Passenger screening

Dec 21st, 2007, 01:57 PM
  #1  
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Passenger screening

Today's (December 21, 2007) Globeandmail.com in the world section has a report on a study that found little benefit from passenger screening. If only Congress would read that, we could all save a lot of time.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 02:58 PM
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My recollection of the article is that the Harvard public health researchers could find no studies that show the effectiveness of particular security measures in the same way that a new drug is shown to effective or not for a particular medical condition.

I think it is a good idea for there to be an evidence-based consideration of security measures; some things seem senseless to me. On the other hand we can hardly be doing double blind studies at airports. Also, there may well be studies of airport screening that Harvard medical people are not privy to.
Gavin is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 03:42 PM
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So are you suggesting telling all TSA workers to go home and let us passengers get on our flights with NO SECURITY CHECKS whatsoever, clevelandbrown?

I agree what's been done today is not the most efficient, BUT IT SURE IS BETTER THAN NOTHING....

Here is something new, from the Chicago Tribune. As I suggested before on another thread, security starts scrutinizing PEOPLE, before their luggage.....

http://www.chicagotribune.com
/news/local/chi-security_
18dec18,1,5363735.story

"Security screeners schooled in the psychology of observation are on the job at O'Hare International Airport, pulling aside passengers whose behavior may be a tipoff of hostile intentions, the nation's transportation security chief told the Tribune Monday.

The federal behavior detection officers are on the lookout for passengers displaying extraordinary stress and fear, or signs of deception during questioning, all earmarks of terrorists who may be on scouting missions to find weak links in airport security, said Kip Hawley, administrator of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration."
Mamamia is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Yes, to be blunt about it, I think TSA passenger screening should be ended.

If you will recall, a flight was bombed over Scotland and all passengers were killed. We were all saddened and angered by that, but we did'nt become hysterical and start screening all passengers. Only with the events of 9-11 did we start these expensive and intrusive screenings, and the difference I see is that the killing on 9-11 was on a much greater scale, not to mention the property damage. So we became near-hysterical and hardened the cockpits and started screening everyone. Hardening the cockpits made sense, as that made it very unlikely that terrorists would be able to hijack a plane and use it as a bomb against a land target. With that measure alone, we would have been back to the levels of terrorism we saw at Lockerbie. So why if that level of terrorism didn't make us hysterical at the time, should we continue to be hysterical with a non intrusive hardening of the cockpits that would place us at the same level now?

If there is a common thread among the pronouncements of the current crop of Islamic terrorists, it is that they want to destroy us, but I think that means more than just killing some of us. They want to destroy our culture and economy.

What better way could they have to weaken our economy than to have us suck billions of dollars out of the productive economy to hire screeners, and at the same time impose serious delay on the ability of each of us to move around. An engineer standing in a screening line is not doing any engineering, so he has been removed from the productive workforce for that time. And the best part of this from the perspective of the terrorists is that they don't have to devote any further resources to this activity, while we run around trying to think of more ways to add to the anti-productive activity. TSA cannot demonstrate that they have prevented an attack (granted, it is difficult to prove a negative), but they brag about having seized thousands of contraband items. I understand that most of these were cigarette lighters, but I can personally attest that one of them was an unopened tube of toothpaste (a large tube) that I had put in my wrong bag. Actually, I intended to use it as a weapon, as I also had my toothbrush and, once we reached cruising altitude, I intended to start brushing with extreme vigor and flood the plane with foam, which I thought would make it crash into an office building.

I take everything TSA says with a grain of salt; they are bureaucrats and their first priority is always to protect their job and, if they can, expand their activities and staff. Face it, if you are managing a group of ten or fifteen screeners, your pay grade isn't that high; if you can manage to expand your group to 500 or 600 people, you warrant a higher pay grade. So adding screeners schooled in the psychology of observation sounds good, but the training is no doubt limited, and even highly trained professionals are often wrong. Its easy to find someone who is HYSTERICAL, especially if you can get them on a keyboard, but the sad fact is that when we read of one of these mass killers, we usually find that he has been seen by actual professionals, who have not been able to predict his behaviour. This soulful eyegazing and clever interviewing will slow the lines for everyone, and based on the history of recent years, will not be productive.

Under our present state of hysteria, we will never end the searches of body and luggage. That is because a terrorist armed only with hostile intent can't really do a lot; they need a weapon.

It would be interesting to offer the option of non-screened flights, and see how many of us would opt for them, and if there were any untoward effects. I personally think the terrorist organizations are laughing at us as we squander our resources at our airports, as they are probably working on entirely different targets now.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 21st, 2007, 09:58 PM
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I don't think we can afford another 9/11, clevelandbrown.

If we stop all security activity in our airports, we WILL get another "9/11" -- though not neccessarilly by hijacking airplanes... Placing 10 suitcases (or hand bags) loaded with explosives on 10 commercial airliners, in one sunny morning, will kill 3,000 air passengers plus who knows how many on the ground, and will bring us to our knees, as it happened on and after 9/11.

You're talking about "our hysteria", but you create one yourself.... The cost of security in our airports has NOT ruined us financially, has NOT destroyed our culture, has NOT turned air travel into a nightmare, and has not deprived any engineer from working in engineering...

The fact the TSA currently does not function efficiently and professionaly -- we all agree. But to say we don't need their services, let's abolish it all is, shall we say prudently-- unrealistic. Your idea is the one that will bring the terrorist organizations to be laughing at us, while planning the next EASY attack.
Mamamia is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 11:59 AM
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Is it still true that cargo that is placed on commercial flights is not screened?
LoveItaly is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 04:47 PM
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Yes, it's true that most cargo is not screened. So if you are a terroist what are you going to do???

The TSA is a WASTE of money.

When WARNED that "test bombs" will be coming thru thier screeing machines and TOLD what the "testers" were wearing they still can't find the bomb!!!

Are we safer today then pre 9/11? I think yes. However, I also think that the safety is due to the efforts of REAL law enforcement not the "rent a jerk" TSA. (the ability to YELL at passengers does not make me safe!)

The "bomb" threat in London last year, not found by "airport" security but by REAL law enforcement. (You may recall that the terrrorists included airport employees!!!!)

And just wait. Someday a terrorist will come up with explosive clothing and the "knee jerk" reaction TSA will want us all to STIRP at the checkpoint.....

CarolA is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 05:02 PM
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I think they claim to screen about 50 percent of air cargo now; they intend to get to 100 percent in a few years; I intend to win the lottery. So if they terrorists want to blow up ten planes, they could probably do it right now.

Mamamania, I didn't say that no engineer could work as an engineer because of screening; I said an engineer cannot work while standing in a screening line; few, if any, of us can. So the total effect of having millions of us standing in lines is that millions of productive hours are lost. I tried to explain that as simply as I could, but apparently didn't succeed.

I don't subscribe to the "theory" that doing something is better than doing nothing. I think we have to evaluate the benefits of an action against the costs of that action. We do that when we drive to the airport. Certainly there is a real risk that we will be killed in an auto accident, but we accept that because the costs of staying home, or of renting a tank, are much higher than the perceived risk.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 22nd, 2007, 08:13 PM
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What about DETERRENCE, clevelandbrown? Would it be logical to assume that security in our airports (good or not as good) DETERS potential terrorists from trying another attack?

Getting killed in an auto accident? You compare the killing of 2-4 or 10 people in an accident, that's nothing more than an ACCIDENT that can happen to anybody, compare it to a vicious attack on people with an intent of massacring THOUSANDS of them in a couple hours?

Your logic just doesn't seem to be too logical to me, sorry.
Mamamia is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 07:27 AM
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I have mixed feelings on this. I do think some level of security and screening is in order, but have to agree with CB that the TSA is a total joke and unfortunaly typical of any government agency.

It would be good to know, quantitatively, that the TSA and its security measures have actually done some good.

Can't see the TSA being disbanded anytime soon.

Just fyi, I filled out an online application for a job with the TSA. I was offered an interview for a position at a DC airport. Including the adder for living in the DC area, the starting salary was about $30,000. I can imagine what the salary would be at one of my home airports - CLE, PIT or CAK.
SamH is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 08:00 AM
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Politically correct screening is a waste of time and money.

You can call it a "racist" thought, but polically correct screening is a waste of time and money.
Jed is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 08:58 AM
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Politically Correctness is worshipped by the ACLU, and the evils who are concocting the next terror attack aimed at massacring thousands of us, trying to our society and culture.

They must be rolling on the floor, choking with laughter.
Mamamia is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 09:01 AM
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I wish this board would allow posters to EDIT their posts....

Here it is again....

Politically Correctness is worshipped by the ACLU, and by the evils who are concocting the next terror attack aimed at massacring thousands of us, trying to destroy our society and culture.

They must be rolling on the floor, choking with laughter.
Mamamia is offline  
Dec 23rd, 2007, 02:15 PM
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SamH, they were advertising down here in the Virgin Islands a few weeks ago. The pay rate was $10.00/hour.
Carrybean is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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I would say that federal employee wages are generally pretty low, but there are other facets that may make the work attractive to some.

How do you put a value on a virtual guarantee of continued employment. Firings and layoffs are very rare, and your employer is not going to go bankrupt (I should say is not going to admit being bankrupt) and go out of business. Many factory workers would value this highly.

The feds also have good vacation times, and generally good medical insurance (the employee has to pay part of the premium, but that is becoming very common).

The retirement plan is good, as I think almost all can retire at 55, which leaves you a lot of good years to travel.

So I think screening is not as bad a job as the wage alone would indicate. I don't complain about the individual screeners; they have a job to do, and they have to put up with a lot of misdirected attitude from flyers, who don't hesitate to bitch to and about someone who cannot make anything change, but lack the wit and gumption to take their complaints to the ballot box, not to mention one strange person who insists on having the screener look deeply into her eyes, and wants to stop the line so they can interrogate her.

As much as I think TSA is a cancer threatening our culture and economy, I am not happy with the idea of putting so many people out of work; I console myself with the thought that once the cancer is excised, the economy will grow and make jobs for the displaced.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 11:12 AM
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My rule, is I complain when the indidual TSA agent is being a JERK. For example, the agent in BNA who YELLED at the Senior Citizen "YOU COULD GET OUT OF THAT WHEELCHAIR IF YOU WANTED", the agent who upon finding my LEGAL corkscrew said "I should strip search you for trying to smuggle this" etc...

As a general rule, they are just incompetent.

May I suggest that you do as I have if you think it's a waste. Tell your elected officals that YOUR vote next November depends on THIER actions regarding this waste of my money!
CarolA is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 11:37 AM
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TSA is a cancer threatening our culture and economy ....Why stop with the TSA? ALL Federal employees are cancer, and a waste of our tax dollars, and we should all let our representatives in Washington know we'll remember that on election day.

Interesting, how one can define TSA as "threatening our culture and economy".... Silly me, I thought Bin Laden was the one threatening our culture and economy....

But the bottom line is, for now, and the near future, this is the first and ONLY line of defense (at least the VISIBLE one) between us, air travelers, and another 9/11. So I guess we'll have to live with that "cancer" for a little while.
Mamamia is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 12:42 PM
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The first line of defense are the brave women and men taking the fight to the actual, possible terrorists. Many sacrificed their lives. I've met few.

The second line of defense are the women and men working for our intelligence services. Some gave the ultimate sacrifice without it being publicly acknowledged for security reasons. I've been to a funeral.

TSA - a joke. On a good day they can't find their own behind, but they are very capable of making innocent Americans life miserable.
AAFrequentFlyer is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 01:50 PM
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"Actual, possible terrorists"

Isn't that an oxymoron?
AnthonyGA is offline  
Dec 24th, 2007, 02:08 PM
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Though I agree with your assertions (first time, CB...), with all due respect to the people serving in the Army and intelligence, I would blame our leaders of being stupid had they relied only of them and left our airports to handle travelers with no security screening.

Neither the Army, nor our intelligence had saved us from 9/11 (even though there WERE many signs of it coming). And I'm not sure those 19 hijackers would have been stopped by TSA, had there been a TSA then and had they been using their current technics. But as I mentioned before, DETERRENCE is the best way to defend us from terrorists.

We all agree the TSA is not doing the best job. We need to make them more professional and efficient. But there MUST be SOMEBODY at our airport to screen travelers, even if only to show presence --- even if only to make travelers feel safer!
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