Wednesday, September 21, 2011

How long does body scanning take?

In yet another reprint of a TSA press release about the cartoon software upgrade coming to another airport, we get this factoid:
"It's probably a 12- to 15-second process," Joe Taney, deputy federal security director for the TSA in Minnesota, told the newspaper. "In the past it might have been 20 to 30 seconds. When you start piling up 10,000 people a day, it adds up."
I have no hard evidence, but I think these scanners were touted as being faster that regular screening when first introduced. Now we learn that it averaged 25 seconds per passenger.

Monday, September 19, 2011

I'm back...

My posts may still be infrequent, but there will be more regular posting once again.

One observation from my trip:

We drove a moving truck cross-country. As expected, we had to go through the California Department of Agriculture at the Arizona-California border. In the past, when I've been stopped crossing into Cali, I've been asked if I have any fruits in the car (or something along those lines). There was a lane for cars, one for RV's and one for trucks - we went into the the truck line. I don't know what happened in the other lines, but we were stopped in the truck line and asked to pull forward and sit tight. I suddenly remembered that we had some orchids in the car we were towing and thought that was the issue when they asked my husband for assistance with their search. While we were parked there, at least half a dozen commercial semis were waived through without being asked to stop, which seemed odd. When my husband returned to the truck, he said they saw some "saw dust" near the gate of the truck and asked him to open it so they could look inside. He complied and they saw pretty much everything we own in the back and let us move on through.

My guess is that the CA department of agriculture was doing Homeland Security work. We got to the border on the morning of Sept 13th and were driving a "box truck." That is, we fit the description of the supposed 9/11 anniversary terror threat that never happened, and only a couple of days after 9/11. Commercial truckers were not under suspicion, they didn't ask us about fruits and vegetables, and didn't care about our plants. I will say that if there was saw dust on our truck, it was there before we picked up the truck 14 days and 4000 miles (we took a circuitous route) earlier. In other words, the saw dust was imaginary. We weren't in the mood to put up a fight - we just wanted to get to our final destination as quickly as possible, so we didn't question their bogus claim.

Does the average person think it is right that the relatively narrow mandate of the state agriculture department and their border inspections is being repurposed as another arm of the police state?

Of course we're not safer

We do, however, feel the need to feel safer (or something like that). A Cleveland area reporter interviewed a current US Attorney who thinks that we're safer and all Homeland Security BS is necessary, but also interviewed a retired FBI counter-terrorism expert who thinks it's mostly theater. It's refreshing to see this kind of reporting.