EIGHT YEARS after 9/11, we're used to changes in our routines. We show ID to get into office buildings, and take off our shoes at airports. But should a college student flying back to school be handcuffed and held for five hours because he has Arabic flash cards in his backpack? That's the way Nick George, a senior at Pomona College, in California, sees what happened to him at the Philadelphia airport two Saturdays ago. George, of Wyncote, Montgomery County, was about to catch a Southwest flight back to school when stereo speakers in his backpack caught the eye of screeners at the metal detector.
Tag Archives | TSA
Thanks to Martin for sending us this story from CBS:
… Read the rest
They are in charge of checking you and your luggage at the airport; making sure the skies are safe and sometimes coming close to you or your kids in the process.
But now a TSA screener at LAX has been arrested for possessing kiddie porn — pictures of girls as young as six.
Billy Alfaro was caught with more than 1,500 video files seized on his home computer, according to documents obtained by CBS 2 News. Alfaro lived with his parents in South L.A.
On Alfaro’s computer, a task force comprised of secret service agents allegedly found video files, such as one named “toddler girl.” According to a federal complaint, the video showed a young girl under the age of seven performing a sex act.
It goes on to say Alfaro admitted downloading child porn, confessed to looking at pictures of children under the age of six, but claimed he was saving those images to provide to law enforcement.
“No wonder you’re having nightmares. You’re always watching the news.” – Lori in Total Recall
By Thomas Frank at USA Today:
… Read the rest
Body scanners that look under airline passengers’ clothing for hidden weapons could be in nearly half the nation’s airport checkpoints by late 2011, according to an Obama administration plan announced Monday.
The $215 million proposal to acquire 500 scanners next year, combined with the 450 to be bought this year, marks the largest addition of airport-security equipment since immediately after the 9/11 attacks. There are only 40 body scanners in a total of 19 airports now.
“It’s a move in the right direction,” aviation-security consultant Douglas Laird said. “We need to scan all passengers.”
The push for more scanners accelerated after the failed Christmas Day attempt to bomb an airliner near Detroit. Suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab boarded Flight 253 in Amsterdam after walking through a metal detector with powder explosives hidden in his underwear, authorities say.
In the tense new world of air travel, we're stripped of shoes, told not to take too much shampoo on board, frowned on if we crack a smile. The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener — particularly one this stupid. Rebecca Solomon is 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, and on Jan. 5 she was flying back to school after holiday break. She made sure she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport 90 minutes before takeoff, given the new regulations. She would be flying into Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same city and carrier involved in the attempted bombing on Christmas, just 10 days before. She was tense. What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.
Every now and then the Gray Lady actually comes up with a story that makes it worth reading, such as this one detailing the Orwellian comedy surrounding poor little Mikey Hicks and his long-suffering family:
… Read the rest
The Transportation Security Administration, under scrutiny after last month’s bombing attempt, has on its Web site a “mythbuster” that tries to reassure the public.
Myth: The No-Fly list includes an 8-year-old boy.
Buster: No 8-year-old is on a T.S.A. watch list.
“Meet Mikey Hicks,” said Najlah Feanny Hicks, introducing her 8-year-old son, a New Jersey Cub Scout and frequent traveler who has seldom boarded a plane without a hassle because he shares the name of a suspicious person. “It’s not a myth.”
Michael Winston Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name “was on the list,” she recalled.
… Read the rest
There are two types of scanners we will have to endure at the airport; the millimeter-wave scanner and the ‘backscatter’ X-ray scanner. Both emit ‘high-energy’ radiation and are dangerous.
Body scanners have revolutionized the practice of medicine and has saved many lives, but we must question the government’s mandate to have people endure high-energy radiation in a non-life-threatening situation. We must protest the use of full-body scanners on children and young adults as they are at greater-risk of developing brain tumors and cancer from these machines. Cancer and tumors especially in the young will likely increase as more body scanners are being installed on a nationwide scale. There is just no “safe” dose of radiation, 50% of America’s cancers are radiation-induced.
People with medical implants such as pace-makers should also avoid electromagnetic pulse generating body scanners as they can significantly alter the waveform of the pacemaker pulse.
The millimeter wave scanners emit a wavelength of ten to one millimeter called a millimeter wave, these waves are considered Extremely High Frequency (EHF), the highest radio frequency wave produced.
So now terrorists have incentive to get even younger? … lan Travis writes in the Guardian:
… Read the rest
The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.
Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to “virtual strip-searching” and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.
Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws.
They also face demands from civil liberties groups for safeguards to ensure that images from the £80,000 scanners, including those of celebrities, do not end up on the internet. The Department for Transport confirmed that the “child porn” problem was among the “legal and operational issues” now under discussion in Whitehall after Gordon Brown’s announcement on Sunday that he wanted to see their “gradual” introduction at British airports.
KIM BALDONADO and SCOTT WEBER report on NBC Los Angeles:
They are the first line of defense in airport security but two troubling incidents involving TSA agents at LAX are raising concerns.
A TSA agent was arrested on January 3rd in Terminal One at LAX, a source told NBCLA. He had just gotten off duty and was behaving erratically, saying, “I am god, I’m in charge.”
Meanwhile, a TSA Internal Affairs investigation turned up evidence of LAX TSA agents using drugs at an after-hours party. TSA officials say a videotape of the party was of poor quality and the employees were not in uniform, but 4 employees were tentatively identified.
All 4 were tested for drugs. One came back positive and that employee was fired.
Kim Zetter writes on WIRED’s Threat Level:
Image: TSA Special Agent John Enright (left) speaks to Steven Frischling (right) after returning his laptop, outside of Frischling’s home in Niantic, Conn., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009.
… Read the rest
Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber.
Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.
The document, which the two bloggers published within minutes of each other Dec. 27, was sent by TSA to airlines and airports around the world and described temporary new requirements for screening passengers through Dec. 30, including conducting “pat-downs” of legs and torsos.
Christopher Hitchens writes on Slate:
… Read the rest
It’s getting to the point where the twin news stories more or less write themselves. No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won’t be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a “central repository of information” don’t prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane. This is now a tradition that stretches back to several of the murderers who boarded civilian aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, having called attention to themselves by either a) being on watch lists already or b) weird behavior at heartland American flight schools. They didn’t even bother to change their names.