On his blog, Jonathan Corbett, whose TSA court case is heading to the Supreme Court, interviews a former TSA screener about some of the major problems with the body scanner technology. “Jennifer”, who asked to have her face blurred for the interview, talks about how scanners frequently fail to detect objects on passengers. Screeners within the industry are well aware of these flaws, but do nothing about it. According to Jennifer, test runners would often pass through with items used to simulate weapons or explosives.
Many screeners lack training in how to use the machines, with some directed to operate the scanners without any training at all. These untrained screeners do not even have access to the operating procedures manual which is supposed to be located at each scanner.
Jennifer wrote to her congressional representative to complain, but was immediately fired for her troubles.
Jon Corbett includes a full transcript of the interview on his blog “TSA Out of Our Pants“. Here are some of the most shocking excerpts from the interview.
Jon: What would you test it with when you were testing the machines?
Jennifer: There were different props: guns, knives, bags of powder that were supposed to resemble explosive material.
Jon: Sometimes these would just go through completely undetected?
Jon: So they didn’t care if you were certified or not?
Jennifer: No, I actually went to my supervisor — or a supervisor — the first day. I and another officer had this concern, that, you know, ‘Look, we’ve never worked on this particular machine, we don’t know what to do’ and his answer was, ‘Sorry, we don’t have enough staffing, you’re going to have to work on it.’
Jon: You wrote to Congress about the problems you saw in the TSA.
Jennifer: I did.
Jon: What happened?
Jennifer: I sent my letter on Jan. 1, and I came back from sick leave about a week later, and I was immediately removed from screening duties.
Jon: So you sent a letter to a Congressman — or to several — saying ‘Hey, there’s a problem with the TSA,’ and the TSA’s response was… retaliatory would you say?
Jennifer: Supposedly there is an SOP manual at every checkpoint. I’ve never seen it.
Jon: So you wouldn’t know where to go to find this book?
Jennifer: No, no.
About a month ago, Jon posted this video, testing the scanners for himself. According to the video, the scanners will not pick up metal if it is carried on a person’s side.
For more TSA lunacy, see: