Author: Andres Paglayan

~ 18/11/10

Some disclaimers.

The TSA last perversion regarding body scanners prompted me to write this.

This information renders a summary from other internet sources, mainly Schneier essays, plus some ideas of my own that came with very little thinking.

This is a mere common-sense analysis to the uselessness of the TSA theatrical searches. And hopefully demonstrates that if there weren’t terrorists’ attack in the US during the last years is just because there weren’t serious intentions.

For the following points, think of a terrorist as somebody with at least a modest source of resources in money, training and intelligence.

It is very easy to by-pass identity check.

As Schneier explains on this post. One can buy a ticket with a stolen card, or bribe some innocent man in need of cash to buy a ticket for you. Get the boarding pass on-line. Modify it with any PDF editing tool to display the real name, and use this modified one to pass through the TSA identity-and-boarding-pass match check point.

The do-not-fly list is rendered useless.

Due to the easiness to flight with a forged ID, a subject who’s name is in the do-not-fly list can easily by-pass that limitation.

The worst vulnerability is brought to you by the TSA itself.

The most dangerous place to be in an airport is at the packed lines that form previous to an TSA check-point. At this locations you can find: More people than in a single airplane, all packed together. At this packed line, everybody is yet unscreened, meaning that the person next to you can be a suicide bomber, and blow the whole area if he/she wishes to do so.
This fact is exposed by several serious security experts.

There are many objects that can be converted in powerful weapons after the check-point, all with very little creativity and almost no resources.

The bayonet or metal knife.

Most carry on bags with wheels have two 24 inch long metal tubes that are used to rise the handle for when wheeling the bag. Almost all passengers clear these metal objects every time. In few minutes a knife-like sharp point can be produced by using a small knife-sharpener stone.

The blow gun with poisonous dart.

Although only diabetics with some kind of prescriptions or medical certificate are able to clear needles and syringes, these materials are freely and widely available at the airport bathrooms after the security check point, right inside the transparent plastic containers for disposing these needles. (yes, the containers are in plain sight).

With little manual skill, a person can build a deadly poisonous dart using one of these needled syringes, as it only needs the needle and some sewing thread to wrap around and make a dart tail. Getting some poisonous substance for a terrorist with resources is trivial, and since a few drops will do, passing it through the check-point is also easy.

For the blow gun anything can do, plastic marker pipes, o more oxymoronicaly, the plastic flag staff tube of a patriotic flag made in China, as always, purchased in a gift shop after the check point. The metal tubes of the carry-on, if rounded, can be used as well.

The broken glass knife

Again, just purchase any product that comes in a glass container after the check-point, and break it to create a glass cutting weapon. Wrap in tape to create a handle.

The metal-epoxy knife.

As Schneier points, done in few minutes at the airplane rest-room.

The martial arts expert.

For somebody well trained in martial arts, it is not difficult to put off several people in an airplane, specially when opponents are forced to come in a single line and not able to surround the subject.

The pass-whatever-you-like enclosure.

With the spread of laptops and hard drive external enclosures for extended storage anybody with a little tinkering can transform a hard drive enclosure in a 1 x 3,5 x 5 inches carry-whatever box. These type of objects are cleared thousands of times every day at the US airports.

Open it, empty it from all the parts, mode it with a micro SD memory card to retain data storage functionality, and stuff inside whatever. I know nothing about explosives, but If I have to believe what I’ve seen in movies, then depending on the material, 1 x 3,5 x 5 inches can be plenty of volume.

The only factors that keep security while in the air are not brought to you by the TSA.

  • The human race might not be so bad after all.
  • The pilot’s cockpit is behind a secured door.
  • The passenger’s will to live and protect fellows that is strong enough to fight any attempting hijacker.

The last TSA perversion so far.

Passengers are forced to choose between two search methods: The naked-body millimeter-wave scanners that render a vivid nude representation of a person, thus amounting to a virtual strip-search. Or if opted-out, the only option offered is an “enhanced pat down”. The enhancement consists in touching genitals or the genital area, and breasts if female.

This insane procedure is applied to children as well. Basically forcing children to be seen nude in a virtual strip-search or to be sexually molested without any reason by a federal employee. All with their parents witnessing and threatened to be fined and/or prosecuted if they protest or intervene against such abuse.

Since this measure was put in place because of the so called underwear-bomber, it is probably right to imply that if an attack is perpetrated or intended with an object and/or explosive that was hidden in a body cavity, then the TSA will start to submit all passengers, including children to a physical body cavity search.

Furthermore, as swallowing sealed pelletes is a technique known to be used by drug-smuglers, there’s then a reason to mandate a laxative purge in front of a TSA agent to avoid passing explosives or contraband in this way.

Some TSA Uber-Ridiculous Stupidities.

They check the pilots. Pilots are both, the last line of defense against an attack, and the only ones who don’t need any weapon to crash a plane. And personally, I’ll rather allow -properly trained- pilots to carry guns if they wish. [corrections] 1./ The pilots actually have a gun in the cockpit. The TSA recently decided not to scan pilots any more, (as you see, it took only 10 years for the TSA to figure out they shouldn’t)

As in the points explained above, most things the TSA says is looking for to stop are easily worked-around.

They don’t let you pass with a syringe, yet they are freely available to anyone after the check-point at the bathroom syringe disposal containers.

You can’t pass glass, yet you can buy it at the stores after the security check point.

The millimeter-wave scanner. Anybody with a serious intent will hide whatever material in a body cavity, namely rectum or vagina.

After all this search circus, cargo on the planes is not properly screened.

Again, after all this search circus, employees that work/access areas before the check-points are not scanned and/or screened.

TSA harms the air transportation industry more than they believe they help it, as more and more people avoids unnecessary molestation by not flying whenever possible.

Their $7 billion/year budget.

If TSA work is so easily proven useless, then why is it happening? Some hypothesis:

  • It is politically incorrect to criticize the TSA.
  • To provide the uneducated public with a false sense of security.
  • To use federal money to create jobs and lower unemployment. (There are better uses of $7 billion a year though)
  • To create government-inflicted terror (look in the dictionaries for definitions of “terrorist”) to manipulate masses.
  • To train the public to see next abuses to come as a normal thing to happen. (chip implants?)
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