TSA fires 4, suspends more at Newark

by Lisa Simeone on March 30, 2013

Mayonnaise by Taber Andrew Bain
Ah, yes, our old friend Newark Liberty Airport, site of so many colorful TSA hijinks.

Theft, harassmentracial profiling (“Mexican hunting” in the TSA’s poetic parlance), incompetent screening, sleeping on the job — it’s all waiting for you at Newark!

Then again, credit where credit is due: some Newark TSA agents are happy to blow the whistle on the “make-believe” of TSA security.

In the latest episode of Adventures in Security Theater, the TSA has fired 4 screeners and suspended 32 more, though some of those suspensions might be downgraded:

The probe was sparked in the fall of 2011 by reports that items were being stolen from checked luggage in a baggage screening room inside Terminal B. But it soon broadened into an investigation into lax screening, led by the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Homeland Security, the TSA’s parent agency.

Using hidden security cameras during November and December 2011, the TSA said it caught dozens of screeners on tape failing to physically search bags that had been flagged during the X-ray process. Investigators also determined supervisors and managers had failed to ensure bags were searched.

But then, we’ve only been telling you this for years — that while the smoke and mirrors of scanning and groping goes on in plain view, it’s a different story behind the scenes.

Listen, let’s get one thing straight: it’s not just the screeners at the airport who are to blame. And some of them, no doubt, probably get into trouble for the most stupid stuff — not confiscating Scary Terroristy Shampoo and Scary Terroristy Hand Lotion and Scary Terroristy Mayonnaise. They’re probably trying to be sensible, and not abusing passengers, by letting said passengers on board with innocuous stuff. I applaud those TSA workers and don’t want to malign them by lumping them in with all the sadists, pedophiles, and power-trippers.

But the management at the TSA has its collective head up its you-know-what, starting at the top with John Pistole. And all the incoherence, paranoia, fear mongering, and dunderheadedness filter downward. You know the saying — “a fish rots from the head.” Well, if the TSA doesn’t exemplify that, I don’t know what does.

That’s why it’s important that you participate in the public comment period and make your voice heard.

(Photo: Taber Andrew Bain/Flickr Creative Commons)

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