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One more disgrace for Congress. Bruce Schneier is disinvited to testify about full body scanners at request of the TSA! What kind of oversight lets the agency whose work is being investigated control the list of people testifying before Congress!

Shame, shame!

There is a lot of evidence that the whole body scanner program is a travesty, that works less well than other technologies, exposes passengers to potentially harmful levels of radiation, and enriches companies with financial ties to past officials of the agency! This is a scandal in the making, and Congress is looking the other way.

Some oversight committee! No wonder people are losing faith in government.
Ondřej Surý's profile photoDavid Rader's profile photoJohn Schiel's profile photoRobert Dempsey's profile photo
nteresting. Okay, why? Oh and on my only plane trip in several years, I actually went through one. On the return trip as it happens. Then they wanted to screen everything all over again. Somehow those representatives of a certain clown managed to be extremely polite on both trips, and even didn't react too badly regarding my lack of an oddly important document. However the airline gets low ratings for picking a plane for the return trip that's barely bigger then the executive aircraft that normally fly out of White Plains Airport in Westchester County.
Isn't Bruce Schneier one of the foremost thinkers on all aspects of security?
If that really is going on then...... They are breaking the privacy laws by saying "in vasion of the D cups".
Hmmmmm what does he consider harmful levels of radiation... and what type of radiation is he referring too?? Next, someone will tell people in California that marijuana is a carcinogen ..... and who will listen then???
Did you know that you can pay the TSA $100 to avoid being scanned? And it's legal to do so?
The point is not his credentials. The point is that people with a potential financial interest in the program are deciding who testifies.
When are we going to say enough is enough? This is not the first time we've been witness to this type of behavior, it won't be the last. Vote them out of office and the next guy is just as corrupt. From my vantage point, public service seems to be more about serving your pockets and less about serving the public. Schneier isn't allowed to testify due to a "conflict of interest", really? Hello kettle, this is teapot. Do you copy?
The Obama administration should have to answer for this outrage.
+M Edward Borasky : The problem here is that he was already invited to testify, then "uninvited" at the request of the entity under scrutiny. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me, no matter what you personally think of the man.

Side note: if you're going to be hurling accusations of "having an axe to grind" you might consider trying harder not to sound like you're busily grinding one yourself.
Congress has the power and the right - and the duty - to hear all aspects of an issue.

If someone thinks a witness is not credible that someone is free to submit evidentiary material to the committee to support those allegations.

The smear I see being thrown against someone who has always demonstrated a deep knowledge of security issues appears to me to be nothing more than unsubstantiated noise.

(BTW, I spent a decade+ working on security matters for various US gov't agencies, so I am in a position to evaluate Schneir's credibility (even if I can't properly spell his last name) - and I find his credibility high.

As for the excuse about ongoing litigation:

Congress has no Constitutional obligation to care about a lawsuit or not - in fact there are cases where congress has had hearings even when there active criminal cases - such as the Oliver North and Admiral Poindexter cases during Iran-Contra.

The Security-Industrial complex, of which TSA is a big part, needs to be dismantled.

Given the strong inertia of organizational culture any such replacement of TSA must not be a mere reorganization but rather be a full replacement with less that 5% of the current employee base being retained.
the Obama admin. deems their selves above the law
I just posted to him I'd be more than glad to testify in his place if they could get me on the list.
legal battles are always like that. we do not know what is right n what is wrong as per the LAW. what we generally think a RIGHT is WRONG as per law. thats sympathies
If we just go and call him a slut, we'll have the trifecta of idiocy by the Republican controlled House of Reps.
Er... I believe it was your guy Obama's TSA that hosed the witness - not those rascally Republicans. But nice try.
+M Edward Borasky The security industry widely regards him as an expert. They do not widely regard the officials at the TSA as experts. His credentials seem pretty good to me.
So the party being investigated gets to pick and choose their opposition? Thats like the defense attorneys in a jury trial hand picking the jurors... Oh wait, that already happens too.
all i have to say is George Bush was an awful president
That's what I thought, it can't be good to get an X-ray every time we go through an airport
+M Edward Borasky Bruce Schneier is a scientist; he created the Blowfish cipher and also contributed to Skien, the proposed SHA-3 hash function. A quick search would also show that he has a masters degree in computer science.

I've been reading his blog for many years and the man spends a lot of time thinking and writing about security. I would trust his opinion far more than those that have spent billions of dollars on a security theatre system that can be easily circumvented.
+Liam Jamieson I have no trouble whatsoever believing that that's all you have to say. And I'm grateful.
6-7 years ago, going through the Miami (Ft L?) airport, I saw a group of teenage girls going through security. T-shirts, shorts, $2 flip-flops about 1mm thick.

TSA demanded the flip-flops come off and the girls got all "dude, seriously?" on them. More TSA came over to help and, as virutally all TSA people at the gate were busy helping or busy watching this foolishness, I watched a couple other people just stroll through the metal detector with their 'regular shoes' on..

I'm sure there are lots of great people working at the TSA and trying to do a good job but, overall, I think the organization is far more about trying to make people think "something is being done" than about actually doing something.
Had to read that last comment 3 times before it made sense.
Bruce's expertise is definitely from a different domain. It's from a world that is less regulated (basically the wild west), with far more and more creative people actively trying to compromise security measures, and with far less tolerance for interference in above board activity. That's actually a closer match managing a terrorist threat than what airport security has traditionally addressed.

I think they'd benefit from hearing from a number of people from his background, but from what I know he's the only one who was even on the docket.

I actually sympathize a lot with the TSA on the issue of the lawsuit. Either get other experts from the same domain to testify, or better still: simply have your counsel present and advising you when to decline to answer questions that might impact your case. That is done all the time.
The Federal Exchange Commission is controlled by the industry they regulate, and they've done a lot more harm than TSA.
How much of a shit is anybody supposed to give about this? And why?
On top of Bruce's demonstrated ability of computer security, he has been publishing for years about aspects of security alll over, analyzing it in a rational way, without censoring the dissenting opinions. If they think so little of him, why won't they simply refute his concerns ? Are they scared that every one will find the the king has no clothes but lot of commercial interests peddling snake oil to the TSA.
Someone who really knows congress should write a daily Bullshit Sheet about the quality of representation and the insane partisanship that cripples our government. Easy question. Who makes how much per day by prolonging hostilities in Afghanistan. How about letting this Schneier testify in closed session and sequestering his testimony until an appropriate time MC.
+M Edward Borasky if he was there to testify about the effects of radiation exposure, I'd agree with you, but there is a LOT more at stake here than that.
Keep working. Obviously you got thier attention or they wouldn't ask you to shut up.
+Joel Webber +Karl Auerbach +Simon McKenna , thanks to you all for your comments. Apparently right before our eyes some one did attempt to discredit a man casually without any effort, just by merely stating his rather misinformed, maligned, or from vested interest motivated opinion.

We have this problem in Europe too. Here it is not only a blessing for the equipment manufactures and distributors but also place for cheap employment. They can get that way hundreds of youngsters off the streets. Jobs that speak well for the politicians besides complying to EU regulations. We have them now controlling every nook and corner at the airport. Hardly a week long employed, sometimes absolutely untrained youngsters controlling employees, who have been working for 20 to 30 years at the airport. Any rational thinking person would consider the controlling instance a greater liability than the controlled personal! They even recruit new immigrants (cheap labor) for that. God forbid that a terrorist organization infiltrates the labor market at the source!
I'll say one thing for full-body scanners: as a girl with a cock, I get felt up every single time I go through one. Guaranteed. The poor people who have to do the groping seem more embarrassed about it than I do, though.
And thus the + 1 conundrum.
So, the highest quality of expert witness acts on his expertise, and is pulled from testifying? Our Judicial System is SO BROKEN.
That he be excused is totally appropriate. In actuality, he should have (and may have, I have no idea) requested to be excused, on the basis of conflict of interest. That the TSA requested he be "uninvited" should have been expected.
Well the TSA has a vested interest as well. They have scammed the American public for billions of taxpayer dollars to provide a false sense of security while costing our economy billions in lost GDP.
I wonder just how much "safer" we really are going through all this TSA bullshit.
Well, we haven't had an aircraft used as a missile or have one disintegrate underneath us in a while..
+Keith Hair So far it's actually pretty mundane, professional, and barely a touch when they pat you down. It's clear they have a lot of training because a lot of people are unhappy with the protocol. But maybe I've just gotten lucky so far.
+M Edward Borasky You asserted Bruce Scheier was "not a scientist". That assertion is incorrect; he is a computer scientist. As to whether he should have been invited or accepted due to conflict of interest is another matter.

If you read the very first link on the blog entry ( you would find that the oversight committee is investigating more than just the scanners.

Perhaps they can replace Bruce Schneier with this guy?
Nothing I haven't said from the very beginning.
This full body scan is not needed,
This is just flat-out stupid. I've written my Rep and a Senator to say so.

I'm convinced it does no good, the money is entirely on the other side of this issue.
It's consistent with everything else happening in Congress today. It's about retaining control and power, not representing the people . . . unless those people happen to be corporations. Supremely ironic.
Keep in mind this is the same Congress that held a panel on a serious women's health issue and refused to allow any women to testify. Unfortunately, nothing that happens on the Hill amazes me anymore.
As a Customer, and in no way an expert, I have been through the Scanners a few times. There's no weird-ness, no one puts their hands up in surrender, it's not nefarious, you put your feet on special marks, you put your hands on special marks. It's a picture inside a machine. It takes about 35 seconds, you literally wait in line for the baggage x-rays than you do waiting for the scanners. At least it eliminates the body search. The problem does lie on the other side - the process side. The Security Firms administering the TSA are not spending enough money on Training. It is the investment in Human Capital that is lacking, and as soon as these Corporations & Agencies invest in their Officers, the TSA will significantly improve. They also need a better Communications Director at the TSA so that communication with the Public Customers is on point. That said, I have never had a bad experience with the TSA even with my short temper. So these hearings need to focus on where the TSA funds are being spent and how they plan on addressing the issue going forward.
The last problem the TSA has is not having enough money, and the last thing they need is a larger budget the expand their reach.
+Onagh Hopke Sadly you've been lucky.

I've been stopped and given an extra scan, but not search, every single time I've been through security which by now is 6 or 8 flights. Twice I went through with a knife I'd forgotten in my bag when I took it camping and went through without issue.

At one point I was told by a TSA Agent that I "looked like the son of the woman who got prayer in school illegal" which was just flat-out weird on top of being strangely overbearing.

Beyond that, these scanners are documented as easy to defeat, 75% of penetration tests have failed in a well publicized audit smuggling bomb materials through checkpoints and they aren't capable of catching the Underwear Bomber or similar plots because of their design.

We don't need more recreational radiation dosing and that's all this amounts to now.
And if you don't want to do if you can pay $100 to go through the old scanning process. That's what gets me. for $100 you can bypass all this "state of the art" security
+Onagh Hopke Sadly you sound like an apologist. I have yet to witness the terrible terrorist threat that apparently plagues the nation so badly that we need the scanners, much less pat downs, shoe removal, or any of the other, growing, encroachments upon us by the TSA.

As it stands, I've never gone through the scanner and never will if I can help it. I'll suffer the pat down as there's no justifiable reason to forcibly subject every person to unmetered, haphazardly administered radiation in a device that can't even accomplish its purported goal.

The TSA, given the opportunity, will only grow more and more intrusive as they try to fan the flames of fear to justify their existence. It is as bad, if not worse, for the freedoms people in the US enjoy than any terrorist group, and should be cut out at the roots before it is allowed to grow further.
+Michael Stuart St. Simon's Island is where I experienced it, too! I happened to be on a field trip with my high school Marine Biology class in 1981. It's one of those things you never forget, for sure!
former Governor and Navy SEAL Jesse Ventura also sued the TSA, he said the judge concluded the court has no power in the matter. the reason given, TSA won't disclose pat-down/search procedure under the excuse of 'national security'.

so: the TSA set the rules while you should blindly comply; you are not allowed to ask questions... OMFG!

bottom line? We the people are all presumed guilty until we prove otherwise.
Regardless of the TSA "experience" many of us have had, they just moved the target (passengers) into a clump in the terminal. Moscow Terminal anyone?
Mr Wong could not be more correct in his statement
" We the people are all presumed guilty until we prove otherwise"
That statement shows in every aspect of life these days. From getting traffic tickets all the way up the judicial system...
So I guess you want more planes hijacked, yes scans are a pain in the rear, but at least those on the plane with you know your not going to hijack the plane or blow it out of the sky.
Jay Tee
Such is the state of our so called "Oversight Committee" or even Government agency......anything for a few more support......
Really? Why would you want them to not scan your body? If it makes it safer then I have no problem. What do they get to see that is so harmful? Nothing!
+Bj Novack pay $100 to not be scanned? I smell a troll and some less intelligent readers of this article getting a private strip search in a back room if they offer a TSA agent $100
+M Edward Borasky You claim that Schneier has no expertise "solving problems at scale". Fair enough. It is not clear that the TSA or DHS has that skill set either - in fact, the hearing was called to attempt to establish that fact.
He's not a scientist, he has no significant info, really? It doesn't take a scientist, and sean carolan ur right! It doesn't matter how much radiation idiots.........its radiation.....I don't trust the government and a lot ode other people don't in this world. It's all corrupt and it is ran by neanderthals! It isn't about the people anymore. Congress isn't listening I mean come on they vote on their own pay raises.of course they don't wanna hear this guy the gov only wants to hear themselves!
And cause we all have different opinions ita doesn't make anyone less smarter than you for their own opinion.
You may or may not be aware of this,but, sunlight, sound,and heat are all (gasp) radiation. The real problem is that the TSA is ineffectual even though their best efforts effectively make travel a hassle with a side of privacy violation. You'll be exposed to more radiation during your flight.
We've given up too much in the name of security, which is always imaginary.
I agree, but what can and should the public do.
I've read that the scanner can only see metal objects that are over the front or rear surface of the body. It doesn't see metal objects that are hanging off the side of the body. It probably isn't the best technology available. Neither is the groping feel-ups of the TSA agents. Profiling would be a good start. Searching granny or children is just political correctness. I suppose anyone of any ethnic group could become a terrorist, but statistically the real risk appears to be from radical muslims. Why are we allowing these TSA agents to grope genitalia in airports without probable cause? A few have already been found with sex-offender records. It would be callous to have male TSA agents grope women's genitalia, right? Isn't it the same thing for a gay male agent to grope my genitalia? I'm offended every time I go through these lines, but like the rest of you I either do it, get arrested or turn around and go home. Doesn't sound like freedom any more.
I want safer airlines, but I want a more common sense approach to achieving it. This gang isn't it.
Opt out, every time. You avoid the radiation and hopefully it's uncomfortable for the TSA agent that has to grope you too (although I fly out of SFO a lot... :-/)
Uh, anyone that suggests that Bruce Schneier hasn't any thing to bring to the table on matters of security needs to buy a clue. The man has spent his life working on and thinking about security.
The Government gone wildly crazy. This is the tip of the iceberg folks. The Liberal Government has only just begun to strip our Liberties. If Obama wins another term, Katy Bar The Door. I guess 250 years is a pretty long run, but who's counting?
I love all the right wingers blaming Obama for the actions of Republican controlled Congress!
What Republican controlled Congress? What Universe are you living, in or is it just what you are smoking?
+michelle mikolajczyk said: "It doesn't matter how much radiation idiots.........its radiation"

Actually, that's pretty much the only thing that matters. You're constantly surrounded by radiation: not only common radiation which you need access to to survive, like heat, visible light, or UV (which also causes cancer), but more exotic forms like alpha/beta/gamma. Concrete is radioactive. Some of your own body's atoms are radioactive. Your risk for cancers depends on the size and duration of each dosage.

So yes, there is a level of radiation exposure that is negligible and therefore safe. (That doesn't mean the same is true for violation of personal privacy for the purpose of security theater.)
And at the risk of Arguing With Someone Wrong On The Internet: security theater and violation of personal rights has nothing to do with liberal or conservative. Both parties have signed on to the overwhelming powers we granted the government post 9/11, and not one candidate from either party has even remotely suggested restoring our privacy rights. Even if they did it wouldn't be a trend related to "liberal" or "conservative" viewpoints.
The whole TSA needs to go. The 9/11 scar has healed, time to move on.
look people, the gov is run by a bunch of devil worship Aholes that want to give you every harmful substains they can find to cut the population down! their gonna tell you it for your own safety B---S--- Bruce is jus tryin to get you to see! open your eyes please!!!!
I disagree +Rob Worthy, the government is run by a bunch of old, rich, white, men (Republican and Democrat) who cannot relate to anyone who is not the same.  As for the rest of your description, some days I wonder.
+Sheridan Layman I have read from certain Americans that a revolution against the government would be imminent.  However, the government is more likely to bust a person who reads out the Constitution than a Minuteman.
funny, we should also seem to lose faith in "new techs" sold as betterverse makers.. to the gov.  and others...
+Paule Patterson alcohol and tobacco are bigger sources of carginogens.

Alcohol can cause pancreatic cancer.

Cigarettes can cause CVD.

Meanwhile, pot has stuff in it that prevent cancer.  Use a vaporizer though.
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