Sunday, June 13, 2010

Security Theatre - Act III, Scene 8 - The Elephant In the Room

In today's Spokesman Review we have an article about the body scanner that is to come to the Spokane International Airport in which they try to allay your fears about privacy and safety--as in health--but not about terrorism.


The scanner images are viewed in an isolated location, such as a separate office. TSA personnel who assist passengers are not allowed to see the scans, and those checking scans are not to see the passengers.

TSA personnel communicate through a wireless headset to move passengers through the scan. The images cannot be stored or printed, according to the TSA’s website.

What a relief to know you that won't hear them laughing at your tiny wee-wee.


Some passengers have expressed concern about radiation exposure, but officials say the doses are insignificant.

“All results confirmed that radiation doses for people being screened as well as operators and bystanders were well below dose limits specified by the American National Standards Institute,” said Dwayne Baird, a regional TSA spokesman.

Drew Thatcher, certified health physicist with the Washington state Department of Health, said people are already exposed to a certain amount of radiation from their environment, buildings and food.

“The exposure from the scan is less than 1 percent of daily background radiation exposure in the Spokane area,” he said.

That's all well and good. I won't hear you laugh and you won't shrink me any more. But the subject that is not being addressed is the effectiveness of these scanners which happen to cost $130,000 to $170,000 each.

Rafi Sela is the former chief security officer at the Israel Airport Authority and a 30-year veteran in airport security. He helped design the security systems at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport.

This is what he had to say during a video conference with Canada's House of Commons Transportation Committee:

"I don't know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747," Rafi Sela on Thursday told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

"That's why we haven't put them in our airport."

To add the ludicrousness:

Todd Woodard, spokesman for Spokane International Airport, said the TSA will decide where the Spokane scanner will be used. The airport has two screening areas, one at Concourse A/B and the other at Concourse C. Installing the machine should only result in “minor modifications to existing space and utilities,” he said.

Let's hope the terrorists pick the right screening area. And if they do, let's hope the screener doesn't get distracted by a tiny wee-wee.


Anonymous said...

Just remember - You, you wife and your kids look like this to the high school kids in the back room. Think Beevis & Butthead...

Is this great or what. America - Land of the free?
Safety first, my a**.
Only the STUPID would go through this.
The Terrorists (1 in 100,000,000 or less) know better - they know what airports DON'T have them!

Sherry said...

I'm thinking that the lobbyist for the x-ray manufacturer is one impressive guy/gal.