Airport security datapoint of the day

By Felix Salmon
November 9, 2009

The GAO reports on the TSA. File under “why doesn’t this surprise me”:

TSA lacks assurance that its investments in screening technologies address the highest priority security needs at airport passenger checkpoints. Since TSA’s creation, 10 passenger screening technologies have been in various phases of research, development, test and evaluation, procurement, and deployment, but TSA has not deployed any of these technologies to airports nationwide… Deployment has been initiated for four technologies–the ETP in January 2006, and the advanced technology systems, a cast and prosthesis scanner, and a bottled liquids scanner in 2008… in the case of the ETP, although TSA tested earlier models, the models ultimately chosen were not operationally tested before they were deployed to ensure they demonstrated effective performance in an operational environment. Without operationally testing technologies prior to deployment, TSA does not have reasonable assurance that technologies will perform as intended.

(Via Fallows)

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Last year I tried to hand carry a bag that contained an emperor’s piece of antique out of Shanghai airport. I wasn’t sure if that could be legally done. So I put also a big bottle of Bonaqua flat right under zipper. The security staff felt proud, from facial expression, to have spotted my Bonaqua via their machine. They were not interested to look for anything else. My bag passed, except the water, as I intended.

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