most Fake Bombs missed at LAX, ORD, SFO

Old Oct 18, 07, 7:12 am
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most Fake Bombs missed at LAX, ORD, SFO

L.A., Chicago screeners missed most fake bombs
Thomas Frank
USA TODAY
Oct. 18, 2007 12:00 AM

WASHINGTON - Security screeners at two of the nation's busiest airports failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers in more than 60 percent of tests last year, according to a classified report obtained by USA Today.

Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75 percent of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.

At Chicago O'Hare International Airport, screeners missed about 60 percent of hidden bomb materials that were packed in everyday carry-ons, including toiletry kits, briefcases and CD players.

San Francisco International Airport screeners, who work for a private firm instead of the TSA, missed about 20 percent of the bombs, the report shows.

The TSA ran about 70 tests at Los Angeles, 75 at Chicago and 145 at San Francisco.

The report looks only at those three airports, using them as case studies to understand how well the rest of the U.S. screening system is working to stop terrorists from carrying bombs through checkpoints.

The failure rates at Los Angeles and Chicago stunned security experts.

"That's a huge cause for concern," said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department's former inspector general.

In the past year, the TSA has adopted a more aggressive approach in its attempt to keep screeners attentive, the agency runs covert tests every day at every U.S. airport, TSA spokeswoman Ellen Howe said.

Screeners who miss detonators, timers, batteries and blocks that resemble plastic explosives get remedial training.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 8:18 am
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It sounds as if EWR is still on top with a 93% failure rate. I'm so proud
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Old Oct 18, 07, 8:23 am
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Here comes the "those tests are designed to be impossibly difficult" excuse.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 8:35 am
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Sounds like SFO has the best snitches.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 8:54 am
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Originally Posted by USA Today Article
Screeners who miss detonators, timers, batteries and blocks that resemble plastic explosives get remedial training.
They should be fired.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 8:58 am
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These tests are not designed to be easy. However, even so, it all boils down to basic blocking and tackling. Sticking to the SOP will probably improve a lot of the performance. It's as I said in another post: "screen deliberately." It's how I teach it and, whenever I work the floor, how I enforce it.

I see this report as a good thing if it results in a crackdown. We'll have to see what happens next.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:06 am
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Yet another sign that the TSA needs to focus on the basics of guns and bomb detection rather than wasting resources on a lame SPOT-type set-up.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:08 am
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If the TSA employees weren't so busy sniffing shoes, checking liquids, playing inane SPOT games, conducting gate harassment, looking at boarding passes, and now looking at IDs, maybe they'd actually catch some credible threats...
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by gofast View Post
Here comes the "those tests are designed to be impossibly difficult" excuse.
I'm waiting for the spin...

We were at 90% failure rate, now we're up to 60%. That's a 30% improvement!
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:19 am
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That article is a Blatant Lie!!

Ive been to all those Airports that were mentioned and I can Attest to the fact that the TSA agents are performing 100% and spoting and removing all the bottles of Water that they find along with all kinds of bottles that are larger than 3.4 oz

Isnt that more important than finding any bomb be it real or fake
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:38 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
Yet another sign that the TSA needs to focus on the basics of guns and bomb detection rather than wasting resources on a lame SPOT-type set-up.
You accidentally stumbled upon a valid point. From an instructor/evaluator perspective, I know that TSOs can detect lighters, bottles of liquids, containers of gels-aerosols and such on the x-ray monitor. But I'm more interested in their ability to see detonators and certain configurations.

I'm the "DA" (designated <expletive deleted by moderator>) who configures test bags at my airport. And while we have a good program, my goal is to raise the bar to force these Red Team exercises to do the same.

As for SPOT, again, we're in agreement. I can't shake the image of the 2000 elections aftermath of that guy with the bulging eyeball closely inspecting ballots for hanging chads.

Last edited by VPescado; Mar 28, 08 at 11:54 am Reason: expletive deleted
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:54 am
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
These tests are not designed to be easy. However, even so, it all boils down to basic blocking and tackling. Sticking to the SOP will probably improve a lot of the performance. It's as I said in another post: "screen deliberately." It's how I teach it and, whenever I work the floor, how I enforce it.

I see this report as a good thing if it results in a crackdown. We'll have to see what happens next.
Happens next? This isn't the first time such a report has been released - after the EWR and DEN fiascos, it appears nothing has improved. What crackdown are you expecting? I'm only expecting more spin...

The tests are not designed to be easy? Why should they? I doubt potential assailants are going to walk though the checkpoint with a bomb shaped like a black ball and fuse with the word ACME stenciled on its side. I have a pretty good idea the real terrorists will make the test even harder.

Maybe we'd be better off hiring some of these terrorists as consultants to help improve our airport security instead of waterboarding them
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Old Oct 18, 07, 9:57 am
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Originally Posted by Spiff View Post
If the TSA employees weren't so busy sniffing shoes, checking liquids, playing inane SPOT games, conducting gate harassment, looking at boarding passes, and now looking at IDs, maybe they'd actually catch some credible threats...
Way to go. I was trying to think of something to post but I can't top this. As usual you hit it on the head.
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Old Oct 18, 07, 10:04 am
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Originally Posted by fortyyearvet View Post
...
The failure rates at Los Angeles and Chicago stunned security experts.

"That's a huge cause for concern," said Clark Kent Ervin, the Homeland Security Department's former inspector general.
No Duh... the TSA is incompetent!
San Francisco International Airport screeners, who work for a private firm instead of the TSA, missed about 20 percent of the bombs, the report shows.
The private screeners did FAR better than the Thousands Standing Around. Get rid of the TSA!
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Old Oct 18, 07, 10:10 am
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Originally Posted by UALOneKPlus View Post
No Duh... the TSA is incompetent!
The private screeners did FAR better than the Thousands Standing Around. Get rid of the TSA!
I think there is evidence the SFO screeners were tipped off about the presence of inspectors - so their results are not accurate.

In addition, the SFO screeners have a reputation for being some of the nastiest in the country, and apparently SFO airport management is unwilling or uninterested in controlling their behavior, job performance or accountability.
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