Ignore the man behind the curtain

The DHS Inspector General proudly released a statement, reported February 28th, claiming that the ionizing radiation from backscatter machines is “safe.” As justification, The DHS Attorney General states that a person would need 47 screenings a day, 365 days a year, to reach the maximum allowable for a person.

Oh, really? Continue reading Ignore the man behind the curtain

Risk-based screening

As we’ve written before, the TSA has rolled out a program called Pre-Check that is now expanding to airports across the country. In conjunction with Pre-Check is a TSA screening method that is colloquially referred to as “chat-downs” — passengers are questioned by so-called Behavior Detection Officers. All of this adds up to “risk-based screening” (RBS). Continue reading Risk-based screening

TSA and risk: perspective, please

The editorial board of the Asbury Park Press recently fretted that we need to keep our guard up, the reason being, “. . . as we know too well, there are countless other would-be terrorists out there just like him” (“him” refers to Abdul Farouk Abdulmutallab, the so-called Underwear Bomber).

So may I challenge this sentence that is stated as truth? The collective “we” does not know “all too well.” In fact, statistics over the last ten years clearly indicate that “countless” is anything but. Continue reading TSA and risk: perspective, please

TSA’s procedures don’t make anyone safer


In response to a pro-TSA editorial in the Asbury Park Press, I maintain that not only does the TSA fail in its mission of protecting passengers, but that it actually harms our security by its actions. That the TSA fails in its stated goal of keeping prohibited items off airplanes is amply demonstrated by its 70% failure rate in testing, and the continuing presence of loaded handguns and box cutters on flights.

And how does TSA make us less safe?  Let me count the ways: Continue reading TSA’s procedures don’t make anyone safer

TSA security model: epic fail

On any given day, I’ll find several complaints about the TSA in my Twitter stream. Yesterday, one in particular stood out among the typical grousing about long lines and pointless shoe-removals. It contained language that suggested the agency had screwed up in yet new ways (and as someone with family members and friends who travel frequently, even weekly–and who’s thus heard plenty–that’s saying something). Continue reading TSA security model: epic fail

TSA lied about 2008 incident


The TSA has a good thing going. It has a budget of $8 billion a year and guaranteed jobs for 60,000 people — in a down economy, no less. It issues orders and everyone (almost) complies. For those who don’t, there’s always the trump card of DYWTFT (“Do you want to fly today?”). Continue reading TSA lied about 2008 incident

TSA and passenger complaints

Recently we had a story about a woman who claimed that she was required to go through Dallas/Fort Worth airport whole-body-imaging scanners three times during one screening.  From her account, the questions and remarks by the TSA screener made it clear that a few people in another location were getting their kicks viewing her figure in the naked body scanner. Continue reading TSA and passenger complaints