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Interview With TSA Screener Reveals 'Fatal Flaws' 582

Posted by Soulskill
from the my-toothpaste-is-not-a-deadly-weapon-you-jerks dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "Jonathan Corbett, creator of the video showing that TSA's body scanners can't see metal objects on our sides, has a new video out. This time he's interviewing an experienced TSA screener identified only as 'Jennifer,' and her allegations point to 'fatal flaws' in TSA and its procedures. Worse, TSA's screeners are well aware of these flaws. According to Jennifer, body scanners frequently fail to detect objects on passengers, and this flaw is well known to the screeners on the job. People with visible items in their pockets can pass through scanners without detection, even when the items are simulated weapons or explosives. Jennifer also alleges that training for screeners is severely lacking. Screeners are directed to operate body scanners, even the X-ray scanners, without any training whatsoever. The manual of standard operating procedures often can't be found at the checkpoints, let alone read. Jennifer was so alarmed by what she experienced that she wrote her congressional representative to complain. She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday."
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Interview With TSA Screener Reveals 'Fatal Flaws'

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  • Firing in US (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:17AM (#39642523)

    How come people in the US can get fired for reasons other than incompetence or stealing? Why can a person get fired simply by raising an issue? I never hear about this here in Europe. It's in fact very difficult to fire a person here if he is a good worker.

    • Re:Firing in US (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BVis (267028) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:24AM (#39642573)

      Because the USA is run by Big Business, who can give unlimited money to candidates for office. You can be fired here for no stated reason at all.

      • You can be fired here for no stated reason at all.

        In fact, at lots of places the standard policy is to give no reason for the firing. If you don't give a reason, then that reason can't be used against you in court.

    • This is a government job. If it was private sector, there's whistleblower laws and the likes to make employers at least try to find another excuse to fire people. Many states are also at-will. The logic is if you can leave your employer without being required to give notice, then they should also be allowed to fire you without giving notice in spite of employees traditionally giving at least two weeks notice. The younger generations are less concerned about giving notice because "if they wouldn't give me an

      • Re:Firing in US (Score:5, Insightful)

        by macs4all (973270) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:59AM (#39642845)

        This is a government job. If it was private sector, there's whistleblower laws and the likes to make employers at least try to find another excuse to fire people.

        AFAIK, "Whistleblower" laws apply to government jobs, and ESPECIALLY government contractor jobs, like most of the TSA worker jobs.

        This person has a pretty good lawsuit against the fuckface contractor she worked for, employment-at-will or not.

    • Re:Firing in US (Score:4, Informative)

      by ccguy (1116865) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:44AM (#39642705) Homepage

      How come people in the US can get fired for reasons other than incompetence or stealing? Why can a person get fired simply by raising an issue? I never hear about this here in Europe. It's in fact very difficult to fire a person here if he is a good worker.

      Don't know what part of Europe you are in, but in Spain it's quite easy. Not free, but unless the worker belong to specially protected groups (such as pregnant women) you can fire anyone you want.
      And since the conservatives are in power, termination fees halved. It's one of their first things they did.

  • by GeneralTurgidson (2464452) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:17AM (#39642525)
    They arent there to stop weapons or explosives.
    • by DarkOx (621550) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:26AM (#39642583) Journal

      TSA's real reasons for existence:

      1) Get citizen accustomed to life without the fourth amendment.
      2) Provide government union jobs to re-elect incumbents.
      3) Preserve the culture of fear, again to re-elect incumbents.
      4) Discourage would be rabble raisers form assembly; can't have more than just local Occupy protesters showing up wherever the G8 is being held.

      • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:38AM (#39642657)

        TSA's root reason for existence :

        0) Transfer power (in the form of money) into fewer hands

        It's a service economy. Ever wonder why they are called "security services" now? Service economies are ideal for oligarchs, because they don't even involve the transfer of goods - your customers won't have anything to show for their money that they could trade elsewhere after they finish partaking of your service.

        Heaven forbid that someone point out that the service being provided is essentially worthless. That threatens this particular segment of the economy.

      • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @09:08AM (#39642935) Homepage

        So, in other words. The terrorists were more successful than they ever could have dreamed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        You missed one of the reasons for the TSA, which is to get people used to not traveling as much in preparation to restricting their right to travel.
        Have you read that Obama is pushing a law to allow the IRS to restrict people from leaving the US if they suspect that they might owe taxes? There would be no need to actually accuse the person of owing taxes, or even going before a judge to show documentation for that suspicion, just the IRS saying that they suspect that this person owes back taxes.
        • No, because there is no such thing in progress.

          There is a bill in the Senate that would revoke passports to those have a levy or lien filed against them by the IRS for more than $50,000 in back taxes which is not being repaid in a timely fashion.

  • by mbone (558574) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:27AM (#39642589)

    These scanners were intended to provide Michael Chertoff with job security. Any security gain for the traveling public is incidental at best and probably negligable in practice. But, from Chertoff's standpoint, I think they are working just fine.

  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:45AM (#39642707) Homepage

    Look, I dislike the TSA as much as anybody, and I've complained about it to my representatives, and I hope it dies as quickly as possible, but everything about this story annoys me.

    A guy with an obvious bias against an entity interviews a recently-fired employee, and uncovers terrible details about that entity! Oh no! Who could have guessed?

    The ex-employee's letter to Congress was the reason she got fired - in a time span of one week. Right. I'm sure the Congressman has their interns sorting mail, looking for disgruntled employees, notifying the appropriate chain of supervisors, and working hard to get people fired - and they can get that done in under a week.

    No SOP manual? Hey, at least you know one's been written somewhere. You could ask your supervisor, or move up the chain to their supervisor, and so on, until you find out where you can get one. There's no sign that that was attempted, just an "I don't know where it was" statement.

    As much as I want to see the TSA dismantled, this interview isn't going to help. It sounds like a muckraker interviewing someone incapable of navigating office politics, who's skirting the system because she got fired, looking to become a martyr for self-justification. This isn't journalism.

  • "Jennifer" (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Isaac Remuant (1891806) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:48AM (#39642729)

    inb4 "Jennifer" is identified and prosecuted under the espionage act for blowing the whistle on national security matters that are to dangerous for us to know.

    And depending on how we feel, throw Corbett in there too. At least ruin his life for daring to criticize authority.

    Disclaimer: There would be a time where this joke would be obvious.

  • by seniorcoder (586717) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:48AM (#39642731)
    If you think you suffer at the hands of the TSA (literally), just imagine what will be done to "Jennifer" each time she tries to board a plane.
  • by 3seas (184403) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @08:56AM (#39642815) Journal

    ....detect weapons and explosives? Weren't they designed just to radiate people to help cause cancer in a population reduction effort?

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @09:02AM (#39642869) Journal
    How does that happen? The congressman would not only have to violate the trust of his constuituent, but actually care enough to let the TSA know. If this violation of trust got out, it could seriously harm his career.

    Could this actually be unrelated? I'd be more readily convinced that the sick leave was related. This would be a problem in itself perhaps but not a security problem.
  • by kaizendojo (956951) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @09:19AM (#39643047)
    Just recently took a flight from PHL to SAT. I had to take off my shoes, walk through a metal detector with my belt off, then had my carry on bag taklen out of the xray scanner and opened up and scrutinized because my "contact lens solution wasn't in a TSA specified plastic bag". Eventually I was cleared, but when I got to my destination and unpacked, I discovered that in the outside pocket of my carry on was a steel multi tool I forgot was in there - complete with a 5 inch and a 4 inch blade. Remeber, this is the same bag that went through the xray TWICE, and then was HAND SEARCHED

    Security theatre? You bet. We need to do this like the Israelis do; they catch this kind of stuff in the parking lot before the culprits even get IN the terminal. But then again, they don't have the added burden of politcally correct calls against "racial profiling". But they also don't have long security lines...OR any security scares in their airports.
  • Theatre and Focus (Score:5, Informative)

    by RichMan (8097) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @09:44AM (#39643351)

    It is all theatre.

    The threat theatre cast by the politicos creates the market for the TSA theatre.

    You are not likely to die by terrorist act. You are more likely to die by automobile accident, heart attack, stroke ......

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm
            * Heart disease: 599,413
            * Cancer: 567,628
            * Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 137,353
            * Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 128,842
            * Accidents (unintentional injuries): 118,021
            * Alzheimer's disease: 79,003
            * Diabetes: 68,705
            * Influenza and Pneumonia: 53,692
            * Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 48,935
            * Intentional self-harm (suicide): 36,909

    Official 911 death toll : 2,996 - and that does not happen every year.

    http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf
    The 15 leading causes of death in 2010 (Table B) were as follows:
    1 Diseases of heart
    2 Malignant neoplasms
    3 Chronic lower respiratory diseases
    4 Cerebrovascular diseases
    5 Accidents (unintentional injuries)
    6 Alzheimer’s disease
    7 Diabetes mellitus
    8 Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome and nephrosis
    9 Influenza and pneumonia
    10 Intentional self-harm (suicide)
    11 Septicemia
    12 Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis
    13 Essential hypertension and hypertensive renal disease
    14 Parkinson’s disease

    • It is all theatre.

      The threat theatre cast by the politicos creates the market for the TSA theatre.

      You are not likely to die by terrorist act. You are more likely to die by automobile accident, heart attack, stroke ......

      http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/lcod.htm * Heart disease: 599,413

      Bingo. Divide that heart disease number by 3000, and you've got two hundred 9/11s each year from just that one cause.

      More Native American and Alaskan Native women died in land motor vehicle accidents in 2001 than total terror deaths for the entire population. More female Americans died of "pelvic inflammation" than terror in the worst year for terror ever.

      Yet when we try to provide health care for all Americans to cut these deaths, it's "socialism". The reason we can spend an infinite amount of treasure, li

  • by Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) on Wednesday April 11, 2012 @10:12AM (#39643667) Homepage
    For me this was no big surprise. I have accidentally brought all sorts of easy to detect with x-ray or metal detectors items through security. My pocket knives have gone through the metal detector on a few occasions, the larger one being a brass handled lock blade with a 4" blade. In my carry on I have sent through my straight edge razors a few times forgetting to not pack them, as well as sending through the x-ray machine shotgun and rifle ammunition that was forgotten about in coat pockets after hunting. Things like this should have been easy to detect, but those are never found but every time I send my old metal chassis SLR through then it is time for the manual inspection. It has long been obvious that they have little to no training and that their screening doesn't work.

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