Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Transportation Government Security

US Airports Still Fail New Security Tests (go.com) 182

schwit1 quotes ABC News: In recent undercover tests of multiple airport security checkpoints by the Department of Homeland Security, inspectors said screeners, their equipment or their procedures failed more than half the time, according to a source familiar with the classified report. When ABC News asked the source if the failure rate was 80 percent, the response was, "You are in the ballpark." In a public hearing after a private classified briefing to the House Committee on Homeland Security, members of Congress called the failures by the Transportation Security Administration disturbing. Rep. Mike Rogers went as far as to tell TSA Administrator David Pekoske, "This agency that you run is broken badly, and it needs your attention."

US Airports Still Fail New Security Tests

Comments Filter:
  • TSA Intro (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12, 2017 @04:16PM (#55536907)

    Cartoon take [youtube.com] on the original official video.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 12, 2017 @04:28PM (#55536969)

    I'm sick and tired of people arguing for more security theatre. The world isn't perfect. The world isn't this safe utopia and the costs of "safety" are enormous. It's much more cost effective to get rid of the security and accept that life has risk. It has risk with or without the "security" and paying more for security theatre just makes us all worse off. If you really insist of throwing that money away consider insisting it be thrown at something that might someday lead to something of value like research. Research of all kinds at least has a potential real benefit. The top 10 causes of death are probably where that money should be thrown. Not speed limits, police, or TSA. These are more or less just superficial efforts that act more as a means of distributing wealth to the most powerful gang in a given region, state, or country.

    If you agree that the only role of government is to criminalize murder, violence, and theft then you should move to New Hampshire and take part in the Free State Project. A migration of liberty and freedom minded individuals looking to minimize or near eliminate the biggest gang in town: Government. We're succeeding little by little and have elected 20+ state reps, decriminalized marijuana, eliminated permission slips for those wishing to conceal a firearm, eliminated regulations on crypto currencies, established New Hampshire as #1 for crypto currencies (two of our cities on #1 and #2 on a per captia basis for crypto currency acceptance), secured our rights to film police and hold them accountable, and much much more.

    • Alternatively, perhaps security vs the crap you propose isn't a binary choice.

  • by BobC ( 101861 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @04:29PM (#55536975)

    Anyone who confuses TSA checkpoints with actual security is sadly missing the point.

    These checkpoints are truly, in the words of Bruce Schneier, "Security Theater". And I'm not using that in a pejorative manner equivalent to saying they are useless. Far from it!

    First, the checkpoints are first aimed at discouraging the stupid, a category that includes most terrorists and mass-murderers. It can't prevent folks smart enough to see behind the curtain, but it can discourage those unable to think at a deeper level. For simple folks intent on disruption, the checkpoints work.

    Second, the checkpoints are intended to reassure the public. Even when the public is told how ineffective the checkpoints are against real threats. Even when the actual risks of airborne terrorism in the US are statistically tiny. Again, despite our knowledge to the contrary, the checkpoints work at an emotional level to reassure the public.

    The above successes do come at a substantial cost for taxpayers, but we can't say the results are "worthless", even though the checkpoints utterly fail to meet all of their stated purposes.

    • First, the checkpoints are first aimed at discouraging the stupid, a category that includes most terrorists

      Just how "stupid" are the terrorists who get around security issues, who go around killing members of the public despite the immense resources thrown against preventing them, the ones that use encryption and don't leave incriminating evidence lying around, the ones that successfully have smuggled stuff past the TSA in the past.

      I can't believe I'm defending them from anything, but if there's one thing terrorists are not, it's stupid.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Terrorists" are not a homogeneous group. They come in varying levels of intelligence.

        It's a reasonable bet that many people who are tempted to commit terrorist acts are, simply, too stupid to figure out a way around those "immense resources" you speak of.

        After all, the Twin Towers attack - was simple. It could have been done, at minimal cost, by anyone from about the late 1960s - when air travel became cheap enough and planes big enough - onwards. But it took until 2001 for it to actually happen, because i

      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @07:01PM (#55537607)

        I have a hard time imagining the goofballs blowing themselves to kingdom come for the promise of goodies in some afterlife as anything resembling intelligent. Then again, I have a hard time giving anyone above the age of 8 with imaginary friends much credits in the mental department.

        There are intelligent ones, no doubt about that. The whole planning and logistics is certainly run by people who use religion for what it was invented for, but the goons they send to redecorate the interior of airports are hardly Nobel Prize material.

        • I have a hard time imagining the goofballs blowing themselves to kingdom come for the promise of goodies in some afterlife as anything resembling intelligent.

          Then you are a very narrow thinker. The goofballs blowing themselves up are doing so for a strongly ingrained reason. The same reason allows people all over the world, be they scientists, politicians, engineers, or whatever to believe in some imaginary skydaddy. Intelligence and strong religious faith only have a weak correlation.

          • Sorry, but in my experience they pretty much exclude each other. Maybe because believing and knowing are anathema for each other.

            • my experience they pretty much exclude each other

              So just ignoring fact then. There's sound logical thinking right there.

              • What fact exactly are you talking about? Maybe you could name one of the great minds that is devoutly religious?

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          Some of the domestic terrorists in the UK have been highly educated, up to medical doctor level.

          It's not about intelligence, it's about radicalization. It's easier to understand if you think about non-religiously motivated terrorists and criminals, the ones who mow down "leftist" protesters in their car, the ones who shoot up a school because girls won't date them. Over a long period of time their world-view has been distorted to the point where they think their actions are rational and correct, or alternat

      • I can't believe I'm defending them from anything, but if there's one thing terrorists are not, it's stupid.

        I think both the underwear and shoe bombers were clearly not all there.

        The Tsarnaev brothers? No, not stupid. And notice, they didn't bother trying to get through airport security.

        • not all there.

          Same thing was said of Einstein by some people. I think fundamentally the point is we need to define "stupid".

          I have seen some incredibly smart people do some incredibly stupid things. I know the technical authority in my company is a guru, an absolute genious, and has a mind that is incredible. But he's also my most likely person to self flagellate if he misses his wine drinking and biscuit sessions with the other religious nuts on a Sunday morning.

          • I think fundamentally the point is we need to define "stupid".

            Minor point, but we already have.

            stupid - having or showing a great lack of intelligence or common sense

            It's somewhat ironic that you express the need to define a rather common term (stupid), but then exaggerate another (self flagellate) to make your point.

            • It's somewhat ironic that you express the need to define a rather common term (stupid)

              It's not ironic at all. It's quite sad actually. But given the responses in this thread maybe I'm just dealing with ... stupid people.

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @06:56PM (#55537589)

      But they don't reassure me. All they do is getting me really angry, actually angry enough to replace flying with trains if there is at least a remote option of doing so.

      And I can't really think of anyone who actually feels "safe" with those checks. How could you feel safe if you knew that the Three Stooges are running security?

      • You aren't the intended audience then. I've met many people that feel the TSA is doing a good job. No more planes have been crashed into buildings, right? It seems like the ones that support it most strongly also never or rarely fly and so do not really have first hand experience with the real world impact of the TSA.

        • I have a stone here that can do the job of a TSA agent. At least there haven't been any planes hitting my house since I have it, so this alone should convince anyone that it's working.

    • You're insane.

      If it's all security theater, then why the FUCK are we wasting time TRAINING these people for classes of criminals you say they will never encounter and are not designed to stop?

      If we don't have the TSA to stop guns and drugs, then why are we "training" them, and paying them salaries worthy of people who detect guns and drugs? Why aren't we paying them the minimum wage they deserve? Why aren't we giving them the BARE MINIMUM training, number-of-meetings-a-week, et al? Why are the x-ray rape ma

    • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday November 13, 2017 @05:35AM (#55539229) Homepage Journal

      The TSA isn't for any of that stuff. It is first and foremost a jobs program for deplorable unemployables (no one who is not deplorable would be willing to sign up to sexually molest air passengers, and no one who is not otherwise unemployable would want to in the first place) and second a way of making the American public more used to doing whatever they're told no matter how insane it is.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      Again, despite our knowledge to the contrary, the checkpoints work at an emotional level to reassure the public.

      Are you perhaps interested in some Snake oil? I can prove it works; No snakes here.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Regardless of what the TSA is for, is it actually effective? Other countries don't have the same level of theatre but also don't have more aircraft related terrorist attacks. Then again maybe there are more people trying to blow up the US, I don't know.

      Seems like if people want to do harm they will find a way. Buy guns and start shooting up a crowd, buy a car and run people over...

      • by tsqr ( 808554 )

        Other countries don't have the same level of theatre

        It appears you haven't departed from London or Paris in recent years.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

          I go through London regularly. You had to dodge the degrading nudie scanners but the security is nothing like the US. Didn't even have to take my shoes off last time.

    • Maybe they reassure the "public" but they don't reassure the "travelling public". They simply throw the travelling public under the bus so that the wider public can feel a little more secure. Also what's with all the various privilege levels for security today ?
      • non-travellers don't put up with this
      • private fliers don't put up with this
      • 1st class passengers
      • clear members
      • tsa pre members

      All of them avoid the pain on ordinary taxpaying passengers for this federal imposition

    • One of the many absurdities is that they won't let you throw away your water/soda/whatever if you make it through the checkpoint with it. You have to drink it ALL!!! They won't let you go to the trash can at the end of the line to just dump it out. No! Only a TERRORIST would throw away all that dangerous water. Morons. And you can't even drink like half of it. See, it's really water guys! What the fuck ever. This country is so doomed.

      Here's a scary thought. Checkpoints kill people. Say there are 3 billion p

  • Yes they do, I went to Las Vegas in 2006 and managed to get my cigarette lighter onto the plane, even though I told them I thought I forgot to leave my lighter in the car and they missed it in the x-ray machine.
    • Re:Hasn't Changed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Known Nutter ( 988758 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @04:48PM (#55537053)
      Last week, flew out of LAX, same old shit. This past Friday, flew out of LAX again, and am told that all foodstuffs (things like granola bars) must come out and be placed in their own separate bins. I ask the agent when that change took place (because they weren't saying that shit last week). She says, "December" -- okay, whatever. I have three granola bars in my backpack. I take two out, throw them in the trash, leave one in the bag deliberately. Through the scanner it goes and out the other end it comes -- naturally without a peep from anyone. It's all such bullshit.

      I will be flying out of LAX again in two weeks. I wonder what will happen to the new granola bar program.
      • LAX seems to have rules that no other airport in America have. They are the only security check to make me remove my laptop from my tsa scan approved bag. I asked why this was the only place to do it and the lady just said "do it now or you will get sent to the additional screening line".

        Their setup is also terrible.
      • Re:Hasn't Changed (Score:4, Informative)

        by aaarrrgggh ( 9205 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @07:19PM (#55537677)

        Granola bars (especially a box of them) have been flagged for over a year, presumably due to the glycerin. They seem to be trying to do more to prevent secondary screening of bags, but they need huge input and output conveyors to let people unpack and strip.

        The system is stupid, ineffective, and inefficient; it is especially bad at certain airports (LAX is on my list), but an effective alternative strategy isn't obvious.

      • by mjwx ( 966435 )

        Last week, flew out of LAX, same old shit. This past Friday, flew out of LAX again, and am told that all foodstuffs (things like granola bars) must come out and be placed in their own separate bins. I ask the agent when that change took place (because they weren't saying that shit last week). She says, "December" -- okay, whatever. I have three granola bars in my backpack. I take two out, throw them in the trash, leave one in the bag deliberately. Through the scanner it goes and out the other end it comes -- naturally without a peep from anyone. It's all such bullshit.

        I will be flying out of LAX again in two weeks. I wonder what will happen to the new granola bar program.

        OK, bio-security is a big thing, its actually one of the more useful things that the TSA and other customs agencies do. You'd be surprised at the amount of common pests that are not common in other countries and how easily they hide in foodstuffs. Most of it is harmless to humans but can wreak havoc on other ecosystems. Australia is a prime example of how much damage foreign pests can do (cane toads, rabbits, foxes, camels, horses).

        As or arbitrary rules, these are often foisted on them by management many

      • I recently flew out of the US to a county on the Pacific Ocean side of the globe and my flights required me to go through LAX both leaving and returning. All I can tell you is that TSA lines in LAX are pretty tough and long and if you aren't in TSA pre check, you may honestly need 2 hours to go through that line. I don't live in California so I can't really tell you why, but it does seem that LAX is the worst place in the USA to deal with TSA that I've seen.
    • Re:Hasn't Changed (Score:5, Interesting)

      by ledow ( 319597 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @05:39PM (#55537283) Homepage

      In the height of the immediate post-9/11 paranoia and security changes, my friend brought his American wife back to the UK. Then to Corfu. Then back to the UK. Then to America.

      On the final leg of the trip, we took them to Heathrow and were walking with them to see them off at security, where the bins are for "this is your chance to ditch prohibited items", before you join the fecking long queues.

      The American reaches into her bag and says "Do you think I should bin this?" It was a can of CS spray. Probably nothing to you Americans but it's illegal to even own in the UK, let alone carry around with you, let alone take on a plane. She'd have been having a very long discussion with an armed officer if that had been pulled out at the check.

      After some discussion, we got her to bin it as she went past, because it looked like a deodorant and the bins were for stuff like that. During the discussion, however, we discovered that she'd already taken it, in her hand luggage (carryon), on all those previous flights and been carrying it around in London quite happily.

      Meanwhile I was asked to contaminate a baby's bottle by proving it was "real milk" by drinking it in the queue before it was allowed through. While doing so, I honestly thought of at least three ways that I could make a bottle look real, carry something incredibly nasty, and still be safe taking a swig of "something" from it, without them being able to notice via this amazing security method.

  • by whyyisthissohard ( 5124263 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @04:42PM (#55537031)

    Anti-terrorist measures are actually terrorism themselves...against the people they are supposed to protect

    • by gweihir ( 88907 )

      Incidentally, the original definition of "terrorism" is a government that rules by fear.

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @04:54PM (#55537065)

    When it's time about land it's measured in football fields, when it's about documentation it's measured in librairies of congress and when it's about percentages it's measured in ballparks...

    Do you even school?

    • Fourteen schools per parsec, baby!

    • When you have a measurement system that's completely out of whack with sub units that divide by some arbitrary number instead of powers of 10, you're inclined to use metrics that are easier to grasp.

      • When you have a measurement system that's completely out of whack [...], you're inclined to use metrics that are easier to grasp.

        I see what you did there.

  • It may be security theater and it may be so leaky that it only stops the stupid. But one thing is for sure, there is an abundance of stupid people in this country, and a general unwillingness to nip problems in the bud, so I'm willing to accept this security theater as a compromise.

    Can you imagine the situation if there were no security? Welcome to public bus territory. We have so many people clamoring about the ability to carry weapons in public already. You want them to have airplanes as the next debate ground? Feel free to create that unscreened airport system, and let people decide if they want that or what we have now.

    There is no way, with the level of air travel we have, that we can ever have the perennially-admired goal of Israel-level security. They have 1 airport, and a willing/skilled/alert security service. The goal here is preventing the lowest common denominator, not UBL again. Sometimes, you have to do something stupid just to prevent something even stupider from happening.
    • Yes, there's been so much death and destruction in public buses.
    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @07:09PM (#55537647)

      Because the only two possibilities are total absence of security and the insanity we have now?

      The older ones among us might remember a time when you could actually use planes for a faster transport from A to B than ... well, by now pretty much any other form of transportation. You'd put down your bag to be x-rayed, you'd go through a metal detector and you'd be done. And, lo and behold, the amount of planes that were bombed or otherwise "terrorized" was pretty much on par with today.

      • by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @08:41PM (#55537927)

        Because the only two possibilities are total absence of security and the insanity we have now?

        The older ones among us might remember a time when you could actually use planes for a faster transport from A to B than ... well, by now pretty much any other form of transportation. You'd put down your bag to be x-rayed, you'd go through a metal detector and you'd be done. And, lo and behold, the amount of planes that were bombed or otherwise "terrorized" was pretty much on par with today.

        Locked cockpit doors made the TSA's mission obsolete for all practical intents and purposes. That's why they've tried to expand to train stations and buses, and even post offices and other locations under the VIPR program.

        I remember back when you could smoke on a flight, and you were also trusted with steak knives to eat your in-flight dinner with.

        It's easier and more profitable for the government to punish us than do the hard work of solving real problems.

        Strat

      • And back then you didn't need a ticket to go through security. So the airports tried to be places that people actually wanted to come. They encouraged you to bring your family along or even come in for food/shopping as if they were a mall. Those days are gone and now they just settle for selling $4 bottles of water to a captive audience.
    • I've been through the Israeli airport and their screening is basically the same as a US airport except that you also get interrogated. Well unless you have a letter that says you are a nice person. They certainly have better trained screeners and there are probably additional non-visible measures. In the end it's really hard to tell what things are by looking at them or xraying them and it doesn't take a lot of disguise if you really are determined to bring a prohibited item.
    • But one thing is for sure, there is an abundance of stupid people in this country, and a general unwillingness to nip problems in the bud, so I'm willing to accept this security theater as a compromise.

      It's not a compromise. It's an attack on personal freedom and the right to travel which has never caught even one terrist. It's a means of terrorizing the American public into thinking that they are under constant attack.

  • by CaptainDork ( 3678879 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @05:16PM (#55537171)

    ... because there ain't a goddam other thing that's secure.

  • The problem with theatre is that if you look behind the curtain the whole illusion comes crashing down.

  • by gweihir ( 88907 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @06:57PM (#55537591)

    It is about giving the appearance of "doing something" to impress the stupid masses and it is about giving some top bureaucrats a lot of power and boost their egos. Remember that a bureaucrat becomes more important by being able to "bind" time of others (i.e. waste it) and hence any bureaucracy tries to waste as much time of their victims as possible. Of course, any pretext is is acceptable. "Security!" is the best of them, as it will cause an immediate shutdown of all intelligence in most people.

    I.e. the TSA wastes time, money and insults people, while it does not create security. This is as intended.

    • Most security is not about security. In fact it really just makes things worse. Whenever I've had the misfortune to travel on a busy airport day and am waiting halfway through the TSA line, or if I'm waiting to get into a concert at a venue that's inserted the security stick up its ass and added metal detectors and pat-down thugs, or if I'm at a theme park that does the same (Even DisneyWorld has jumped onboard this particular stupid train.)...

      ... I'm kind of forced to stop and think: why would the terr'

      • There're a lot of people penned up, close together, and moving only very slowly waiting to be "screened". The "security" line would be a fine target for someone with a semi-automatic rifle or three. Or, just how much explosive and ball-bearings could a suicide bomber pack into a carryon suitcase he could set off in the midpoint of the line on the day before Thanksgiving?

        Obviously, the next step is to declare the security line a 'gun free zone', to be immediately followed by erecting an additional security checkpoint before the security checkpoint so people won't be in danger when they go through security.

    • Except that I don't know anyone who is impressed. The problem is that there is no way for someone to campaign on getting rid of the TSA in a sound bite that cannot be made to seem like they want to do away with all airline security.

      Actually, now that I have thought about it, maybe you could. It would have to be about using the TSA as an example of something larger. "Elect me to root out the government agencies which spend lots of money but fail to accomplish what they are there for. Look at the TSA, we a
      • 'parents' are impressed.

        all my single friends, of all ages, are highly annoyed at the TSA bullshit and they realize its all fake nonsense that does nothing but wastes time, money and degrades us all.

        BUT - the parents out there - especially the moms - they change when they have kids. all of a sudden, their precious snowflakes' lives are all that matter and ANYTHING that gives the illusion of safety for them, they'll buy into.

        today, they call them helicopter parents and they totally overdue that crap. they

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          You have a point. The really bad thing is that these people make it much harder for their children to ever be self-sufficient adults. It already started with turning colleges and universities into "safe spaces" instead of places of learning where your assumption get challenged and you come into contact with new ideas. If this is were it goes, the price for society will be very high.

  • by baker_tony ( 621742 ) on Sunday November 12, 2017 @10:44PM (#55538313) Homepage

    The most retarded thing I encounter in US airports, is security screening transiting passengers, by sending them out to the beginning of the main security line after making them queue for an hour, fingerprinting and stamping passport.
    I mean, seriously, if someone was going to do something to a plane, it would be on the flight in and how it is "safer" to put security screened passengers back out in to the public areas for 60 seconds to put them back through security again?! All it does is fuck off passengers and make additional work for EVERYONE.
    It's like you want to fuck off everyone, even if you want nothing to do with going to America.
    Meanwhile, on my return flight to the UK I went back via Singapore. Massive, kick ass airport, stayed there 17 hours, slept at a transit hotel (with pool!). Never went through security or passport control at all (which makes total sense as I never needed to leave the airport).

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Yeah. I flew from Europe to LAX via Minneapolis. They made us redo the security screening. The only rationale I can think of is that we had access to our checked baggage (customs) before going to the connecting flight.

  • I have from time to time worked at remote jobsites; you are there for various lengths of time (two weeks, three, sometimes longer, but in any case 7days/week 12 hours/day) and then flown home for what are the equivalent of your days off.

    Sooo ...

    We board the plane at home, six AM, go through security, yes the boots, belt etc are a hassle because you only have limited luggage and you need your tools and proper dress for the job, typically outdoors or a combination of indoors and out. So I have to remove workb

System checkpoint complete.

Working...