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Helena Airport Manager Blocks TSA From Taking Full-Body Scanner 221

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-without-my-scanner dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "TSA recently announced that it would remove all of Rapiscan's X-ray body scanners from airports by June. As part of this effort, it is trying to move a millimeter-wave body scanner from the Helena, Montana airport to replace an X-ray unit at a busier airport. Strangely enough, they have encountered resistance from the Helena's Airport Manager, Ron Mercer. Last Thursday, workers came to remove the machine, but were prevented from doing so by airport officials. Why? Perhaps Mercer agrees with Cindi Martin, airport director at Montana's Glacier Park International Airport airport, who called the scheduled removal of her airport's scanner 'a great disservice to the flying public' in part because it 'removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.'"
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Helena Airport Manager Blocks TSA From Taking Full-Body Scanner

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  • Bad editing (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:07PM (#43007829)

    Read the article, he doesn't want to remove it because they don't need to do enhanced patdowns while they have the machine. If they remove the machine, they will have to do the pat downs again.

  • by jmrieger (2695923) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:12PM (#43007901)
    Think you misread the statement. They liked the machine because having it installed meant that TSA officers *didn't* have to do the enhanced pat-downs.
  • Misleading Headline (Score:5, Informative)

    by pdbogen (596723) <pdbogen-slashdot@NoSPaM.cernu.us> on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:17PM (#43007957) Homepage

    Wow. Misleading headline is horribly misleading. Quote from one of TFAs:

    “We’re really disappointed that the TSA is removing them from our airport,” Martin said. “It is a great disservice to the flying public.
    “People had become comfortable with the scanner. It certainly did speed the process and removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.”

    i.e., it's not the "removal of the scanner" that "removed the nead for the enhanced pat-down," as the headline deceptively implies. Rather, the scanner itself removed the need. However, as a seasoned frequent flier, I'm quite acquainted with the fact that security checkpoints that do not have body scanners are not subject to an "enhanced pat-down," as Martin implies in the article.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:23PM (#43008041)

    Your comment doesn't make mucht sense. They would rethink using the machines because nobody is using them? Removing them only makes the pad down line longer.

  • DEFUND THE TSA (Score:5, Informative)

    by pecosdave (536896) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:23PM (#43008043) Homepage Journal

    The Iron Triangle [wikipedia.org] must be broken.

    I can think of no government agency more deserving of being defunded, though many others should follow.

  • by AliasMarlowe (1042386) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:24PM (#43008063) Journal
    Or perhaps some persons were enjoying giving the "enhanced pat-downs" even more than watching the nudie videos.
  • by OzPeter (195038) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:32PM (#43008153)

    Anybody who's really determined can get a bomb on a 'plane using this method and nothing the TSA does will prevent it. I know it, you know it, Al Qaeda knows it, even the TSA knows it.

    Anyone who is really interested in disrupting air travel won't even try to smuggle a bomb on a plane. All you need to do is set off a bomb (*) in the middle of the security theatre at a major airport (or for fun synchronized at 2 or 3 airports) and that will scare the US public shitless.

    * Or you could even do what the IRA did in 1994 when they fired mortars at Heathrow airport.

  • by Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:39PM (#43008257)

    "'removes the need for the enhanced pat-down?"

    Telling the TSA to get the fuck out of your airport and re-installing private security with more common sense than your average peanut shell.

    The only reason TSA is pervasive is because it is a government handout, replacing the measures they had in place before 9/11. IIRC, there is absolutely nothing preventing airports from replacing TSA with their own security.

    When Texas threatened to make "invasive screening" a misdemeanor [forbes.com] the TSA threatened to shut down all traffic out of Texas airports. I have no doubt that if an airport tried to expel the TSA and install private security that they'd do the same to that airport.

  • by Drakonblayde (871676) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:29PM (#43008829)

    Wrong scanner. This is the milimeter wave scanner that they're not wanting to be removed. The porn scanners are the ones being permanently removed, and they're pulling the milimeter wave scanners out of the smaller airports to replace the porn scanners they're yanking from the bigger airports.

  • by swschrad (312009) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:33PM (#43008891) Homepage Journal

    the millimeter wave (aka microwave, aka popcorn button) scanner in Helena is newer equipment that does not provide the peepshow images, folks. as such, TSA must deem it too nice to have in Helena. maybe they should do their grope act in New York and Phoenix and other large, visible places instead of out in the hinterlands. show their nonsense act for what it is.

  • by dcollins (135727) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:34PM (#43008903) Homepage

    "He says the scanner provides an excuse for them to do 'enhanced patdowns'."

    I'm not going to blast you like some other commenters did, because it's the summary that's bungled, and does in fact literally say what you thought here. But nonetheless, here's what the manager actually said in TFA: "People had become comfortable with the scanner. It certainly did speed the process and removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.”

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:36PM (#43008937)

    You do realize that there is NO need for enhanced pat-down. It does NOTHING to improve security.
    Neither does the nude scanner as it misses 99.9% of dangerous items when they are aligned with body's sides.

    The only thing that anyone gets out of enhanced pat-downs is the Agents themselves getting their rocks off molesting children and raping women.

    Every single TSA agent that has performed an enhanced pat-down or spent time monitoring the nude scanners should be in prison on the registered sex offenders list for the rest of their lives.

    TSA - the only private (not government) agency where being a child molesting, child porn generating, rapist is considered not only a good thing, but a job requirement. If I was an FBI agent, I'd more than make my quota arresting these fucktards every day for molesting children and viewing child-porn.
    I'd probably beg them to resist arrest to boot.
    And when their supervisors try to intervene, I'd arrest them too for interfering with a REAL federal agent doing his job.

    There's an idea - rather than the FBI spending time tracking down foreign hackers, let's have them nail child rapists by arresting every single TSA employee.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Monday February 25, 2013 @07:33PM (#43009585)

    Wait, while I agree that the TSA is bad, have you seen the jackbooted idiots who man the Statue of Liberty checkpoints? These military dressed morons go way beyond what the TSA do and they are armed to the teeth. This is beyond the airport style screening you have to go throw to get to the islands. It truly is a lesson in freedom when to go see the symbol of freedom in this country treats everyone going to the island like a suspected terrorist.

    http://www.yelp.com/biz/statue-of-liberty-national-monument-new-york [yelp.com]

    Not my review:

    To board the ferry you must pass through "airport-style" security screening, although removal of shoes is not required. This privately-contracted security screening is not so bad either. It's when you want to enter the museum, or climb the stairs to the crown, that it gets very very bad. Once on the island, further screening prior to entry is handled by The Nazis of Liberty Island, federal employees highly trained in sulkiness, sullenness, antagonism, and hostility, an embarrassment to any Americans proud of freedom or of their national heritage, and a bizarre insult to all visitors, who (as I noted) have ALREADY PASSED SECURITY just to get there.

  • by Virtucon (127420) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @09:11AM (#43013207)

    This letter [npr.org] says it all and to date the Administration, specifically the TSA has not addressed the concerns raised. The TSA unilaterally has conducted a large science experiment on the traveling public without the smallest amount of scientific scrutiny on the safety of the procedure. This again flies in the face of a "transparent administration" as promised by Obama. [whitehouse.gov]

    My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration. Openness will strengthen our democracy and promote efficiency and effectiveness in Government.

    These systems were rushed into use without any concern for safety of the operators and the people being scanned. Obviously the operators who are around these systems day in and day out are at the greatest risk but also the passengers, some like me who fly very frequently. I don't like going through the humiliation of the pat down but that's far better than getting another case of skin cancer.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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