Tuesday, November 9, 2010

White House Blog: Backscatter Back-Story

Office of Science and Technology Policy SealThe Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTPC) published a post on their White House Blog today offering a detailed description on Advanced Imaging Technology from the Food & Drug Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

The detailed description was requested by OSTPC’s Director, Dr. John Holdren, after receiving a letter from professors at the University of California-San Francisco seeking more information on the safety of the technology. You can read those letters and the resulting detailed description here: Backscatter Back-Story

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

124 comments:

Anonymous said...

When will you post examples of the images generated by this strip-search technology that are the same size and resolution as those seen by the operators of these machines?

Anonymous said...

If these scanners are so vital to keeping people safe, why aren't they used at TSA headquarters? Why aren't they being used on TSA screeners when they come to work?

Anonymous said...

Considering that PDF file and studies were done by the government and not a third-party non biased testing i find this highly suspect. This "study" is about as suspect as the liquid policy that has been taughted for a long time but yet real scientists with peer reviewed research have debunked this long ago but TSA has yet to prove this "theory".


I would still like to know how TSA is able to operate a device that delivers radiation without operators not being licensed and that the NRC certification data on each machine available on site.

This falls in line with devices in the past that were safe only to find out years later opps they werent and people are dieing from the effects.

Then there is SD 1554-10-05 more of closing the barn doors after the genie is out of the bottle, ala the shoe fetish, and the war on water.

Anonymous said...

You know, I'm not as concerned about the danger of it, I don't think it's that physically dangerous. However, it's still porn. I'm sorry, if you want naked pictures of me you should have to pay for the privilege. You take naked pictures of children and that's child porn. Anyone else taking those sorts of pictures would go to jail. This is why I, and many other people don't fly. Because we have the choice of being forced to let you take naked pictures of us or grope us. Either way we need a shower afterwards to wash off the feeling of being violated.

Anonymous said...

hmmm what that letter boils down to is "were the government, Trust us". Uh huh yeah right. I dont trust the government at all, especially TSA.

Until there is third-party non biased testing along with images the same size (Raw non filtered) that the man in the box sees are released to the public then I wont go through one of these cancer death rays.

Anonymous said...

Bob, why are you posting about this and not about TSA's ongoing sexual assault on travelers who don't wish to be irradiated by untested machines run by poorly trained screening clerks?

Blogger Bob said...

Anon, I'm posting about this because it is relevant. One of the top questions on this blog is about AIT safety.

Also, there is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe.

Please keep pat-down discussions in the Enhanced Pat-down post and let's keep on topic with AIT safety here.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, why aren't you addressing the 12:11 and 12:29 questions?

Anonymous said...

Why did it take from the April 2010 date of the original letter until October of 2010 to answer these concerns?

Public Outcry?

Anonymous said...

http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20012583-281.html

I have a feeling that you're lying about the images not being stored, too. How do we know you're telling the truth, when there is no way for the public to examine the TSA's process for ensuring safety of images? What's to stop a TSA worker from getting snapshots on his phone, assuming the machines are even secure in the first place? (Which... they aren't, as we've seen.)

I think the radiation issue is a red herring: It's irrelevant because being on an airplane in the first place exposes you to more radiation than the millimeter wave scanners will. The real issue is that the TSA is completely unregulated by a third party, and that we basically have to follow whatever whim you all come up with, even though you've been shown to lie countless times in the past.

txrus said...

Anonymous asked some very good questions on November 9, 2010 12:29 PM when he/she said...

If these scanners are so vital to keeping people safe, why aren't they used at TSA headquarters? Why aren't they being used on TSA screeners when they come to work?
******************************
To which I would add why wouldn't Sec'y of DHS Janet Napolitano go thru one herself when they were installed in front of her @ EWR several weeks ago?

Don't expect us peons to do what you @ HHS refuse to do!

Anonymous said...

Why did Janet Napolitano decline to go through the backscatter machine?

Anonymous said...

Some pilots unions are advising their members to "opt-out" of the backscatter machines.

I think the entire travelling public should follow the lead of the pilots, and also "opt-out" of the backscatter machines.

weaklyflyer said...

The letter from UCSF specifically mentions the fact that they have a problem with comparing the radiation from these machines to a few minutes of flying and they point out why they think that comparison is flawed.

"...chest Xrays have much higher X-ray energies and the health consequences are appropriately
understood...In contrast, these new airport
scanners are largely depositing their energy into the skin and immediately adjacent
tissue..."

Yet, the FDA article linked to reassure us that all is well spouts that exact same line "TSA has set their dose limit to ensure a person receives less radiation from one scan with a TSA general-use x-ray security system than from 2 minutes of airline flight. "

Thus they haven't bothered addressing any of UCSF's concerns with this article. They are just rehashing old boiler-plate.

Until we see *independent 3rd-party* review we cannot believe these machines are safe. That doesn't even start to address the issue of what happens if these machines malfunction or get our of calibration.

K Smith said...

If these machines are so safe and not invasive, why didn't TSA Secretary Janet Napolitano go thru the machines when she appeared at their rollout last month at New York's JFK Airport?

If they are so safe for the traveling public, why didn't Secretary Napolitano have her spouse, children, grandchildren, and elderly relatives there with her to go thru the machines?

Why are law abiding people who are engaging in a lawful activity subjected to either a virtual strip search or a sexual assault?

Police officers have to have probable cause to subject someone to an unreasonable search. Why do you support engaging in behavior not permitted under our Constitution?

Please help me understand why this is happening in the United States of America. This is the kind of behavior perpetrated by totalitarian governments.

Please help me understand why you support unreasonable searches that are not permitted by our Constitution.

K Smith

Anonymous said...

I've worked as an electron microscopy tech and while there was extremely little risk of radiation, I still had to wear a monitoring badge just in case. Why aren't the TSA agents? We also had to have out equipment inspected and calibrated regularly, with the inspection info clearly visible. Again, if this were the case with TSA, I might feel a little better. However, until third-party unbiased tests come out, I'll be opting out and reporting TSA agents doing pat-downs for sexual assault and battery - what you claim is protocol and what go on are two very different things.

Anonymous said...

I don't see anyone gripe at the security stations at airports. Everyone lines up and does what they are told. I suspect the people that want to gripe here don't fly.

There are things out there a lot worse than some low level radiation. Maintain perspective.

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob,

The letter does not mention that there is a completely safe alternative. Once again it says it is relatively safe.

There is a completely safe alternative in MMW. As long as there is a completely safe alternative in MMW, every single defense of BXR is a lie.

You really ought to tell your "independent" experts about MMW when you ask them to evaluate BXR. Their tune will change very quickly.

And people wonder why we think the TSA is dishonest.

Anonymous said...

According to the TSA, when do the 4th Amendment's protections against unreasonable search and seizure come into effect at the checkpoint?

How will I know if a search has exceeded the TSA SOP and other guidelines?

FS said...

Bob, let's stop with the little games. Why should we go through a machine that the governments says is "safe"? How about you get third-party researchers to review the machines, and then present their findings?

Anonymous said...

Merely _saying_ that your employees are professional does not _ensure_ that your employees are professional. Do you understand? As long as the TSA is the end-all and be-all of security with no discernible measure of oversight from either within or outside of the federal government (preferably the latter), there is no foundation for trusting the professionalism of the TSA. None. And as for this vaunted letter: Note that the first co-signer, McCrohan, is a mere MS, while the second, Waters, boasts a BA in sociology. Some qualifications for determining the safety of these devices. Anyone with any scientific acumen whatsoever would be more skeptical than ever about the safety of these virtual strip-search scanners.

Anonymous said...

My questions:

- How often are the backscatter machines calibrated and inspected to ensure that the amount of radiation emitted by these machines is correct?
- Why aren't TSA employees allowed to use dosimeters to determine the amount of radiation they are being exposed to?
- Why does Bruce Schneier, a world-renowned security expert, whose blog TSA links to, contend that these procedures amount to nothing but security theater?
- How does AIT protect against explosive devices placed INSIDE the body? If an attack of this nature occurs, will the TSA start mandating full body cavity searches to fly on an airplane?

Bubba said...

What this report says is that the effects of backscatter are small because the radiation dose is small. That means that it would be a small risk and safe to use under normal search conditions such as medical scans. However, this technology is being used on such a large population of people, that there can actually be a tangible number of persons who will in fact develop cancer because of it. And I guarantee that number of persons will be higher than the number of real threats to airplanes found with these machines.

In terms of cost/benefit to our safety, you are making us loose.

But thank you for providing some kind of answer on this question. Now you owe us an answer to that extensive, in depth article in Nature (the World's most respected scientific journal) stating there is not scientific basis for the SPOT program.

Bubba said...

The argument for the safety of these devices is based on the dose delivered being significantly lower than the recommended maximal yearly exposure. However, these recommended exposures are calculated for medical use, which involves a small percentage of the population that has something to gain with the exposure. These levels are not calculated for general populations, and they do not mean that if you are below them, your chances of cancer are the same as someone who was not exposed. They just mean that the chances of developing cancer because of this exposure is low enough not to be important in a general population in which few people receive this form of radiation.

There is a significant difference here, though. Never has an imaging device using ionizing radiation been deployed for use in such a large population. As a result, I can safely state that a number of people will develop cancer because of these devices. The number will most probably be low (if you believe the skin-specific doses in this report which pend independent testing), but these people still exist. Furthermore, the number of people harmed by these devices will certainly be higher than the number of terrorists caught by the TSA (i.e. zero).

Therefore, in terms of cost/benefit, these machines are a horrible health mistake.

Anonymous said...

When can we expect an independent evaluation of the radiation from these machines?

What precautions are being taken to reduce the risk from any leaks to those TSOs working in proximity to the devices?

When will TSA provide appropriate signage and information to the public in line at an airport so they can make an informed decision about allowing the TSA to use the AIT device to screen them?

Anonymous said...

Bob, like most posts that fall off the front page, the enhanced pat down post is ignored, so there's not much use in posting in it. That's why people post off topic, which is being made worse by the fact that you've stopped bumping the "Off Topic" thread near the top.

Show me an unbiased, third-party study that doesn't involve "trust us, we're from the government, we've done the testing!", and we're getting somewhere. But as for now, this post is more or less an insult to the intelligence of most readers.

Blogger Bob said...

Hi folks. I'm getting ready to start moderating for the day.

Just a reminder... please keep things on topic. If you want to post about the pat-down procedures, you can do it:

In the Enhanced Pat-down Post

Or the Off Topic Comments Post

We don't have the ability to move comments with Blogger. We can either publish or reject them. You can refer to our comment policy for more information.

Comment Policy

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Since 9/11/2001, how many actual terrorist plots have been discovered and averted entirely due to enhanced screening procedures? I'm sure it must be at least hundreds if not thousands since the terror level has been permanently elevated to ORANGE!

Fil said...

I'm going to have to quote another fellow anon, as he brought up a good point,

"I would still like to know how TSA is able to operate a device that delivers radiation without operators not being licensed and that the NRC certification data on each machine available on site."

This machine is delivering radiation to anyone forced to pass through it, regardless of how high or low those levels may be. Instead of trained professionals, we have, well... whatever the TSA can get.

When X-rays were first introduced, it was seen as a revolutionary new breakthrough in modern medicine. It was only later that people discovered the risks associated with it.

I see this new equipment, that really is more a placebo than an effective tool, going down the same path.

Anonymous said...

Why are you rejecting comments Bob? Afraid of what the reaction might be or simply sticking fingers in your ears and saying "NANANANANA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!"

Anonymous said...

The FDA draws on a very limited subset of conventional wisdom. Remember Pain-killing Statins? Or the diet drug Fen-Phen? these are examples of drugs that the FDA has conclusively determined to be safe, with disastrous results for those thousands who have died.

Folks, the simple fact of the matter is that when bags of money say "jump", the FDA says "how high?" Let's get some thrid party to come in and look at these back-scatter machines. Heck, lets get several third-party research institutions going on this. The stakes are too high (millions of screenings a year) to leave this in the hands of a malleable FDA or corrupt TSA.

Anonymous said...

How do I say this gently? I don't believe you. There are multiple examples of the TSA lying about the strip-search scanners' properties (turns out they do save the naked images, turns out they do have the ability to transmit them over a network, turns out they do make your junk visible, turns out they don't detect lots of actually hazardous items). TSA has zero credibility on this issue.

I have no intention of flying anywhere until the security theater stops.

Anonymous said...

The letter from Holdren still does not address many health concerns, such as the testicles being very close to the skin, effect on the cornea and thymus, etc.

These machines are completely unnecessary. The "underwear bomber" boarded the plan without a passport and was allowed to do so with the help of another individual. This is still an unexplained enormous security breach. And for that incident we are all treated to the humiliation of going through the machine without even our wallet in our pocket, or get the invasive pat-down, which I've already been the victim of. Outrageous.

Anonymous said...

What is the photons per unit area and time that the backscatter machines expose the human skin to?

This is the main piece of data that the government is withholding.

Right now, the choice for passengers going through the security checkpoint is:
1. Get irradiated
2. Get groped.
3. Get arrested.

#3 is particularly disturbing. If a passenger doesn't want to be irradiated or groped, then you can't just leave and go rent a car to drive to your destination.

Anonymous said...

Since my other comment will likely get moderated, here is my one question:

What is the photons per unit area and time that the backscatter machines expose the human skin to?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

I have a difficult time believing the linked reports regarding the "safety" of the body scanners. The reports seem to turn 50+ years of conventional wisdom on its head: that multiple doses of radiation is simply unsafe. In this case, unsafe for passengers and TSA's own screeners. Why is TSA suddenly exempt from federal regulations and/or occupational health and safety guidelines?

Anonymous said...

You're going to end up killing more people with cancer than you'll ever end up stopping "TERRORISM" with these things.

It's statistically plausible. Millions of people fly every year. If just 1% of a million get cancer from these things, that's 100,000 people with cancer. If just 1% of that DIE from cancer that's 10,000 people the TSA has killed. Not even CLOSE to the small fraction of people worldwide.

The only case of a death related to terrorism last year in the US was DOMESTIC. Private William Long was killed and Private Quinton Ezeagwula.

You're going to kill more than you'll ever save. I hope you can sleep at night knowing that.

aardwolf said...

Why have released pictures of the Backscatter devices consistently changed over time? Are we to trust the images that were released two months ago, or the more recent ones that look like a cartoon? Are we to assume that all airports are using the obfuscation software? I've seen some pretty graphic images from backscatter machines...

Karl said...

Why is the TSA using two different technologies for AIT machines? AFAIK the millimeter wave scanners don't produce ionizing radiation, so they seem like a safer bet.

Adrian said...

The FDA response:

1. Admitted that the dose deposited on the skin is 2 to 3 times the "effective dose". It also said that this is 89,000 times less than the safe annual dosage, but later said a person would need only 1000 scans to approach the annual limit.

2. Did not address all the points raised in the concern memo. For example, the fact that there are no studies to determine the effects of ionizing radiation on some tissues, like the corneas.

3. Did not point to any independent studies. The studies references were all conducted by government agencies or on behalf of a government agency.

4. Did not address the concern that what's safe for the general population may be dangerous to certain individuals.

Anonymous said...

The FDA is not responsible for testing devices that emit radiation, except limited to health devices. The study should have been commissioned by the FCC, which monitors radiation and makes sure that the device emits only that which has been thoroughly documented by the manufacturer. These devices have undergone no such testing.

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Anon, I'm posting about this because it is relevant. One of the top questions on this blog is about AIT safety.

Also, there is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe.

Please keep pat-down discussions in the Enhanced Pat-down post and let's keep on topic with AIT safety here.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

November 9, 2010 2:12 PM

................
Bob since you brought up the discussion of there being no "there is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports" I think this remark is dead on topic for this thread. You opened the door Bob.

So if a person Opts Out for what ever reason is this what happens"

http://wildhunt.org/blog/2010/11/pnc-minnesota-rape-survivor-devastated-by-tsa-enhanced-pat-down.html


" “This was a nightmare come to life,” Celeste says, “I said I didn’t want them to see me naked and the agent started yelling Opt out- we have an opt here. Another agent took me aside and said they would have to pat me down. He told me he was going to touch my genitals and asked if I wouldn’t rather just go through the scanner, that it would be less humiliating for me. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe this was happening. I kept saying I don’t want any of this to happen. I was whispering please don’t do this, please, please.”

Since Celeste didn’t agree to go through the scanner, the enhanced pat down began. “He started at one leg and then ran his hand up to my crotch. The cupped and patted my crotch with his palm. Other flyers were watching this happen to me. At that point I closed my eyes and started praying to the Goddess for strength. He also cupped and then squeezed my breasts. That wasn’t the worst part. He touched my face, he touched my hair, stroking me. That’s when I started crying. It was so intimate, so horrible. I feel like I was being raped.

.................
Bob, you want to retract your statement now?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why did Janet Napolitano decline to go through the backscatter machine?

November 9, 2010 4:06 PM

***********************************
Because, anon, it was/is her choice to so decline. Just as it is your choice to decline. You still don't get it, and you probably never will, because you like many others on this blog have nothing better to do than complain about security procedures. My problem is this: If we don't have security at the airports and something does happen, which all of you contend it would not, but let's just assume that it does.....you will then scream at the top of your lungs....."why did we have NO security at the airport?!" But if technology is put into place that does provide security, you like many others in this blog will call it 'theater" "strip searching" "groping" etc. because you perceive it to be excessive. What you fail to understand is that freedom is not, nor has it ever been free! It comes with a price, and the price is sometimes high, but I choose the price over the alternative....which is people trying to kill me and my family with no reason whatsoever!

Anonymous said...

On-Topic: Why are we irradiating passengers when passive technology appeared to work just fine?

Off Topic: I am glad to see that it is not just the TSA that is lacking in professionalism. It's just a shame that nothing will be done about it in either case. http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/11/07/terror-chief-tries-to-board-plane-with-banned-liquids-115875-22697823/

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't believe the number of people whining about the new AIT devices. I saw them in use recently at BWI and aside from a small wait after scanning people where going through just as quickly as the metal detectors.

As for safety if the FDA can approve drugs and x-ray equipment for hospitals I think they are qualified to do the same for the AIT devices.

RB said...

Lets go for the easy question.

Why did TSA choose dangerous xray Whole Body Imagers when contracts were already in place to buy MMW machines?

Anonymous said...

Okay everyone on this blog, quick, get some aluminim foil, make a skull cap and put it on so the aliens don't get you!

Anonymous said...

TSA is always overreacting to yesterday's threat. What happens when a terrorist is found with a rectal stash of explosives?

I am thoroughly disgusted with everything the TSA does, and cannot wait for congressional hearings that begin the process of dismantling this offensive and useless agency.

Anonymous said...

Why do you continue to ignore the questions asked at 12:11 and 12:29 pm on Nov 9?

Blowing off embarrassing questions does nothing to add to TSA's already rock bottom credibility.

Your friend Ethel said...

this comment will probably never show.

Curtis

Since you have decided to usurp persons first amendment rights, you now can deal with the OIG for a civil rights complaint that is well documented.

The phone call will follow shortly.

if you thought the heat was bad then its about to go up many levels on the Scoville scale

Anonymous said...

Putting aside the 4th amendment issues, and the medical safety issues, and the cultural issues, there is one additional overriding concern which is left as yet completely unaddressed by the TSA, specifically:

DO THEY ACTUALLY WORK? i.e. are the AIT scans, and the invasive patdown procedures that seem to be designed to ensure people undergo scans, actually have any affect AT ALL on catching terrorists? HAS EVEN A SINGLE TERRORIST PLOT BEEN UNCOVERED BY THESE TECHNOLOGIES? Is there any evidence of someone trying to smuggle some explosive device on to a plane that was interdicted with these procedures? Are AIT scans actually better at interdicting dedicated terrorists than simple metal detectors? Are the sufficiently better than other options to warrant their significantly increased expense?

The answer is "we don't know" -- though I strongly suspect the answer is NO, for the simple reason that if a plot were foiled using these technologies, we would likely hear about it, as we did with the recent (Oct 2010) plot to smuggle bombs through the US cargo system. The TSA is so reviled for its inefficiencies and excesses that it would be politically impossible for it not to crow about such a success.

Now, the TSA might tell us that the use of AIT technology has uncovered people bringing contraband onto planes -- but this is NOT the same thing. Even if, in 1 in a million passenger intercepts finds some buffoon that left a loaded gun in his carry-on luggage (or his pants, for that matter) that's NOT the same thing as interdicting a terrorist plot. (And, statistically, a 1-in-1 million event should happen to the TSA with some frequency, given their volume.)

The TSA has no publicly reported data on how many plots it interdicts using which methods, and how much those methods cost, and so it's impossible for society to effectively balance the risk ratio for these activities. It might be the case that these technologies are light years ahead and that people are being appropriately prevented from doing terrible things -- and not merely -- inconvenienced and/or having their privacy rights violated -- in droves. But I have never seen -- or even heard of -- ANYONE being interdicted at airport security using ANY method. In light of that, AIT appears to be a useless, privacy-violating, culturally insensitive, boondoggle.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why you, yourself, Bob, posted this in the comments section:

"Also, there is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe."

But yet you disapprove comments being made because they aren't on topic in your opinion?

YOU said this outright LIE in the comments section of the blog, yet you won't approve anyone who brings up this outright lie?

I do not understand this at all - you yourself need to follow your own "rule". This is unfair that no one can respond in this section when you did it yourself in this section!

Anonymous said...

Why not adopt Israel's Methods of Screeening-- They Use Intelligence

Anonymous said...

So All these reports of fondeling are lies???

Anonymous said...

I think the entire travelling public should follow the lead of the pilots, and also "opt-out" of the backscatter machines.

November 9, 2010 4:07 PM

Enjoy the longer lines. But way to stick it to big brother. Youre a true renagade...

Anonymous said...

Forget about radiation, why does the letter of the fourth amendment not apply to these goons?

Chris Boyce said...

As we have come to expect, Blogger Bob said...

Hi folks. I'm getting ready to start moderating for the day.

Just a reminder... please keep things on topic. If you want to post about the pat-down procedures, you can do it:

In the Enhanced Pat-down Post

Or the Off Topic Comments Post

We don't have the ability to move comments with Blogger. We can either publish or reject them. You can refer to our comment policy for more information.

Bob,

My response to your response to anonymous addressed both forms of the current checkpoint harassment: the friskings as well as the strip search machines with respect to the FDA/TSA Public Affairs response to the UCSF professors. I view your censoring of my post as a deliberate means to stifle free speech discussion of the whole of the TSA's checkpoint policies.

I'll give you another shot before I have a chat with the IG.

John W. said...

Let's tell the truth here TSA. All of these so-called new security measures is about nothing more than the increased use of the Police State tactics, all designed to control every aspect of our daily lives. I'm not giving one more ounce of my freedom in exchange for any security the government has to offer.

Fat Feddy Mort said...

Typical Soviet-style government bureaucrat denial. TSA employees must be held criminally accountable for abuse.

Furthermore, government employees should learn their place and watch their tone when replying back to the taxpayers whom they serve. We the people can’t wait for the 112th Congress to rattle your cages.

Anonymous said...

Backscatter? Isn't this the same technology that was used by high powered radar stations in the northern lands searching for Soviet Bombers?

The SAME technology that the Air Force wouldn't let you near a unit when it was operating, in the Aleutians because of the hazards?.... You couldn't stand on the north side of one pointed at the bomber approaches, because it would severely mess you up...

Didn't the government tell a bunch of soldiers in the 1960s that that stuff being sprayed on them was perfectly safe?

So...to ensure your health isn't damaged by a technology which hasn't been extensively used on humans on a mass scale until now....you have to subject yourself to being groped in the genitals, or being humiliated by employees who don't have the basic idea of respect? There are way too many stories cropping up about abuses during the screening process on people who dare refuse the scanner for my comfort--- even if 1 in 50, it's way too many abuses for my tastes.

It's why I can't stand the possibility of flying.

Anonymous said...

The only threat to air travelers these days are the glorified airport guards, TSA. What about the pilots who get daily doses of radiation already from flying most of the time? I suppose you think a little more won't hurt. I highly doubt they act professionally with all the complaints about them, unless you know what all 50,000 of them are doing every minute of every day. There's only one person I know who can do that, and you're not him.

Anonymous said...

there is no fondling, squeezing, groping, or any sort of sexual assault taking place at airports. You have a professional workforce carrying out procedures they were trained to perform to keep aviation security safe.

Oh, well that's all right then.

Anonymous said...

The Inspector General just announced the Obama administration misrepresented the opinions of independent experts in its oil-drilling-moratorium brief, in order to secure a more favorable court ruling.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101110/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_gulf_oil_spill_4

Sorry, but I'm not buying the Obama Administration's representations about the safety of these naked people machines.

Anonymous said...

So when is the TSA going to post the hardware designs, electronic schematics, and software source code to the scanners? It's the easiest way to prove the TSA's positions that the scanners are safe and don't store any images. And don't say the information has to remain hidden to be "secure". Security through obscurity has been proven repeatedly to be the most ridiculous concept and is the butt of most jokes in other industries when it comes to security. The best security algorithms have been proven to be the ones most open to scrutiny. Almost all commonly used encryption standards used for most communications are open to all and work far better than closed ones.

Anonymous said...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety".

Benjamin Franklin

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Why not adopt Israel's Methods of Screeening-- They Use Intelligence

November 10, 2010 3:51 PM

................
"They Use Intelligence"

Simple "TSA"

Anonymous said...

Well, the one Hope we have for actual CHANGE is this.

TSA will soon be hitting the unemployment lines in droves... I have canceled all my plans to fly this year and will conduct business via conference. 100+Tix that otherwise would have been sold are now going to buy a nice chunk of recreational property instead. Win win for us...

I have spent the last ten years teaching my kids that absolutely nobody touches them in their privates. I have absolutely no intention on being made a liar.

Install these machines at the stadiums, I will turn in my season tix. Train., same results until the last pair of Jackboots is retired to the dustbin of history

Major Variola (ret) said...

What is the TSA doing about female bombers, of which there have been 40 in the last few decades. Including two who took down two russian planes.

Isn't the vaginal capacity in excess of the ~4 oz brisant required to bojinka a plane at altitude? How do you deal with pregnancy spoofs?

Or are we waiting for those attacks?

Anonymous said...

Aren't there some inks that the scan displays, that is which interferes with the scan?

George said...

Let's see....

Bob generously takes the time to give us the TSA's Official Position that the scanners are absolutely safe (although for some reason he neglects to repeat the official position that they're not a strip search). He also gives us the TSA's Official position that the alternative pat down is not a sexual assault, but merely a (presumably effective and necessary) security measure administered by professional (and presumably courteous) officers only for the purpose of keeping avaiation safe. As far as he is concerned, nothing more needs to be said. Except, perhaps, "Trust us."

Unfortunately, most people who have responded to Bob's statements of the Official Position refuse to either accept them or to trust the TSA.

This seems an irreconcilable difference, a chasm of credibility that can't be bridged. And Bob only seems to be widening that gap. Responding to growing concerns about safety by repeating "it's safe, trust us" won't make the concerns going away. And responding to people who, rightly or wrongly, perceive the pat down as humilating sexual assault by repeatedly denying that it's a sexual assault will not change that perception.

If the TSA is attempting to improve its abysmal credibility with this blog, it's not working. If the TSA is attempting to address legitimate concerns about the scanners and the pat downs by repeatedly denying or ignoring them, it's not working.

I can only conclude that the TSA doesn't care. After all, why bother with earning the respect and trust of the public when it's so much easier to bellow "DYWTFT" into our ears?

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Marines! Remember, when you get back from fighting real terrorists overseas, you will be treated like criminals by the TSA.

TSORon said...

Anonymous said...
My questions:

- How often are the backscatter machines calibrated and inspected to ensure that the amount of radiation emitted by these machines is correct?
---------------------------
If you had read the PDF attachment you would have found the answer to your question. Annually, or after any maintenance that affects the energy emitter, or after any impact that may affect the energy emitter.

Anon’s next question:

- Why aren't TSA employees allowed to use dosimeters to determine the amount of radiation they are being exposed to?
----------------------------
Because they are not in the beam of the emitted energy. It’s a directed beam of X-rays, a technology that has been around for decades.
---------------------------
Anon’s next question:
- Why does Bruce Schneier, a world-renowned security expert, whose blog TSA links to, contend that these procedures amount to nothing but security theater?
--------------------------
Because he has an opinion, just as you do, just as we all do. There are many “world-renowned security experts” out there, and quite a few consult for the TSA. Bruce Schneier doesn’t. A better question might be “Why did TSA choose not to use him?”.

Anon’s next question:
- How does AIT protect against explosive devices placed INSIDE the body? If an attack of this nature occurs, will the TSA start mandating full body cavity searches to fly on an airplane?
--------------------------
TSA deals with realities, not science fiction.

Anonymous said...

"Those who give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety , deserves neither liberty nor safety ." Ben Franklin

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, care to explain why passenger Meg McLain was handcuffed, and her ticket ripped up by a TSO? Sounds like blatant abuse to me, care to give the TSA side of the story?

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

Anonymous said...

People: You're going to get screened whether you like it or not. Expect the TSA people to make opting out of the strip search machines particularly odious. They have to justify the machine's procurement.

True, it has little to do with security. TSA, DHS, and all the other government agencies are first in the business of staying in business. Bureaucracies maintain a problem, not solve it. They constantly look to increase their staff and power. Second they are in the business of making money for their leaders. Technology introduction has become a prime method of getting lucrative contracts with some perks going to family, friends and cronies. We've all heard scandal after scandal on government procurement. Do you expect TSA to be different?

If you're inconvenienced by these facts of government life, well isn't that too bad. Bureaucracies only change due to outside pressure and only Congress can yield that pressure. There is no momentum in Congress that I see to change anything.

Anonymous said...

You people have lied about everything else. Why should anyone believe you now?

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/08/04/surprise-feds-stored.html

Blogger Bob said...

Anon said: I don't understand why you, yourself, Bob, posted this in the comments section...

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

The reason I posted it in this section is that I was receiving a lot of comments in the moderation queue that were about the pat-down. As I stated earlier, I can't move comments around from post to post with Blogger. All I can do is reject or publish. So, instead of having to reject more comments, I wanted to possibly keep others from commenting in the wrong post. That's all...

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments here are missing the fundamental point, which is that the backscatter machines cost a great deal of money. The important thing here is not whether they work, whether the operators or the public want them, or even if they're safe - but that they are installed and paid for. Only then will the people who make decisions about these things - who are not entirely unconnected with the people who make profits from them - agree to consider whether they serve their ostensible purpose. Then no doubt they will find the machines fall short, and need to be replaced with something more sophisticated (and expensive). Anyone who's paid any attention at all to US defense procurement ought to understand the process very well.

Anonymous said...

In China the airports do not have the intrusions to dignity and privacy that the TSA employees are taking part in.

I guess the terrorists do not hate their freedom.

(Shame on each one of you who profits at the expense of this country and its heritage of freedom. Many brave men and women died for the liberty which you are dismantling)

Anonymous said...

A comment on this blog defending the scanners said: "What you fail to understand is that freedom is not, nor has it ever been free! It comes with a price, and the price is sometimes high, but I choose the price over the alternative..."

Now, think about that for the moment. Hmmmm...the price of freedom is that I give up my freedom.

Anonymous said...

I can certainly understand Flight Crews wanting to opt out. On a recent flight, the crew was on their 5th leg of flights. That would be 10 scans in one day, assuming they left the secure zone.

Thats not "less than one" x-ray.

Anonymous said...

To TSORon:

"Anon’s next question:
- How does AIT protect against explosive devices placed INSIDE the body? If an attack of this nature occurs, will the TSA start mandating full body cavity searches to fly on an airplane?
--------------------------
TSA deals with realities, not science fiction."

You're about 13.5 months behind reality, Ron:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/28/eveningnews/main5347847.shtml

Anonymous said...

TSORON said:

"Anon’s next question:
- How does AIT protect against explosive devices placed INSIDE the body? If an attack of this nature occurs, will the TSA start mandating full body cavity searches to fly on an airplane?
--------------------------
TSA deals with realities, not science fiction."


Science Fiction? Apparently you don't keep up with current events very well, Ron. I would expect better from a TSO.

But, since TSORON doesn't keep up, I'll just mention the guy in Saudi Arabia who had the explosives in his rectum. How you gonna handle that Ron?

h t t p://w w w.worldtribune.com/worldtribune/WTARC/2010/me_terror1088_11_03.asp

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason I will never fly again. I wonder if all the ISP's posting comments here are recorded? Probably. In the name of security, our freedoms and privacy are whittled away.

Anonymous said...

I will not fly again. I am driving to Chicago from Seattle to avoid it. Since I lost my job I have plenty of time anyway. God Bless America. - Ann Bennet

Anonymous said...

How many times in history has a product been FDA-approved only to have been later recalled due to it killing someone? And the other option, "Opting Out", well how would you feel if your young child had their genitals felt up by some random government employee? Do you tell her, "honey, it is OK for people in the government to touch your private parts." If that is truly how you feel, then the terrorists have won. Where does this stop? Is the next step body cavity searches? Contact your Congressmen now, and help put a stop to this insanity.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the most interesting thing regarding the FBS or AIT process is that it is of almost no value. Just as people have found means to circumvent the metal detectors, so will they quickly make these machines little more than expensive, irrelevant inconveniences.

We know, for example, that they detect material only on the body surface. You may therefore count on the fact that those inclined to carry prohibited substances on aircraft will find ways to carry things INSIDE the body. Unless TSA thinks it can get away with taking full on xrays and offering as an "opt out" a body cavity search, they had best find REAL and effective ways to deal with security.

Might I suggest aggressive profiling?

Anonymous said...

What is the TSA doing to prevent the theft or loss of wallets and other valuables that have to be removed (and possibly left out of passengers' sight) while undergoing AIT scanning?

This to me seems a bigger safety issue than either radiation or the ability to store scanned images, since the loss or theft of a wallet also creates the possibility of identity theft. What is the TSA doing about this serious problem with the scanners? How can a passenger retain control of valuables that must be "divested" and separated?

Is there a way to communicate this issue to TSA leadership? I've tried "Talk to TSA," but it seems intended only to address specific issues at specific airport checkpoints? Is there another way to "talk to TSA" about more general issues like this?

TSORon said...

Another Anonymous said...
But, since TSORON doesn't keep up, I'll just mention the guy in Saudi Arabia who had the explosives in his rectum. How you gonna handle that Ron?
--------------------------------
Well Anon, I’ll just direct you to the thread below. This subject is covered there. Thanks and have a great day!
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/15083063-post90.html

Anonymous said...

"This subject is covered there. Thanks and have a great day!
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/15083063-post90.html"

But it's not. A bad guy doesn't have to detonate something inside a body cavity. He just has to get onto a flight with it. He's free to remove it once he's beyond security. The guy in Saudi was dumb, but like-minded people who wish us harm have no doubt learned from his mistake.

I'm in the military. I've played with these and they're only 40mm (1.57 inches) in diameter:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/M32_Grenade_Loading.jpg

They make variants of that same 40mm round that penetrate up to 2 inches of steel armor.

Tell me that someone sufficiently dedicated and fanatical can't fit something of that size into a body cavity. And keep in mind that an equivalent charge doesn't have to be encased in metal, which I assume and fervently hope would set off detectors, even if carried internally.

Don't tell me that you can't fit enough explosive into a body cavity, either. The Lockerbie flight was brought down by 10 or 11 ounces of Semtex.

Anonymous said...

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Anonymous said...

So...the TSA procurement boffins managed to 'save bucks' by using vendor who is re-packaging dental x-ray tubes for these scanners because it's cheaper to use 40keV tubes (tuned for bone) than find a source of 5-12keV tubes (tuned for flesh resolution). Summary: These things have to pump 10x the amount of radiation they should to resolve a flesh image properly. Siemens did same thing with mammography machines in 90s - also unsafe - but the TSA doesn't have the funds/lawyers to slapp (term of art) the lawsuits down the way Siemens did. And doing the right thing would entail not frying your citizens as opposed to Siemens' pour-on-lawyers response in any case.

Way to go guys! And yes I have a degree in Solid state physics, thanks for asking.

Anonymous said...

Why should I submit myself to a procedure that may, even very slightly, increase my cancer risk if it gives me no benefit whatsoever?

Anonymous said...

The more I fly from US airports, the more I wish I never had to fly from them. Thanks, TSA, for ruining any chance of having an enjoyable vacation.

Anonymous said...

Do the controls that the TSA agents use when passengers are going through the scanners allow them to indicate whether the passenger is male or female, so that the images are only viewed by a screener of the same sex? It didn't look like it when I was traveling last month, but they were too busy to let me get a close look, and the agents inspecting my medical equipment didn't want to answer.

Anonymous said...

If these scanners are so good, why are people mobilizing more and more against them?

Not Anon said...

TSORon, with hits attitude, states "TSA deals with realities, not science fiction."

Well TSORon, thanks for the biggest laugh I have had all month.

Anonymous said...

I have just found proof that the TSA is lying about only same-sex agents viewing body scan images. It is a CNN news clip that I found on YouTube. This is CNN's video, and they are considered a credible news source. I urge all of you to copy the address and watch, at 0:54 in the video, there is a male TSA agent viewing an image of a naked female. Clear as day. No debate. That is a man looking at a naked woman. Yet another lie from the TSA, that I, as an ordinary citizen was able to discover. I wonder what else is going on that we don't know about. Please watch, THIS is truth, not what they're telling you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muYh8d70yow&feature=player_embedded#!

Anonymous said...

How are these machines better or less expensive than trained dogs?

Anonymous said...

I am a firm believer of strong security, and I am not particularly concerned about the privacy issues being brought up, but I was trying to understand all the arguments and I am concerned about some of the health issues involved.

I am not sure I understand how to do the calculations on this correctly, but it was enough of a concern that I thought it should be mentioned.

Data indicates that there is a 1 in 80 million chance of death by cancer for each screening.
Since there are 703.8 million passengers flying domestically and internationally in a year, that leads to 8.8 preventable deaths per year.
A quick review of airline fatalities over 27 years shows an average of 108.3 fatalities per year.

This means that the implementation of new x-ray screening equipment will lead to an 8.1% increase in average airline related fatalities per year assuming all passengers are screened.

I wasn't sure if I was calculating this correctly.

Data on equipment
http://www.tsa.gov/research/reading/index.shtm

Data on air related fatalities
http://www.ntsb.gov/aviation/Paxfatal.htm

Data on number of passengers
http://www.bts.gov/press_releases/2010/bts053_10/html/bts053_10.html#table_01

Anonymous said...

Well everybody complaining about security at the airport. Lets stop all security, and when your butt is sitting 30,000 ft above the ground and someone blows a hole in the plane. Everyone will be blogging how did this happen where is the security.
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO BE SCANNED OR BODY SEARCHED. THEN KEEP YOU BUTT OUT OF THE AIRPORT IT MEANS I CAN PROCEDE THROUGH THE LINE QUICKER. TAKE A BUS OR GO BY CAR IT DOESN'T BOTHER ME SO IF IT DOES YOU STAY HOME PERIOD CRY BABIES

Bev R of Boston, MA said...

To all those "Anonymous" bloggers who have developed amnesia and have already forgotten about the hazards of flying today. Do you remember 9/11? Do you recall the "underwear" bomber, the shoe bomber? As a former flight attendant, I remember and I suggest that you take this into very serious consideration: If you do not want to follow TSA protocol, then I suggest that you find other means of transportation. We are living in a much different world, and I personally do not care about your being violated.

Also, as a nurse, the so called radiation amounts to having a radiograph at your dentist's office. The safety of this nation far outweighs the violation of your "dignity," as some of you had the audacity to post. It also sounds to me that you have not had the pain of losing a loved one in those horrific attacks that have changed this country and the world forever!

I say to the government--impose a stiff penalty on those who opt to leave the airport instead; this is exactly what the terrorists are seeking to find their seque onto our planes. They will eventually find an opening and just pray that you and your family are not on that aircraft.

Bev of Boston, MA

BevR of Boston, MA said...

To TRexus:" It is precisely people like you who use fear tactics as a means of attempting to get your point across.

Regarding Janet Neapolitano, she already has security clearance. Did that escape your "inability to think outside the box" mentality?

BevR of Boston, MA

Anonymous said...

TSA is a joke. But now it's scary too. The radiation IS dangerous. They should be arrested for having pornographic images of those under age 18. And they should be arrested for UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE. It feels like "guilty, until proven innocent" to me.

If I "opt-out" of the scan I then am denied my 4th amendment rights for "security."

This technology wouldn't stop the underwear bomber. And that guy was stopped by concerned citizens like you and I.

Dept. of Homeland Security and TSA are perverse, irresponsible and degrading to any free person wanting to enjoy the "friendly" skies. Yes, the machines contribute to cancer like most government mandated products these days.

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't the TSA examined Israeli airport procedure, which is effective in the face of greater threats and much less invasive?

I am a flyer, but I refuse to fly until the TSA changes procedure so that I will not be physically violated at security checkpoints.

Merrilee said...

ANY radiation is life-threatening for me. I've had breast cancer and there is no way I'm going through one of these machines. I ended up in one two weeks ago while traveling (I travel weekly) and almost freaked out. I realized I was being exposed to something that I did not consent to and was in the "mammogram" position. I agree with others - my choices are threaten my life, have someone paw over areas where I've had multiple surgeries and sensitivities, or get arrested. Who's the terrorists here? I say it's the TSA and the government. Enough is enough. Get rid of these machines.

Anonymous said...

This is so wrong. "Bob" does not answer the legitimate questions posted, despite repeated pleas for answers to completely logical, legitimate questions. This despite the fact we have sunshine information laws and pay "his" salary.

So Bob, care to answer the questions posted in the beginning? 12:11 and 12:29? Where are the images that depict what the TSA agent sees?

Joanie said...

To those of you who expect to see results measured by how many would be bombers have been caught by these machines you are missing the point. The correct question is "How many bombers have not bothered because they know they couldn't get by these machines". That number can't be measured of course. A would be bomber will decide it's not worth taking the chance of going through a scanner or once faced with one will decide to walk away. That is why folk who walk away are seen as suspicious. That's exactly what someone with a bomb would do.

As for using the same methods as used at foreign airports, I would love to see your reaction to guards openly holding machine guns all over the airport.

Anonymous said...

Let's face it, the fix is in, as usual. Mr. Chertoff has made a small fortune selling these machines to the TSA. Just about every major medical study, except that produced by the TSA, says these x-ray machines are unsafe (not to mention common sense).

As long as everyday honest U.S. Citizens are willing to be treated like criminals and sheep at the same time this will continue. I dread the day when Americans wake up and start smelling the poisonous brew that the Feds feed us daily.

Frank said...

This is a lie, the exposure rate matters not only the dose. And the FDA studies spread the dose over the whole body and not the skin where it is actually absorbed making the estimates grossly inaccurate.

Zoe Brain said...

I have no problems with the MMW devices. The failure modes of them are extremely unlikely to cause harm (unless they catch fire, or are dropped on someone during installation), and in normal operation there is no evidence that harm would be caused.

Backscatter X-Ray.... no way. Not without dosimeters for operating personnel (to make sure that the beams are directed correctly even when something goes wrong, and calibration after every thousand (or fewer) uses.

The whole-body dose is, if not negligible, nearly so. The fact that it's absorbed by the skin at a much greater rate is of concern. But in normal operation, as long as the subject doesn't have too many, and hasn't had radiation therapy, it won't kill more than a handful of people. I'd personally say the risk is acceptable.

It's the failure modes I'm concerned with. I've dealt with RISK and HAZOP analysis on medical devices, and that is the standard that should be used here (the FDA notwithstanding).

From what I've read - and more to the point, what's missing in the Johns Hopkins reports.

First, multiple failures were not considered.

Second, there was no SOAK test of operation of multiple production-configuration machines over the inspection lifecycle (1 year - one reason why inspections should be conducted more often).

Third, no actual production machine was tested, only engineering models. The data used by JHL needs validating vs installed equipment.

Fourth - no HAZOP analysis and risk mitigation.

Fifth - no software analysis. For this kind of equipment, a formally provable language (e.g. RAVENSCAR profile) should be used.

Sixth - if the FDA standards for diagnostic devices don't apply - which the FDA stated in 1992 - then other standards for radiation emitting devices do.

I could go on... OK, the TL:DR; version:
If nothing goes wrong, it's safe.
If something goes wrong, it may not be safe, and tens of thousands of passengers could be at risk before the next check reveals the problems (there needs to be at least 2 simultaneously, or one Byzantine Failure in the software).

Me? I'll take MMW scanning any time. BXR? Nope. I work on safety-critical systems, where if I screw up, people die, perhaps lots of people, so I'm over-sensitive the risks. I already get enough of a rad dose from flying trans-pacific to add to it.

Anonymous said...

Your lies make we want to vomit. You should move to North Korea where your values are in tune with the society.

Anonymous said...

Hey TSORon, I thought of another question for you related to the Flyertalk thread you linked. The one where you wrote:

"In part, there is not enough space in any particular body cavity to put all the components necessary and the amount of explosive necessary to cause catastrophic damage to an aircraft."

Let me see if I've got this. You can't fit enough components and explosives in a body cavity, but you can fit it in the heel of a shoe? Have I got that reasoning about right?

Anonymous said...

This blog states that OSTPC published a post offering a detailed description of AIT -- albeit from FDA and DHS. The blog gave me the impression that OSTPC directly input the description/data into its blog, and that OSTPC thereby essentially independently validated the response and/or vouched for it.

But that is not the case -- the OSTPC blog merely links to the description/response without comment, and notably does not say anything about the validity of the response. You could have done that, as well, but you didn't.

Glenn said...

I have to say, Osama Bin Laden is winning right now. He has us running scared. When will we stand up and say we are going to live our lives in a normal manner. This fear all started under the Bush administration and has continued under Obama. America, this is not how we should behave. Stand up and be counted, grow a pair, or whatever euphemism you choose. All these measures coupled with the un-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are greatly contributing to our financial demise.

Garth said...

It is interesting that you want to keep comments on pat-downs in one post and the scanners in another post. The two are connected.

The pat-downs, which include inappropriate touching of the private areas of passengers, are clearly meant to punish those who object to the scanning. I don't care if you use the back of your hand or your toes - it is still meant to be humiliating and is designed to ensure a highly acceptance rate of the scanners.

You can move this post to the pat-down section if you'd like.

Anonymous said...

Why aren't bomb sniffing dogs a good solution? The dogs easily detect explosives in body cavities, combined with the previous screening process, seems the only threat would be ceramic blades but with the cockpit locked down and the pilots armed, seems like much less of a threat these days.

Those rectums packed with PETN seem to be the next threat and TSA as usual is a reactive organization rather then a proactive one.
Mark Smith

John Novak said...

Your new search dictate violates my constitional right againist such searches. The police can't search me like that unless they have reasonable suspicion/warrant.
Because the dictator of your organization has made his dictate from whatever moutain top he is on I can't see my family in Az. Sooner or later the people will rise up at get ris of your program, and trust me, if I need to get a second mortgage to help them I will.
Forever againist you!
JOHN NOVAK
VIET NAM VET
NOV67-JUL69

Anonymous said...

It's obvious these outrageous searches of innocent people are not needed. The Israelis would never put up with this garbage and they have excellent security. Why don't you be honest about the real reason you are doing this? We all know anyway! There are actually two reasons. (1) Money: someone is getting paid off to put these obscene scanners in the airports. (2) Unwillingness to use racial, religious, or other appropriate screening. Hence totally uncalled for searches of children. You people are truly disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a prospective multisite study of the scanners as installed and operated in airports to ensure that the radiation exposure is as demonstrated by the JHU studies posted on the TSA site. Perhaps the NRC can undertake this effort. Also informed consent may be required as this is a somewhat invasive procedure that has a risk greater than zero for use in populations otherwise healthy. We should ensure that TSA personnel and frequent flyers don't have increased lifetime risk of cancer as this will result in costly litigation/compensation down the road.

Anonymous said...

I would like to congratulate the TSA for not only giving the terrorist victory in the "War on Terror", but also a new weapon in their fight.

Picture this little scenario:

Day before Thanksgiving, crowded major airport (Atlanta, LAX, D.C.), serval Al-Qaeda are standing in the security line and all decide to opt-out of the full body scan in choose the pat-down instead. While the lines back up, another Al-Aqeda agent (or more) sets off explosives inside the airport lobby, killing and wounding a large number of people, forcing a shutdown of the airport and vastly disrupting air travel across the nation.

Great job, guys. You let the terrorists win, gave them a new weapon, all the while making the people your hired to protect less secure and stealing yet more of their freedom.

Bravo! Bravo!

Anonymous said...

If a TSA agent does a pat-down search I me, do I get dinner and flowers first?

Lord Dixie said...

Are TSA agents being scanned to show they aren't carrying cellphones? No free ride Mr Pistole. IF American citizens are guilthy till fondled shouldn't that apply to your agents?

Anonymous said...

We are still patiently waiting for links to peer-reviewed research on the back scatter scanners showing their intrinsic or inherent safety. The EU has decided that risks from back scatter devices are to great, and will now utilize only millimeter scanners.

What is the date that we can expect all back scatter devices in the US to be recalled, and replaced by millimeter devices?

-Seattle cancer survivor and attorney