Thursday, September 15, 2011

LAX TSA Officers Go Fishing?

FISH
(Image Not of Passenger’s Luggage) laszlo-photo
Our baggage officers at LAX must have been using the Fishin’ Magician yesterday.  They observed a fishy image after an explosives detection system  alarmed. After going into the luggage, they found live fish swimming around in a bag. You might say they were “packed like sardines.” 

Here is the kicker: The passenger didn’t have a little baggie with a goldfish in it, they had 4 large hard-sided suitcases each filled with only fish and water. In all, there were nearly 240 fish of all types and sizes.

The passenger bought the fish at a local pet store and was taking them home. The airline would not allow him to transport the fish via checked luggage, but they did allow him to ship them properly via cargo. One might say the passenger was “schooled”  on how to properly fly with fish. I’m guessing things went swimmingly for the fish from that point forward?  If you’re traveling with any type of live critter, (other than your kids) be sure to contact your airline to see what their policies are. 


If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

54 comments:

Saul said...

Bob, please answer these two key questions.

* And this relates to the TSA's mandate of transportation security how exactly?

* And why did the ETD alarm on fish and water, unless these fish were laden with explosive residue? Seems like yet another false positive.

Thank you.

Blogger Bob said...

Saul - Our equipment alarmed and we followed our policies and procedures and searched the bags. That's how it relates.

The EDS machines screen checked baggage differently than the machines we have at the checkpoints. From the link I provided in the post:

Explosive Detection System (EDS) machines, work like the MRI machines in your doctor's office. Through a sophisticated analysis of each checked bag, the EDS machines can quickly determine if a bag contains a potential threat or not. If a weapon or explosive is detected, the machines alert our security officers so they can manage the bag appropriately. In some cases, the alarm is quickly resolved and in others law enforcement and the bomb squad may be called in.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

So, Bob, that would be a "yes" to this being a false positive? Y'all do realize false positives are BAD, right?

Saul said...

Bob, nevertheless, this was a false positive: the ETD alarmed when there was no explosive present. As an extreme example, if the machine alarmed for every bag, would you also say that it successfully found items that need more investigating? The false positive rate for machinery that you deem to critical to security should not be taken lightly.

It does not seem wise to advertise a false positive for your machinery as a "successful find", especially when such false positives can have severe consequences for passengers whose items have alarmed, including the surrendering of said items and invasive patdowns.

In addition, would the contents of this luggage not have been caught by the more conventional x-ray machines?

You also did not answer the question of how finding four suitcases of fish mitigated a threat to aviation security.

Thank you.

Blogger Bob said...

Let's see. We found 4 suitcases of fish. I think it's safe to say it was a false positive. False positives happen. Not just at TSA, but everywhere else in the world where testing is done. We don't like them as much as the next person, but we have to check them out.

As far as mandates... Our machine alarmed and we checked it out. After finding out there was no threat, we notified the airline about the fish.

This is just a quirky little story about an odd find. That's all...

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

>> This is just a quirky little
>> story about an odd find.
>> That's all...

No harm in relaying amusing anecdotes. It must be a good way to relieve some of the monotony that screening thousands of bags must entail.

Netherless, on the linked page about EDS, the TSA writes, "Through a sophisticated analysis of each checked bag, the EDS machines can quickly determine if a bag contains a potential threat or not." In this case, the EDS machine failed. It alarmed on a bag that was not a threat.

False positives can be just as detrimental as failing to spot actual threats. If there are too many false positives, confidence in the system is undermined, and resources may be diverted from finding the (rare) true threats. And a false positive on explosive-trace detection in carry-on bags can have severe repercussions for the owner of the bag.

Of course many systems have false positives. But they should not be so cavalierly dismissed.

Anonymous said...

Bob, do you think these tales of mundane finds creates a better opinion of the TSA?

Anonymous said...

In tomorrow's exciting post:

A TSA agent finds their own head with their hat.

Anonymous said...

These cute stories about reptiles and fish must be a lot of fun to write. More fun than stories about the heinous crimes your staff have been committing recently. Will you ever write a post about your TSA drug smugglers?

Anonymous said...

What a great story...what was that person thinking...poor fish. As far as all the other posts about false positives, I would much rather my bag go off with a false positive then for the machine to fail and let live fish or live weapons on to a plane. It amazes me how quickly we all forget...10 years ago people died at the hands of terrorist and I am all for protecting my family and friends by going through security with out complaint for I know I am safe.

Anonymous said...

This is just a quirky little story about an odd find. That's all...
----------------------------------
How about a story about the TSO's recently arrested?

Anonymous said...

To Saul:

You did not apparently understand what Bob said. There is a huge difference between an ETD machine and an EDS machine. The ETD is a small machine like you would see on a checkpoint that officers use after doing a test on a persons hands. An EDS machine is a giant xray machine that is used to screen checked luggage. An alarm on an EDS means that an area of the bag needs an additional inspection. Usually this means an officer has to physically look into the bag to resolve the alarm.

RB said...

Explosive Detection System (EDS) machines, work like the MRI machines in your doctor's office. Through a sophisticated analysis of each checked bag, the EDS machines can quickly determine if a bag contains a potential threat or not. If a weapon or explosive is detected, the machines alert our security officers so they can manage the bag appropriately. In some cases, the alarm is quickly resolved and in others law enforcement and the bomb squad may be called in.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

September 15, 2011 3:54 PM
.......................

So the TSA EDS machine determined that fish are a potential threat?

Not building much confidence in this method of screening Bob.

RB said...

Blogger Bob said...
Let's see. We found 4 suitcases of fish. I think it's safe to say it was a false positive. False positives happen. Not just at TSA, but everywhere else in the world where testing is done. We don't like them as much as the next person, but we have to check them out.

As far as mandates... Our machine alarmed and we checked it out. After finding out there was no threat, we notified the airline about the fish.

This is just a quirky little story about an odd find. That's all...

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

September 15, 2011 4:18 PM
..............

Don't think I would be bragging about another TSA screening failure!

George said...

Blogger Bob feels compelled to write posts about false positives because actual successes are so infrequent. (That's because terrorist threats, though potentially very devastating, are extremely infrequent-- a fact Blogger Bob and the TSA would prefer that we ignore.)

The idea behind TSA public relations (and indeed behind the TSA itself) is to convince the public that the TSA is indeed Doing Something in reaction to the terrorist threat. It doesn't have to be effective, or even directly related to their supposed mission of protecting aviation. It just has show that the TSA are Doing Something. Without sufficiently frequent reports showing that the TSA are indeed Doing Something, people might start asking questions about whether all the hassles, intrusion, and indignity inflicted at airports are worthwhile. Those questions are, of course, completely unacceptable. So Blogger Bob's most important job is to ensure that any such questions are ignored, deflected, or covered over with a smokescreen.

It looks like the TSA Propaganda Department has decided that periodic posts about turtles, fish, and other cold-blooded animals meet the TSA's need to show that they're Doing Something. Touting the undoubtably impressive ability to find false positives wherever they may lurk proves that point, while (hopefully) obscuring the fact that for all the billions and billions of dollars (thank you, Carl Sagan) they've spent, they have yet to stop any actual terrorists.

Keep up the great work, Bob!

Anonymous said...

For Saul:

“Looking back, we may see things that we do not want to revisit just yet, controversies that we wish to leave behind. For us to learn as a nation, however, for us to hand down to future generations what they need to know, we must be clear about what happened. We were attacked by a handful of people from a relatively small organization of fanatics who had tapped into the frustrations of a sizable minority of those who shared their ethnicity and religion. Our nation was stunned and wanted to unify in response. That desire for unity kept too many voices silent when they should have been contributing to a public debate about how to react. Wretched excesses were proposed and barely opposed. We invaded a country, Iraq that had nothing to do with the attack on us, but had everything to do with the preconceived plans of a cabal in and out of our government.”
Richard A. Clark (Former US National Security Chief: “the Lessons of 9/11”)

Anonymous said...

Once the screener determined that the bags did not have explosives or other prohibited materials, why weren't the bags just sent on their way to the plane?

Bubba said...

Bob, you say the the EDS works like an MRI. I don´t get that. Is the EDS an explosive detection system, or an image acquiring system, like an MRI? Imaging systems do not detect explosives, and are inadequate methodology for such. They will, necessarily, produce way too many false positives AND (more dangerously) false negatives.

Anonymous said...

Yeah cant blame Bob and the TSA for this one. I would think several suitcases of liquid would be reasonably suspicious. Even if not explosive, they could rupture in the hold of the aircraft and possibly compromise aircraft systems.

Anonymous said...

One might say the passenger was “schooled” on how to properly fly with fish. I’m guessing things went swimmingly for the fish from that point forward?
______________-
These silly comments are proof that TSA considers security one big joke.

Not one word about recent news that the original sponsor of TSA wants the agency dismantled.

Anonymous said...

Why do you want to know more about the drug smugglers? Obviously the TSA agrees with what the papers are saying or they would have disputed it. You know they weren't all screeners don't you? There was law enforcement involved. Have you contacted them about this?

You just want them to post so you have a place to attack them for it. Something they and every other corporation in the world can't control. Theft. I know they don't condone it and you know that too.

Authority is often abused and I find it deplorable and can only hope TSA does the right thing and cans these clowns if they haven't done it already.

Anonymous said...

"Something they and every other corporation in the world can't control. Theft."
-----------------------------------
It's not about theft. It's about TSA employees being bribed to allow contraband, including possibly firearms, through a checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

"Why do you want to know more about the drug smugglers?"

Because this blog is avoiding it and I want to hear what the TSA has to say about it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bob:
I would like to say that in my experienced travels and in meeting people from all walks of life, I have learned that many people do not understand or may not want to understand the intricacies of TSA. The latter of the two merely either want to complain or are too inconvenienced to understand the alternative to TSA’s mission. I, on the other hand, appreciate all the ‘seemingly menial’ duties of the TSA officers. Many believe TSA should recognize a terrorist by sight or should be unsuspecting of individuals because they appear meek (grandparents, young children, etc.) I’ve often hear the quote by the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, “The only constant in life is change.” And I understand that the TSA must be on their toes at all times, prepared to analyze situations that seem most normal to the average individual yet contain slight discrepancies to the well trained eye. I can only imagine the types of characters you (the TSA) encounter. And your story about the fish is all telling. Thank you for sharing and continue to do what you do TSA! You have more people than you know, on your side.

Anonymous said...

I'll plead ignorant at the moment... but, would like to be enlightened:

What's the difference between the luggage area and the cargo hold that would allow the fish in one, but not the other?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Why do you want to know more about the drug smugglers?

Because it's a Current Event. It's something important that has happened. It's evidence that the TSA is not beign run correctly.

You just want them to post so you have a place to attack them for it. Something they and every other corporation in the world can't control. Theft.

Fistly, where did "theft" come into it? It was smugglers. AS in, someone PAID the TSA to look the other way as they carried drugs ontothe plane. That's only one word away from payign the TSA to look the other way as they smuggle a BOMB onto he plane.

Secondly, if the TSA can't control theft by employees standing in their checkpoints, then what chance do they have to stop a passenger who passes through?

Anonymous said...

This entire story sounds fishy to me...

Anonymous said...

Who watches the watchers?


How about commenting on what was happening in Honolulu? Apparently TSA personnel there were NOT screening the bags.

28 workers were removed, 15 were suspended and 3 retired. Where are the checks and balances to make sure these people are doing their jobs right?

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/09/16/national/a175611D27.DTL&tsp=1

Oh, yeah, it's a "personnel issue" and TSA can't comment on it. But you can tell us about how you found non-threats.

Anonymous said...

Another "terrorist" caught by the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"Yeah cant blame Bob and the TSA for this one. I would think several suitcases of liquid would be reasonably suspicious."

Most explosives are solids, so I'm more concerned about solids in checked bags.

"Even if not explosive, they could rupture in the hold of the aircraft and possibly compromise aircraft systems."

From nearly 30 years in aerospace engineering, I can say this is not a concern. Additionally, incidental damage of this sort is not a TSA responsibility. If it were, TSOs would be out screening flocks of birds for those likely to be ingested into a jet engine. I'm sure they'd be searching the penguins in an effort to avoid profiling.

Anonymous said...

Nice Puppy Post. Anything to add about the screeners in Honolulu that have been fired for not doing their jobs? or is that information to sensitive?

Anonymous said...

In response to:

"Why do you want to know more about the drug smugglers? Obviously the TSA agrees with what the papers are saying or they would have disputed it. You know they weren't all screeners don't you? There was law enforcement involved. Have you contacted them about this?"

First, I am not aware of a blog by the police office that the involed officers work for spewing propaganda for themselves. If this exists, then they should post an article about this.

Second, there is a severe lack of trust in the TSA stemming from their unwavering protection of their own. Criminals exist throughout society, so the fact that there are crimminals working for the TSA and other organizations is not surprising. Yet the TSA is so focused on convincing everyone that its enployees are such good citizens they turn a blind eye to crime within their ranks.

One good example of either them protecting their own or having a faultless set of enployees is that not one single time has a screener done something durring the search of a passenger that was outside of the SOP. The smuggling story means that not all TSA enployees are perfect citizens, so the only conclusion is that the SOP has no limit on what a TSA agent can do to you durring your screening or any excess by a TSA enployee is ignored or covered up.

I will nto trust the TSA until they demonstrate that they are subject to some form of oversite.

Not Scared of Terrorists

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said
"Why do you want to know more about the drug smugglers?" Because this is a huge hole in security and not the first time it has happened. How do they know the bags they clear to get on a plane only contain drugs and currency? Would you bribe an employee to allow an explosive through or would you say you were only trying to smuggle drugs?

Chris said...

Do not think this a bad image to the TSA, it's just a comment about a strange situation, and if it is, or not? I do not mind that they have found 4 suitcases with live fish or just a suppository, while complying with the functions that must be met.

Stephanie Factor said...

I must be one of the only people around here who doesn't have a problem with this story. TSA people are PEOPLE too!

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"First, I am not aware of a blog by the police office that the involed officers work for spewing propaganda for themselves. If this exists, then they should post an article about this.

Second, there is a severe lack of trust in the TSA stemming from their unwavering protection of their own. Criminals exist throughout society, so the fact that there are crimminals working for the TSA and other organizations is not surprising. Yet the TSA is so focused on convincing everyone that its enployees are such good citizens they turn a blind eye to crime within their ranks.

One good example of either them protecting their own or having a faultless set of enployees is that not one single time has a screener done something durring the search of a passenger that was outside of the SOP. The smuggling story means that not all TSA enployees are perfect citizens, so the only conclusion is that the SOP has no limit on what a TSA agent can do to you durring your screening or any excess by a TSA enployee is ignored or covered up."

its a good thing that tsa people are just "rent-a-cops" and that people who make laws and are there to enforce them are NEVER found to be corrupt. id like to the statistics of the percentage of "corrupt" tsa employees compared to "corrupt" police, mayors, governors, congressmen, judges, and federal law enforcement officers to see how "corrupt" the tsa is when compared to more important agencies that actually have to do with the LAW

Anonymous said...

Today I read that a journalist with the Washington Post had to undergo a more extensive pat down because her shirt was too shiny!

TSA agents at O'Hare were saying over their walkie talkie's "shiny shirt" "shiny shirt." She was told that the machines cannot see through shiny clothing! So what is the deal, Bob?

Anonymous said...

First off for those wanting an "offical" response from TSA concerning the honolulu Baggage screeners and or the drug smugglers, John Pistole has already put out an official statement on the issue and so has Nanet Nopolitano. Explain to me why it would be worth placing on this blog besides the fact that some want to beat a dead horse. Secondly I want to make a statement concerning the attacks of this blog post. This Blog post while seemingly jovial and cheeky (and it is cetainly meant to be so) also points out an important fact that people often simply ignore. This is not about false positives on the eds/etd machines, this frst and foremost points out the importance of the integretiy and awareness of the officer. Yes this was a bag of fish, but i can tell you from expereince with screening potential IEDS with similar technology that it could have just as easily been liquid explosives and the technology while not perfect did was it was suposed to in showing an unusual anomaly. The second Point I want to make is that millions of bags are screened by the TSA daily and Billions yearly, the facts are that while screening these bags TSA finds Thousands of Threat items, Guns Knifes grenades and even potential ieds that are put together by those who wish to do us harm to test the system to see what they can get through. This speaks to the integrety of the machinery and even more so the integrity of our TSA officers. And Lastly I would like to make two more points. Number one, The fact that TSA has never Caught a "real Terrorist" has absolutly nothing to do with the integrity of TSA Period. In the grand scheme of things there are 312 million americans living within the United states, 100 million of those americans fly each year, and when you add internation flights you have billions of air passengers each year. Now lets just take Al queda as an example, alqueda has somewhere around 1,000 known operatives there are 12 that are belived to "possibly" be residing here in the us. so with 86 airpots in the U.S the chances of a terrorist coming thru one particular airport is less than .1 percent.In other words having a party of 15 hijackers come thru any particular airport is not something that happens on a daily basis, infact it has not occured again since 9/11.So for those wish to make the claim that Tsa is inefective because we have not caught 1 terrorsit, the likelyhood of a terrist avoiding an airport is greater than the chance they will atempt entry. the numbers are simply not in there favor. Now the next question arises, if there is .1 percent chance that a terrorist will actually enter an airpot why is TSA there? .1 percent became a reality on 9-11 and evidence shows it may become reality again in the future, are you willing to take the chance that you may be in the same position as the passengers on flight 93?

Anonymous said...

ANON,

"its a good thing that tsa people are just "rent-a-cops" and that people who make laws and are there to enforce them are NEVER found to be corrupt. id like to the statistics of the percentage of "corrupt" tsa employees compared to "corrupt" police, mayors, governors, congressmen, judges, and federal law enforcement officers to see how "corrupt" the tsa is when compared to more important agencies that actually have to do with the LAW"

Are you really going with the "But Billy did it." Defense?

I would like to see the statistics that show how many lives the TSA saves each year, but this organization has been ignoring this question since the day they were founded. I would love to have an honest discussion of whether the good done by the TSA is worth the cost, but the TSA has refused to offer any actual facts.

I stated in my post that criminals were prevalent throughout society, so I do not know what your repeating this has to do with my original statement. My point is not that the TSA is the most corrupt; it is that there is blatant protection of TSA employees for any action they take at a security checkpoint. Either that or not one single “enhanced pat down” of the 60,000 performed daily was performed outside of the SOP.

I am not forced to interact with police officers and other "agencies that actually have to do with the LAW" in order to travel freely within the borders of my own country. To exercise my right to unimpeded interstate travel, I must submit to the impedance known as a TSA checkpoint. If I do not give up my right to be free of searches of my person and belongings, I must give up my right to unrestricted interstate travel. I guess I will just have to get my papers ready. Maybe a tattoo on my forearm will make it easier for the TSA to identify me.

Not Scared of Terrorists.

Ian Scott said...

Puts a whole other meaning to the term 'fly fishing' :)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Now the next question arises, if there is .1 percent chance that a terrorist will actually enter an airpot why is TSA there? .1 percent became a reality on 9-11 and evidence shows it may become reality again in the future, are you willing to take the chance that you may be in the same position as the passengers on flight 93?"

Why do you assume that keeping the terrorists out of the airports makes you safer? Are you any less dead if they set off a bomb in a bus than if they set one off in an airplane?

The TSA doesn't stop terrorists, they just want them to go someplace else.

Anonymous said...

Why do you assume that keeping the terrorists out of the airports makes you safer? Are you any less dead if they set off a bomb in a bus than if they set one off in an airplane?

The TSA doesn't stop terrorists, they just want them to go someplace else.

My Response: I never stated anywhere that keeping terrorist out of airports make us safer so i do not know where this response is relevant to the point i was making. My point is simply that Terrorsit will use planes again period. the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior and over the last 3 decades terrorist have repeatedly used aircraft as instruments of terror. Now let me ask you this because you did raise an interesting point, you stated "Are you any less dead if they set off a bomb in a bus than if they set one off in an airplane?" Obviously Sir/Madam the answer to this question is no. from your statement above, are you saying you would endorse TSA being present on Public transit? How about Highway checkpoints? certainly we can both agree terrorsit will hit any target available.

speakers said...

Everybody's too hot on this topic. I find it very amusing and funny though. Well, they detected large amounts of liquid on baggage. IMO, that's still a good catch of a potential threat.

Anonymous said...

Why do you assume that keeping the terrorists out of the airports makes you safer? Are you any less dead if they set off a bomb in a bus than if they set one off in an airplane?

The TSA doesn't stop terrorists, they just want them to go someplace else.

September 26, 2011 1:44 PM

What you fail to grasp is that terrorists want a high casualty target to carry out its attacks. Airplanes have shown that they cause a lot of havok and death and recieve lots of media coverage. Exactly the exposure these groups are trying to get. Besides train rails, can you name another target that terrorists would attack?

Anonymous said...

"Now the next question arises, if there is .1 percent chance that a terrorist will actually enter an airpot why is TSA there? .1 percent became a reality on 9-11 and evidence shows it may become reality again in the future, are you willing to take the chance that you may be in the same position as the passengers on flight 93?"

Yes, I am willing to take the risk that I may end up in the same position as the passengers on flight 93.

I am also willing to get in my car and drive to and from work, this presents a risk to my life as well.

I will continue to use legal medicines, even though overdoses of legal drugs results in more deaths than automotive accidents.

I am sorry that the insignificant chance of being injured or killed in a terrorist attack on an airplane scares you so badly. If air travel frightens you so much, you can always drive a car, take a train, take a bus, or walk.

Not Scared of Terrorists

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"First off for those wanting an "offical" response from TSA concerning the honolulu Baggage screeners and or the drug smugglers, John Pistole has already put out an official statement on the issue and so has Nanet Nopolitano. Explain to me why it would be worth placing on this blog besides the fact that some want to beat a dead horse. "

Are you worried the blog would not have room for tripe such as smuggled snakes and suitcases full of fish?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"What you fail to grasp is that terrorists want a high casualty target to carry out its attacks. Airplanes have shown that they cause a lot of havok and death and recieve lots of media coverage. Exactly the exposure these groups are trying to get. Besides train rails, can you name another target that terrorists would attack?"

I don't fail to grasp the idea. A few moments thought will turn up lots of possible targets. Schools, churches, shopping malls (especially at Christmas), sporting events, etc.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Now let me ask you this because you did raise an interesting point, you stated "Are you any less dead if they set off a bomb in a bus than if they set one off in an airplane?" Obviously Sir/Madam the answer to this question is no. from your statement above, are you saying you would endorse TSA being present on Public transit? How about Highway checkpoints? certainly we can both agree terrorsit will hit any target available."

No, I would not endorse the TSA guarding these places. You can't guard the entire country. My point was that checkpoints can't stop terrorists and don't make us safer. The intelligence services do the real work by finding them before they can attack.

Jim Huggins said...

What you fail to grasp is that terrorists want a high casualty target to carry out its attacks. Airplanes have shown that they cause a lot of havok and death and recieve lots of media coverage. Exactly the exposure these groups are trying to get. Besides train rails, can you name another target that terrorists would attack?

The Oklahoma City bombing was just as effective at generating media attention and exposure, at much less expense. (Yes, the loss of life was less ... but I'll bet it was much more cost effective.)

And as a result of the Oklahoma City bombing, we've made it virtually impossible for such an event to happen again. We now require anyone who wants to rent a truck to submit to a background check and have their name cleared from the Do Not Rent list. Renters are prohibited from bringing weapons, or anything that could be converted into weapons, into the truck rental facility. Suspicious renters are subjected to intensive interviews from trained behavior detection officers, who can tell if a renter might have malicious intent.

Oh ... wait ... we don't do any of those things. And we haven't had a domestic incident like the Oklahoma City bombings since. Go figure. (sigh)

Tom Foolery said...

What you fail to grasp is that terrorists want a high casualty target to carry out its attacks. Airplanes have shown that they cause a lot of havok and death and recieve lots of media coverage. Exactly the exposure these groups are trying to get. Besides train rails, can you name another target that terrorists would attack?

Gee, I don't know, that sure is a chin-scratcher. How about a backed-up security line at a busy airport while people are waiting to have their breasts groped and their snow globes confiscated?

You must work at the TSA to have such a firm grasp of the intricacies of security. Keep up the white knighting!

Anonymous said...

my god people. it's a funny story, get over it. no wonder so many ppl complain about TSA, they're so uptight they'd probably complain about anything. i've never had a problem with them because i know and follow the rules, many people don't, that's why there are problems.

RFL2238 said...

On the subject of how the machine works, I found this article which should add some clarity: http://www.tdagroup.com/pdfs/Invision_wp.pdf

But I'd like to point out 2 things. Firstly, TSA didn't design the machine, they only selected it, Global Security made the machine with all of its pros and cons.

Unless you know what TSA's other options are, you can't point fingers at them for picking a machine that has a 25% False-Positive Rate. What TSA did correctly here is pick a machine that has a 100% success rate in detecting explosives.

In other words, when a non-explosive goes through the machine, it has a 25% chance to produce a false-positive. When an explosive goes through the machine, it has a 100% chance to detect it.

I suppose people like Saul would prefer a machine that never throws false-positives but has a 10% chance for false-negatives? Not me - TSA's choice in machine is guaranteed to prevent explosives from being loaded onto every airplane. Anything less than that...I'd rather walk.



And for all of you who say "false positives are BAD" you have to realize "BAD" is a relative term. No, I do not think false positives are "bad" when you consider false negatives.

False Negatives = BAD
False Positives = Inconvenience



But again, TSA DID NOT CREATE THE MACHINERY! So either take your drama to Global Security, or invent your own machine that'll put Global Security out of business (however unlikely that may be). Then maybe you can have your low False-Positive rate without costing us our non-zero False-Negative rate.

Birmingham Homes by Vinnie Alonzo said...

Man, some of you commenters are pretty short minded. I've read about 20 of the comments on this blog because many of them are just too funny (you may be short minded, but you are long on the humor), and I believe only RFL2238 has remotely come close to hitting the nail on the head. Thanks for the insightful post RFL and thanks for posting this funny story Bob.

SusanK said...

I bet you could write a book on some of the stuff people try to do to pass security with such stuff. Hopefully the fish made it home safely. I wish people would treat pets and animals better when traveling.