Reverse-Image Scanners Show Everything? TSA Patdowns Touch Everything?

The photos of TSA-scanned fliers are flooding the Internet. A blogger has found that if he reversed the image of the negative, he/she gets this: (see a video below)

The Humble Libertarian took a scan from Drudge (which has apparently been scrubbed). An update from the blogger says the image on Drudge is not a TSA image, but a stock image used to illustrate the Drudge story. Note however that something is placed below her waist, and if you visit the link above, you will see a gun in her back waistband. We can only assume the stock photo is a TSA test photo.

Humble Libertarian says the image you’ll see at the top of his/her page is only a negative:

With photo editing software on any computer (like Microsoft Paint), you can easily turn it into a very realistic, nude photograph.

When I first got an e-mail from some of my libertarian colleagues here in Nashville who discovered this, I was skeptical. I thought the “reversed image” made from the negative must have been photo-shopped. So I took the image from DrudgeReportArchives myself, pasted it into Microsoft Paint, clicked “Image” in the menu at the top, and clicked “Invert colors.”

After reversing the negative, the image on this page appeared.

The video below has some stories that seem very credible: a man left standing in his underwear with his pants around his ankles…in full view of everyone. A beautiful 16-year old who travels often with the Chicago Children’s Choir is a cancer survivor with a prosthetic leg. She says she has had to completely remove her pants to show them her leg. Let’s face it, if your replacement knee, or prosthetic leg sets off the alarm, both the knee and the prosthetic leg can be proven easily in a pat-down that would not require pulling down the pants – how about pulling the up instead? How would you hide a weapon inside your knee? And then there’s this.

A warning for women: think about NOT wearing a skirt when you travel by air.

After The Humble Libertarian’s update, it is not completely clear to me whether or not TSA scanners alway use image negatives capable of being reversed, allowing the capability shown above. If you are familiar with the process, let me know what you think (and if you are not familiar with the process, please leave your thoughts as well).

TSA Scanners Reverse Image?


Related and background:

Muslim Women Exempted from TSA Security?

  • Never put your trust in devices like this. They work only 1/2 of the time, if that.

    Put your trust in well-trained professionals. They work 99.999999% of the time.

    TSA workers are not professionals, and most are career criminals.

    • Katie, I think we would all feel about whatever policies are in place if we could see some common sense being applied.

  • The blow back is amazing, Maggie —but not amazing enough. I just don’t understand why any airplane has passengers this week. Are we really a nation of sheep? I don’t see this as a violation of the Fourth Amendment because the passenger has an option not to fly … but I do see the process as utterly stupid. Three-year-old children and 90-year old retired Nuns do not blow up airplanes. Let’s simply profile those who do, and if they don’t like it, then they don’t have to fly. Alternatively, Moslems will be so disgusted with us they’ll move back to the desert whence they came.

    • When we flew last week, we thought about canceling but we were on the way to visit our son and meet his girlfriend. It was a very special time. My husband was scanned and I opted for the pat-down. None of it was drastic, but we were lucky.

      Now Thanksgiving is coming and many families only see each other one time a year. Fortunately, everyone comes to my house, so I don’t have to worry about flying for awhile.

      I am so over not profiling. We must profile, and we must have professionals doing it. I am for letting the airlines take care of their own business. Then if we do not think a particular airline is not serious about our safety, we choose another airline.

      This caught us all by surprise. It will be interesting to see what happens between now and the end of the year.

      The desert is a good destination. I want everyone not a citizen, even slightly suspected in this country today, to be gone, and until then, no flying.

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  • Z

    I’m with Mustang 1000%. The thought of their moving back to the desert put me in a good mood for about five seconds!….then I remembered we’re profiling nuns and children. I listened a few min to Dr Laura today…she said that, today, TOLERANCE is spelled C O W A R D I C E. Amen, Dr Laura. We can’t speak out, we’re scared, and islamists are lickin’ their chops…right on plan.

    • Hey Z, great to see you. That’s a good observation from Dr. Laura (of course most of her observations are spot-on). Everything is topsy-turvey. Everything wrong is considered right. If I haven’t mentioned this before it reminds me of Joseph K in The Trial.

  • Catherine Barry

    This is just so incredibly stupid. I agree with Katie and Mustang. This doesn’t do anything to show the anal cavity, and that is an approach terrorists have successfully used already and I’m sure they will do it again.

    • Hi Catherine, spot-on and we know this has already happened. I’m surprised they haven’t handed us one of those little cloths they use for our luggage and asked us to wipe you-know-where (nothing against the cloths when used on luggage). On my flight this week, the woman who patted me down did use the cloth on her gloves.

      Thanks so much for coming by and commenting.

  • You here is my question. What about people that have been sexually assaulted in the past. What if getting felt up by a stranger in the name of security triggers some type of event? How long are we as a people going to stand for this clear violation of the 4th amendment? “He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security.” Benjamin Franklin

    • John, I think the answer to your question is, they don’t care. Go home, drive, take a train. They don’t care that they are devastating the air travel industry, they do not care that there are many places we cannot drive, and many us do not have trains in our area.

      For whatever reasons we must fly, they have gone too far. I was fine with the policies for liquids on planes, taking all metal off, removing shoes, no cuticle scissors (box cutters are okay), buying a bottle of water only after we pass security, but I’m not okay with this.

      I had to fly last week and opted for the pat-down on one leg (which was done professionally and was not a problem) and on the last leg from Las Vegas, they passed us through nothing but the metal detector, no pat-down, no scan.

      The Benjamin Franklin quote is going on my banner:-) I’ve been searching for one and this fits for today. Thanks John.

  • I have to agree with something that was said on the video. TSA seems to have gone off the track and their employees are using no common sense in their approach to security.

    • LD, I’m sorry to have to say this, and I’m not being sarcastic, but the truth is, these people are government employees (who will soon be unionized and we won’t be able to fire them) who were hired, sent to a seminar, given rubber gloves and a uniform and sent out to do whatever they are told to do.

      Definitely they are off track.

      • I wholeheartedly agree, Maggie. To do such the job with which they are tasked requires much more than a seminar.

        • LD, here is something to be said for El Al and their successes. If any country ever had the need for security, it’s Israel. Now we have the same need. Maybe the airlines could hire Mossad.

          • Very true, Maggie. One thing to keep in mind however, is the fact that Israel only has one major airport. America has many major airports. Covering them all will be a problem. Not saying it can’t or shouldn’t be done, but it is something to consider.

            • That’s true. How about Israel training whomever our airlines hire? I have no faith in government employees for a job like this.

  • The more this story stays out there, the more the blowback. We’ll see if the people show their disapproval over the Thanksgiving weekend.

    Thanks for posting the pic, Maggie, this was a great post, and a great discussion.

  • What to say?

    I dread the next time Mr. AOW and I have to fly — for his mother’s funeral. My mother-in-law will likely go to the Lord in 2011.

  • Ran

    I pulled that image off of Drudge way back and reversed the signal, too. It didn’t look like a back-scatter scan in the least – rather I think it’s a composite fake of a photo and other elements. Too much “indirect” illumination is reflecting and shadowing as if by light. Further, hair shows-up, but cotton, wool and synthetic fibers don’t? I put this particular image down to Drudge being pranked.

    NOW… If this IS real, then our pals at the TSA have something to explain. That’s one H3ll of a lot of x-ray illumination… I want to see the real specs on this.

  • Ran

    One more thing, Maggie: I don’t for a second believe that this is about airline “security.” Radicals – many now in this – administration have been dreaming and discussing ways to stop people from travelling, especially via air. All that movement has “carbon” implications that “threaten” the ecosystem and the climate, doncha know? This is about two things: Slowing down air travel & slowing down the economy – and – continuing the air of uncertainty and turmoil initially caused by economic woes. It all has sweet effe eigh to do with passenger safety.