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Transportation Government

Airport Security Fails 17 Times Out of 18 In Minneapolis (fox9.com) 146

Bruce66423 writes, "It appears that that the security theatre at Minnesota airport failed to spot 17 security violations out of 18 last week." A local Minneapolis news station reports: Last Thursday, what's referred to as the "Red Team" in town from Washington D.C., posed as passengers and attempted to sneak items through security that should easily be caught... 17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected... In April of 2016, sources said the airport failed nine out of 12 tests.
"When asked about Thursday's failing grade, the TSA said, 'TSA cannot confirm or deny the results of internal tests and condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation's security.'"
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Airport Security Fails 17 Times Out of 18 In Minneapolis

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  • by darthsilun ( 3993753 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:38AM (#54769337)
    I guess it's because dihydrogen monoxide has killed so many.
    • by sycodon ( 149926 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:46AM (#54769375)

      The TSA is 100% effective in detecting bottles of Breast milk and preventing them from being taken on board the aircraft,

      • The TSA is 100% effective in detecting bottles of Breast milk and preventing them from being taken on board the aircraft,

        But they still let the source breasts onto the plane - perhaps full of milk!

        Future TSA rule: All breasts must be in travel-sized containers that are 3.4 ounces (100 milliliters) or less per item.

        • /oblg. Airport Logic [9gag.com] ?

          ---
          TSA, noun, Theater Security Airhead. [nationalreview.com]

          In 2012, TSA global strategies chief John Halinski was asked directly whether there had been a single arrest or detention on terrorism charges creditable to the implementation of whole-body scanners. He answered that there was not.

        • I would volunteer to be one of the people who checks each breast to ensure it is not over-filled with this dangerous fluid, and assist with removing anything in excess of what is safe.

          • by dryeo ( 100693 )

            Good, you can start with the 300lb woman over there, then next is that one that looks very old but you never know, they might be hanging to the floor due to having so much milk in them.

  • Of course it fails (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:40AM (#54769349)

    Its goal is not to be successful at catching these type of things.

    It succeeds in its real goal - grabbing money, decreasing freedom of movement, theater.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No no no....it's goal is to enable homosexual men to sexually assault you without you realizing it. See here:

      http://www.cnn.com/2015/04/15/travel/tsa-patdown-firings/index.html

  • by AnotherBlackHat ( 265897 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:43AM (#54769357) Homepage

    ... condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation's security.

    Keeping some information secret can also "compromise our nation's security".
    For example, if the TSA is incapable of doing its job, keeping that information secret isn't in the national interest.

    • by Tihstae ( 86842 ) <Tihstae@gmail.com> on Saturday July 08, 2017 @11:25AM (#54769551) Homepage

      Keeping some information secret can also "compromise our nation's security".
      For example, if the TSA is incapable of doing its job, keeping that information secret isn't in the national interest.

      Well, part of the security theater is keeping the mysteries of the theater alive. If you tell how the special effect works, it isn't so special anymore. The special effect here is that this is all just a waste of time and resources to make the feds have a bigger budget. There is no security here other than the theater.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Theatre works whilst the 'suspension of disbelief' is maintained. With the TSA at least that boat has sailed.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is no security here other than the theater.

        Clearly the TSA does not have enough resources. This is a perfect excuse for a bigger budget. It's all by design. Fail the tests, cry for more money, rise, repeat.

      • The first rule of Security Theatre is don't talk about Security Theatre.
        The second rule of Security Theatre is don't talk about Security Theatre.

    • by kpainter ( 901021 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @12:48PM (#54769953)

      ... condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation's security.

      Translation: We regret you chose to point out that we are a bunch of incompetent fucktards. We condemn that.

    • if the TSA is incapable of doing its job, keeping that information secret isn't in the national interest.

      Actually, I think keeping security holes secret is in the national interest - assuming that its not used an excuse to avoid fixing the hole. After all, that's the policy with technical exploits (90 day embargo on release to fix the issue is standard.)

  • don't view the link (Score:4, Informative)

    by nnet ( 20306 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:45AM (#54769367) Journal
    Don't read the article, there's nothing in it that isn't covered in the summary. The site layout/design is terrible as well.
  • Solutions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:51AM (#54769393)

    This isn't that hard of a problem to solve:

    1) Eliminate TSA. Bring in private security firms like there used to be. Pay the workers well, even if tickets are a bit more expensive. Attract better, more competent workers.

    2) Simplify the screening process. Make it less complicated and have fewer prohibited items. If security can focus on things that are really important instead of all of the inane rules, less truly dangerous items will get through.

    3) Expand the security checkpoints and staff them better. Each person might spend a bit longer actually being screened, but hopefully the wait times in line could be shortened. Let the workers have a little more time to look at the X-ray images of the baggage. Properly staff the checkpoints so the process isn't rushed.

    Any laptop ban is a step in the wrong direction, by the way. Adding more prohibited items and making the screening more complex is only going to make the problem worse. The proposal to bring US rules about knives back into line with the rest of the world was a good idea. Unfortunately, people were convinced it was dangerous and I don't believe it ended up happening.

    Have better staff, pay them better, simplify the screening process, and don't rush the actual screening of luggage. I'm not opposed of tickets cost a couple more dollars to have real security instead of the intrusive joke security theater that the TSA is.

    • Someone mod this up; I'm out of mod points.
    • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
      Actually, one thing the electronics ban (it doesn't just apply to computers) does suggest is having multiple options for carry-on screening. Every one hates the hassle of going through security, so why not incentivise that? For most people, a phone or Kindle/mini-tablet (yeah, currently too big where the ban is still in place but let's assume we tweak things a bit) is all the in-flight entertainment they need. If you were to provide the equivalent of the express aisles at supermarkets where your carry-on
      • 8 hour flight on United Airline (Boeing 777) Inflight entertainment was available but was only streamed through the passengers' devices. Taking away passenger devices means No inflight entertainment. It's cheaper for the passenger to use their own device than the airline outfit the aircraft. I guess you don't fly?
        • by AvitarX ( 172628 )

          I fly, I use a tablet for that.

        • by Zocalo ( 252965 )
          United isn't the only airline that has that kind of entertainment system or some variation of it (some also let you watch the inflight movies on your own device), and some people prefer to provide their own entertainment on their own devices anyway, which is why I specifically suggested tweaking the current size limits to allow smaller tablets to still qualify for the express screening option. You'd also have the option of a full-size notebook or tablet if you wanted it, but you'd have to opt for the full-
        • My inflight is very old-fashioned--books, the paper kind. I can usually finish a book or so on any flight to either coast. Usually books on philosophy or theoretical physics tho these days its hard to tell the difference..
           

      • For most people, a phone or Kindle/mini-tablet,,, is all the in-flight entertainment they need.

        Or, alternatively, maybe other people have different values than you do. When I fly, the number of people I see with a laptop seems to hover around 10%

    • by Anonymous Coward
      I have a better idea:

      1) Eliminate TSA and bring in Military. Scare the CRAP out of would-be terrorists, and give those reserve guys something useful to do.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        I have a better idea. Execute (by firing squad) everyone who works for the TSA, NSA and FBI for treason. Cut military spending to 10% of what it is now. Use money to fund disease and cancer research and to put into programs that actually help citizens of the United States. Stop fucking with other countries and let them live their own lives.

      • "Eliminate TSA and bring in Military."

        I'm willing to bet that you've never served in the military. It'd be difficult to imagine a task more ill suited to the military than airport security screening.

        Not that the TSA seems to have any aptitude for it either.

        Beyond the metal detectors which are simple, non-intrusive, and should keep firearms and broadswords off the planes, effective airport security would require trained professionals with a thorough knowledge of threats and contraband and the ever changing

    • resulting in more and better paid staff. That cuts into profits. It would be far better to recognize that short of mandatory strip searches actually securing transportation is hard. We'd be better off asking ourselves why folks want to drive planes into buildings in the first place. Yeah, there's some religious nut jobs out there to be sure. But let's not forget that desperate times make desperate people. Spend more money on sending food and medicine to impoverished countries and you'll have less desperate
    • Add: advise passengers on how to tackle incidents voluntarily in flight and how to cooperate with authorities, just a few tips. Print it on the seat-back safety card too

      Add: drop off carry-on bags at check-in and pick up securely in the gate area, scan/sniff them in bulk on their way to the gate, associate them with passengers and track by RFID and phone App. take measures to assure that passengers can only pick up their own bags and that the bags are handled gently

      Add: stroll-through body scanners for all

    • by u801e ( 1647927 )

      I agree with the first point, but why not just eliminate passenger screening entirely? We don't have routine screening for other types of mass transit like buses, taxis/ride shares. Even going to places like the movies or local shopping mall don't require screening (at least in my experience).

      We have had incidents in pretty much all the examples I mentioned above, but we didn't have to deal with the subsequent nationwide/worldwide security theater that comes with traveling by air.

    • by imidan ( 559239 )

      Even simpler: whitelist for allowable items. Items must be contained within a specified, relatively flat, transparent plastic zipper bag. All items must be clearly visible. Put maybe a couple dozen items on the list. One phone per person, a keychain with maybe three keys. A limited amount of medication. A transparent plastic wallet fitting within certain dimensions and containing a limited number of cards and bills. Anything not on the list gets confiscated or disposed of without notice or consultation.

      We'l

  • by VAXcat ( 674775 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:51AM (#54769399)
    The TSA isn't supposed to be looking for drugs - just threats...
    • They have no authority over drugs. If they or similar looking items are found local police are suppose to be called and they investigate and arrest. That is from the TSA web site.
      Not sure what the testing would be, but the stories that you do read about are when the drug carrier puts the drugs in peanut butter or similar substance which should be stopped because of the liquid base. They could be testing drugs that way to see if the TSA agent detects the liquid product and to see if they steal the drugs.
  • Sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:54AM (#54769417) Homepage

    You know what affects national security?

    Forcing passengers through worthless security procedures that inherently fail worse than just removing every tenth person from the flight at random.

    And then trying to hush up the results.

    In the height of 9/11's aftermath, an American friend of mine came to London, and then we all flew to Europe for a holiday. It was only in the queue towards security at a London airport that her husband spotted she still has a CS canister in her hand luggage from her previous flight. Literally, she'd forgot to take it out of her handbag, it had came all the way into the UK (where it's illegal to possess, let alone take it on a plane) via a standard flight, and it was only when we were heading out again that - by chance - he spotted it.

    He had to discretely drop it in one of those bins they have for bottles that are too large, etc. on the way into security.

    Sure, it's not a grenade or something, but it's not the sort of thing people should be carrying onto a plane without even realising, and nobody spotting it, and it's not the sort of thing that should be in the UK at all as it's illegal to own, sell or possess the damn thing. But it came right through security at least once (we think it might have been on another flight earlier too, but nobody was quite sure) and was about to go through it again.

    And it was in hand luggage, not just the hold.

    The irony hit home hard. The bottle of water I'd bought 10 minutes earlier in the airport shop outside of check-in was taken from us. The CS spray was larger than that and had already been through security successfully once.

    We need to radically re-think airport security. And especially its impact on the majority of people who just want to get on a damn plane, have a comfortable journey, get off as quickly as possible, and carry on with their lives.

    To be honest, I now can't be bothered to fly, even to Europe. Too much pissing about waiting, hassle going through security (taking off shoes, putting laptops in other bags, being patted down, having drinks taken from me, being forced to "test" baby's milk if I want to take it with me, endless fucking queueing and people yelling instructions at you), and then an uncomfortable and unpleasant flight and the same shit the other end.

    I'd rather have a motorway drive, onto a train or ferry, not have to do with any of that shite, and then poodle through Europe. Giving my money to petrol stations instead of airlines, small towns instead of massive airports, and taking whatever I like to drink or eat or watch TV on.

    The tax that we must be pissing away by putting people off flying with this shit just isn't worth it. You can get a flight for a pittance now, granted, but there's a reason for that. I just cannot imagine it's going to be profitable for much longer, and I don't even believe we're paying the wages of people who do all the security shit, let alone the pilots and crew, and fuel.

    At some point the bubble will burst and people will say "too much" and use alternative means. And it won't hinder a terrorist one bit.

    • The TSA still has a record of catching 0 terrorists. Of course when asked about numbers they clam up and mumble something about national security.

    • The point of airport security isn't really to thwart terrorists. It's to convince people that flying is safe, so that they'll fly instead of drive to their destination. You see, cars are much more dangerous than planes, and car accidents kill far more people than terrorists do. So a terrorist incident aboard an airliner kills more Americans by convincing them to drive instead of fly on their next trip, than it directly kills aboard the airliner. (9/11 was the exception, since the planes were used to att
      • The point of airport security isn't really to thwart terrorists. It's to convince people that flying is safe, so that they'll fly instead of drive to their destination.

        The point is to (try to) protect the airline companies and profits, their planes (which, turns out, are really expensive) and the things planes could be crashed into. The country has a huge capital investment in airline travel. If actual people are safe, that's a bonus.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You know what affects national security?

      Having a country entirely full of total fucking cunts that everyone hates?

  • In that case, it was "security theatre theatre" because it was a test/drama itself.

  • by turkeydance ( 1266624 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @10:57AM (#54769431)
    so the explosives and drugs were the real thing? that Red Team know how to party.
    • so the explosives and drugs were the real thing? that Red Team know how to party.

      The explosives were probably fake, but coated with small amounts of real explosives so that they could be detected by the sniffers. The drugs, probably the same... except not with explosives

  • Drugs? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @11:01AM (#54769455) Journal

    So the TSA is explicitly looking for drugs?

    That sounds like a clear 4th amendment violation, since it unrelated to the safety of passengers.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    If there's one thing we learned from No Russian, it's that giant lines of people stuck waiting for useless procedures ARE an ideal target for terror.

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @11:15AM (#54769511)
    I travel through msp a lot and went through the msp airport a few months before 9/11 and the TSA update to security. They were understaffed and was waiting so I just walked through the detector. It beeped and no one came. I said, almost shouting, "OK, if no one is coming to check I'm leaving!" I proceeded to walk off as the guy behind me laughed (he also left). Believe it or not 1/18 is probably an improvement. At least they walled up the walkway where you could just toss a package up from the lower entrance level before security to the upper walkway after it lmafo.
  • Doesnt matter. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @11:19AM (#54769529) Homepage

    Airport security is all theater anyways and designed to indoctrinate americans to accept being inspected and have people carrying automatic weapons around you for your "protection".

    we are as safe without all this invasive BS and M16 toting militarized police.

  • I was going through US customs in Dublin and inadvertently got in the line for pre cleared, the signage was rather confusing as to where to go, who don't have to go through the scanners at all. She looked at my passport, looked at some sort of list that they must have for expected people for the day, pretended to see my name on it and just let me pass.
  • I can neither confirm nor deny that I read Slashdot.
  • by hduff ( 570443 ) <hoytduff@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Saturday July 08, 2017 @12:04PM (#54769723) Homepage Journal

    The TSA is not security, it's security theater. It protect no one and only diverts scarce resources to their own brand of waste.

  • The TSA is the biggest federal employment program ever. It puts thousands into a steady job. Of course, it would be nice if the agents actually accomplished something other than waste space and annoy travelers.
    • The TSA is the biggest federal employment program ever.

      Incorrect. Currently that would be our grossly oversized and over funded military which employs well over a million people directly and quite a few more indirectly. The TSA is a rounding error by comparison. And irritating boil of a rounding error but small potatoes in the grand scheme of government waste.

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @12:38PM (#54769901)

    "When asked about Thursday's failing grade, the TSA said, 'TSA cannot confirm or deny the results of internal tests and condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation's security.'"

    Just a question.

    Is there any way to achieve national security without the clear and present danger of public exposure and embarrassment hanging over government apparatchiks who fail to deliver their mandates?

    Because somehow I don't think that "loose lips" is the only way to sink ships.

    Crackerjack government agencies with the curtains drawn. There's a Costa Concordia in every box suite.

    • Crackerjack government agencies with the curtains drawn.

      Or, perhaps, "Jackboot"government agencies.

    • Is there any way to achieve national security

      It will be easy to solve the problem of domestic armed robbery. (hint: no country has ever done that, either)

  • by Paul Carver ( 4555 ) on Saturday July 08, 2017 @01:34PM (#54770157)

    What a completely useless article. Since I don't care at all if people take fake weapons or drugs on planes, the only question of any importance is "how much explosive?" but the article doesn't give any info on that essential question.

    This "failure" may have been a trivial amount of some explosive too small to pose any serious threat, plus a bunch of items that aren't even a threat in any quantity.

    I'm certainly willing to believe that the TBA is useless, but this article has zero value in supporting that belief.

  • 'TSA cannot confirm or deny the results of internal tests and condemns the release of any information that could compromise our nation's security."

    I'll see their ass covering and raise them that "I condemn failing to release any information that will result in ineffective national security and consider hiding such information to be tantamount to providing aid and comfort to our enemies".

  • TSA cannot confirm or deny the results of internal tests.

    They cannot. This can mean only two possibilities.
    ---They're colossally incompetent. They don't know the results of their own tests, or they haven't the ability to speak the appropriate words.
    ---They're lying. They actually won't tell, not cannot tell.

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      Or their policy is that they don't reveal the results so they cannot do it while complying with their policy.
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      If the info is classified, they really cannot tell. Without breaking the law that is.
      "information that could compromise our nation's security" is the whole idea behind classification.

  • Given Minneapolis' restive Somali population, this should be of extra concern.

  • Only issue I see with this testing is none of the undercover testers would present the typical behavioral clues of a true drug smuggler/bomber. The undercover testers do not have to really worry about being caught, thus act the perfect criminals, which rarely exists. Hopefully the undercover screeners have a few that try to play the part of being nervous.
  • Bring in a private firms under a commission model. Essentially, they choose how to conduct the searches. They only get paid based on a) contraband found and b) catching Fed operatives in test case scenarios.

    Fail to prevent 80% of Fed undercover tests, booted from contract. Private firms will be motivated if their contractual pay is tied directly to their success rate.

  • The TSA was really just GW's jobs program.

The opossum is a very sophisticated animal. It doesn't even get up until 5 or 6 PM.

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