TSA Lying or Misleading Pax?

Old Jul 24, 11, 2:08 pm
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TSA Lying or Misleading Pax?

Here's what I've seen and experienced in the past week.

At MKE on Tuesday morning I was pointed to the NOS, I opted out for personal reasons. After taking far too long and after my backpack got pushed off the belt and onto the floor I was finally given my Freedom Pat (TM). The agent asked why I was opting out. I explained that the risk of exposure to known radiation was too great of a risk, in an analogy that I'm sure that even he'd understand. "When I go to the dentist, I get a lead apron. Here I get a 'Raise your arms and stay still' I'll pass."
I was dumbfounded by his response: "They told us it was just sound waves. And completely harmless."
Not wanting to argue, and figuring that there might be an uninformed agent out there I didn't think much of this. Just simply said "The two blue boxes are the millimetre wave systems, that is x-ray and produces radiation." And left it at that.
Yes, MKE has the L3 machines.

Today I left RDU, and managed to escape the NOS and went thru the metal detector without a Freedom Pat (TM). The sign I saw was simply dumbfounding. It was explaining that the machine uses sound waves to view an image of your body.

RDU also has the L3 machines.

This is a clear lie and attempt to mislead the general passengers into lulling them into a calm state so that they are more likely to go through the NOS machines.

I cannot believe, and find it simply inexcusable, that the wrong sign was placed in several spots in the checkpoint area.

So, what should be done next?

Sit back until my next Freedom Pat (TM)?
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:25 pm
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I'm just not able to work up any surprise. They will say anything they need to in order to get you in there.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:27 pm
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Originally Posted by WIRunner View Post
I was dumbfounded by his response: "They told us it was just sound waves. And completely harmless."
You are not the first person to report being told this, so it's unlikely it's one or two misinformed TSOs. It's a pattern, and I would be quite interested in what Ron, Bart, or SATTSO have to say, though I'm sure they wouldn't be able to admit if TSA told them to say this, because it would be SSI.

Just simply said "The two blue boxes are the millimetre wave systems, that is x-ray and produces radiation."
That is incorrect as well. The two blue boxes are backscatter - x-rays and all that. The millimeter wave (MMW) systems are a white and clear plastic booth you step inside.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:29 pm
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WBI with two blue boxes are backscatter xray.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:35 pm
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I stand corrected. I assumed, incorrectly based upon so much different information, that the L3 machines were the X-Rays.

I'm still going to opt out.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:43 pm
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Originally Posted by SFOSpiff View Post
You are not the first person to report being told this, so it's unlikely it's one or two misinformed TSOs. It's a pattern, and I would be quite interested in what Ron, Bart, or SATTSO have to say, though I'm sure they wouldn't be able to admit if TSA told them to say this, because it would be SSI.
The L-3 MMW systems have sometimes been described as using "radio waves," which can be accurate depending on what definition you use for the various named ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. I think that many people may be confused by this term, as radio waves are actually electromagnetic radiation, not sound waves.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:46 pm
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Q: How can one tell when a TSA employee is lying?
A: When he/she moves his/her lips.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 2:51 pm
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Originally Posted by Bungnoid View Post
The L-3 MMW systems have sometimes been described as using "radio waves," which can be accurate depending on what definition you use for the various named ranges of the electromagnetic spectrum. I think that many people may be confused by this term, as radio waves are actually electromagnetic radiation, not sound waves.
All true, but several people have reported TSOs telling them these are "sound" waves. I find it difficult to believe that several independent, and ill-informed, people would all manage to translate "radio" into "sound" and impart the same incorrect information.

One person on FT even reported being told "these are sound waves, just like an ultrasound". That goes way beyond confusing two different terminologies. Either the TSO was told a MMW is "just like an ultrasound" or they made their own interpretation, which is just as misleading.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 3:01 pm
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Originally Posted by SFOSpiff View Post
All true, but several people have reported TSOs telling them these are "sound" waves. I find it difficult to believe that several independent, and ill-informed, people would all manage to translate "radio" into "sound" and impart the same incorrect information.

One person on FT even reported being told "these are sound waves, just like an ultrasound". That goes way beyond confusing two different terminologies. Either the TSO was told a MMW is "just like an ultrasound" or they made their own interpretation, which is just as misleading.
Excellent observation!

This parroting of the "sound waves" line is similar to TSOs at multiple airports telling me that passengers do not have First Amendment rights at checkpoints. Most TSOs do not seem to be intelligent enough to know about First Amendment rights to formulate that line on their own. Therefore, the inescapable conclusion is that in training, TSOs are told that passengers do not have First Amendment rights at checkpoints.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 3:09 pm
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One of the better examples of TSA not being up front and honest is not saying a passenger has a choice when being herded towards the Strip Search Machine. I suggest asking the TSA screener what options are available before going the path you choose. If they lie and say there is no option then file a complaint naming the liar.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 3:41 pm
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Originally Posted by PatrickHenry1775 View Post
Q: How can one tell when a TSA employee is lying?
A: When he/she moves his/her lips.
no thats lawyers.... Blue shirts are easier if they have a pulse there lying.

I have heard this line of bravo sierra a few times and every time i have called them out on it and there handlers are liars and brainwashing them. from the responses you think i just shot there puppy.

the MMW arent safe either as DNA damage (from unzipping) from scans according to a few reports, but since the manufactures wont allow independent 3rd part testing that says alot and neither are say.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 4:00 pm
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Originally Posted by WIRunner View Post
...The agent asked why I was opting out..
None of their damned business why I'm opting out. Their list probably doesn't have enough choices anyhow.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 4:02 pm
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Originally Posted by SFOSpiff View Post
All true, but several people have reported TSOs telling them these are "sound" waves. I find it difficult to believe that several independent, and ill-informed, people would all manage to translate "radio" into "sound" and impart the same incorrect information.
The problem seems to be endemic. We even see dolts like TSA employee Sabrina Birge being dumb enough to believe it's "just like an ultrasound" and being quoted by the newspapers repeating that drivel.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 5:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Scubatooth View Post
the MMW arent safe either as DNA damage (from unzipping) from scans according to a few reports, but since the manufactures wont allow independent 3rd part testing that says alot and neither are say.
Ultrasound is so safe it is the preferred, harmless techniques to study fetuses. Yet we also use ultrasound to crack and crumble kidney stones, and the process can generate tissue damage to the kidneys. If you used an ultrasound lithotriptor directly on a fetus, it would probably be the equivalent of an abortion.

Likewise, if you put your head in a microwave oven and cooked it for a few minutes, there would be health effects. But as the microwaves are used in the airports? I wouldn't argue with someone who asserted that "MMW is no more dangerous than a sonogram". I do think it is lying to say MMW "uses sound waves" or is "the same as a sonogram". If your employees are not intelligent enough to make that distinction, it is unethical to provide them with information they are likely to misconstrue and use to mislead passengers.

The DNA unzipping you are referring to occurs when the microwaves produce enough heat (like 95 degrees C) to denature the DNA. You would be screaming in pain long before your DNA unzipped. And even then, the unzipping will completely reverse as soon as it cooled down. The process is analogous to melting and re-freezing an ice cube. The water doesn't get 'damaged', and neither does the DNA.

I would say that there is no scientific question whether the MMW systems, especially given their dose/wattage, could cause health effects in humans. If you have ever used a cell phone or a microwave oven, you have placed yourself in far more 'danger' than the MMW systems the TSA uses. In all likelihood, any studies on the MMW systems would show that they are actually safer than the WTMDs, which can interfere with pacemakers, etc.

I still won't go through the MMV systems. The political reasons are much more significant that the medical ones, IMO.
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Old Jul 24, 11, 5:20 pm
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How sad that the uninformed are like lambs to the slaughter.
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