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This article was published on March 8, 2012

TSA successfully fails to address major airport security issues exposed in viral YouTube video

TSA successfully fails to address major airport security issues exposed in viral YouTube video

Three days ago, engineer and blogger Jonathan Corbett posted a video on YouTube detailing how he was able to get a small metal case past the Transportation and Security Administration’s (TSA) controversial nude body scanners, not once, but twice.

Since then, the TSA has responded to the video with a blog post of its own, with a stunning display of arrogance and failing to address the issues at hand.

In the video, Corbett quotes an Israeli security expert saying, “I can overcome them [body scanners] with enough explosives to bring down a Boeing 747.”

Rather than explain what Corbett has to say about the scanners, check out the video and accompanying blog post for yourself.

Now that you’ve seen the accusations leveled at the TSA by Corbett, we’d like to direct your attention to the TSA’s official response.

Posted on The TSA Blog, “Blogger Bob Burns” does a great job not actually addressing the issue whatsoever.

He refers to Corbett as “some guy”, calling the video a “crude attempt to allegedly show how to circumvent TSA screening procedures.” He goes on to list the kinds of things that the nude body scanners can do, saying, “It’s one of the best tools available to detect metallic and non-metallic items, such as… you know… things that go BOOM.”

Yes. That’s exactly the kind of language that I want to hear from an official spokesperson of the very organization that’s responsible for making sure that I’m safe the minute I step on an aeroplane that’s going to sweep me tens of thousands of feet into the air. “…things that go BOOM.”

Blogger Bob does get extra points for his use of “interwebs”, you know, to put all of us Internet folks at ease, cause, well, he’s in on the slang.

Grade school vernacular aside, Blogger Bob doesn’t explain exactly how Corbett’s video is nothing but a a crude attempt, and does nothing to explain how the US aviation system is much safer now with the deployment of 600 imaging technology units at 140 airports.”

He ends the blog post on the lowest note possible, saying, “Also, keep in mind that is optional. Anybody can opt out of the body scanner for a pat-down.” Thanks for the reminder Bob. If I’m not interested in an invasive imaging system, I can opt for an invasive pat down instead. Well that’s my mind at ease.

The comments on the post have not gone easy on Bob either. One commenter kindly points out, “Jonathan Corbett defeated a $200,000 body scanner with a sewing kit. Your blog post pointedly does NOT deny this fact.”

Corbett himself has also left a comment on the post, saying, “Why don’t you release the security footage of me going through your MMW scanners so that all can see?”

In a blog post addressing Blogger Bob’s response, Corbett writes:

“The response then went on to say that they “can’t discuss” it and that the nude body scanners are just “one layer” of security so not to worry.

¿Que? You just spent $1B on a system that makes us LESS safe than the system you replaced — invading our privacy and rights in the meantime — and all you’re going to do is make fun of my research, which put your agency to shame, for being “crude?”

Blogger Bob’s post doesn’t do much to refute Corbett’s claims, but it certainly does a great job of setting itself up as an example of how not to address a potentially explosive situation. (Yes. I said it. If Bob can, so can we.)