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Flying back from The Grand? TSA to swab hands....

Discussion in 'Politics, Elections & Legislation' started by Brian in Oregon, Feb 17, 2010.

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  1. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

    Joined:
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    Deplorable Bitter Clinger in Liberal La La Land
    I wonder if handling spent shotgun shells will result in a false positive for explosives? And yeah, I'm suuUUUUuuure that the TSA will treat those who test positive "with respect".<br>
    <br>
    TSA to swab airline passengers' hands in search for explosives<br>
    By Jeanne Meserve and Mike M. Ahlers, CNN<br>
    A TSA officer demonstrates swabbing at Washington's Reagan National Airport.<br>
    <br>
    STORY HIGHLIGHTS<br>
    <br>
    * After Christmas Day attack, agency to begin random swabbings<br>
    * Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects<br>
    * Security experts call hand swabbing a good move<br>
    * Privacy advocates back tests, provided TSA tests only for security, doesn't discriminate<br>
    <br>
    Washington (CNN) -- To the list of instructions you hear at airport checkpoints, add this: "Put your palms forward, please."

    The Transportation Security Administration soon will begin randomly swabbing passengers' hands at checkpoints and airport gates to test them for traces of explosives.

    Previously, screeners swabbed some carry-on luggage and other objects as they searched for the needle in the security haystack -- components of terrorist bombs in an endless stream of luggage.

    But after the Christmas Day attempted bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit, Michigan, the TSA began a program of swabbing passengers' hands, which could be contaminated by explosive materials, experts say. The TSA will greatly expand the swabbing in the coming weeks, the agency said.

    "The point is to make sure that the air environment is a safe environment," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told CNN. "We know that al Qaeda [and other] terrorists continue to think of aviation as a way to attack the United States. One way we keep it safe is by new technology [and] random use of different types of technology."

    Security experts consulted by CNN said swabbing hands is a good move, and privacy advocates said they support the new swabbing protocols, provided the agency tests only for security-related objects and does not discriminate when it selects people to be tested.

    It's a "very good idea," said security expert Tony Fainberg. TSA screeners currently swab luggage handles and parts of bags that are likely be contaminated by human hands, he said, and swabbing a person's hands increases the chances of finding explosive materials. "Looking at the hands means you will probably get a better dose," he said.

    Under the new protocols, tests will be conducted at various locations -- including in checkpoint lines, during the screening process and at gates. Newer, more portable machines make it easier to conduct tests away from fixed locations such as the checkpoint.

    The TSA has more than 7,000 explosive trace detection (ETD) machines and has purchased 400 additional units with $16 million in federal stimulus money. The president's fiscal 2011 budget calls for $60 million to purchase approximately 800 portable ETD machines.

    Napolitano said the tests will not significantly increase wait times at airport checkpoints.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has "always supported explosive detection as a good form of security that doesn't really invade privacy," said Jay Stanley, an attorney and privacy expert with the organization.

    Stanley said the ACLU is chiefly concerned that the TSA does not discriminate when selecting people for enhanced screening -- something the agency said it does not do -- and that it treat people with dignity.

    "We would not want to see it implemented in a discriminatory fashion, for example, in a disproportionate way against Muslims and Arabs or, for example, people with red hair or anything else. Security experts from across the spectrum will tell you that that's not just unfair and unjust and not the American way, it's also a terrible way to do security," Stanley said.

    Swabbing also should not be used to test for nonsecurity-related contraband, such as drugs, he said. "Under the Constitution, searches in airports are only for the purpose of protecting the security of airline transportation; they are not general law enforcement stops. And so it wouldn't be permissible for the government to use these trace portal detectors to look for drugs," Stanley said.

    The TSA said the machines test only for explosives. It declined to specify which explosives, citing security reasons.

    Because some legal substances -- such as fertilizers and heart medicines -- can result in "false positives," Stanley said the ACLU also wants to ensure that people who test positive be treated respectfully.

    "It's important that the government treat people who do show up as a positive -- fairly and with dignity -- and not parade them off in handcuffs and treat them as terrorists, but do rational things to investigate what the problem might be," he said.

    But swabbing hands does not, by itself, raise civil liberty problems, Stanley said. "There's really not a big privacy interest at stake here," he said. "They are basically looking for particles of explosives, which is not something that people normally have."
     
  2. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    Looks like terrorism has become a pretty nice cash cow for some.

    Making Grandma take off her shoes was bad enough.

    PTUI.

    HM
     
  3. Mapper

    Mapper Member

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    Back in the days of yore, when I knew something, those tests were for the presence of nitrates, so don't be fertilizing Grandma's vegetables and flying. There are several other things that will trigger those tests too.
     
  4. Shooting Sailor

    Shooting Sailor Well-Known Member

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    When I flewout of Victoria, B.C., down to Seattle on January 12, every passenger had their hands swabbed and the swab put in a spectrometer. I'm just lucky I wasn't loading the night before, although my usual good hand washing after reloading would probably get rid of the evidence.
    This is another case where the powers in government are wasting their time on ineffective and wasteful actions. Government is so scared of offending someone, they won't use effective, proven techniques to intercept terrorists and other criminals. All the technology in the world can't prevent someone who is determined to circumvent it. Properly trained people, actually on the ground at the checkin counter, interviewing people and making eye contact, reading body language, and using their God-given intelligence, is what would make the airlines safer. The left wingers call it profiling, but it works. The Israelis actually have people checking you out prior to entering the airport buildings, and your luggage is checked outside, too. Can you imagine- a jampacked checkin area on the Friday of a long weekend, and someone walks in with a suitcase full of explosives and shrapnel? There is nothing in place to prevent them from getting into the middle of a crowded checkin hall and detonating a bomb where it would have the maximum effect.
    Until the agencies in charge of security start to realise that they are putting lipstick on a pig, and start to use the Israeli system, Air travel won't be as safe as it should be.
     
  5. Don Steele

    Don Steele Well-Known Member

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    From the ACLU:
    "We would not want to see it implemented in a discriminatory fashion, for example, in a disproportionate way against Muslims and Arabs or, for example, people with red hair or anything else. Security experts from across the spectrum will tell you that that's not just unfair and unjust and not the American way, it's also a terrible way to do security," Stanley said.

    Maybe Mr. Stanley hasn't NOTICED...but we have been pretty consistently ATTACKED BY ARAB MUSLIMS....
    NOT Redheads...!!!

    This has to be one of the stupidest ideas to "enhance the safety of air travel"
    to come along yet. About the only thing MORE STUPID than the idea itself, is announcing it to the entire world..."OK..ABU...we're gonna start swabbing your hands".
    GEEEzzzz...
     
  6. pheasantmaster

    pheasantmaster Well-Known Member

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    I the poor poor American citizen and most obviously the adminstrations involved in our nations security really don't see and understand the effects of this and other related items and how gradually the mid eastern enemy is bringing us to our knees! Simply amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     
  7. scott calhoun

    scott calhoun Well-Known Member

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    Unless something has changed, I don't think getting swabbed after shooting will cause a problem. I have flown to shoots for a number of years, and in almost every case I went from the range following the final event right to the airport. I never showered, changed clothes, or did any sort of clean-up prior to going thru TSA. I've been swabbed a number of times in that situation and gone thru without incident. They've even swabbed the handle of my gun case and didn't find anything.

    Scott
     
  8. pyrdek

    pyrdek Well-Known Member

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    Of course they would "never" also, just "co-incidentally" happen to get a DNA sample while swabbing to compare to or create some database now would they?
     
  9. Pocatello

    Pocatello Active Member

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    Jeez, Brian, it must be fun to be such a paranoid. I have personally flown back from the SW Grand in San Antonio at least three times with over 1000 empty STS hulls in my checked luggage, fired within the previous week, and stood there while TSA ran the swabs over the duffle bag containing them. The bag tested negative for explosives each time. And I'm supposed to be afraid that my hands will come up positive?
     
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