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TSA Screening Barely Working Better Than Chance

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the am-I-safe-now? dept.

Security 337

rwise2112 writes "The General Accounting Office (GAO) has completed a study of the TSAs SPOT (Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques) program and found the program is only slightly better than chance at finding criminals. Given that the TSA has spent almost a billion dollars on the program, that's a pretty poor record. As a result, the GAO is requesting that both Congress and the president withhold funding from the program until the TSA can demonstrate its effectiveness."

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337 comments

Fuck the TSA (5, Insightful)

sexconker (1179573) | about 5 months ago | (#45428159)

Fuck 'em. Disband that shit ASAP.

Re:Fuck the TSA (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428243)

Yeah disband em all. Buncha niggers!!

Re:Fuck the TSA (4, Insightful)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about 5 months ago | (#45428685)

the point of TSA screening isn't to search for dangerous items. the point is to intimidate the populace into submission to an autocratic state. I agree with P, fuck 'em.

Re:Fuck the TSA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428269)

Damn............

I will say that the TSA will spend a little extra time on males with olive skin....Sure my olive skin is from my Cherokee heritage, but that is besides the point. The fact that they are still below chance suggests that males with olive skin aren't criminals more often than chance.

lolololololololol

Re:Fuck the TSA (5, Interesting)

trollboy (46578) | about 5 months ago | (#45428415)

as a 7' tall man of german descent, I always get "randomly" chosen as well. I assure you it's not so much the "olive skin" as it is the "different" or "standing out for any reason".. which is also deplorable and ineffective for the task at hand.

And yes, no option to opt out of all the still beta FBS

Re:Fuck the TSA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428475)

As a Nordic type, with blue eyes and light blond hair, standing at 6'2", I have had the same experience. They're offsetting their "no profiling" I guess.

Re:Fuck the TSA (4, Informative)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 5 months ago | (#45428467)

Fuck 'em. Disband that shit ASAP.

I tend to lean your way on that too. Airlines, buss lines, etc. should be responsible for the security of their own equipment and customers (after said customers are off the street, out of the government airport, and into the airplanes, of course).

In Brendan I. Koerner's The Skies Belong To Us he touched on that trend beginning in 1972, when some airlines were beginning their own security measures. That all went out the window and the feds took over after the threat by hijackers of Southern Airways flight 49 [wikipedia.org] threatened to crash the plane into the reactor building of Oak Ridge National Labs.

Re:Fuck the TSA (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#45428601)

Honestly, with the addition of locks to cockpit doors and passenger awareness of the problem, we can roll the rest back to pre 9/11 levels. It worked just fine for the most part, and the locks and passengers no longer being instructed to sit quietly and enjoy the stopover in Cuba would have taken care of 9/11 just fine.

Re:Fuck the TSA (5, Insightful)

pluther (647209) | about 5 months ago | (#45428641)

I wish I had modpoints left.

But, this is an accurate assessment. it became obvious within days of the attacks that these two measures were about the only thing that would have made a difference. Every thing else is pure theater.

Re:Fuck the TSA (5, Informative)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#45428709)

They even figured it out on 9/11. Remember there was a 4th plane.

Re:Fuck the TSA (5, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | about 5 months ago | (#45429105)

That plane was full of hero's. They knew they were dead, they called family and said goodbye. They were determined that they would not be used to kill thousands.

As others have said, the TSA hasn't stopped anything. There have been two major incidents since 9/11 where terrorists boarded planes with bombs. Those terrorists weren't stopped by billion dollar security measures, they were stopped by other passengers beating the shit out of them. Between the air marshals and the other passengers I don't believe terrorists could take another plane unless they controlled more than 50% of the seats.

Disband the TSA. It's a terrible waste of money and a downright infringement of rights.

Re:Fuck the TSA (1)

Austrian Anarchy (3010653) | about 5 months ago | (#45428721)

Honestly, with the addition of locks to cockpit doors and passenger awareness of the problem, we can roll the rest back to pre 9/11 levels. It worked just fine for the most part, and the locks and passengers no longer being instructed to sit quietly and enjoy the stopover in Cuba would have taken care of 9/11 just fine.

That was not one mentioned in Skies, but it is one that El Al implemented back around then and, as you say, one of the most effective measures enacted. Arming pilots is another effective layer of security too (mentioned in the book).

Re:Fuck the TSA (5, Interesting)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#45428921)

I'm fine with armed pilots. They should be given frangible bullets suitable for use on aircraft./p

Re:Fuck the TSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428801)

I don't know if I'd want locked doors on the cockpit. What if the pilots become incapacitated like in the movie "Airplane!"? Imagine being a passenger on a plane that has become pilotless but nobody can do anything about it because the cockpit is barricaded.

Re:Fuck the TSA (2)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#45428957)

While that scenario was popular in '70s dramas, it has not actually happened on a jetliner. There is still the copilot and in an emergency, one of the pilots could unlock the door before passing out.

The closest to that was a 2 seater where the pilot suffered a heart attack and the passenger managed a survivable crash on the runway.

Re:Fuck the TSA (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | about 5 months ago | (#45429085)

Actually, pilots falling asleep at the controls, in some cases both at once, is one of the more genuinely terrifying aspects of modern aviation. It reportedly happens often [reuters.com] , and the pilots' unions are vocal about the lack of adequate rest between cockpit hours. The only reason we don't hear more about it is because modern planes are (at the risk of grossly oversimplifying) basically flying themselves for much of their journey, so it's not as if they suddenly fall from the sky if someone dozes off for a couple of minutes mid-journey when there's nothing anywhere nearby.

Re:Fuck the TSA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429151)

While that scenario was popular in '70s dramas, it has not actually happened on a jetliner. There is still the copilot and in an emergency, one of the pilots could unlock the door before passing out.

The closest to that was a 2 seater where the pilot suffered a heart attack and the passenger managed a survivable crash on the runway.

Using your same logic, how likely is it that someone would actually find themselves on a hijacked plane?

Re:Fuck the TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429003)

All you need is a policy of emergency landing if the pilot is incapacitated or setting up a "dead man" autopilot for if/when the copilot also becomes incapacitated.

Re:Fuck the TSA (4, Insightful)

reboot246 (623534) | about 5 months ago | (#45428853)

I agree completely with you, sjames. The way we're going now makes the government much more dangerous than any terrorists ever thought about being. Of course, I believe that's the whole point of the government's actions. They want the citizens to be afraid of their government.

yes and no (0)

Shakrai (717556) | about 5 months ago | (#45428973)

It worked just fine for the most part, and the locks and passengers no longer being instructed to sit quietly and enjoy the stopover in Cuba would have taken care of 9/11 just fine.

Well, yes and no. The folks on Flight 93 paid the ultimate price for resisting the hijackers. They saved a lot of lives on the ground, but the choice between "take the bastards with us" and "keep the bastards off the flight to begin with" is a no-brainer.

That isn't to say that a lot of what TSA does isn't pure security theater. The liquids ban makes precious little sense to me, and even less to those who know more than I do about explosives. Ditto for having to remove your shoes. Both of those were knee jerk reactions to "what might have been", rather than sensible reactions to things that actually happened or were likely to happen. The most effective security is the security we never see, intelligence gathering behind the scenes, catching and/or killing the bad guys before they even get to the airport, that sort of thing.

Few people would advocate a complete return to the pre-9/11 regime. Random example: Do you think people should be allowed to carry box cutters in carry-on? It's inevitable that a few bad guys will slip through the cracks, and if I'm unlucky enough to be on the flight where it happens I'd rather be facing fists than edged weapons. Put edged weapons back into that environment and I want the ability to carry my firearm, which all will agree is a political non-starter.

Re:yes and no (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429065)

"I want the ability to carry my firearm, which all will agree is a political non-starter."

No, it's not a political non-starter, it's a common sense non-starter. Americans seem to have no common sense whatever on this particular issue.

Re:yes and no (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#45429069)

Had flight 93 had a lock on the cockpit door (a measure that I DID say is appropriate), it wouldn't have crashed at all. None of the other planes would have crashed either had they had locks. The problem is entirely solvable by a trip to the hardware store.

As for weapons, one of those dinner plate sized belt buckles will mess you up before you can even get close enough to someone to harm them with a box cutter.

So yes, I absolutely positively *DO* advocate a return to pre 9/11 when people were free(ish).

If you like, the cabin crew can have guns.,/p>

Magic rock. (4, Insightful)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 5 months ago | (#45428161)

But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?

Re:Magic rock. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428821)

But I don’t see any tigers around, do you?

No, no, just wait. Within a week, most likely over the weekend, there'll be a high-profile news article about how the TSA just "happened" to foil some major dastardly terrorist plot. They'll hype the living shit out of it, and in the time it takes for you to be bombarded by radiation in an airport terminal somewhere in America, the TSA's funding will increase.

Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428171)

Sure, that's what we need. The same government that gives us the TSA (and NSA....) in charge of health care.

it'll work soooo well.....

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428291)

Sure, that's what we need. The same government that gives us the TSA (and NSA....) in charge of health care.

it'll work soooo well.....

To be fair, the TSA was give a basicly impossible job (you can't catch terrorists if there aren't any actual terrorists). The job of providing healthcare is notably more feasible.

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428375)

Sure, that's what we need. The same government that gives us the TSA (and NSA....) in charge of health care.

it'll work soooo well.....

To be fair, the TSA was give a basicly impossible job (you can't catch terrorists if there aren't any actual terrorists). The job of providing healthcare is notably more feasible.

So explain the NSA spying on the US.

Re: Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (1)

MickLinux (579158) | about 5 months ago | (#45428557)

The NSA spying on the US may be why the TSA results are slightly better than average, instead of abysmally worse than average.

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (1)

trollboy (46578) | about 5 months ago | (#45428425)

that's the strongest argument against the TSA I've ever heard.

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#45428519)

Well, to be fair, the TSA was not created to catch terrorists, it was created to prevent terrorist attacks. And it does that, like nothing would.

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (1)

dk20 (914954) | about 5 months ago | (#45428769)

That is why they were given the job, think of the spin-offs:
- make work, how many new government employees were trained and hired? That probably required an entire infrastructure to be built out.
- Keep the "security theatre" front and centre. Every time you go to the airport you are reminded of what your gvt is doing to keep you safe.
- See, after all this there are no more bears in the streets (they lack of caught terrorists prove it works).

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428867)

>Sure, that's what we need. The same government that gives us the TSA (and NSA....) in charge of health care.

From what I've seen, most of Slashdot would rather live their life on their knees than die on their feet a free man. They so crave for the day that the U.S. gets a European-style single payer healthcare system. They cheer for Obamacare which is just the first step in the long path of achieving this goal. I can't wait for the day when we basically have to beg some government bureaucrat to "allow" us to see a doctor.

Re:Yep, put *this* gov't in charge of health care (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428907)

you clearly dont read enough slashdot comments if you think that. Without real numbers id say slashdot is like 75% libertarian, and 25% split between the 2 idiot parties.

How much better than 100% do you have to be? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428173)

I mean, no successful attacks since 9/11. So in order to obtain funding, they have to let some 'slip through?' That's messed up.

Re: How much better than 100% do you have to be? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428237)

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

We all know the reason there wasn't any successful attacks since 9/11 is because that's when I started masturbating with my lucky rabbit's foot over the TSA website.

Re: How much better than 100% do you have to be? (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428473)

Look at this rock. This magical anti-tiger rock. It has a 100% success rate at repelling tigers. Do you see any tigers? No. See. That's hie you know it works.

Re:How much better than 100% do you have to be? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428499)

On the off-chance that you're actually being serious, what makes you think that the lack of successful attacks since 9/11 has anything to do with the TSA?

Re:How much better than 100% do you have to be? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 5 months ago | (#45428541)

On the off chance that you're serious, I have a rock to sell to you...

In order to obtain (ok, to actually EARN, sadly they get it regardless) funding, they have to prove that they're doing their job. How? Well, if they have a 100% success rate, they probably have a few terrorists to show, right? Well, show off what you caught!

Re:How much better than 100% do you have to be? (2)

sjames (1099) | about 5 months ago | (#45428627)

I'm thinking of selling strands of hair from my brush to golfers. I have never been struck by lightning.

Purpose of the TSA (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428185)

Neither Congress nor the President will withhold funding because the purpose and effectiveness of the TSA is not defined by how many criminals it catches. The purpose, rather, is to condition the American public to accept ever increasing government restrictions on our various freedoms. By that measure, the TSA is reasonably effective.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428459)

Pfffft...
It's apparent that you and most of the other slashtards don't understand bureaucracy. PAY ATTENTION. No one wants to take away your rights because none of you are important enough and it's too much work. Instead, the people behind the TSA, NSA, and other parts of the runaway government want the same thing that everyone else wants, Republican or Democrat, "Conservative" or "Liberal", they want more money, more power, and more importance.

And none of you fools understand that this is just as bad as any megalomaniac. One megalomaniac can be killed, but hundreds of thousands of greedy little bureaucrats are like an incurable disease. Until all politicians and bureaucrats have term limits and can be exiled at the end of their "service", it won't stop.

Nazi Germany, Soviet Union, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Mao's China, North Korea, etc. were never the work of any one monster. They are all the work of thousands of people who'll do anything (including selling their very souls) just for a little more money, power, or status.

Feel free to rage against me or mod me down, but you know I'm right.
 

Re:Purpose of the TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428763)

You're not projecting the image you want to think you are, kiddo.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (5, Interesting)

artor3 (1344997) | about 5 months ago | (#45428571)

No, it's not. Don't be stupid. There's no grand conspiracy out to get you. The TSA exists because after 9/11 people demanded that the government do something to make us safer. And so the politicians created this security theater, because it's what the voters wanted.

And they still do want it, as the TSA gets excellent approval ratings [gallup.com] . They don't know or care that it's just theater, they just want to feel safe.

It's as simple as that. The people want to feel safe, so an organization was created to help them feel safe, even if it doesn't actually make them safe. And contrary to the ravings of the conspiracy theorists, this IS a democracy. The people get what they want, for better or worse.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45428687)

Mod up... TSA is about the appearance of security first. Actual security is a distant second or third priority.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (3, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 5 months ago | (#45428711)

No, it's not. Don't be stupid. There's no grand conspiracy out to get you.

You apparently haven't been reading the news.

The TSA exists because after 9/11 people demanded that the government do something to make us safer.

Really?

Who exactly demanded that, other than the usual suspects in government who always want more power?

Re:Purpose of the TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429007)

who exactly demanded that?

right after 9/11 pretty much everyone. especially people that had never been on a plane.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 5 months ago | (#45429021)

I have read the news, and clearly I pay closer attention than you. I repeat: there is no grand conspiracy out to get you. The US government is run by TENS OF THOUSANDS of people, who are often fighting against each other. You think that's all an act? You think that many people, working over so many decades, could pull something like that off without leaks? No. It's not possible.

People are people. Most people think they have good ideas about how to run things. These aren't wannabe tyrants. They legitimately believe their ideas would make life better. You are probably one of these people.

Now, some of those people don't just daydream, they actually try to put their ideas into action. So they get involved. They get on their local school board, or run for mayor, or whatever. If things go well, they try to move up the ladder, to a position where they could spread their good ideas to more people.

At some point, they run into other people, who have different ideas. They argue, and fight, and try to convince the public to side with them. In order to win over the public, they do things that they might not really believe in. And like all people, when they do something they don't believe in, they rationalize it. They convince themselves that it is for the best. You do this too. We all do.

If you can learn to set aside your hatred, and remind yourself that people are people, not comic book villains, the world will make a lot more sense. There's no big evil conspiracy, except within your own imagination.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429121)

These aren't wannabe tyrants.

No, seeing as how they actually decide to violate people's rights, that would make them real tyrants.

You do this too. We all do.

"rationalize" is just a useless buzzword to begin with. Comparing normal people to people who violate others' rights is simply insane.

and remind yourself that people are people

These pieces of trash barely qualify as humans.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (4, Insightful)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | about 5 months ago | (#45428987)

No, it's not. Don't be stupid. There's no grand conspiracy out to get you.

Hmm... can you still say that with a straight face after the Edward Snowden stuff?

Look, I'm NOT a conspiracy theorist. I think the 9/11 "truthers" and the "birthers" and whoever else are mostly lunatics.

But when I first started hearing about all the crap that was loaded into the Patriot Act, it was pretty scary. And little-by-little, over the years, more and more crap about SECRET government power grabs has come out. After all the stuff with Snowden, etc., can you seriously go around calling people "stupid" who suggest that the government is gradually increasing its power grab into our rights?

I agree with you that the TSA is security theatre, and Americans wanted something that made them feel safer about flying. But that doesn't explain SECRET initiatives in the past decade or so created by the government that are intent on gradually eroding the First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments (among others).

If these "rights overrides" were supposed to make us all feel better about how the government is protecting us, why the heck aren't they made public knowledge?

Don't get me wrong -- I'm not suggesting that there is some secret group of government officials planning to take away our rights piece-by-piece. It's nothing so organized and calculated.

Instead, politicians are generally interested in two things: (1) getting re-elected, (2) having personal power.

Politicians are probably just as scared as many Americans are about having another terrorist attack -- at 9/11, it swung in the way of the incumbent administration, which convinced the People that its bungled attempts to be aware of the terrorists should be forgotten. Instead -- "Hey, look over there -- bad guy in Iraq! He must have some bad stuff. Let's go attack them!" Of course, there's oil interests and all sorts of other power/money crap tied up in that, but let's not get into that now.

The point is: the next time something really bad happens, the public could turn against incumbents. So, all the secret crap is a massive attempt at CYA. Hopefully lots of drones attacking apparent "terrorist civilians," the NSA spying on EVERYONE, etc. will be doing something... and if not, at least it's probably paying a lot of government cronies through contracts and such, who probably can help at election time. Even if they don't manage to prevent an attack, they could trot out all the stuff they did do.

And along the way, the government gradually ratchets up the power they're taking and consolidating, which doesn't generally make any government officials unhappy.

It's not a "grand conspiracy." But the power grabs are deliberate and often kept secret, as they erode our rights. So even if it's not an organized attempt to take away our rights, effectively it does condition us to gradually accept more "flexibility" about our rights (as the GP argued)... something which can be helpful at times for people who like to be in power.

And contrary to the ravings of the conspiracy theorists, this IS a democracy. The people get what they want, for better or worse.

Yeah, sort of. Any psychologist would tell you that people often tend to make bad choices for themselves. They may think they "want" something, but they really don't -- nevertheless, they keep making stupid choices.

Hence, Congress has had approval ratings in the toilet for almost as long as anyone can remember (generally excepting wartime, after 9/11, and such, when one has to be "patriotic" and support our Congressmen!). How is it possible that Congress can consistently have approval ratings in the 10-25% range (and even lower), yet incumbents generally keep getting reelected?

All it takes is a little stump speachifying and a little "bacon" to bring home to the district/state, and people say, "Yeah, let's keep this guy!"

Similarly, all it takes is some minor continuous sense that there "might be" threats out there, there "might be" terrorists knocking at our door, and people say, "Oh well, I guess I have to take my shoes and belt off, and do the 'special pose' for the TSA nudey guys."

The U.S. was never intended to be a democracy. It was intended to be a structured republic, because the Founders were terrified of the mob making stupid decisions, voting away their rights, electing dictators, etc. It happened in the ancient world all the time, and that was the model our Founders were going on.

But Progressives have gradually made our country more Democratic. That serves as a protection for our rights in some way, since it does remove power at various levels. But it also puts that power into the hands of mostly idiots who are ready to vote to give up that power on a stupid whim.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (3, Insightful)

ebno-10db (1459097) | about 5 months ago | (#45429035)

There's no grand conspiracy out to get you.

Nor does there need to be - this erosion of freedom is far more pernicious than any plot hatched in a back room. The "it's for your own good", or worse, "it's for our own good", is corrosive. Every "security enhancement" for the sake of feelgood eats away at freedom. Every step is justified as being only a minor intrusion, and thought to be worth it because we supposedly live in dangerous times.

Re:Purpose of the TSA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429081)

You do know we are supposed to be a REPUBLIC? Benjamin Franklin stated "democracy is two wolves and lamb voting on what to have for lunch"

TSA's real purpose... (3, Informative)

mschaffer (97223) | about 5 months ago | (#45428961)

The TSA was founded to extend the welfare state. Why else would you create an agency that's sole purpose is to stack grey trays. Remember, the original name for the agency was The Tray Stackers of America. At the last minute, they were forced to change the name, but since their spiffy uniforms and badges were already on order they needed to keep with the "TSA" initials.

After all, if the TSA was really supposed to catch weapons, terrorists, etc. at the airports I believe that even the Feds could have set up a better system.

But what about the arts? (5, Funny)

naoursla (99850) | about 5 months ago | (#45428187)

This is just another example of the government cutting funding for the arts. Sure, it may be security theatre but these days that is the only kind of theatre I see to have time for.

Maybe we can get the National Endowment for the Arts to pick up the slack. Or they could move to an NPR model and hold pledge drives.

Re:But what about the arts? (1)

discord5 (798235) | about 5 months ago | (#45428265)

Please become a stand-up comedian... No, even better, run for president. The world needs more fine comedy like this.

Re:But what about the arts? (1)

master5o1 (1068594) | about 5 months ago | (#45428439)

I think the correct response is "I find what you have to say very interesting, how can I sign up for your newsletter?"

It works just as well... (1)

PeeAitchPee (712652) | about 5 months ago | (#45428193)

...as all of the other security theater they spend billions / year on. Why stop with SPOT? How many terr'rists have been caught by body scanners versus good old metal detectors? How many terr'rists have been caught by Freedom Gropes? Oh, I get it, travelers don't actually see SPOT in action. Carry on.

Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428197)

withhold funding from the program until the TSA can demonstrate its effectiveness

Yes, I hate the TSA too, but this Catch-22 reminds me a little of debtor's prison, where you go to jail until you have money to pay your debt.

Re:Solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428481)

And yet it's how everything else works in a capitalist environment.

If your company makes shitty cars nobody buys, it loses money until it gets its act together.

That's not going far enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428201)

The GAO ought to request defunding the whole TSA.

Random chance has nothing on the TSA (1)

retech (1228598) | about 5 months ago | (#45428221)

With random chance you get free cancer and ass-probing. Random chance just not offer that level of customer care and retention.

This was supposed to make the TSA less intrusive (4, Informative)

jfengel (409917) | about 5 months ago | (#45428233)

The report isn't about the nudie machines or the crotch groping. This was a program designed to spot potential problems based on the way people act. If it worked, they'd ditch the zappers and replace it with eagle-eyed security guards.

But it doesn't work. Presumably, they spent a billion dollars because they really wanted it to work. This is, after all, patterned after the program that they use in Israel, which is very familiar with terrorism, and has been widely touted as better alternative. In Israel, though, it amounts largely to racial profiling, which has its own drawbacks (as the report points out).

This isn't about the effectiveness of the security theater, one way or the other. It's about something that was supposed to make the security less theatrical. Except it doesn't.

Actors Wanted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428241)

This exciting position includes travel expenses. No experience necessary. Apply at the FBI - brown skin a plus!

i wish the story weren't bs (4, Informative)

raymorris (2726007) | about 5 months ago | (#45428271)

I love a good story about government ineffectiveness.
Unfortunately, this particular story is bull. Their conclusions are based on "meta-analysis of 400 studies over 60 years", not an analysis of the TSA's current procedures. They looked at studies on whether college students can tell when reach other are lying.

The TSA has some problems for sure, but this article doesn't address those.

Re:i wish the story weren't bs (1, Troll)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | about 5 months ago | (#45428695)

Ah yes... meta-analysis. You can't take that junk seriously. It is double rounding nonsense. Statistical analysis casts out anomalous data (data that seems to be erroneous for some reason or another), and the criteria of determining what data is anomalous is an exercise of the person doing the analysis. Now you are doing analysis on those analyses, casting out more data. One more step removed than should be comfortable for anybody to take seriously

Re:i wish the story weren't bs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428705)

The point may be that filtering people through metal detectors and other such instruments is ineffective. Period.

We don't have more bombs on planes or hijackings due to societies lack of desire or willingness to carry out such attacks.

When there was a desire (9/11) we completely failed to stop the attack. Remember that we had measures pre-9/11 to stop hijackers and while you could argue they were ineffective the TSA hasn't necessarily solved the problem either. There just aren't enough people out there looking to hijack a plane to warrant any measures be taken to stop it.

Re:i wish you could read (5, Informative)

Bite The Pillow (3087109) | about 5 months ago | (#45428903)

It looked at the meta-analyses to see if there was any support at all to behavioral detection. It looked at the TSA data to see if the TSA could defend its own assertions. The few positive points were basically nullified by poor data collection.

Half of the GAO summary was devoted to the part of the story you ignored, which was the relevant part. It's like you can read, but chose not to for the middle half. The story you will love is that the TSA is inept at capturing relevant data. The GAO is capable of seeing through that.

Don't bother straining yourself, I'll even paste the words here so you can ignore them more easily.

Further, the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) April 2011 study conducted to validate SPOT's behavioral indicators did not demonstrate their effectiveness because of study limitations, including the use of unreliable data. Twenty-one of the 25 behavior detection officers (BDO) GAO interviewed at four airports said that some behavioral indicators are subjective. TSA officials agree, and said they are working to better define them. GAO analyzed data from fiscal years 2011 and 2012 on the rates at which BDOs referred passengers for additional screening based on behavioral indicators and found that BDOs' referral rates varied significantly across airports, raising questions about the use of behavioral indicators by BDOs. To help ensure consistency, TSA officials said they deployed teams nationally to verify compliance with SPOT procedures in August 2013. However, these teams are not designed to help ensure BDOs consistently interpret SPOT indicators.

TSA has limited information to evaluate SPOT's effectiveness, but plans to collect additional performance data. The April 2011 study found that SPOT was more likely to correctly identify outcomes representing a high-risk passenger--such as possession of a fraudulent document--than through a random selection process. However, the study results are inconclusive because of limitations in the design and data collection and cannot be used to demonstrate the effectiveness of SPOT. For example, TSA collected the study data unevenly. In December 2009, TSA began collecting data from 24 airports, added 1 airport after 3 months, and an additional 18 airports more than 7 months later when it determined that the airports were not collecting enough data to reach the study's required sample size. Since aviation activity and passenger demographics are not constant throughout the year, this uneven data collection may have conflated the effect of random versus SPOT selection methods.

This Just In... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428281)

Terrorists at airports try not to look like terrorists, details at 11.

But Uncle Joe says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428305)

"If it saves one life" -Joe Biden
 
Suck it up, Shrub and Obummer fuckers, you voted them in now you got to smell their shit.

Re:But Uncle Joe says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428431)

Yeah, those "Obummer fuckers" deserve the TSA. We all know that "Obummer" ran on the promise of not only creating the TSA but also making it so ineffective. Additionally, we can be certain that McCain was clearly very against it.

Basically, you're fucking retarded. Get your head out of your ass and stop being so butt-hurt that your favorite scumbag politician lost. Perhaps if you weren't so biased, you might realize how dumb you sound.

Re:But Uncle Joe says... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428543)

Just remember, asshat, Obama extended and expanded The Patriot Act. But don't let the facts stop you from sucking on his nutsack.

Re:But Uncle Joe says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428615)

You caught me. I'm such an Obama lover that I even voted for him. Except that I didn't.

But please, continue ranting nonsense about how he's the anti-Christ or something. Tell us all about how Romney or McCain could have saved this country by doing exactly what Obama is doing, because we shouldn't forget that is exactly what they said they wanted to do.

Re:But Uncle Joe says... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428673)

I talked shit about the Republicans in my original post too. Sorry you're too fucking stupid to know how to read.
 
Oh well, just another dumb cunt showing his true colors.

Re:But Uncle Joe says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429113)

You do realize that there were more choices than Obama or McCain in 2012. I specifically remember seeing a libertarian presidential candidate on the ballot. He did support reigning in the TSA [garyjohnson2012.com] btw. You are the one that sounds dumb to me.

Let's Think... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428311)

19 terrorists that *knew* that they were hours away from their deaths and their 72 virgins managed to get on planes and not arouse suspicion from security, the attendants, or surrounding passengers. Some Rent-A-Cop TSA agent is going to improve on this by looking *really* hard? Ummm...no.

Re:Let's Think... (2)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#45428429)

They weren't trying to kill your relatives. They tried to kill my uncle, my brother, and my foster brother (Boston plane, WTC office, Pentagon office) and failed.

TSA is a farce. Anyone with actual counter-terrorism ops experience knows it. Even the military knows it, but they love the contracts.

Yeh yeh we all know that about TFS Screening here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428355)

Oh TSA Screening.

Never mind.

Ah, but the real test (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428401)

is how much taxpayer money can it funnel into private hands thanks to paranoia and security theater?

Time to get rid of it (0, Troll)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about 5 months ago | (#45428411)

We know what works.

What works is:

1. Spying on the Middle East and Pakistan/Afghanistan.
2. Police interrogation techniques (not torture, that never works - ever)
3. Not harassing American citizens other than domestic terrorists like the Tea Party.
4. Defunding overseas wars of adventure we can't afford that have very long logistics chains and letting people solve their own problems and China lose their ships and oil facilities if need be.

That works.

Re:Time to get rid of it (3, Informative)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 5 months ago | (#45429095)

3. Not harassing American citizens other than domestic terrorists like the Tea Party.

I don't much care for the Tea Party folks myself, but I wouldn't call them domestic terrorists. When was the last time they blew up a building? Refusing to compromise with the broader populace and causing government gridlock are not illegal terrorist actions.

Random chance? (2)

gmuslera (3436) | about 5 months ago | (#45428413)

That means that for each 100 people abused by the TSA [libertymusings.com] or just detained for a deeper inspection, 50 were found guilty of something? Or must be read like it could be random chance throwing 100 dices and that all hit 6?

Anyway, if they are forced to improve numbers, they will find enough victims, after all everyone commits 3 felonies a day [wsj.com]

Random Chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428457)

How bad is that?

I mean when hearing "random chance" the thing that typically springs to mind is a coin, 50/50, heads or tails.

However, we've got to think there are millions of travellers every day and only at most a handful of criminals.
Random chance of getting it right would be roughly say 1 in 1,000,000?

So what the report says is the SPOT guys are barely doing better than chance.
So, they're getting it correct, what, twice out of a million times? Seriously?

If Passengers Were Armed.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428461)

This would have never been an issue to begin with.
200 armed assholes, err, passengers wouldn't have let any jerkoff crash a plane intentionally to begin with.
Then we wouldn't need TSA screening us.
I can't believe i still live here.

Flame on, pussies.

zenlessyank was here.

Again, slashdot, fuck your karma & your advertising.

Finding Criminals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428463)

I thought their mandate was to keep people from hijacking/blowing up planes. They are *not* police. They are not there to bust you for doobies or unpaid parking fines.

Why all the suprise? TSA is not about security. (4, Insightful)

bobbied (2522392) | about 5 months ago | (#45428505)

TSA is not about providing security, despite the word being in it's name. TSA is about the appearance of security..

If it was about security, they would have never spent a billion on such worthless tripe. They would have spent a billion buying blue gloves for pat downs, doing background checks and buying boat loads of video cameras to watch.

This was somebodies billion dollar boondoggle idea to try and sound like they where doing something.

Still don't see any use of the simple fix. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428639)

Put the door to the cockpit on the OUTSIDE of the plane. Nice armored wall between them and the passengers.

Treat the passengers like cargo. No matter what happens in the back of the plane. It IS going to it's destination. Period.
Worst comes to worst the plane will just crash somewhere on it's flight path. It won't be flying into any buildings on purpose.

The major piece is already in play too. People won't sit back and do nothing when a terrorist stands up and shouts stupid shit on a plane. They'll kick his ass.

Keep the pilots safe and let the people in the back self police in the event of any problems. We'll sort it out when we get to where we are going.

Consolidation to save money (0)

Tablizer (95088) | about 5 months ago | (#45428681)

Combine it with ObamaCare: we can get our medical exam at the same time, cutting costs.

I can hear them now... (2)

DigitAl56K (805623) | about 5 months ago | (#45428683)

"We have an Accountability Office?? How much does THAT cost??"

Re:I can hear them now... (3, Interesting)

liquid_schwartz (530085) | about 5 months ago | (#45428911)

I've always thought that working for the Government Accountability Office (GAO) must be incredibly depressing. They must just see billions upon billions wasted, produce reports or try and enact change, then get ignored because the right congress people have been paid off. Must be a sad and depressing existence.

At finding criminals? (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 5 months ago | (#45428879)

Since when is that the job of the TSA? Surely, the TSA's job is to stop people from bringing bombs, guns and knives onto airplanes.

but but, Security Theater (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45428985)

Where are all the predictable-as-shit Slashdot parrots all squawking about Security Theater, Security Theater? There they are! Yes they are, they are! Parrot want a fucking cracker?

Slashdot Parrots are as stupid as the Americans who believe dat teh terrists exist. Shove that fact up your cloaca, parrots.

Polygraph testing foolishness (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#45429023)

Another technology that gives essentially random results in polygraph testing.

And yet... (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about 5 months ago | (#45429063)

...this kind of government idiocy, ineptitude, and invasion of privacy is exactly the same kind of crap we're inviting into our healthcare system. TSA, NSA, DMV...ACA. Yeah, gimme more of that fucked up shit.

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