Travel Tech

Are TSA policies a bad joke?

As the idea that TSA policies are a joke becomes ever more popular with the American people, one TSA screener decides to prove them right - literally.

As the idea that TSA policies are a joke becomes ever more popular with the American people, one TSA screener decides to prove them right -- literally.


Probably the most famous modern IT security and cryptography expert in the world, Bruce Schneier, coined the term "security theater" in his book Beyond Fear. The book refers to security procedures designed to give the impression that something is being done to enhance security without actually providing any real security benefit at all. Since then, the term has increasingly been applied to airport security measures, particularly those enacted by the United States' Transportation Security Administration.

There is some good reason for the harsh scrutiny applied to TSA policies. Completely aside from the complaints about invasions of privacy and annoying complexity added to the process of flying, some very dramatic failures have affected the image of the TSA very negatively. The implementation and use of a "Terror Watch List" has produced many false positives, including both an eight year old boy and U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. Recently on people's minds is the case of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab who attempted to blow up an airliner on Christmas day 2009 -- who escaped detection by airport security, but was stopped by a civilian passenger. This case might be quite as strong an indictment of airport security procedures if not for the fact that it was not the first time it happened. In 2001, Richard Reid became famous for trying to blow up an airplane with a bomb concealed in his shoe. He too escaped detection by airport security and was subdued by passengers as well.

The simplistic procedures employed to check incoming passengers' shoes as a result of the Richard Reid incident were widely criticized as being in the spirit of security theater. It does, however, at least appear to address the problem directly in some way at first glance. The first piece of news many of us heard about new policies for trying to prevent future threats to airline security after the Christmas day bomber was caught sounded like the punchline to a joke, on the other hand. Proposals were made to prevent passengers from leaving their seats, because Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab apparently spent twenty minutes in the airplane's restroom as it approached its destination in Detroit just before he was tackled by another passenger -- a passenger who, of course, left his seat to stop the would-be bomber.

The most recent case of airport security falling flat on its face, however, actually is a punchline. It just happens to be a particularly bad punchline that rolls many of the best known mistakes of the last few years into a single, terrible, awful joke that should never have been made. Passengers have made a point of introducing something like humor into the increasingly frustrating process of trying to get through airport security, as in the case of TSA Communication, but this time around the culprit is a TSA screener.

As reported in It was no joke at security gate, passenger Rebecca Solomon had a terrifying 20 seconds while passing through airport security:

After pulling her laptop out of her carry-on bag, sliding the items through the scanning machines, and walking through a detector, she went to collect her things.

A TSA worker was staring at her. He motioned her toward him.

Then he pulled a small, clear plastic bag from her carry-on - the sort of baggie that a pair of earrings might come in. Inside the bag was fine, white powder.

Of course, the bag was not hers, and neither was the white powder. She had never seen it before, and the TSA screener knew it:

Put yourself in her place and count out 20 seconds. Her heart pounded. She started to sweat. She panicked at having to explain something she couldn't.

Now picture her expression as the TSA employee started to smile.

Just kidding, he said. He waved the baggie. It was his.

It really does not get much worse than this for the image of a government agency whose image was already among the worst in the country. The article summed up the event succinctly and accurately:

The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener - particularly one this stupid.

Can it get any worse?

About

Chad Perrin is an IT consultant, developer, and freelance professional writer. He holds both Microsoft and CompTIA certifications and is a graduate of two IT industry trade schools.

258 comments
MAJESTIC R
MAJESTIC R

if you train many weapons in a war-you need not suffer the same battle defeat over and over-train well, diversify!

seanferd
seanferd

Or is it rhetorical? I shall soon find out. Just off the title: Yes. edit: It will get worse. edit: Wow. I hadn't even considered the implications of reading the thread.

jkameleon
jkameleon

There is no visible difference between incompetence and malevolence, and consequences are the same. Even if implementors of malevolent policies are genuinely naive and incompetent, there is always somebody, who takes advantage of them. Authoritative malevolence and incompetence is therefore, for all practical purposes, the same thing. Policies should not be judged by their declared goals, but their effects. There is a good chance, that effects are real, planned goals. Let's try to judge TSA policies this way. Their effects are: 1) Feeling safe, not being safe 2) Accustoming the general public to authoritarian pettifoggery Both are in the interest of the authoritarian forces of the society, therefore it's reasonable to presume, that they are behind the whole thing, or, at least, taking advantage of it. Generally, authoritarians often are behind stupid poticies, behind policies that look like a bad joke. Their motto is: "It's far more important that things are done our way than sensible way.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

handle all this is to have no carry on luggage, the airline supply a mini library and any child care needs, and have everyone go nude - they can get changed into regular clothes from their baggage at the destination. That will ensure no carry on weapons of any sort.

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

Don't think I've ever enjoyed a good debate on TR as much as I have this one. ;-)

AV .
AV .

How humiliating for this woman. I would be devastated if this happened to me. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40278427/ns/travel-news It will be a cold day in hell before I'll submit to a pat down to get on a plane. Thank you, I'll get to my destination some other way, just like you. You know what? The terrorists are having a good laugh at all of this. They need to start profiling again. This is just ineffective security and unacceptable. People should keep revolting and revolt with their dollars - don't fly till they come up with a better way. I did read something where they are looking at having the scanner only highlight the possible problem areas on the image instead of showing an entire naked body. A step in the right direction, but, what about the radiation? Will it be another case of "if you were screened during the past 5 years at the airport, we have new evidence that you could be at risk for some dread disease . . . . AV

apotheon
apotheon

. . . if I had seen your comment before you read either the article or the thread, I would have said "Read the article. Don't read the thread." Your time would be better served by just spending the afternoon clicking on ads.

apotheon
apotheon

Your advice on how to judge actions directly contradicts the common advice to never assume malice where incompetence is sufficient to explain behavior (variously attributed to differing sources in different forms, including Robert A. Heinlein). I think both approaches are fairly useful, though. I'll continue assuming incompetence over malice where it is reasonable to do so, for purposes of understanding what's going on. I'll also heed your advice, however, and hold authority figures to the standard of how their behavior would be judged if it were malicious. As you suggest, if the end result is the same, the authority figures should have gone out of their way to avoid any possibility of making such an error. While failing to attempt to avoid error may not be directly malevolent, it is at least a matter of gross negligence or depraved indifference, which is no less a problem than direct malevolence.

jck
jck

Most people thought it was sensible that she "brokedown" like some fragile daisy, as the original story would have had you believe she did. Ends up, she didn't breakdown. But, "sensible" is very, very based on individuality. I think it is entirely sensible to have armed military in airports and search dogs, as they do in Israel. Why? Cause I think that everyone, no matter what their ethnicity or religion or age or sex has to comply to the same standard. Flying is not a right. Driving a car is not a right. They are all privileges of living the government affords you. At anytime, government can: - not let you fly - take away your driving privileges But you're right. TSA offers really nothing that a barrier to which terrorists only have to figure out how to get around...which isn't really their intent. But it looks like they're trying. It's the thought that counts, right? lol And evidently with the way the State Department allows in idiots on visas like the underwear bomber, I think our security is pretty much screwed here in America.

jck
jck

I think if you don't want to adhere to security standards, you're more than welcome to take a bus, train, or ship. To me, the rights of everyone to be safe override the right of someone to have an insecurity...whether it's distrust in government process or personnel, or about the size (or lack of ) of your private parts. Actually, that gives me a great idea next time I fly. I'll do a Boogie Nights-style prosthetic in my pants so if they have a full body scanner. Then I can tell the TSA people "Boy, you should have seen the look on your face." :^0

jck
jck

;) BTW, I gotta say. I went to a different story on the topic, and it comes off different from different accounts. So, I'm not sure what to think. I guess I have to read her story from the school newspaper she wrote for. That Philly.com inflamed the story and made her seem like a sheepish girl, whereas the NYC transit forums cast her as someone who actually went to transit supervisors right after he did it. I just gotta find the op ed piece she wrote. This is just another reason I don't trust the press to accurately report anything. Kind of like apotheon doesn't trust his government to do things well. :^0 BTW...here's the link: http://www.michigandaily.com/content/personal-statement

seanferd
seanferd

would have taken your advice based on prior experience. Sometimes, such a warning would only serve to pique one's curiosity, but I think I would have heeded. As it was, once I started, I found that I did have to read nearly all of it. There was a stick mentioned at one point, the location of which I believe is somewhere other than that alleged.

jkameleon
jkameleon

As I've said, there's no visible difference, and consequences are the same. There's no way you could read the leader's mind, and your guess will always be wrong. The assumption of authority's malevolence was made by many, and best expressed by Ted Nelson's four maxims: "Most people are fools, most authority is malignant, God does not exist, and everything is wrong." Making people do stupid things- that how bullies assert themselves. And authoritarian authority is the biggest bully of all.

apotheon
apotheon

Please point out where anyone said that a hysterical breakdown was "sensible". Understandable? Sure, maybe. Sensible? Not so much. Mostly, the poor reactions to what you've been saying were a result of your comments about how it's "only a joke" and nobody has anything to fear. Flying is not a right. Driving a car is not a right. They are all privileges of living the government affords you. Your notion that everybody's subject to government will, and individual rights are secondary to that, has been made pretty clear.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

poster mentioned, the Israelis do extremely well at airport security, and they do NOT have the rude in your face process about it too. One of the very best access security systems I've ever seen is totally invisible until activated, and they do a damn good job - it looks like nothing but your basic 'please let me check your bag' type desk, until you do something wrong, then the heavies appear like magic - it's so unobtrusive and professional, but that was the entry point to a particular embassy that had major concerns about people wanting to blow it up. The big thing being the staff were quality trained professionals, something you can't say about TSA staff.

LarryBoy2
LarryBoy2

I definitely agree about press reporting. You never really know what to believe, as your investigation proves. Her op ed paints quite a different picture. Thanks for locating it.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Was to append a rousing exclamation mark. But, I thought better of that.

apotheon
apotheon

You should have ice cream for dinner. That usually cheers me up a bit.

apotheon
apotheon

Thank you for the high regard. Sometimes, based on some reactions I get, I wonder if I get off-track -- but I always at least try to stick to the "straight and narrow", as 'twere.

seanferd
seanferd

in which I am involved, which cause me to take note of your responses to these types of arguments, and hence, to the comments that prompt your responses. I rather admire your well reasoned approach, so I tend to follow what you write. The train wreck was in the pit of my stomach.

apotheon
apotheon

I've read all of it except for one subthread. Of course, I kinda feel like it's my job to keep a finger on the pulse of reaction to my articles. What's your excuse? Were you rubbernecking at the train wreck?

apotheon
apotheon

authoritarian authority is the biggest bully of all. There's certainly no (reasonable) way to argue with that.

jck
jck

I don't have to go on Dr. Phil now for help. Hooray for me! :^0 You call me a troll because I question you on what exactly is wrong, and ask you over and over to explain how it can be fixed. Then, you imply I have a delusional disorder. First: very professional of you. Second: Perhaps you should consider taking a step back and evaluating yourself, since you questioned the policies of TSA which have been reviewed and revised for years by charges of the US government who are experts in the field. Maybe the delusion of self-importance and observant accuracy lies elsewhere, rather than with those who would question you. Anyway, sorry if you think I have a high opinion of self. Obviously shows how little you really know about me. Perhaps Rebecca Solomon (the subject of the piece) herself wrote it best when she concluded her op ed with the following: [b][i]"One man's actions aren't enough to tarnish the reputations of the many hardworking airline personnel, but it does open my eyes to how small mistakes can have big consequences."[/i][/b] I think in the end, she proved to be wise beyond her years. At least she (the victim) won't blame policy or procedure, or even the agency or the industry as a whole, for the stupid action of one person.

apotheon
apotheon

It's pretty clear the Dunning-Kruger Effect has reared its ugly head here.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You have no right to safety. And the one you cite as to privacy is a latter-day concoction. Everything else you did in that unnecessarily long post was secondary, if that.

jck
jck

[i]I didn't say you didn't read it -- I said you were ignoring it. Please learn some reading comprehension skills.[/i] If I ignored what was said, I wouldn't have read it. Ignoring refusing to acknowledge. Kind of what you have done repeatedly with my question twice now. [i] My point in saying you were ignoring it was to point out that, once again, the statement of yours that I quoted just before saying you were ignoring it flew in the face of the obvious.[/i] Just as you've done mine? [i]Nope, you aren't to believe that. Since I didn't say that, you're obviously just trolling.[/i] No, I obviously read that you are making the statement that it is the fault of TSA's "bad joke" of a policy that allows people to do bad things. There you are wrong. It is personal action that is wrong. Policy can only establish a guideline, not force persons to think or act that way...no matter how strictly written or strenuously preached to them. [i]Did you actually manage to type that with a straight face?[/i] Yeah. [i]Yes yes, I know, you're an anti-privacy authoritarian who believes deep down inside that people don't have real rights -- maybe just some privileges granted them by government. You've already made this abundantly clear. You don't need to keep harping on it.[/i] When your right to privacy crosses the line of infringing on my right to safety, your right ends. And as for anti-privacy authoritarianism, that's just another way for you to whine that you think your rights to be scanned override my right to live and have "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness". [i]What's your point? I didn't say that the underwear bomber was screened by the TSA. You're talking about irrelevancies again.[/i] You addressed terrorists who were caught by passengers. That was the point. If The US Department of State had not approved his Visa (and they had warning from his own family that he had terrorist ties), he would have never been here. However, your replies have asserted that TSA policy is at fault, to some extent, for terrorists events occuring. The point: TSA does their job within the framework allowed, which is limited search and mandatory item/baggage scanning. Having their scope limited by bureaucracy is not their fault. [i]You've reached a new low. Now you're contradicting yourself.[/i] Really? When did I say that TSA incidences don't get reported? Where is the contradiction, apotheon? [i]Well . . . maybe it's not a new low. I might have forgotten about some other self-contradiction, for the moment.[/i] Like your own. [i]See my questions to you above, where I asked about how many times someone needs to screw up before you admit that there might be something more going on than just an isolated incident. [/i] Evidently, your now theorizing this happens quite often and nothing is being done about it? Give me a break. If it was, there would be more lawsuits than you can comprehend. America is pro-tort. [i]You're like the idiot lawyers arguing that the dismaying frequency of no-knock raids hitting the wrong house, relying on "informants" who were paid to lie, shooting innocent people, and so on, is all dismissible because every single case is an "isolated incident". [/i] Hahaha. So, law enforcement going on best knowledge from multiple sources and being required to get a warrant from a judge for a specific address, but then hitting the wrong house because of whatever reason (yours being a lying informant) is dismissable in your eyes? Again. If this was happening consistently, our court system would be tied up in a mass of lawsuits against police, rather than being tied up with drug cases and the like. [i]When you want to agree with something, your ability to recognize a pattern when it emerges is turned off. You refuse to see what's staring you in the face.[/i] And, your ability to draw assumptions from a lack of evidence shows a lack of logic. [i] Let's see here:[/i] OK [i] 1. I mentioned something about people I know to point out one source from which I know about something specific that I related to make a point.[/i] Your point being you know them and they get crap training? Wow, that's profound. Did you learn that from them, or NBC Nightly News? [i]2. You mentioned something about people you know to . . . brag? What was the point of that?[/i] Because I knew what you did about TSA workers and more. I've talked to non-TSA airport personnel about things they've seen as well. Working in government has given me contact with local, state, and federal people from all sorts of sections and departments. That was the point. Not bragging. Stating fact. [i]See, this is why I think you have to be a troll. Nobody is this damned stupid -- or, at least, nobody that can construct sentences with even middling skill. [/i] Nah, I'm not a troll. You just seem to know what is right and wrong with TSA, so you should know how to fix it too. I was asking you for those things you want fixed and how you see them getting corrected. But, you couldn't even supply a direct answer. Now let's take your quote: "The problem here is a lack of good screening techniques (such as thorough background checks) on applicants and good training for new hires." Okay: A)Good screening techniques. Currently, TSA employees go through a more rigorous background check than gun buyers, daycare center workers, or school teachers. How far would you say the investigation needs to go? TS-SSBI level? X level? So please, tell me what kind of background clearance is sufficient for a person to swabs items, checks baggage, etc.? B) Good training for new hires: There is a standard education routine that all TSA security officers go through, which was established and has been reviewed by security experts for effectiveness while being efficient and making sure that airport business is operated in a timely manner. But, you imply this is not "good training". So please, expand on what would make it better. [i]Come off it. Either you know that the obvious implication of the above is that more thorough training should be employed after more thorough applicant screening leads to hiring better people on average, or you're much, much stupider than it is reasonable to assume for someone who speaks English fluently and can operate a computer well enough to participate in TR discussion.[/i] If you had read the TSA website, you'd read that on-going training does happen. [i]You are obviously a troll.[/i] No, I am just (again) asking you to provide answers to what you obviously see as not working right. [i]That's because you're an idiot or a troll who has, or pretends to have, no reading comprehension skills. At this point, my money's on "troll".[/i] Yes, I'm a troll. One who would question your judgement and ask you (and implore you) to provide solutions. You seem to see what's wrong, but have no suggestion on how something can be solved. Namely, actions such as that of the TSA employee in Philadelphia. You will say we need policy for it? Then tell me, how do you write a policy to stop someone from acting stupid? Again, I would sincerely appreciate an answer. [i]That's my point, troll.[/i] But you said condo security get better training than TSA. That's not always the case, as I've pointed out with the real, live case of my father who got 1 hour. I can show you on the TSA site where employees are getting continuing training for [b]DAYS[/b] (not just "half-assed hours" as you said). hence...you're wrong. [i] . . . and, by the way, the fact your father worked for the government has absolutely zero to do with whether he had the kind of training TSA screeners should have. [/i] Absolutely. But, his experience of being a security guard directly tied to your assertion that TSA gets less training than security at a condo. I gave you a real life example of how your assertion is WRONG. Thanks. [i]I knew a lot of guys in my airborne infantry unit in Europe, and a lot of guys at 75th Regiment (Rangers) in Georgia, who were very well trained at doing the jobs they had and would have been terrible at being TSA screeners. Many of them would have been tossed out of any reasonable hiring process, and those who made it through a reasonable interview, testing, and background check process would have needed some proper training in the job of a TSA screener.[/i] You accused me of bragging for knowing FAA and NTSB people. You bragging about knowing guys at Ft. Benning? (I have a friend stationed there right now). Now...would you please define the standards for a "reasonable hiring process". And, please define what a "reasonable interview, testing, and background check process" would be. [i]In theory, police officers receive training for their jobs that the military doesn't get, thus making them better at being cops -- and soldiers receive training for their jobs that civilian police forces don't get, thus making them better at being soldiers.[/i] And, that's why most air marshals are either active or retired law enforcement. [i] I explain this in case you're not all troll, and are part idiot so that you can't figure out for yourself how different jobs (even within the same organization) can require different hire elimination processes and training.[/i] Gee. You're so nice. I wouldn't have known that if it weren't for you. *more sarcasm* [i]Yes -- with enough motivation, one can overcome a lot of obstacles, including very poor hiring and training policies. Sometimes, despite piss-poor hiring and training policies, a good worker slips through the cracks and gets the job.[/i] Motivation? My dad overcame it because he has [b]personal integrity[/b]. It had nothing to do with motivation. [i]That's assuming you are even capable of identifying whether your father is doing a good job, instead of just assuming he is because he's your father. I have no idea whether your skills of analysis are any better than the incredibly bad showing you've given us in discussion here.[/i] Oh yes, mine are bad. You're so smart, and I am just as dumb and can be and have no experience ever. *deeper sarcasm* I've spent time with my father on his job (he often works holidays so that younger guys can have time with their family), and I've had other friends who were in security and law enforcement that I would ride with or hang out with on the job(two of my best friends from college ended up police officers). So, I have seen (and been told) things you look for when patrolling, investigating, and analyzing a situation. [i]By your argument, everybody should always just hire the first person to apply for the job, and nobody should ever receive any training.[/i] Nope, that is a big load of assumptions on your part. I am saying that when someone does something wrong, it is their fault and responsibility...not that of policy. [i]Who is this incredibly rare animal in Congress? I know of maybe two Congresscritters who aren't completely corrupt fecal growths. It would be nice to know of a third.[/i] I'll PM you her name, if you want. I prefer not to make her name known to the world...including real trolls or spam bandits. [i]Of course, judging by your responses in discussion so far, I suspect that your high regard for your representative is most likely based on your low -- or skewed -- standards.[/i] My standards are low? How? I believe in enforcing a more rigorous security standard by using a non-invasive body scanner to see under clothes to keep the flying public safe. I believe in a BETTER security level. See, that is a specific example. You just say we need better policies or training, yet you won't say how to train or write those policies better. I provided you with one specific way TSA could do a better job of detecting things that are harmful to passengers taking airline flights now. Can you do the same for me, in regards to training or writing a policy? [i]No, I don't. I already know you're an anti-privacy authoritarian.[/i] Oh that's right. That full body scanner is an invasion of privacy. Would it help if the scanning officer was a REALLY hot girl? Would it be okay if she saw things under your clothes? I really don't understand why people are so uptight about that. It's not like TSA is gonna broadcast it all over the world. [i]I think Ben Franklin had something important to say about people like you.[/i] What? Oh, I know what it is. "Beer is proof that God loves us, and wants us to be happy." - Benjamin Franklin Right? :^0 [i] . . . and I think with that, I've said all there is to say to you. Anything else -- between your obvious trollishness and your obviously authoritarian opinions -- is pointless, and a waste of my time.[/i] Guess I'm never going to get a specific example from you. Thanks anyway. [i] "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig." - Robert A. Heinlein (someone with whom you'd agree about a lot of things)[/i] "Those who suffer from an exaggerated sense of their own ability and accomplishment are continually subject to frustration, disappointment, and rage when reality intrudes and the world doesn't validate their idealized view of themselves." --The Fourteenth Dalai Lama BTW, Robert A. Heinlein is a fiction writer and I enjoy his writing. I don't consider him a prolific person whose ideologies are to agreed with. Another incorrect assumption on your part. In fact, Heinlein was often regarded as having libertarian views across his broad range of work. Hence, I would come to conclude that your "liberties" emphasis would more put you in the position to more closely align on core values. But I guess with all the negative conspiracy theories you have in broad view of TSA's existence as a whole, you'd probably have something in common with someone who was in the US Senate. Joseph McCarthy

apotheon
apotheon

Yeah, I didn't read any of them *sarcasm* I didn't say you didn't read it -- I said you were ignoring it. Please learn some reading comprehension skills. My point in saying you were ignoring it was to point out that, once again, the statement of yours that I quoted just before saying you were ignoring it flew in the face of the obvious. You still have not addressed my question to you. You say that they need to have policies that "effectively" keep people from doing these things. Please tell me how a policy can be put in place to "effectively" keep this from happening. More on this in a moment. . . . Am I to believe you can just write a policy that says "Now you big bad terrorist can't bring anything on a plane to hurt people" and it will work? Nope, you aren't to believe that. Since I didn't say that, you're obviously just trolling. As well, the TSA policy banning "nail clippers" was in place before even the shoe bomber. It wasn't meant to stop bombs. It was meant to prevent them from being used as a weapon in a hijacking. Just like now you can't have metal silverware on a plane either. Did you actually manage to type that with a straight face? Or for not catching someone like the shoe bomber, how about the "my rights are being infringed!" nuts that don't want full body scanners in airports cause some girl TSA worker will laugh at the digitized silhouette of their small unit? Yes yes, I know, you're an anti-privacy authoritarian who believes deep down inside that people don't have real rights -- maybe just some privileges granted them by government. You've already made this abundantly clear. You don't need to keep harping on it. One of the biggest misperceptions I found was that people thought that TSA conducts screening in Amsterdam and in other places around the world. Not so. We only screen passengers at airports in the United States and U.S. Territories. Each country has their own screening workforce - some are government, some are private sector, some are even military. What's your point? I didn't say that the underwear bomber was screened by the TSA. You're talking about irrelevancies again. Oh and btw: I'd like you to note that further down in that blog, TSA mentions that they deployed additional "explosives detection canine teams". Yes, I'm aware that the TSA has "explosives detection canine teams". So what? More irrelevancies . . . I'm sure if there had been a previous incident, it would have been reported too. You've reached a new low. Now you're contradicting yourself. Well . . . maybe it's not a new low. I might have forgotten about some other self-contradiction, for the moment. Well since humans are fallible, I would think misconduct and the human-attributable mistakes are going to happen. See my questions to you above, where I asked about how many times someone needs to screw up before you admit that there might be something more going on than just an isolated incident. You're like the idiot lawyers arguing that the dismaying frequency of no-knock raids hitting the wrong house, relying on "informants" who were paid to lie, shooting innocent people, and so on, is all dismissible because every single case is an "isolated incident". When you want to agree with something, your ability to recognize a pattern when it emerges is turned off. You refuse to see what's staring you in the face. That's good. I know a couple TSA screeners too, as well as other personnel from the major international airport just of where I live. Having been in government work, I've had to work with them (and FAA and NTSB personnel) in regards to the local airport here and other matters. Let's see here: 1. I mentioned something about people I know to point out one source from which I know about something specific that I related to make a point. 2. You mentioned something about people you know to . . . brag? What was the point of that? Please give examples of what should change with their practices and policies. You seem to know, and I would like to have your suggestions. See, this is why I think you have to be a troll. Nobody is this damned stupid -- or, at least, nobody that can construct sentences with even middling skill. Paraphrase: "The problem here is a lack of good screening techniques (such as thorough background checks) on applicants and good training for new hires." "Oh, well, you haven't said what could possibly be done to solve the problem!" Come off it. Either you know that the obvious implication of the above is that more thorough training should be employed after more thorough applicant screening leads to hiring better people on average, or you're much, much stupider than it is reasonable to assume for someone who speaks English fluently and can operate a computer well enough to participate in TR discussion. You are obviously a troll. Yet when I ask you to cite your ideas that would solve the flaws and problems in the system you imply can be solved, you evade making those suggestions which would make everything better. Why is that? That's because you're an idiot or a troll who has, or pretends to have, no reading comprehension skills. At this point, my money's on "troll". Just for the record, my father is a retired government supervisor, as well as a US Army veteran. And now in retirement, he now works in security for a company that monitors and patrols for apartment complexes and retirement communities. Amount of training they gave my father: a 1 hour orientation. . . . Fact is, condo/apartment/community security doesn't get great training everywhere either. That's my point, troll. . . . and, by the way, the fact your father worked for the government has absolutely zero to do with whether he had the kind of training TSA screeners should have. I knew a lot of guys in my airborne infantry unit in Europe, and a lot of guys at 75th Regiment (Rangers) in Georgia, who were very well trained at doing the jobs they had and would have been terrible at being TSA screeners. Many of them would have been tossed out of any reasonable hiring process, and those who made it through a reasonable interview, testing, and background check process would have needed some proper training in the job of a TSA screener. In theory, police officers receive training for their jobs that the military doesn't get, thus making them better at being cops -- and soldiers receive training for their jobs that civilian police forces don't get, thus making them better at being soldiers. I explain this in case you're not all troll, and are part idiot so that you can't figure out for yourself how different jobs (even within the same organization) can require different hire elimination processes and training. Fact is, my dad does his job right because of one thing: he cares about doing a good job. Yes -- with enough motivation, one can overcome a lot of obstacles, including very poor hiring and training policies. Sometimes, despite piss-poor hiring and training policies, a good worker slips through the cracks and gets the job. That's assuming you are even capable of identifying whether your father is doing a good job, instead of just assuming he is because he's your father. I have no idea whether your skills of analysis are any better than the incredibly bad showing you've given us in discussion here. Personal conduct is a personally controlled thing, and can not be mandated or "effectively" enforced on a person by anyone but...themself. By your argument, everybody should always just hire the first person to apply for the job, and nobody should ever receive any training. Hm. Nah, not on my congressional rep. She's at least honest and doesn't BS and will address a question directly. Who is this incredibly rare animal in Congress? I know of maybe two Congresscritters who aren't completely corrupt fecal growths. It would be nice to know of a third. Of course, judging by your responses in discussion so far, I suspect that your high regard for your representative is most likely based on your low -- or skewed -- standards. If you want my suggestion to secure US airports? No, I don't. I already know you're an anti-privacy authoritarian. I think it's time we gave up some "rights" in order to make sure that the idiots trying to harm us don't complete their task. I think Ben Franklin had something important to say about people like you. . . . and I think with that, I've said all there is to say to you. Anything else -- between your obvious trollishness and your obviously authoritarian opinions -- is pointless, and a waste of my time. "Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and annoys the pig." - Robert A. Heinlein (someone with whom you'd agree about a lot of things)

jck
jck

[i]You're ignoring most of the article. Read it again, troll.[/i] Really?? I took so little interest in it, I actually went out and found pieces from other sources including the op ed piece written by Rebecca Solomon herself for the Michigan Daily. Yeah, I didn't read any of them *sarcasm* [i]How many malicious or incompetent people need to end up in a position to screw with innocent civilians and fail to do their jobs effectively before you admit the possibility that maybe there's something wrong with the way they're hired? How many times do we need to see civilians stop terrorists that were completely missed by airport "security", with the TSA's response being something like prohibiting nail clippers, before you admit the possibility that maybe there's something wrong with the policies and procedures in place?[/i] You still have not addressed my question to you. You say that they need to have policies that "effectively" keep people from doing these things. Please tell me how a policy can be put in place to "effectively" keep this from happening. Am I to believe you can just write a policy that says "Now you big bad terrorist can't bring anything on a plane to hurt people" and it will work? BTW, TSA does more than just confiscate nail clippers and shampoo and lighters and even mini screwdriver kits (like the one I had in my laptop bag once as part of a former job). As well, the TSA policy banning "nail clippers" was in place before even the shoe bomber. It wasn't meant to stop bombs. It was meant to prevent them from being used as a weapon in a hijacking. Just like now you can't have metal silverware on a plane either. See, this is what you fail to realize. Policies don't prevent people from doing the actions such as this. Only the person in question could have "effectively" stopped him. And btw, if you want to pick on anyone for letting someone like underwear boy into the country...why don't you dog the people that reviewed his Visa app and approved him? Or for not catching someone like the shoe bomber, how about the "my rights are being infringed!" nuts that don't want full body scanners in airports cause some girl TSA worker will laugh at the digitized silhouette of their small unit? They are the real ones at fault, not a security screener. There's only so many people you can do full body pat-downs on before others start screaming "big brother" and "you're impeding business" and then TSA gets in trouble for being too thorough. And besides, someone like the underwear bomber couldn't have been stopped by TSA anyway. Why you ask? Here's why: [b]One of the biggest misperceptions I found was that people thought that TSA conducts screening in Amsterdam and in other places around the world. Not so. We only screen passengers at airports in the United States and U.S. Territories. Each country has their own screening workforce - some are government, some are private sector, some are even military.[/b] http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2010/01/incident-on-flight-253-and-tsas-role-in.html Oh and btw: I'd like you to note that further down in that blog, TSA mentions that they deployed additional "explosives detection canine teams". [i]A first time for him (as far as we know) . . . ? Maybe.[/i] I'm sure if there had been a previous incident, it would have been reported too. Every other time something like this happens, it never fails to make the news. And if he had done this before, it would have been noted by the press. [i]A first time the TSA has dropped the ball? Not on your life (or Ted Kennedy's, for that matter).[/i] Well since humans are fallible, I would think misconduct and the human-attributable mistakes are going to happen. [i]Nope. I just want it to have better hiring practices and management policies. I've known TSA screeners. There's less background checking and training going on than in a minimum wage condominium complex security patrol job.[/i] That's good. I know a couple TSA screeners too, as well as other personnel from the major international airport just of where I live. Having been in government work, I've had to work with them (and FAA and NTSB personnel) in regards to the local airport here and other matters. But back to TSA: Please give examples of what should change with their practices and policies. You seem to know, and I would like to have your suggestions. If you do, I will be glad to give them to both my congressional representative next time I speak to her (which is next week) if they seem reasonable. [i]Are you a child?[/i] No, I am far past being a child. I don't expect everything to work the way I think it should, i.e.- having things my way. I'm calling you to contribute. You seem to know the system does not work right, and that their policies are flawed. Yet when I ask you to cite your ideas that would solve the flaws and problems in the system you imply can be solved, you evade making those suggestions which would make everything better. Why is that? [i]How about . . . they try training people more than a few half-assed hours?[/i] Funny. Above, you say: [b]"There's less background checking and training going on than in a minimum wage condominium complex security patrol job."[/b] Just for the record, my father is a retired government supervisor, as well as a US Army veteran. And now in retirement, he now works in security for a company that monitors and patrols for apartment complexes and retirement communities. Amount of training they gave my father: a 1 hour orientation. Requirement to become certified: $150 and fill out a form for the background checks the State requires, wait a couple weeks, and done. My father's previous experience in security: None. Fact is, condo/apartment/community security doesn't get great training everywhere either. Maybe you live in some posh condo community where they CLEET certify and arm their guards. If so, good for you. Fact is, my dad does his job right because of one thing: he cares about doing a good job. No policy or procedure that you or anyone else writes or sets can produce that, or stop an idiot like the TSA guy from doing what he did. None. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Personal conduct is a personally controlled thing, and can not be mandated or "effectively" enforced on a person by anyone but...themself. [i]Yeah, it probably would. Let's put those on members of Congress and the White House staff (including the President) first, though.[/i] Hm. Nah, not on my congressional rep. She's at least honest and doesn't BS and will address a question directly. As for the president, you can't do that. He'd veto the appropriation bill or have Reid kill it in committee :p If you want my suggestion to secure US airports? Put them under military oversight, just like Israel. You walk into an Israeli airport, you are subject to search at any time and your refusal to submit to such search means detention until they search you anyways. The Israelis haven't had a shoe bomber or underwear bomber or hijacker in over 30 years. Can the US say the same? I think it's time we gave up some "rights" in order to make sure that the idiots trying to harm us don't complete their task.

apotheon
apotheon

Right. Trying to do something to keep people safer while flying is not something I should respect. You're ignoring most of the article. Read it again, troll. If he's done something like this before, I can understand placing blame on either the supervisory level for not removing him. In the case the system didn't allow for him to be removed because of a previous incident, I could then hold "The System" and its policy to be at fault. How many malicious or incompetent people need to end up in a position to screw with innocent civilians and fail to do their jobs effectively before you admit the possibility that maybe there's something wrong with the way they're hired? How many times do we need to see civilians stop terrorists that were completely missed by airport "security", with the TSA's response being something like prohibiting nail clippers, before you admit the possibility that maybe there's something wrong with the policies and procedures in place? But in the case this is a first incident, I can't blame his supervisor or anyone else for not being able to read his mind and stop him before he did it. A first time for him (as far as we know) . . . ? Maybe. A first time the TSA has dropped the ball? Not on your life (or Ted Kennedy's, for that matter). I don't expect government to be able to read their employees minds and know when they are making bad decisions. Maybe you do. Nope. I just want it to have better hiring practices and management policies. I've known TSA screeners. There's less background checking and training going on than in a minimum wage condominium complex security patrol job. Please. Cite specific ways you can definitively do this. Are you a child? How about . . . they try training people more than a few half-assed hours? Maybe we can put mics on them and shock collars, and have people monitor what they do or say...and shock them when they do wrong? That would be effective. Yeah, it probably would. Let's put those on members of Congress and the White House staff (including the President) first, though.

jck
jck

[i]Why do you assume I didn't find the current system for airport security contemptible before this incident? [/i] Oh, that's right. "The System" should not be respected, and I should find no evidence that it should be. Right. Trying to do something to keep people safer while flying is not something I should respect. [i]Considering all the other events I cited in the article, and a bunch more beside those that I didn't mention, I think anyone who still has respect for this airport security system is delusional. This incident involving some clown playing a prank on a traveler by basically accusing her of trafficking drugs is just one more drop in an apparently endless sea of incompetence and bureaucratic power mongering.[/i] I have no respect for the idiot who did the stupid action. If he's done something like this before, I can understand placing blame on either the supervisory level for not removing him. In the case the system didn't allow for him to be removed because of a previous incident, I could then hold "The System" and its policy to be at fault. But in the case this is a first incident, I can't blame his supervisor or anyone else for not being able to read his mind and stop him before he did it. And, there is nothing to indicate he has done this before and that anyone at TSA should have known to keep a better eye on him. I don't expect government to be able to read their employees minds and know when they are making bad decisions. Maybe you do. So, "The System" did do right. It reviewed his action, found it to be unauthorized and unacceptable, and terminated him. [i]How -- by having a policy that wasn't completely wrong and failing to effectively enforce it by better screening and overseeing its employees?[/i] How does a policy allow for those doing hiring to be able to screen and oversee every employee to "effectively enforce" the rules that the TSA has for those employees? Please. Cite specific ways you can definitively do this. Since you seem to think that you know how to tell who in the future will do something wrong or against a policy (which all TSA security police go through training for to know and abide by), please...I implore you. Can you tell me what kind of screening and oversight will determine which person(s) will do this sort of stupid action in the future and "effectively enforce" their rules? Wait...I have an idea. Maybe we can put mics on them and shock collars, and have people monitor what they do or say...and shock them when they do wrong? That would be effective.

apotheon
apotheon

That was all an individual action. So, why would you not still respect "The system"? Why do you assume I didn't find the current system for airport security contemptible before this incident? Considering all the other events I cited in the article, and a bunch more beside those that I didn't mention, I think anyone who still has respect for this airport security system is delusional. This incident involving some clown playing a prank on a traveler by basically accusing her of trafficking drugs is just one more drop in an apparently endless sea of incompetence and bureaucratic power mongering. So, "The System" did right. How -- by having a policy that wasn't completely wrong and failing to effectively enforce it by better screening and overseeing its employees?

jck
jck

As much as you say I don't understand... You seem not to understand that your negative blanket comments you have made about "The System" in relation to this incident you yourself have cited of an individual's actions employed within the system having been far less than respectable... shouldn't make "The System" any less respectable. "The System" didn't make him do that, or make a policy for him to do what he did. That was all an individual action. So, why would you not still respect "The system"? "The System" did not fail. The individual did. When "The System" reviewed it and found he had done wrong, they terminated him. So, "The System" did right. Try and absorb that. Please.

apotheon
apotheon

You go saying you don't do things to condemn the system. But then, you make a comment like this: I didn't say I didn't condemn the system in place for airport security. I just said I don't do so for the reason you claim I do. Specifically, I don't condemn the entire system over the actions of a single low-level flunky. Here's your cluestick. Then, you say it doesn't deserve respect because of what...one person having done wrong in it? And, condemn its having respectability. Here's yet more evidence of either a complete lack of effective reading comprehension skills or an excess of trolling on your part.

jck
jck

You go saying you don't do things to condemn the system. But then, you make a comment like this: [i]I find it odd that you think this is some kind of evidence that the system's to be respected. Weird.[/i] If a person does a wrong action, why would you not still respect the system. Did the whole system fail? Or just the one person who did the stupid action? See, you say you don't condemn it. Then, you say it doesn't deserve respect because of what...one person having done wrong in it? And, condemn its having respectability. Maybe you're just being sensationalist...like your news source was. Again, I'd point anyone to read Rebecca Solomon's own words in the piece she wrote about it for The Michigan Daily. At least she was clear about what happened, didn't play it up, and didn't condemn the whole system because of the actions of one person.

apotheon
apotheon

Your defense of her behavior is implicit of your approval/acceptance of such reaction. Way to deflect the topic into straw men, troll. I can understand her being upset. Crying even after she finds out it's a joke (as your source implied)...yeah...not real sensible. Most people would get mad and...do what she did: ask for the supervisor. A failure to understand on your part does not constitute a failure of logic on my part. We should all fear everything government, because they're out to get ya! Straw man. Troll. Are your rights being violated because there is a system in place that you don't agree with? No. Not what I said. Troll. She's done nothing wrong. She's just a victim of a process that's failed, both in picking her out wrongly and not letting her contest it. I find it odd that you think this is some kind of evidence that the system's to be respected. Weird. . . . or maybe you're just trolling.

jck
jck

[i]Please point out where anyone said that a hysterical breakdown was "sensible".[/i] Your defense of her behavior is implicit of your approval/acceptance of such reaction. [i]Understandable? Sure, maybe. Sensible? Not so much.[/i] I can understand her being upset. Crying even after she finds out it's a joke (as your source implied)...yeah...not real sensible. Most people would get mad and...do what she did: ask for the supervisor. [i]Mostly, the poor reactions to what you've been saying were a result of your comments about how it's "only a joke" and nobody has anything to fear.[/i] Sure people have something to fear. We should all fear everything government, because they're out to get ya! :^0 [i]Your notion that everybody's subject to government will, and individual rights are secondary to that, has been made pretty clear.[/i] When it comes to having a driver's license or flying on a federally-regulated travel mode? Yeah, I am right. You are subject to the government's will. Are your rights being violated because there is a system in place that you don't agree with? No. But, I know a lady who lives in the town I do. She's 77 years old. Been Americanized since she married her husband and moved here from Canada over 40 years ago. She's on a no-fly list. No reason why. State Department won't tell her anything other than "You are on it". She's done nothing wrong. She's just a victim of a process that's failed, both in picking her out wrongly and not letting her contest it. Her rights have been violated by a failure in the system. So, a correction has to be made. Luckily, our Congressional rep is going to bat for her to get it lifted. But yeah. When you want to travel on a government-regulated mode of transportation, you are at the will of the government. That's life. The process is there for a reason, and no one has promised you it's going to meet with all your demands. And, no one has promised you it would be perfect. Deal with it...or do something to change it. But, don't confuse my acceptance of a system that I understand is always a work in progress and that corrections will be made when needed...with your notion that I believe individual rights are second to the system. I just don't think your rights to have what YOU want supercede anyone else's right to be reasonably safe.

jck
jck

They would be better served paying staff better wages to keep them. That not only serves to save vs constant turnover, but it also serves to keep the experience you've developed rather than it going private sector for the bigger paycheck. And yes, there are a TON of managers in government (I know, I have worked with some of them) who have no clue as to what they are doing. They know how to talk "shop", and BS their way through things with information the extract from their underlings who are the real knowledge and know-how in most organizations. But like I said before, it won't change. Bureaucracy makes sure of that.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

as it always costs you a lot more to hire and train new staff than to pay existing staff more money. The last time I looked at the figures for this sort of thing was several years ago, but it worked out having someone contract to stay on for five years after they were trained, instead of training a new person every year, allowed the organisation to save money by offering a twenty-five percent increase in wages to a trained long term contractor. It's very simple to examine the books and the costs, and do the sums to work out how much more you can pay them to become properly trained and stay on. But too many untrained people are in management jobs in these sort of government agencies and they don't know how to run things properly.

jck
jck

A) Their initial training has been modified more than once to improve it. B) TSA Transportation Security Officers receive ongoing training, and their supervisors receive training in addition to that of their subordinates. As for getting qualified TSA personnel, that isn't the hard part. It is actually keeping them. TSA, as almost everyone knows, does not pay that well. Keeping experienced, qualified personnel is difficult. Therefore, their turnover is high. TSA can't help what their funding is. That's the mistake of Congress. IMHO, security in this country should be a priority. But obviously, a lot of elected officials don't see it that way. But, that's another reason why I think putting the military in charge would have been better. - The military already had personnel. - The military already had equipment (vehicles, guns, ammo, etc) - The military already had a hierarchy to make decisions - The military already has personnel trained to do security work from day 1. They were ready and there, and we wouldn't have had to hire another level of administration. Just give the military added funds to buy what little more they needed and what not to do the job. But you know why that won't happen here, Ernest? Because the US military doesn't have to play patty-cake when they're in charge. And, people (as self-serving as they often are) want things their way as much as possible. Anyway, it's not gonna change. Bureaucracy will make sure of that.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

comments about the initial hiring may have been relevant for the first several months, but they've had more than long enough to put every hire through a good security officer course - either a military or police or contract one - of a few months duration. I've seen that done where a security force needed to be rapidly expanded, new staff were put on and each four person work team had only one experienced person. In the following months staff were rotated through a four month training course that had a numbers limitation. It took twenty months, but everyone got trained, and all new hires after that were trained first. TSA could have done something similar, as they've had enough time, but they didn't and still don't.

jck
jck

I mean, how do you hire 50,000-75,000 people in short step to do security in airports and guarantee safety to any level? They couldn't do it themselves. They couldn't have hired enough independent contractors to do it. Really, the United States should have done what I said. Since planes, ships, etc., are the ways terrorists are getting into our country, put airports and the like under United States military jurisdiction. Give them say so in how searches can be instigated and happen. I guarantee you if the USA did that, there'd be a greatly reduced chance of terrorists trying this again. See, terrorists are cowards that avoid facing a military person with a loaded weapon at the ready. They tend to prey on innocent people and sleeping military/government personnel.

apotheon
apotheon

Somehow, because I believe that all mainstream news agencies are biased (and you don't, for some reason), you think that means I think some American news agency is unbiased. That doesn't even make sense.

jck
jck

Apotheon, Let's get a little lesson in how politics works for you. Okay? First, your accusation was their bias was not "less" but "different". Okay, lesson one: When you are reporting on news in another country, you have less worry about fallout from it. Hence, the BBC does not have to worry about reporting on Obama, Reid, etc., as much as say Fox, NBC, ABC, CBS, NPR, etc., who depend on having access to travel with them and ask questions at press conferences. Also, that means that a network like the BBC is not tied even minutely as much (either by correspondent or ownership or management relations) to special interest in this country. Hence, your assertion that it is "just different" is based on some type of misconception of politics and the power leveraging that goes on behind the scenes and inside board rooms and at press dinners. As for being stupid, well if I'm stupid then at least I'm happy knowing that I understand that an organization like the BBC usually doesn't give a rat's arse about what they say about people like Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, etc. who could give them fits in their own country, let alone American politicos 4500 miles and across international borders from London. So, you keep listening to whatever American news sources you like and think they're "fair and balanced" like some of them claim that fuels your ideologies. I'll get the broader perspective from the world at large and deduce for myself based on multiple, less-detached sources report.

santeewelding
santeewelding

We all need to look seriously at how we report anything to anyone. If the shoe fits...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

come across was from many people I know who live in the south eastern part of the US. According to the people involved, in the weeks leading up to when Katrina took a stroll over New Orleans the news services in the area did NOT give Katrina much coverage or see it as of much concern until the last 48 hours before it hit. Many ex-patriot Aussies over there who kept up with Aussie events by watching the Aussie news over the Internet found they had much more information of what was happening with Katrina from the Aussie news than than their local news. It seems the local news found the local council events and local police reports were more important than mentioning that a hurricane had just zapped a foreign island a couple of hundred miles off the US coast and was headed their way. Now, I wasn't there at the time and am relying on the reports of others, dozens of them, so I believe what they say. It would seem the US news services do need to seriously look at how they report events.

apotheon
apotheon

I thought you were being a jackass -- not that you were stupid. My point is that every "news" source is biased. The fact that something is popular doesn't change its biases. The key is to learn to recognize bias and route around it. If you think BBC is mostly unbiased about US news, you clearly haven't learned that lesson yet.

jck
jck

[i] You're beyond hopeless. A crack like that does nothing but detract from any potential discussion.[/i] Why? Some people get their information from EWTN, Al Jazeera, and even The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. My former co-worker and former US Army Major used to read Al Jazeera's English version site, as well as several other foreign sources for information. Suppose you'd like to say something about his reasoning for reading Al Jazeera? I could show you a lot of people that think Pat Robertson is the soothsayer of truth. Some think Rush Limbaugh is too. I have no idea of your news parusing habits, other than that you like to use sources such as Philly.com that distort the situation of something like the incident involving Rebecca Solomon (per her own recollection of the incident), where the writer had an obvious tilt against TSA...much like you. Hence, you tend to side with taking an article that gives your own view rather than quoting the facts from the party involved in the incident. [i]I guess the lesson I should learn here is that there's no point trying to have an honest discussion about anything with you.[/i] Yeah. When you come in and want to question the unbiasedness of world-revered and awarded news outlets such as PBS' or the BBC's, yet you will use a biased source like that Philly.com article as something to re-publish in your commentaries...I guess I should be the one learning the lesson. You have a very strange sense of what "unbiased" is. As I said before...good day.

apotheon
apotheon

You're beyond hopeless. A crack like that does nothing but detract from any potential discussion. I guess the lesson I should learn here is that there's no point trying to have an honest discussion about anything with you.

jck
jck

I suggest you go watch EWTN or Al Jazeera or something else you find to your liking. Now when they reported on Tony Blair (Bush's poodle they called him in most of the British press), they (the beeb) were quite biased. But, I find that PBS and BBC America put far less spin on American news than American networks...especially NBC and Fox. So I get more facts and less hype, which is what I watch news for.

apotheon
apotheon

Well . . . PBS and BBC America just provide different bias than Fox or NBC -- not less bias.

jck
jck

I really get tired of the American press. It's all about sensationalism here. I watch PBS or BBC America here. Watching Fox or NBC news is like getting your news from one side or the other.

jck
jck

The irony is, there are idiots in every job field. And with reporting (whether by the press or an oversight/review commission), quite often what is highlighted is what is wrong. You don't get press stories about all the passengers that go "This person here was so nice and polite and did their job well." Of course, most Americans are prone to whine anyway if they have to wait in line for more than 15-20 minutes at an airport. They think they're time is more important than anyone else's. I guess I developed a sense of patience with travel from things like being delayed over 6 hours for a flight because of weather, and delayed from getting home 19 hours because of aircraft re-routing and being bumped because of ticket class. As long as I have a safe, warm place to stay, a free meal, and some clothes to wear in my carry-on...I'm not too worried. And as for TSA employees: I've met ones who were very dry and serious, to guys and gals who were jocular and fun and smiling. I've been through more than 20 airports in the United States and 2 internationally. Never once had a TSA person be offensive, crude, rude, demeaning, belittling, cruel or hateful to me. I don't think that it's an attitude or culture that is supported by "upper management". I think, at best, it's ignored or overlooked by incompetent supervisors on the front line. Upper management just knows policy says passengers are to be treated well. They don't see and hear about every detail at the security checkpoint. I don't think TSA, as a whole, is horrible. Does it have room for improvement? Sure it does. But, so does the food at McDonalds and it's far more likely to kill you in the next 40 years than an airplane flight. lol :^0

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I get the impression that the organisation itself has a culture that supports that sort idiotic behaviour and that culture is actively supported by the upper management. That's the impression being given about TSA. I'm very lucky in that I doubt I'll ever have to come into contact with the idiots as they do NOT operate in my neck of the woods.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

more cases where people report on where the press screw up or misrepresent things, and use it to make the suckers apologise and behave right.

jck
jck

I can understand being upset. But, the Philly.com piece words it as though she had a breakdown and was some kind of weak defenseless girl. At least she alliterated all the details, and was fair about it. She didn't want to hang out all of TSA for it, but just the idiot(s) that work for them who would do something dumb like that. That's more than I can say for some of the others here who'd blame an entire agency for the sophomoric, stupid actions of one person. Ah well. I played devil's advocate long enough. Want a cup of coffee? ;) :)

Editor's Picks