Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Advanced Imaging Technology - Yes, It's Worth It

There's been a lot of public discussion about TSA's deployment of new screening technology known as AIT. Public discussion and debate is good, and we at TSA have worked hard to inform, educate and adjust our screening protocols in the interests of security, efficiency, safety and privacy. Our FY 2011 budget request includes $573 million to purchase 500 Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units and to operationally staff, operate and maintain 1,000 units, which includes the 500 units we are deploying now. This is indeed an important investment decision and not something we take lightly. We don't take the threats we're facing lightly either.

We've greatly improved TSA's IED detection capabilities in bags through better technology and more rigorous training and testing of our officers. Getting to threats hidden on a body is more difficult, because of the limitations of metal detectors, and patting down everybody that comes through a checkpoint isn't an option anyone likes.

So starting in 2007, we began testing AIT at the Transportation Security Lab and TSA's own operational testing facility to study its capability to detect non-metallic items as well as metallic ones. Based on the success in the labs, we tested the units in the airport environment, where they proved effective in threat detection and they were accepted by passengers as a screening option. The airport testing also looked at throughput, staffing needs, real estate requirements, privacy protections, and reaffirmed all safety requirements were met for the public and our officers. We left no stone unturned.

All the work we have done in the past two years gives me confidence that this technology will significantly increase TSA's detection capability at the checkpoint. Using AIT, our officers are finding things like small packages of powder-based drugs hidden on the body. When I say small, I mean that one packet was smaller than a thumb print. We have also found small weapons made of composite, non-metallic materials.

Based on the intelligence reporting we see every day, this technology is absolutely essential to address the threat we see today. It can also be upgraded over time, either as the threats change or as the industry improves the threat detection software.

With our first 1,000 units we will be able to use AIT to screen over 60% of all air passengers each day. We take our responsibility to protect each and every traveler very seriously. We have used lessons learned from the past, and we deployed this technology only after we were fully confident it would work in an operational environment and after our acquisition process had undergone extensive reviews and approvals by DHS' Acquisition Review Board.

Which brings me back to the cost. At about 1.8 million passengers going through checkpoint screening a day - 650 million passengers a year - the annualized, full cost of purchasing, installing, staffing, operating, supporting, upgrading, and maintaining the first 1,000 units of this technology is about $1 per trip through the checkpoint.

Is it worth a dollar per passenger in the short term for increased long term security? You bet it is.

Gale Rossides
Acting Administrator

220 comments:

1 – 200 of 220   Newer›   Newest»
Earl Pitts said...

Translation: it's worth it because we say it is.

Earl

Travisina said...

This is a load of crap. Another way to invade our privacy....this would not have stopped the underwear or the shoe guy.

Anonymous said...

"Using AIT, our officers are finding things like small packages of powder-based drugs hidden on the body"

Why is TSA searching for drugs?

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. Not ONE question that people have raised about (WBI) AIT was answered. e.g. why backscatter and not MMW?, and (the big one) Why the name change?

Anonymous said...

Gale, does these AITs detect explosives? No? Then you've just bought a pig in a poke. Thank you for wasting both taxpayer's time (increased screening times) and money for an insignificant improvement in airport security.

Jim Huggins said...

Not that anyone will answer this, but I'll try anyways ...

So, AIT is going to be used in order to (try to) ensure that passengers don't bring threats aboard an aircraft. Certainly seems like a noble goal.

So, if you manage to achieve this goal, does that mean that ID checks can go away? After all, what's the harm in letting someone aboard the aircraft if you've verified that they aren't carrying anything dangerous?

FriendlySkies said...

"Translation: it's worth it because we say it is.

Earl"

+11111111111111111111111111111111111


By the way, we still don't have an accurate image from the device. What is TSA afraid of? Show us the real image that the screener can see in the "imaging room"

Anonymous said...

Also a new definition of Irony is that the supervisors badge is turned around so it cant be seen. Its amazing how often this is done when TSA does something wrong so that they cant be identified for a complaint. maybe travelers need to start taking pictures of the offender to affix to the complaint so there no way of denying they were there.

Anonymous said...

NO IT ISN'T WORTH IT.

Anonymous said...

Didn't know that drugs were part of the administrative search for WEAPONS, EXPLOSIVES, and INCENDIARIES authorized by Congress. Care to elaborate Gale?

Would you explain how you can expand the search parameters into areas not covered under the Patriot Act? Are you not in contempt of Congress when you do things like this?

avxo said...

We've heard time and time again that the TSOs looking at the screen don't know who's going through the machine, which is somehow protects our privacy and/or dignity by ensuring anonymity.

And yet, I notice that the TSO looking at the screen has a fancy headset... Can he communicate with TSOs outside his "office" and on the screening line? Is that communication one-way or two-way and what is the purpose?

philr said...

On the other hand, we also now have published policies on how the TSA will inspect your monkey.

Anonymous said...

Would an AIT scan have detected the explosives in the underwear of the Christmas bomber?

Anonymous said...

Does the TSA have any official comment about the over 600 complaints filed in 2009 regarding AIT? The complaints demonstrate how the TSA directed passengers through the machines without the screener explaining the technology or being made aware of the pat down option, also many check points had absolutely no signage or sample images posted.

Anonymous said...

Based on the intelligence reporting we see every day, this technology is absolutely essential to address the threat we see today. It can also be upgraded over time, either as the threats change or as the industry improves the threat detection software.
----------------------------------

By upgraded over time does the TSA mean privacy protections removed and x-ray radiation output increased essentially to perform a body cavity search? Please elaborate on the above statement.

Anonymous said...

As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website?

Anonymous said...

1. "Using AIT, our officers are finding things like small packages of powder-based drugs hidden on the body. When I say small, I mean that one packet was smaller than a thumb print."

And you don't understand why some of us are outraged at the thought of government agents seeing naked images of our bodies (and our children's bodies) that provide such levels of detail? Also, does this indicate that any "shadow" on the image, even one as small as a thumb print, justifies further searching? Is the TSA aware of any feasible weapons-delivery system that can be contained in a package that is smaller than a thumbprint? If a TSA agent detects a small, irregular spot near my scrotum, will I be required to drop my trousers to resolve the alarm?

2. "Which brings me back to the cost. At about 1.8 million passengers going through checkpoint screening a day - 650 million passengers a year - the annualized, full cost of purchasing, installing, staffing, operating, supporting, upgrading, and maintaining the first 1,000 units of this technology is about $1 per trip through the checkpoint."

Your attempt to make over half a billion dollars seem like an insignificant amount of money is amusing, though hardly convincing. Yes, we could visualize this expenditure as each passenger forking out a buck as they pass through screening. It would probably be more meaningful, however, to compare this expenditure with alternative uses of this money. How many at-risk youth could we send to college with $573 million dollars? How many desperately-needed medical clinics could we establish in rural America? How many defibrillators could we put in public places? All of these measures might actually save lives. Don't try to make me think that half a billion dollars is chump change.

3. "Is it worth a dollar per passenger in the short term for increased long term security? You bet it is."

Oh, well, there you have it. Problem solved.. Is it worth it? You bet it is! Seriously, what is the point of this post? We already know that the TSA thinks the expenditure is worth it. Why don't you provide us with any evidence for why we should agree? The fact of the matter is that any serious analysis of the question would begin with the recognition that terrorist attacks on passenger airplanes pose a statistically insignificant risk to the lives of even the most frequent air travelers. Therefore, any additional measures-- even those that substantially reduce the probability of an incident-- are only making an insignificant risk marginally less significant. Is it really worth half a billion dollars (not to mention the violation of our dignity) to marginally reduce an insignificant risk?

Lastly, I'm somewhat surprised that you haven't yet addressed the Moscow attacks. Maybe the reason for your silence is the clear fact that such attacks cannot be prevented. Any public location with a large number of people is a potential terrorist target. If the public actually grasped this reality then it might be a lot harder for you to sell your constant absurd efforts to make one particular means of travel (aviation) absolutely secure. For what it's worth, I've traversed the Lubyanka and Park Kultury metro stations many, many times, and will again in the future. I'm a lot less concerned about the small possibility of a terrorist attack than I am with the implications of a government that claims the right to look at my children's genitals.

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "and once again TSA violates the freedom of speech by blocking comments that aren't pro-TSA and questions there authoriti."

I don't know about that. I've read a whole lot of comments on here that aren't pro-TSA and question their authority. And I've personally posted some very critical comments on here and all have been approved.

No doubt that some comments aren't approved, but I don't think that is because they challenge the TSA's authority. That's not to say it's impossible. Only to say that the evidence doesn't seem to support your premise.

Besides, any such challenges to the TSA's authority made on this blog are by and large meaningless and at best symbolic.

Anonymous said...

Bob, since you are unable/unwilling to answer many of the questions posted over here, why does TSA even bother to have a blog?

Anonymous said...

Gale, why has TSA refused to post an example of the images these machines generate at the same size and resolution seen by its operator?

Are you aware of the GAO report that indicates these machines would have had, at best, a 60% chance of detecting the style of explosive the underwear bomber tried to use?

How many people have received invasive secondary searches because these machines detected harmless and private medical devices?

What is the protocol when these machines detect a prosthetic breast, a penile implant, or adult diaper?

I don't think you comprehend the utter lack of confidence Americans have in your agency to tell the truth and do the right thing. Given how often TSA misleads us and abuses passengers, why should we trust a single thing you tell us about these machines?

Anonymous said...

"Using AIT, our officers are finding things like small packages of powder-based drugs hidden on the body."

So what? Your job is not to look for drugs, and drugs cannot harm and aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Gale, since you're here, could you tell us how many countries require every air passenger to remove their shoes for X-ray? Bob's been asked this question many, many times and has never, ever answered. Perhaps you could be a bit more forthcoming than he has.

Anonymous said...

Gale, if these images are so innocuous please post one of yourself. I won't hold my breath.

Ranger11 said...

Finding a small package on a person with AIT requires a search to clear the package. In the course of the search to clear the package it turns out to be illegal drugs, What should TSA do?
As Federal Employees TSA Officers may call for LEO assistance in the event that unknown items are discovered. In any event at the checkpoint, an LEO can/will intervene when there is something unknown, regardless of the suspicion as to what it is. That is the job they have. So, if you have something that TSA cannot identify, and it turns out to be illegal drugs, expect to see a LEO at some point.
The LEO intervenes, and then does what they feel is best. Sometimes it's arrest, sometimes it's a citation, sometimes it's a warning. TSA does none of these tasks. We only refer these situations to the LEO. Is it legal to travel with illegal drugs? Sounds like a stiupid question doesn't it? TSA does not search for drugs of any kind. If you carry something on your person or in your bags, TSA will probably see it. If they cannnot identify it, then it is highly likely that a LEO will see it. See how it works?

Jim Huggins said...

So if the cost of this enhanced screening is $1 per passenger, is an increase in the security fee in our near future in order to pay for this?

Anonymous said...

If the images generated are not invasive, why can't I see my own whole body scan images?

Prank Call of Cthulhu said...

Yup, all it costs is $1 per trip. And your dignity. And your privacy, too. And your right to be free of warrantless search.

But mostly just $1.

Anonymous said...

@philr: By interesting coincidence I refer to my genitals as my "service monkey" so the fact that the TSA is inspecting them is relevant to my interests.

Anonymous said...

I have a relative who is a breast cancer survivor and wears a prosthetic. She went through one of these once, not knowing what it did. She told me she was still in it with her arms up like a criminal when an officer 3 feet away loudly asked her about her prosthetic. She had to answer from where she was, in front of a crowd.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the search ended there. There was no further action taken. That means there was no effort made to differentiate a prosthetic breast from, say, an explosive item which would have a similar image.

How is something that invades our privacy and does not add to security worth it??

Anonymous said...

"Using AIT, our officers are finding things like small packages of powder-based drugs hidden on the body"

---

Gale, are you admitting that the TSA is searching its passengers for drugs at the checkpoint, which is a violation of the 4th Amendment? I want to be clear here.

Anonymous said...

So Gayle, has your PR braintrust decided that Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) is more palatable to a privacy-sensitive public than Whole Body Imaging (WBI)? I find that amusing. Personally, I'll stick with Virtual Strip Search; it's more accurate.

Tell me, can the virtual strip search detect a tampon or see a breast implant? If no, then it fails to detect the threat TSA claims to be concerned about. If yes, then the technology is too intrusive. How do you plan to resolve alarms on adult diapers, feminine hygiene products, mastectomy bras, medical devices, etc.?

My desire to travel by air is neither probable cause nor even reasonable suspicion that I have or intend to commit a crime. Therefore I should not be strip searched and treated like a criminal.

Oh, and as Acting Administrator, it's easy for you to support this thing, because you won't be the one dragged into court and in front of Congress in a decade or so when someone concludes that virtual strip searches cause cataracts, damage skin DNA, increase cancer risk, or create some other health problem. Are you prepared to be held personally responsible if/when that happens?

Do you know that reputable medical experts and scientists consider that there is no safe dose of ionizing radiation, and that exposure should be minimized while taking into account personal health needs? I don't need to be exposed to x-rays to know that I'm not a terrorist; so there's no benefit to me in going through one of your virtual strip searches.

Are you prepared to tell the public that TSA will never require passengers to submit to a virtual search in order to travel by commercial aircraft? If so, what penalty/compensation are you prepared to pay when that is proven to be a lie?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Still no word from the "procedures" people as to if passengers with medical devices attached to their body such as insulin pumps, either declared or discovered by virtual strip search, are subjected to 100% bag dump searches? You said you asked the "procedures" department on March 17.

Or have you and your PR people decided that the answer is too embarrassing, or SSI, or some other lame excuse?

Andrew said...

Is this an official admission of TSA violating its own charter by looking for drugs and other non weapons/explosives/incendiary materials?

Anonymous said...

I believe the majority public support with these machines is due to lack of knowledge on the real images it can display, and how dangerous it can be if these images are compromised. If a malicious employee decides to take pictures (smuggling a camera) or saves the images (by hacking the machine to allow it to save), then these images can be transferred and shared. It is very possible that this will happen.

In addition, even though these machines are quite effective in detecting contraband, I would not be surprised if a malicious passenger is finding a way to "beat the machines". If he/she can do, then these machines can be rendered as useless (especially if a terrorist attack is successfully executed).

Finally, these should only be used to detect devices that would compromise the security and safety of the airplanes. Not sure if searching for drugs, money, other contraband that does not affect the security of airplanes and passengers would be in the legal jurisdiction (correct term?) of the TSA.

Just my 2 cents.

Anonymous said...

Any comment on this simple low-tech invasion of privacy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner

Ayn R. Key said...

But is using X-Rays instead of Millimeter Waves worth it?

Is putting passengers at risk for cancer simply to line Chertoff's pockets worth it?

But supposing you actually do the right thing (ha ha ha) and switch back to mmw, is trashing the constitution worth it?

The TSA thinks the answer to those questions is "yes". Doctors think the answer to the first two is "no" and patriots think the answer to the third is "no".

Ron Pelton said...

The FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security, which was doing its job just fine until is became the TSA, published an internal report in the late 1990s stating that the biggest roadblock to deploying virtual strip search machines (Yes, Gale, they existed back then) was public acceptance. The report stated that the government needed to use any means possible to negate or ignore the certain public outrage over this intrusive technology. You obviously have read this report.

Gale, your feeble and thinly-veiled attempt to ram these strip search machines down our throats is pathetic and disgusting.

The ACLU, EPIC, and brave private citizens are confronting you head-on and I applaud them, as should all freedom-loving Americans.

Gale, we the people will use every means at our disposal to stop deployment of these virtual strip search machines. We will not allow ourselves to be electronically strip-searched or frisked like common criminals for the daring act of buying an airplane ticket.

We will not allow your screeners, such as the one pictured above, from viewing us or our children naked - period.

Gale, what part of "this is unacceptable" don't you understand?

TSO Colyn said...

Howdy folx!!

Glad to see you guys posting in the comments! Thanks for helping to make the TSA Blog a success and raising some interesting questions. I'd like to tackle a few of them...

We officers do not search for drugs, we search for explosives, IED components, and other threats. The techniques used to smuggle explosives are the same techniques used to smuggle drugs. So it's inherent that we'll uncover drugs as we go about our mission.

When we uncover narcotics (yes, I've personally discovered narcotics) we are ethically required to refer the situation to local police. I say ethically for a couple reasons, the first of which is our oath of office. The second is that we cannot pick and choose which law violations are "worse" than others, as all illegal activity is, well, illegal. If I discovered a human head in someones bag, should we simply let that person go? Any rational person would say "no". So, if I have to turn in the murderer, I'm ethically required to turn in the drug dealer.

Travisina is right about one thing, the AIT devices will not stop a shoe bomber... This is why all shoes must be x-rayed, thank you for helping to illustrate the need to x-ray all shoes!!! However, the AIT will help to detect the underwear guy... I boldly make this claim because I was tested will working on the AIT at my base airport just a few days ago. Tho this may shock some of you, I passed the test (meaning I detected the threat).

As to the other questions, myself and others have answered them over, and over, and over, and over... So if your serious about finding the answers, I suggest you read the rest of the TSA Blog.

To all of you I wish safe travels and healthy living!

Charles Goody said...

You bloggers need to get a life. Are you serious with this stuff you write. Grow up and move in to the 21st century. Giving up your rights, privacy. Are you kidding me? You haven't given up anything. I also like the "Anonymous" signing. Arguing about censoring and you censor yourself. Oh I get it, if you give your name the TSA or another Gov't nagency will track you and persecute you too.
Good thinking.....

Marshall's SO said...

How many things have got through undetected? You'll never know that now, will you? ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's worth it? I think "it" needs defined.

If you come out and say that it is personal liberty, then you can actually start this conversation.

Adrian said...

Whole Body Imaging is a waste of money.

Fact: By the TSA's own numbers, at least 21% of passengers refused this invasive procedure.

Fact: The Christmas bomber failed, miserably, and WBI probably would not have detected his bomb anyway.

Fact: WBI detects private medical details, like breast reconstruction surgery for cancer survivors, and subjects them to additional scrutiny. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/06/my-left-breast-put-fancy-tsa-scanner-to-the-test/

Fact: Even screeners feel traumatized by the invasion of privacy when viewed by coworkers via the WBI machines. "I can't bear to think about the body scanner thing," she told the Sun. "I'm totally traumatised. I've spoken to the police about it. I'm in too much of a state to go to work."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner

Fact: Searching for drugs and other contraband is outside the TSA's limited "administrative search" exemption to the fourth amendment. A fingerprint-sized packet of *anything* is not a threat to an airplane, it should not have been subjected to further scrutiny.

Fact: The TSA has not explained what steps will be taken to prevent screeners in the private booth from photographing the screen. (See previous link.)

Fact: If you're not going to use them on every lane in every airport (which would be far too expensive), then it's going to remain trivial to cherry-pick entry points that don't have them. Even if you had them on every lane, passengers can still opt for a pat-down instead. So this is a huge expenditure of money to build a wall that you can simply walk around.

Fact: It's not illegal to carry a non-banned item under your clothes, but now those will be subjected to further privacy-invading scrutiny.

Fact: The assurances that the x-ray based WBI imagers are unconvincing, as they compare the intensity to ambient radiation. But there is a big difference between focused and directed x-rays as some of the WBI machines use and ambient x-rays. You can look directly at a 100 Watt light bulb, but I wouldn't recommend looking directly at a 100 Watt laser.

rosemary Blair said...

One thing I dislike.
Is how the reporters try to challenge the AIT by sneaking Items through the machine.

Anonymous said...

avxo said...
"And yet, I notice that the TSO looking at the screen has a fancy headset... Can he communicate with TSOs outside his "office" and on the screening line? Is that communication one-way or two-way and what is the purpose?"

Well, he needs some way to communicate to the machine operator that the individual is either "clear" or needs further screening. And I would imagine that he would need to give specific details to the TSO at the machine regarding the item / area in question such as where it is, what it looks like, etc. This is likely 2-way communication between only the person viewing the image and the one at the machine.

Anonymous said...

To TSO Colyn
You stated that you are ethical required to turn over illegal activities to LEO. Does this only apply to passengers, or also to fellow TSA personnel?

I also noticed your reference to your oath of office which requires a standard of conduct. Do you report fellow TSA personnel when you see them violate their oaths?

How many violations have you witnessed from fellow TSA personnel, and how many of those did you report?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

Well, he needs some way to communicate to the machine operator that the individual is either "clear" or needs further screening. And I would imagine that he would need to give specific details to the TSO at the machine regarding the item / area in question such as where it is, what it looks like, etc. This is likely 2-way communication between only the person viewing the image and the one at the machine.

This looks like one of the whisper communication devices issued to TSOs. He's probably in communication with anyone within radio range and could, if he wanted to, comment on what he sees on the display. Would he? Don't know since the level of professionalism at TSA is spotty at best. Just make the assumption that someone could be making derogatory comments in relationship to comments by other TSOs at the checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

TSO Colyn said...
Howdy folx!!

Glad to see you guys posting in the comments! Thanks for helping to make the TSA Blog a success and raising some interesting questions. I'd like to tackle a few of them...

We officers do not search for drugs, we search for explosives, IED components, and other threats. The techniques used to smuggle explosives are the same techniques used to smuggle drugs. So it's inherent that we'll uncover drugs as we go about our mission.

When we uncover narcotics (yes, I've personally discovered narcotics) we are ethically required to refer the situation to local police.
...........
Could you tell us just what training TSA provided that enables you to determine is something is a drug?

Thanks.

Bubba said...

I have a relative who is a breast cancer survivor and wears a prosthetic. She went through one of these once, not knowing what it did. She told me she was still in it with her arms up like a criminal when an officer 3 feet away loudly asked her about her prosthetic. She had to answer from where she was, in front of a crowd.

As if that wasn't bad enough, the search ended there. There was no further action taken. That means there was no effort made to differentiate a prosthetic breast from, say, an explosive item which would have a similar image.

How is something that invades our privacy and does not add to security worth it??

_______________________

A nicely explained exposure of security theater, one breast at a time.

Al Ames said...

The extra dollar per person, Gale, would also only apply if EVERYONE was screened thru the Nude-O-Scope. Are you trying to tell us that the Nude-O-Scope is going to become the primary method and mandatory?

Al

Anonymous said...

"The techniques used to smuggle explosives are the same techniques used to smuggle drugs. So it's inherent that we'll uncover drugs as we go about our mission."
-----------------------------------------

Please tell me what kind of explosives can fit into a packet that is smaller than a thumb nail.

Anonymous said...

"When we uncover narcotics (yes, I've personally discovered narcotics) we are ethically required to refer the situation to local police."
--------------------------------------

What "ethical" obligation could possibly require you to refer a thumb-nail sized packet to law enforcement? Surely the screener knew that this was not an explosive, and surely the screener did not know that the packet contained drugs. Are we to believe that you are ethically obligated (or legally permitted) to call in law enforcement every time you see a small package that might possibly contain something illegal?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - ""Using AIT, our officers are finding things like small packages of powder-based drugs hidden on the body"

Why is TSA searching for drugs?"

TSA does not search for drugs. If drugs are found during the screening procedures, LEO is notified. The point being made was that something the size of a thumbprint was noticed and located based on this technology.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Earl Pitts sez - "Translation: it's worth it because we say it is.

Earl"

It's worth it because it boils down to a cost ratio of $1 per trip through the checkpoint to give the additional ability to detect non metallic (as well as metallic) threats. I would fork over a buck to increase the detection capability to include non metallic threat items.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Travisina sez - "This is a load of crap. Another way to invade our privacy....this would not have stopped the underwear or the shoe guy."

The shoe guy would be caught via other screening methods. There is a much better chance the "underwear guy" would have been caught with this, than with a WTMD.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Very interesting. Not ONE question that people have raised about (WBI) AIT was answered. e.g. why backscatter and not MMW?, and (the big one) Why the name change?"

I have nothing on the choice of system, but the name change is probably been upgraded to give a cover all name for the same basic technologies (and any subsequent tech that works the same). There are some machines being developed that focus only on shoes/feet, that work on the same basic technology. Based on that, I would venture to say that WBI would not cover all of the same technology types (there could be further advancements similar to the cast scope that is out there as well). Hence the "catchall" of AIT (at leasdt that is my thoughts on it).

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Jim Huggins sez - "So, AIT is going to be used in order to (try to) ensure that passengers don't bring threats aboard an aircraft. Certainly seems like a noble goal.

So, if you manage to achieve this goal, does that mean that ID checks can go away? After all, what's the harm in letting someone aboard the aircraft if you've verified that they aren't carrying anything dangerous?"

I will agree it is a noble goal. I will also venture that ID check is probably not going anywhere for a bit. It still forces "bad guys" to either find another travel method, or use an ID that is fake, modified, or just a shade different - by doing that, the agency forces them to expose themselves to LEO sources (fake ID rings and specialists are raided often and sometimes give up passenger lists, and some other intel). It is a low possibility statistically, but it is still the off chance that one of them may get caught. It also helps to make sure that the person on the boarding pass matches the ID of the person bearing it. I know it is not a 100% system, and some of the loopholes are there to be taken advantage of, but it is better than nothing. With the integration of Secure Flight there could be some other programs that help and/or change this process.

West
TSA Blog Team

Sandra said...

Rosemary Blair wrote:

"One thing I dislike.
Is how the reporters try to challenge the AIT by sneaking Items through the machine."

Why would you dislike that, Rosemary? Don't you want to know that the machine is not as "all seeing" as TSA wants you to believe?

GSOLTSO said...

avxo sez - "We've heard time and time again that the TSOs looking at the screen don't know who's going through the machine, which is somehow protects our privacy and/or dignity by ensuring anonymity.

And yet, I notice that the TSO looking at the screen has a fancy headset... Can he communicate with TSOs outside his "office" and on the screening line? Is that communication one-way or two-way and what is the purpose?"

I believe I have heard that the communication is between the person at the scanner and the person doing the viewing. I also believe this is 2 way, so the person in the booth can relay that either the person is clear, or that the person has anomalies that must be cleared further - it also allows the person at the scanner to notify the person in the booth when nthe incoming passenger is situated to being the screening.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "and once again TSA violates the freedom of speech by blocking comments that aren't pro-TSA and questions there authoriti.


I think its about time to start a website for people to post there comments where there first amendment rights are being suppressed."

Obviously you have been reading a different blog than this one. I read several comments that are in opposition to the parent agency, the policies and the actual TSA employees that post here. Perhaps you violated one of the posted rules and as such had the sme thing happen that happens when I violate them - post rejected.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Still no answer on these questions:

What date or year are the TSA provided AIT sample images from?

Are the TSA provided AIT sample images degraded in any way and taken with the newest generation scanners?

I won't hold my breathe waiting for a response but I will keep asking until they are answered.

And NO TSO Colyn I will not dig thru previous posts looking for the answers. Please answer them again and I will stop asking.......sorry to put you out.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Would an AIT scan have detected the explosives in the underwear of the Christmas bomber?"

I have no video or other proof of it, but I believe it would have caught him much quicker than a WTMD would have. I would also venture that if they can see something the size of a fingerprint, they could probably detect stuffed undies.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Does the TSA have any official comment about the over 600 complaints filed in 2009 regarding AIT? The complaints demonstrate how the TSA directed passengers through the machines without the screener explaining the technology or being made aware of the pat down option, also many check points had absolutely no signage or sample images posted."

I have not seen a published response to the complaints, but if there are litigations of some sort with any of them, the company line (rightly so) has been we refuse to comment on ongoing litigations or inspections.

If you see any AIT that do not have the signage up in front of the machine, please use the following complaint form to notify TSA HQ:

https://contact.tsa.dhs.gov/DynaForm.aspx?FormID=10

All AIT machines are suppsoed to have notification signage, if you notice that it is not up, help us to correct that by using the form above. Thanks for your cooperation, without us knowing that something is wrong, we can't fix it!

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Gale, are you admitting that the TSA is searching its passengers for drugs at the checkpoint, which is a violation of the 4th Amendment? I want to be clear here."

We do not search for drugs, however if drugs are found during the screneing process, we report it to a LEO, and they handle it from there.

West
TSA Blog Team

tutone said...

"As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website?"

When will 'actual' sample images with full resolution be released to the public? Hopefully the answer is NEVER as it would violate 49 CFR 1520.5.

GSOLTSO said...

Andrew sez - "Is this an official admission of TSA violating its own charter by looking for drugs and other non weapons/explosives/incendiary materials?"

This is an official admission that if drugs are found during the screening process, we will do what we have always done, refer it to an LEO for further processing. We do not search for drugs, however, if they are found while trying to clear a passenger - LEO referral.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Any comment on this simple low-tech invasion of privacy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner"

TSA does not operate in Heathrow airport.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Questions with Adrian part 2 _

True, the AIT can detect medical implements and equipment.

Fact - the screener you refer to is in the UK (Heathrow airport to be more exact), and had just been harrassed by a coworker in a lewd (and very loud) way. This is a bit of a different situation than the thousands of folks that go through with no incident every day (I think the coworker should be canned btw).

Fact - many items that can be a part of an explosive device are smaller than a fingerprint.

Fact - we do not search for drugs, if they are found during the screening process we refer them to the LEO on scene.

Fact - I got nothing on the steps being taken, I have seen that stringent protocols are in place and privacy is of the utmost concern, but I have no specific steps for you. Sorry :(

Fact - Anyone refusing to use to AIT, will undergo alternate screening methods.

You are correct, it is not illegal to carry non prohibited items under the clothing, but it is illegal to carry certain prohibited items under the clothing, and the AIT gives us a much better chance to catch those items.

We partnered with many independent and Gov groups to research the health effects by the machines we are using. There is this post that details many of the tests and information we have gathered here:
http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2010/03/advanced-imaging-technology-radiation.html

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Adrian sez part 1 - "Whole Body Imaging is a waste of money.

Fact: By the TSA's own numbers, at least 21% of passengers refused this invasive procedure.

Fact: The Christmas bomber failed, miserably, and WBI probably would not have detected his bomb anyway.

Fact: WBI detects private medical details, like breast reconstruction surgery for cancer survivors, and subjects them to additional scrutiny. http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/02/06/my-left-breast-put-fancy-tsa-scanner-to-the-test/

Fact: Even screeners feel traumatized by the invasion of privacy when viewed by coworkers via the WBI machines. "I can't bear to think about the body scanner thing," she told the Sun. "I'm totally traumatised. I've spoken to the police about it. I'm in too much of a state to go to work."
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner

Fact: Searching for drugs and other contraband is outside the TSA's limited "administrative search" exemption to the fourth amendment. A fingerprint-sized packet of *anything* is not a threat to an airplane, it should not have been subjected to further scrutiny.

Fact: The TSA has not explained what steps will be taken to prevent screeners in the private booth from photographing the screen. (See previous link.)

Fact: If you're not going to use them on every lane in every airport (which would be far too expensive), then it's going to remain trivial to cherry-pick entry points that don't have them. Even if you had them on every lane, passengers can still opt for a pat-down instead. So this is a huge expenditure of money to build a wall that you can simply walk around.

Fact: It's not illegal to carry a non-banned item under your clothes, but now those will be subjected to further privacy-invading scrutiny.

Fact: The assurances that the x-ray based WBI imagers are unconvincing, as they compare the intensity to ambient radiation. But there is a big difference between focused and directed x-rays as some of the WBI machines use and ambient x-rays. You can look directly at a 100 Watt light bulb, but I wouldn't recommend looking directly at a 100 Watt laser."

The flip side of that statement is 79% of the passsengers didn't refuse the screening, and the 21% that did, were screened using alternate methods. I would also venture that a percentage of the folks electing not to use the AIT were unable to do so as well.

Fact - You don't know if the AIT would have caught the undie bomber.
Anything else is supposition on your part. Even the only info I have seen on the tsting indicated a 60% chance of catching it with AIT, where ayou have a 0% chance of catching it with just a WTMD.

Continued in part 2!

West
TSA Blog Team

David Parker Brown said...

Hello TSA!

I really appreciate you guys have a blog and keep the public informed. I recently posted a blog being pretty critical of the body scanners (http://blog.seattlepi.com/airlinereporter/archives/200056.asp).

Two things I see missing from this post: #1 Passengers have the ability to choose to avoid the scanners and have a pat-down. What good is amazing technology if it can be avoided? #2 What is being down to avoid privacy violations (besides being in a private room and banning taking pics) so more won't happen?

Thanks for your time, I am strongly for increasing security for the airlines.

David
AirlineReporter.com
david@airlinereporter.com

Sam said...

If this is so essential, how did civilization survive for so long without it?

Mr. Gel-pack said...

"Is it worth a dollar per passenger in the short term for increased long term security? You bet it is."

Don't the armored cockpit doors, the situationally-aware crew and passengers, and the law enforcement and intelligence operatives objectively do a far better job of actually stopping terrorists than TSA? IOW, how many terrorists has the TSA caught?

Instead of dumping another half-billion into the TSA security theatre, it would be far more "worth it" to give the money to our proven security enhancers like the FBI.

As for gambling, I'd bet on the passengers, the emergency responders, and actual investigators before I'd bet on the blueshirt (redshirt) security officers.

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
“What "ethical" obligation could possibly require you to refer a thumb-nail sized packet to law enforcement? Surely the screener knew that this was not an explosive, and surely the screener did not know that the packet contained drugs. Are we to believe that you are ethically obligated (or legally permitted) to call in law enforcement every time you see a small package that might possibly contain something illegal?”

“A number of readers have raised questions about TSA's legal authority to make a referral to other law enforcement entities when evidence of a crime unrelated to aviation security is discovered during the screening process. This post explains that Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are required to make such referrals. TSO referrals...” Read more

Tim
TSA Blog Team

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
“Any comment on this simple low-tech invasion of privacy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner”

“It wasn't TSA. This unfortunate incident occurred in the UK. TSA does not screen in the UK.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team”

Copy and paste :)

Tim
TSA Blog Team

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
“Also a new definition of Irony is that the supervisors badge is turned around so it cant be seen. Its amazing how often this is done when TSA does something wrong so that they cant be identified for a complaint. maybe travelers need to start taking pictures of the offender to affix to the complaint so there no way of denying they were there.”

Besides the displayed SIDA badge that can spin around, Transportation Security Officers (TSO’s, LTSO’s, and STSO’s) wear name tags on their right breast pocket that cannot be turned around.

What’s that I hear? You want to learn more about the TSA uniform?

Learn What’s Behind The Uniform

Tim
TSA Blog Team

TSORon said...

An Anonymous poster asked ….
Could you tell us just what training TSA provided that enables you to determine is something is a drug?

Thanks.
--------------------------------
TSA does not provide us with that kind of training, which is why we will ask a LEO to intervene. They get to make those kinds of determinations. I hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations TSA! You have spent $500 million to force terrorists to begin their flight at any one of the hundreds of small airports that do not, and probably never will, have these strip search machines. Way to go!

RB said...

TSORon said...
An Anonymous poster asked ….
Could you tell us just what training TSA provided that enables you to determine is something is a drug?

Thanks.
--------------------------------
TSA does not provide us with that kind of training, which is why we will ask a LEO to intervene. They get to make those kinds of determinations. I hope that helps!

April 2, 2010 7:06 AM
................
Then what could possibly make a TSA employee think something is a drug instead of a completely harmless item?

You have already admitted you have no training in this area so to suspect something is a drug is just an attempt to do things not in TSA's charter.

Anonymous said...

Tim/West (and Bob, for that matter):

Ann R. Key has asked for a comment about the UK incident a couple of times, and every time the response is "TSA doesn't operate in the UK". Yes, we know that (or we *should* know that). I believe what Ann R. Key is asking for is a comment on the fact that the BAA (like the TSA) has claimed that pictures cannot be stored or printed, all operators are trained to take your privacy in to account, everything is perfectly safe, nobody is salivating to look at your genitals, etc, etc, etc - while concerned citizens are saying that people will be people and find a way... and they have, in the UK. What sort of assurances can the TSA give us, different from or in excess to the assurances the BAA has given to the British people (preferably with something more substantial than "We pinky swear nothing bad will happen"), that our privacy will be protected? Or, barring that, is the TSA willing to acknowledge that abuses will happen and there will be measures put in place to discourage such abuses, perhaps leading to termination if such abuses happen? Will the TSA even acknowledge that abuses can happen?

GSOLTSO said...

GSOLTSO sez - "The shoe guy would be caught via other screening methods. There is a much better chance the "underwear guy" would have been caught with this, than with a WTMD."

I need to modify this to read "The shoe guy could have been caught by other screening methods (with the way his particular device was made, it would stnad out quite well on the xray)" Instead of WOULD have been caught, nothing is 100% guaranteed to work everytime.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"Advanced Imaging Technology - Yes, It's Worth It"

It what terms is it worth it?

1. Risking unsuspecting people with potentially cancer causing radiation?
2. Humiliating people with medical devices?
3. Viewing minors that virtually strips them?
4. Trampling even more freedoms and rights of citizens?
5. Focusing on a very small and limited way of getting prohibited items into the sterile area.

I guess if you tell people the same lies over and over again, they may soon come to believe them.

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB said...
TSORon said...
An Anonymous poster asked ….
Could you tell us just what training TSA provided that enables you to determine is something is a drug?

Thanks.
--------------------------------
TSA does not provide us with that kind of training, which is why we will ask a LEO to intervene. They get to make those kinds of determinations. I hope that helps!

April 2, 2010 7:06 AM
................
Then what could possibly make a TSA employee think something is a drug instead of a completely harmless item?

You have already admitted you have no training in this area so to suspect something is a drug is just an attempt to do things not in TSA's charter.

April 2, 2010 10:15 AM
------------

1. behavioral detection

2. common sense

3. White powder can be many things, tatp, petn, cocaine, sugar, whatever it is its up to the leo to find out what it is we just find it.

Heroine looks like a block of clay, c4 looks like a block of clay, the only drug that doesn't resemble possible explosives is marijuana but most passengers don't walk around with a quart size baggy of oregano stuffed inside of a plastic toy truck for safe keeping, once again common sense. Also usually when an officer (yes even a TSA officer) pulls out your bag of what you know is drugs, your gonna get nervous and start sweating and when asked about it your general nervous response will be "uhhhhh.....". We aren't trained to find drugs but we are trained to detect nervous people that are up to no good. Any high school student can tell you what drugs looks like and the reason I say this is because they teach kids all about drugs in health class these days (required class in most school districts). But in the end it is still going to be this process;

1. I am looking for explosives

2. I find a package of white powder

3. There are at least 10 different explosives that appear as white powder

4. I call the supervisor who calls the LEO

5. The LEO examins the powder and declares (with his training and experience) this is not explosives this is cocaine. The LEO (doing his job) must now do something about this package of cocaine and the passenger that owns it.

TSOWilliamReed said...

For all those complaining about wanting pictures of the screen.

1. Bob has posted a video several times on this blog that has the ACTUAL COMPUTER SCREEN of the device with the UN ALTERED ACTUAL screen right there.

2. At the top of this post is the picture of THE ACTUAL COMPUTER SCREEN of the device with the UN ALTERED ACTUAL screen right there for everyone to see.

As I have said before, standard cheap 20" monitor (looks like a gateway from the logo), what looks like standard computer resolution and the same basic generic tin man looking pictures of a human body.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations TSA! You have spent $500 million to force terrorists to begin their flight at any one of the hundreds of small airports that do not, and probably never will, have these strip search machines. Way to go!
___________________________________
Whats your point?

Sam said...

Some TSA employees are going to see full-body scans of children. That is a pedophile's dream job. TSA is going to get job applications from pedophiles. This is not a joke. How will the TSA avoid attracting pedophiles?

Nick said...

Tha same quastion:
Why is TSA searching for drugs?

8675309 said...

I'll pay the dollar if it means I won't have some strange guy rub his hands all over me.

I don't like going through airport security but I'm all for the technologies that make it quicker and more hands-off.

Now get us those shoe scanners so that inconvenience can go away too.

8675309 said...

"So, if you manage to achieve this goal, does that mean that ID checks can go away? After all, what's the harm in letting someone aboard the aircraft if you've verified that they aren't carrying anything dangerous?"

If the goal is to catch prohibited items, then your logic makes sense.

If the goal is to track and catch terrorists, then the logic doesn't make sense.

Samuel said...

I really appreciate the serious responses to reader comments here. Few government agencies (or private businesses for that matter) are as responsive to questions and concerns.

My question is: If terrorists get weapons or explosives onto a commercial aircraft despite the full-body scanners, does this mean the money we have spent on them has been wasted? What did we get for our money?

Anonymous said...

Some TSA employees are going to see full-body scans of children. That is a pedophile's dream job. TSA is going to get job applications from pedophiles. This is not a joke. How will the TSA avoid attracting pedophiles?
___________________________________

There are background checks done. So like its been said before TSA can keep convicted sex offenders out of the workforce. But the people who do the hiring are not mind readers or psychics.
What if a petophile (who was not convicted of any crime) wants to move in next door to you and looks in your kids windows at night? How are you going to prevent this? Your not because you have not idea that he is a petophile.

The repetative questions that people do not think before they ask on this blog are rediculous!

Anonymous said...

Tha same quastion:
Why is TSA searching for drugs?
___________________________________
Keep on asking the same questions over and over and over! And we will keep answering them over and over and over. You ask because you do not like the answer you get. Which is like a 5 year olds response!
TSA does not search for drugs! If they come across them, they will tell the proper authorities. If there is something out of the ordinary on a body scan it will be checked. If something is being hidden on the body the person is obviously trying to hide something. Could it be an IED? Never know. So it will be checked. TSA does not look for drugs!
And yes if they come across them they have every right to say something.

Anonymous said...

How does detecting drugs improve my security?

Ayn R. Key said...

So the question that this blog entry tries to answer is "is it worth it" and they try to answer it with "yes".

So apparently it is worth it to endanger the health of the passengers, to violate the constitutional rights of the passengers, and to morally violate the passengers. It is worth it because it isn't happening to TSOs, only to worthless passengers, the absolute last consideration of the TSO.

Anonymous said...

1. I am looking for explosives

2. I find a package of white powder

3. There are at least 10 different explosives that appear as white powder

4. I call the supervisor who calls the LEO

5. The LEO examins the powder and declares (with his training and experience) this is not explosives this is cocaine. The LEO (doing his job) must now do something about this package of cocaine and the passenger that owns it.
-----------------------------------
This does not correspond with the situation described in the original post. With corrections:

1. You are looking for explosives.
2. You detect a tiny, smaller than a thumbnail-sized packet with your strip-search machine.
3. You know that many different kinds of powders can be explosives. But you don't know that the packet contains powder. On the other hand, you know that a package this size cannot possibly contain explosives, but, completely disregarding the limits of an administrative search, you call in a law enforcement officer to take a little fishing expedition that has absolutely nothing to do with detecting explosives or any other threat to the airplane.
4. You call the supervisor who calls the LEO.
5. The LEO identifies the substance as probable cocaine and the passenger is arrested.
6. (Optional for wealthy and/or extremely dedicated passengers): The passenger spends the next several years and thousands of thousands of dollars before a court finally reminds the TSA of the boundaries of an administrative search. A small change is made in the SOP and the TSO (who by now has probably left the agency) escapes with no consequences whatsoever.

avxo said...

TSOWilliamReed wrote: "[...] we are trained to detect nervous people that are up to no good [...]"

You are telling us you guys are trained to spot nervous people and do behavioral detection, but the evidence seems to suggest that a lot of you couldn't spot tears if you had someone crying on your shoulders! We had a guy waltz his way into the "sterile area" with a fake U.S. Marshal badge escorting a hostage he claimed was a prisoner being deported. I guess he wasn't nervous or "up to no good."

Let's not discuss the reports of undercover people from the TSA's own Inspector General office who found out that they walk through security at San Fransisco despite their precise descriptions being available to screeners who were supposed to be on the lookout for them. Let's not discuss the a staggering 91% failure rate of TSOs at Newark Liberty at finding contraband. Because those guys just weren't nervous...

Gunner said...

An Anonymous poster asked ….
Could you tell us just what training TSA provided that enables you to determine is something is a drug?

Thanks.
--------------------------------
TSA does not provide us with that kind of training, which is why we will ask a LEO to intervene. They get to make those kinds of determinations. I hope that helps!

----------

so, depending upon the level of intelligence of the TSA agent, one can get referred to a LEO for anything that the TSA agent cannot identify?

I once worked in a call center and was told by a vocabulary-challenged manager that I was not "allowed to use words like that" after he monitored me using the word "persnickety." apparently if he did not understand the word, I was not allowed to use it.

This is what I fear is happening, or can happen. Underpaid, undertrained, Agents, with an oversized sense of authority, doing LEO referrals for anything they don't understand.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "Whats your point?"

The point is that if these things are really a panacea (suppose for the sake of the argument) and if small airports don't get them, then terrorists will begin from the small airports.

Once you're in the system, you're in. In the vast majority of cases, a person won't be rescreened domestically. In bound international pax will be unless they were precleared in Canada (or possibly Ireland), if transferring to domestic or terminating at certain airports. Domestically, perhaps if they're changing terminals. But of course, a smart terrorist would plan ahead so there isn't such a transfer, or is TSA only accounting for dumb terrorists again?

Quote from 8675309: "If the goal is to catch prohibited items, then your logic makes sense.

If the goal is to track and catch terrorists, then the logic doesn't make sense."


That's not TSA's goal or mission. Their mission is to keep WEI off of planes. It's the intelligence communities' and law enforcement's job to keep an eye on people and catch terrorists.

Given TSA's "success" record, if the terrorists get to the airport, it will already be too late.

Robert

Anonymous said...

If the goal is to track and catch terrorists, then the logic doesn't make sense.

How does having a somnolescent scrawling something across a boarding pass catch any terrorists? There are no means of identifying a terrorist at the ID check/

Anonymous said...

Congratulations TSA! You have spent $500 million to force terrorists to begin their flight at any one of the hundreds of small airports that do not, and probably never will, have these strip search machines. Way to go!
___________________________________
Whats your point?
------------------------

My point is that unless these machines are deployed at each lane in every checkpoint, they're useless. As things stand now, a terrorist strapped with explosives simply can pick a lane that doesn't go to the AIT, or (to really be on the safe side) fly out of a small airport not equipped with the technology.

Yes, there's a tiny chance said terrorist might be searched a second time at the gate while making a connection in a larger airport, but even then, the odds he or she will be marched back to the checkpoint AIT for screening probably are lower than the odds of being killed in a terrorist attack!

So, deploying a few hundred machines around the country doesn't really do anything to make Americans safer. It might prove a minor inconvenience to a terrorist who has to drive a few miles to start his trip at a tiny, rural 'spoke' airport. And for this, taxpayers shelled out $500 million? D'oh!

TSORon said...

RB said...
Then what could possibly make a TSA employee think something is a drug instead of a completely harmless item?

You have already admitted you have no training in this area so to suspect something is a drug is just an attempt to do things not in TSA's charter.
--------------------------
Oh RB, while TSA does not supply that type of training many of us have law enforcement experience. And for those that don’t, TSOWilliamReed is correct. Even you can’t argue his points with reason. But I know that wont keep you from trying.

LTSO with Answers said...

Jim Huggins said...

So, if you manage to achieve this goal, does that mean that ID checks can go away? After all, what's the harm in letting someone aboard the aircraft if you've verified that they aren't carrying anything dangerous?


Identity still matters Jim. Not that they a person on the watchlist can cause to much trouble without weapons or explosives. It is the fact that they will be able to conduct pre-operational surveilence which could aid them in a future breach of security and/or attack. These people on the watch list have no reason to be in sterile/secure areas of an airport.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous tutone said...

"As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website?"

When will 'actual' sample images with full resolution be released to the public? Hopefully the answer is NEVER as it would violate 49 CFR 1520.5.
--------------------------------
tutone,

Can You explain how what you mean by "violate 49 CFR 1520.5"? If you mean the full resolution images are SSI, then please explain why full size & resolution images provided by the manufacturer are SSI. Is the detail of the sample images provided so drastically different than the actual images produced by the newest generation scanner? If that is so can you even qualify the current images as an accurate sample?

Anonymous said...

Can I please get an answer from an official TSA blogger:

As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website?

And just so everyone knows TSOWilliamReed is NOT an official TSA blogger!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...

I have not seen a published response to the complaints, but if there are litigations of some sort with any of them, the company line (rightly so) has been we refuse to comment on ongoing litigations or inspections.

If you see any AIT that do not have the signage up in front of the machine, please use the following complaint form to notify TSA HQ:

https://contact.tsa.dhs.gov/DynaForm.aspx?FormID=10

All AIT machines are suppsoed to have notification signage, if you notice that it is not up, help us to correct that by using the form above. Thanks for your cooperation, without us knowing that something is wrong, we can't fix it!

West
TSA Blog Team
-------------------------------

I reported the checkpoint in 2009 when I came across it.

This answer was sufficient.... So i say thank you to West.

TSM/West said...

Anon's response to Anon
The techniques used to smuggle explosives are the same techniques used to smuggle drugs. So it's inherent that we'll uncover drugs as we go about our mission."
-----------------------------------------

Please tell me what kind of explosives can fit into a packet that is smaller than a thumb nail.

April 1, 2010 3:55 PM

-----------------------------------
Have you ever heard of paper detonators?

Anonymous said...

Hey, TSA, how can you explain detaining a citizen at the airport for four hours based solely on his possesion of arabic/english flashcards?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTgegDIUocw

You need to take action against the staff who were involved in this incident, apologize, and issue guidance to your employees to be less... what, stupid?

Anonymous said...

I prefer the image screening. IMHO it is quicker for passengers and does not involve some strange individual "patting" me down. A pat down is much more of an invasion of privacy.

Ethel Rosenberg said...

1. Why was WBI changed to AIT? In response to complaints from the public about being virtually strip searched so the name was changed to mislead the public?

2. When are we going to see images of the scans that your Dear Leader says "can't see everything?" And while you're at it, throw in an image of what the magnifying glass shows if you want us to believe WBI can't see everything.

3. Was the thumb size package of drugs found during a test? Screeners who can't find guns during Red Team tests certainly aren't going to find a "thumb size" package of drugs without advance knowledge of the presence of such a package.

4. Who writes the responses for H2H and West to post?

5. Why won't the TSA just be honest with the flying public?

6. Why did TSA suppress a report from aviation security experts that concluded that the main threat to air transportation DOES NOT come from the flying public? To keep yourselves alive perhaps?

Anonymous said...

let me see...someone said there were over 600 gripes filed about AIT in 2009. Now figure 650 MILLION a year going thru checkpoints....so let me get this right, one out of every 1,083,333 seems to not be able to see the signs???

Anonymous said...

Could I please get a clarification here. In the past, I've read here that subjecting oneself to these machines was 'optional'. Today, I was directed (not asked) to go through the machine after walking through the medal detector.

If, in fact, going through is not mandatory and a passenger can get a pat-down search instead, you need to train your officers at JAX to present it as an option instead of a demand. If they don't do that, then in effect it's mandatory and you shouldn't call it optional.

Finally, how does a passenger decline use of the device without being deemed to not be cooperating in the screening process or interfering with the screening?

Thank you for taking the time to seriously answer my questions.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Bob
Been over two weeks and no answer for Alison (you said you'd queried your procedures group over two weeks ago....oh, wait, it's been a year since this issue was first posted. Guess there is no SOP for this):
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

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous wrote:
Ann R. Key has asked for a comment about the UK incident a couple of times, and every time the response is "TSA doesn't operate in the UK". Yes, we know that (or we *should* know that). I believe what Ann R. Key is asking for is a comment on the fact that the BAA (like the TSA) has claimed that pictures cannot be stored or printed, all operators are trained to take your privacy in to account, everything is perfectly safe, nobody is salivating to look at your genitals, etc, etc, etc - while concerned citizens are saying that people will be people and find a way... and they have, in the UK.

Actually that was others. In my case I'm focusing on why they insist on using unsafe backscatter instead of safe mmw, and if there was any reason other than lining Chertoff's pockets.

But you're right, that's a good question, and you're also right about how by concentrating on one detail (that it was in the UK) they are ignoring the larger problem of how these allegedly non-recordable images have been recorded.

But don't worry if they're using the exact same machines and recorded the image in the UK. Even though the machines are the exact same, the TSA assures us that the images cannot be saved on TSA machines.

Ayn R. Key said...

So the question this blog entry seeks to answer is "Is it worth it."

The price being paid - paid in health risks, violation of constitional rights, and violations of basic morality - is being paid by passengers instead of the TSA, so of course the TSA feels the price is worth it.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...


I have no video or other proof of it, but I believe it would have caught him much quicker than a WTMD would have. I would also venture that if they can see something the size of a fingerprint, they could probably detect stuffed undies.

West
TSA Blog Team

___________________________________

Once again, we have the TSA speaking out of both sides of their collective mouths.

Up until the underwear bomber, when the concern was personal privacy, we were assured that WBI/AIT pictures were not overly invasive, that they could only marginally resolve the genital area, that the pictures were safe for family viewing, that it was no issue to have a TSO view young children...

... but when those same arguments are used post Dec. 25th to question the ability of WBI/AIT to stop the Detroit event, the TSA now claims that it can resolve a finger print sized anomaly in someone's undies.

Funny how slippery these things can be.

Blogger Bob said...

Anon said: Can I please get an answer from an official TSA blogger: As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website? April 3, 2010 3:09 PM

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

As you've probably seen in the CNN videos etc., the photos we're sharing are of the most recent images our officers are seeing. There are other photos out there on the web (some genuine and some fake) that are more detailed, but those are not the images we are seeing. We know AIT is a touchy subject for some, so we've made sure to be extremely transparent and have provided images from the vendors as well as letting the media film the technology in action.

If there were every any updates or improvements that changed the image our officers see, we would share this information with the public.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob said:

If there were every any updates or improvements that changed the image our officers see, we would share this information with the public.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

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

Not if those changes were deemed SSI.

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes, regarding the hiring backgrounds of TSOs who will be monitoring these devices:

There are background checks done. So like its been said before TSA can keep convicted sex offenders out of the workforce. But the people who do the hiring are not mind readers or psychics.

Funny ... because as far as I can tell, that's what we've being told about the BDO program. BDO's can supposedly tell that passengers have nefarious intent simply by observing them ... yet no-one at TSA can tell if one of their own has nefarious intent when they assign them sensitive duties like monitoring AIT machinery. Double-standard?

LTSO With Answers writes, regarding the no-fly list:

Identity still matters Jim. Not that they a person on the watchlist can cause to much trouble without weapons or explosives. It is the fact that they will be able to conduct pre-operational surveilence which could aid them in a future breach of security and/or attack. These people on the watch list have no reason to be in sterile/secure areas of an airport.

Of course they have reason to be there; they can buy a plane ticket just like anyone else can.

What you mean is that they have no right to be there. And that is debatable ... considering that there's no way for someone to know for sure that they're on the list, and no way for someone to get themselves taken off the list. (Unless you're claiming that the no-fly list is 100% accurate, all the time?)

Anonymous said...

What was the drug sized packet of drug looking material your Philadelphia joker used for training supposed to be?

Are small packets of powder often used a part of official training?

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anon said: Can I please get an answer from an official TSA blogger: As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website? April 3, 2010 3:09 PM

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

As you've probably seen in the CNN videos etc., the photos we're sharing are of the most recent images our officers are seeing. There are other photos out there on the web (some genuine and some fake) that are more detailed, but those are not the images we are seeing. We know AIT is a touchy subject for some, so we've made sure to be extremely transparent and have provided images from the vendors as well as letting the media film the technology in action.

If there were every any updates or improvements that changed the image our officers see, we would share this information with the public.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

April 6, 2010 9:09 AM
...............................
If TSA is being transparent as you claim then why won't TSA post images in the same size and resolution that the operators of one of your Strip Search Machines views?

Anonymous said...

"Have you ever heard of paper detonators?"

Are they used to set off stick bombs?

And just what is the official TSA policy on stick bombers who want to bring their stick bombs or raw materials on board?

Are stick bombs prohibited?

:)

Anonymous said...

"Identity still matters Jim."

You keep saying this, but you have never, ever explained why you imagine this to be so.

Anonymous said...

"If there were every any updates or improvements that changed the image our officers see, we would share this information with the public."

How can you say this when you have never stared the images the operators of these machines see?

Anonymous said...

"We know AIT is a touchy subject for some, so we've made sure to be extremely transparent and have provided images from the vendors as well as letting the media film the technology in action."

Bob, you have been anything but transparent and you know it. You keep changing the names to hide the fact that you want to take naked pictures of passengers, including minor children; it took months of questioning before you admitted these will be used on minor children; it took a year before you admitted that you have never posted the images these strip-search machines generate at the same size and resolution seen by the operator.

You have been lying to us, every step of the way. One more reason America hates your agency.

Blogger Bob said...

Anonymous said... Could I please get a clarification here. In the past, I've read here that subjecting oneself to these machines was 'optional'. Today, I was directed (not asked) to go through the machine after walking through the medal detector. If, in fact, going through is not mandatory and a passenger can get a pat-down search instead, you need to train your officers at JAX to present it as an option instead of a demand. If they don't do that, then in effect it's mandatory and you shouldn't call it optional. Finally, how does a passenger decline use of the device without being deemed to not be cooperating in the screening process or interfering with the screening? Thank you for taking the time to seriously answer my questions. April 5, 2010 2:58 PM

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

Just for clarification, did you state that you did not want to go through the machine? Did you ask for alternative screening? If so, were you denied these requests?

Asking for alternative screening is not considered as interfering or not cooperating with the screening process.

I e-mailed your comment to our Customer Support Manager for JAX. If you would like to lodge a formal complaint, you can do so using Got Feedback.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Just for clarification, did you state that you did not want to go through the machine? Did you ask for alternative screening? If so, were you denied these requests?

Asking for alternative screening is not considered as interfering or not cooperating with the screening process.

I e-mailed your comment to our Customer Support Manager for JAX. If you would like to lodge a formal complaint, you can do so using Got Feedback.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

April 6, 2010 11:40 AM

........
A person should not have to ask for "alternative screening" (slick how you have made non-Strip Search Screening Alternative), it should be offered by TSA first.

Face it, TSA desires to Strip Search everyone, even the little children.

Blogger Bob said...

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 April 5, 2010 9:30 PM

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

Alison. I forwarded your comment to all of our various customer support managers at the airports you mentioned. If you’d like to file a formal complaint or receive an official response from these airports, please use our Got Feedback program.

I also reached out to the procedures branch and learned the following:

Passengers do not have to declare insulin pumps. (Or any other medical devices) Obviously, if there is an alarm or we become aware of the pump through a pat-down or AIT image, we’ll have to inspect a little further and we have procedures for situations such as this. This has been in place for quite some time.

I hope this information helps.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

"if there is an alarm or we become aware of the pump through a pat-down or AIT image, we’ll have to inspect a little further and we have procedures for situations such as this. This has been in place for quite some time."

What are these procedures, Bob? Or does one have to wait until one is being barked at to remove a prosthetic breast to find out?

RB said...

Think it's time to boycott airports.

Rock said...

Bob, several people have posted this but this is an easy way to clarify, if you would please.

Explain *how* exactly you are going to prohibit TSA employees from using hand held cameras or cell-phones equipped with cameras to take pictures of the screen of the scanning devices. Will the TSA have to relinquish their electronics when they enter the back room? Will the employees be taped? Some other method?

Some kind of answer would be appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"Obviously, if there is an alarm or we become aware of the pump through a pat-down or AIT image, we’ll have to inspect a little further"

Given that these and other completely harmless, private medical devices will represent 99% of what your virtual strip searches will "detect," what steps is TSA taking to track and reduce the number of false positives the strip searches will detect? Or is this another case, like shoes and liquids, where you don't actually care whether your procedures make anyone safer?

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob said....
If there were every any updates or improvements that changed the image our officers see, we would share this information with the public.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team


Share with the public why you updated the machines from mmw to backscatter.

Ron Pelton said...

Anonymous quoted Bob: "if there is an alarm or we become aware of the pump through a pat-down or AIT image, we’ll have to inspect a little further and we have procedures for situations such as this. This has been in place for quite some time."

Anonymous posted the following question which none of us ever expect will be answered: "What are these procedures, Bob? Or does one have to wait until one is being barked at to remove a prosthetic breast to find out?"

Bob,

I strongly suggest you tell us what to expect when we have to start declaring implanted medical devices. Will we have to declare them? We will be required to explain their presence to a screener? Will we have to expose them to a screener who will make a medical determination whether or not we will be allowed to fly with them attached.

Try being honest and transparent this time. One way or the other, we will find out by being subjected to these procedures and will post them all over the internet. Then, you will be doing what you do best -- damage control.

Blogger Bob said...

@ Ron Pelton - I just explained that you do not have to declare medical devices.

@ Ayn R. Key - I didn't post your comment at your request, but I'm not doing whatever it is you think I'm doing. I don't have time to (as you said) "Play Games With You."

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Ron Pelton said...

Bob responded to me:@ Ron Pelton - I just explained that you do not have to declare medical devices.

Bob, great job of deflecting the issue! That wasn't my question. I'll state it succintly: What happens when the strip search machine finds an undeclared medical device. Don't say "we have procedures." Tell us what they are and how intrusive they will be. Tell us now or you'll be covering your posterior later.

Anonymous said...

Bob, why won't you explain what the procedures are for clearing harmless medical devices detected by your strip search technology?

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
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 April 5, 2010 9:30 PM

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

Alison. I forwarded your comment to all of our various customer support managers at the airports you mentioned. If you’d like to file a formal complaint or receive an official response from these airports, please use our Got Feedback program.

I also reached out to the procedures branch and learned the following:

Passengers do not have to declare insulin pumps. (Or any other medical devices) Obviously, if there is an alarm or we become aware of the pump through a pat-down or AIT image, we’ll have to inspect a little further and we have procedures for situations such as this. This has been in place for quite some time.

I hope this information helps.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

April 6, 2010 12:27 PM
................
I fail to understand just why your highly trained TSA workforce, including managers, can't follow procedure and have to re-invent the wheel at each airport.

What is it about TSA that doing the same thing at each and every checkpoint is so difficult?

Why are people who have medical or other personal issues subject to embarrassing scrutiny?

Anonymous said...

"ever heard of paper detonators?"

Actually, no, I haven't.

A quick google found nothing relevant.

Please tell us more. Are the threats of these "paper detonators" real or a bogeyman for your argument?

Anonymous said...

RB, TSA has different requirements/procedures at every checkpoint because no on knows what is required and it is up to every TSO to interpret the SOP which ever way suits them on that particular day.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Blogger Bob said...

Anon said: Can I please get an answer from an official TSA blogger: As the technology gets better and the images get more detailed does the TSA plan on keeping the sample images provided on the website up to date? Or will they continue to use the same severely degraded, out of date images currently provided on its website? April 3, 2010 3:09 PM

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

As you've probably seen in the CNN videos etc., the photos we're sharing are of the most recent images our officers are seeing. There are other photos out there on the web (some genuine and some fake) that are more detailed, but those are not the images we are seeing. We know AIT is a touchy subject for some, so we've made sure to be extremely transparent and have provided images from the vendors as well as letting the media film the technology in action.

If there were every any updates or improvements that changed the image our officers see, we would share this information with the public.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

April 6, 2010 9:09 AM
----------------------------------
Just looking for a little more clarity...like a yes or no answer:
Are the sample images you refer to degraded in any way? I have seen the same female MMW image on the web exept it shows the nipples which your images do not.

http://smartbykrae.com/?p=1884

Do the TSA AIT scanners show nipples or any detail of a female passenger's labia?

Anonymous said...

To be even more transparent does the TSA have any plans to allow me to see my own image that is created by the AIT scanners? If the TSA is looking for 100% compliance with the AIT they need to start 100% of the questions:

What date and year are the TSA provided sample images from?

Are the TSA provided sample images taken from the newest generation AIT scanners?

Do any TSO screeners or TSO superiors viewing the images have the ability/clearance to remove or disable any of the privacy settings? If so who?

Are any passenger images ever stored for training purposes?

SSI THIS!!!! Bob.

Blogger Bob said...

(This came up in another post, but this question will probably be asked again, so I figured I'd cut and paste...)

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...

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 7:58 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?

NoClu said...

Annon said @ April 2, 2010 4:27 PM:
But the people who do the hiring are not mind readers or psychics.
-----------------------------------
But they play one on TV! See all the money wasted on Behavior Detection Officers.

If this uber effective security process is so useful, they could screen the work force daily to proactively detect pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

Bob, what you continually fail to realize is that if a machine has the capacity to do something, it will be done. Within a short amount of time after a wide rollout of these machines, somebody will figure out how to put them into testing mode. Shortly thereafter, that information will be all over the internet. And then we'll get a post here talking about how it's impossible to do it.

No matter how difficult it is, most computer security is broken in time. I can't see why this would be any different.

RB said...

Just looking for a little more clarity...like a yes or no answer:
Are the sample images you refer to degraded in any way? I have seen the same female MMW image on the web exept it shows the nipples which your images do not.

http://smartbykrae.com/?p=1884

Do the TSA AIT scanners show nipples or any detail of a female passenger's labia?

April 7, 2010 12:12 AM

............
and to complete the picture of what WBI images display does the WBI show any detail of the male genitalia?

Ron Pelton said...

Since Bob won't answer our questions (anyone surprised?), I've taken the liberty of providing some additional data from which we can draw our own conclusions, provided my post makes it through the censors. Don't worry. I've emailed a copy to a colleague who is ready to post this on Flyertalk.com if necessary.

Our friend, Gale, answered Rep. Thompson in a surprisingly prompt manner (only 30 days). Her letter, carefully written by a member of her legislative affairs team, provided insight into the capability of these machines:

http://tinyurl.com/y8dqjz2

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (www.epic.org), on our behalf, published results of a FOIA. Included were the procurement and performance specs for the strip search machines. To develop your own informed opinions, please read through this stuff and calibrate what you read here on the blog.

Some aspects about the strip search machine you won't read here, taken from the TSA's very own specifications, to which the manufacturers are held responsible to meet:

1. The test mode prohibition at an airport and the assertion that it will never be placed in test mode for screening is one big "trust us" from the TSA. There is nothing technically which prohibits the machines from being placed into test mode at a factory, at an airport, or in Gale's garage.

2. Neither Bob nor Gale has EVER talked about the third mode: "training mode." If you read through the specifications, you will find that training mode uses STORED IMAGES to train screeners. So, despite the spin, these machines can and do store images at airports in training mode.

3. There is a matrix describing which prople have a certain level of access. Again, read the specs in detail. The bottom line is that the individuals with the greatest level of access is basically a sysadmin troop. So, the only person standing between the TSA "trust us" and our children's images stored and potentially transmitted is a low-level contractor employee. There is no requirement for any special trustworthiness vetting of this individual nor is there a requirement for two-person control. Also, the sysadmin guy has the capacity to cover his tracks in the software.

4. Not too long ago, a TSA talking head doing a sales pitch on the strip search machines, assured us that there were only a couple of complaints. I recall that her official number was less than 10. However, EPIC published several dozen over a short period of time from only a couple of airports which the TSA itself released under FOIA.

Here is the link to the EPIC report. Please, please, please read EVERYTHING!

http://tinyurl.com/y8kuarn

Anonymous said...

Bob, it looks like you may have been caught telling a whopper, yet again.

Anonymous said...

"Translation: it's worth it because we say it is.

Earl"

+111111111111111111111111111111111111

Anonymous said...

How many of those $1 passengers are repeat "customers", of no threat to flight safety? I paid $50 for "trusted traveler" status so that my identity and clean background could be verified. If TSA spent $50 on each PERSON, ONE TIME EACH, to verify identity and likelihood of terrorist behavior, it would save money and would actually make us safer in the air. Virtually strip searching the same harmless people over and over again and claiming "It only costs $1 per passenger!!!" is so completely ridiculous I can't believe you have the nerve to post it on here as if it's something to be proud of.

There is no chance of me ever consenting to one of those machines, so how exactly do you calculate the cost to screen passengers like me who understand their rights and understand that machine enough to refuse to use it? So now you've spent the money for the machines AND still have to screen me the usual way. Hmm, no cost savings there.

Does anyone really swallow the absolute malarky that TSA posts on this site?

Anonymous said...

Thanks to whoever posted that link about service animals!

TSA is violating ADA protocols by "suggesting" service animals carry identification. This is NOT required of service animals and at no time does a person with a service animal have to reveal what service the animal provides. Asking a passenger to give this information is illegal and an invasion of privacy.

not that the TSA cares about that.

Anonymous said...

""Anon sez - "Any comment on this simple low-tech invasion of privacy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner"

TSA does not operate in Heathrow airport.""

GAHHHH! So what???? It's the same machine, and if it traumatizes a screener, it will traumatize the public you are forcing it on! This does not take a genius to understand. Way to strawman, though.

Anonymous said...

$573 MILLION dollars for this and we just had an enormous debate over whether Americans deserve to not die if they get sick and can't afford to pay for medicine or doctors. $573 million and the USA funds this with no debate but senators are getting death threats for trying to ensure that Americans have access to health care. Amazing, America, truly amazing. And not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

Just for clarification, did you state that you did not want to go through the machine? Did you ask for alternative screening? If so, were you denied these requests?

Asking for alternative screening is not considered as interfering or not cooperating with the screening process.

I e-mailed your comment to our Customer Support Manager for JAX. If you would like to lodge a formal complaint, you can do so using Got Feedback.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

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

Bob,

Thank you for forwarding my comments to JAX. No, I didn't request alternate screening as I'm not in the habit of haggling with or arguing with TSA at the checkpoints. Given the fact many people who are simply trying to get through the screening process as quickly as possible don't necessarily take the time to read all the little signs posted at the checkpoints, and many of these same people have no clue what the machine does that they're asked to step inside, I believe the TSA should take the onus upon itself to inform passengers that they do have an affirmative choice with respect to using the machine.

Last time I was in Detroit, it was done the right way. The officer stated "Sir, you've been selected for additional screening. Your choices are to step into this fancy machine or undergo a pat-down. Which would you like to do?" It's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Ron Pelton,

Thanks for that.

Also I saw on Flyertalk that Amsterdam is using whole body imagers with software to detect anomalies, so the person managing the equipment does not see nude images of the passengers, and is in fact right in front of the passenger being screened. Why can´t the TSA adopt a system like this, which removes the horrible seediness of being peeped at from an isolated cubicle by an unknown person?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB, TSA has different requirements/procedures at every checkpoint because no on knows what is required and it is up to every TSO to interpret the SOP which ever way suits them on that particular day.

April 6, 2010 11:01 PM
......................
That may be but I think it is because TSA management has utterly failed to properly train TSA employees on correct performance of duties. The next issue is not requiring employees to do their jobs correctly by managers.

Even Burger King can get its employees to make hamburgers the same way at every store.

Why can't TSA get its employees to screen people the same at every checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

I don't know which BK's you have been going to RB. Try asking for no pickle or extra sauce and see what happens. The smae thing applies at every fast food and fine dining restarant I have ever stuffed my face at. They all screw up on a regular basis. Have you ever been to a reputable steak house and recieved a steak that wasn't cooked to your specifications?

The TSA is not perfect and neither is anybody else.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I don't know which BK's you have been going to RB. Try asking for no pickle or extra sauce and see what happens. The smae thing applies at every fast food and fine dining restarant I have ever stuffed my face at. They all screw up on a regular basis. Have you ever been to a reputable steak house and recieved a steak that wasn't cooked to your specifications?

The TSA is not perfect and neither is anybody else.

April 8, 2010 11:50 AM
.......................
If I order something at a steak house or other fine dinning establishment and the food is not prepared properly I send it back. If that is not satisfactory then I make it clear that I will not be a future customer. Same with fast food.

My experience with these businesses in my area are favorable.

If you continue giving your money to unsatisfactory businesses then you have only yourself to blame.

With TSA that is not an option unless one has access to private jet charters.

TSA has no reason to improve or correct poor performance of its employees. TSA workers knows that for the immediate future their jobs are safe. And if TSA ever gets unions things will get even worse than they are today.

TSA is dysfunctional on so many levels it is hard to believe that anyone calling themselves a leader, manager, or supervisor is reporting to work anywhere in the TSA world.

RB said...

Bob, you stated that WBI Strip Search machines can only be placed in TEST mode if the machine is in a lab.

Is it true that these machines cannot be placed in TEST mode at an airport?

While on the subject why don't you tell us a bit about TRAINING mode.

Not going to hide behind the curtain again are you?

GSOLTSO said...

Samueal says - "My question is: If terrorists get weapons or explosives onto a commercial aircraft despite the full-body scanners, does this mean the money we have spent on them has been wasted? What did we get for our money?"

While I would love to tell you that instituting the AIT systems will prevent all daqngroues items from getting on airplanes - that would be unrealistic and untruthful. Nothing we use is 100%, but the AIT gives us a better chance to detect non metallic as well as metallic items under the clothes. While the Metal detectors are really good at finsing metallic items, it can't detect things not made of metal. This can include explosives, weapons made of non metallic materials and even some components of metal would not be large enough to set the walk throughs off. AIT allows for better clearing of some passengers without having to touch them as well (and a lot of passengers dislike the pat down process). All in all, it is just another tool that can be effective to help prevent bad things from getting on airplanes.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon says - "This does not correspond with the situation described in the original post. With corrections:

1. You are looking for explosives.
2. You detect a tiny, smaller than a thumbnail-sized packet with your strip-search machine.
3. You know that many different kinds of powders can be explosives. But you don't know that the packet contains powder. On the other hand, you know that a package this size cannot possibly contain explosives, but, completely disregarding the limits of an administrative search, you call in a law enforcement officer to take a little fishing expedition that has absolutely nothing to do with detecting explosives or any other threat to the airplane.
4. You call the supervisor who calls the LEO.
5. The LEO identifies the substance as probable cocaine and the passenger is arrested.
6. (Optional for wealthy and/or extremely dedicated passengers): The passenger spends the next several years and thousands of thousands of dollars before a court finally reminds the TSA of the boundaries of an administrative search. A small change is made in the SOP and the TSO (who by now has probably left the agency) escapes with no consequences whatsoever."

1. Correct, we are looking for explosives.

2. The AIT detects something that is unidentifiable on the screen the size of a fingernail - knowing that many items that can be used as compoonenets in an explosives device (to include detonators, powdered explosives in small amounts used to trigger a larger item, fine wiring, and some other items), you have the item cleared per SOP.

3. Many things can be in the package, so according to SOP you have the item cleared.

4. You call the STSO, who refers LEO in, and it is determined to be something that might be illegal.

5. The TSO that found the bag, fills out whatever paperwork is expected, and returns to work becasue the situation is an LEO situation now.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "I reported the checkpoint in 2009 when I came across it.

This answer was sufficient.... So i say thank you to West."

I am glad that I was able to give an answer to someone! Sweet, what did I win?....Oh, nothing.... Hmmm, well, if I don't get a prize, i will try something else. Hey anon, have you reported it again since then? If you would be so kind as to list the airport and terminal here, I will forward the info up to see if we can get it addressed for you (seriously!).

Again, thank you for thanking me, it is nice to get some commentary back from the public!

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Ethel Rosenberg sez - "1. Why was WBI changed to AIT? In response to complaints from the public about being virtually strip searched so the name was changed to mislead the public?

2. When are we going to see images of the scans that your Dear Leader says "can't see everything?" And while you're at it, throw in an image of what the magnifying glass shows if you want us to believe WBI can't see everything.

3. Was the thumb size package of drugs found during a test? Screeners who can't find guns during Red Team tests certainly aren't going to find a "thumb size" package of drugs without advance knowledge of the presence of such a package.

4. Who writes the responses for H2H and West to post?

5. Why won't the TSA just be honest with the flying public?

6. Why did TSA suppress a report from aviation security experts that concluded that the main threat to air transportation DOES NOT come from the flying public? To keep yourselves alive perhaps?"


1. The name change (from what I can glean) was changed to cover an entre genre of technology. There are different versions of the same type of tech that are not actually whole body imagers, they only screen a specific area of interest (like shoes, casts, and possibly in the future there will be more purposes for the tech). It also could have been implemented to cover both types of the technology (instead of MMW and BSX - just use AIT).

2. I have nothing to give you on this but the images here on this blog, and there are some others in videos posted out there as well. Which one is the "Dear Leader" does the leader have antlers? Oh wait, that is the OTHER form of Dear...

3. This is not necessarily true. I have caught Red team tests, and I have seen Red team tests that were not caught. I have found a razor blade in a bag that was 2 X 3 feet (no ETD or xray available, so it was a 100% bag check). The point I am making is none of us is perfect, and anything CAN be caught.

4. I can't speak for H2H, but I write my own material. Thank you! I will be here for the duration (I hope)!

5.Some things we are not allowed to comment on (SSI, ongoing investigations or litigations, internal discipline, and some other stuff). I always try to be as honest as I possibly can, but there are times where I just can't talk about some things (and that applies to all employees).

6. I have nothing on that one. Could you post a link so I can read up on it?

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Once again, we have the TSA speaking out of both sides of their collective mouths.

Up until the underwear bomber, when the concern was personal privacy, we were assured that WBI/AIT pictures were not overly invasive, that they could only marginally resolve the genital area, that the pictures were safe for family viewing, that it was no issue to have a TSO view young children...

... but when those same arguments are used post Dec. 25th to question the ability of WBI/AIT to stop the Detroit event, the TSA now claims that it can resolve a finger print sized anomaly in someone's undies.

Funny how slippery these things can be."

Not slippery at all, anomolies stand out against the skin, if it is a different consistency, it should be noticeable (guessing here since I have never used them) down to the size of a fingernail. How is the detection of an anomoly against skin talking out both sides of my mouth?

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "What was the drug sized packet of drug looking material your Philadelphia joker used for training supposed to be?

Are small packets of powder often used a part of official training?"

Not always, but we train on a wide variety of items to make certain we can see them better on xray and while searching. There are many forms of explosives that come in powdered and prill form, so to test and train on powders is a normal event.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

1. Correct, we are looking for explosives.

2. The AIT detects something that is unidentifiable on the screen the size of a fingernail - knowing that many items that can be used as compoonenets in an explosives device (to include detonators, powdered explosives in small amounts used to trigger a larger item, fine wiring, and some other items), you have the item cleared per SOP.

3. Many things can be in the package, so according to SOP you have the item cleared.

4. You call the STSO, who refers LEO in, and it is determined to be something that might be illegal.

5. The TSO that found the bag, fills out whatever paperwork is expected, and returns to work becasue the situation is an LEO situation now.

West
TSA Blog Team
.................
So would a Nicotine or Pain skin patch be visible when screening someone by WBI "Strip Search Machine"?

Anonymous said...

"AIT gives us a better chance to detect non metallic as well as metallic items under the clothes."

And how many dangerous items have virtual strip searches found, versus completely harmless items like medical devices?

Is TSA bothering to track that information to evaluate the usefulness of the strip search technology?

What procedures are in place to resolve "alarms" resulting from virtual strip searches detecting harmless items like prosthetic breasts, adult diapers, colostomy bags, and the like?

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to store passenger images when the AIT scanner is in "training mode" at the airport? If so is the passenger informed that their image has been recorded for training purposes?

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for an answer on these questions:

Does the TSA have any plans to allow me to see my own image that is created by the AIT scanners?

What date and year are the TSA provided sample images from?

Are the TSA provided sample images taken from the newest generation AIT scanners?

Do any TSO screeners or TSO superiors viewing the images have the ability/clearance to remove or disable any of the privacy settings? If so who?

Are any passenger images ever stored for training purposes?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I don't know which BK's you have been going to RB. Try asking for no pickle or extra sauce and see what happens. The smae thing applies at every fast food and fine dining restarant I have ever stuffed my face at. They all screw up on a regular basis. Have you ever been to a reputable steak house and recieved a steak that wasn't cooked to your specifications?

The TSA is not perfect and neither is anybody else.
--------------------------------

Did you really just compare issues of national security to getting your dinner order right?

I would think a Federal Agency mandated to protect the flying public would set the bar a little higher than a fast food chain.

Anonymous said...

Blogger GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "I reported the checkpoint in 2009 when I came across it.

This answer was sufficient.... So i say thank you to West."

I am glad that I was able to give an answer to someone! Sweet, what did I win?....Oh, nothing.... Hmmm, well, if I don't get a prize, i will try something else. Hey anon, have you reported it again since then? If you would be so kind as to list the airport and terminal here, I will forward the info up to see if we can get it addressed for you (seriously!).

Again, thank you for thanking me, it is nice to get some commentary back from the public!

West
TSA Blog Team

April 8, 2010 1:58 PM
----------------------------------

O'hare or Midway in Ill. The one with the planes inside hanging from the ceiling and the big people conveyor on the floor. don't know the terminal. Been back there....no i have not flown since I unknowingly had my privacy invaded. Story:

Walking to the term I get "randomly" selected for secondary screening. The screener starts pulling me towards what i now know was the MMW scanner, I stop and ask what is that? "Oh, it checks for bombs" she says. Having been thru the puffer before i think no big whup it's probably going to shoot air at me. I asked her if I have to use the machine and she says "no" you can get a pat-down(yes she actually followed protocol and offered the pat-down) but there is no male around so she would need to do it. I don't care if a man or woman pats me down but can see her getting nervous, so i say "what would make you more comfortable?" She said "the machine would". So I step into the scanner and it took about 20 secs and she says "can you take out your change in you back pocket" as she smirks. And I think to myself the WTMD did not get set off by the change so how on earth did she know. then i ask the inevitable question "how does this machine work". "It scans your body thru your clothes". Curiously I ask does it show me naked? She replies "pretty much" with the smirk now changing to an ear to ear smile. i ask her how it is legal to send ppl thru this machine without informing them of what it does or showing them a sample image. She just says "there are sample images on the website", then points me to the door where she says i can lodge a complaint. Guess the complaint thing happened to her more than a few times.

That's when I started researching this tech and became an opponent of it. To think if only the screener had been honest and forthcoming i probably would have tried it anyway. I am not against the tech so much as I am against the TSA's shady implementation of it. yet you continue to mislead the public and flat out lie(the website to this day still states "Advanced imaging technology cannot store, print, transmit or save the image.") which is a complete fable. As i have said before the TSA brings the abuse upon itself.

Anonymous said...

The reply to the EPIC FOIA lawsuit states:

During the test mode, the WBI shall not be capable of conducting passenger screening.

Does this mean that the scanner cannot record images in test mode?

If so why would it need to be able to store images in a mode that cannot record images?

How does the machine know the person being scanned is a passenger and not a TSA tech? Who makes the scanners...Skynet?

Anonymous said...

From the TSA reply to the EPIC FOIA lawsuit:

Q)Under what circumstances, if any, **CAN** AIT machines be entered into test mode in the airport settings?

A)There are no circumstances when the system **WOULD** be entered into the test mode in an airport environment.

I would like clarification on the question:

Are there any circumstances that an AIT scanner **COULD** be into the "test mode" or "training mode" in an airport environment?

If so what circumstance?

Anonymous said...

We deserve to know why you use hidden away people to look at our virtual strip-search images, instead of software, like the dutch.

GSOLTSO said...

RB sez - "So would a Nicotine or Pain skin patch be visible when screening someone by WBI "Strip Search Machine"?"

I am not certain, without having worked in the booth, I am unfamiliar with whether they are noticeable or not.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "And how many dangerous items have virtual strip searches found, versus completely harmless items like medical devices?

Is TSA bothering to track that information to evaluate the usefulness of the strip search technology?

What procedures are in place to resolve "alarms" resulting from virtual strip searches detecting harmless items like prosthetic breasts, adult diapers, colostomy bags, and the like?"

I have no statistics available on how many dangerous items are found with the AIT, nor do I have any on the discovery of medical equipment.

I do not know if TSA is tracking that information or not.

The actual steps in the resolution process are technically SSI, so I can't post the info here.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Bob, you stated that WBI Strip Search machines can only be placed in TEST mode if the machine is in a lab.

Is it true that these machines cannot be placed in TEST mode at an airport?

While on the subject why don't you tell us a bit about TRAINING mode.

Not going to hide behind the curtain again are you?

HappyToHelp said...

Ethel Rosenberg said...
"4. Who writes the responses for H2H and West to post?"

West is actually a space robot from the 80’s. He can type 4 words per minute (which was fast back then for a computer life form) and speak three different types of Klingon as well as both good and bad English. In order to respond to posters, I feed two 32 foot long punch cards into West’s linear port.

Seriously folks, we write our own stuff.

Thank you for commenting on the blog. West has handled the rest of your post, so I will just through my endorsement behind his comments.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Get with it people! Barrage your congressman to pass H.R. 2027 which specifies when the AIT's can be used. It passed the house (26 sponsors) and is waiting for Congress.
Look up the text on google and write letters, call your Congressman, and do whatever necessary to get this passed as soon as possible!

Anonymous said...

1. Correct, we are looking for explosives.

2. The AIT detects something that is unidentifiable on the screen the size of a fingernail - knowing that many items that can be used as compoonenets in an explosives device (to include detonators, powdered explosives in small amounts used to trigger a larger item, fine wiring, and some other items), you have the item cleared per SOP.

3. Many things can be in the package, so according to SOP you have the item cleared.

4. You call the STSO, who refers LEO in, and it is determined to be something that might be illegal.

5. The TSO that found the bag, fills out whatever paperwork is expected, and returns to work becasue the situation is an LEO situation now.

West
TSA Blog Team
-------------------

Wishful thinking, West. I'd love to hear the appellate court's reaction when they hear the TSA's council argue that any irregularity of any size on a nude-o-tron is grounds for a full-body strip search. Have you read the fourth amendment lately? Your searches have to be REASONABLE.

Mesa said...

I don't think that a body scan is an invasion of anyone's privacy. It's not like they're publishing these images online.

This is an ingenious way of protecting travelers and I will gladly be the first in line to use it.

Ayn R. Key said...

West, Tim, since you're being so unusually talkative.....

Why bsx instead of mmw?

RB said...

M e s a said...
I don't think that a body scan is an invasion of anyone's privacy. It's not like they're publishing these images online.

This is an ingenious way of protecting travelers and I will gladly be the first in line to use it.
............
Do you really believe what you say or was this just a way to get your spam on a fast moving blog?

GSOLTSO said...

H2H sez - "Ethel Rosenberg said...
"4. Who writes the responses for H2H and West to post?"

West is actually a space robot from the 80’s. He can type 4 words per minute (which was fast back then for a computer life form) and speak three different types of Klingon as well as both good and bad English. In order to respond to posters, I feed two 32 foot long punch cards into West’s linear port.

Seriously folks, we write our own stuff.

Thank you for commenting on the blog. West has handled the rest of your post, so I will just through my endorsement behind his comments.

Tim
TSA Blog Team"

I only speak two forms of Klingon, I do have Romulan on as the third language form now...

Thanks for the endorsement!

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Wishful thinking, West. I'd love to hear the appellate court's reaction when they hear the TSA's council argue that any irregularity of any size on a nude-o-tron is grounds for a full-body strip search. Have you read the fourth amendment lately? Your searches have to be REASONABLE."

Not so much wishful thinking as it is clearing anomolies. There are many things that can be used to make elements of an explosive device, some of them are very small. If there is an item that looks like it could be a threat, it should be cleared by the SOP.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said...
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 April 5, 2010 9:30 PM

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

Alison. I forwarded your comment to all of our various customer support managers at the airports you mentioned. If you’d like to file a formal complaint or receive an official response from these airports, please use our Got Feedback program.

I also reached out to the procedures branch and learned the following:

Passengers do not have to declare insulin pumps. (Or any other medical devices) Obviously, if there is an alarm or we become aware of the pump through a pat-down or AIT image, we’ll have to inspect a little further and we have procedures for situations such as this. This has been in place for quite some time.

I hope this information helps.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

April 6, 2010 12:27 PM
................
I fail to understand just why your highly trained TSA workforce, including managers, can't follow procedure and have to re-invent the wheel at each airport.

What is it about TSA that doing the same thing at each and every checkpoint is so difficult?

Why are people who have medical or other personal issues subject to embarrassing scrutiny?

Bob-

I see you are not comprehending my question. The backscatter/scanner machine is fine. I don't really care. However, the machine CLEARLY shows medical devices, which passengers may or may not be required to notify TSA officials of. However, due to the CLEAR prominence of such a device on us, we will be relegated to extra scrutiny, as illustrated by past experiences.

I want to know WHAT PEOPLE WITH MEDICAL DEVICES ARE TO EXPECT UPON GOING THROUGH THIS DEVICE. I want an answer to that question. I do not want to file a complaint, I want a simple answer with TSA rules spelled out, because every idiot with a GED at every TSA checkpoint seems to be making up their own rules.

Allison

Anonymous said...

Still waiting for an answer on this question:

Do the TSA AIT scanners show nipples or any detail of a female passenger's labia or a man's penis??

Anonymous said...

First, saying that procedures to clear findings on the whole body imagers such as prosthetic breasts or adult diapers are SSI is ridiculous. People in these situations should know what to expect. I am pretty sure, based on that answer, that you have no procedure, or that the procedure is purely cosmetic.

Second, in Amsterdam, these machines were installed with a software detection system that allows the person doing the screenings not to see naked body images and to be able to work in full view of the passengers. Why can´t this much better, non-invasive system be adopted by the TSA?

avxo said...

Mesa said: "I don't think that a body scan is an invasion of anyone's privacy. It's not like they're publishing these images online."

So, the standard test for whether one's privacy has been violated is whether something was posted online? Interesting legal theory...


"This is an ingenious way of protecting travelers and I will gladly be the first in line to use it."

It not really all that ingenious. The technology has been around for a long time now. It's not even the security panacea that the TSA spinsters try to make it out to be.

Anonymous said...

Quoted:
" Anonymous said...
""Anon sez - "Any comment on this simple low-tech invasion of privacy?

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/mar/24/airport-worker-warned-body-scanner"

TSA does not operate in Heathrow airport.""

GAHHHH! So what???? It's the same machine, and if it traumatizes a screener, it will traumatize the public you are forcing it on! This does not take a genius to understand. Way to strawman, though.

April 7, 2010 6:25 PM"

____________________________

Guess you forgot this part:

"... the British government has said that a refusal to go through the body scanner would bar passengers from boarding aircraft."

Can't wait till it happens here!

avxo said...

Anonymous wrote: "Get with it people! Barrage your congressman to pass H.R. 2027 which specifies when the AIT's can be used. It passed the house (26 sponsors) and is waiting for Congress."

As much as I support this bill in principle I don't think it's really a great idea.

My opinion of XRB machines is known: I don't like them. As an engineer, I think that they are technically inferior to the MMW machines for the purposes which TSA has suggested they want to use them for.

But it's a whole different ballgame with MMW. Using it for general screening is actually a good idea -- it can help speed screening times, reduce the need for TSA personnel to pat us down, and can help catch items that might have otherwise escaped notice.

That's not to say that there may not actually be legitimate privacy concerns; and TSA ought to actively engage the public (and not just through a blog) so as to understand those concerns and come up with constructive ways to address them.

With that said, I would hope that the Congress ensures that:

(a) there is legislation that demands that the machines may not store or transmit images, holding the manufacturer liable for violations.

(b) there is legislation that establishes criminal liability for any machine operator who manages to obtain a screenshot (whether by photographing the screen, or some other means) regardless of whether or not he sells, transfers, or otherwise disseminates that screenshot.

(c) the use of the MMW machines is not mandated.

Anonymous said...

"I do not know if TSA is tracking that information or not."

Be a dear and find out, would you?

"The actual steps in the resolution process are technically SSI, so I can't post the info here."

That's beyond pathetic. Why should we trust what you tell us about these machines when you use your own made-up "secret" code to avoid telling us how alarms are resolved? Why is your agency incapable of giving a straight answer to legitimate questions?

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
"Do any TSO screeners or TSO superiors viewing the images have the ability/clearance to remove or disable any of the privacy settings?"

No

"Are any passenger images ever stored for training purposes?"

No

Tim
TSA Blog Team

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
"That's beyond pathetic. Why should we trust what you tell us about these machines when you use your own made-up "secret" code to avoid telling us how alarms are resolved?"

Sensitive Security Information (SSI) is a category of sensitive but unclassified information under the United States government's information sharing and control rules. SSI is information obtained in the conduct of security activities whose public disclosure would, in the judgment of specified government agencies, harm transportation security, be an unwarranted invasion of privacy, or reveal trade secrets or privileged or confidential information. SSI is governed by Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 15 and 1520.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Why do you need people to detect whole body imaging anomalies? Why can´t this be done with an image analysis software system? Seems to me that removing the peeping Tom looking at naked images in an undisclosed location would eliminate most concerns regarding this technology.

Anonymous said...

Tim, does TSA have any discretion over what it classifies as "SSI"? How can you expect us to take you seriously when you claim that the means by which alarms are resolved -- techniques that will be used, in full view of the public, on members of that same public -- are too secret to describe on the internet?

We don't trust you, Tim. We don't trust you because you pull nonsense like this that shows you're not worthy of trust.

Now, how many dangerous items have virtual strip searches found, versus completely harmless items like medical devices?

Is TSA bothering to track that information to evaluate the usefulness of the strip search technology?

Earl Pitts said...

@H2H: "Sensitive Security Information (SSI) is a category of sensitive but unclassified information under the United States government's information sharing and control rules. SSI is information obtained in the conduct of security activities whose public disclosure would, in the judgment of specified government agencies, harm transportation security, be an unwarranted invasion of privacy, or reveal trade secrets or privileged or confidential information. SSI is governed by Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 15 and 1520."

Bolding mine.

Wow! Sounds like the nude-o-scopes should be canned under the SSI provision since they're an unwarranted invasion of privacy!

I also find it ironic that SSI is in the "judgment" of the agency that has demonstrated a shear lack of sound judgment over the last 8 years.

I think we all know what SSI is really about ... covering someone's you know what.

Earl

Anonymous said...

Another example of reactive response. Someone will find another way to get around this. And then TSA will implement another solution to fix that after it happens.

avxo said...

HappyToHelp wrote: "Sensitive Security Information (SSI) is a category of sensitive but unclassified information under the United States government's information sharing and control rules. SSI is information obtained in the conduct of security activities whose public disclosure would, in the judgment of specified government agencies, harm transportation security, be an unwarranted invasion of privacy, or reveal trade secrets or privileged or confidential information. SSI is governed by Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), parts 15 and 1520."

Ahh, the old secret laws... It's too bad the 9th Circuit allowed this nonsense to continue and the Supremes didn't step in. (Gilmore v. Gonzalez)

I only have one question for you HappyToHelp... Do you not think that it's a travesty of justice that we have secret laws and directives that apply to us and that we can be prosecuted under, but are not allowed to see what those laws or directives actually say and what they require of us?
As a result we have to deal with the travesty of justice that are secret laws that we must abide by but we cannot see...

RB said...

http://epic.org/foia_1/gov20/WBI_Complaints_Highlights_1.pdf

................
Seems like more cases of TSA employees violating passengers rights.

JUST SAY NO TO TSA PORNO STRIP SEARCHES

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "Still waiting for an answer on this question:

Do the TSA AIT scanners show nipples or any detail of a female passenger's labia or a man's penis??"

There is some representation of the areas mentioned, but detail is a very vague question. You can see the images on this very blog on earlier posts and there are even some videos out there that can show some of the "detail" you can see with the AIT. More specifically, what level of detail are you asking about? The resolution does not go down to the hair follicle level, but there is an accurate representation of the body as it is.

West
TSA Blog Team

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn sez - "West, Tim, since you're being so unusually talkative.....

Why bsx instead of mmw?"

I am sorry Ayn, I have no information on the decision process. I do not know why they are using more of one machine in the AIT stable than the other. It may be something as simple as lont term cost, or purchase price, or something as convoluted as one company didn't submit the correct paperwork on time for a contract bid. I simply have no idea.

West
TSA Blog Team

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