TSA VCRs blinking 12:00

On Sunday, EWR (Newark Liberty Airport) suffered a terminal dump.   That means TSA evacuated the entire terminal, searched and rescreened everyone due to a potential security breach.It caused hours of delays for passengers.

The breach? Someone walked down the exit lane.

Okay, I get why that's a big deal.  At most airport, you can't walk down an exit lane because there are TSA people at the end (sometimes each end) with their eyes open.  But it happens.  So let's look at the tape and see what exactly happened, so we can take proper steps to make sure something like this doesn't happen again.

Afterall, we have all those cameras at the airports right?  And EWR is a high profile airport, so I'm sure they are keeping track of the that video with at least the same care a 7-11 does.  That should be exactly what they need.

One smalll problem:

Cameras that might have shown the man who walked through security Sunday at Newark, New Jersey, Liberty International Airport were not recording during the incident, a federal official said Tuesday.

Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Ann Davis said TSA-funded and Port Authority-installed and -operated cameras were running but not recording at the time of the security breach on Sunday evening, which led officials to shut Terminal C for hours and rescreen thousands of passengers.

She said TSA investigators instead scrutinized security tapes recorded by Continental Airlines' cameras in an unsuccessful attempt to identify the individual .


You can see the entire article at CNN.

These people are looking for more power, more authority, and the new Strip-O-Matic (also known as back scatter X-Ray -- images available through GIS (may be NSFW)) screening equipment, and they can't manage to use simple video recording equipment?  How many decades have "security tapes" existed?

I'm not looking for a massive privacy limitation here.  Simply retaining the tape for a mere 24 hours would have solved this problem.  Maybe retain for a week and delete.  In the case of this incident, even retaining the tape for an hour would have been useful for them.

In most industries, when things are not going well, you go back and make sure you are doing the basics right.  Then maybe move on to more advanced things.  The new toys and policies won't help, TSA won't even execute the basics of making sure their recording equipment is turned on.

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