Oh great… now we find out that evidently the new TSA scanners, costing untold hundreds of millions $, can be tricked or fooled to miss deadly levels of explosives.
Reports are popping up from various mainstream sources indicating this apparent fact. Having investigated further, the source of all the reporting is a recently published scientific paper titled, “An evaluation of airport x-ray backscatter units based on image characteristics“, written by Leon Kaufman & Joseph W. Carlson.
Reading through the 22 page detailed analysis reveals methods that could be used to fool the backscatter scanner. To summarize, the image above on the left clearly identifies a brick of explosives material, which is taped to a person’s abdomen, while the image on the right contains PETN (the same explosive used by the “shoe bomber”) also taped to the abdomen. Similarly, the explosive, TATP, is also completely unseen when scanned.
The “trick” is apparently quite simple, according to the scientific findings. That is, pancake the material round, and taper the edge smooth instead of being “all edge” like the brick. The material will then blend in with the skin tissue and will be nearly impossible to discern.
The report states, “Thus, a third of a kilo of PETN, easily picked up in a competent pat down, would be missed by backscatter “high technology. Forty grams of PETN, a purportedly dangerous amount, would fit in a 1.25 mm-thick pancake of the dimensions simulated here and be virtually invisible.”
So, after all of the concerns regarding health and safety issues of being scanned, and the discussions and debate about sacrificing more freedoms and privacy for the sake of “safety”, we find out that evidently a bomber can still get through.
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