Alan Greenblatt is a GOVERNING correspondent.E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I don't collect stories about waste in the wide world of homeland security, but if you do, here's a good one.
A high-tech $160,000 machine was installed a few months back at the St. Louis airport, but it's never been used. The reason? Security officials and the airport staff didn't agree about where to put it.
Airport officials, having signed off on the blueprints, nevertheless wanted it moved eight feet -- eight feet! -- once it was installed. "It was set up in the middle of the lobby," Deputy Airport Director Gerard Slay told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "It was an eyesore. There was a flow problem for passengers."
The feds were agreeable, but there was a lot of dilly-dally about having to do construction work and machine recalibration in order to make this possible. In the meantime, doubts arose about whether this type of machine actually worked. And the type of screening it did became a lower priority than shampoo inspection, slowing the feds' rollout of this particular equipment across the country.
Feel safer now?
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