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TSA Scanners Repeatedly Fail To Detect Handguns In Testing

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Scanners do nothing to increase security as operators are too busy groping people

Steve Watson
Feb 22, 2011

The TSA’s naked body scanners have once again failed to detect a concealed handgun that was taken through security lines at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport multiple times in covert tests.

A female TSA worker had concealed a pistol in her bra as she walked through the radiation firing body scanners, yet no agents stopped her even once despite walking the gun through “many times” in tests last weekend, according to reports.

The information was leaked to NBC News by a TSA insider

“In this case, where they had a test, and it was just a dismal failure as I’m told,” said Larry Wansley, former head of security at American Airlines. “As I’ve heard (it), you got a problem, especially with a fire arm.”

None of the TSA agents who failed to spot the gun on the scanned image were disciplined, according to the TSA source. In fact they continue to operate the machines and have not even been placed on other duties or been scheduled to take further training.

The TSA would not directly address the claims, and instead issued the following statement:

“Our security officers are one of the most heavily tested federal workforces in the nation. We regularly test our officers in a variety of ways to ensure the effectiveness of our technology, security measures and the overall layered system. For security reasons, we do not publicize or comment on the results of covert tests, however advanced imaging technology is an effective tool to detect both metallic and nonmetallic items hidden on passengers.”

In this instance it is clear that if the undercover agent had been directed through the standard metal detector it would have detected the gun and set off an alarm, yet instead she was able to waltz through the body scanner, albeit having had ionizing radiation bounced off the soft tissue under the skin, as no one bothered to check the results.

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Last December we reported on the revelations that TSA agents are now so busy groping and irradiating airline passengers that they are routinely missing the presence of bombs and guns in both tests and live situations.

After ABC News covered the story of an Iranian/American businessman expressing his disbelief at being allowed onto a flight with a loaded handgun, it was widely reported in the media that such TSA failures were commonplace.

It was noted that screeners detect less than 30% of the knives and guns that officials try to sneak through security in tests. Failures to detect explosive material and bomb parts were also disturbingly high, according to the reports.

This underscores how the newly enhanced and invasive TSA security procedures are pure theatre and actually do nothing to make anyone safer. Indeed, it may be argued that the procedures are putting fliers in more danger as screeners are spending more time groping people and ordering them through x-ray body scanners than checking for potentially dangerous items in their hand luggage.

The TSA then attempted to claim that the reported security failures were “all misleading” and “outdated”, claiming that the figures cited were taken from tests carried out in 2004-2005.

Yet this was revealed to be outright lies.

As highlighted by The Economist’s business travel blog:

The ABC News report Gulliver linked to last month didn’t rely on 2004, 2005, or 2006 numbers—it referenced “a person briefed” on “the latest tests” who said they have a failure rate of 70%.

In addition, TSA head John Pistole made the following comments less than a month ago during an interview on Good Morning America:

“… unfortunately, [undercover testers] have been very successful over the years. And one of the findings is that we have not been thorough enough. And the concern obviously is, if that’s an Abdulmutallab — a Christmas Day bomber — who is doing it rather than an undercover agent, then that can have catastrophic results.”

In addition, the TSA is still withholding the latest results of its official security tests, despite repeated requests to release the information under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Department of Homeland Security has classified the results of the most recent random, covert “red team tests,” where undercover agents try to see what they can get past airport security. The reason they have done so is presumably because the results have been so shockingly and consistently bad for the past nine years.

If the figures had improved significantly then you can rest assured that the TSA would be forcing them down our throats as justification for enhanced airport tyranny, rather than declaring them top secret and locking them away from public view.

As The Economist’s Gulliver blog states “the agency can’t have it both ways. If TSA officials are going to imply that the situation has improved since the last inspector general and GAO reports were leaked to the press, they should prove it.”

However, it seems the agency would rather send out an anonymous blogger named Bob to attack anyone who points out the absurdly obvious where the TSA’s security theatrics are concerned.

Once again this shows that the TSA and Homeland Security are willingly resorting to outright lies in a pathetic attempt to bolster their ailing control agenda. Those making official statements on behalf of the legions of strip search goon squads clearly have little regard for the safety of Americans.


Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor at Alex Jones’ Infowars.net, and regular contributor to Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham in England.

This article was posted: Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 11:39 am

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