Video: The obligatory “TSA’s scanners can’t really be this bad, can they?” clip

posted at 7:45 pm on March 7, 2012 by Allahpundit

In case you missed it at Drudge, Wired, the Daily Mail, the Daily News, or any of the thousand other sites where it’s been posted today. The good news: TSA has seen the clip, so if this guy is telling the truth, they’re aware of the problem and — presumably — working to fix it. The bad news: Follow the last link and read their blog post closely and you’ll see that they never quite challenge the veracity of the video. They call it a “crude attempt” to beat the machine but at no point do they deny that a crude attempt might succeed. On the contrary, in noting that the machine is just one of multiple layers of airport security, they write, “We’ve never claimed it’s the end all be all.” When Wired phoned the TSA for further comment, the most reassurance they could get from a spokesman was, “These machines are safe.” Dude?

The experts’ verdict via the Guardian: Unlikely, but possible.

The only place such scanners are in use this side of the Atlantic is Manchester airport, where any passenger who alarms the metal detector is put through the body scanner. The airport says it is quicker and cheaper than the alternative of frisking. Of Corbett’s experiment, spokesman Russell Craig said: “He’s taken a small metal tin through. And the guards are looking for a threat object. That’s not one. It’s not a valid test. To say this shows it undermines airport security technology is totally wrong.”

Aviation security expert Philip Baum, of Green Light, says: “Pretty much every system, you can fool.” He says that scanners use avatars – not the kind of images Corbett has put up on his blog – so talk of “nude” scanners is unnecessarily sensational. But he has some sympathy with the idea that scanners are a colossal waste of money.

“Using advanced imaging technology has its benefit,” he says, “providing you know what you’re looking for. You need 67 machines to do the job of 20 metal detectors. So it’s certainly not cost-effective – and it’s questionable if it’s effective in any case. You can’t pick up internal carry – which is what drug smugglers do every day. And there is no technology currently screening people for explosives.”

Right, he’s not carrying a gun, but that’s not the point. The point is that it’s allegedly possible to smuggle a weapon aboard inside a metal container provided it’s placed just so on the body. The money question is how big the container could be before it’s spotted by a screener; that’ll be answered in the inevitable sequel, I take it. Worth noting: This guy is reportedly suing the TSA for, er, $1 billion for violating his Fourth Amendment rights via the scanner so clearly he’s motivated to embarrass them. On the other hand, this isn’t the first time someone’s claimed that the machines don’t work. Revisit this Wired piece from last year citing a transportation-security study that identified flaws in the machine. Quote: “The report found that ‘a wire or a box-cutter blade taped to the side of the body, or even a small gun in the same location, will be invisible.’” Hmmmmm.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

i was skeptical but… meh… possible

Drunk Report on March 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Start letting more people fly armed. LEOs, flight attendants, pilots, etc.. So if some jackass stands up with a box cutter he can be shot.

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Step right up folks to see the most amazing dog and pony show on earth.

The Ugly American on March 7, 2012 at 7:47 PM

A 90 degree turn, two scans, would seem to beat this trick…

Braveheart on March 7, 2012 at 7:48 PM

TSA

At least they take the “Authority” part of their name seriously.

thirtyandseven on March 7, 2012 at 7:50 PM

A 90 degree turn, two scans, would seem to beat this trick…

Braveheart on March 7, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Not a bad idea, that. The alternative would be to just return to using metal detectors.

vegconservative on March 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM

Where’s the Breitbart tape open thread!

FLconservative on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

The whole thing is stupid. I could take my cellphone to the bathroom, smash it over my knee, and come out with a deadly weapon. The only real security we have against another 9/11 style attack was the actions of the passengers on United 93. Terrorists are well aware another attempt to control an airplane would fail.

bernverdnardo1 on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Start letting more people fly armed. LEOs, flight attendants, pilots, etc.. So if some jackass stands up with a box cutter he can be shot.
amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM

So what you’re saying is, is that you have no idea how airplanes work

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

A 90 degree turn, two scans, would seem to beat this trick…

Braveheart on March 7, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Yup. If you dont wear it between your legs though.

the_nile on March 7, 2012 at 7:53 PM

“If I put on headphones and use a microphone I will look serious”

The Notorious G.O.P on March 7, 2012 at 7:54 PM

So what you’re saying is, is that you have no idea how airplanes work

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Heheh.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 7:54 PM

Some of you guys might remember the answer to this problem…

The Kid From Brooklyn – Bat Day

(slight language content warning)

Seven Percent Solution on March 7, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Clearly we need to ban all handguns with barrels less than 8″ in length. For the children.

Bruce MacMahon on March 7, 2012 at 8:01 PM

Allah, could you please post some more.. A poster on another board is raving about how your voice is being stifled by the “new hot air.”

melle1228 on March 7, 2012 at 8:07 PM

No surprise here.

WisCon on March 7, 2012 at 8:09 PM

No, its not useless. It’ll catch the stupid people and most of the threats are by stupid people. Its all its really for. If someone puts the thought into it they will get what they want around it, one way or another.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Like Ann Coulter said, when they start shoving bombs up their rectums, game over.

John the Libertarian on March 7, 2012 at 8:15 PM

TSA is such a joke. You can get all sorts of things that either are currently weapons or could quickly be turned into weapons past the pathetic equipment and ineffective personnel. And note that whenever they don’t catch something or an agent steals thousands of dollars, they just need “more training,” as if that’s the magical solution that will turn this screwed-up agency into a functioning branch of security for America.

Turn it over to the airlines, let them profile people and not things, and be done with it!

pookysgirl on March 7, 2012 at 8:15 PM

The TSA is ineffective theater. But even if they caught ‘everything’ but the humans, they would still be violating my 4th ammendment rights in the crudest fashion outside of a prisoner strip search. And Each of those individualy ought to be enough to get them shut down. But our congressional representatives have largely violated their oaths and left us without recourse, in this and other areas.

AnotherOpinion on March 7, 2012 at 8:17 PM

So what you’re saying is, is that you have no idea how airplanes work

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Why? How is it different than the 10% of pilots already approved by the federal government to be armed? Or the TSA’s Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed program?

I’m just calling for an expansion of programs already in effect.

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 8:18 PM

So what you’re saying is, is that you have no idea how airplanes work

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Sky Marshal’s are armed.

sharrukin on March 7, 2012 at 8:20 PM

In 2008, TSA admitted 10% of pilots were cleared to carry weapons.

The agency maintains a Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed program to allow, you got it, law enforcement officers to fly armed.

And air marshals, of course, already fly armed.

So how would expanding those programs, and maybe even letting flight attendants join them, be some radical departure demonstrating my ignorance of how airplanes work?

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 8:22 PM

If this doesn’t kill the stupid scanners then it’s hard to think of what will…

Karmashock on March 7, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Here is what is really scary about Homeland Security and the TSA,
When asked today by a reporter, Napolitano had no clue about this video that was posted on Drudge, The Daily Mail and other sites.

http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/07/napolitano-unaware-of-how-to-video-on-beating-tsa-scanners-video/

Wallythedog on March 7, 2012 at 8:30 PM

In 2008, TSA admitted 10% of pilots were cleared to carry weapons.

The agency maintains a Law Enforcement Officers Flying Armed program to allow, you got it, law enforcement officers to fly armed.

And air marshals, of course, already fly armed.

So how would expanding those programs, and maybe even letting flight attendants join them, be some radical departure demonstrating my ignorance of how airplanes work?

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 8:22 PM

Having untrained people with guns in a pressurized cabin isnt a good idea. I think thats what he was getting at. Thats what came to my mind when I read it.Dont get snippy, You didnt bring up expanding training programs, you said Start letting more people fly armed. LEOs, flight attendants, pilots, etc. Any boob with a gun that hasnt been trained on the ins and outs of firearms on planes is a danger, be they an LEO, pilot or whatever.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Sky Marshal’s are armed.
sharrukin on March 7, 2012 at 8:20 PM

Armed sky marshalls? No problem.
Pilots with guns in the cockpit? No problem.

Armed flight attendants??? Uhhh, no thanks.

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Armed sky marshalls? No problem.
Pilots with guns in the cockpit? No problem.

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM

You would think that Sky Marshal’s and pilots would have some idea how airplanes work. /

Its an airplane not a spaceship.

sharrukin on March 7, 2012 at 8:50 PM

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 8:43 PM

Armed ain’t just handguns, son. I’ll put my kukri up against someone’s boxcutter any day…

affenhauer on March 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM

Big up to Jonathan Corbett for his INSPIRATIONAL fight for freedom

apocalypse on March 7, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Armed ain’t just handguns, son. I’ll put my kukri up against someone’s boxcutter any day…

affenhauer on March 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM

He was talking about guns, son:

Start letting more people fly armed. LEOs, flight attendants, pilots, etc.. So if some jackass stands up with a box cutter he can be shot.

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 7:46 PM

Or maybe he is talking about shoot the guy with a boxcutter with a watergun?

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 9:02 PM

Having untrained people with guns in a pressurized cabin isnt a good idea. I think thats what he was getting at. Thats what came to my mind when I read it.Dont get snippy, You didnt bring up expanding training programs, you said Start letting more people fly armed. LEOs, flight attendants, pilots, etc. Any boob with a gun that hasnt been trained on the ins and outs of firearms on planes is a danger, be they an LEO, pilot or whatever.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 8:43 PM

When I said “letting more people fly armed” that didn’t mean let anyone with a pistol board the plane. Assuming as much would be an absurd stretch.

Armed sky marshalls? No problem.
Pilots with guns in the cockpit? No problem.

Armed flight attendants??? Uhhh, no thanks.

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Eh. I say take some, train them, and let them carry a concealed weapon. As with air marshals, keep potential attackers guessing who will be armed and who won’t.

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 9:06 PM

And even if, at the end of the day, it’s decided against flight attendants specifically carrying weapons — the overall point stands.

Let more individuals (apparently obligatory qualifier: trained individuals) fly armed.

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 9:11 PM

The whole thing is stupid. I could take my cellphone to the bathroom, smash it over my knee, and come out with a deadly weapon. The only real security we have against another 9/11 style attack was the actions of the passengers on United 93. Terrorists are well aware another attempt to control an airplane would fail.

bernverdnardo1 on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

What would you rather be attacked with:

a) toe nail clipper
b) 9 inch sharpened pencil

(guess which one you can’t carry onto an airplane)

Which is more dangerous:

a) butane lighter
b) a book of matches

According to the TSA, the lighter can be used to ignite explosive device fuzes. But the matches….well…..erh….

The TSA prohibits toothpaste containers larger than 4ozs. There is no rule about how many tubes of toothpaste you can carry, nor is there established any limit on the total toothpaste load on a plane. However, there can only be one pet in the passenger cabin of any aircraft.

These rules are in place to protect you. We just don’t know what from.

BobMbx on March 7, 2012 at 9:16 PM

Armed ain’t just handguns, son. I’ll put my kukri up against someone’s boxcutter any day…

affenhauer on March 7, 2012 at 8:54 PM

I had to register my halitosis as a chemical weapon. (I’m not allowed to exhale in confined spaces)

BobMbx on March 7, 2012 at 9:20 PM

When I said “letting more people fly armed” that didn’t mean let anyone with a pistol board the plane. Assuming as much would be an absurd stretch

amerpundit on March 7, 2012 at 9:06 PM

I didnt say you said anyone with a pistol. An LEO without aircraft training is as big a danger as anyone off the street and thats hardly an absurd stretch.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 9:25 PM

So what you’re saying is, is that you have no idea how airplanes work

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Frangible ammo.

oryguncon on March 7, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Frangible ammo.

oryguncon on March 7, 2012 at 9:28 PM

Doesnt that have little stopping power or penitration? Guess they’ll need to outlaw magazines and books on the plane or a highjacker will prison armor up.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Doesnt that have little stopping power or penitration? Guess they’ll need to outlaw magazines and books on the plane or a highjacker will prison armor up.

Sultanofsham on March 7, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Headshots, baby. Don’t forget that never again will a plane full of people sit back and let a hi-jacking occur. Most activity performed by air marshalls to date has been to protect some nut from the rest of the passengers. It’ll be a long, long, long time before somebody really tries it. BTW, the score is citizens 8, TSA 0.

Also keep in mind that if some nefarious individual wants to carry explosives onto an airplane for the purpose of blowing it up, he ain’t gonna stand up, give a shout out to Allah, then light the fuze. He’s gonna sit in his seat or do it the restroom. And no amount of armed guards or armed passengers or armored cockpit doors are going to have any effect on that.

BobMbx on March 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

So what you’re saying is, is that you have no idea how airplanes work

e-pirate on March 7, 2012 at 7:52 PM

First, the idea that a projectile penetration of the cabin will cause explosive decompression is a myth. Secondly, the odds of a projectile penetrating a critical control line is extremely remote, especially since dual redundancy is required.

/Yes, I do know how airplanes work

AZfederalist on March 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM

How about we just stop wasting our g*&^%$#@d money and disband the farce that is the TSA.

SilverDeth on March 7, 2012 at 10:07 PM

This is precisely why we need to follow Israel’s El Al Airline’s security procedures and PROFILE the passengers. As Ann Coulter said so well, when every single 9/11 terrorist was a Middle Eastern Islamic male, that’s not racism, that’s a description of the perpetrator!

This absurd, asinine, expensive random searching is merely a narrow-minded, Democrat-driven attempt to worship at their Godless altar of Political Correctness.

CatchAll on March 7, 2012 at 10:22 PM

2nd, AZfederalist on March 7, 2012 at 9:59 PM.
Explosive decompression from a handgun is a movie thing.

mbrans on March 7, 2012 at 10:32 PM

This is precisely why we need to follow Israel’s El Al Airline’s security procedures and PROFILE the passengers. As Ann Coulter said so well, when every single 9/11 terrorist was a Middle Eastern Islamic male, that’s not racism, that’s a description of the perpetrator!

This absurd, asinine, expensive random searching is merely a narrow-minded, Democrat-driven attempt to worship at their Godless altar of Political Correctness.

CatchAll on March 7, 2012 at 10:22 PM

True, but meanwhile what do we do with the 55,000 morons that are now federal employees and totally incapable of doing what the Israelis do? Add another layer?

slickwillie2001 on March 7, 2012 at 10:47 PM

(slight language content warning)

Seven Percent Solution on March 7, 2012 at 7:59 PM

Slight? :)

Bunsin2 on March 7, 2012 at 10:47 PM

And to think that in the 90s people could carry Bowie knives, golf clubs, unloaded rifles etc as their carry-on. No one was freaking then.

AH_C on March 7, 2012 at 11:44 PM

Not a bad idea, that. The alternative would be to just return to using metal detectors.

vegconservative on March 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM

But Metal Detectors are cheaper, and we already have them… who will bribe Congress to put that rule in place?

We need a new expensive scanner built by a large donor to various politicians and their election campaigns; then we’ll have new scanner technology.

Oh wait we were talking about efficiency? Yeah, we’re not going to get that.

gekkobear on March 8, 2012 at 12:41 AM