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House Subcommittee Holds Hearing On TSA's "Scanner Shuffle" 134

OverTheGeicoE writes "The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security held a hearing on TSA's recent decision to move X-ray body scanners from major airports to smaller ones, which the subcommittee refers to as a 'Scanner Shuffle.' John Sanders, TSA's assistant administrator for security capabilities, testified that 91 scanners recently removed from major airports were now in storage due to 'privacy concerns.' Although TSA originally planned to relocate the scanners to smaller airports, those plans have been shelved because smaller airports don't have room for them. The subcommitteee is also investigating allegations that the machines' manufacturer, Rapiscan, 'may have falsified tests of software intended to stop the machines from recording graphic images of travelers' (VIDEO). Coincidentally, shares of Rapiscan's parent company, OSI Systems Inc., dropped in value almost 25% today, its biggest intraday decline in about 12 years. If wrongdoing is proven, Rapiscan could face fines, prison terms and a ban on government contracting, according to a former head of federal procurement."
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House Subcommittee Holds Hearing On TSA's "Scanner Shuffle"

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @08:29PM (#41997507)

    If only privacy was the biggest concern..
    These things are skin cancer machines, just do a quick Google search.
    That's why they are not found in Europe..

  • by jnmontario ( 865369 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:15PM (#41997793)
    I flew out of Minneapolis a few weeks ago and while on the way down I didn't have to go through the scanner (in Canada we use millimeter wave and always have), they had the backscatter in the airport. I simply, and politely, asked to have my kids go through the metal detector along-side the backscatter instead since I didn't want them to get a blast of xrays. "No problem" said the TSA person (who BTW was incredibly nice and reasonable about the whole thing). In fact, the whole fam. got processed through the metal detector instead. They DID confiscate the ~3 oz. of my kids' toothpaste however. Security theater.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 15, 2012 @09:44PM (#41998007)

    Reading the Drudge Report, there was a story a week ago that 30% of Americans think it would be ok for the TSA to do body cavity searches before allowing people onto the planes. He has also posted numerous poll about the majority of Americans think the TSA does a good job (like 52% majority). Of course Drudge is not biased for the TSA, he also posts every possible story of the TSA messing up as well.

    Reading polls like that shows that the majority think it is fine and the TSA could go even further. The government run public education has succeeded in making enough of the country dumb enough so they can do what they want and have the people call anyone who opposes government suppression bigots.

  • by sam1am ( 753369 ) on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:13PM (#41998475)

    The backscatter machines were pulled three weeks ago from New York's LaGuardia and JFK, Chicago O'Hare, Los Angeles, Boston, Charlotte and Orlando airports. The move was designed to speed up security lines at checkpoints there.

    Sanders said it's worked and that lines at those airports are now moving 180,000 more passengers each day.

    I find this confusing. Were the TSA lines the gating factor in keeping 180,000 passengers from flying each day? According to A4A, 2.4 Million Passengers will fly on 11/25/2012 [airlines.org]. 180,000 passengers is 7.5% of that figure. An average travel day in the US looks to be roughly 1.8 million passengers. 180,000 is 10% of that figure.

    What did those 180,000 people do? Wait in line until it closed/they missed their flight, then try again another day? Decide not to fly?

  • by Mitreya ( 579078 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [ayertim]> on Thursday November 15, 2012 @11:48PM (#41998673)

    seems they are consistently boorish, idiotic in rulemaking, inconsistent, and being called out as leaders in group comedy, instead of as an effective security force.

    You are missing the most important part

    There are NO demonstrable results that anyone in TSA could show for the last 11 years. The 2-3 half-assed terrorist attempts (shoe bomber, etc.) have been stopped by other passengers. TSA accomplishments are rivaled only by the anti-terrorist rock (though TSA is significantly more expensive)

    I asked this before and I will ask again -- how does an agency exist/expand/get funding without demonstrating any results whatsoever? One could dislike CIA/FBI/IRS, but one could at least point to something beneficial that they actually do.

  • by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @01:40AM (#41999065) Journal

    It's a comedy pinata.

    Not to mention that the original AQ leadership is mostly dead (and in some cases, All Dead, only thing you can do is sort through their pockets for loose change). Israel is doing just fine with scanner-free profiling (I suppose that requires some form of proper Cop Radar to work though, or a minimum IQ standard). So really, TSA has left the fair shores of bureaucratic annoyance to explore the fresh new horizons of totalitarian repression, for no net value to anyone but themselves.

    My solution is pretty straightforward -- I won't fly.

    And if some clever person wants to do horrible things to people in bulk, as before, do you think they'll go through the already-hardened option, or find some other piece of critical civil infrastructure to infect?

    I'd feel much more secure if water treatment plants had updated security, that there was a solid path for SCADA security, than that the SCF that the TSA has now become re-arranges yet another set of radioactive deck chairs on their bureaucratic Titanic.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?