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TSA Response to Viral Body Scanner Video Not Actually a Response

TSA Response to Viral Body Scanner Video Not Actually a Response

An anti-TSA blogger from Miami Beach posted a YouTube video last night claiming he defeated Transportation Security Administration body scanners at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport by sewing an extra pocket onto the side of his shirt. His explanation is convincing (check out the earlier post for details and the video), but the whole thing seems too obvious to actually be a flaw in an aviation security system that cost almost $4.8 billion last year.


But the TSA responded today... and didn't say the man was wrong.

Here's the relevant piece of the statement emailed to the Pulp from TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein:

The video is a crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures. For obvious security reasons, we can't discuss our technology's detection capability in detail, however TSA conducts extensive testing of all screening technologies in the laboratory and at airports prior to rolling them out the field. Imaging technology has caught many items large and small, and is one of the most effective tools available to detect metallic and non-metallic items, such as the greatest threat to aviation, explosives.
Yes, it was a "crude attempt," and it's not unreasonable that they "can't discuss our technology's detection capability in detail," but how about some kind of refutation? A Bill Clinton-caliber nondenial denial.

"Blogger Bob," the TSA's online writer, posted the same statement on the TSA's website without any substantial additions -- he did, however, replace the word explosives with "you know... things that go BOOM."

Both statements avoid the main question, which is whether a gap this embarrassingly obvious was really uncovered by a man who likes making a scene at airports because he doesn't want anyone to touch his balls.

Blogger Bob also blogged that "we've never claimed it's the end all be all" and that there are 19 other layers of security -- we can only hope they're less questionable than these machines.

But at least some of them are working: According to Blogger Bob, security discovered three loaded handguns in carry-on luggage at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International in a single week last month.

I sent a list of questions over to the TSA (including one about whether this blogger is going to jail for anything) but received only the generic statement; I sent them again to make sure they wouldn't answer any and was told I'd been given "our complete statement."


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