April 10th, 2012
See Also: (Forbes) – TSA Refuses To Explain Why You Have To Take Your Laptop Out Of Your Bag But Not Your iPad – Read More Here
Guns, knives, explosive material not recognized by $1 billion dollar fleet of scanners
(PaulWatson) – A TSA screener has lifted to lid to reveal how the federal agency’s $1 billion dollar plus fleet of body scanners is completely useless in that the machines routinely fail to pick up prohibited items such as knives, guns and powder designed to resemble explosive material.
In an interview conducted by Jon Corbett, the engineer who recently exposed how the scanners could be fooled by simply securing an object inside an external pocket sewn on to an item of clothing, “Jennifer,” a TSA screener, also reveals how the federal agency forced people without the necessary training to operate the scanners.
When Jennifer wrote to her Congressman complaining about the problems, the TSA retaliated by removing her from screening duties and began the process to dismiss her altogether.
In the transcript below, Jennifer explains how the body scanners routinely fail to pick up prohibited items, meaning they are nothing less than a complete waste of money and a prime example of “security theater”.
Jon: Were there specific times where this machine didn’t work, for either someone testing it, or a passenger went through and it was determined that they went through with…
Jennifer: Absolutely. Yes, absolutely.
Jon: Metal objects?
Jennifer: Metal, non-metal.
Jon: Big, small?
Jon: Things like wallets I think you mentioned to me?
Jon: So you’d send someone through the scanner and you’d see a bulge in their pocket, but the scanner would show nothing?
Jon: Things during training?
Jon: What would you test it with when you were testing the machines?
Jennifer: There were different props: guns, knives, bags of powder that were supposed to resemble explosive material.
Jon: Sometimes these would just go through completely undetected?
Jennifer then divulges how the TSA forced screeners who had not received the proper training to operate the radiation-firing body scanners.
Jon: They tried to send you to the machines, and you said, ‘Hold on, I’m not certified.’
Jon: And then in December I guess you tried the same thing and they said, ‘Too bad?’
Jennifer: We were forced to work on these machines. So basically, there were so few of us trained to work on the machines, they basically forced us.
Jon: So they didn’t care if you were certified or not?
Jennifer: No, I actually went to my supervisor — or a supervisor — the first day. I and another officer had this concern, that, you know, ‘Look, we’ve never worked on this particular machine, we don’t know what to do’ and his answer was, ‘Sorry, we don’t have enough staffing, you’re going to have to work on it.’
Jon: Certified or not, just get on the machine and make the best of it?
Jennifer: Yep, ‘just have your co-workers help you.’
In the interview Jennifer also exposes how she has never even seen a copy of the Screening Checkpoint Standard Operating Procedures manual, which TSA agents are mandated to read as part of their training.
When Jennifer attempted to bring these issues to the attention of TSA management, she was ignored and the federal agency promptly began the process of firing her after she attempted to alert Congress to the situation.
“There you have it. The TSA was aware of the fatal flaws in the nude body scanner program, yet knowingly defrauded the American taxpayer into buying these machines, as well as travellers from across the globe into posing naked “for their safety.” Well no more, guys — we’re done posing naked for the TSA,” writes Corbett. “It’s time for the nude body scanner program to be immediately ended, for TSA Administrator John Pistole to be fired, and for the TSA to be dismantled as soon as possible. I encourage you to make this an election year issue and demand from your candidates a strong commitment to restoring our civil rights – and our sanity at airports. I also encourage anyone who’s asked to go through a body scanner to simply say, “I opt out,” and refuse to participate in this security theatre.”
Given how the TSA responded to Corbett’s last exposé, by first failing to even address the fact that he had proven the body scanners could be easily defeated and then threatening journalists not to cover the story, it’s anyone’s guess how they will react to the latest revelations.
Corbett is still engaged in a lawsuit against the TSA’s naked body scanners and its invasive pat down procedures.
Dovetailing Corbett’s new revelations about the federal agency is a separate story concerning the TSA’s refusal to explain why laptops have to be removed from carry on bags, whereas iPads do not.
According to security expert Bruce Schneier, who the TSA recently kicked off a critical Congressional panel, there is no sound reason whatsoever and this is merely another example of “security theater.” Another unnamed expert connected to the DHS told Forbes that the practice was merely about “giving people a sense that something is being done to protect them.”