Is the TSA really this stupid?

Old Sep 28, 13, 9:27 pm
  #1  
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Is the TSA really this stupid?

I posted this in a response on a topic but have thought about it since.
I must be missing something; the TSA can't be that stupid.

Regarding these testing strips they use for you know what: don't they realize that any half intelligent terrorist will wear rubber gloves while doing his homework and be careful not to have his clothes come in contact with his goods?

I chose some indirect words so as to not be profiled by the NSF surveillance systems.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 4:02 am
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Originally Posted by ente_09 View Post
I posted this in a response on a topic but have thought about it since.
I must be missing something; the TSA can't be that stupidn.

Regarding these testing strips they use for you know what: don't they realize that any half intelligent terrorist will wear rubber gloves while doing his homework and be careful not to have his clothes come in contact with his goods?

I chose some indirect words so as to not be profiled by the NSF surveillance systems.
Is this a rhetorical question?

1. Terrorists are not half intelligent. They are imbecilic fanatics who are willing to murder innocent strangers who have never harmed them in any way, merely to advance their BS cause.
2. Whether they wear rubber, latex, or nitrile gloves while they construct an explosive device is irrelevent. There would still be enough chemical trace on them to be detected by an ETD swab.
3. Unfortunately, the ETD swabs don't detect explosives, they detect chemical compounds which are present in the most common explosives, and some of those compounds are also present in many innocuous consumer products, leading to many false positives.
4. What is NSF?
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Old Sep 29, 13, 6:13 am
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Originally Posted by ente_09 View Post
I posted this in a response on a topic but have thought about it since.
I must be missing something; the TSA can't be that stupid.

Regarding these testing strips they use for you know what: don't they realize that any half intelligent terrorist will wear rubber gloves while doing his homework and be careful not to have his clothes come in contact with his goods?

I chose some indirect words so as to not be profiled by the NSF surveillance systems.
I'll rephrase it for you as I'm not afraid of the NSA and its surveillance systems:

Regarding these testing strips they use for the ETD swabs: don't they realize that any half intelligent terrorist will wear rubber gloves while assembling his BOMB and be careful not to have his clothes come in contact with his EXPLOSIVES of choice?
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Old Sep 29, 13, 8:22 am
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To answer OP's question, yes they do realize. But, that's not what the ETD swabs are about.

The swabs do however pick up trace and that's all that needed.

As others note, there are false positives in the sense that the swabs pick up traces of beningn products, but those are, after all, easily resolved.

No issues here.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 8:25 am
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Originally Posted by Often1 View Post
To answer OP's question, yes they do realize. But, that's not what the ETD swabs are about.

The swabs do however pick up trace and that's all that needed.

As others note, there are false positives in the sense that the swabs pick up traces of beningn products, but those are, after all, easily resolved.

No issues here.
A full on grope in a private room is NOT an easy resolution. It's humiliating and degrading.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 10:00 am
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The sniffers and swabs and other Big Brother doohickeys are mostly there for image. When you realize that Fear and Intimidation are the
meta-message in US airports everything else will fall into place.
Think Wizard of Oz.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 10:16 am
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No well-organized terrorist organization is going to waste their bomb-maker on one delivery. None ever have. You have to think the bomb-maker passes the device off with tongs to somebody who seals it in a clean bag. Repeat six times using uncontaminated staff and bags. The resulting device may be too large for body cavity concealment, but the suicide volunteer has never touched the device with their own hands, so what's to swab?

More proof it's all theater.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by petaluma1 View Post
A full on grope in a private room is NOT an easy resolution. It's humiliating and degrading.
I agree with you.

I think it was last year there was an article on Israeli airport security and the head of the Israeli TSA said if you don't feel violated, then a proper search was not done.

But he also said, (this was about the time that TSA was alarmed when they checked a woman's colostomy bag and felt something "warm and squishy") that a body search is the *last* thing they would have done because the security would have been done already.

David
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Old Sep 29, 13, 10:52 am
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Theater I Think...

Did a firearms training course outside Las Vegas 2 years ago. Fired at least 400 rounds of ammunition (.45ACP) that day. Drove to McCarren Airport right after finishing the course in order to make a 7pm flight so no time to shower, change clothes etc.

Going thru TSA, I get swapped. My first thought is "Uh-oh", not good )-:
So what does the swap strip detect...NOTHING! If ever it should have registered as positive, I would think it would have been that day.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 11:38 am
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Originally Posted by petaluma1 View Post
A full on grope in a private room is NOT an easy resolution. It's humiliating and degrading.
Nothing like sexual assualt for an easy resolution.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 11:42 am
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Originally Posted by I_Can_Fly_US_Airways View Post
Did a firearms training course outside Las Vegas 2 years ago. Fired at least 400 rounds of ammunition (.45ACP) that day. Drove to McCarren Airport right after finishing the course in order to make a 7pm flight so no time to shower, change clothes etc.

Going thru TSA, I get swapped. My first thought is "Uh-oh", not good )-:
So what does the swap strip detect...NOTHING! If ever it should have registered as positive, I would think it would have been that day.
Just because the swab didn't detect the GSR on you doesn't mean it detects "NOTHING."

Although the exact compounds the ETD swab detects are, naturally, SSI, the general consensus is that it looks for nitrates and glycerine. One would think that GSR would have some nitrates in it, since firearms propellants typically include a nitrate component. However, it's possible that the ETD looks for other compounds instead, to reduce false positives brought about by exposure to innocuous nitrate-bearing products like GSR, or fertilizer, or even fireworks.

All that being said, however, I am contemptuous of the entire current ETD process, which is so dependent on individual TSOs who have no grasp whatsoever of the concept of "cross contamination" preventing cross-contamination. The test itself may be completely valid, but since it's being done under field conditions by personnel who can only laughingly be called "trained" or "competent", the validity of the test in any specific case is highly suspect. Add in improper maintenance of the machinery, and the whole test is being ludicrously tainted.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 11:44 am
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"Terrorists are not half intelligent."
The only terrorist I knew personally was one of the World Trade Center car bombers, while he was incarcerated at a local federal prison. He was quite intellegent and educated, far more so than the prison guards who surrounded him, who were probabally on a par with the TSA folks.

SO- It sounds like the bottom line is that it is extremly unlikely that these detector strips will prevent a bombing. How much money is being wasted on this? Why don't they stop and use the money elsewhere?
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Old Sep 29, 13, 12:10 pm
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Originally Posted by WillCAD View Post
Although the exact compounds the ETD swab detects are, naturally, SSI, the general consensus is that it looks for nitrates and glycerine.
While the TSA might consider this information to be considered SSI, it is easily found on the web, although it could take a bit of searching.

A few months ago, I found an entire list of materials that ETD can find but I don't know at this time what I did with it.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 3:44 pm
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The entire system is a joke. A gapping hole unfortunately will be shown some bad day. I am willing to give up privacy for safety. Let the NSA listen to all electronic communication.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 4:09 pm
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Originally Posted by Centurion View Post
The entire system is a joke. A gapping hole unfortunately will be shown some bad day. I am willing to give up privacy for safety. Let the NSA listen to all electronic communication.
The gapping hole is well known and until TSA starts screening airport workers the door is wide open.

Giving up privacy for safety is just the start down the slippery slope.
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