Not just theater of the air, but theater of the absurd. And we pay for the ticket whether we want to experience the show or not.

A leading Israeli airport security expert says the Canadian government has wasted millions of dollars to install “useless” imaging machines at airports across the country.

“I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.

“That’s why we haven’t put them in our airport,” Sela said, referring to Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport, which has some of the toughest security in the world.
[…]
Sela testified it makes more sense to create a “trusted traveller” system so pre-approved low-risk passengers can move through an expedited screening process. That would leave more resources in the screening areas, where automatic sniffing technology would detect any explosive residue on a person or their baggage.

Behavioural profiling also must be used instead of random checks, he said.




  1. bobbo, int'l pastry chef and Racial Profiler says:

    Silly article.

    “Everyone is stupid but me” according to him.

    does raise a good point what with Arizona’s “Show me your papers” program.

    Proof of right to be here pursuant to any other lawful stop can only make sense. So does racial profiling as cops really don’t want to waste their time and if they want to hassle anyone they already have 829 codified pretexts to base that on, but granted, more arguable.

  2. RTaylor says:

    They don’t worry about racial profiling. We all know Homeland Security really means pork for congressional districts.

  3. Pat me down, Feel me up! says:

    “Full-body scanners are used by dozens of countries around the world and are considered one of the most effective methods of screening,” Merrifield said in a statement.

    Peer pressure and hearsay.

  4. Nobody says:

    “Full-body scanners are used by dozens of countries around the world and are considered one of the most effective methods of screening,” Merrifield said in a statement.

    None of them have found anything – therefore they are a perfect deterrent – simple really!

  5. Greg Allen says:

    Hiring well-paid, well-trained, highly professional “heads up” airport security staff is our best strategy.

    But, conservatives want all government services done by the lowest bidder, which means we get minimum wage security guards who would otherwise be flipping burgers.

  6. Dallas says:

    Agree wholeheartedly. We need to abandon this rediculous system and adopt Israeli style airport security measures.
    The current system is really about making the flying sheep feel secure.

  7. jbellies says:

    For Canada, sometimes it’s just a question of doing what our masters demand. On another level, it’s like looking through a full-colour catalogue (not often one gets to put two Kanookistan spellings in a row) and buying the shiniest toy.

    The Israelis know what they’re doing. Besides, if they did security like North Americans do, they’d be kvetched to death by impatient travellers.

  8. GregAllen says:

    >> Dallas said, on April 30th, 2010 at 6:22 pm
    >> Agree wholeheartedly. We need to abandon this rediculous system and adopt Israeli style airport security measures.

    Thanks!

    We have to acknowledge that there is a significant difference — “El Al” is only a little bigger than “Hooters Air” 😉

    Having lots of well-paid, highly professional security screeners will be expensive. That needs to be acknowledged up-front.

    Even so, I suspect that it would add only a couple-three bucks per ticket.

  9. qb says:

    I’m far safer flying in a plane than driving in a car – even with terrorists waiting for a moment of inattention so they can destroy democracy and put burkas on my wife.

  10. chris says:

    Aren’t these machines likely to be more expensive than trained screeners? The machines have to be active when the airport is open. That means expensive contracts from security cleared tech support. Add the cost of the machine, which has got to be mid six figures. Not cheap by any means.

    There are intelligent ex-soldiers and ex-cops that could staff the security check points. This service could be provisioned locally by competitive bidding between private military contracting companies.

    Only in America would a cutting edge technical gizmo seem easier than just hiring some people to guard the doors.

    If it can’t really be that hard it usually isn’t.

  11. GregAllen says:

    >> chris said, on April 30th, 2010 at 8:36 pm
    >> Aren’t these machines likely to be more expensive than trained screeners?

    The CS Monitor says $150,000 a pop. And, of course, you need an operator anyway.

    I don’t know how that compares to having enough well-trained human screeners to spend a minute-or-so interviewing every passenger.

    However, undoubtedly, there are well-paid lobbyists pushing the full-body scanners on the government.

  12. chris says:

    That sounds low to me, but I still bet the service contracts are a bitch.

    It just struck me as odd that the natural assumption is that the machine is cheaper. I’m pretty sure it’s voluntary, or at least it was the last time I flew. So we have this machine, like a polygraph, which does something. But is it a reliable something? Enough to screw with people? Enough for court?

    Discerning threat is something all animals have millions of years of genetic learning in. I’m all for sensors, but this product seems like a way of productizing the naked-ray.

    Cool if you could make it into sunglasses(how many units would that sell!!!), but questionable as a security salve.

    Successful systems should combine machines and people. You can eliminate most of the flying public from serious scrutiny. We are known in myriad ways in the modern world. It is not that difficult to determine who is crazy.

  13. ECA says:

    So,
    now 3 countries are saying it dont work.,.
    Who ya going to believe?
    Corps?
    Government?
    USERS??

  14. Cursor_ says:

    Maybe we could reduce the threat by addressing their issues with us.

    Like say the fact that we are in occupation of lands that are considered sacred? The whole Saudi peninsula comes to mind.

    Maybe stop supporting despotic leaders in Egypt, Kuwait, Jordan and Saudi Arabia? Promote freedoms like we have? Rights of speech, press and freedom from unlawful seizure and search.

    Oh but now. We couldn’t do that. We’d be treating them like we would want to be treated. We know the “Golden Rule” only works for superior beings such as US citizens. Not some lowly people like them.

    Just like it was when the soviets were the same kind of scum and we were SOOOO much better than them.

    Cursor_

  15. Tippis says:

    I seem to recall that the reliance on and (over)confidence in techno gizmos over good old competent manpower was one of the key contributing factors in not having a clue what was going on in the middle east somewhere around the mid-2001 time frame…

  16. Dallas says:

    #8. Your premise that trained experts are more expensive than running people through some ineffective assembly line contraption is false.

    False and not even taking into account the cost of delays and ineffectiveness of the contraption used. Never mind passenger frustration with air travel.

    Also, Israeli methods do not interview every passenger. In fact, they interview a small fraction of passengers because of trained profiling – which is the only effective and scalable way of dealing with this.

  17. Winston says:

    “I don’t know why everybody is running to buy these expensive and useless machines. I can overcome the body scanners with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747,” Rafi Sela told parliamentarians probing the state of aviation safety in Canada.”

    Duh!

    Al Qaeda Bombers Learn from Drug Smugglers
    New Technique of Storing Bomb Materials Inside Body Cavity Nearly Kills a Saudi Prince

    LONDON, Sept. 28, 2009

  18. ECA says:

    MAYBE,
    as Taiwan and others do..
    we hand them a BASIC info about LAWS in this country, when they Sign up to COME to the USA.
    That persons COMING to this nation understand the laws and will Live by them as long as they are HERE.

    Who remembers the kid that got 20 lashes for littering.

  19. Glenn E. says:

    I agree that the body scanning machines are probably useless. Just part of the security theater, window dressing. To make the passengers feel secure. And come back to flying again. The Airlines were hurting, for business, after 9-11.

    “Trusted Traveler” and “behavior profiling” just cover phrases for the “racial profiling” that will be the result. Jews and the wealthy will get to fly, hassle free, as the “trusted travelers”. While those of Arab decent will be sequestered, and most thoroughly “screened”. But of course, the evening news won’t tell us this. Nothing the Israelis do, is ever politically, racially or religiously biased. Right?

  20. chris says:

    #19

    Profiling works. Almost every violent crime is committed by a male. Should we ignore that?

    Consider that many neo-cons admitted publicly that we were in a holy war with the Muslim world. Many Muslims feel the same way about us.

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