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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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  • by crazyjj (2598719) * on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:49PM (#43007601)

    I'm thinking Ron may have been doing most unprofessional things at the scanner monitor. Perhaps ween him off the free peep show slowly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @03:57PM (#43007683)

    I think its not quite impossible that he doesn't actually do something wrong.

    If they keep telling you that for safety, you should have such a scanner at your airport, and then want to take it away from you, I don't think you would be happy.

    It likely didn't prove itself in either direction, aka, it didn't show to stop terrorism a lot (since really, there isn't much terrorism), but nor did it show much really negative side effects, so if it was said to be a good thing, why suddenly stop believing in it. Certainly after you likely approved to good thing yourself, wouldn't want to acknowledge its a bad thing now, eh.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:00PM (#43007737)

    The scanner "removed the need for the enhanced pat-down".

    Anyone remember the times before the scanners? There were no enhanced pat-downs, those came with the security theater of scanners. It was just a metal detector and a pat-down was only when the metal detector beeped.

    It seems we're at the point now where we don't question any more whether or not a security measure is useful (haven't seen any proof yet that the pat-down or the scanner are beneficial at all), but the debate is now only about which pointless "security" measure is the preferred method of wasting time and money.

  • I'm sorry, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherIdiot (1980292) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:03PM (#43007777)

    because it 'removed the need for the enhanced pat-down.

    Or you could just, you know, let people pass through the metal detectors.
    You know, how all airports used to do, and smaller ones STILL do?

  • by characterZer0 (138196) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:04PM (#43007783)

    Money was not flushed down the drain. Money was directed to campaign contributors, friends, family, and other connected members of the political class by way of contracts for unnecessary equipment.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:05PM (#43007793) Homepage

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

    I don't know what sort of people enjoy giving enhanced patdowns to other people, but know I don't want them in my airports.

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:07PM (#43007825)

    That absurd. It's almost like you're saying that anyone wishing to bypass advanced screening equipment can just go to a regional airport and then catch a flight to a large airport and TA-TAH! be behind security.

  • by Joce640k (829181) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:10PM (#43007877) Homepage

    (haven't seen any proof yet that the pat-down or the scanner are beneficial at all), but the debate is now only about which pointless "security" measure is the preferred method of wasting time and money.

    Clue: Bad stuff can fit up people's asses. It's how people smuggle drugs through airport security, it's how cellphones get into prisons (complete with chargers!), etc.

    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.

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:12PM (#43007899) Homepage Journal
    Actually, when I go to fly, I do make sure to arrive in plenty of time ahead of flight....and when going through TSA if they don't wave me through the metal detector and instead make me go to the scanner, I refuse and politely ask for the pat down rather than be exposed to the 'radiation'.

    The TSA agents have consistently told me there is no xray or radiation in these, but I smile and ask for the pat down.

    It isn't any big deal so far...but I wish more people would do this as a slight form of protest. If enough people were backing up the lines for pat downs, they might have to rethink using the damned things.

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:18PM (#43007973) Homepage

    Actually, in the case of Rapiscan machines, one of the people that were going to profit from the decision was Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of Homeland Security at the time that he was deciding whether to use them. No, nothing corrupt there.

  • by PhxBlue (562201) on Monday February 25, 2013 @04:26PM (#43008083) Homepage Journal

    The only reason TSA is pervasive is because it is a government handout, replacing the measures they had in place before 9/11.

    It's risk management. In short, no one wants to be the director of the next Logan International Airport -- the takeoff location for two of the four planes involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

    That doesn't excuse the BS security theater, but it gives the folks in charge an out in the event their airport is the next Logan.

  • by houghi (78078) on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:18PM (#43008709)

    The scanners are not the problem. The patdowns are not the problem. The fact that these things are there is the problem.
    Bullshit things like this airport logic [joyreactor.com] are the problem.
    The fact that almost nobody complains is the problem.
    Another nice read [scientificamerican.com] from scientificamerican.com

    The security theater and everything that comes with it is the real problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 25, 2013 @05:19PM (#43008719)

    I'm shocked that people haven't exploited the lax security standards in other countries more. A few years ago, I was flying with a coworker from Mexico City to Detroit. My coworker walked through the metal detector and was not stopped, questioned, or examined in any way. Why is that significant you ask? Because he has a prosthetic leg. I mean, he walked through the metal detector with several guns worth of metal, and the Mexican security didn't even flinch. I'm not sure if they're always so lax, but I can bear witness to this. I know that you get scanned by the TSA once you land in the USA (if you are going on a connecting flight), but what would have stopped someone from hijacking the flight over the USA and doing something bad?

    Fundamentally it's a matter of no one is actually trying to take over/blow up airplanes. That's the main thing that people on the more security side of the argument don't seem to understand.

    It doesn't really matter how crappy your security is when no one is trying to penetrate your security.

  • by jxander (2605655) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:00PM (#43009263)

    Bingo. Give the AC a cookie.

    The events of 9/11, which ostensibly created the need for these enhanced pat downs and radiation machines, cannot possibly happen again. It took *literally* an hour from the time the first place crashed, for word to spread and the 3rd plane's occupants fought back. In the following days, pilot doors were locked and reinforced, and a new mindset spread amongst airline passengers and pilots. A commercial airliner will not be hijacked again. Everyone knows that, including anyone wishing us harm. They know it and will adjust their targets accordingly.

    Meanwhile, I'm stuck getting groped and irradiated while we search for some hypothetical boogeyman who has long since moved on.

  • by rsborg (111459) on Monday February 25, 2013 @06:24PM (#43009499) Homepage

    The scanners are not the problem. The patdowns are not the problem. The fact that these things are there is the problem.
    Bullshit things like this airport logic [joyreactor.com] are the problem.
    The fact that almost nobody complains is the problem.
    Another nice read [scientificamerican.com] from scientificamerican.com

    The security theater and everything that comes with it is the real problem.

    Security theatre isn't the problem, it's a symptom of the military-industrial-complex (now branching out into pervasive monitoring and other totalitarian activities). The problem is the idea that we're constantly at war (with other countries, illegal aliens, drugs, sexuality). I'm not a pure libertarian, but this is the most fundamental agreement I have with libertarians: that sacrificing freedom for the appearance of security is a sure sign you're going to lose all your freedoms... one by one.

    TSA and DHS are the latest symptoms of decades-long degradation of war-oriented policy.

  • by Dracophile (140936) on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @05:36AM (#43012685)

    Why kill your self or debase your self on technology and procedures that are so randomly enforced, that it doesn't do any good anyways.

    Because it's a fucking long drive from Sydney to Singapore or LA where my friends live?

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Tuesday February 26, 2013 @06:20AM (#43012825)

    When Americans have been persuaded to allow their adolescent children to be groped by some mouth-breather who barely scraped through Grade 10 and latched onto his minimum-wage airport job for the "fringe benefits", I guess there's only one conclusion. We can safely assume that, yes, bin Laden got exactly what he wanted as well as what he deserved.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.

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