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Electronic Frontier Foundation Privacy Security The Almighty Buck Transportation Politics

TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners 335

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the amtrak-promotion-program dept.
McGruber writes "Continuing its standard practice of wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars, the TSA has awarded an indefinite delivery / indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract, worth up to $245 Million, to American Science and Engineering Inc. to deliver an unspecified number of 'second generation' Advanced Imaging Technology screening systems for use at U.S. airports. As previously reported, Jonathan Corbett proved that TSA's current nude-o-scopes are incapable of actually detecting hidden objects."
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TSA Spending $245 Million On "Second Generation" Body Scanners

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  • by Quakeulf (2650167) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:13AM (#41386589)
    TSA = Trolling State Airports?
  • Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:14AM (#41386595) Journal

    Second generation != better

    Maybe they should think about using the methods employed by countries like Israel which actually work.

    • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:21AM (#41386677)

      Call me crazy, but wouldn't a metal scanner and the cockpit doors being locked be more than good enough to prevent a new 9/11 type scenario?

      It would prevent stuff like a crowbar or whatever being taken in, so all in all, only about a 100 people could be killed and minimal damage done if the pilots never open the cockpits themselves. And to kill a 100 people without being able to take in a gun would be quite hard already. Thus it starts to be a harder terrorist action to pull of with little reward, following the concept of not being the fastest prey, but simply not being the slowest one either.

      • by JustOK (667959) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:23AM (#41386707) Journal

        Banning passengers and crew from all flights is the only effective method.

        • by Loughla (2531696) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:55AM (#41387097)

          Nope, it's actually easier than that. Simply ban all items that can be used as weapons.

          Like staplers, picture frames, computer monitors, file folders, pens, pencils, paper clips, cell phones, coffee mugs, notebooks, binders, keyboards, cats, hammers, squirrels, water buffalo, car tires, lugnuts, eight sided stars, six sided stars, one sided stars (whoa), asphalt, poles, sticks, trees, crowbars, nails, screws, condoms, pregnancy tests, candy, plastic bags, corn nuts, potatoes, pesticides, garden rakes, trowels, towels, boats, hair ties, jackets, gum, highlighters, guns, earrings, necklaces.

          You know what, you get the idea.

          • Snap a CD in half, then try and explain why we're allowed to take them on aircraft but nailclippers and scissors are banned.

            You might want to wear eye protection, and don't run your finger over the exposed edge.
          • by CQDX (2720013) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:13AM (#41387371)
            Apparently the TSA agents didn't know what a MoH is and were supsicious because the medal is the shape of a star and feared it might be used like a Japanese shuriken (throwing star)! Never mind that the guy they didn't trust was a WWII ace, a retired general, and form governor. http://www.snopes.com/military/medal.asp [snopes.com] The meme used to be if you weren't smart enough to get into college, you could join the Army. I think now it's you can join the TSA.
          • Re:Note to TSA (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Joce640k (829181) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @11:09AM (#41388231) Homepage

            Has anybody stopped to ask why terrorists need to get past the TSA?

            They can just as easily blow up the queue for the scanner. It would probably do just as much damage in real terms.

            • by Loughla (2531696)
              OH GREAT. Now we'll have scans to get to the lines for the scanners.
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              Has anybody stopped to ask why terrorists need to get past the TSA?

              They can just as easily blow up the queue for the scanner. It would probably do just as much damage in real terms.

              I think about this all the time. I fly 3-5 times a year, and so far I have always opted out of the scanner. When this happens, the agents all go about their business while I stand there waiting for the next Feeler to become available -- "Male Assist on lane 3! Male Assist on lane 3!......(two minutes later) Male Assist on lane 3!......(two minutes later) Male Assist on lane 3!.......(repeat)". Typically my (punishment) wait time is between 15-25 minutes while all the other folks walk through nude photobooth

      • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by trout007 (975317) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:29AM (#41386775)

        In reality you didn't need to do anything post 9/11. Even on United 93 they figured out to fight back. The key weakness the terrorists exploited was not security but the policy of submitting to hijackers. After 9/11 passengers have shown time and time again that they will fight back.

        • To be fair to the authorities, they did mandate that cockpit doors be reinforced and locked from the inside.

          That was all that was needed to prevent the WTC attack.
          • by trout007 (975317)

            Wrong. If the policy was to never let hijackers enter the cockpit and always fight back you wouldn't even need a cockpit door. I don't know but I'm assuming the flight crew on the first three planes were telling the passengers to stay calm and do what the hijackers wanted. That will never happen again.

            • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

              by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:03AM (#41387205)
              Prior to the 9/11/2001 hijacking, the expectation was that the hijackers has an agenda which ended in a hostage trade-off and everyone getting out alive. Cooperating with the hijackers ensured the survival of the hostages.

              I maintain that had we had locked and reinforced cockpit doors prior to 9/11, the hijackings would not have been successful. Expecting passengers and crew to risk their lives for the chance of stopping a hijacker entering the cockpit prior to the WTC attacks was pointless; They expected to live by cooperating. Locking the cockpit puts the idea of taking control of the plane out of their hands, making hijack less of an issue.
        • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:58AM (#41387137)

          I hate my fellow citizens. Their cowardice and stupidity motivate them to accept, and even approve-of and support, evils like the TSA.

          It is because of all the voters who overpower my own vote that I don't fly, and am becoming more afraid of all forms of public transit (the TSA viper squads do not limit themselves to airplanes).

          *I* get the government *you* deserve, and I therefore feel no remorse at shaming you for your stupidity and cowardice.

          And I hate you all.

      • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Informative)

        by deanklear (2529024) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:47AM (#41387007)

        The TSA has nothing to do with terrorism. It has to do with ratcheting up fear so the military industry can continue to suck half of our discretionary budget. It's a drop-in replacement for the cold war. We spend 4 times more than the entirety of the EU combined, or roughly 40-45% of the entire world budget.

        The numbers are probably higher, but I can't find any statistics right now that include interest on past wars, paying for veterans benefits, and the various weapons research projects that are buried in other departments like the DoE.

        • It's a drop-in replacement for the cold war.

          astute way to look at it.

          "dammit, look at all the money we are losing since the cold war ended. what else can we substitute so that our 'defense' buddies can continue to rake in more dough?"

          yeah, what a great con they pulled on the american people.

          wish the media would investigate this angle more. keep it more in the focus and let it sink in. after a generation, maybe there would be a chance of people coming to their senses and undoing all this harm to our freed

        • by dthx1138 (833363)

          The TSA has nothing to do with terrorism.

          Here's my problem with this philosophy: there is no fundamental difference between the TSA and the myriad of private companies that handled airport security for decades prior to 9/11.

          Clearly, the TSA procedures are somewhat more inconvenient (taking off your shoes) or somewhat more humiliating (standing in a millimeter wave scanner in the proper pose for three seconds) than they used to be (empty pockets, walk through metal detector). Fundamentally, though, you are being asked to submit to searches of

          • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

            by deanklear (2529024) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @11:54AM (#41389043)

            My guess is that you just don't remember life before the TSA.

            When I was a kid, my whole family could meet me at the gate where I arrived. Now, you're not allowed unless you have special permission. Before the TSA, you were allowed to keep your shoes on. You didn't have to disassemble your luggage on the conveyor belt. Security check lines were short. You didn't have to worry about spending hours in detention if they mistakenly had you on the no fly list, or if someone thought you looked suspicious, or if you had dark skin. Eighty and ninety year old individuals and children were never strip searched, and nor was anyone unless there was some serious suspicions about that person. Now we are all terrorists until proven innocent, which we can only do by giving up our Constitutional rights.

            So, the reason there was no security theater outrage is because we didn't have to watch a TSA agent pat down a infant, or read about them requiring a 95 year old cancer patient to remove her adult diapers. Entire city blocks weren't shut down over suspicious packages, and we weren't spending billions of dollars on processes with dubious security value.

            One reason the TSA is receiving funding instead of technologies to scan containers is because actually inspecting our imports would slow business down, and while giving up large parts of the Bill of Rights is just fine, the people who own our government through lobbyists would never allow a fraction of their profits to get eaten up by providing actual security measures. The other reason is because it subjects more people to the idea that terrorism is our greatest threat, and establishes the normalization of constant search, seizure, and fear whenever the government cares to abuse citizens. No Administration is going to give up that power without a fight.

          • by sjames (1099)

            The previous measures were much cheaper, much more polite, much quicker, and didn't involve fondling genitalia. They didn't do stupid things like reminding us that we cannot have a leaf blower in our carry on.

            It may well have been a waste, but it was a small waste and didn't assault human dignity.

      • Call me crazy, but wouldn't a metal scanner and the cockpit doors being locked be more than good enough to prevent a new 9/11 type scenario?

        First, TSA is not about preventing 9/11 type attacks. It's about something else. Second, the absolute most effective way to prevent a new 9/11 type scenario is ... do it once. United Flight 93 is proof that it can never happen again.

    • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:27AM (#41386751)
      No, because remember this has nothing to do with keeping anyone safe. It's all about the theatrics. Security theatre is our policy, not actual safety. Besides, what do we really have to protect ourselves from? The threat of terrorism is as marginal and idiotic as the threat of getting cancer from a hair dye. It's merely a scare tactic to keep people jumping through as many pointless hoops as possible.
      • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by brxndxn (461473) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:14AM (#41387387)

        I think the theatrics are 'part' of the goal - but the real goal is money and social conditioning.

        As far as money, as long as the TSA and DHS keep the 'terrorist threats everywhere' narrative alive, Congress will continue to throw taxpayer money at these agencies to waste on worthless unskilled employees (TSA agents) and 'mysterious technological devices' that cost a ton of money. Under this idea, it does not matter whether AIT machines are effective for their actual declared purpose - they are an effective part of the 'social conditioning' goal which is to make the American people believe that the Government has control of the situation.

        As far as social conditioning, it has become more obvious that people in control of this country (and the world) will do anything to maintain their control. The TSA serves to undermine and erode individual civil liberties - it is there to make people get used to willingly giving up their rights. Of course the TSA, left unchallenged, will eventually end up in all venues or transportation centers. If the TSA or DHS were not interested in total expansion throughout the US, you would be hearing Janet Napolitano talking more often on the legal limits of the DHS.

        And further, this is just my opinion.. This is how I interpret the situation. But, I am posting this with reservations wondering if this will get me put on a 'list' somewhere. I cannot be the only one deathly afraid of the direction of the US Government and completely fearless of any terrorist threat.

    • by Octorian (14086)

      You mean methods that require smart and highly trained screening personnel? Is an organization like the TSA even allowed to hire those kinds of people?

      • You mean methods that require smart and highly trained screening personnel? Is the US government even allowed to hire those kinds of people?

        FTFY

      • by firex726 (1188453)

        Yea, we could never replicate Israel.
        Party because of the incompetence of the TSA screeners and also because of the PC decries.

    • Dude, these including ultrasonic reacharound capabilities!

      Win win!

    • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cje (33931) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:40AM (#41386915) Homepage

      The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale. It works because Israel is a tiny country with only one major international airport (Ben Gurion) that needs to be secured. This type of massive security infrastructure (extremely tight physical perimeter around the airport, security personnel with extensive psychology training, countless constantly-monitored security cameras, legions of plainclothes guards, etc.) is not a realistic scenario when you have hundreds of major international and regional airports like the US does.

      • Re:Note to TSA (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Hatta (162192) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:10AM (#41387321) Journal

        Why not? What is it about airport security that doesn't scale linearly?

      • And how many millions were spent on body scanners? How many intelligent people could you hire to become TSA agents instead? Each one costs $200,000 or so. So you could hire 2-4 people (depending on location) who would make a living wage. Assuming typical work schedule, that means for every body scanner installed at an airport, you could put one more person at the checkpoints 24/7. At BWI, there are 20+ body scanners. I'd rather have 20 intelligent people chatting with people in line than get rape-scan

      • The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale

        Agreed, but you could still take a large dose of it in the USA. Empower and train clever screeners to ascertain that Granny or a toddler isn't a threat and send them on their way. Realize that some 19 year old coed in a Berkeley shirt probably isn't going to take down the plane with her tube of moisturizer. Would the odd mistake be made? Maybe - But the price for the alternate situation (loss of freedom) is too high.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        The problem with the Israeli model is that it isn't terribly feasible at a large scale. It works because Israel is a tiny country with only one major international airport (Ben Gurion) that needs to be secured.

        Uh what? There's nothing stopping this from happening, none what so ever except that people say...oh noes, it's impossible to do. It's kind of like saying, OH NOES THE RADIATOR ON MY CAR IS LEAKING...what ever shall I do...

        Beh. Repeating something over and over again doesn't make something impossible to accomplish, inaction does.

    • Like ethnic/racial/religious profiling? Somehow I think the Constitution will get in the way of that.

      On the other hand the first, second and fourth amendments don't seem to get in the way of the TSA so whats the big deal about ignoring another amendment?

      • by firex726 (1188453)

        Constitution makes no reference for that kind of thing.
        They aren't denying people the right to fly, only pulling them out of line in the event that they seems suspicious. Some religious groups are more prone to violence then others.

        Personally I don't see the big deal with profiling, private businesses do it every day and no one says a word; but when a police officer stops a black person whose dressed like a thug and carrying a TV, in a gated community where he knows all the residents and this guy is not one

        • by Sique (173459)

          The officer is not doing his job, if he doesn't for the same reason stop a white person dressed like a craftman, who carries a TV in a gated community where he does know all the residents, and this guy is not one of them.

          This is inherently exactly the same situation: Some person not personally known carries a valuable object. So why stop the one and let the other go?

      • We are profiled all the time. Look at car insurance. Men pay more than women. Single people pay more than married people. People who live in urban areas pay more than people that live in rural areas. How about life insurance? Same thing. "Profiling", as you put it, is merely assigning people a risk category based on specific parameters, like age, gender, marital status, race, etc.

        An 89 year old woman in a wheelchair with an oxygen tank is less likely to hijack a plane than a nervous 19 year old man w

    • Re:Note to TSA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:11AM (#41387339)

      Maybe they should think about using the methods employed by countries like Israel which actually work.

      I know you were referring to airports, but another Israeli approach comes to mind when I think of the TSA: the approach to West Bank checkpoints. Read this:

      http://www.bostonreview.net/BR37.4/oded_naaman_israeli_defense_forces_palestinians_occupation.php [bostonreview.net]

      Arbitrary policies set by inept guards who know nothing about the high level reasons for what they do? Random harassment at will? Punishments for daring to say "no" or for standing up for your own dignity? Guards that have no idea whether or not they actually picked the terrorists out of a crowd of non-terrorists?

      This is what the TSA checkpoints are about. They are not trying to keep us safe from terrorists by humiliating us, punishing us for exercising our rights, or wasting our time and making us miss our flights. The checkpoints probably make us less safe, since we are standing in a neatly organized and easy-to-attack crowd before passing through. The goal is to attack our psychology, to remind us that the government can do whatever it wants and that we need to just go along with it if we do not want to suffer.

      After all, metal detectors and X-ray images of your luggage are more than sufficient to convince people that you are doing "something" to keep them safe (most people probably never noticed the available of glass at airport bars, or the fact that people who charter private jets go through no security at all). The purpose of the humiliating practices of the TSA is to make sure that people stay in line and do as their government demands. Eventually the TSA will spread these practices beyond airports, to trains, subways, and buses, until almost everyone deals with it on a daily basis. Then the TSA will have won: they will have conquered American psychology.

    • Israel's methods aren't scalable. They have a dozen airports.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Israeli_airports [wikipedia.org]

      The US has about 14,000.

  • Fly naked (Score:5, Funny)

    by gestalt_n_pepper (991155) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:15AM (#41386607)

    It's the only way to be sure...

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Walterk (124748)

      It's been tried [google.co.uk]. Apparently it doesn't even qualify for indecent expose if you claim it's a protest [nydailynews.com]..

    • by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:30AM (#41386795)
      Two anecdotes (youtube videos) spring to mind:
      - One lady, taking matters into her own hands, went to the airport dressed only in a bikini. She was waved through with no scan, no patdown.
      - One gentleman was stopped by security and patted down. During the patdown, the actions of the agent caused his trousers to fall so his underwear was exposed. He was arrested for indecent exposure.

      So a woman wearing what is practically underwear is waved through, but a man in a jumper and trousers who has the latter pulled down by an agent is arrested for indecent exposure, despite being far more clothed than the woman.

      Your country is all kinds of messed up.
    • by Entropius (188861)

      I *would* fly naked if they'd let me skip the damned checkpoints.

  • Power Trip (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:19AM (#41386647)

    The people who manage this agency are on a powertrip. They are the "nosy neighbor" types who love to spy on other people, and being in control of the TSA (and the overall Dept. of Homeland Security) allows them to do what they love to do. Be nosy. They nudebody scan you at airports, rifle through your luggage, do random spots checks along highways, at bus depots, and train stations. They've even surprised citizens at post offices and malls and public parks by demanding IDs and performing warrantless searches of backpacks, purses, et cetera. They've detained & arrested people who were doing nothing wrong except posting on facebook.

    It's about time that we Americans Stand Up and start saying, "No. Do you have a warrant? Then no you may not search me at the mall, in the train station, in my car, or pour shit in my drinks." As the ACLU recently told citizens of DC:
    No warrant; no search.
    No warrant; no search.

    • or pour shit in my drinks.

      Ahem... What now? They pour substances into your drinks? Are you expected to continue drinking them?

  • by fredrated (639554) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:19AM (#41386657) Journal

    Nothing less than that. It's what government does today. I say that as a life-time Democrat that used to think the government could do some good.

  • by concealment (2447304) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:21AM (#41386675) Homepage Journal

    Third generation will be a (recycled) latex glove and lotion. We'll stop those terrorists from hiding their weapons in places we're afraid to look!

  • 2nd generation means they scan yer gonads to see if your offspring are/will be terrorists.

    • It means the pictures get automatically uploaded to Facebook, with face recognition for tagging. Remember "Privacy is dead, get over it?"
  • when i was in the army in the 90's IDIQ contracts were used to buy computers. it's just a price sheet that's updated a few times a year for some products. it just means there is no set quantity or delivery schedule for the contract

  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:26AM (#41386741) Journal

    Talk about a huge cost to US businesses. The number of additional man-hours lost daily is staggering. With the "enhanced" security you can plan on an extra 1-1.5 hours of transit time each way on every single trip. That almost 1.8 billion hours spent every single year on worthless "security". At typical billing rates, that's over 100 Billion dollars a year of wasted time.

    I don't hear any outrage from the right. I wonder why...

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:27AM (#41386743)

    I love a good incendiary summary as much as the next guy, but isn't this a bit blatant, even for Slashdot?

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      I love a good incendiary summary as much as the next guy, but isn't this a bit blatant, even for Slashdot?

      Given that the incendiary parts of the summary linked to two previous Slashdot articles titled Congress: The TSA Is Wasting Hundreds of Millions In Taxpayer Dollars and The Ineffectiveness of TSA Body Scanners - Now With Surveillance Camera Footage, then no, I don't think it sounds blatantly incendiary for Slashdot since it's just repeating what they've said before.

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Calling the spending "wasteful" is certainly opinionated and will certainly spark discussion and clicks. Calling the machines "nude-o-scopes" takes it into MoveOn territory.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by hawguy (1600213)

          Calling the spending "wasteful" is certainly opinionated and will certainly spark discussion and clicks. Calling the machines "nude-o-scopes" takes it into MoveOn territory.

          That may very well be the case, yet it's not the first time Slashdot has expressed this sentiment so you shouldn't be surprised to see it again. You may not realize that the whole purpose Slashdot exists is to spark discussion (and clicks, which is how they get paid) -- without discussion, I think few people would come here since the submissions that are posted largely come from other news sources. I didn't see your comments on either of the previous two Slashdot postings, so feel free to comment and expla

    • by mellon (7048)

      You don't think $245 million on another TSA boondoggle is newsworthy?

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        Newsworthy, sure. But I expect some technical details, policy debate, etc. Starting the discussion off by calling the machines "nude-o-scopes" is probably not the best way to generate a productive discussion.

  • by LeDopore (898286) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:32AM (#41386819) Homepage Journal

    I think it's a bad move that they chose X rays instead of THz for this generation. THz rays can't hurt you, while the TSA has been preventing independent safety analyses of the backscatter X ray machines.

    The total dose of backscatter X rays is low, but it's so concentrated that it might still be a problem. Cancer risk grows superlinearly with exposure, so concentrating exposure to skin effectively amplifies the effects of the small dose. Independent medical researchers are not permitted to investigate these machines, so we don't actually know if they present a problem. We're not all going to die, but it could be that choosing X rays over microwaves will result in a few dozen extra cancer deaths per year, in which case it's a bad move.

    In any case, microwave scanners are probably just as effective (read that how you will), so I'm surprised the TSA doubled down on the potentially risky bet that X ray backscatter technology is going to remain legal.

    • by Hatta (162192)

      We're not all going to die, but it could be that choosing X rays over microwaves will result in a few dozen extra cancer deaths per year, in which case it's a bad move.

      Not that the TSA cares. The harsh screenings encourage people to drive instead of fly, which leads to hundreds of extra deaths per year. The TSA is not about safety at all.

      I'm surprised the TSA doubled down on the potentially risky bet that X ray backscatter technology is going to remain legal.

      That just means that if X-ray machines are bann

    • The total dose of backscatter X rays is low, but it's so concentrated that it might still be a problem. Cancer risk grows superlinearly with exposure, so concentrating exposure to skin effectively amplifies the effects of the small dose. Independent medical researchers are not permitted to investigate these machines, so we don't actually know if they present a problem. We're not all going to die, but it could be that choosing X rays over microwaves will result in a few dozen extra cancer deaths per year, in which case it's a bad move.

      The typical response to this is that you get a higher dose of radiation when you fly at cruising altitude for a couple hours than you get going through the machine. That response doesn't answer all of your points, including the concentrated dose as opposed to a lower dose over time, but it hides an important question: if the TSA is saying the machines are "safe" because you're only in front of them for a few seconds, what about the TSA workers? I know we all love to hate on those incompetent and frequently

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @09:34AM (#41386841)
    Step 1, cavity search flyers. Step 2, insert rolled $20 into said cavity. You may find more and actually leave a few people happy at the taxes.you just returned!
  • Why are they expending money on new versions of the scanners when not all airports have the first version?

    Even if one assumed that the scanners could detect everything (which they can't), it would make since to at least have a version 1 scanner at all the airports.

    So TSA purchases version 2 scanners that go into some airports. Terrorists just go to airports that have version 1. Oh wait, they can just go to airports that don't have any scanners. Weakest link principle.
  • They told me if I voted for McCain, we'd see an administration more beholden the military industrial complex and even more wasteful than ever before... and they were right.

    • If you take an outside expert and place politicians by their words or actions using a uniform test and a placement system that is not childishly simplistic... you get this interesting chart from the best political website on earth:

      http://politicalcompass.org/uselection2008 [politicalcompass.org]
      http://politicalcompass.org/uselection2012 [politicalcompass.org]

      Notice where McCain was and where Obama ended up (also remember in 2008 Obama was more talk because there wasn't much of a record to place him. Everybody shifts quite a bit from talk vs action. Sa

  • by erp_consultant (2614861) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:14AM (#41387381)

    The TSA has this program now called Fly By. It's a voluntary program that has been rolled out to a few airports (lucky my hometown airport is one of them). If you join up - and remember it's voluntary - the TSA will do a background check on you. If all goes well then the next time you go to the airport you get whisked over to a special line at security. You don't have to take your shoes off, you don't have to take your belt off, you don't have to take out your toiletry bag. You just put your stuff on the belt and walk through the x-ray machine. Easy, peesy. Now, I still can't bring through a bottle of water and I'm still subject to the regulations that other passengers are but still...this is a Godsend for frequent flyers and a model for how airport security should be done. It's fast and convenient and still provides a measure of safety.

    I've been critical of the TSA in the past but this time they got it right.

    However, back to the article at hand. Don't you think it might make sense to try these new things out in the field before awarding an IDIQ contract? I haven't read the contract but it sounds suspiciously like some of the other government contracts in that the supplier gets paid no matter what. If something goes wrong then you have to sign another contract, and pay more money, to get it fixed.

    I've worked with many government agencies over the years as a contractor, and many years ago, as an employee. The big problem, as I see it, is not so much the people that work there it's the procurement system. The rules and the hoops you have to jump through to get anything done is just appalling. Often, the rules prevent you from making the best purchasing decision. No private company could survive under the same set of rules. That - as much as anything else - is what is contributing to the massive waste in government today.

    • Actually I think an IDIQ contract is the way to go if you want to test one or two of them first. an IDIQ contract is almost like a price sheet. Just because you have the contract doesn't mean you'll ever get the full amount. The government could chose not to exercise the contract at all or it could for the full value but it's by no means a sure thing.

  • They won't be happy until we get to this [markfiore.com] and remember, the white lines lead to red lines which lead to the detention centers..

    It's all about being "Perfectly Safe"

  • by CQDX (2720013) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:25AM (#41387509)
    Get an infrared imaging system. Put it by the gate. Also at the gate, plaster it with those Dutch cartoons mocking Mohammad. Who ever shows up beet red on the monitor can't go aboard.
  • cheaper alternative (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday September 19, 2012 @10:46AM (#41387833)
    I'm not going to do the math but I bet it'd be cheaper to put an armed air marshal on every single US flight instead.

No one gets sick on Wednesdays.

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