TSA Area Director Concedes Scanner Images Extremely Graphic

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Fisher1949, Aug 10, 2011.

  1. Doober

    Doober Original Member

  2. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    TSA says scans images are those of "volunteers" In typical fashion, they have not revealed their definition of "volunteer", SSI no doubt. As I recall, when the scanners were being tested passengers were given the option of using the WTMD or the "new metal detectors" and TSA neglected to disclose their true nature or that the image might be retained.

    I am virtually certain that most of the stored images are of those passengers who "volunteered" without being fully informed of the situation. I recall seeing people going through these around late 2008 and there were no signs explaining the scanners, passengers weren't provided any booklets or papers, they were just sent through as if it were a metal detector.

    It is certain that the images will eventually get out, very likely that someone will realize that they are in the image and that lawsuits will ensue. The Government and large organizations are very good at retaining records even when those records are detrimental to their interests. Incriminating evidence is routinely found by plaintiff's legal teams during discovery and this will likely be the case here. Even the most thorough attempts to "launder the files", which is illegal , usually fails to get everything.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  3. Bart

    Bart Original Member

    The L3 blurs faces. It literally looks like the face has been smudged off. The rest of the body is a series of snows and shadows. I really can't comment more on it because I'm not that familiar with it other than what I've been able to glean from my training materials. I am very familiar with the Rapiscan model. If you think about the human body as an orange and were to peel the orange, lay it flat on the table, you'd get an appreciation of one way the image is distorted. The body itself also looks cartoonish. It does not have enough resolution to scrutinize details, but it is enough to generally tell what you're looking at. For example, the bra hooks? You really can't see them clearly. However, by seeing three very small dots in a tight pattern located in the upper back torso of a female, it's rather easy to deduce what you're looking at are bra hooks. But if those same three dots appeared anywhere else on the body, you'd have to call for a pat down because you can't tell what it is.

    That's a lawyer question, and try as I might to answer or participate in this type of discussion, some smart (expletive deleted) lawyer will chime in, question my patriotism, and derail any discussion I might want to have with you along this line. The general principle is that when you enter a checkpoint, you do so voluntarily. Once you enter that checkpoint, you have to comply with all of the screening procedures in order to be cleared into the sterile area. How that relates with the AIT is a good topic of discussion, I agree. I find it difficult to believe that TSA would implement such a major change in screening policy without having the legal bases covered.

    As you know, I have a limit on what I can discuss. All I can tell you is that I have personally tested AIT technology using simulants that have the look and feel of real explosives. They're close enough to the real deal to alarm the EDS baggage machines. I have yet to fool the AIT machine. I have fooled some AIT operators but not all of them. I attribute failures to two things: one, we're still learning. These officers are very proficient at identifying objects on the x-ray machine. When they see an x-ray image of a laptop, they can tell you the brand, model and other details. However, when it comes to the human body, we're all still in the learning mode. So part of it comes from still not knowing what is and isn't "normal" on the human body. The second reason is because I think AIT operators are reluctant to call certain anomalies. I don't know why, because whenever I notify them that they just failed a test, the first thing they say is, "I knew it! I knew I shoulda called it." So I don't know what to say about your so-called experts who claim the contrary.
  4. Bart

    Bart Original Member

    LOL. Ok. If you say so.

    Whenever I teach officers how to use the AIT, I need them to get imaged so that we can train them how to use the machine during our practical exercises. I also need their permission before they can be imaged. No permission, no images.

    Have fun trying to prove your point.
  5. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    You mean we can skip all the nonsense w/ TSA & just go straight to our gates? I should try that sometime. :)

    This the where the 4th amendment comes in. Government CANNOT require that you give up one right so as to exercise another. The right to travel has been well-defined in the interpretation of the Constitution over the last 200 years, and both statute and the U.S. Supreme Court have indicated that this right to travel includes travel by air. Nude-O-Scopes were acceptable as alternative screenings when they were (1) voluntary and (2) the alternative was the existing WTMD w/ the resolution of alarms, as the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) originally said they would be. It is the replacement of the WTMD with mandatory law-enforcement-style patdowns as the "alternative" that renders the whole process unconstitutional. You can't offer people two unconstitutional alternatives and call it constitutional.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. KrazyKat

    KrazyKat Original Member

    Bart, under what authority are passengers being patted down at the gates, once they are in the sterile area? I don't want to derail the imaging conversation, but clearly this procedure is not a follow-up to an imaging anomaly.
  7. Bart

    Bart Original Member

    For what it's worth, I don't agree with the random gate screening. I think once you make it through the checkpoint, you ought to be left alone.

    As for citing the authority for the gate screening, I don't know it. It's in the SOP, but that's about all I know. I could cite the rationale about multi-layered security, but you want and deserve a better answer than that. I'm not very high on the totem pole.
    NotaCriminal likes this.
  8. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    under the invalid authority ceded to them under the ATSA act by congress, they could strip you naked. the act says they can use any measures they deem necessary.

    the problem is that congress cannot grant powers that are forbidden to them, and this is just another one. they have no power to permit the current searches at the checkpoint where persons are being strip searched and groped without cause.

    but don't worry, Bart assures us that in countries where he used to serve in the military, they have it far worse. (Duh) So we should be grateful that all we're getting is the blue glove on our gonads.
    Thanks Bart, you put this all in perspective for us.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  9. Bungnoid

    Bungnoid Original Member

    In other words, you cannot see the actual underwear; you can see through the underwear to the naked flesh beneath. How is this "not a nude scope"?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. RB

    RB Founding Member

    How high you are on the TSA totem pole interest me. You were an officer in the Army, which I would guess requires a 4 year college degree, continued service until you retired (I think) so along the way probably attended one of the War Colleges and obtained a Masters Degree, then retired at I would guess as a Major. Seems like with your background you should be in TSA management not working as a screener. Can you enlighten us?
  11. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    So who exactly were the "volunteers" who are shown in the 2,000+ stored images that TSA insisted didn't exist until the EPIC FOIA findings exposed that lie?

    As for the images eventually getting out, remember that these are being kept "secret" by the same government that couldn't keep the information on the atomic bomb secret for five years. If they can't protect that information do you really expect them to keep any of the SSI secret for any length of time, particularly in the information age and with the government rushing into tele-working?

    As for your example, I would expect that a competent employment attorney could successfully argue that the the "permission" your trainees provide during their training is obtained under duress, i.e. threat of termination, and is thus invalid. Rulings have consistently held that non-compete agreement and other employment contracts demanded after a worker has been hired are unenforceable due to the coercive circumstances under which they were obtained. I know this from personal experience.

    Even if the faces in the images are unrecognizable, there are likely unique anatomical features in some of these which will be identifiable to the person or records of the tests that will include enough information to establish the identity of some of the people.

    As I said, large organizations have a strange habit of hoarding information, some of which can easily be used against them.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  12. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    That's not what the TSA minion said in the Baltimore Sun article by Michael Dresser.
  13. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    never mind
  14. Cartoon Peril

    Cartoon Peril Original Member

    Oh, when I was younger it often did. ;-)
    KrazyKat, DeafBlonde and barbell like this.
  15. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Curious what you were thinking.
  16. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    just a cheap shot, such as made it to captain, busted to private for attempting to feel a General's testicles, now gainfully employed in pursuit of the same.

    but I thought the better of it. I'm sure Bart had a good stint in the military. But something obviously happened between these two gigs to make him think that such unAmerican things as looking under innocent travellers' clothing and feeling their privates were defensible.
  17. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    i just choked on my anchor steam.... good one....
    KrazyKat likes this.
  18. Bart

    Bart Original Member

    Yeah. I wanted to sit back and grow old. I was promoted to LTSO after a year because I only wanted that level of responsibility. I never applied for STSO or manager because I didn't want the job. It took a couple of managers and supervisors three years to convince me to apply for one of the instructor positions, and within that structure, I later applied for the senior instructor position (Expert Security Training Instructor). Within my current position, I'm required to travel to other airports, which I do very reluctantly (in fact, I'm flying out today to Chicago). I say reluctantly because I used to travel so much when I was in the military that instead of receiving travel orders to go here or there, I'd tell folks that I just received my travel orders to go home and see what's her face and the kids.

    I remember an experience I had at a Home Depot store when I was still in the Army. The employee who helped me out turned out to be a retired Army LTC. I found out that after he retired, all he was interested in was a simple 8 to 5 job that didn't require any staff meetings, paperwork or other admin BS. When it became my turn to retire, I found that I was pretty much in the same boat. I'm happy where I'm at and truly have no desire to climb any corporate ladders. I have to admit that I've been with TSA longer than I anticipated, but that's because I truly enjoy teaching. About the only thing, I guess, that would cause me to quit TSA would be a job teaching someplace else. In fact, I've already been approached by a major government contractor but politely turned them down. They spend a lot of time on the road. Otherwise, I probably would have left only because it would be something different not because of any dissatisfaction with TSA.

    From time to time, my friends will get in touch with me and to try to lure me back to my former profession. They ask me if I'm tired masturbating with TSA and want to do some REAL work. I politely turn them down, too. When I retired from the Army, it was because I was ready to close a chapter in my life. I found that once that chapter was closed out, I had no desire to go back. A lot of fellow retirees express some measure of regret for not have staying around longer, perhaps one more tour of duty, etc. Not me. While I enjoyed my time in the military, I was ready to move on. That's why I didn't try for the civilian counterpart to my military position, although many of my peers have.

    Do I have the qualifications as a manager, AFSD or higher? Yeah, I think so. I'm just not interested. I have no desire to play the politics that comes with those positions. I don't want my (expletive deleted) lag-bolted to some desk being submissive to the next e-mail that pops up on the screen or have to attend some boring staff meeting that spends more time talking about things that need to be done than actually doing those things. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. (In fact, my current boss is frustrated with me because I don't check my email as often as he thinks I should.)

    I remember a few years ago when I was at Fort Sam Houston going to my car and someone pulled up to ask me directions to building number such-and-such. Every Army installation has a building number such-and-such. Usually, it's a single digit like Building 1 or Building 6, and it's where newly-assigned personnel go for in-processing, or to get their ID cards, vehicle decals, etc. Every soldier knows the directions to such buildings. I had no idea what this guy was talking about and couldn't even give him a general direction if my life depended on it. I apologized to him and said I didn't know. That's when I realized that I was truly retired. The only places I knew how to find at Ft. Sam were the PX (like a department store), commissary (like a grocery store) and Class VI store (liquor store).
    NotaCriminal likes this.
  19. Bart

    Bart Original Member

    My very last tour of duty was as an active duty advisor to a reserve unit. Those of us who got that assignment saw it as a kiss of death. Little did we know that the Army was about to train up the reserve component for a major doctrinal change, and we were part of that change. But we didn't know that because we already had such negative perceptions of the reserve component. So we'd ask the new guys who they pissed off to get stuck with this assignment. Then we'd go around the room to "admit" our sins. It got to be a comedy routine. My good friend and I would take turns with the old, "I slept with the colonel's wife....hey, I didn't know....met at the officer's club...one thing led to another...and the next thing you know, I'm stuck here holding hands with reservists!" Variation of that, depending on the new guy, was that it was the general's daughter, the installation commander's pet dog, etc. We were a very irreverent group of officers.

    None of them got insulted if I called them cupcake, though. Of course, we'd call each other much worse, certainly unprintable in this forum. ;)
  20. Bart

    Bart Original Member

    It's difficult to describe. You see the general outline of a person's body. But in the waistline, for example, it appears pinched in probably because of the waistband of the trousers, slacks, skirt or underwear. You can't see the item of clothing, you just see the effects that item has on the body. Just like you don't actually see the bra, but you can identify the breasts because of how the bra shapes them. Underwires make it easier because you can the underwire more clearly but not the bra itself. I guess a better way to describe it is if you were to sketch a picture of a clothed person using a lead pencil, then take a tissue and rub the drawing. You'd still see where you drew the belt, for instance, but not with any clarity. That's more or less how the images look.

    I'm not trying to convert anyone here. If you're opposed to the AIT, then you'll remain opposed and nothing I say will ever change your mind. I'm just sharing with you and others that it is not the nude scope people fear it to be. And I think it would serve TSA's interests if they publicly released the sample images we use to train our operators to give you a better idea of what these images actually look like. But that's not my call. I'm just a lowly instructor.

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