Homeland Security’s own report says x-rays not able to detect explosives.

So why the fuck did they just make it mandatory to run your shoes through the x-ray machines at the airport? If that’s not enough to piss you off then consider that the report in question was released over a year ago yet most machines haven’t been upgraded:

In its April 2005 report, “Systems Engineering Study of Civil Aviation Security — Phase I,” the Homeland Security Department concluded that images on X-ray machines don’t provide the information necessary to detect explosives.

Machines used at most airports to scan hand-held luggage, purses, briefcases and shoes have not been upgraded to detect explosives since the report was issued.

The more I read up on the security measures that have been put into place the more apparent it becomes that there’s a lot of shit we’re being asked to do that does absolutely nothing to make us any safer when flying. I mentioned over on ***Dave’s blog that flying has become such a pain in the ass at this point that it’s become an option of last resort in my book when I don’t have any other choice, which is a shame because I love to fly and back when I was going to anime conventions it was my preferred method of getting to them. Maybe they can make flying enough of a pain in the ass that most folks will stop flying and then we won’t have to worry about the terrorists blowing up the planes.

That’s one solution I suppose. Not the one I’d choose, but this is the Bush Administration we’re talking about.

14 thoughts on “Homeland Security’s own report says x-rays not able to detect explosives.

  1. a lot of shit we’re being asked to do that does absolutely nothing to make us any safer when flying

    Well, that’s not entirely true. Until the report came out, the bombers didn’t know that we couldn’t detect bombs on x-ays! LOL LOL LOL

  2. I think you are forgetting the supposed importance of seeming to do something.  How many people have we read about who say something along the lines of “sure, it’s inconvenient, but if it keeps us safe, it’s worth it!”?

    On any given day, hell, in any given month, no planes will be attacked by terrorists or even face attempted, planned or brain-stormed attacks.  But the hours spent “keeping us safe” will let people know their government is watching out for them, however ineffectively, for whatever cost at low benefit.

  3. All it will do is kill the pleasure market – I doubt businesses will stop sending their employees on planes.

  4. I can tell you from firsthand experience that gel/slurry/liquid explosives are considerably harder to pick out on x-ray than solids like TNT or semtex.  If you had the sole of your shoe packed full of an RDX-based explosive such as semtex, or a sandal cast out of TNT, it wouldn’t be particularly difficult to spot.  A big heel or a boot with a hollowed out sole could easily contain enough semtex to bring down a plane.  A bladder with a liquid explosive would be another story, though it’d probably still look weird if it was enough to bring down a plane.

    That being said, I’d always wondered why the x-ray machines didn’t have some sort of ETD device incorporated in them.

  5. here’s a lot of shit we’re being asked to do that does absolutely nothing to make us any safer when flying.

    Those people care more about appearances than reality. To them, appearances are reality, and real reality is just inconvenient, and needs to be brushed under the rug. This is not new. History demonstrates that one of two things will bring a government to its knees: 1) appearances of weakness 2) internal corruption. I suppose we can all rest assured that bad appearances will not bring down the current USA regime.

  6. If the whole x-ray of shoes thing was to check for explosives, and the x-ray machines were not configured properly, then what the hell is the purpose of x-ray’n our shoes?

    On a similar issue, this whole liquid explosive topic is not really new.  A report from NBC came out in March that already went through the threat of liquid explosives and how 21 airports failed a federal test for liquid explosives.  Why are we suddenly so interested in it now?

  7. Les, whats so bad about flying in the US?

    As I said before, I flew long-haul 5 times last year, covering the globe twice (though not via the US). Didn’t have any hassle except a few reasonably polite searches and some strained neck muscles.

  8. It’s just become a pain in the ass overall. We’re not that far off from strip searches at the security checkpoint and you have to get felt up by the TSA agents and half the crap I carry in my pockets on a daily basis are now contraband.

    Maybe it’s just me, but any form of travel that requires you to arrive 3 to 4 hours ahead of your scheduled departure time just isn’t worth the hassle.

  9. I haven’t flown in a couple of years, but the trip or two I made post 9/11 clinched it for me – if another mode of transportation is an option, I’ll take it. It’s not that airline security couldn’t be improved vastly, but I suspect the cost is prohibitive. For that matter, I’d prefer if there would be less emphasis on technology and more on hiring, firing, and training staff.

  10. If the whole x-ray of shoes thing was to check for explosives, and the x-ray machines were not configured properly, then what the hell is the purpose of x-ray’n our shoes?

    Well, isn’t it quite effective at keeping up “State of fear” which allows your government to do things which would be otherwise condemned by common people?

  11. Those people care more about appearances than reality.

    Nicely said Bob.  I believe it’s all part of the “Faith-Based Reality (TM)”.

  12. that requires you to arrive 3 to 4 hours ahead of your scheduled departure time just isn’t worth the hassle.

    It still looks reasonable if its 2-4 hours (really, even that is pushing it in my experiences) in security for a flight that takes 36 hours (with 6 hours stopover) anyway. Would obviously be different for short-haul.

    But I guess I have always liked flying. *Still* feels like adventure to me, and I even like airplane food (4 out of 5 times). Call me weird wink

  13. Bob: History demonstrates that one of two things will bring a government to its knees: 1) appearances of weakness 2) internal corruption.

    I think you’re wrong … but I can’t be bothered thinking of other reasons governments are bought to their knees – getting into another Vietnam, losing a revolution or war maybe?

    Bob: I suppose we can all rest assured that bad appearances will not bring down the current USA regime.

    I agree with this ‘statement’ though. LOL
    Bull$hit just doesn’t give a fuck – he and his gang of corruption have much healthier bank balances now.
    So, basicly, your two reasons are unrealistic in ‘real reality’.  smile

  14. Ingolfson writes…

    It still looks reasonable if its 2-4 hours (really, even that is pushing it in my experiences) in security for a flight that takes 36 hours (with 6 hours stopover) anyway. Would obviously be different for short-haul.

    I’ve never been on a flight that took 36 hours. The most I’ve ever had to deal with is a flight back from California which took 4.5 hours or so (7.5 hours if you count the time zone change). Most of my flights have been of much shorter duration up and down the east coast of the U.S. all of which could be driven within 24 hours if I had to so the flight was purely a matter of convenience for me.

    In other words, most of the flights I’d be inclined to engage in aren’t worth the hassle involved these days.

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