agents on this blog are selling this like a bunch of drug dealers. The truly sad thing is that the American people don't care.

8675309 said...

Most of the detractors have no real argument and have to resort to name calling: "Strip Search Machines" "Child Porn Viewers" "Radiation Portholes" and what have you, but why do you continue to complain over and over and over again?

IN THE USA, GOING THROUGH THESE MACHINES IS OPTIONAL.

If you don't like it, don't do it.

I don't care if the machines cost more money. I'd rather go through the machine than have some stranger run their hands all over my body.

Why don't you read the news about all the teachers that have slept with their students and then go blog about how we should stop spending money on education?

Anonymous said...

To be honest I am afraid as a TSA employee to be exposed to these machines on a daily basis. What kind of radiation would I be getting standing next to one 40 hours a week. They can't be that safe. Same thing with our xray machines with led curtains that are constantly opening up while we run the machine, but we won't go there!

Anonymous said...

I asked this question multiple times on multiple posts and still have not gotten an answer. so here goes again:

What date or year are the TSA provided AIT sample images from? Were they taken with the newest generation machines or earlier generation ones?

TSOWilliamReed said...

I do wonder why the deployment of backscatter machines over the MMW machines. I prefer the MMW machines and the commenters statement of the TSO's exposure does worry me. Passengers will be recieving a minimal dose honestly, maybe the average passenger flys around 3-5 times a year. The TSO is going to scan hundreds of people a day. Bob, I was wondering what safety protocols will be in place for TSO's that will be exposed to hundreds of scans every day all year long? Not to mention doing test runs in their own airport and getting scanned directly.

Anonymous said...

People have the right to not go through the AIT and guess what if you dislike TSA this much people you can also drive or take a bus! please do! :)

RB said...

RB said...
Ayn R. Key said...
RB wrote:
TSA greasing the right pockets?

That's a good point. I notice the change from mmw to xrb occurred about one year ago.

Did the manufacturer of mmw donate to McCain while the manufacturer of xrb donate to Obama?

March 12, 2010 12:11 PM
......
Find out who Chertoff is working for and I think you will have your answer.

March 12, 2010 1:40 PM
...............................

Chertoff is a former homeland security secretary and the founder of the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm whose clients include manufacturers of full-body scanners.
.....................
Available information seems to say that Chertoff will not disclose who he represents but he actively presses for deployment of Strip Search Machines all while not disclosing the fact that he does represent manufacturers of these devices.

How's that for honesty?

Now you know where DHS/TSA get it from.

Anonymous said...

So, you're saying that the risk is tiny but acceptable. Is that tiny risk larger or smaller than the risk that someone's flip-flop is a disguised weapon, incendiary, or explosive? Bear in mind that there has never been a successful attack on aviation with a shoe, regardless of whether or how passengers' shoes are screened when you answer, Bob.

Anonymous said...

Now Bob,

While the radiation and images do not bother me, what happens when I am wearing a medical device? Although the TSA has not changed its rules, as of late people wearing insulin pumps and declaring them (as instructed by the TSA website) have been subject to complete carry-on bag assaults by TSA agents (although no written statements tell you that because you are diabetic, your luggage will be taken apart and not just scanned normally. I understand an extra pat-down, but this power trip must stop).

I digress, since an insulin pump must clearly be declared for use in these machines, does this now mean that every flight I take, my carefully packed bag will be emptied and inspected instead of passing through the normal belt for inspection? Or is this another made up rule by TSA agents? Is this machine even safe for those wearing insulin pumps? I can find no answers on this.

Please answer.

Allison

Ayn R. Key said...

Well, Bob, it's going public again.

And the TSA actually responds

<a href="http://www.rationalreview.com/content/78137>Picked up by a news outlet</a>

Protex said...

I'm completely okay with the use of biometric or full body scanners. As a paranoid traveler there is nothing better than to feel safe when traveling.

Why do we need to wait for another tragedy to get people to support these types of full body scanners. I will gladly volunteer to be scanned first!

Eric said...

Another blow to the 4th Amendment of the Constitution. And the reactionaries in Congress accuse Obama of wanting to turn the US into a socialist state. Next we'll be required to have internal passports like the USSR, Nazi Germany and Israel.

lynne foster said...

Many of us are not happy with this scanners.There is really no other way to avoid this scanning?

RB said...

Ayn R. Key said...
These are some pretty serious allegations, RB. Accusing the TSA of putting our health at risk when there is a safe alternative, because the manufacturer of the unsafe equipment has better political connections ... that's a pretty big accusation of corruption.

So do you think Bob is going to address this?

March 12, 2010 4:05 PM
...........
You explain then why TSA would install a device that may cause harm when they have perfectly usable non-radiating alternatives.

Anonymous said...

TSOWilliamReed said...

I do wonder why the deployment of backscatter machines over the MMW machines. I prefer the MMW machines and the commenters statement of the TSO's exposure does worry me. Passengers will be recieving a minimal dose honestly, maybe the average passenger flys around 3-5 times a year. The TSO is going to scan hundreds of people a day. Bob, I was wondering what safety protocols will be in place for TSO's that will be exposed to hundreds of scans every day all year long? Not to mention doing test runs in their own airport and getting scanned directly.


Purchase a pocket dosimeter and wear it around waist level. Read and record the daily/weekly/monthly levels as this might be critical when you wind up with radiation exposure induced cancer and want to file a workman's compensation claim against the government.

Anonymous said...

Allison, you stand a better chance of getting an invitation to a White House state dinner (transportation included) than you do getting an answer from TSA.

Al Ames said...

Protex, there is a big difference betweein FEELING safe and BEING safe.

Experts have already said that there was no guarantee these machines would have detected the underwear bomber. In fact, it cited at best a 60% chance of detection.

60% chance for the invasion of privacy, no enhancement to safety, and potential health risks? No thanks.

I should have to have my privacy compromised for your paranoia, especially when the measure is just to assuage your paranoia.

I fly 100k miles per year and I'm not paranoid, despite TSA's lack of security.

As others say for those who disagree with TSA, if you're that afraid of flying, don't fly. Despite TSA's miserable performance rate, your chance of dying in plane crash over the last 10 years (including 9/11) is 20 times LESSM than getting struck by lightning.

Are you that paranoid about getting struck by lightning as you are about getting on a plane?

Al

Blogger Bob said...

Allison Said: Now Bob, While the radiation and images do not bother me, what happens when I am wearing a medical device? Although the TSA has not changed its rules, as of late people wearing insulin pumps and declaring them (as instructed by the TSA website) have been subject to complete carry-on bag assaults by TSA agents (although no written statements tell you that because you are diabetic, your luggage will be taken apart and not just scanned normally. I understand an extra pat-down, but this power trip must stop). I digress, since an insulin pump must clearly be declared for use in these machines, does this now mean that every flight I take, my carefully packed bag will be emptied and inspected instead of passing through the normal belt for inspection? Or is this another made up rule by TSA agents? Is this machine even safe for those wearing insulin pumps? I can find no answers on this. Please answer. Allison March 14, 2010 6:21 PM

--------------------

Hi Allison. Per the TSA web page, you do not have to tell us you have an insulin pump. It’s an option if you’re not comfortable going through the metal detector with it. If you are concerned or uncomfortable about going through the walk-through metal detector (WTMD) with your insulin pump, notify the Security Officer that you are wearing an insulin pump and would like a full-body pat-down and a visual inspection of your pump instead. As far as your bags being searched, this could be triggered by a number of things. Without being there, it’s hard for me to speculate. As far as the safety of your device going through the WTMD, I would contact the manufacturer of your pump, but I have heard of no safety issues regarding pumps and WTMDs. I just checked a web page from a manufacturer and it said there are no safety concerns. But I'll let you research that on your own.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I wonder if a unionized TSA would refuse to work near the backscatter machines because of safety concerns?

Ayn R. Key said...

RB wrote:
You explain then why TSA would install a device that may cause harm when they have perfectly usable non-radiating alternatives.

I'd rather Bob explain it.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... Okay. Let's just mess with some numbers here. A TSO is on the line for 8 hrs. At 25 seconds or so a person, that is (60/25*60*8)scans occuring per shift. Considering the radiation delivered by these scans falls of at according to RMS rules (doubling the distance quarters the power exposed), that means that a TSO standing 8 feet away will recieve a 1/16th reflected scan. Let's be generous with the assumption that the scattered radiation reflected from the person in the scanner is 1/4th the original exposure. So, now that we have the problem set up... what's the answer? A TSO standing 8 feet away from one of these will recieve, in an eight hour shift, will be exposed to 1152 scans, each of 1/64 the original power emitted. Now, this works out to works to the same as 18 passes through one of these machines a day in an 8hr shift. Given that there won't be just one of these machines at each checkpoint, and that your average TSO is going to be standing a little bit closer, I'd say a nice round number of 20-25 scans a day equivelancy for secondary exposure is more accurate. Now, at this rate, it would take a horribly long 10 weeks for a TSO to achieve the same radiation exposure as 1 chest X-ray. Hrm.. 5 chest X-rays a year at 8 feet starts looking a little bit on the glow-in-the-dark side of radiation safety on the job, doesn't it? At six feet (roughly where the female TSO is standing) your looking at 32 scans a day equivelant exposure, 6 weeks to reach the magic chest X-ray, and 9 chest X-rays a year. I really hope she has a lead-lined corset on under that uniform, cause if she wants to have children, she's going to need it! So, what is the safe distance for the TSO to be standing from the scanner for 8hrs a day? Does the TSA intend to comply with OSHA's placarding requirements for low level radiation in the workplace? March 12, 2010 2:36 AM

----------------------------

While I'd like to sit back and rub my goatee while smoking my Mahogany Calabash pipe, I can't take credit for this response.

(This response has been confirmed by Certified Health Physicists)

In general, the scenario above is well thought out. However, there is one incorrect assumption in the calculation -- the scatter faction for x-rays is not 1/4.

For the energy these system operate at, the scatter faction is roughly 1/1000th.

Here's the calculation:

1 scan every 25 seconds results in 60/25*60*8 = 1152 scans per 8 hours shift.

8 feet away (roughly 4 times the distance) reduces the intensity to 1/16 the original value.

Scatter faction of 1/1000.

Then using the maximum allowable dose per screening of 0.025 millirem gives a yearly dose of:

1152 screenings/shift * 0.025 rem/screening * 1/16 * 1/1000 * 5 days/week * 50 work-weeks/year = 0.45 mrem

For comparison purposes, this is about the amount of radiation a person receives from 12 hours of natural background radiation or 1 hour of flight at 39,000 feet. Differences in background radiation levels in various parts of the U.S. are easily 50 mrem/year or more.

Also, the above calculation assumes the individual is 8 feet from the system 100% of the time. In general people move around during the day and take breaks. Most of the time is spent further from the system which will reduce the actual radiation dose even further.

Some other things to consider to put situation into perspective are:

1. In the U.S. the occupational exposure limit is 5,000 mrem/year.

2. The recommended occupational dose limit for pregnant women is 500 mrem during the pregnancy.

3. The U.S. and international recommended dose limit for the public is 100 mrem/year.

4. Radiation warning signs are required in areas where a person can receive 5 mrem or more in 1 hour.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, you're making the assumption that the equipment is working correctly, that there are no radiation leaks from poor maintenance, etc.

People asked questions about how the equipment is maintained and those questions went unanswered. On another blog a TSO commented on the lead lined flaps for the carry on luggage being worn and sticking open. If that is the case, then at least at that airport TSA is exposing both workers and passengers to unnecessary radiation exposure. Also it reflects poorly on your agency's commitment to keeping the travelers safe.

RB said...

Some other things to consider to put situation into perspective are:

1. In the U.S. the occupational exposure limit is 5,000 mrem/year.

2. The recommended occupational dose limit for pregnant women is 500 mrem during the pregnancy.

3. The U.S. and international recommended dose limit for the public is 100 mrem/year.

4. Radiation warning signs are required in areas where a person can receive 5 mrem or more in 1 hour.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team
...........................

FDA say "no threshold of exposure below which x-radiation may not adversely effect human healths" yet TSA didn't use this information while trying to con the public on "AIT Child Porn Viewers".

Wonder why?


http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ResourcesforYouRadiationEmittingProducts/Consumers/ucm142625.htm

Is the TV Radiation a Hazard?

Scientists have not identified specific health effects resulting from exposure to extremely low doses of low-level radiation over prolonged periods of time. However, the current assumption is that there is no threshold of exposure below which x-radiation may not adversely effect human health.

Anonymous said...

RB, wait for a comment that x-rays coming from a television are not the same as x-rays coming from the AIT/WBI.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

At 2,000,000 passengers per day, 1/1000 of a chest x-ray is worth 2,000 x-rays per day. Sure, you aren't doing them to the same person, but if it causes just one more person to die of cancer, is it really worth it?

Is the point of the whole-body-imagers to replace the objective metal-detecting test in favor of yet another ill-defined, subjective visual inspection?

Will the XRB (or the objectively safer MMW) detect a blasting cap hidden inside the body better than the plain-old walk-through metal detector?

How much safer is TSA making us? and is the microscopic benefit worth the added risk?

Anonymous said...

How can people not trust the government? Have they ever used information for purposes other than intended, then lied? Have they physically harmed innocent people?

Oh, stay away from the French bread.

Anonymous said...

Bob

care to explain this?

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/03/body-scanners-ohare-airport.html

Mandatory if thats the case bob your a liar and have bold face lied to everyone on this.

Ill let you explain, but this will be in my next letter to my congress critters, as well as to the committee members that have over-site of TSA as well.


Hey Nico where are the pictures of your family since you say these things are safe? were still waiting years later

avxo said...

Blogger Bob wrote: "The U.S. and international recommended dose limit for the public is 100 mrem/year."

As far as I know that's the limit established by the DOE for amount of radiation that a member of the general public can be exposed to from DOE facilities and their operations.

Now, this may seem like nitpicking, but don't call it recommended please. We have recommended doses for things like vitamins, sodium, cholesterol and whatnot. But we don't have a "recommended radiation quota."

The term "recommended" suggests that one must receive that dose to remain healthy, just as one must receive certain nutrients etc to remain healthy.

RB said...

The truth is starting to leak out.

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/03/body-scanners-ohare-airport.html

Official: Body scanners the future for all passengers

"Kathleen Petrowsky, the TSA director at O'Hare, said she anticipates that the body scans--now optional for passengers--will become mandatory in the future to guard against improvised explosive devices being smuggled onto airliners."

Jared said...

What does Jason Chaffetz have to say about this?

TSOWilliamReed said...

While I'd like to sit back and rub my goatee while smoking my Mahogany Calabash pipe, I can't take credit for this response.

(This response has been confirmed by Certified Health Physicists)

In general, the scenario above is well thought out. However, there is one incorrect assumption in the calculation -- the scatter faction for x-rays is not 1/4.

For the energy these system operate at, the scatter faction is roughly 1/1000th.

Here's the calculation:

1 scan every 25 seconds results in 60/25*60*8 = 1152 scans per 8 hours shift.

8 feet away (roughly 4 times the distance) reduces the intensity to 1/16 the original value.

Scatter faction of 1/1000.

Then using the maximum allowable dose per screening of 0.025 millirem gives a yearly dose of:

1152 screenings/shift * 0.025 rem/screening * 1/16 * 1/1000 * 5 days/week * 50 work-weeks/year = 0.45 mrem

For comparison purposes, this is about the amount of radiation a person receives from 12 hours of natural background radiation or 1 hour of flight at 39,000 feet. Differences in background radiation levels in various parts of the U.S. are easily 50 mrem/year or more.

Also, the above calculation assumes the individual is 8 feet from the system 100% of the time. In general people move around during the day and take breaks. Most of the time is spent further from the system which will reduce the actual radiation dose even further.

Some other things to consider to put situation into perspective are:

1. In the U.S. the occupational exposure limit is 5,000 mrem/year.

2. The recommended occupational dose limit for pregnant women is 500 mrem during the pregnancy.

3. The U.S. and international recommended dose limit for the public is 100 mrem/year.

4. Radiation warning signs are required in areas where a person can receive 5 mrem or more in 1 hour.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 15, 2010 12:25 PM
---------------

Thats good to know bob thanks for the peace of mind.

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB said...
Some other things to consider to put situation into perspective are:

1. In the U.S. the occupational exposure limit is 5,000 mrem/year.

2. The recommended occupational dose limit for pregnant women is 500 mrem during the pregnancy.

3. The U.S. and international recommended dose limit for the public is 100 mrem/year.

4. Radiation warning signs are required in areas where a person can receive 5 mrem or more in 1 hour.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team
...........................

FDA say "no threshold of exposure below which x-radiation may not adversely effect human healths" yet TSA didn't use this information while trying to con the public on "AIT Child Porn Viewers".

Wonder why?


http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ResourcesforYouRadiationEmittingProducts/Consumers/ucm142625.htm

Is the TV Radiation a Hazard?

Scientists have not identified specific health effects resulting from exposure to extremely low doses of low-level radiation over prolonged periods of time. However, the current assumption is that there is no threshold of exposure below which x-radiation may not adversely effect human health.

March 15, 2010 12:49 PM
---------------------

Yet we are exposed to hundreds of different low level radiation sources a day. The sun itself radiates the heck out of us every day. Electrical devices, power lines, radio signals, wireless router feeds surround us, cell phones, television sets, all sorts of things. The FDA isn't limiting or banning the use of any of these radiation sources and the scanner generates less radiation.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I tried looking around this blog and couldn't find the answer to this. There's a post on camping gear and allowed vs. banned items for carry-on, but inexplicably it didn't mention one of the main things people take on camping trips...tents.

Are tents allowed in carry-on bags, assuming they meet the size requirements? They come with poles at least (not all need stakes in some weather), and if fishing poles are allowed in certain circumstances, I wonder if tent poles would be allowed.

Can a person carry a small packed tent on a plane?

Anonymous said...

TSO WilliamReed:

Yet we are exposed to hundreds of different low level radiation sources a day. The sun itself radiates the heck out of us every day. Electrical devices, power lines, radio signals, wireless router feeds surround us, cell phones, television sets, all sorts of things. The FDA isn't limiting or banning the use of any of these radiation sources and the scanner generates less radiation.


There is a difference between ionizing (bad) radiation and non ionizing (good) radiation. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

Still wondering when the TSA is going to post full size and full resolution images produced by the newest generation WBI scanners......

After all the TSA says they are not that detailed or explicit......then what is the hold up??? Are you guys having trouble putting the scanner into "test mode" to allow for storage of the images?

Anonymous said...

Does the TSA have any comment responding to the multiple complaints by passengers last year regarding not being informed of the images the AIT scanners produce (no signage or verbal description) or the that they had a pat-down option before they were directed thru the machines?

http://epic.org/2010/03/epic-v-dhs-epic-obtains-compla.html

Denny (Germany) said...

Thus the general standard chest radiography may for example not too often be accomplished, since the dose comes otherwise into an health-endangering range.

Same probably for the scanners to be valid, ensure there particularly make themselves I around much flier, those can naturally too many jets not well stand, if you are for example each day everywhere in the world on the way.

With us in Germany 82% the citizen would not like to see naked scanners on German airports. These will however nevertheless come probably.

Anonymous said...

I do love the masterful use of the Hegelian dialectic in this discussion; first, the argument was about the machines themselves, now the argument is about one machine over another - which implies that a machine in general is acceptable.

Perhaps that is the point of this blog and the encouragement of posting counter arguements; to direct the social mood in favor of TSA.

Anonymous said...

I really hope that the project manager who fielded all of these finds out that he' bought a pig in a poke.

Anonymous said...

Fair Use extract From Defense Technology Intl interview with Rafi Sela (Israeli airport security expert):

… where are they (airports) going wrong in their procedure?
They have one place where they perform their security and the rest of the airport is wide open. There is no sense in enforcing one place and leaving the rest open. Security at Pearson International Airport in Toronto is more hassle than sense. This goes back to basics. They are so busy finding water bottles and baby formula that they do not check the people or any other threats that can easily go through the scanners. I do not want to give specific details so as not to give terrorists ideas, but here is just one example: I traveled with an almost empty tube of toothpaste, which was larger that the size allowed. There was hardly any paste left inside, yet they would not let me fly with it because it was a larger almost-empty container than was allowed. You can figure out for yourself how effective a procedure this is.

Do you believe that if airports used basic training methods they could cut down on security technology?
No. The right technology with the right training can do the job. I know one can drastically reduce the number of people and the cost of technology and have a much safer airport than [with] the current practice.

What kind of technology do you think is of no use?
Body scanners, for sure, and metal detectors and X-ray machines in their current form.

How much savings would replacing those with the techniques you advocate result in for a mid-sized airport?
I estimate 20-30% savings with over 300% more security

Rafi Sela
Managing Partner, AR Challenges Ltd., Kfar Vradim, Israel, and AR Challenges Inc., North Bethesda, Md.
Age: 63
Education: B.S. in mechanical engineering from Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa; MBA from the University of Washington in Seattle.
Background: Served 18 years in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), led training and ordnance divisions for special operations technologies... Sela’s work with AR includes strategic design of operations and security at Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport.

avxo said...

TSOWilliamReed wrote "Yet we are exposed to hundreds of different low level radiation sources a day. The sun itself radiates the heck out of us every day. Electrical devices, power lines, radio signals, wireless router feeds surround us, cell phones, television sets, all sorts of things. The FDA isn't limiting or banning the use of any of these radiation sources and the scanner generates less radiation."

There's radiation and then there's radiation. You might want to educate yourself on the difference between ionizing and non-ionizing radiation.

Blogger Bob said...

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

Allison on the insulin pump again. Several acquaintances of mine and I have been told by the TSA at Miami, Washington Regan, SFO, and Atlanta that this is the new protocol they are following- that you must declare any attached medical device, and upon doing so they are required to hand search (I mean they will be pulling everything out of) your carryon. It has been told to me while in Atlanta- I typically do not declare it, but obviously would on the scanner, as I am fairly certain that is they can see me, they can see my pump, no? In Atlanta they saw my tubing poking out, which made me have to declare it.

My question is this- although that is not a posted rule on the TSA website, it is being told to TSA agents that this is, in fact, new protocol. By utilizing the (now) optional body scanner, I must declare the pump so they don't freak out, no? Upon doing so, I am allowing them to hand search my bag with no cause, correct?

I would like a direct answer- obviously I have read the TSA website on what is required for attached medical devices, however TSA agents are NOT following those rules.

Allison

Blogger Bob said...

Alison,

I just e-mailed the procedures department and I'll let you know when I hear something.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

Bob, you write:

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate.

If so ... then what's the point of having AIT at all? If I can always opt-out of an AIT scan, doesn't that make it easier for me to smuggle contraband through a checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate.


Your own agency seems to be fielding it as the primary, not secondary means of screening. Might be more than a little communication problem there Bob.

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 17, 2010 7:19 AM
.........................
And TSA is selling ocean front property in Kansas.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...
Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

----------------------------------

Yeah, until the next "game changer" gets onto a plane with a bomb. If these ever became mandatory the airlines would suffer the most. Since the economy is currently hanging on by a thread, I don't think the Fed would give any passengers a reason not to fly.....until the economy rebounds that is.

FYI: Hundreds of passengers filed complaints about the use of these scanners last year.

http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_503018.html

RB said...

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE62F4W020100316

U.S. air travelers complain about body scans

(Reuters) - "Hundreds of U.S. air travelers have lodged complaints over use of full-body security scanners in the past year, charging they violate personal privacy and may be harmful to their health, documents released on Tuesday showed."

The complaints ranged from concern about genitals being seen and the use of the devices on children, to anger over passengers not being told they could request a pat-down search instead and potential health worries from the scans.

""I was not given an option to use the whole body screening device. Neither was anyone else. It appeared that everyone was being required to go through the devices, even children," said one complaint from an unidentified traveler who flew through the Tulsa airport in May 2009.""

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob,

Why backscatter instead of mmw?

James Polk said...

I do not believe these scanners pose any substantial risk to people flying. The chances of getting killed in a crash or by terrorist is probably greater than risk from the minute amounts of radiation emitted from these devices. I think the safety factor overrides the minute danger factor in this case.

Anonymous said...

Ayn, one word, Chertoff.

Anonymous said...

Bob you better speak to the FSD and spokeperson at ORD was quoted in the paper saying otherwise and get them to post a correction.


Do you mean optional like shoes and other items that are now mandatory? Due to past behavior and pattern of evidence im very skeptical

RB said...

Ayn R. Key said...
Bob,

Why backscatter instead of mmw?

March 17, 2010 1:13 PM
.......................

Super Major Pregnant Pause.

Anonymous said...

I"m told that envelopes are available for mailing small items that cannot be carried onto the aircraft. However, these envelopes are not placed at the point where the items are refused, but at the entry to the airport, a considerable distance away. At the Sarasota Airport, I had to give up a small Red Cross pocket knife that I had been awarded for public service because, at age 81, I could not manage the trip back and forth while lugging my carry-on bag. Why victimize travelers in this way when it would be a simple matter to have the envelopes available where the item is refused.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

If TSA insists upon having the ability to leer at passengers' private parts to clear them through security while sitting in dark private booths (which sounds very much like a peep show to me), I'd like to know what it's doing about ensuring the safety and dignity of the flying public. Given recent revelations about some of the more nefarious TSOs out there-- ones who bring weapons to work, others who get arrested for sexual assaults-- I'd like to know what the TSA is doing to ensure that the public isn't victimized every time they fly.

Can you please comment on when TSA will start using psychological evaluations as a screening tool for its TSOs, and require periodic reinvestigations of this nature for all TSOs in their workforce? This is an honest and sincere question about a genuine issue of legitimate concern. The American public ought to have assurances that their government agent screeners aren't doing obscene things while fondling their naked images.

Thanks.

LTSO with Answers said...

Blogger Bob said...
Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 17, 2010 7:19 AM
.........................
RB said...
And TSA is selling ocean front property in Kansas.


Is the property under or over the rainbow RB?

Franz Pichler said...

As someone before asked i also want to know:
What steps is TSA taking to ensure every passenger asked to be strip-searched knows he or she can decline the strip-search?

Anonymous said...

According to a GAO report, by 2014 the WBI are to be the PRIMARY means of WEI detection at airports.

Bob, someone's feeding you incorrect information.

http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=242

Anonymous said...

If there are no moral or ethical issues with WBI equipment why won't TSA come clean on the images these devices make and post full size, full resolution images as seen by the operators?

It's been over a year, TSA has not posted such images.

Shelby said...

I disagree with some of the previous comments, I think the TSA has our best interests in mind. There's a fine line that has to be walked between "personal security" and "personal space". The two go hand in hand, and when you are in a situation such as mass transit at 30,000 feet, you've got to bend a little and realize that you are not going to have as much privacy as you would on your couch at home.

I would much rather subject myself to high levels of security screening, so long as it means I have the peace of mind knowing that everyone else around me has also gone through those high levels of security screenings.

And the fact that the TSA is investing money to make these technologies less invasive is another great sign.

becka said...

i think that no matter what the TSA does to help protect us there will be people who complain. these scans & other security precautions are necessary to protect us & if you are not guilt then you have no reason to worry. if you are worried about the radiation then feel free to take a bus or use your own vehicle. i for one am grateful the TSA is continuing to advance their technology because i can promise you that the terrorists are doing the same & we need to protect ourselves.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... According to a GAO report, by 2014 the WBI are to be the PRIMARY means of WEI detection at airports. Bob, someone's feeding you incorrect information. http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=242 March 18, 2010 10:11 AM
-----------------------

I can see how the word "primary" would lead you to that assumption, but it doesn't mean what you think it means.

Primary means it will be used as the primary means of screening, rather than just being used to resolve metal alarms. (secondary)

Even though it will be the primary means of screening, passengers will still be able to opt out and receive a pat down instead.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

becka spewed

i think that no matter what the TSA does to help protect us there will be people who complain. these scans & other security precautions are necessary to protect us & if you are not guilt then you have no reason to worry. if you are worried about the radiation then feel free to take a bus or use your own vehicle. i for one am grateful the TSA is continuing to advance their technology because i can promise you that the terrorists are doing the same & we need to protect ourselves.

Oh, but Becka, you do need to worry even if you are innocent because if you violate TSA's secret rules and regulations you will be held accountable even if you make an honest mistake.

As to the WBI/AIT the GAO has questions to if it would have detected the panty bomber's bomb.

As to radiation exposure, well, hope you never get cancer due to frequent low level radiation exposure.

Anonymous said...

Bob, please stop playing word games. Primary, in this case, means that the WBI/AIT will be used as the first means of screening. By default the WTMD will either get yanked out and quietly replaced by the WBI/AIT (sold to TSA by a firm Chertoff represents) or left to sit idle.

When you play word games, your credibility and that of your agency further deteriorates. Your agency, for a short while, had the trust of the American public, and by abusing that trust, TSA has lost much of the support it once had due to bad publicity, thefts, abuse of passengers, rogue TSOs, rogue TSIs, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Even though it will be the primary means of screening, passengers will still be able to opt out and receive a pat down instead. "

And what steps is TSA taking to ensure that every passenger knows they can opt out of being strip-searched, Bob? For, it looks like, at least the third time on this thread?

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anonymous said... According to a GAO report, by 2014 the WBI are to be the PRIMARY means of WEI detection at airports. Bob, someone's feeding you incorrect information. http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=242 March 18, 2010 10:11 AM
-----------------------

I can see how the word "primary" would lead you to that assumption, but it doesn't mean what you think it means.

Primary means it will be used as the primary means of screening, rather than just being used to resolve metal alarms. (secondary)

Even though it will be the primary means of screening, passengers will still be able to opt out and receive a pat down instead.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 19, 2010 10:25 AM

..............
Bob, are you more in the loop on future policy than a FSD?

Are you speaking for TSA when you say WBI will not be required in the future?

Jim Huggins said...

Bob writes:

Primary means it will be used as the primary means of screening, rather than just being used to resolve metal alarms. (secondary)

Even though it will be the primary means of screening, passengers will still be able to opt out and receive a pat down instead.


So, in fact, many of us have been correct all along. TSA is planning on a massive expansion of screening procedures.

Today, I can walk through a checkpoint with my privacy relatively intact. In five years, I'll either have to let a stranger view my naked body on a screen, or "request" that another stranger pat me down. (And, if present reports are any indication, any such "request" will be met with plenty of opposition and questioning at the checkpoint as well.)

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anonymous said... According to a GAO report, by 2014 the WBI are to be the PRIMARY means of WEI detection at airports. Bob, someone's feeding you incorrect information. http://homeland.house.gov/Hearings/index.asp?ID=242 March 18, 2010 10:11 AM
-----------------------

I can see how the word "primary" would lead you to that assumption, but it doesn't mean what you think it means.

Primary means it will be used as the primary means of screening, rather than just being used to resolve metal alarms. (secondary)

Even though it will be the primary means of screening, passengers will still be able to opt out and receive a pat down instead.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 19, 2010 10:25 AM

...........
So what did they say>

Blogger Bob said...

RB said... Bob, are you more in the loop on future policy than a FSD? Are you speaking for TSA when you say WBI will not be required in the future? March 19, 2010 10:52AM

-------------------------

RB, I'll repeat what I wrote earlier:

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

So, Bob, I've been asking why the TSA favors unsafe Backscatter instead of safe MMW. Is the reason because Chertoff represents the firm that manufactures unsafe Backscatter?

Sandra said...

Do any of those of you who unequivocally support WBI to make you feel safe EVER stop to think about the much higher risk of death you face while driving to the airport than you face from terrorism-related death when getting on an airplane?

If you STOPPED TO THINK and put things in perspective, you'd probably never leave your house because you'd be so frightened about
dying in your car.

We have become a nation of absolute cowards.

avxo said...

becka said: "these scans & other security precautions are necessary to protect us & if you are not guilt then you have no reason to worry"

Wow... is this what passes for an American these days?

RB said...

RB, I'll repeat what I wrote earlier:

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 19, 2010 11:02 AM


..................
So what is it, TSA's Federal Security Directors are being misinformed or they are acting on their on to mis-inform the public?

Seems like a sloppy way to run an organization but since TSA can't even get a simple Shoes in the Bins/Shoes on the Belts policy implemented correctly I am not surprised.

Which bring up the very valid reason why travelers require detailed guidelines of what requirements they must comply with to transit a TSA Drag Net Checkpoint.

Also, where is the policy available for public viewing that allows ice through the checkpoint for everyone, not just one Hollywood Semi-Celeb or people with medical/health concerns?

Anonymous said...

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob,

Why backscatter instead of mmw?

----------------------------------

My guess is that with backscatter they will eventually modify the scanners to increase the level of radiation emitted to actually penetrate through the body and essentially perform a cavity search.

Or it could be plain old misdirection. By getting everyone to focus on the "tiny" but cumulative radiation risks with backscatter they can then pull the switcheroo and plug in the MMW scanners. Thus by trying to lower American passengers "reasonable expectaion of privacy" with the initial implementation of the backscatter scanners the TSA can then say "see we replaced the harmful X-ray scanners with harmless MMW scanners. We do care about your safety".

Robert Johnson said...

Bob, if you're saying there are no plans to make WBI mandatory, that leaves the door wide open to change in the future.

Becka, please read Daniel Solove's 'I've Got Nothing to Hide' and Other Misunderstandings of Privacy. Please click on one-click download to get to the PDF.

I may not have anything to hide and may not be guilty of anything, but it also does not mean it's any of their business.

If a policeman came to your house and asked to do a search of your house for illegal drugs, weapons, and other contraband, would you let them in? Under the constitution, you don't have to even if you have nothing to hide.

Do share intimate details, your financials, and other sensitive and personal information with others when they ask? If you have nothing to hide and aren't guilty, then you have no grounds to object by your logic.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Ok, I will ask one more time but this time I will be a little more direct. This is Danny, a BDO with TSA. I have put out this challenge at least twice on different blog posts here. AVXO, RB, Ayn R. Key, Jim Huggins, and all of the others who belittle every TSA Officer, yes that is part of our title; and call us names and tell me what I am, at least according to you. Where do you work? What company do you work for?? What do you do for a living? Are you in a profession that is not in trouble? Are you a school teacher, cop, banker, mortgage business, etc, tell me what you do. Lets see what kind of work you do. I will be more then happy to answer your questions, if I can. You may not belief me, or like the answers but I will do my best. But tell me what you do, I did. See if you live in a glass house. Go ahead through a stone my way, but I may throw stones back at you.

HappyToHelp said...

RB said...
"Also, where is the policy available for public viewing that allows ice through the checkpoint for everyone, not just one Hollywood Semi-Celeb or people with medical/health concerns?"

311 for carry-ons
“Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.”

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I like the word games in the MMW description at the top of the blog:
...TSA is not the first to use this technology. It's currently being used in Canadian airports.....

The only reason the scanners are being used in Canadian airports is because the TSA asked the airports to install them after the underwear bomber. Yet another misleading blurb to try and side track the uninformed masses.

Until I am permitted to view my own image produced by these machines I will never even consider submitting to one.

Anonymous said...

If you STOPPED TO THINK and put things in perspective, you'd probably never leave your house because you'd be so frightened about dying in your car.

Theres a difference though in actually driving a car and flying on a plane with 180 other people. In a car, I am in control of defensive maneuvering in avoiding collisions. That is of course if I'm paying very close attention the the road and the drivers around me, which i do. In an airplane, I have no control whatsoever. Theres nothing i can do to avoid a crash/explosion on a plane.

What are you going to do if someone with a bomb gets on a plane? Because if there was no TSA this would become a reality. I guess you're willing to take the chance of someone blowing up a plane because it would only happen once. I'm not willing to take that chance. Brand me a coward then, but i will not die onboard of a plane as part of a terrorist attack tyvm.

Anonymous said...

I get so sick and tired of hearing people complain about this and that. This stuff is here for our safety people!!! If it wasnt here, and it was YOUR plane that exploded in the sky, some of you would be complaining that they didnt have the machines. Did all of you forget 9/11? How about Richard Reid? Abdulmuttalab? The terrorists are still trying to get to us. They are changing their tactics daily so the TSA has to do the same. Get over it! I'd take any security precaution the government comes up with if it means that no more of my fellow innocent Americans have to die. By all means though, if any of you feel they need to die so you can get through security quicker...continue writing your blogs

Anonymous said...

Robert Johnson said

If a policeman came to your house and asked to do a search of your house for illegal drugs, weapons, and other contraband, would you let them in? Under the constitution, you don't have to even if you have nothing to hide.
-----------------------------------
Robert, that's a poor example. There is a difference between implied consent and the 4th amendment. When you enter certain parts of the airport you are giving your consent to search of your person and property. In your own home there is no implied consent. So you just simply tell the police officer to get a warrant.

4th amendment Implied consent two different things.

Isaac Newton said...

Blogger Bob said:

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Sure Bob.

After all, you said (April 15 2008) that the images were suitable for the cover of Reader's Digest, yet you haven't released full-resolution images.

And you said that the machine couldn't store the images at all, until you had to admit that it COULD but it WOULDN'T because, well, we're still waiting to hear how you ensure that.

And your former boss Kip said authoritatively that the liquid restrictions would be relaxed (no size limit, liquids in bin) by Fall 2009 and gone completely by the end of 2010.

And your agency keeps weaseling out of the deadline to screen 100% cargo.

So when you say these machines are completely safe and that they won't become mandatory, why should we believe you again??

Anonymous said...

"Bob, how did Bill's abusive and threatening (post) get posted?"

Probably the same way the post on Feb 16th insulting the Amish got posted.

The moderator approved it.

Robert Johnson said...

Anonymous:

Just because implied consent may exist doesn't mean that implied consent exists for everything at a checkpoint.

Implied consent was based in court cases based on a very narrow and limited administrative search, NOT the ever expanding searches TSA employs.

Robert

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "I get so sick and tired of hearing people complain about this and that. This stuff is here for our safety people!!! If it wasnt here, and it was YOUR plane that exploded in the sky, some of you would be complaining that they didnt have the machines. Did all of you forget 9/11? How about Richard Reid? Abdulmuttalab? The terrorists are still trying to get to us. They are changing their tactics daily so the TSA has to do the same. Get over it! I'd take any security precaution the government comes up with if it means that no more of my fellow innocent Americans have to die. By all means though, if any of you feel they need to die so you can get through security quicker...continue writing your blogs"

So you'd be willing to give up what it means to be an American and the freedoms that it comes with simply to be safe? Wow. Move to North Korea. There's little crime and terrorism there.

Terrorism is a threat, but not enough to be afraid of. You are 20 TIMES more likely to be struck by lighting over the last 10 years (1 in 500,000) vs. dying in a terrorist incident on a plane (1 in over 10,000,000 - yes, that's MILLION). Are you scared of getting struck by lightning? No? Then why are you more afraid of terrorism and willing to give up your freedoms for something 20 times less likely?

Terrorism is a tactic. Blowing up planes is a tactic. The real aim is to create fear and to get people to change how they live because of that fear. Congratulations, you are giving the terrorists what they want and letting them win.

Robert

Anonymous said...

To Allison with the insulin pump:
Don't hold your breath waiting for an answer. This exact issue was posted about last April under the "Traveling 101 for Diabetics" thread and was never responded to. I think you only got a response because you posted on a very active, current thread. I hope you get an answer. I'd like to know why wearing an insulin pump gets such extra scrutiny!

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "Theres a difference though in actually driving a car and flying on a plane with 180 other people. In a car, I am in control of defensive maneuvering in avoiding collisions. That is of course if I'm paying very close attention the the road and the drivers around me, which i do. In an airplane, I have no control whatsoever. Theres nothing i can do to avoid a crash/explosion on a plane."

Guess what? You might be able to control your car, but you can't control the other idiots out there driving. You can't always avoid see what's happening around you.

An example. This past Saturday night, I was in an SUV with my family on a freeway. Some idiot decided to change lanes without looking and slammed into us. My mother happened to be driving, has been a good driver for years and hasn't even been involved in an accident for over 10 years. We had no control over the idiot slamming into us. We were very fortunate that we didn't have a bigger accident and roll over on the freeway.

We had no control over that other guy.


"What are you going to do if someone with a bomb gets on a plane? Because if there was no TSA this would become a reality. I guess you're willing to take the chance of someone blowing up a plane because it would only happen once. I'm not willing to take that chance. Brand me a coward then, but i will not die onboard of a plane as part of a terrorist attack tyvm.

Funny, before TSA came about bombs weren't getting on planes with any regularity. So it appears that that statement is false.

Another funny thing is in the underwear bomber incident, AMS security was the same security that TSA implements and requires to be implemented for a plane bound to the US. Guess what? It FAILED. And even with the latest nude-o-scopes, there was only a 60% chance that it would have detected the underwear bomb. And TSA's detection rate has been abysmal for years - we're quite fortunate that a bomb hasn't gone off. Maybe it's because the threat is way overstated?

Don't buy into the fear that TSA propagates.

Robert

avxo said...

Danny, the BDA TSO, wrote: "AVXO [...] who belittle every TSA Officer, yes that is part of our title; and call us names and tell me what I am, at least according to you."

If you're going to call someone out by name, at least get your facts straight and don't accuse people for no reason. It is possible to have disagreements or differences of opinion and remain respectful, and if you bothered to actually read my posts you would see that I have belittled nobody, and have been nothing but respectful to everyone on here.


Danny then continued: "Where do you work? What company do you work for?? What do you do for a living?"

Perhaps that would be relevant if I maintained a blog, such as this one, soliciting public input on my job and my performance at it.


Danny then continued: "Lets see what kind of work you do. I will be more then happy to answer your questions, if I can. You may not belief me, or like the answers but I will do my best. But tell me what you do, I did."

What I do is irrelevant. This blog solicits input from the public, without regard for what those members of the public do for a living.


Danny droned on some more: "See if you live in a glass house. Go ahead through a stone my way, but I may throw stones back at you."

Ah, I see. So your problem is that you don't like criticism...

AngryMiller said...

Ok, I will ask one more time but this time I will be a little more direct. This is Danny, a BDO with TSA. I have put out this challenge at least twice on different blog posts here. AVXO, RB, Ayn R. Key, Jim Huggins, and all of the others who belittle every TSA Officer, yes that is part of our title; and call us names and tell me what I am, at least according to you. Where do you work? What company do you work for?? What do you do for a living? Are you in a profession that is not in trouble? Are you a school teacher, cop, banker, mortgage business, etc, tell me what you do. Lets see what kind of work you do. I will be more then happy to answer your questions, if I can. You may not belief me, or like the answers but I will do my best. But tell me what you do, I did. See if you live in a glass house. Go ahead through a stone my way, but I may throw stones back at you.

Field service here Danny boy. I deal with some of your cow-orkers on an at least twice a week and found the majority of them okay. When passing through a checkpoint, at least here in the US, I am more surprised by the rarity of professionalism on the part of TSOs than I am of the rude, incompetent TSOs which sadly is the rule rather than exception. Please explain why that is.

I demand professionalism on the part of all TSOs. I demand that they know their SOP better than I do (from just having been on the receiving end of it so many times). Often that isn't the case. I demand that if a TSO doesn't know something that he/she will either go look it up (I'll wait) or get someone who does know the SOP instead of making up something on the spot and expect me to believe a word of it. Honesty is the only policy. Never lie to anyone as they may actually know what it is they are discussing with you better than you do.

You want respect. Respect is earned. While passengers would like to be shown some respect on the part of those who would make air travel safer for us, we would be willing to just have some common courtesy and not be regarded as an unidicted terrorist. Treat us like an unindicted terrorist and we WILL treat you shabbily in return. It works both ways.

Ryan62 said...

Robert,
Can I get a source, preferably a peer reviewed study, indicating that with the use of AIT there would only be a 60% chance of finding the device the Christmas Day bomber had.
Further, if Amsterdam used the same screening and TSA and it failed, that is a reason to add things like the AIT, rather than shove your head back under the sand.
As for bombs getting onto planes with any regularity prior to TSA, well at least one a year from 1964-1989 with the exception of 1977, and 11 more from 1990-2009. You can quible about what "fairly regularly" means all you want.

Jim Huggins said...

Danny the BDO writes:

AVXO, RB, Ayn R. Key, Jim Huggins, and all of the others who belittle every TSA Officer, yes that is part of our title; and call us names and tell me what I am, at least according to you. Where do you work?

First of all, I have not belittled "every TSA Officer". I have never called anyone names here. I criticize policies and procedures, not people. And, over the course of this blog, I've defended TSA as much as I've criticized them.

Second, I don't know why I should tell you where I work, when you didn't tell me where you work. Let's play fair. Where do you work?

Third ... that little link up there by my name will lead you (eventually) to all the information you'd want to know about me. And, by the way, my job does subject me to public scrutiny, and there are plenty of websites out there that discuss my job performance --- good, bad, and ugly. I'm not hiding.

Ryan62 said...

Robert,
Just because someone advocates for security doesn't mean they are "scared". It means they see something as a reasonable precaution. Wearing your seatbelt in a car can be annoying and uncomfortable. I don't wear it because I am afraid of crashing. I wear it because I see it as a reasonable precaution.
Locking the doors in my house can be inconvienent, and the odds of my home actually being broken into are small, yet I still lock them. Not because I am "buying into the fear" that someone propogates, but rather because I think it is a reasonable precaution.
Now, you are certainly welcome to disagree and we can discuss what are reasonable and unreasonable precautions. But you have no right to assume that everyone who supports more stringent security than you do only does so out of some misguided fear.

Anonymous said...

When will the TSA be posting unaltered full size, full resolution sample images produced by the latest generation scanners?

Anonymous said...

If the scanners are such a benefit to security, why were they not installed in any NY airports? I thought NYC was still a prime target for terrorists? Is the TSA stalling the introduction of them in NY with hopes that there will be another attack, and then it will be easier to sell the concept of a strip search to the many liberal new yorkers who won't submit to this invasion of privacy? After all if the screener can't see you...you must not be naked....that is some sound logic.

Keep up the fear mongering guys.... there are still lots of parents who won't let you guys ogle their naked children yet. But you almost have them!!!!

Anonymous said...

Who in the airport has the clearance to disable the backscatter body algorithm or any of the other privacy settings?

When does the TSA plan to start telling us they need to start saving naked images of passengers with no privacy settings applied just until their plane lands safely, of course? Or does the saving of images fall under a national security exemption in which they don't need to inform us?

Anonymous said...

"if it was YOUR plane that exploded in the sky, some of you would be complaining that..."

You know, I think if their plane exploded in the sky you would not hear them complain. Not this side of the grave.

Jim Huggins said...

RB asked:

"Also, where is the policy available for public viewing that allows ice through the checkpoint for everyone, not just one Hollywood Semi-Celeb or people with medical/health concerns?"

HappyToHelp quoted the 311 for carry-ons page:

“Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.”

HappyToHelp: the only problem with the quote above is that it comes in the middle of a section describing exceptions for medical needs only. The paragraph immediately above the one you quoted says (emphasis added by me):

To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3.4 ounce (100ml) of the following liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary (all exceptions must be presented to the security officer in front of the checkpoint):

A reasonable reading of the web page would seem to suggest that ice isn't permitted for ordinary travelers who don't have a medical need for it. This would seem to contradict the Britney Spears rule, since she didn't have a medical need.

Numerous requests for clarification on this point have gone unanswered. Would you -- or anyone else at TSA -- like to comment on this discrepancy?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the TSA is lying about the scanners remaining optional. Did Obama pass health care to cover the tens of thousands new cases of cancer that the rampant use of these scanners will result in? Given the choice i would rather be blown up in the air quickly than suffer an agonizing battle with cancer stretched out over many years. But thank God my job does not require me to fly. TSA already destroyed domestic tourism, now they have there eye on the aviation industry. On the bright side at least they are thinning out the heard of mindless sheep in this country, so eventually logical thinkers will be able to reclaim it.

http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9173881/TSA_plans_to_double_its_use_of_whole_body_scanners

Anonymous said...

America has absolutely no chance. Watch the video from the link.


http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local-beat/TSA__How_Safe_is_It_to_Fly__Los_Angeles.html

Paxton said...

I have a question: Will these machines ever come down? It seems like we are in an war with terrorism that will never end. We have to live in a perpetual police state where we each feel like suspects rather than citizens.

I would be SHOCKED if this "war on terror" ends and we can lessen security. I pray there will be a day.

Ryan62 said...

Anon -
Care to explain how TSA "destroyed the domestic tourism industry"? I think the recession did that, and it wasn't caused by TSA?
I invite you to look at the actual statistics http://www.airlines.org/economics/traffic/Annual+US+Traffic.htm
rather than be a mindless sheep that repeats nonsense about how "no one flies because of TSA". Every year since TSA was created air travel has increased up until the start of the current recession. After the "War on Liquids" after "the shoe carnival" and all the rest air travel kept going up.
So it would seem a self proclaimed "logical thinker" wouldn't be able to make much of a case that TSA has destroyed tourism or aviation.

Ayn R. Key said...

Danny the BDO,

Either you missed when I answered your question the last time or you ignored it. Either way it's rather unprofessional of you to call me out and then fail to notice when I respond.

I am an electrical engineer. I got my start working on communications equipment. Everything I've written about x-rays versus millimeter is written as a professional.

As much as I think the TSA should not exist, the issue of x-rays versus millimeter waves goes far, FAR beyond that. It goes down to basic public health and safety issues that they drilled into our heads the first year of college. It goes to my semi-annual safety refresher briefings. It goes to my viewing myself as a scientist and thus wanting to see scientific accuracy in this blog.

Since you are a BDO instead of an engineer, and since you are so in love with titles and credentials instead of with actual competence since seeing a title enables you to forgo independent analysis of the capability of the individual, then I have the credentials you lack when discussing this issue. However if by some chance you decide to go by competence while reading this comment then I also have that over you.

When it comes to mmw versus xrb I have both credentials and competence over just about everyone in the TSA, and I'm far from being the very best of electrical engineers. I'm probably average, but still that puts me far ahead of any mere BDO.

Robert Johnson said...

And Ryan62, just because I don't support the current security measures and even more, doesn't mean I don't advocate security at all. That's also patently false. Did you not just do what you accused me of?

But hey, the guy said he was afraid. Am I not to take him at his word?

Robert

Robert Johnson said...

Ryan62,

Here's a link to my source.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8441205.stm

"Mr Johnson also told the Commons there was only a 50 to 60% chance that a body scanner would have detected bomb materials allegedly carried by Mr Abdulmutallab.

He said such machines were not a "magic bullet"."

Believe, don't believe it, it's up to you.

Of course, he's right that these aren't a magic bullet. But that's exactly what these are being touted as.

The The GAO also stated:

"Second, as we reported in October 2009, TSA does not know whether its explosives detection technologies, such as the AITs, are susceptible to terrorist tactics. Although TSA has obtained information on vulnerabilities at the screening checkpoint, the agency has not assessed vulnerabilities—that is, weaknesses in the system that terrorists could exploit in order to carry out an attack—related to passenger screening technologies, such as AITs, that are currently deployed. According to TSA’s threat assessment, terrorists have various techniques for concealing explosives on their persons, as was evident in Mr. Abdulmutallab’s attempted attack on December 25, where he concealed an explosive in his underwear. However, TSA has not assessed whether these and other tactics that terrorists could use to evade detection by screening technologies, such as AIT, increase the likelihood that the screening equipment would not detect the hidden weapons or explosives. Thus, without an assessment of the vulnerabilities of checkpoint technologies, it is unclear whether the AIT or other technologies would have been able to detect the weapon Mr. Abdulmutallab used in his attempted attack."

Tests by Qinetiq, a manufacturer of these devices in the UK, have shown that "Tests by scientists in the team at Qinetiq, showed the millimetre-wave scanners picked up shrapnel and heavy wax and metal, but plastic, chemicals and liquids were missed."

There's also the fact that if, by TSA's admission, that these devices are designed NOT to penetrate the skin, devices hidden in body cavities, in fat folds, and under large breasts would not be detected.

Something invasive and not effective isn't a way to detect the bombs.

Funny thing is, we've had the puffers for how long? But instead of going back and fixing them to work in an airport environment, which should be doable, let's do something that hasn't been proven to be effective.

Also, A UN human rights expert says that the use of full body scanners at airports following the Christmas day terrorist attempt was more of a political response than a carefully designed security measure .

But hey, Chertoff said we need these things. And of course, he has nothing to gain considering he represents RapiScan.

And also, btw, the fear thing was in another thread - I confused the two but it's hard to know if the 2 anons are the same.

Robert

Anonymous said...

UK screener uses AIT to ogle a female co-worker. Thank god this could never happen in the U.S. LOL

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1260222/Heathrow-security-worker-quizzed-naked-body-scan-colleague.html?ITO=1490

Anonymous said...

Granted, this isn't the TSA, but does anyone doubt similar scenarios would play out here?

BAA is investigating an incident in which a Heathrow security operative "ogled" a female colleague who'd wandered into a body scanner, the Sun reports.

John Laker, 25, allegedly copped an eyeful of Jo Margetson, 29, when the latter "entered the X-ray machine by mistake". She was "horrified" as Laker "pressed a button to take a revealing photo" and remarked: "I love those gigantic tits."

Anonymous said...

Terrorism is a tactic. Blowing up planes is a tactic. The real aim is to create fear and to get people to change how they live because of that fear.

Nope. Incorrect. Terrorists want to KILL the infidels (you and me), not scare them. Maybe thats why you dont understand what were up against rob. But hey, when you make your next trip to candyland, since you seem to live there, can i get some of the giant red licorice? its my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Can anybody confirm if you can refuse to pass by the backscatter scanner if you're pregnant?
Can you "chose" the pat-down instead?

Thank you very much for your time.
Sebastian.

Anonymous said...

I have sent multiple emails to
TSA-ContactCenter@dhs.gov and they keep responding with the same "AIT is incapable of storage" rhetoric. My question is not about AIT machine storage it is regarding external USB media storage such as USB flash drives. So i will ask you bloggers:

Is it at all possible in any mode to store a passengers scanned image to a USB flash drive or external hard drive connected via a USB port? Also are the TSA screeners allowed to bring USB drives or external storage devices into the viewing room with them?

Please don't respond with the same AIT storage rhetoric. If anything say you cannot comment about this. thanks.

Anonymous said...

More privacy invasions by TSA via your phones bluetooth:

TSA considers Bluetooth to track security checkpoint wait times

http://www.geek.com/articles/mobile/tsa-considers-bluetooth-to-track-security-checkpoint-wait-times-20100324/

TSM/West said...

ANON Said

Can anybody confirm if you can refuse to pass by the backscatter scanner if you're pregnant?
Can you "chose" the pat-down instead?

Thank you very much for your time.
Sebastian.

March 25, 2010 12:33 AM
-----------------------------------
Yes you can.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from an Anon: "Nope. Incorrect. Terrorists want to KILL the infidels (you and me), not scare them. Maybe thats why you dont understand what were up against rob. But hey, when you make your next trip to candyland, since you seem to live there, can i get some of the giant red licorice? its my favorite."

Ah, so you really have nothing to say, so you try to insult me by comparing my philosophy to candyland? Classy, Anon.

At any rate, there's more than just killing infidels, anon. Otherwise, we'd have jihad going on worldwide. Funny how you don't see Al Qaida targeting places like say India, China, etc. You know, places that aren't Muslim and has MANY, MANY more infidels than the US.

No, they want to take the US down. They'd be quite content to see us not be free and live under sharia law. They despise what we stand for, and who we associate with (in particular, Israel). Even last year during the German elections, Al Qaida was threatening Germany if Angela Merckel was re-elected? Why? She had fairly close ties with the US and was a partner to the US in many ways.

Osama knows that he can never kill all of us infidels, even if he'd love to. So how do you take the "great Satan down?" Fear. Crash a few planes into some buildings. Send some idiots in like Reid and the underwear bomber. Osama learned with the liquid bomb plot that he didn't have to succeed to succeed - he can send in some clowns that will fail and still send the US into a panic.

Planes aren't the only things that can be targeted. Shopping malls, schools, stadiums, etc - any of them can be targeted to cause mass havoc. He doesn't need aviation to do that.

He knows his best chance to take down the "great Satan" is to get us to implode. Get us to give up freedom because of fear. Get us to do stupid things because we're afraid. Change us over years.

If anything, we know from his attacks that Osama is very patient. Getting America to implode isn't an overnight job, but he's accomplishing it piece by piece.

As Abraham Lincoln said "America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves." And that's exactly what he's getting us to do, Anon, is to destroy ourselves. Threatening planes is just one of many tactics to do that.

You don't understand that Anon. I'd seriously think about it.

Robert

RB said...

HappyToHelp said...
RB said...
"Also, where is the policy available for public viewing that allows ice through the checkpoint for everyone, not just one Hollywood Semi-Celeb or people with medical/health concerns?"

311 for carry-ons
“Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.”

Tim
TSA Blog Team

March 19, 2010 4:23 PM
..............
As has already been pointed out that section deals with people with medical issues or people with special needs, not the general public.

Want to try again Tim?

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
RB said... Bob, are you more in the loop on future policy than a FSD? Are you speaking for TSA when you say WBI will not be required in the future? March 19, 2010 10:52AM

-------------------------

RB, I'll repeat what I wrote earlier:

Imaging technology is always optional and there are no plans to make it mandatory. Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate. http://ow.ly/1n0Vc

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

March 19, 2010 11:02 AM
.................
And I will repeat the question since you seem to not have responded directly; Are you more in the loop that a FSD at a major airport?

Your basically calling the FSD a liar Bob.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Ok, I will ask one more time but this time I will be a little more direct. This is Danny, a BDO with TSA. I have put out this challenge at least twice on different blog posts here. AVXO, RB, Ayn R. Key, Jim Huggins, and all of the others who belittle every TSA Officer, yes that is part of our title; and call us names and tell me what I am, at least according to you. Where do you work? What company do you work for?? What do you do for a living? Are you in a profession that is not in trouble? Are you a school teacher, cop, banker, mortgage business, etc, tell me what you do. Lets see what kind of work you do. I will be more then happy to answer your questions, if I can. You may not belief me, or like the answers but I will do my best. But tell me what you do, I did. See if you live in a glass house. Go ahead through a stone my way, but I may throw stones back at you.

March 19, 2010 4:22 PM
....................
Danny, I am a United States citizen. I have every right to expect my government to act within the bounds of the United States Constitution. I believe that TSA has not done so. As a citizen I have a responsibility to question my government when they step out of bounds which your agency does on a regular basis.

My name is Ron. I am retired military. I currently work in the banking industry and my company is very strong. I live in the DFW area.

Happy now?

Ranger11 said...

This argument just goes back and forth. I have spent my whole adult life fighting the war on terror. I am retired military and now work with DHS/TSA. If I thought for one second that the idea behind terrorism was just to scare, I would be dead.

Being scared is the result of the damage inflicted by the terrorists. It is a side affect of the terrorist activity. People die in a horrific, unforeseen event that shocks and surprises the victims and all those who come in contact with the events aftermath. That is what scares people.

The purpose of the attack is to cause devastation and make us aware that we are vulnerable to the attack itself. If that scares us, then so be it. The intent is to destroy and kill, not to scare. Terrorism is the act of violence with the intent to do harm, especially bombing, kidnapping, and assassination, carried out for political purposes (in most cases).

Again, the fact that it scares us, is a side affect. If they only meant to scare us, we would have many more people walking this earth today.

LTSO with Answers said...

AngryMiller said... When passing through a checkpoint, at least here in the US, I am more surprised by the rarity of professionalism on the part of TSOs than I am of the rude, incompetent TSOs which sadly is the rule rather than exception. Please explain why that is.

AngryMiller I must say that from airport to airport I see the same thing when I travel. I believe it is because of the leadership at that airport or checkpoint. They still get the job done though just not in the friendly aspect that the public demands.

Anonymous said...

From Danny BDO
I retired as a telephony design engineer. I asked the questions that I did, mainly because of the fact, btw you did not say were you worked and what company, but that is beside the point. You took one thing and made it about me, and even had to say that I was unprofessional because I mentioned you by name, along with everyone else that takes shots at TSA. I have a degree, in fact I am working on a Masters Degree. I made a point of asking what I asked because of everyone taking shots at a TSA employee, and painting everyone based on a few examples, that for most of the TSA work force believe that they do not paint all of us in the same way. We deal with some passengers that are horrible, they are rude, but we do not paint every passenger the same. The behavior that some of the people, and no I am not saying you, but for the most part everyone who paints everyone the same way based on the actions of only a few, would or could we call them a racist if we were talking about a race? You would not say that and most people would not, but yet when you and the others take shots at TSA as a whole against the Officers, well that is wrong on your part, and wrong on anyone elses part period. We are here to job that is presented for us to do. We do not make the rules, but we are asked to obey the rules and help others to try and follow the rules as well. Some do it better then others, the same as in any job. I am sure that you are great in your job, but do everyone at work act and behave the same way as you do? No, it simply is not possible. Last thing, you are the only one that I saw post anything, and yes I missed your response in the thread, sorry, I will go back and read it. Danny BDO

GSOLTSO said...

Sebastian, according to all the info and Bobs previous posts, passengers will be able to opt out of the AIT. If someone you know is pregnant and wishes to recieve alternative screening, they are welcome to do so, all they have to do is request it when they get to the checkpoint.

West
TSA Blog Team

Ryan Thompson said...

I think it's unnecessary to have these crazy scanners. It's just costing us money, time, and health issues we don't need.

If someone's going to bomb us, they're going to find a way.

Blogger Bob said...

RB said...Your basically calling the FSD a liar Bob. March 26, 2010 10:22 AM
----------------------

Twist my words as you will, but I have said nothing of the sort. I believe I said "Anything else you hear or read is inaccurate."

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

RB said... As has already been pointed out that section deals with people with medical issues or people with special needs, not the general public. March 26, 2010 10:18 AM

----------------------

This is listed under both the main 3-1-1 page as an exception. It is also listed in the special needs page.

"Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements."

Main 3-1-1 Page

Special Needs Page

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... Is it at all possible in any mode to store a passengers scanned image to a USB flash drive or external hard drive connected via a USB port? Also are the TSA screeners allowed to bring USB drives or external storage devices into the viewing room with them? March 25, 2010 7:28 PM
----------------------------

Images can only be saved in test mode. The machines are not placed in test mode while at the airport. Test mode is used in testing situations at laboratories and testing facilities.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... Can anybody confirm if you can refuse to pass by the backscatter scanner if you're pregnant? Can you "chose" the pat-down instead? Thank you very much for your time.
Sebastian. March 25, 2010 12:33 AM

-------------------------

TSM West is correct. Additionally, anybody (pregnant or otherwise) can choose the pat-down as an alternative to the AIT machines.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
RB said... As has already been pointed out that section deals with people with medical issues or people with special needs, not the general public. March 26, 2010 10:18 AM

----------------------

This is listed under both the main 3-1-1 page as an exception. It is also listed in the special needs page.

"Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements."

Main 3-1-1 Page

Special Needs Page

March 29, 2010 9:59 AM

...........
Your 3.4-1-1 link is broken.

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
RB said... As has already been pointed out that section deals with people with medical issues or people with special needs, not the general public. March 26, 2010 10:18 AM

----------------------

This is listed under both the main 3-1-1 page as an exception. It is also listed in the special needs page.

"Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements."

Main 3-1-1 Page

Special Needs Page

March 29, 2010 9:59 AM

......
OK, I twisted your words.

The FSD at Chicago indicated that WBI would become mandatory.

You say they are wrong, misspoke, not correctly informed or any other term you wish to chose to indicate disagreement.

I asked before and you dodged the question, are you more in the loop than a FSD at a major airport?

Anonymous said...

Bob, is the tiny risk strip-search machines present larger or smaller than the risk that someone's flip-flop is a disguised weapon, incendiary, or explosive?

Will these machines be used to screen TSOs?

Jim Huggins said...

Bob writes, regarding the question of frozen liquids:

This is listed under both the main 3-1-1 page as an exception. It is also listed in the special needs page.

"Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements."


Bob ... on the 3-1-1 page, look at the paragraph immediately preceding the exception list. The paragraph says that the exceptions are granted only "to ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers".

There's nothing that indicates that I, as a healthy person with no special medical needs, can take solid ice through a checkpoint.

So, which is it? Is the web page wrong in saying ice is permitted only for passengers with special needs? Or is the web page right, and your statement of the policy is wrong?

(And how can a common passenger know the difference?)

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
RB said... As has already been pointed out that section deals with people with medical issues or people with special needs, not the general public. March 26, 2010 10:18 AM

----------------------

This is listed under both the main 3-1-1 page as an exception. It is also listed in the special needs page.

"Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements."

Main 3-1-1 Page

Special Needs Page

March 29, 2010 9:59 AM
.......................
Bob, it seems your 3-1-1 link only allows ice for those with special needs. The section dealing with ice is discussing accommodations for those with special needs. Not everyone.

Either fix it or retract your statement!

...............................


http://www.tsa.gov/311/311-carry-ons.shtm

To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers, in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3.4 ounce (100ml) of the following liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary (all exceptions must be presented to the security officer in front of the checkpoint):

Baby formula, breast milk, and juice if a baby or small child is traveling;

All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;

Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;

Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;
Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,

Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements.

Ayn R. Key said...

Ayn R. Key wrote:
Either way it's rather unprofessional of you to call me out and then fail to notice when I respond.

Danny the BDO wrote:
You took one thing and made it about me, and even had to say that I was unprofessional because I mentioned you by name, along with everyone else that takes shots at TSA.

There is a problem with what you wrote Danny. This time I put it in bold for your benefit.

Danny the BDO wrote:
The behavior that some of the people, and no I am not saying you, but for the most part everyone who paints everyone the same way based on the actions of only a few, would or could we call them a racist if we were talking about a race?

Race, gender, and other similar considerations are factors that people do not, and cannot, choose but are intead born with. Being a TSO is not the same. To put your comment in proper perspective, you are saying we should not judge all muggers the same because if we did it would be similar to being a racist.

Now the topic of this thread is backscatter. The sub-topic I've been focusing on in this thread is mmw versus backscatter. As a retired engineer, what is your take on mmw versus backscatter? Be very careful though, because if you state the scientifically accurate answer I'm sure that your superiors at the TSA will take a very dim look on what you write. You may even get in actual trouble for writing the scientifically accurate answer, as a TSO employee, on this blog.

By the way, have you ever heard of Oath Keepers?

AngryMiller said...

LTSO with Answers said...

AngryMiller said... When passing through a checkpoint, at least here in the US, I am more surprised by the rarity of professionalism on the part of TSOs than I am of the rude, incompetent TSOs which sadly is the rule rather than exception. Please explain why that is.

AngryMiller I must say that from airport to airport I see the same thing when I travel. I believe it is because of the leadership at that airport or checkpoint. They still get the job done though just not in the friendly aspect that the public demands.


I'm not talking about being friendly. I am talking about having a professional demeanor. If this is a management problem then why isn't TSA upper level management working on getting this resolved? Your agency is a representative of the US government to many foreigners traveling through the US. It behooves you to operate in a professional manner. Other countries manage to do this while getting the job done. Why can't we do this.

Anonymous said...

When will the TSA post unaltered, full size, full resolution sample images taken from the newest generation AIT machines MMW & x-ray?

Anonymous said...

If an anomaly or weapon is detected on a passenger's image is the screener viewing the image able to remove the algorithm applied to the image or disable any other privacy settings? Who in the airport has the clearance level to do so?

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
RB said... As has already been pointed out that section deals with people with medical issues or people with special needs, not the general public. March 26, 2010 10:18 AM

----------------------

This is listed under both the main 3-1-1 page as an exception. It is also listed in the special needs page.

"Frozen items are allowed as long as they are frozen solid when presented for screening. If frozen items are partially melted, slushy, or have any liquid at the bottom of the container, they must meet 3-1-1 requirements."

Main 3-1-1 Page

Special Needs Page

March 29, 2010 9:59 AM
..............
Your link to 3-1-1 is still broken.

The information you tried to point to does not allow ice for all, just those with special needs.

Either fix the informaiton or retract your statement Bob.

Anonymous said...

My greatest concern is the DAILY Quality Control and DAILY Maintenance Standards that need to be imposed
and released for public purview with the recommendations required by the radiology professionals so we do not have another CT Scan debacle with large numbers of people fatally dosed by these machines!

LTSO with Answers said...

AngryMiller said...

I'm not talking about being friendly. I am talking about having a professional demeanor. If this is a management problem then why isn't TSA upper level management working on getting this resolved? Your agency is a representative of the US government to many foreigners traveling through the US. It behooves you to operate in a professional manner. Other countries manage to do this while getting the job done. Why can't we do this.


Yes I see what you mean and still agree and stand by what I think is the problem. To me, us as leads and supervisors need to be setting the example and enforcing SOP and policy all day everyday. We need to encourage and be a critic of our officers. That is how you shape officers to be professional. It is hard and professionalism can be seen as an opinion. It varies from one person to the next so it makes it difficult to set and control an image of being professional.

Ryan62 said...

Robert Johnson -
We don't see Al Qaeda attacking India and China? Correct, we don't see that particular branch of radical Islam, but there are certainly terrorist groups trying to kill infidels there. Did you miss the Mumbai attacks? How about the Muslim Uighurs in China? Or even moving to a majority Muslim country, the Bali Night Club bombings in Indonesia.
To argue this is all about the US is laughable in its ignorance of what is going on in the world. Is the United States a large symbolic target? Absolutely, but we are certainly not the only target and it is certainly not all about the US.

Linking to one guy saying "60%" certainly doesn't stand up to the level of scientific accuracy you all seem to expect from TSA. If its good enough for the goose it is certainly good enough for the gander.
Further, yes it won't detect something in a body cavity. It isn't supposed to. My car doesn't fly either, that doesn't mean it doesn't work. Yes, puffers are a great technology, but if TSA were fielding puffers again I am sure we would be hearing all the self proclmaimed experts go on and on about why puffers don't work and how that isn't "the real threat".

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said:
"Images can only be saved in test mode. The machines are not placed in test mode while at the airport. Test mode is used in testing situations at laboratories and testing facilities."

So when these devices fail or need servicing at the airport they will be transported back to the laboratories or testing facilities?

I can bet you that the technician will place the device into test mode at the airport if it needs servicing. It is possible, and probable that screeners will soon learn how to do just that. If screeners think it is all a joke to toss packets of a white powder into people's carry on, then explain why they won't think saving some images won't be as funny. Your agency does not have a good track record when it comes to professionalism.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said: If screeners think it is all a joke to toss packets of a white powder into people's carry on, then explain why they won't think saving some images won't be as funny. April 5, 2010 4:17 PM

---------------------------

I don't want to speculate, so I sent an e-mail asking if there is a maintenance mode in addition to a test mode. I'm pretty sure there is, but I don't want to shoot from the hip and speculate.

As far as your comment about the powder, it was one person (not multiple) and that person was disciplined and they later resigned.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

AngryMiller said...

LTSO said:

Yes I see what you mean and still agree and stand by what I think is the problem. To me, us as leads and supervisors need to be setting the example and enforcing SOP and policy all day everyday. We need to encourage and be a critic of our officers. That is how you shape officers to be professional. It is hard and professionalism can be seen as an opinion. It varies from one person to the next so it makes it difficult to set and control an image of being professional.

----------------------

Wearing an ill fitting, wrinkled uniform is unprofessional. Snapping at the travelers when they don't know the procedures is unprofessional. Being rude to the travelers is unprofessional. Mistreating their belongings is unprofessional. Not knowing the SOP and making up something on the spot is unprofessional.

None of those things I mentioned are incredibly onerous/expensive to fix. Other countries manage to do it so why can't we?

TSOs are an ambassador of the US to foreign travelers. TSOs represent our government. Would you want some of your coworkers representing you to the world?

Anonymous said...

" Is the United States a large symbolic target? Yes."

Far more than that.

The United States is a target because our foreign policy has overthrown lawfully elected governments, backed monstrous dictators and has had a murderous impact on the people of the region.

I know this is a very unpopular truth. I hope the moderator will allow it to be said. This time.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... So when these devices fail or need servicing at the airport they will be transported back to the laboratories or testing facilities? I can bet you that the technician will place the device into test mode at the airport if it needs servicing. It is possible, and probable that screeners will soon learn how to do just that. April 5, 2010 4:17 PM

--------------------------------

Test mode is not utilized by technicians for maintenance. It is only used in lab environments for testing.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anonymous said... So when these devices fail or need servicing at the airport they will be transported back to the laboratories or testing facilities? I can bet you that the technician will place the device into test mode at the airport if it needs servicing. It is possible, and probable that screeners will soon learn how to do just that. April 5, 2010 4:17 PM

--------------------------------

Test mode is not utilized by technicians for maintenance. It is only used in lab environments for testing.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

April 7, 2010 7:56 AM
.....................

Is it your claim that a WBI machine cannot in any way, shape, or form, be placed in TEST MODE if the machine is in an airport?

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,
You still did not answer the question "Can the machine be put into test mode at the airport ?"

Your answer was: " Test mode is not utilized by technicians for maintenance. It is only used in lab environments for testing."

"not utilized" does not say that test mode can't be used at the airport.

Now try again, this time with no spin. Yes or no, can the machine be put into test mode at the airport ?

RB said...

Why has TSA resumed purchases of Backscatter WBI that produce possibly dangerous radiation rather than more MMW WBIers that do not produce radiation?

Are MMW machines not performing well or is it some other reason?

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Ryan62: "We don't see Al Qaeda attacking India and China? Correct, we don't see that particular branch of radical Islam, but there are certainly terrorist groups trying to kill infidels there. Did you miss the Mumbai attacks? How about the Muslim Uighurs in China? Or even moving to a majority Muslim country, the Bali Night Club bombings in Indonesia.
To argue this is all about the US is laughable in its ignorance of what is going on in the world. Is the United States a large symbolic target? Absolutely, but we are certainly not the only target and it is certainly not all about the US."


So let's take a look at how other countries react. London's subway was bombed. Did they go crazy and panic like we did? Nope. Back to normal. What about in Madrid? Did they go crazy? What about in Mumbai?

The Chinese take a particularly hardline against dissidents like the Uighurs, Falun Gong, and so forth. Doesn't seem to be working out too well for them.

Travel outside of the US, Ryan. There is a big difference between traveling inside and to/from the US than traveling elsewhere. Does that mean that the threat magically disappears?

"Linking to one guy saying "60%" certainly doesn't stand up to the level of scientific accuracy you all seem to expect from TSA. If its good enough for the goose it is certainly good enough for the gander."

It's more than TSA has put up. Do you have any evidence to back up their claim of it pretty much being the be-all-end-all that they make it out to be? Do you have any evidence that it's MORE effective than 60%?

"Further, yes it won't detect something in a body cavity. It isn't supposed to. My car doesn't fly either, that doesn't mean it doesn't work."

Your car also isn't being touted as a magic bullet that will solve all your transporation woes like these machines are being touted for curing our security woes either.

I guess once we have a rectum bomber, THEN we'll get to that. It's already been tried against a Saudi prince.

These things are being touted as a panacea to "keep us safe." Problem is that's a way of getting around the system, and does nothing to address that

"Yes, puffers are a great technology, but if TSA were fielding puffers again I am sure we would be hearing all the self proclmaimed experts go on and on about why puffers don't work and how that isn't "the real threat".

Actually, I haven't heard anyone complain about the puffers. Any gripe I've heard about them has come from TSA complaining about maintenance issues.

Even the most vehement haters I've known thought the puffers were a good thing.

Tell me, how the puffers aren't addressing a "real" threat when they're supposed to be detecting explosives? They did it well and weren't invasive. TSA screwed up on the implementation by not testing them in a real world situation. However, instead of going back and fixing something they had already invested in, they decided to go with a new toy, that's much more invasive and can be more "fun" for certain types of people.

And in all likelihood, a puffer would have had a much higher chance of detecting the explosive than the scanner. However, once again, we see TSA tilting at windmills.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Franz Pichler said...
As someone before asked i also want to know:
What steps is TSA taking to ensure every passenger asked to be strip-searched knows he or she can decline the strip-search?
***********************************

theres a sign right next to the machine ((usally on the right for sum reason ))saying u can request a pat down instead...

a big problem in airports that i see ((and i travel airport to airport every week so i pretty much know my way around)) is the people around me just dont seem to be very aware of their surroundings. from the time i check my bags and get my ticket to the time i get thru security i can usually count about 6 different signs that CLEARLY state the liquid rules with size restriction and all yet the first 3 or 4 people in front of me have drinks in their bags. i even heard another passanger telling a TSO that she had no idea how her water got in her bag but she thought "the maid must of have stuck it in my bag before we left the hotel" which was a lie cuz it was half frozen and i saw her drinking it in line and as she was walking off tell the man with her "i knew i just figured they wouldnt see it in the xray" .... seriously...airports are FULL of signs just cuz their small dosnt mean they arent important.....so basically people just be more aware of your surroundings it would save u alotof questions

Kacey Jone said...

What steps is TSA taking to ensure every passenger asked to be strip-searched knows he or she can decline the strip-search?

Lana said...

The real question is this: When you have completely safe mmw, why do you use backscatter at all?

Seriously, no matter how tiny the risk, there is an equivalent technology that is still safer.

Is it lower cost? Does backscatter cost less than mmw?

Anonymous said...

At the Gulfport airport, I was told to step into this box and hold my hands up. I said "What is this?" and was ignored. After I came out, I asked again, and was told it was an x-ray. I assume that this was the body scanner and I felt COMPLETELY VIOLATED. Not only was I not told that I had the right to deny this, but I wasn't even told what it was.

jenny b said...

I appreciate all of the links to medical websites and to the american college of radiology. However as a woman of childbearing years and in my specific case one who is going through IVF trying to get pregnant with my husband, I want to see an article or a statement from the american college of OBGYN. please look into this

Anonymous said...

Bob, you are also assuming that the machines are working properly. There is potential for a malfunction that produces a massive overdose of radiation. It happens in health care. Machines break.

Why won't the TSA let workers wear radiation badges (like all other workers near x-ray machines) to be sure?

Anonymous said...

Bob, please, please comment as to whether muslem women get a "pass" and will only have their heads and neck checked. This is of critical importance to more than 70 of my friends and family. They're watching to see if A) you post it and B) you answer it.

Anonymous said...

I don't see what the argument is no less an authority than the World Health Org. has said this scanner is not safe.

"Pregnant women and children should not be subject to scanning, even though the radiation dose from body scanners is “extremely small,” said the Inter-Agency Committee on Radiation Safety report, which is restricted to the agencies concerned and not meant for public circulation. The group includes the European Commission, International Atomic Energy Agency, Nuclear Energy Agency and the World Health Organization."

In addition to the violation of my personal privacy without any real measurable benefits, the problem is more of a cumulation of unhealthy/dangerous "legally" permissible substances on our bodies over our lifetimes. You're pretty naive if you're not considering cumulative effects.

I'm pregnant and I trust the WHO more than TSA, all I've seen of the TSA are surly, indifferent, and none-too-impressive agents. There are lots of chemicals in our daily lives that aren't bad in small doses but everything adds up. Very young girls now have their periods at 9 or 10 years of age due to the "safe" hormones in your food.

What a waste of gov't funds during a recession. I'm going to opt-out but I'm not feeling optimistic that I will be treated with respect by the TSA agents who handle that request.

Dennis said...

I do not have a problem with the scanning of my body. I understand the need. I do have an objection to being exposed to x-rays. I go through security an estimated 160 times/year.
I have no desire to be part of some grand experiment, only to find out years from now....oops, we were wrong!

Anonymous said...

One of the problems that I see here is that TSA has spent millions to deploy objectionable technology and now are using physical intimidation to coerce the flying public into the machines. Either get virtually naked, or get groped, those are your choices. The “Pat Downs” are designed to be overly invasive, so that the public will accept the machines. The people involved in the sales of the machines may well have been involved in the creation of the pat down policy.

As for airport safety, as I was standing in line to go through security at Mitchell I was looking out through one of the windows. I watched four vehicles drive through the security gate. None of the cars were searched. They drove onto the field with enough enclosed space to put a M2 50cal machine gun on every flight for the day. The same applies at all airports, the passenger side is excessively tight, while the back end is an open door.

Airports need to opt out of the TSA screening and go to private companies. The quality of the screenings will go up, and the number of problems will go down.

Anonymous said...

Whoever posted this is just a mouth-piece.

Their own links contradict each other!

The press releases all agree that the dose is .25 uSv per scan.

"NCRP Statement 10..." states that the acceptable dose is .1 uSv per scan. It also states that (for limited use) a dose of up to 10 uSv may be used per scan. BUT STRONGLY SUGGESTS THAT RECORDS OF PERSONNEL-DOSED AND DOSING-QUANTITY BE KEPT!!!

steve63aruba said...

How often do the screener/gropers change their gloves? I've seen multiple people searched/groped with the same gloves.

So, if the last person they touched had shingles, and I haven't had chicken pox; I now have a change to catch a medical issue that is fatal to 10% of the population.

What will the CDC do when vector zero is a TSA agent?

SemperFi66 said...

If the TSA told me that the sky was blue I would not believe it until I walked outside to check for myself.

No further comment needed.

Anonymous said...

I love how you read so often that this or that is safe even though no actual studies have been conducted. I am pregnant and the same thing happens with prescriptions. The Dr will say that it is safe. Then you ask them what studies have been conducted to prove that they are safe or in what risk category they are in. The response is always the same. Well they cant really do research on the negative effects of a pregnant woman on a CT, Xray, medicine etc. Wow...so you say its safe but no actual research or evidence to justify or prove such a thing. I cant believe that we this is being allowed and justified. I am all for other options however if the pat down is as bad as they are saying it is...I really hope you do an extensive background check on the employees performing these. The first image that comes to mind is some ex-rapist or sexual predator giving the pat down. I hope that things are either changed or that you change your guidelines to at least respect our rights and to show some sort sincerity when dealing with a pregnant or cancer patient. Things add up over time and I am pretty sure if this procedure continues and already at risk patients are asked to go through this you will have problems later down the road. I just pray that when that person does they get justice from an obvious flawed system.

Anonymous said...

8675309, I agree with you completely, hey everyone, can we go to all the bluetooth manufacturing websites and complain about that radiation. Or how about the microwave companies. Do you think the sun has a blog that we can complain to?

By the way, if some corporate guy from Ernst & Young rapes a kid, can we assume all employees from there are also child molestors?


I read an article the other day about how in the 70's, the airlines were all based on trust... was that because only the wealthy elite were able to afford a ticket on an airplane? Today, almost everyone can buy a ticket, and thanks to the American legal system, no person can be disqualified. Soon we'll see a supreme court case of a known terrorist suing an airline for not letting them fly, and the way things are going in this country, he'll probably win.

Look around the world, today in South Korea, the North fired artillery at an island killing 2 soldiers. There is an outbreak of cholera in Haita killing thousands. People in THIS country can't afford health insurance and are dying of treatable diseases and the government is in NO way able to fix the problem because the same government created the problem by making insurance companies private organizations, something other countries won't do because they've seen the inherent problem of doing so.

Bottomline, if someone looking at your naked body for a few seconds without seeing your face on a black-and-white image really disturbs you this much, then why don't YOU come up with a better idea, and after you do that, try to get the majority of the American population to agree with you, and after you do that, make sure you have the scientific background to support your theory... and after you do that, make sure you have enough money to fight off lawsuits, because one day, someone will sue!

Anonymous said...

It is absolutely ludicrous to equate soft radiation with hard cosmic radiation.

Hard (short wave radiation) passes through the tissues of the body with little interaction.

Soft (longer, less energetic radiation) interacts with tissue creating "backscatter" of lower energy. To do this, something has to absorb energy--this can be RNA.

Grentz rays (soft x-radiation in the 1-3 Angstrom range) cause skin cancers--look it up.

And why, in God's name, does this device irradiate the head? What bald man can hide explosives above the neck?

Tell me, in precise terms, what is the effect of this radiation upon the cornea of the eye?

Tell me why a $200,000 device cannot be set to not irradiate the head and eyes?

Will thousands experience corneal cancer or melenoma of the eye, twenty years in the future?

Anonymous said...

Seems like everyone is missing the point that this is unconstitutional which means illegal. Someone said it, what is the real risk of an attack on a commercial plane? Less than the radiation effects. I am not scared of terrorists, if I was, they win -it really is that simple.

Ako said...

When will the TSA be posting unaltered full size, full resolution sample images produced by the latest generation scanners?

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