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DHS Budget Includes No New Airport Body Scanners 70

Posted by Soulskill
from the read-my-x-rayed-lips dept.
OverTheGeicoE writes "The Electronic Privacy Information Center has been examining the White House's proposed budget for Department of Homeland Security for 2013, and they point out that it doesn't include any money for additional airport body scanners for TSA. Did the recent scandal involving TSA workers targeting women for scans make the White House realize that TSA is a national embarrassment? Does the executive branch finally understand the questionable safety and effectiveness of these devices? Or does DHS just think it has enough scanners once TSA installs the 250 new scanners in this year's budget?"
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DHS Budget Includes No New Airport Body Scanners

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  • Progress (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CelticWhisper (601755) <celticwhisper@gm ... om minus painter> on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:59PM (#39117493)
    It's a step in the right direction, though if you ask me only the full, outright abolition of this pathetic, unconstitutional joke of an agency qualifies as "enough." It'll be "fun" to see what kind of tantrum Chief Molester Pistole throws about being denied his latest batch of toys. Here's hoping Congress tells him to shut up and be thankful he got any money at all. Why they don't just strip all funding from TSA at this point is beyond me.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What? We forgot to budget for the new scanners? Wow, thanks for pointing that oversight out.

      We can just tap the money we had budgeted for unforseen natural disaster relief to pay for this year's round of new body scanner installments.

      Keep up the good works, citizens!

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think you need to have a budget to have actually budgeted for anything. Congress hasn't passed a budget in years.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          The repeated failure to pass a budget is exactly why President Obama wants to reclassify Transportation spending as "mandatory" (instead of "discretionary").

    • by Concern (819622) * on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @11:16PM (#39120735) Journal

      Only in the Bush era could a treasury-looting boondoggle this bad actually go all the way to implementation.

      These machines can be defeated by any illiterate petty criminal. Hello... body cavities?

      Every actually respectable expert is on record against them, from Bruce Schneier to El Al's former head of security.

      This is not just garden variety incompetence. The program was so wildly and thoroughly stupid that it goes beyond negligence into prima facie malicious intent. The bigs from the vendors and the feds on the procurement side should see prison on the grounds of corruption alone. It's no different than selling the army a billion dollars worth of non-working guns or vehicles to pocket the profits. God willing, someday we'll watch the trials on CSpan.

      That's leaving aside the laugh-till-you-cry repugnant aspects of what they actually did - which is, let's not sugar coat it, take nude photographs of thousands and thousands of children.

  • by vlm (69642)

    Maybe they figure with crude over $100/barrel, unemployment 25%, inflation 10%, collapse of the EU, etc, that no one will be flying, so they're planning to install prairie schooner scanners and horse wagon scanners.

    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by EdIII (1114411)

      You're assuming the average American is smart enough to ride a horse. I doubt it.

      For the record, I have no fucking clue how to ride a horse or to even begin to deal with them. Have some relatives that do, but I suspect that people that can ride a horse is going to be a pretty small percentage.

      Going to be one hell of a learning curve :)

      • Re:not needed (Score:5, Interesting)

        by saleenS281 (859657) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:17PM (#39117695) Homepage
        Basic horse riding is pretty trivial and could be learned in an afternoon with additional solo practice after the fact. Training/taming a horse on the other hand, is the real problem.
        • Yup, my grandma had a ranch and boarded horses for a living before she passed away.

          Stallions aren't reasonable like men are. You get a few men in with a few women and the men'll at least bargain on which woman each is gonna get. No so with stallions, you put even equal parts stallion in with equal parts mare and you're gonna have a lot of head-jerking, stomping, risking possible injury.

          You gotta read a horse's body language, their ears. A horse may be fine with you, but they will dominate and be dis
          • by Thing 1 (178996)
            Ethanol-fueled, indeed. Sounds like you may have been the cause of several cases of equine shy bladder syndrome. (Mine was caused by a "special needs" kid shoving me into the urinal, unprovoked, in sixth grade.)
        • Ah... how trivial it is depends very much on the environment you're riding in, the horse you're riding (is it a good horse? used to the environment? does it spook easily? ...)... :)
        • by Thing 1 (178996)

          Training/taming a horse on the other hand, is the real problem.

          Heh, well, I've broken horses before. You just have to know how to do it.

          It's fairly simple: as you're starting to lose your seat, you will notice that one of your arms starts flailing. It is at this point that you must make a quick maneuver; I've found that pushing the left stick in the opposite direction as you're falling, will keep you on the horse. After about 10 to 30 seconds of this (depending on the top speed of said horse), you'll hear a victory noise and the camera will spin around, and the hors

      • by GodInHell (258915)
        Learning to ride a horse is thoroughly enjoyable. You should try it.

        Also -- they're not actually all that efficient when you consider the massive quantities of food and space they need to live in.

        -GiH
        • by EdIII (1114411)

          Learning to ride a horse is thoroughly enjoyable. You should try it.

          I'm sure it is. I just know that riding a horse is one thing, truly understanding it is another, and long term care another still. If people took care of horses in the same way they do their cars the horse would be dead in a month.

          Also -- they're not actually all that efficient when you consider the massive quantities of food and space they need to live in.

          Are you talking about the horses or the humans? :)

        • Don't forget the road apples. Even the most hardcore, anti-car, enviro-whacko ought to be glad that our streets aren't 3 feet thick with horse shit.
      • by petsounds (593538)

        Really? I'm pretty sure most Americans could ride a horse. We all managed quite well 200 years ago. I grew up riding horses; it's not hard. It's more about communication -- learning what signals the horse is giving you, and how to properly give signals to the horse.

        I have to take exception to this "Americans are dumb" sentiment. Americans are vastly undereducated on the whole -- both in an institutional context and a cultural/parental one -- but they are no more or less intelligent than any other country's

        • "Could ride a horse" and "could ride a horse great distances" are very different things.

          I have family that has horses, so I occasionally ride. But, I get terribly sore, even if I'm just out an hour. If I had to use one daily, it would take a while to get accustomed to it.

          As far as the generalizations about Americans, I believe they too are unfair. There is a growing segment of the population who expects to always depend on welfare and food stamps, but on the whole, I'd still put us up against any other n

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by EdIII (1114411)

          But saying the average American is not intelligent enough to ride a horse -- that's just elitism.

          No. That's pragmatism.

          The majority of Americans are no longer self sufficient and have lost "generational" knowledge that has been passed down. Did you grow up on a farm? How much information was imparted to you from your parents?

          It goes for a lot more than horses.

          Maybe I am a little too cynical, but unless it is something shallow and easy I just don't see the average American picking up that kind of a skill set quick enough to make a difference. There is going to be quite a learning curve. Not to menti

      • Riding a horse is incredibly easy. Anyone could understand the basic principle behind horse riding within 5 minutes. Certainly nothing to hold up on a pedestal.

        You're better off sticking to the shtick that Americans are too fat and would crush the horse's back if you're going to come down on an entire nationality.

      • by vlm (69642)

        For the record, I have no fucking clue how to ride a horse or to even begin to deal with them. Have some relatives that do, but I suspect that people that can ride a horse is going to be a pretty small percentage.

        My limited heresay knowledge of horse riding while mixing the metaphors a bit is its very much like "learning to be an airplane pilot" in that straight and level in good conditions in an area you already know without too many others around and no distractions is silly easy, but when times get tough you'll get kicked in the nads when you're least expecting it, and learning how to avoid that situation and/or how to survive that situation is where all the training time is spent.

        Unlike cars where you throw peop

    • by tompaulco (629533)
      Yes, that was what i was going to suggest. Travel is already expensive, and TSA has made it enough of a hassle, they will put themselves out of business, and have to branch out into some other areas. Some of these they have already started, like trains, buses and trucks, but before long you will probably have to have a "auto marshall" in every car and have to have a staff of three TSA agents manning a scanner between your garage door and your car.
      • Travel is already expensive

        Actually, it's not. Indexed to inflation, air travel is dramatically cheaper than it was even 30 years ago. 30 years ago there just wasn't this expectation that a family could jet here and there for (an indexed) $300.

        • by tompaulco (629533)
          Actually, it's not. Indexed to inflation, air travel is dramatically cheaper than it was even 30 years ago.
          I'm sure that is true, in the 70s, air travel was the domain of the rich and not yet a standard mode of travel. However, in the 80s it became a commodity. I used to be able to travel round trip from Oklahoma City to Chicago for $100. Now it would cost me a minimum of $458, and of course they are hiding the luggage fees and other odds and ends. The final cost would be about $500. I doubt that we have
    • by slick7 (1703596)

      Maybe they figure with crude over $100/barrel, unemployment 25%, inflation 10%, collapse of the EU, etc, that no one will be flying, so they're planning to install prairie schooner scanners and horse wagon scanners.

      If it comes with an attached shower, please decline if the option is offered.

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @05:59PM (#39117503)

    pat downs are cheaper

    • by xenobyte (446878)

      Pat down? - Are you referring to the infamous 'Grope Search'?

      It's an amazing thing that Grope Search. It's not a cavity search and yet they examine the crotch area extremely carefully, as well as the chest area on women...

  • Not good enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:01PM (#39117529)

    The new DHS budget should include no money for the TSA, period. The whole organization is an ineffective, Constitutional-rights breaking embarrassment and a waste of money.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:04PM (#39117557)

    Seriously? In a country where reality TV is king and our presedential candidates are in the pockets of corporations, the last thing the US cares about is embarrassment.

  • i'll go with option D: you're making up hypothetical scenarios, based on assumptions, which inevitably leads you to exclude what's really going on as an option. thanks for trying to limit my choices to just what you perceive, though! let's all make unqualified conjectures and then argue about them as if they were true! yay!
  • Reasoning? (Score:5, Informative)

    by JobyOne (1578377) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @06:10PM (#39117629) Homepage Journal

    Or does DHS just think it has enough scanners once TSA installs the 250 new scanners in this year's budget?

    Probably that one. It's not like they're going to --GASP-- spend less money by not buying full body scanners. They're just going to spend that money on other [thehill.com] stupid [digitaltrends.com] stuff [homelandse...wswire.com].

    • by artor3 (1344997)

      Obama's proposed budget cuts $320M from the TSA's budget (6%). Obviously, money in fungible, and any dollar they do spend could have been spent on xray scanners, so it is pretty much tautological to claim that "they're going to spend that money on other stuff." But the truth is that if their budget hadn't been cut, they probably would have bought more scanners.

  • Any other questions?
  • Oh, the budget will get amended to include them after the elections. Political donors are invested in the company from which the government buys the machines. First rule of an election year is to understand that anything said, promised or done in favor of the citizens is an attempt to buy their votes. Once the citizens have cast the votes bought by the politicians (foolishly believing anything a politician said), everything will resume it's normal path of securing more power for the government and funnel
  • Any advanced information on supposed White House budget requests a year away are public relations. They release what they want us to believe. The DHS budget newly approved added 900 strip screeners to what they already have. That's the news that matters, fellow subjects.
  • by 602 (652745) on Tuesday February 21, 2012 @10:41PM (#39120455)
    The French built the "Maginot Line" of fortifications along their border with Germany--at enormous expense--between World War I and World War II. The Germans simply went around it through Belgium and defeated France in a few days. The TSA is our Maginot Line.
    • by xenobyte (446878)

      The French built the "Maginot Line" of fortifications along their border with Germany--at enormous expense--between World War I and World War II. The Germans simply went around it through Belgium and defeated France in a few days. The TSA is our Maginot Line.

      Except that the Maginot Line didn't cause major annoyances and intrusions into very private areas for the general public traveling between France and Germany.

      The TSA have designed their security theater to be as intrusive as possible, even though such intrusion isn't relevant nor effective in catching weapons and/or explosives. The scanners miss A LOT (70-80% misses) even where they are designed to find it, and body cavities are not scanned in any way. And none of the current measures would have spotted the

  • Did the recent scandal involving TSA workers targeting women for scans make the White House realize that TSA is a national embarrassment?

    > Assuming that the DHS has any common sense at all.

What is mind? No matter. What is matter? Never mind. -- Thomas Hewitt Key, 1799-1875

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