Great news: TSA body scanners actually saving photos of passengers’ junk

posted at 9:51 pm on August 4, 2010 by Allahpundit

Let’s see. On the one hand, the scanners are a useful tool in detecting the sort of explosives smuggled onto Flight 253 by Abdulmutallab, and therefore a valuable weapon in the war on terror. Which of course is why Napolitano is expanding their use. On the other hand, airline passengers are understandably self-conscious about dangling their goods in front of the local TSA screener but perhaps willing to do so in the interest of not being blown up in mid-air. Our dilemma: What can we do to freak out the public to the point where they’ll demand that the scanners no longer be used, thereby imperiling everyone?

Good ol’ DHS. Always quick with a solution.

The U.S. Marshals Service admitted this week that it had surreptitiously saved tens of thousands of images recorded with a millimeter wave system at the security checkpoint of a single Florida courthouse.

This follows an earlier disclosure (PDF) by the TSA that it requires all airport body scanners it purchases to be able to store and transmit images for “testing, training, and evaluation purposes.” The agency says, however, that those capabilities are not normally activated when the devices are installed at airports…

William Bordley, an associate general counsel with the Marshals Service, acknowledged in the letter that “approximately 35,314 images…have been stored on the Brijot Gen2 machine” used in the Orlando, Fla. federal courthouse. In addition, Bordley wrote, a Millivision machine was tested in the Washington, D.C. federal courthouse but it was sent back to the manufacturer, which now apparently possesses the image database…

A 70-page document (PDF) showing the TSA’s procurement specifications, classified as “sensitive security information,” says that in some modes the scanner must “allow exporting of image data in real time” and provide a mechanism for “high-speed transfer of image data” over the network. (It also says that image filters will “protect the identity, modesty, and privacy of the passenger.”)

The only reason I can think of to save the images is to preserve evidence in case the TSA screener on duty … utterly fails to detect the hidden explosives in the image and the suspect somehow makes it onto the plane. Is that what this is about — making sure prosecutors have something to show the jury in case some jihadi actually makes it past the checkpoint and is subdued during the flight? Obviously you don’t need the image if you nab the guy during the pre-flight screening since you’ll recover the actual explosives themselves. What the sam hill is going on here?

Update: Speak of the devil…

Update: To clarify, obviously you don’t need the images if the guy’s subdued during the flight either. But having them would prove whether he brought the explosives onboard himself versus whether they were planted there by some other party. Is that what this is about? It can’t be.


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Don’t assume there’s a reasonable or even plausible explanation for this. It’s the DHS. Reasonable or plausible isn’t a requirement for action.

amerpundit on August 4, 2010 at 9:55 PM

The only reason I can think of to save the images is to preserve evidence in case the TSA screener on duty … utterly fails to detect the hidden explosives in the image and the suspect somehow makes it onto the plane

C’mon AP. they’re saving the *.jpg files to put up a new “Hot or Not: TSA Edition” page somewhere….

ted c on August 4, 2010 at 9:55 PM

Anyone wanna take bets on what body types were saved and which were deleted?

LincolntheHun on August 4, 2010 at 9:56 PM

Saving x-rays of passengers’ “junk”, huh. So thousands of well-gifted passengers have been “hung” out to dry by the TSA, hmm?

Edouard on August 4, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Anyone wanna take bets on what body types were saved and which were deleted?

LincolntheHun on August 4, 2010 at 9:56 PM

heh…the conversations between the cretin TSA folks will be …”Yeah, that chick came through here last month, those boobs are totally bigger this time around.”

ted c on August 4, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Abolish the TSA.

MadisonConservative on August 4, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Let’s see Napolitano’s body scan. yuck

thedudesblog on August 4, 2010 at 9:59 PM

junk, tool, dangling their goods, blown (?)

If I didn’t know any better, I would say there was some sexual undertones here.

Nah.

VibrioCocci on August 4, 2010 at 10:00 PM

If they’re not keeping the scans of the hot chicks, these guys are “deh ghey”.

rickyricardo on August 4, 2010 at 10:01 PM

Sharia Law exemption?

mjbrooks3 on August 4, 2010 at 10:01 PM

Can’t wait to see what the federal government has in store for your medical X-rays.

Good Lt on August 4, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Probably an elderly white woman spontaneously combusting.

Rogue individual.

Not a terrorist threat.

Mr. Mohammad, we don’t believe, is connected to any Islamic faction; nor was his previous stay in Yemen anything to be concerned about.

The system worked.

Well, yeah, maybe it was terrorism but it had nothing to do with Islam.

Next story please.

BKeyser on August 4, 2010 at 10:02 PM

Re: the diverted flight.

Apparently some idiot decided to smoke on the plane. All-clear issued.

amerpundit on August 4, 2010 at 10:03 PM

Little weiner is going to throw another hissy fit.

txag92 on August 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Michael Moore’s privacy is still safe, I do believe.

NaCly dog on August 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Cost of photographing everyones junk: e-fricking-normous
Cost of profiling douchebags that fly to YemenSaudiPakistanSomaliaPickOne: cheaper

yeah, take the more expensive one….
The American Way…

ted c on August 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM

Big Sis has a thing for x rays?

d1carter on August 4, 2010 at 10:06 PM

So frequent fliers like myself may experience darker skin and an intolerance to cold weather?

Electrongod on August 4, 2010 at 10:06 PM

Not surprising. Those scanners are a total waste. If other airports run anything like our local one using those machines is optional. Do people actually think someone carrying a bomb will go in the bomb sniffing machine line? Do people think someone hiding a weapon will go in the body scanning line?

Dog and pony show guys, Dog and pony.

clement on August 4, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Abolish the TSA.

MadisonConservative on August 4, 2010 at 9:59 PM

I’m with you, send them all back to their previous jobs…I’m sure they haven’t forgotten how to say “Welcome To Walmart”.

Tim Zank on August 4, 2010 at 10:11 PM

Do people actually think someone carrying a bomb will go in the bomb sniffing machine line? Do people think someone hiding a weapon will go in the body scanning line?

clement on August 4, 2010 at 10:09 PM

Actually, yes. You see similar situations on COPS all of the time.

People with drugs in the car will tell cops that they have permission to search the car, thinking the cop won’t search because he’ll figure no one with drugs in the car would let him search.

The suspects think they’re out-smarting the cops.

The cops caught onto this. Now they search and find drugs.

amerpundit on August 4, 2010 at 10:15 PM

Michael Moore’s privacy is still safe, I do believe.

NaCly dog on August 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM

He rarely flies, too expensive to buy three adjacent seats.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Saving x-rays of passengers’ “junk”, huh. So thousands of well-gifted passengers have been “hung” out to dry by the TSA, hmm?

Edouard on August 4, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Glad my mouth was empty when I read that. I can’t afford a new keyboard.

listens2glenn on August 4, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Got pretty far in the application process with the TSA once upon a time. I can’t say much because its confidential, but the xrays they look through are downright jibberish. It’s a wonder they see anything. Im all for any tech that helps them screen better and faster.

Get me the hell out of line, and you can have all the naked pictures you want.

triple on August 4, 2010 at 10:26 PM

These scanners are a waste of money and complete crap.

Hell, you can swallow or shove explosives up another body cavity and these scanners won’t detect it.

TSA is treating the SYMPTOMS – and NOT the cause. They think they can “outsmart” the terrorists with technology – they can’t and won’t.

The Israelis provide the world’s greatest airline security. They do this, not by detecting bombs or weapons so much – but by DETECTING TERRORISTS. That is the key.

And they do it without undue delay of innocent passengers.

IT’S A MULTI-TIERED SYSTEM

HondaV65 on August 4, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Let’s see Napolitano’s body scan. yuck

thedudesblog on August 4, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Lets not. I just ate.

portlandon on August 4, 2010 at 10:31 PM

And Arizona reminds everyone of Nazi Germany?Look at the TSA lines! We have the oppression of a nation captive to PC and a few thousand creeps.

They took a $1 box of matches from my CHECKED luggage. The type of matches were in little square boxes. Not the big strike anywhere types. They took a penknife from my daughter which was fine but the lady who caught her was overjoyed. (It was a very nice knife.)

I have seen the elderly get hurt trying to comply.

What is wrong with dumping that whole joke? I say just take out a Muslim city every time we lose a plane.

I know our Muslim brothers. They will get the idea soon enough.

IlikedAUH2O on August 4, 2010 at 10:33 PM

…passengers’ junk

LMAO!!!!!

Good Lord…. I nearly swallowed my gum when I read that.

Hilarious.

The Ugly American on August 4, 2010 at 10:34 PM

Abolish the TSA.

MadisonConservative on August 4, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Agree. Privatize everything. As Dennis Miller (as I recall) said, the ACLU can have their own airline; the rest of us want to be safe.

DrMagnolias on August 4, 2010 at 10:35 PM

…see?

You even made me hit the strike bar by mistake too! …hahahaa!!

The Ugly American on August 4, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Is it just me or is the person in the headline picture appear to have a tail?

Mo_mac on August 4, 2010 at 10:38 PM

Good Lord, you mean they kept a picture of my smokin’ hot body?! I feel so violated. But knowing that my rights were violated so that Muslims wouldn’t feel racially profiled makes all the skeeviness seem alright.

JavelinaBomb on August 4, 2010 at 10:38 PM

So, the government has LIED………..again.

GarandFan on August 4, 2010 at 10:39 PM

Hmmm.

Next time I fly I’ll put a pair of modified Groucho Marx glasses over my junk.

That’ll give them what for!

memomachine on August 4, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Now, I tend to be pretty, shall we say, immodest with my nakedness, but even I have a problem with this. Because it’s not by choice with these schmucks….

They took a $1 box of matches from my CHECKED luggage. The type of matches were in little square boxes. Not the big strike anywhere types. They took a penknife from my daughter which was fine but the lady who caught her was overjoyed. (It was a very nice knife.)

I had a tiny little pair of children’s scissors ( you know, the kind you buy a little kid) so that I could do a craft on the plane. You couldn’t hurt ANYONE with those stupid things. Yet, oh, yes, those pathetic idiots took them away from me because they were a banned item. Even though the TSA website basically says, “Scissors – metal with pointed tips and blades shorter than four inches – Carry On YES”

Jacka**es

mjk on August 4, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Hmmm.

Next time I fly I’ll put a pair of modified Groucho Marx glasses over my junk.

That’ll give them what for!

memomachine on August 4, 2010 at 10:44 PM

Bwah ha ha ha!!! Can I please be there when you do that?

mjk on August 4, 2010 at 10:45 PM

Well, at least we are not asking for thier papers.

barnone on August 4, 2010 at 10:47 PM

Michael Moore’s privacy is still safe, I do believe.

NaCly dog on August 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM

He rarely flies, too expensive to buy three adjacent seats.

slickwillie2001 on August 4, 2010 at 10:18 PM

Even when he does, I can’t see him getting on a commercial flight.

listens2glenn on August 4, 2010 at 10:50 PM

Saving x-rays of passengers’ “junk”, huh. So thousands of well-gifted passengers have been “hung” out to dry by the TSA, hmm?

Edouard on August 4, 2010 at 9:58 PM

Of course not…it’s a millimeter wave system.

James on August 4, 2010 at 11:02 PM

Man I’m glad I just deleted my last post, right before I was going to hit the submit button.

Fishoutofwater on August 4, 2010 at 11:07 PM

Um, they run kids through these things too, right?
They keep any of those images?
How is that possibly legal?

redshirt on August 4, 2010 at 11:11 PM

This sh*t violates the 4th amendment.

crr6 on August 4, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Janet Napolitano is saving those revealing scan images in her person fantasy collection.

bayview on August 4, 2010 at 11:14 PM

But don’t you dare ask for any immigration status paperwork. These people make me sick.

Cindy Munford on August 4, 2010 at 11:18 PM

This sh*t violates the 4th amendment.

crr6 on August 4, 2010 at 11:14 PM

Coming around.

Dire Straits on August 4, 2010 at 11:21 PM

Lets not. I just ate.

portlandon on August 4, 2010 at 10:31 PM

Excellent point..But I would be interested to see if the Ferret shows up on the scanner. :)

Dire Straits on August 4, 2010 at 11:24 PM

The next time I travel, I’ll ask the TSA for 8 by 10 glossies

Kini on August 4, 2010 at 11:55 PM

In addition to the aforementioned fourth amendment issues, three problems come to mind…

First, a Miami TSA employee physically attacked his colleagues after being scanned and repeatedly taunted about the size of his wee wee. Professionalism is not high on the list of requirements at the TSA. This stuff will find its way on to the internet. If there’s a market for upskirt pics and toilet cams someone will get off to this stuff as well.

Second, what about women who are pregnant but might not be aware of it? Perhaps zapping their bodies with x-rays might not be the best thing for the developing fetus?

Lastly, I can’t wait until the first female Muslim air traveller is offended and refuses to be scanned. You know TSA will let her fly anyway.

Mike Honcho on August 4, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Mike Honcho on August 4, 2010 at 11:57 PM

Are you saying Federal emplyees look at porn..Well I am appalled! :)

Dire Straits on August 5, 2010 at 12:04 AM

Second, what about women who are pregnant but might not be aware of it? Perhaps zapping their bodies with x-rays might not be the best thing for the developing fetus?

Mike Honcho on August 4, 2010 at 11:57 PM

These aren’t x-rays. They are higher than microwaves, but lower than infrared.

pedestrian on August 5, 2010 at 12:27 AM

There is legitimate reason for saving images – They can be used to train new operators, diagnose false alarms, and assuming that someone actually beats the system – they can forensically go back through the images and determine how the system has been defeated.

Of course, trusting the TSA to treat images as ‘sensitive’ and private and ensuring that the operators are mature and professional – well, we’ve seen how that works…

RustMouse on August 5, 2010 at 12:46 AM

wonder why this machines have a save function in the first place

RonK on August 5, 2010 at 12:48 AM

In case a terrorist managed to get through, you’re going to want his scanner images to understand why.

Phoenician on August 5, 2010 at 12:52 AM

Phoenician on August 5, 2010 at 12:52 AM

how, actually.

Phoenician on August 5, 2010 at 12:53 AM

But will rectally inserted bombs be detected?

Nope.

Therefore the system is already obsolete.

MRI’s, next?

profitsbeard on August 5, 2010 at 1:26 AM

I’m really getting sick of being lied to by my government.

WisCon on August 5, 2010 at 1:44 AM

Is it illegal to wear foil underwear? There’s my next big seller– I thought of it.

leftnomore on August 5, 2010 at 2:54 AM

Another reminder that many running TSA are as unqualified and inappropriate in positions of responsibility as Kagan on the Supreme Court. Both obviously see the citizens as their playthings and little more.

viking01 on August 5, 2010 at 5:39 AM

Michael Moore’s privacy is still safe, I do believe.

NaCly dog on August 4, 2010 at 10:04 PM

‘Cause he can’t find his unit with both hands and a grabber tool from OversizeSolutions.com, you mean?

Mary in LA on August 5, 2010 at 6:14 AM

Let’s see Napolitano’s body scan. yuck

thedudesblog on August 4, 2010 at 9:59 PM

Show it to the jihadis in Gitmo and they’ll be begging to be waterboarded…or at least to be given an ice pick to gouge out their eyes.

VelvetElvis on August 5, 2010 at 7:30 AM

Taking a vacation later this month to the coast – 600 miles away. And we’re driving.

Suck it, TSA.

fossten on August 5, 2010 at 7:35 AM

Most people are not reading the first paragraph – this has nothing to do with flying or airports – it happened at a COURTHOUSE. I swore I would never go near an airport again because of this and now I have to duck jury duty too ??? This is really disgusting and I’m sure every pervert in the country has already applied for a job manning those disgusting machines.

LODGE4 on August 5, 2010 at 7:39 AM

Simple solution is to combine the TSA with the SEC then dissolve the results. No point in having two agencies whose primary purpose is to view porn on the job whether of internet or DIY origin. Given the abysmal state of junk justice, the Prop 8 activist and the typical litigation lottery that such an abomination happened at a courthouse shouldn’t be surprising.

viking01 on August 5, 2010 at 7:53 AM

Talk about a misleading headline. I expect better from HotAir.

The TSA scanners are capable of recording and transmitting the images. That’s probably a standard feature on these things. Now, there ought to be a debate on whether and how long copies of these images should be stored, and to whom they can be transmitted to. And there’s no debate that they should not go outside of the TSA system, unless there’s a court order.

Get it in your heads folks. Flying on a plane isn’t a right, it’s a privilege. You buy a ticket for that privilege.

Keith_Indy on August 5, 2010 at 8:01 AM

This sh*t violates the 4th amendment.

crr6 on August 4, 2010 at 11:14 PM

fed is entitled to regulated interstate travel? commerce?

covered under commerce clause? just like everything else?

your thoughts julio?

ted c on August 5, 2010 at 8:07 AM

Remember folks. Being groped electronically isn’t a right. It’s a privilege.

Now hold on to your tickets silently and don’t be surprised if Larry Flynt someday publishes your security scan.

viking01 on August 5, 2010 at 8:21 AM

That’s a scarey pix. Traveling by air becomes less and less attractive. You’d think the sheer uncomfortable factor in air travel has bottomed out, but no!!

jeanie on August 5, 2010 at 8:44 AM

So long as no Muslims are offended, I’m OK with it.
/

pain train on August 5, 2010 at 9:03 AM

Umm.. dude…

They save the pics because when some plane explodes they can go back and show that it was “operator error” that let the scumbag through and not the fault of the expensive hardware.

Pamper theory FTW.

Also the hot chicks…

Sinner on August 5, 2010 at 9:14 AM

Been in Airport Management for 35 plus years, and questioned this equipment from day one. Primarily, because the TSA has been countering every complaint with the same excuse, we can not save the images, the operator is not on scene to know who they are actually screening, etc.

However, the equipment was designed to save the images, because if an illegal item is detected then a image to meet the reasonable cause rule of law. Therefore, to take any subjectivity out of the equation the machine takes a snapshot without any action on the part of operator. The role of the person screening the person in the machine is to identify the area where the suspicious object(s) are, so during a full search the TSA screener performing the pat down can be guided by the Scanning technician where to look and request further disrobing for full discovery.

Also, using this new equipment as the primary means of screening means every one entering the airports Sterile Area has a picture on file in a server at the airport.

The equipment is more useful as a secondary screening method. When the passenger triggers the Walk Through Metal Detector then send them through the Full Body Scanner to conclusively prove the person is not trying to smuggle something into an airport or airplane.

MSGTAS on August 5, 2010 at 9:19 AM

This is just a preview of what will happen to our medical records under Obamacare. If Obamacare becomes entrenched you can bet all branches of the government will have unlimited access to your records and any potential employer will be able to obtain the same by paying a hundred bucks to a private investigator.

Thus, we will be put in the place where we will be intimidated from disclosing to our doctors confidential sensitive informmation regarding our health because we know it would soon become public record. No way under Obamacare would I disclose if I thought I was suffereing from depression, had a drug or alcohol problem or disclose that my parents suffered from some genetic aliment.

tommyboy on August 5, 2010 at 9:29 AM

no…No…NO!!! I refuse to believe that ANYONE in the Obama Admin lied to the American People! The said they wouldn’t be able to save the photos or even see past a certain depth.

CynicalOptimist on August 5, 2010 at 9:48 AM

I’ve said all along that images will be saved, time-stamped, and correlated with passenger manifests and security cams. Of course it will be abused, like everything else. None of this will deter a competent, organized attack. Everyone is kidding themselves and giving up their freedom and dignity.

The only way to stop all the potential catastrophic disasters is profiling and mirror winning strategies such as Israel’s. This will never happen and mayhem will ensue.

nottakingsides on August 5, 2010 at 11:34 AM

Just wait until the IRS gets hold of them.

We understand your disagreement with us on your 1040 and health insurance Mr. Public…. maybe this will change your mind.

viking01 on August 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM

Having the images would be helpful if there was a successful terrorist attack. In the aftermath, investigators would like to be able to go back to try to figure out where the system failed. Another commenter mentioned operator error, and that would be one possibility. Another is if a new method is devised to get through security under the current standards. Being able to go back and try to figure out how that was accomplished would be invaluable.

Anon Y. Mous on August 5, 2010 at 3:36 PM

it should not be used for after the fact, it should be before the act.

workingforpigs on August 5, 2010 at 3:38 PM

TSNA body scanners actually saving photos of passengers

Nuff said?

chickasaw42 on August 5, 2010 at 5:07 PM

Stupid fuc*kers. Profile your passengers.

Jaibones on November 16, 2010 at 7:54 PM