Airport Security Question: Body Scans vs. Government Databases?

The New York Times has an article today looking at the debate over how big a violation of privacy the full body scans at airports would be. This provoked a breakfast discussion with my wife over the following question: Which is less invasive of privacy: government agents peeking at your body with millimeter wave scanners at airports or allowing the government to amass and access instantly dossiers of background information before you are allowed to board a flight? Below is an example of a millimeter wave scan.

So which would you pick? For the record, my wife and I decided scanning was the less invasive option.

See the excellent articles on airport security in the wake of the Detroit incident by my Reason colleagues Robert Poole and Jacob Sullum, here and here, respectively.

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  • ||

    """Which is less invasive of privacy: government agents peeking at your body with millimeter wave scanners at airports or allowing the government to amass and access instantly dossiers of background information before you are allowed to board a flight?""

    What makes you think it's one or the other. They are more likely to do both.

  • Jack Lohman||

    Please, for those who don't like security, take a bus.

  • Jack Lohman||

    Please, for those who don't like security, take a bus.

  • ||

    i think id rather have someone "look" at me through a scan then getting blown to pieces. expecially if my daughter is with me,i want to know we're safe! people don't know how to act and sadley this is what happens.

  • ||

    Jack writes:Please, for those who don't like security, take a bus.

    If you only knew how ignorant you sound!
    Fear has never been a good thing nor is it in this situation either. Safety vs. freedom. You want your safety, I want my freedom! I will not let some public employee scan my body with technology that is untested and most importantly, not approved by me, NOT TO MENTION that its a TOTAL invasion of privacy! Look, you say "take the bus", what next, dont shop at walmart or go to the mall??? This technology is set to be everywhere you moron! WAKE UP! Fight this thing! If people like you dont pull their haed out of their a$$, none of us will be free at all. For the record, ther WILL BE a civil war before we the people allow that to happen. If you believe as you do, there will be plenty of people to oppose you and you will lose!

  • ||

    Jack writes:Please, for those who don't like security, take a bus.

    If you only knew how ignorant you sound!
    Fear has never been a good thing nor is it in this situation either. Safety vs. freedom. You want your safety, I want my freedom! I will not let some public employee scan my body with technology that is untested and most importantly, not approved by me, NOT TO MENTION that its a TOTAL invasion of privacy! Look, you say "take the bus", what next, dont shop at walmart or go to the mall??? This technology is set to be everywhere you moron! WAKE UP! Fight this thing! If people like you dont pull their haed out of their a$$, none of us will be free at all. For the record, there WILL BE a civil war before we the people allow that to happen. If you believe as you do, there will be plenty of people to oppose you and you will lose!

  • I, Kahn O'Clast||

    At the Albuquerque "Sunport" they have one of these and it seems that when you go through it you invariably need an additional pat down.... I think it must pick up some false positives or something.

    Anyone else think that this was mostly designed to pick up drugs unseen by metal detectors?

  • just your average head||

    i don't know about mostly, but i do believe they'll find many more bags of weed in peoples underpants than they will explosives.

    so much for the good old days.

  • Nipplemancer||

    i almost shit myself while at the airport on the way to my wedding. i had an ounce in my drawers and inadvertantly got on the security line that lead directly to the full body scanner at EWR. fortunately it was set aside for 'special needs' folk like old ladies in wheel chairs and defibulator/pacemakers so a TSA blue-shirt sent me toward the normal magnetometer.

  • Bronwyn||

    Well, on the plus side, if you had crapped your pants, the load may have disguised your package...

  • JD||

    You joke, but once when I was being searched at an airport, the screener stuck her hand into my coat pocket and discovered a mass of recently-used snotty Kleenex. (I had a bad cold that day.) She rapidly lost interest in the search. It's a well-known tactic to make the search disgusting and difficult so the searcher will be unmotivated...

  • creech||

    I went through the one in Albuq in October. As I recall, it was for one line only and they gave you a chance to object when they told you what you had to do. But if you did, they put you through the regular line and then did a thorough pat down. I didn't give privacy a second thought - hell, your doctor and nurses see your nakedness all the time.

  • ||

    There's a doctor that will stick a lighted tube up your ass to inspect, if the TSA wanted to do that, would you give it a second thought?

  • ||

    If I thought that was going to happen I wouldn't shower for like a week before my flight. Have fun, turd wranglers!

  • Bingo||

    Put airlines in charge of their own security. Then you have a choice of whether or not to buy tickets from an airline that does full body scans before each flight. On this note, airlines should be able to set their own rules for toenail clippers, liquids, cameras, wifi, etc. At least we'll be able to choose from various idiotic security measures instead of one-size-fits-all idiocy.

    Since my current options are either to submit to an invasive scan or no longer fly, I may choose not to fly.

  • ||

    The airlines don't want to be in charge of security. With the TSA, they can outsource the costs of security to the government (and therefore to the passengers themselves), and they can blame the TSA for all annoyances, headaches, delays, and invasive scumbag screeners.

    Why wouldn't they want that?

  • ||

    They also get to slough off a lot of the liability, too.

  • Mike in PA||

    Well, I almost agree with that except that the passengers are not the only ones in danger if the plane gets hi-jacked. See 9-11. It's a tough issue when you have people who are willing to die to kill people. YOU could choose which security you feel comfortable flying with, but the office worker in some high profile building can't choose which security will save him from a jet flying through the window.

  • Rich||

    Which is less invasive of privacy: government agents peeking at your body with millimeter wave scanners at airports or allowing the government to place a trained ferret under your clothing?

  • ||

    I'll take the trained ferret over the untrained ferret.

    On second thought, what is the ferret trained to do?

  • brotherben||

    Are we talkin gerbils for size queens here? Because if we are, I'll have to ponder the possibilities.

  • ||

    and here i thought TSA were trained weasels. zoology's not my strong suit i guess...

  • CS%||

    Easy mistake to make. They're actually untrained weasels, which is why they never catch anything.

  • David E. Gallaher||

    Wonder if this will boost sales of male enhancement devices... to make oneself more "photogenic"?

  • VikingMoose||

    DAMMIT, RUTHLESS!

    *cleans water off of keyboard*

  • ||

    Or the lines will just be full of guys "warming themselves up" for their photo-op.

  • ||

    Roman Polanski wants us to send the scans of 12 year old girls to him.

  • Death Panelist||

    This is how you get a full body scan after Obamacare.

  • healthscarequotes||

    the from-behind image gives new meaning to this whole process being a crapshoot

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Number two with a bullet?

  • MP||

    Where's the example scan of the obese couple?

    If you can get your rocks off over my black and white body scan, then be my guest. I don't buy the "scans are invasive" argument.

  • ||

    I wonder if a fat person could hide something under a fold.

    What's the odds of The Smoking Gun or TMZ getting scan photos. Sure they say the machines can't store or export a scan, yet somehow they can show us what one looks like.

  • JD||

    "I wonder if a fat person could hide something under a fold." Hmm - since this scan does seem to go through clothing but not skin, how would it deal with leather clothing? Alternately, what if you were to conceal something under a sack of fat? People have already brought up The Beerbelly in regards to smuggling things through airport security...

    Anyway, I think all this is kind of moot anyway. Stuff can often be smuggled by hiding it in plain sight, so to speak. You could probably get a good-sized knife through airport security by hiding it in an abstract sculpture made out of metal. You must hand-courier it, you see, because it's a priceless artwork insured for a million dollars. What are they going to do, X-ray it? Go ahead, it's made of steel. Disassemble it? I doubt it.

  • SKR||

    If there is an image on a screen, there is an image that is photographable.

  • Nipplemancer||

    i remember a story from a few months ago about a fat guy who smuggled a handgun into prison. the gun wasn't found until after a third strip search.

  • Mike in PA||

    HOLY SHIT! How many times do those sick fucks at the prison want to feel some fat dude?! The third strip search?!

  • jasno||

    I think you nailed it right there - if you can get contraband items into PRISON, you sure as hell can get them onto a plane. If you can't, then we've made our planes more secure than our prisons and that says a lot about modern society.

    Plus what everyone else said about just shoving explosives up your asshole.

    Full body scan = waste of time.

  • brotherben||

    Plus what everyone else said about just shoving explosives up your asshole.

    I like to think my wife wouldn't do that to me.

  • ||

    Attention Passengers: In the interest of airport security, please do not leave your asshole unattended at any time. If you believe that anyone has tampered with your asshole, or a stranger has approached you about stuffing a foreign object into your asshole, notify an airline employee or airport police officer immediately. Thank you.

  • ||

    Wow, the sad part is that the TSA is useless. Biggest WASTE of an agency there is.

    Jess
    www.invisibility-tools.pl.tc

  • ||

    Would you rather have government agents peeking at your body with millimeter wave scanners at airports or -- live in Gaza?

  • ||

    I was thinking along similar lines this morning, watching the Cavalcade of Nattering Bozos Channel, this morning. Some guy was saying "We need these scanners at every gate, at every airport, in America! NOOOOW!"

    I'm surprised they aren't all frantically bleating about our dire NEED forRealID; but I don't watch the "news" channels, so maybe I missed it.

    Chips for everybody!

  • ||

    They tried these at Orlando International Airport. The TSA screeners conducted themselves exactly as you'd think.

    Anytime a large breasted female was put through the scanner there were shouts of "Come on!" and groups of guys running over to the viewer to "inspect".

    Exactly the degree of professionalism you'd expect from TSA.

  • Hacha Cha||

    these scanners can be fooled. they are just expensive toys that don't really stop terrorist attacks but are supposed to make people "feel" safer without actually being safer.

  • TP||

    How about explosive sniffing dogs? I had to do some community service, years ago. We all had to report to the county jail. There were between 50 and 75 people. One day, they had us line up along a chain link fence, on the other side of the fence was a CO and a drug sniffing dog. We all had to walk by the dog. Two people got caught with drugs. Fast, effective and no one's Rights were violated. And nobody was in fear of an attack from the dog.

  • Billy!||

    What kind of idiot would bring drugs to their community service sentence? Lordy.

  • TP||

    Guess.

  • ||

    Is this a joke? My god, you just love authority, don't you.

  • TP||

    No, but I believe it to be a possible alternative to what has been suggested. What's your problem with it?

  • SKR||

    contrary to what the police would have you believe, scent dogs are notoriously unreliable.

  • TP||

    But aren't most of those instances false positives?

  • ||

    Yes. You say that as if it's a non-issue.

  • TP||

    Well, a false positive is better than a non detection. A false positive results in an enhanced search, non detection results in a destroyed airplane. I would have to say, an enhanced search due to a false positive is more desirable than a random enhanced search. Or should I say a random search is less desirable than a false positive search.

  • nothanks||

    Er, actually dogs are incredibly reliable and accurate. I am a dog handler and trust my dog. He has NEVER been wrong.

  • ||

    I also heard that these dogs only stay interested in sniffing out explosive about a half an hour at a time. Then they get bored, tired, etc...

  • TP||

    That may be true. And there is a shortage of detection dogs due to our involvements in Afghan and Iraq.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Just like airport guards.

  • nothanks||

    No, they don't get "bored". They usually get a little tired if they work actively and constantly for more than 4 hours or so. Usually handlers rest them regularly to prevent them from getting too tired. But no, they don't get bored, ever. They are incredibly motivated by the task.

  • ||

    What's your problem with it?

    I shall quote you:

    Fast, effective and no one's Rights were violated

    Did they have a warrant to search any of you? Not to mention SKR's point that scent dogs are notoriously unreliable and can be signaled by their handlers.

    Yet you just unthinkingly say "hey, I'm cool with that". So, enjoy lying down for authority, dude.

  • TP||

    We already lay down for authority with random searches, secret lists, and racial profiling. Not to mention shoe searches. Next, everyone will have to pass a background check before you're even allowed to purchase a ticket. I'm not cool with any of it. But walking past a dog on the other side of a cage in an airport, is a Hell of a lot less invasive than the bullshit we have to deal with now.

  • ||

    So which would you pick?

    Neither. False dichotomy. Not how the Israelis hand things, and they KNOW terrorism. They look for people who act nervous, and carefully screen passenger lists.

    "Would you rather be raped by a neo-Nazi or raped by a communist?" is best answered by, "Ummm, what's behind door #3, Alex? Or all the other doors?"

  • TP||

    They look for people who act nervous,

    I believe that's called behavioral profiling. Bank tellers do it all the time.

  • Billy!||

    People have no imagination. I start thinking about some TSA chick. Maybe MILF-y. Like, just got divorced and is lonely and had to join the TSA to make money, because she didn't want to lower herself to stripping. So my fat ass walks through the scanner. But I'm lucky, she's into chunky guys. I take my stuff and walk down the airport hallway. She excuses herself, tells her supervisor that I forgot something and takes off after me. She grabs me, "Come with me sir." And takes me through security doors to an out-of-the-way corner of the airport. We do passionate monkey banging against a cinderblock wall for a few minutes. Then I see her walk away, uniform akilter, trying to fix her hair.

    I'm all about the body scanners.

    Link to Turbonegro's 'Everybody Loves a Chubby Dude."
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACcGPO8V2cc

  • check_minus||

    We could avoid the whole situation by changing the way we fly . . .

    Rather than using airlines to fly, we could (with a few changes to general aviation rules), create air travel co-ops. I would envision a co-op(s) large enough that as a member of the co-op, one could hop on a small plane at a small airport without any security (the co-op would pre-approve members) and fly to any other small airport in the country(or internationally). The other cool thing about this would be the lack of a hub system which should keep delays to a minimum on the ground.

    Alternatively, we could set up plane time shares, but the capital requirement and the number of people buying-in would have to be kind of high in order to allow the time share holders to be able to go anywhere.

  • Ska||

    They do have this with private jets already, so it's not really that far-fetched.

  • ||

    Fractional airlines?

  • check_minus||

    That would work too. I remember back in the 80's, all the rage was to have employee-owned airlines. It seemed like a good idea at the time, however I think the real incentive for decent service lies with the consumer. The owners in that case wouldn't put up with all of this BS and come with a real security measure that would work and wouldn't be a pain in the ass.

  • ||

    no way the feds and the TSA keep their noses out of it.

  • ||

    Buying into a fractional airline is a lot of money, and you don't have the ability to travel on a whim.

  • Mike in PA||

    That sounds nice, but as a pilot, I'd say it would be a living hell. The skies around cities are already over-crowded, could you imagine how long we'd have to sit on the runways awaiting clearances?! Sure, we would have to worry about getting blown up, but we'd turn the sky into one hell of a cluster-fuck traffic jam.

  • thumb's up||

    The skies around cities are already over-crowded...

    followed by...

    ..we'd turn the sky into one hell of a cluster-fuck traffic jam.

    huh...?

  • Len||

    Use passive millimeter wave technology; no privacy issues.

  • ||

    Wasn't the same said about using infared technology on houses?

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    What's the odds of The Smoking Gun or TMZ getting scan photos. Sure they say the machines can't store or export a scan, yet somehow they can show us what one looks like.

    Presumably they mean that the COTS computer inside the thing has all it's IO ports under the maintenance cover and you can't get the data off with opening the cover (and maybe having an admin password). In any case, the test stand models would have been fully networked.

    As for hiding something in a fat fold, you can see the man's bones where they are near the surface, implying a 2-3 cm penetration depth (consistent with expectation for mm waves in water), so it'd have to be a generous fold of fat.

  • Ska||

    Sounds like a job for a fat man's prison wallet.

  • ||

    Or they can just take a picture, using their cellphone, of the screen where the celebrity has been scanned and upload it to celebscans.tmz.com

  • ||

    Facial features don't show up in an mm-wave scan, so no one would be able to tell if it really is who they say it is. It might just be a random person with a vaguely similar body type.

  • ||

    I can identify a few pornstars by their (visible to the scanner) piercings....

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Is there a body paint that would show up on the scanner? 'Cause I really want a part of the lawsuit that ensues when I write "Fuck the TSA" on my torso and they pull me out of line.

  • ||

    I'm assuming a metallic-based paint would show; speaking of which, would tattoos show because their ink is often metal-based?

    In any case, I would suggest writing "LAST NIGHT YOUR MOM HAD" on your chest plus a large arrow pointing down.

  • ||

    Still won't pick up surgically implanted bombs.

  • ||

    What I want to know is would breast implants show up in the scan? Because that would greatly diminish the value of many body scans that would otherwise be in high demand.

  • ||

    Okay, that's kind of freaky that Kyle posted his comment at the same time I did.

  • ||

    Actually, now that I read it again and see he typed "bombs" and not "boobs," it's not so freaky after all.

  • ||

    We are hivemind.

  • Ska||

    Funny, because I just read it, then read your comment, then read Kyle's comment again. And it magically said boobs the second time.

  • Death Panelist||

    Magic boobs. I can dig it.

  • ||

    Boobs do not choose.
    They will hit everything.

  • ||

    The greatest danger of boobs is in the explosion of stupidity that they provoke.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yes. See ktc2's comment on the OIA screeners above. Alternatively, go to a strip club.

  • ||

    All your boobs are belong to us...

  • ¢||

    it'd have to be a generous fold of fat.

    Fat chicks have a couple of those.

    And American and British ones are already prone to flee from the scorn of their pallid brothers into the arms of the dusky-hued. They could be weaponized en masse by a small cell of Muslims who got game.

    This could get awesome.

  • hmm||

    If an individual airline wanted to do this I'd have no problem. The TSA can suck my scanned image.

    The government already has massive data bases on people starting with voting registration and drivers licenses. Your scanned image will just be a new bit of data to add to that database.

    I'm going to start an airline and do my own screening and base the screening on the Hooters business model. If you're going to get felt up it might as well be by some hot chick or dude in little clothing.

    Still won't pick up surgically implanted bombs.

    I await the headline, "Asshole bomber thwarted with swift force."

  • ||

    There are plenty of spaces in the body where you could implant explosive material sealed in elastomer or some other material that the body won't reject that quickly.

    And after it's healed up, it'll be hard to discover.

  • hmm||

    I prefer the "asshole bomber" line of thought.

  • ||

    Asking which you'd rather have is pointless. You won't be given a choice in the matter anyway.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    OT but: Uhh Ohh
    This not look good

    Grab Zee Ankles!

  • ||

    Easily avoided by having someone on the inside to pass your suicide bomber his goodies.

    Seriously, once this is in place the classic moral hazard cuts in. No matter how suspicious you are (paid cash, one-way, Yemeni/Saudi Egyptian, young male, sweating profusely, nervous, clutching a Koran, muttering Allahu Akbar), if you pass the scan, you're on the plane.

  • ||

    Considering the laziness of TSA staff, this is a very good point, RC. They'd like nothing better than to say "hey, we scanned the dude and he's clean; we did our job and can wash our hands of it now".

  • BakedPenguin||

    And as soon as one guy gets through, they'll reverse their "no scans saved" policy to "prove" that they didn't accidentally let someone through. Unless, of course, they did, in which the scan will disappear.

  • ||

    Airport employees have to go through security to get into the gate area too. They even have a special checkpoint for the plane maintenance or baggage guys who need to go from the tarmac to the gate area for some reason.

  • ||

    Airport employees have to go through security to get into the gate area too. They even have a special checkpoint for the plane maintenance or baggage guys who need to go from the tarmac to the gate area for some reason.

    Tulpa, airports are mazes of back hallways, delivery alleys, etc. I refuse to believe that someone who knows their way around couldn't get a small bag to the gate area without being scanned.

  • ||

    Without being scanned? Perhaps, though I suspect it may be quite difficult. The checkpoint I saw one night when we had to deplane in the middle of the tarmac and walk into the gate from ground level clearly wasn't there for security theater; very of the general public are ever going to see it!

    And are you going to be able to smuggle a bag in without being seen by anyone else? No way. You'd need a hell of a big conspiracy among airport employees to pull that off. It's clearly harder to pull off than rigging shoe and underwear bombs, otherwise a-Q would have tried that already.

  • Gray Ghost||

    Wasn't there a large drug smuggling ring broken up at Miami International recently? If so, is it that much harder to have the ground crew put bombs on the plane? Especially if most of them think they're just putting another bag of dope on the plane?

    And as far as the "Al Q would have done that already" argument, it doesn't take much speculating to think of literally a dozen ways a small committed band of domestic terrorists could make our lives very difficult. Cf Malvo & Muhammad. For some reason--which I'm thankful for---Al Q isn't as effective, nor as professional, as say, the PIRA during the 1970s... I don't know why that is.

  • hmm||

    Looks like the way to get a bomb on a plane headed to the US is to get hired by INTERPOL. I wonder what the reason was for removing the exemption on section 3.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-.....rder-12425

  • brotherben||

    Many, many moons ago, I worked for a seismic oil exploration company. We used plastic tubes of explosives. The filling had a sawdust consistency and was fairly inert without a blasting cap. I wonder if it would show up in these scans if it were inside the body? I don't know what it takes to set of a charge like this if a blasting cap isn't available. A couple pounds could be ingested or inserted fairly easily and would do a lot of damage.

  • ||

    You'd have to seal the explosives hermetically in some some polymer first and let the surgery heal to prevent any bomb-sniffing dogs to pick up on it.

    Of course, if the bomb-sniffing dogs were to be trained to pick up the polymer instead, then we'd get so many false positives that we'd might as well shut down air travel for good.

  • brotherben||

    So you show up at check in with a few leftover firecrackers in your pockets from the celebration last night. You tell them oops, forgot about these. When the dog alerts on you, you were the idiot with the firecrackers and they send you on your way. Your Ipod earbuds are actully blasting caps and you are ready to become infamous.

  • ||

    A few questions on the use of scanners

    a) We are assured that these devices won't maintain ANY record of the images.
    How then will the TSA protect itself against any claim / lawsuit / complaint related to any action taken as a result of the images? Especially since we are now at Law-fare with the terrorists. Some smart lawyer will make a name for itself getting Barack Hasan off because 'since there is no proof that there was any probable cause to detain & search, any evidence from the search must be ruled inadmissible and therefore the case must be dismissed'.

    b) Will minors be scanned? If so, will the TSAs be charged with possessing and viewing underage pornography?
    If not, why not? Does that mean that it is ok for govt pervs in small, dark rooms to leer at pictures of underage boys & girls without clothes?

    c) Isn't it rather convenient that a terrorist attempt just happens to occur that the 'experts' say would have been stopped by the same magic machines that they had tried to get in operation at least 3 times before.
    A terrorist attempt by a man whose own father warned the Obama administration about. A person who was on the terrorist watch list, yet somehow got gov't permission to fly and enter the country. A person who should have triggered all of the alarm bells that Janet says are in place (paying cash, 1 way ticket, no luggage). A person who had been under observation by the administration for at least 5 months.
    How will this equipment stop terrorists when those in power appear to have gone out of their way to not follow procedures?

  • ||

    he paid cash, but he purchased a round-trip ticket,Lagos to Detriot via Amsterdam and back again, and he had a carry on luggage, albeit small.
    That's what's being reported, at least.

  • Nick||

    Filed under the heading of False Choices.

  • rst||

    Are there any body paints that would deflect the rays enough to cause an image on the screen?

    I think "Fuck You TSA" would be appropriate.

  • ||

    When I read about this technology before, there were plans in the works to develop software that would project the raw mm-wave scans onto a mannequin figure so as to allay any privacy concerns. What ever happened to those?

  • Bill||

    Uh.. can we wait until I get back into shape!

    Hell, if anything this is one HELL of a motivator!

  • d3athp3nguin||

    Me:

    TSA Official: "Sir, we detected an oblong object running down your leg..."

    ME: "I can whip it out and show you if you'd like."

    TSA Official: Please proceed to the pat-down section for frisking by officer Brutus Ramrod.

    Officer Ramrod: "GRAB ZEE ANKLES!"

  • ||

    It is still amazing to me that terrorists still seem to target air travel the most. So many other soft targets to wreak havoc upon, why air travel? Hell, blowing yourself up at the airport while waiting in line to be scanned would be possibly more effective. These guys really are the least creative pains in the ass. They're essentially all copy cats to a certain degree.

  • brotherben||

    I suppose that taking a plane out of the sky has more far reaching effects on life in America.

    I would suggest that the largest bang for the buck would be achieved by taking out Dworshak dam in Idaho while the reservoir is at full pool. I've seen assessments suggesting that such a dam failure would result in failures of all the dams between Dworshak and Portland Or. Loss of life would be very high as well as disrupting transportation throughout the northwest and killing electrical power to tens of millions for years.

  • ||

    I would suggest that the largest bang for the buck would be achieved by taking out Dworshak dam in Idaho while the reservoir is at full pool.

    That would take a hell of an operation (I'm guessing), probably way beyond the scope any terrorist organization and all but a tiny handful of actual nations.

  • brotherben||

    It is in the boondocks. You can drive across its base. It already leaks like a sieve from structural weaknesses. It is within an hour's drive from big farm country. Ammonium nitrate and fuel oil are easily stealable. It's a dam good thing that terrorists have no imagination. It would cause trillions in damage for decades.

  • Pontius||

    Terrorists are drama queens. After all, blowing up an airplane instills terror and histrionics into the hearts of men and media.

    Hijacking a Greyhound bus only instills laughter and thoughts of "Hey, they're filming a new 'Jackass' movie!"

  • really?||

    That's funny; the last few times I rode Amtrak I was never stopped, searched, probed, etc. I just walked right onto the train. For that reason alone I started to prefer trains for inter-state travel.

    Now that I mention it, If I had forgotten to leave my carry pistol in the car, I could have CCW'ed right onto the train and into D.C. So much for homeland security!

  • Garth Straight||

    I prefer to think of a full body scan as my chance to moon the TSA just by stepping into a box. Look upon my fat ass and cringe, bastards.

  • hmm||

    This almost makes a prince albert worth it.

    okay maybe not.

  • kinnath||

    Drug mules can be trained to swallow upwards of 2 kilos of drugs in condom-wrapped hard pellets.

    All you need is a couple of kilos of C4 and a detonator stored in someone's gut that can be keyed from a cell phone.

    The only solution in the long run is to deny terrorists with access to the aircraft which implies some form of secured identification to board an aircraft.

    Either that or the general population could come to grips with the fact that they are a several orders of magnitude more likely to be run over by a bus than to be killed in a terrorist attack.

    But the government has too many incentives to dial up the paranoia and place as many security impositions on the general population as they can get away with.

  • Chad||

    About 300 Americans die due to buses every year. About 3000 Americans were killed by terrorists in the last decade.

    Seems like the same order of magnitude to me.

    Now, if you were talking about cars or butter, your point would stand.

  • Paul||

    So we shouldn't be worried about buses or terrorist attacks? I'm good with that.

  • ed||

    They insist that only female agents will view women's scans, and men male scans. But what about teh gays? Don't ask, don't tell?

  • Paul||

    Or what about those pedophile TSA agents ogling my daughter's 7-year-old body? Fuck them.

  • Filthy Habits||

    "...decided scanning was the less invasive option..."

    In the same way that getting ass raped by a sharp sword would be "less invasive" than getting violated with a running chainsaw. Me? I don't fly anymore. Fuck those fascist cocksuckers.

  • ||

    They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety. Ben Franklin

  • ||

    Amen

  • ||

    For those that have never been wanded, you have no idea the intrusion when you least expect it and in front of the people you love, among others you will never see again in your life. It's not about safety really, for if the government did their job, they'd know exactly who has a bomb without ever looking. They profiled the Nigerian guy but failed to put him on the list for all airports. Wow, talk about neglect. Then again, how much friggen training does a TSA rep have? You can't tell me it's as extensive as other forms of government has. The agency is too new. Perhaps we should have retired FBI in there instead of the incompetents I encountered at LAX airport, and that was before 9/11 much less when the government took over! I don't trust TSA. They should take note that their work is incompetent as long as they keep coming up with ways that terrorists can figure out and elude them. The bottom line is that the government needs way better training and alert people at TSA counters. We can't afford to sleep on the job!

  • ||

    They always show pictures of the scans with guns, one would think a metal detector would be enough, anyway terrorist are just going to shove stuff up there rectum to hide things now. I would like to take my chance with the 0.5% chance something might happen, rather then them look at pictures of my doodle. It always amazes me the things people are willing to give up just for a false amount of safety.

  • Jennifer||

    Back to the point. I think the scanners are more invasive, because even though some school of Radiology says they are safe, of course they are going to say that. They are all about the radiation! I would rather be touched by a human, than bombarded by radiation, whatever the quantity. And yes, I know flying has radiation exposure, but you know how often equipment is faulty... how long have these been tested, etc. Who cares if someone "sees" me. Those workers are prabably numb to any fascination once they've looked at 100 gray scale, average bodies. My only concern is health. I'll take the pat down

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