New TSA Security Procedures

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Tim Ellis
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Tim Ellis » November 20th, 2010, 4:01 pm

They could have saved millions just using the old "night vision" x ray... ;)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PXlT_u5w4oA

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Richard Kaufman
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 20th, 2010, 4:02 pm

This is a very good piece in the New York Times taking an overview of many of the things discussed here:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... e-airport/

Though I normally don't allow this, I am going to paste the entire piece below, but encourage to read the original because of all the live links that lead to other pieces.

New York Times
November 19, 2010, 6:21 pm
Getting Touchy at the Airport
By TOBIN HARSHAW

Ah, Thanksgiving is almost upon us. We can look forward to a full belly, good wine, bad football and the worst travel day of the year. And in 2010, apparently, it will be the worst travel day in the history of mankind: In the three weeks since the Transportation Security Administration began more aggressive pat-downs of passengers at airport security checkpoints, traveler complaints have poured in, reports The Timess Susan Stellin. Some offer graphic accounts of genital contact, others tell of agents gawking or making inappropriate comments, and many express a general sense of powerlessness and humiliation It remains to be seen whether travelers approve of the pat-downs, especially as millions more people experience them for the first time during the holiday travel season.

But were an innovative people if were worried about inappropriate contact, we can find a technological alternative that makes everybody happy, right? Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

There are plenty of horror stories (and one full-fledged martyr); they tend to get repetitive, although some stand out for their excellent documentation and others actually achieve humor. Pilots unions are not pleased, some politicians want the T.S.A. removed from the scene, Ron Paul thinks there oughta be a law and some airports are even trying to opt out. (At least somebodys having a laugh.)
This is not to say everybody finds the scanners intrusive, dangerous and a potential privacy concern. Here some poll data from CNETs Declan McCullagh:

A Rasmussen poll released November 2 suggests that 69 percent of Americans would rather go through full-body scanners rather than be subjected to pat-downs that can involve genital touching usually reserved for intimate partners. An even higher percentage of Americans support full-body X-ray machines, according to a subsequent CBS News poll, but the wording of the question only referenced electronic screening, without mentioning health or privacy worries.

The Timess Nate Silver, however, warns that we should take the polling with a healthy dose of salt: I would guess that only somewhere between 1 and 5 percent of Americans have so far traveled through a security line where such machines were in use; it will probably take some time before we know where public opinion settles in on this topic. Another issue is that most of these surveys are asking about the full-body machines in a vacuum. Id be curious to see what the results were if respondents were asked to pick between full-body machines and traditional metal detectors.

And McCullagh finds an expert who thinks were right to be worried. A University of California at San Francisco professor of biochemistry told CNET today that the Obama administrations claim that full-body scanners pose no health risks to air travelers is in error, he reports. The administrations defense of the controversial machines, which use X-rays to perform what critics have dubbed naked strip searches, has many misconceptions, and we will write a careful answer pointing out their errors, said John Sedat, a UCSF professor of biochemistry and biophysics and member of the National Academy of Sciences.

What could go wrong, professor? Air travelers over 65 years old are especially susceptible to the mutagenic effects of the X-rays as are HIV and cancer patients, children and adolescents, pregnant women, and men (because the X-rays can penetrate skin and put the testicles at risk for sperm mutagenesis). Eyes could also be at risk because X-rays can penetrate the cornea.

Ouch. Yet Michael Dorf of Findlaws blog thinks the health concerns are highly exaggerated:

A typical dental X-ray exposes the patient to about 2 millirems of radiation. According to one widely cited estimate, exposing each of 10,000 people to one rem (that is, 1,000 millirems) of radiation will likely lead to 8 excess cancer deaths. Using our assumption of linearity, that means that exposure to the 2 millirems of a typical dental X-ray would lead an individual to have an increased risk of dying from cancer of 16 hundred-thousandths of one percent. Given that very small risk, it is easy to see why most rational people would choose to undergo dental X-rays every few years to protect their teeth.

More importantly for our purposes, assuming that the radiation in a backscatter X-ray is about a hundredth the dose of a dental X-ray, we find that a backscatter X-ray increases the odds of dying from cancer by about 16 ten millionths of one percent. That suggests that for every billion passengers screened with backscatter radiation, about 16 will die from cancer as a result.

Ann Althouse surmises that instituting the body searches was part of a psychological agenda:

It seems to me that these 2 things happened together: new machines that see you naked and newly intense body searches. Am I wrong to believe that the new groping procedure was intended to get more people into the scanners they would otherwise resist? Someone, at some level of the Obama administration, decided that the only way to channel people into the see-you-naked machines was to make the alternative more offensive to nearly everyone. Personally, Id take the grope over being seen naked, but I did a poll yesterday, and I see that the scanner is significantly more popular than the grope. I suspect that was the calibration. And I suspect that if too many people choose the grope over nakedness, the plan is to intensify the grope until they get the scanner acceptance rate they need.

Shes also interested in following the money:

* In 2008, former U.S. Department of Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff authored a 38 page report warning of terrorists exploiting our security deficiencies including air travel
* After the [Christmas Day] bombing attempt Chertoff made a flurry of media appearances suggesting that the attempted bombing incident could have been avoided if all airports were using full body scanners.
* The Washington Post printed an article on January 1, 2010, calling Chertoff out for using his government credentials to promote a product that benefits his clients. It was revealed that Rapiscan Systems, the manufacturer of the naked body scanner Chertoff was recommending, was a client of Chertoffs security consulting agency.
* Rapiscan has since received over $250 million in scanner orders.

David Rittgers, writing at The New York Post, thinks the scanners are a waste of money and give a false sense of security:

Despite what their proponents would have us believe, body scanners are not some magical tool to find all weapons and explosives that can be hidden on the human body. Yes, the scanners work against high-density objects such as guns and knives but so do traditional magnetometers.

And the scanners fare poorly against low-density materials such as thin plastics, gels and liquids. Care to guess what Abdulmutallabs bomb was made of? The Government Accountability Office reported in March that its not clear that a scanner wouldve detected that device.

Even if the scanners did work against low-density materials, the same group linked to the Christmas bomb, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, has already found another way to defeat the technology: hiding bombs inside the human body: A would-be AQAP assassin tried to kill a senior Saudi counterterrorism official with a bomb hidden where only a proctologist would find it.

His claims have support from somebody who knows of what he speaks, according to Canwests Sarah Schmidt:

A leading Israeli airport security expert says the Canadian government has wasted millions of dollars to install useless imaging machines at airports across the country. I dont know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747, Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

Thats why we havent put them in our airport, Sela said, referring to Tel Avivs Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.

Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway thinks the T.S.A. is fighting the last war: As weve learned in London and Madrid, though, terrorists can and do find other ways to attack. Forcing everyone to stand in long lines, take off their shoes, and subject themselves to groping by someone who most likely has their job because they couldnt get into college or the police academy doesnt accomplish much of anything, and the American people are waking up to that fact.

Still, the concerns over the scanners pale in comparison to the outrage over the body searches. Elusis at Live Journal has a theory for the timing of the uproar:

The thing is that nothing about this is new. Private citizens being arbitrarily singled out for intrusive searches and rough treatment by authority figures because of their appearance, their attitude, or just a momentary need for an endorphin rush by a small-minded bureaucrat? Welcome to the lives of people of color, the phenomenon of Driving While Black, the lives of women, of transpeople, of disabled people (oh hai, Canada!).

It is no accident that women have been complaining about being pulled out of line because of their big breasts, having their bodies commented on by TSA officials, and getting inappropriate touching when selected for pat-downs for nearly 10 years now, but just this week it went viral. It is no accident that CAIR identified Islamic head scarves (hijab) as an automatic trigger for extra screenings in January, but just this week it went viral. What was different? Suddenly an able-bodied white man is the one who was complaining.

Its not only the able-bodied The Washington Posts Charles Krauthammer is also fed up: This has nothing to do with safety 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.

(I wonder if Krauthammer has seen this story.)

There are a few voices who think may be the price to pay for safety. With our troops risking not just their genitals but their lives to prevent 9/11 style attacks, I find the more extreme protests of both Muslims (to profiling) and members of the general population (to the new machine) a bit jarring, writes Paul Mirengoff at Power Line. To be sure, people who are singled out for special procedures for no good reason have a legitimate gripe. So do people whose privacy is momentarily invaded to no legitimate end. But most of the bitching I hear tends not to focus with clarity on the extent to which profiling or use of the machine advances the goal of preventing terrorist attacks. It focuses instead on the fact that the complaining party simply doesnt like what is being done to him or her. Thats not surprising given the grievance oriented state of our society, but its not reassuring either.

But Mirengoff, along with The Los Angeles Times editorial board, is in a decided minority on the Web, where the rage is bipartisan and, in some cases, a creepily portentous. My problem with whats unfolding at our nations airports runs a lot deeper than the misfortune of genital encroachment, adds James Poulos at Ricochet. My problem is that were racing down an inherently absurd road. Set aside for a moment the dismaying way in which every new advance in security measures involves a retreat for civil liberties and traditional definitions of decency. Our logic of escalation appears to mean that every new solution actually creates a new and dramatically worse problem one which calls, of course, for dramatically more invasive and comprehensive countermeasures. Where does it end? As a matter of logic, it ends with a free people dehumanizing themselves in a way their own enemies cannot quite manage to do.

Well, maybe. Or maybe the T.S.A. can just teach its employees to use a little more tact and those who dont trust the scanners can take the train. After all, as odious as you may find todays security measures, its not as though flying was a terribly pleasant experience before 9/11.
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Jim Riser » November 20th, 2010, 4:20 pm

Can this fear of potential terrorism carry over in to personal relationships? Say a woman claims she was molested on a date. Can this accused guy claim that he lives in fear of terrorists and was just checking (Like TSA does) to see if she had weapons or a bomb concealed on her person. After all, he should be able to feel safe on a date. Will all of this lead to abuse of innocent victims just because it is OK at the airport?

Perhaps some go-getter investigative reporter who wants to build a name for her/himself needs to follow the money and expose what is really going on with "security".
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Brad Henderson » November 20th, 2010, 5:57 pm

Of course, IF there is an aviation disaster, conspiracy theorists will surely proclaim it was the work of the government to get us to accept these measures more willingly.

I think the author hit on something: people were far more readily to dismiss invasions of privacy with the notion "if you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide." Of course, as they weren't being inconvenienced by the surveillance, it was an easy position to adopt.

Now that EVERYONE is being compromised by the tactics to fight terror (Fox news analysts who fly, for example), the voices which were once so cavalier about screening are no longer so indifferent.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Brad Henderson » November 20th, 2010, 6:00 pm

I might get a t-shirt which reads "I was groped by TSA and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt."

Or maybe one that just says "Go ahead, feel my junk."

Can males request female screeners?

If I'm going to be uncomfortable, I think they should too.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Terry » November 20th, 2010, 9:30 pm

"Of course, IF there is an aviation disaster, conspiracy theorists will surely proclaim it was the work of the government to get us to accept these measures more willingly."

Brad, it is not a theory when one has paid attention to the small steps they have taken to get us to today's intrusive TSA searches.

All it took was to get a moron in charge (Big Sis) to promote it with prejudice. She even said if we didn't like it, then don't fly.

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

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Brad Henderson » November 20th, 2010, 10:04 pm

Do you believe

1) the government would willingly kill hundreds of citizens and plunge their country's infrastructure and economy into a panicked inoperable state in order to get us to accept security procedures which are known to be ineffective and/or to sell these scanners to airports

and

2) that the government possesses the competence to do this without their cover being blown?

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 20th, 2010, 10:12 pm

Brad, it was shown last century that big lies and patriotism (or insert other such cause here) can motivate millions to kill millions without so much as a fret from the locals or others elsewhere who get early news of the impending activities. Just make sure the trains run on time and treat anyone/anything that interferes with as a social disruptor.

The operating question at the time was probably - what's in it that's good for my business?
Mundus vult decipi -per Caleb Carr's story Killing Time

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 20th, 2010, 11:21 pm

In this case the "business" seems to be letting grotesquely angry people go probing others in private places - in a public place - in the name of "safety". The war on terror just seems to get scarier with every well intentioned bit of caution and technology.

It's safety man - wearing the rubber glove of certainty and holding the jar of liquid accessibility. So strange it might not even work as a comic book... well not in this reality for now.
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby jason156 » November 21st, 2010, 3:18 am

It all boils down to a choice:

1. Put up with it

Or

2. Refuse to fly until this changes


...................Pick one

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Magic Newswire » November 21st, 2010, 5:04 am

jason156 says: It all boils down to a choice:

1. Put up with it

Or

2. Refuse to fly until this changes


...................Pick one


What about:

3. Exercise our rights as American Citizens and demand that our government address our concerns or be voted out.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Terry » November 21st, 2010, 9:20 am

"Do you believe

1) the government would willingly kill hundreds of citizens and plunge their country's infrastructure and economy into a panicked inoperable state in order to get us to accept security procedures which are known to be ineffective and/or to sell these scanners to airports."


To promote whatever agenda they are pushing - yes I do.


"2) that the government possesses the competence to do this without their cover being blown?"


It has taken almost 50 years for evidence ignored by the Warren Commission to come out that certain government interests were involved in Kennedy's murder. Believing Oswald acted alone proves one lacks experience with firearms especially the Soviet rifle supposedly used.

FDR knew the Japanese were going to hit Hawaii and he did nothing to prevent it. Why? He had promised Churchill the US would support Britain and it was the only way to get America angry enough and the Congress to declare war.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Jonathan Townsend » November 21st, 2010, 1:31 pm

Terry, you left out what amounts to naval blockade in place for some time before the massive fleet attack via the pacific. Now why we did not let Imperial Japan keep a Communist leaning China in check rather then contain it back then... a matter for historians. Perhaps the erdnase experts have something insightful to say on that. Here's link to earlier attempts to contain terror in that theater of human conflict: LINK. Kindly note I am not taking any position the matter beyond offering additional background data so our readers can see what has been explored or tried before and research how well those efforts worked out.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Michael Kamen » November 21st, 2010, 3:38 pm

Interesting and informative article Jonathan. Thank you for posting.
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Bill Mullins » November 21st, 2010, 5:14 pm

Terry said "Believing Oswald acted alone proves one lacks experience with firearms especially the Soviet rifle supposedly used."

The assasination rifle was an Italian bolt-action, not a Soviet rifle. Many Kennedy conspiracy theorists get basic facts wrong,
so there is no sense in following their fantastic theories.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 21st, 2010, 7:25 pm

Let's remove conspiracies about the death of JFK and any other issue NOT related to current TSA security policies from this discussion right now.
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby John Lovick » November 21st, 2010, 7:59 pm

Interesting post by Jason Alexander on the topic.

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/71qvq6

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby John Lovick » November 21st, 2010, 8:08 pm

And a good editorial in the LA Times.

[url=http:/www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-mcnamara-airport-screening-20101121,0,3755067.story]Click Here to Read[/url]

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Terry » November 21st, 2010, 8:12 pm

Penn had a really good article posted somewhere about his experience with the grope squad and how he dealt with it.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Donal Chayce » November 21st, 2010, 8:22 pm

I'd love to hear Penn's POV on this.
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Terry » November 21st, 2010, 8:23 pm


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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 21st, 2010, 8:30 pm

The Jason Alexander piece is a good common-sense response.
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David Scollnik
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby David Scollnik » November 21st, 2010, 8:33 pm

Penn's blog post was so long ago, it hardly seems relevant to today's situation (what they are doing now is way beyond what they were doing in 2002). Still, if one reads it then one might as read the follow-up:

http://www.pennandteller.com/03/coolstu ... class.html

I wonder whether he has made any more recent, circa 2010, comments on the TSA?

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Dave Klaiber » November 22nd, 2010, 12:48 pm

Another bad experience

http://www.freep.com/article/20101120/N ... ro-Airport

And now MAYBE??? the TSA is starting to back down

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/ ... titialskip

We can only hope.......

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 22nd, 2010, 3:13 pm

You don't often see an uproar like this. It seems to be getting more pushback from the public than the stupid war in Iraq!
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 22nd, 2010, 6:41 pm

Bathing Suits versus Birthday Suits: that's the ticket!

Ladies, wear your one-piece (or bikini if you're so inclined) under an easy to slip off dress. Guys, wear Speedos under your trousers (that'll show 'em). And everyone just strip down to those. They cannot bust you for indecent exposure--it's a bathing suit!

(The most interesting thing I am finding about this backlash is how there are elements of the "left" and "right" that find themselves agreeing regardless of what side of the issue they come down on. The whole thing is fascinating to observe. I wish Carlin were still alive; he'd be all over this.)

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Terry » November 22nd, 2010, 6:52 pm

Dustin,

The mental picture of some people in the suits you describe almost made my stomach reject dinner (completes full body shiver).

I think it is fantastic to see how Americans have attacked the governments intrusion.

"I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it." Thomas Jefferson

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Dustin Stinett » November 22nd, 2010, 6:58 pm

The Hokey-Gropey Song
By Dustin Stinett
2010 Dustin Stinett

You put your two arms up
You spread your two legs out
They put their gloved hands on
And they rub them all about
Theyll do the Hokey-Gropey
If you want to fly around
Thats what its all about

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Magic Newswire » November 22nd, 2010, 11:05 pm

How TSA security doesn't work with Adam Savage illustrating: http://bit.ly/etjXPD

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Dave Klaiber » November 23rd, 2010, 11:54 am

Latest TSA Bumper Stickers Released.....

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j40 ... ickers.jpg

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 26th, 2010, 7:18 pm

Here's a good piece by Roger Ebert with 181 comments so far:

http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2010/11 ... _line.html
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby erdnasephile » November 26th, 2010, 11:09 pm

The more I think about this, the more I think they should go with the "white list" approach. Allow travelers who have traveled a certain number of miles over a prolonged period to apply for a prescreened passenger ID. In order to obtain it they would have to give up biometric data and submit to a thorough background check (including where they have traveled previously). This would immediately weed out some of the very lowest risk folks out there.

Doing this would allow them to concentrate the screenings/behavioral profiling on the group that would most likely contain the bad guys.

Trying to hunt for explosives instead of terrorists just seems wrong headed.

However, lately I have noticed that several MSM commentators (Couric, et al) have all started to line up behind the President on this. Coupled with the fact that apparently Thanksgiving travel went smoothly and polls indicate the majority of Americans are good with this, makes overturning the current procedures unlikley IMHO.

I'm still going to protest to my representatives, but this is a real shame indeed.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby erdnasephile » November 27th, 2010, 12:27 am

Correction: I should have said that a few polls suggest that a small majority of the public feel that certain aspects of the current procedure are OK. (For example, a recent ABC News and Washington Post poll found that 64% supported the use of body-scanning machines while 32% were opposed, while the pat-down approval was split).

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby David Alexander » November 27th, 2010, 12:27 am

The Christmas Day bombing attempt with the explosives in his underwear is the rationale the TSA puts forward for its "enhanced" pat downs.

The problem is the enhanced secruity measures came 8 months after the Christmas Day bombing attempt. Apparently the appointment process had become somewhat politicized with no one willing or able to make the decisions until an approved appointee was in the office...yet, some how we managed to have tens of thousands of flights with millions of passengers all flying safely in that time before the "needed" enhanced security was enacted.

The excuses are here on CNN: http://articles.cnn.com/2010-11-23/us/p ... s?_s=PM:US

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby David Alexander » November 27th, 2010, 12:31 am

It was, of course, just a matter of time...

http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/201 ... abc?hpt=T2

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Magic Newswire » November 27th, 2010, 9:49 am

I'd heard about this from my wife who works in the industry but couldn't find video. Thanks David. Also, there was a guy that showed up in his boxers at LAX.

Love how the media is reporting that Opt Out day was a flop when in fact that TSA cut back on their use of scanners and used magnetometers to move the crowds through in a timely manner.

Oh... and also was listening to an interview with TSA head John Pistole in which he states that passengers wearing religious clothing will be asked to search themselves.

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Richard Kaufman » November 27th, 2010, 10:57 am

I've searched myself many times ...
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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Magic Newswire » November 27th, 2010, 11:18 am

Ha!

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Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby David Alexander » November 27th, 2010, 1:06 pm

Here's a bit more on the developing story on people in religious garb: http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.c ... versia.php

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Kevin Connolly
Posts: 2437
Joined: January 17th, 2008, 12:00 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: New TSA Security Procedures

Postby Kevin Connolly » November 27th, 2010, 1:39 pm

On a side note, nice catch for the Feds yesterday setting up that mongrel who wanted to blow-up a truck at a Christmas tree lighting in Portland.

I wonder with the Feds also finding the huge tunnel yesterday leading in from Mexico and the seizing of 75 websites, are we in midst of something bigger.
Please visit my website.
http://houdinihimself.com/
I buy,sell + trade Houdini, Hardeen items.


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