TSA’s theft problem: money, iPads, meds, lies, and blurry videotape

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More than a year after elderly travelers Omer Petti and Madge Woodward claimed that TSA screeners stole $300 from them during the course of what they described as “extreme pat-downs” at the San Diego International Airport, it appears that the TSA has reimbursed Mr. Petti. The agency continues to deny culpability, claiming the surveillance video was too blurry for them to be able to identify the thief.

Petti, a retired 96-year-old WWII Air Force Major, had lodged complaints with  State and Federal lawmakers, TSA, and Delta Airlines; he also filed a tort claim with TSA seeking reimbursement.

“Here it is,” Petti said in triumph, waving the official embossed check from the U.S. Department of Treasury.

We may draw a couple of conclusions. One, the video really was clear enough that the investigative crew could reasonably identify the amount — $300 in cash — that had been stolen (and was therefore likely clear enough, especially when cross-referenced with employee schedules, to identify  the thief himself). And two, since no employee was publicly charged and held accountable, Petti’s “official embossed check from the U.S. Department of Treasury” was simply a PR effort on the part of the TSA, one that perpetuates the agency’s customer-service charade while also covering up and closing the file on yet another episode of TSA screener theft and abuse.

Given the number of articles about this incident appearing over the past year (still available on a Google search), that hush money was probably the least effective ever paid. Certainly the 300 bucks wouldn’t come close to covering the time and effort it took Petti to make all the calls, write all the letters, and file all the paperwork involved. Petti was doing this as a matter of principle, and we salute him.

But this rare bit of good news stands in sharp contrast to the nature of other, more typically concluded stories of egregious, unresolved, and unpunished incidences of TSA theft. These continue to deluge the local news media; too often, though, they go unnoticed by larger national outlets.

For example, there’s this story, from WPXI in Pittsburgh:

Jewelry, laptops, electronics — all items reported missing from Pittsburgh International Airport in recent months — yet Channel 11 has learned TSA has only distributed $1200 in reimbursement checks.

Laura Snell of the TSA in Pittsburgh has taken the angry calls.

“If we’ve done something wrong, we want to make sure those passengers are paid,” she said. According to TSA data we obtained, 58 Pittsburgh airport passengers filed claims of damaged of lost items last year.

Already this year, 17 people have filed claims.

Channel 11’s David Johnson wanted to know why so few claims are reimbursed and uncovered a unique tracking mechanism at Pittsburgh International Airport.

Unlike at most other airports, Snell has the backup of about two dozen cameras that track your checked bag, literally every step of the way.

So: in 2012, 58 passengers filed claims of damaged of lost items, including jewelry, laptops, and electronics, at Pittsburgh airport. But to date, the TSA has only distributed $1200 in reimbursement checks for those. Such lack of reimbursement is typical, as we’ve reported many times.

TSA representative Laura Snell denies TSA involvement, stating ”I’ve been here 8 1/2 years; I’ve never seen us (sic) take a thing. I don’t know how else to put it.” And the public is supposed to be satisfied.

Ironically, Snell’s dismissal of the possibility that TSA workers stole from passengers comes a week after two reports of TSA worker theft, including one that was released by the screener’s employer.

In the first incident, at Hancock International Airport in Syracuse, TSA supervisor Jeremy Hemingway was observed stealing pills from a passenger’s luggage, which we wrote about here. The Post Standard obtained an email from Syracuse Police outlining that they had escorted Hemingway and his belongings from the airport after a videotape showed him removing contents from a bag he removed from the belt for inspection despite the lack of an alarm.

Hemingway, who worked with TSA for eight years, was terminated, but TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein refused to comment other than to say: “The individual no longer works for TSA.” Moreover, Syracuse police declined to arrest or charge Hemingway with a crime, citing the lack of an owner to prosecute the case. There is no word from TSA or Syracuse officials about how many other items have been reported stolen during Hemingway’s term at the facility.

Then on April 26, 2013 — just days after the Syracuse incident — police in Columbia, South Carolina confirmed that TSA screener Eric Richard Dunlap was arrested by DHS officials at Columbia Regional Airport failing an “honesty check.” We reported this on April 29th. From the local news account:

Columbia Police Sergeant Joe Bernhard said the arrest took place after what he called a Department of Homeland Security honesty check. As part of the honesty check, a DHS official posed as a traveler gave Dunlap a bag with $500 inside, claiming he found it at the airport.

Bernhard said officials then saw Dunlap leave the airport Thursday morning with the bag and arrested him.

The DHS “honesty check” operation was launched due to mounting complaints from passengers that items were missing from their bags. DHS reviewed surveillance video, which showed Dunlap removing items from bags. Dunlap, who had worked for TSA several years, was arrested “on suspicion of stealing” and released on bond, but had not been charged as of the date of the story. As with the Syracuse case, there was no statement from the airport regarding the number of theft complaints during Dunlap’s tenure.

As we at TSA News are often reminding readers, there are many things travelers can do on the anti-theft front. First and foremost, of course, is the common-sense advice to pack light and bring along only what you’ll absolutely need. (Then again, if all you bring is what you need and those necessities get stolen, you’re out of luck.)

And if you’re traveling with one or more Mac electronics, you might want to consult this Mac user’s recent blog entry outlining how to recover a MacBook after a TSA screener steals it (depending on the model, this should work for iPads and iPhones, too — and as we know, TSA clerks love to steal iPads):

On a vacation with his wife and kids recently, Paul Deas opened his suitcase and found a rude surprise: his MacBook had been stolen. Paul eventually got his MacBook back, but his post on the matter is interesting food for thought, not only because it reveals just how common TSA theft is (there’s millions of Google results for “TSA Theft”) but how, even if you get your MacBook back, you’re not likely to catch the person who actually stole it.

Again, this is common sense, but it bears repeating because we all get distracted and even forgetful when we’re packing, particularly when we’re time-crunched: Don’t put your valuable computer equipment (or, indeed, anything valuable) in your checked luggage. And as for what you pack in your carry-on — which, sadly, may also be ransacked and stolen from while you’re separated from it during screening — consider locking your valuables together on a single cable inside your bag, as we posted about in How to Stop the TSA From Stealing Your Stuff.   [Some of our contributors now use, and recommend, this method. — Ed.]

And you can further help reduce the marketability of stolen electronics themselves: if you’re considering buy a used MacBook or iPad (or any electronic piece) off Craigslist or eBay, request some sort of proof of ownership from the seller. This also protects you from unscrupulous sellers who describe a 2-year-old piece as having been bought “just a couple of weeks ago,  so it’s like new!”

How disheartening, though, that the blogger seems resigned to accept that the TSA will steal from us and we all should anticipate that thieves — whose salaries we pay — will be ransacking our belongings.

Despite the ongoing and oftentimes hilariously inept (or else Orwellian in their doublespeak-saturation) efforts by the TSA to improve the agency’s image — and even after having been repeatedly criticized by citizens, consumer advocates, celebrities, and even certain government officials — the TSA’s abuses, including sexual abuse and theft, persist.

Worse, a large swath of the populace now seems resigned to being assaulted and/or stolen from as a standard part of the air travel experience.

As recent events have demonstrated, patterns of misconduct do eventually get exposed, often on a national and even worldwide basis, and even the most artful spin by the TSA’s chief propagandist Blogger Bob can’t prevent the truth from surfacing.

America deserves better. The TSA and DHS are our employees: our tax dollars pay their salaries. We must demand that agency officials and employees be held accountable — not just for the thefts themselves, but also for the lies, covering-up, and narrative-spinning that invariably ends with some variation of “We hold our employees to the highest ethical standards but cannot release more details of these incidences due to national security matters. But hey, it’s all okay — everything is just to keep you safe!”

(Image via withbeans.)

  • Tom

    The border patrol does exactly the same thing. Lying bastards. They even lied to my senators when I got an investigation started. And they don’t lie well either.

  • ivan carter

    This same disgusting thievery of lost & unclaimed property is commonplace at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in NYC. The pubic must be aware of the crimes that are being committed against them when their lost property is stolen from the PABT’s Lost & Found Dept. by Port Authority Bus Terminal Supervisors. Google “Donna Lebourne abc news.” & watch the video, or click on the link below.

    http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/investigators&id=9105280

    If you lost an item at the PABT & it was returned to you, put in a theft report with the PAPD to get your lost item replaced because most likely your item was stolen by PABT management.

    It would be nice to see the Port Authority aggressively go after the criminals and their enablers that they employ who engage in these same disgraceful crimes and even worse criminal acts, i.e. the unconscionable and highly illegally procedure of throwing lost passports found at the PABT in the garbage in this age of global terrorism and rampant identity theft. Google “found, stolen, trashed by PA.” See the link below.

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/found_stolen_trashed_by_pa_V4RMICgPyy2bhAVzDkW9EL

  • Let’s not miss the core issue here. TSA theft proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the TSA is burying its head in the sand about insider threat! Passengers are at much greater risk *OF TERRORIST ATTACKS* because the TSA puts untrustworthy people in the position of tampering with our luggage.

    How much do you think it would cost to bribe a petty thief to put something dangerous into someone’s bag? I mean, losing an ipad is a bummer, but we have a much bigger problem when the TSA hires criminals who clearly are willing to stoop to dishonest dealings over a few hundred bucks. We have a completely porous “security” system if there are crooks, bribeable crooks – who by the way have already been caught smuggling drugs onto planes – going through our luggage. We’re one tiny bribe and one box that supposedly contains drugs but actually contains explosives away – the next major attack on an airplane is likely to have been facilitated by the TSA itself.

    We’d all be far safer if the TSA’s band of criminals and lowlifes were forbidden to tamper with our luggage.

    This isn’t about losing valuables. This is about exposing the utter sham that is the TSA’s supposed concern for our safety. Everything the TSA does makes us less safe.

    • Susan Richart

      Thank you, Sommer, for bringing this discussion back on point.

      • LeeAnneClark

        Agreed! I’m happy to see the silly, obsessive snit over trivialities come to an end. We have way more important things to talk about than the actual degree of risk involved in turning a particular knob on a specific item. The bottom line is, the TSA shouldn’t be turning knobs on ANYTHING. Period.

        My original point still stand: the TSA puts us at risk in everything they do. Whether it’s by stealing our stuff, or fiddling with our sensitive equipment, or causing PTSD in sexual assault victims (or actually sexually assaulting us themselves), or by taking bribes to get things onto planes that shouldn’t be on there — they are the worst thing that has ever happened to airport security…ever.

        We are far more at risk today from the TSA than any other single risk factor involved in air travel. And I thank this blog for continuing to shed light on this.

    • RonBonner

      Agree, the core issue and problem is that TSA is chock full of thieves and other criminal types. Then there are baggage handlers that have a free shot at our unsecured baggage not to mention that both TSA and others can place a weapon in checked bags since TSA doesn’t see fit to screen airport workers, but thinks it’s fine to sexually assualt citizens who’s only crime was to buy an airplane ticket.

  • I do not like the wicked, let’s clarify that

  • LeeAnneClark

    As I do a lot of travel to scuba dive, and am also an underwater photographer, I have severe concerns about my stuff turning up missing. My scuba and underwater photography equipment is expensive, very specialized and almost impossible to find at the destinations where I dive. Hence, one item turns up missing on my way to a dive trip, and the entire vacation is ruined. Some of these items are very small, and could easily be slipped out of my carry-on while I’m getting groped. These little treasures would fetch a sticky-fingered smurf a pretty penny on eBay, and would be virtually untraceable.

    Furthermore, I have to worry about TSA agents fiddling with my equipment. One time, on my way down to Cozumel, the TSA screener pulled my dive regulator and computer out of my carry-on and started messing with the knobs and settings! I kept trying to tell him that this is LIFE SUPPORT EQUIPMENT, and if he messes with it I could find myself at depth and suddenly UNABLE TO BREATHE…but that didn’t seem to phase him. I ended up having to reprogram my computer, and reset all the settings on my regulator. If this hadn’t happened in my presence, I would NOT have known to check the knobs on my regulator first stage (which I normally never alter), and it would have functioned fine on the surface…but it would have gotten increasingly hard to breathe the deeper I got. This could have put my life in serious jeopardy, as I could have found myself unable to get enough air, and too deep to get myself to the surface quick enough.

    Many of the smaller pieces are too tiny or oddly shaped to attach to a cable lock. So I now practice a modified version of the cable-lock technique: I use large, plastic cable ties and basically tie-wrap everything together inside my carry-on. All those tiny, specialized camera, strobe and housing parts are connected together, and connected with another tie-wrap to a loop on the inside of my bag. If you pull out one item, the entire kit & caboodle comes along with it. The TSA thief would have to have a strong set of snips nearby to clip through the cable-ties…and the evidence of the shipped cable ties would be pretty damning.

    I protect my computer and regulator by enclosing them each in small zip-up bags and tie-wrapping the zippers closed, and then tie-wrapping the entire thing to the rest of the stuff. So multiple cable ties would have to be snipped to get to them.

    So far nothing has turned up missing. I did get pulled aside for a bag check once, but the moment the TSA screener pulled out the first item and discovered it was tie-wrapped to everything else in my bag, he just rolled his eyes and shoved the bag back at me. Not interested if there’s no way to steal anything, I suppose.

    Unfortunately I can’t carry everything on…there are some valuable pieces of equipment that are just too big and heavy (e.g. my dive lights). For those I use the cable lock technique described in the video linked in the article. I figure it’s unlikely that a TSA thief is going to have a large enough pair of bolt cutters around to cut through it.

    • Guest

      “If this hadn’t happened in my presence, I would NOT have known to check
      the knobs on my regulator first stage (which I normally never alter),
      and it would have functioned fine on the surface…but it would have
      gotten increasingly hard to breathe the deeper I got. This could have
      put my life in serious jeopardy, as I could have found myself unable to
      get enough air, and too deep to get myself to the surface quick enough.”

      Don’t you think you are being a bit melodramatic about this? Don’t you do a pre-safety check of your equipment before you get in the water? So the adjustment on your regulator was changed. Don’t you check it before every dive? Even if a TSA thug hadn’t fiddled with it, couldn’t it have been bumped or jarred out of position?

      Now I will admit that I haven’t been diving for a long time (certified PADI Dive Master/Instructor) and the equipment has changed, but I find your claims about the settings on your regulators to be suspect. The only settings on a first stage on units I used to use required an allen wrench to adjust. I have used several second stage units that had adjustment knobs, but they were designed to be used during the dive.

      I will agree with you that the, what did you call them, stick-finger smurfs (love that), should not be adjusting anything. But over dramatizing the danger doesn’t help either. While the equipment may have changed since I have dived, the basic safety procedures should have only improved. Are you diving so deep you can’t do a free accent? If so, you are diving beyond the range of recreational diving. Where is your dive buddy? I would hope both of your equipment didn’t go bad at the same time.

      • LeeAnneClark

        I am not overdramatizing. As a diver, you should be aware of the importance of NOT allowing strangers to mess with your gear.

        As for the knobs on my second stage (it was my second stage, not first…thanks for catching that)…yes of course I do a safety check pre-dive, but no, I don’t check those, because I never change them. I keep them well protected in a bag so they wouldn’t get jostled or bumped. They do not turn easily. And they are not easily turned underwater, especially when diving in cold water (when I’m wearing thick gloves). In addition, as a dive photographer I have many things to keep track of, and therefore task loading plays a role…if something unexpected happened that reduced my air flow, and I didn’t notice it until I got to depth, that introduces an issue that could cause a serious problem.

        Yes I am going deep – I often dive to 100+ feet. Yes theoretically I should be able to do a free assent…theoretically I should be able to grab my buddy’s octopus if I was unable to get air! But those are all theoreticals. Bottom line, any time you find yourself at depth and unable to breathe, your life is in danger.

        Remember, when you are underwater and something goes wrong, you have the amount of time it takes to hold ONE BREATH before you DIE.

        Only novice or infrequent divers don’t recognize this. I am neither, and everything I wrote is valid. If YOU want to dive with equipment that was fiddled with by former pizza delivery boys and Walmart rejects, you go right ahead. Me? I respect the dangers of diving too much to put myself at that kind of risk.

        • Guest

          “yes of course I do a safety check pre-dive, but no, I don’t check those, because I never change them.”

          Then you are not doing a proper safety check. You should be checking EVERYTHING, regardless if you” never change them”. If I had a diver give me that excuse for not checking their equipment before a dive, as I dive master I would be negligent if I let them go in the water, and not let them dive.

          • LeeAnneClark

            So is this a blog about diving, or a blog about TSA abuse?

            I disagree with you. But I’m not going to belabor the issue, because I highly doubt the readers of this blog give two craps about the particulars of dive equipment.

            Care to comment on whether or not the TSA should be fiddling with dive gear at the checkpoint? That’s the point of my comment. If you wish to get into a snitty argument about dive safety check procedures and gear anomalies, I’d suggest you go visit Scubaboard.com.

          • Guest

            As I said in my original reply, they shouldn’t be fiddling with anything. If you want to point out how they did, then just state that. Don’t try making it sound worse by bringing in that the inherent danger in diving is made any worse because the TSA did or didn’t fiddled with something. Regardless of what has happened before you get to the dive site, you need to check everything. You could experience the same problems even if the TSA didn’t fiddle with your knobs.

          • RonBonner

            So regulators and dive computers just change themselves? The point being made was that TSA screeners are doing things that make people less safe. Fiddling with things one knows nothing about or should not be handling exceeds the TSA mandate.

            TSA screeners can’t even do the job they are suppose to be doing, why do more that impairs their ability to do even the basics.

          • Guest

            There are other ways for them to get changed other than the TSA doing things that they shouldn’t. To imply the risks have increased just because the TSA did something that if anyone else did wouldn’t is the problem. It doesn’t matter if it was the TSA or someone else who has fiddled with things. If you don’t check your gear, you may not detect problems until it is too late. Even if you think you protect your gear.

          • RonBonner

            Yes there are other ways but one way they should not get changed is by some dimwitted TSA clerk fiddling with things they know nothing about.

          • Guest

            No argument about TSA shouldn’t be changing things. I’ve been saying that from the start. But saying your life was put at risk even though you saw them playing with it is just trying to evoke a strong emotional response against the TSA. The only reason your life would be in danger is if you didn’t check the equipment before using it. Something you should be doing anyways regardless of the TSA fiddling because as you said, there are other ways things can get changed.

          • LeeAnneClark

            LOL!

            I can assure you all that the only people who have EVER touched my dive gear are me, my husband, and my dive gear professional when I take it in for it’s annual servicing. Oh, and of course the TSA.

            Just like I can assure you that nobody has ever touched my genitalia but me, my husband, and my medical professional when I take myself in for my annual servicing.

            Oh, and of course, the TSA.

            (I do hope our guest keeps better tabs on who touches his genitalia than he does on who touches his dive gear!)

          • Daisiemae

            It looks like your hate fans from Elliott’s blog have followed you over here. (Could it be John Baker and David Young? Sure sounds like their style. I know John frequently changes his handle so people don’t know it’s him. Devious and cowardly actions, if you ask me.)

            So now that they have hounded Chris’s TSA articles off his own website, I guess they are starting in over here.

          • LeeAnneClark

            What cracks me up is how personal they’ve turned it. They didn’t like what I had to say about the TSA, so they’ve turned on ME personally, calling me names such as “attack dog”. Of course resorting to ad-hominem attacks is always the final resort when one’s actual argument has no merit. Attack the PERSON who you disagree with, rather than the issue. That always makes you look really classy. Oh, and do it from behind an anonymous screen name. The refuge of trolls who have nothing better to do than stir up shit because, well, I guess it makes them feel good.

          • Daisiemae

            Absolutely!

      • Er, “Guest”, the point is that TSA should NOT be turning dials and manipulating machinery. Surely you wouldn’t argue that they don’t know what diving equipment was? Silly me, I thought scuba divers were well-represented in the traveling public, given that they tend to travel to the world’s far-flung underwater sites and dive them–for science, journalism, or pleasure. Silly me, I thought TSA screeners went through some sort of training–surely they would be exposed to the range of different types of equipment that one would commonly see on any given day in Traveling America. And there is always the option of simply asking the passenger what function something serves, if you’re really stumped. Allowing the passenger to demonstrate that this knob here is for adjusting flow rate, say, not for making something go BOOM à la Acme Corporation.

        • Guest

          Did you miss the part of my reply where I say, “I will agree with you that the, what did you call them, stick-finger smurfs (love that), should not be adjusting anything.” Yes, the TSA agents should not be turning anything. My response was to the dramatization of the consequences of that happening. Specifically to a diver not performing basic safety checks of their equipment before a dive regardless of how the equipment reached the dive site.

          • LeeAnneClark

            You’re barking up the wrong tree here. Nobody on this blog cares about the specific details of dive safety procedures. This is a blog about TSA, not diving.

            My point was valid. Fiddling with dive equipment is dangerous.

            If you want to debate dive safety check procedures, I’d suggest you go visit Scubaboard.com.

          • Guest

            Yes, fiddling with any equipment is wrong. But trying to make it sound worse because it was done by TSA doesn’t change the fact that diving has inherent dangers. Things could get fiddled with by someone else when you weren’t looking. Just leave it at the TSA doing something they shouldn’t and don’t make it sound like the danger was only there because of the TSA’s fiddling.

          • LeeAnneClark

            1. I personally NEVER leave my dive gear somewhere where someone could fiddle with it. If you do, then you have bigger dive safety problems than I wish to tackle on a TSA blog.

            2. I did not exaggerate the danger. If you wish to continue this silly debate, I again encourage you to visit Scubaboard.

            At this point it seems you are simply incapable of “letting it go”, and are hell-bent on being RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT. Seems a bit obsessive to me, but there are plenty of people on Scubaboard who would happily spend hours of their lives engaging in such obsessive debates about dive safety protocol.

            Personally I have no more interest in debating with you. Later, “guest”. (By the way, I can’t help but laugh at people who engage in obsessive arguing on the internet anonymously. At least I have the balls to use my real name.)

          • Guest

            You are the one that seems to have the problem letting it go. I was only pointing out that it is wrong for TSA to be messing with adjustments on any device, agreeing with you. What I objected to was the implication that the dangers of diving was increased by the fiddling. Those same dangers are present if they fiddle with it or not if you don’t check your equipment. If you believe that you protect your equipment so well that no one else could mess with it, you are deluding yourself.

            And just because you use what sounds like a legitimate name doesn’t mean you are really who you say you are in here.

          • LeeAnneClark

            Scubaboard is your friend.

          • Decompression Sickness

            She freaks out if she perceives herself as being shamed.

          • Gust

            Tell me about it. I call her on over dramatizing the TSA fiddling with a simple adjustable second stage and she goes off over it. If the adjustment knob of her regulator is so stiff she can’t turn it, she has a lot more to worry about than some TSA smurf playing with it.

            And I will say it one more time just to be absolutely clear. I agree that no one should be messing with adjustments on someone else’s stuff. Period. But trying to make it sound like your life was put in more danger because a smurf played with a knob that was meant to be adjusted during a dive is nothing more than trying to evoke a greater negative response than is warranted.

          • LeeAnneClark

            If anyone has “gone off”, it’s you, anonymous “guest”. I simply have not changed my opinion. I disagree with you, simple as that. It seems that you are having severe issues with the fact that someone disagrees with you, and cannot let it go until you have forced me to agree with you…and you will attempt to shame me personally until I DO agree with you.

            I don’t. Deal with it.

          • Marie Shively

            I agree with you 100%. I do not travel with dive gear, but I do wear an insulin pump. TSA goons have no business touching any equipment, no matter how complex or simple it is. The damage they could do can be life threatening.

          • LeeAnneClark

            Marie, it’s encouraging to see that someone *gets it*. It doesn’t matter if it’s dive gear, or medical gear – any equipment that is involved in keeping someone ALIVE should not be messed with by the TSA. And no one can argue that dive gear isn’t life support equipment. Just like an insulin pump is keeping you alive, my dive gear keeps ME alive underwater.

            That’s why I take such good care of it, and never leave it where some bozo could fiddle with it. I’d be willing to bet you never leave your insulin pump around where some buffoon could mess with it, right?

            I hope you never have to deal with the TSA messing with your insulin pump. But we all know that it’s a distinct possibility, until such time as the TSA is finally reigned in.

          • Marie Shively

            Actually, many times the TSA has tried to force me to go through the AIT scanners. Even though the manual f(and my diabetes doctor) for my insulin pump cautions against going through such scanners, the “experts” at TSA insist that it will suffer no harm. Right, I’m going to trust people with no medical training over my physician.

          • Daisiemae

            John, is that you also?

          • LeeAnneClark

            Nice ad-hominem attack there. The refuge of anonymous trolls whose arguments have no merit – attack the person.

            I have very politely stated my opinion, and responded to the disagreements with it that my opinion has not changed. Sounds to ME like our pleasant “guest” is the one who freaked out because he didn’t like it that I didn’t change my opinion.

          • Daisiemae

            John, is that you?

          • Daisiemae

            You are! No, you are! No, you are! No, you are!

          • Decompression sickness

            “At this point it seems you are simply incapable of “letting it go”, and
            are hell-bent on being RIGHT RIGHT RIGHT. Seems a bit obsessive to me”. This coming from someone who acts like an attack dog anytime she has criticism sent her way. Don’t want TSA messing with your gear? Stop flying and stop feeding the beast

          • LeeAnneClark

            And yet another anonymous troll. It’s always entertaining to see people sling mud from behind an anonymous screen. “Attack dog”? Gee, I can only see ONE person who’s insulted someone else in this thread…and that would be you. Me? All I did was state my opinion, and stick by it (because my opinion is my opinion, and doesn’t change just because some rude, anonymous trolls pop in here to attack me).

            As for not flying, while there are many people in here who choose to fight the TSA that way, that is not an option for me. Nor would I choose that option even if it were. That, to me, would be akin to giving in to the terrorists. I refuse to allow them to eliminate my ability to see my family, or to do the one thing I love more than anything (diving). I will not be cowed into submission, cowering in my bedroom worried that a terrorist might blow me up.

            But you go right ahead if that’s how you roll.

          • Daisiemae

            Hello, Guest. Why the name change?

    • LeeAnneClark

      To all readers of this blog, who may be wondering why there is a bizarre series of comments delving into unimportant specifics about scuba dive gear on a blog about the TSA, please read this:

      I posted my original comment to make two important points:

      1. Divers who travel with their gear are at increased risk from the TSA because not only do we have to worry about theft, we also have to worry about buffoonish TSA screeners messing with our gear.

      2. There ARE ways to mitigate that risk, which I detailed in my original comment above.

      As for the nonsensical snit going on about exactly HOW dangerous it is for TSA to touch my gear, don’t even bother with it. It’s just useless noise, and adds nothing to the conversations.

      Bottom line, allowing the TSA to touch expensive, sensitive dive gear is dangerous. Period. And I have outlined some steps above to help prevent it. I hope these suggestions for how to protect your gear come in useful, and help some other travelers protect their own expensive and sensitive equipment.

      Pay no attention to the trolls.

      • Mark Young

        Okay. I have a registered account now. Does that change the anonymous nature of the reply? Nope.

        And you really have seemed to let go of this haven’t you.

        Now, as to the discussion. I have never disagreed with you about the TSA shouldn’t be adjusting things such as dive regulators. What I objected to was your over blowing the consequences of their actions. Consequences that are easily avoided by simple action on your part that you seem adamant that you shouldn’t have to do because you never make changes to that.

        You talk about not calling people names? I guess calling someone a troll just because you don’t agree with their opinion is just fine. Or referring to the TSA agents as smurfs is just your term of endearment of them? Your claim about ad-hominem attacks is laughable when you try reducing people with different opinions and views to be trollls and to just ignore them. Talk about ad-hominem tactics.

        And how does a non-registered handle make one a troll? How do we know your real name is LeeAnneClark? That could easily be a fake name. Just because it is registered doesn’t make it any less anonymous as an unregistered name.

        Well, I have said my peace on the subject. I hadn’t planned on replying again until I saw this post. You go on and keep posting your opinion on it. Have fun.

        • LeeAnneClark

          “You go on and keep posting your opinion on it. Have fun.”

          Oh don’t worry, I will. Have a great day! Hope to see you on Scubaboard! 🙂

        • Daisiemae

          If it looks like a troll and acts like a troll, it must be a troll.

  • RonBonner

    TSA has a theft problem because far to many TSA emplyoees are thieves. Deal with the core issue and the other problem goes away.