Media finally catch on to TSA pre-check scam

Scam_ARF Trooper
Some people in the media are finally catching on to what we here at TSA News have been saying for two years: Pre-Check is a joke. Just enter “pre-check” in the Search box at the left. We’ve been pointing out the facts about this program from the beginning.

Two of the latest “Gosh, who knew?!” articles are in the Jacksonville Business Journal and the New York Times. Some of our readers have already commented at the former. The latter isn’t accepting comments, though I wrote to the author, Joe Sharkey, last week. It’s my second time writing to him about a TSA-related article. I’ve never gotten a reply.

At the Jacksonville Business Journal, travel columnist Joe Brancatelli discovers that — horrors! — the great unwashed are being shunted to Pre-Check lines when things at the checkpoint get too crowded, thus ruining the experience for the Special People. Since the whole point of Pre-Check was to play Divide-and-Conquer, as we wrote two years ago, the dismay of the Special People was predictable. After all, they’ve forked over $85 in protection money for this extortion racket, and now the hoi polloi are horning in on the action:

“More and more often, the PreCheck line is being used for overflow from regular screening,” notes Jerry Scott, the frequent-flying president and chief executive of Elmer’s, the West Coast restaurant chain. “Now we have the interesting debacle of inexperienced fliers partially undressing in the PreCheck line before realizing that they don’t need to. PreCheck is losing its advantage for those of us who must traverse a security line several times weekly.”

But more important than the disappointment of the Special People is the gaping flaw in logic of this whole program. If the Special People have been vetted as to their security bona fides — in other words, they aren’t Big Scary Terrorists — then why are the supposedly risky unvetted allowed to go through the Pre-Check line? Doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of Pre-Check?

Reader Jeff Pierce has pointed this out many times, here at TSA News and elsewhere, including at that Business Journal article. Here’s one of his comments:

Simple logic says if the TSA is willing to let “overflow passengers” use a metal detector without any reason other than “the line is long,” then clearly we don’t need the illegal scanners and criminal pat downs in the first place!

But when did logic make any difference? This isn’t about logic. And it isn’t about security. But again, we’ve only detailed this hundreds of times.

As for the article in the New York Times, Joe Sharkey writes that there’s a lot of “confusion” over Pre-Check. He details many of the same complaints Brancatelli does.

Neither reporter points out the fact that, as the TSA itself admits, Pre-Check doesn’t guarantee anything. Nor do they point out the flaw in logic that Jeff Pierce keeps trying to hammer home.

Oh, well. I guess it’s too much to expect that the media be skeptical. It’s apparently easier to do the work of authoritarians for them.

(Photo: ARF Trooper via Flickr Creative Commons)

Cross-posted at ABombazine.

  • Kilgore

    Well, it’s two years later and Pre-Check is still alive and kicking. I’m proud to work in the TSA. We keep this country safe. Some people serve in the Marines or the Air Force out there on the line in Afganhistan or Iraq. Well we serve on a line too with our metal detectors and sanitary gloves. My TSA brothers are the finest and most courageous men I know. TSA FOR LIFE!

    • I can only hope you’re being sarcastic, Kilgore. If not, ha ha! You keep this country safe?? You do know about the 96% failure rate, right?

      • Susan Richart

        That failure rate has improved, Lisa! MSP missed only 75% in Red Team testing last week. http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/checkpoints-borders-policy-debate/1762792-tsa-msp-misses-9-12-red-team-tests.html

        • Kilgore

          That’s right, Susan. And guess who’s in charge of Red Team? Hmm? Guess? That’s right. Kilgore is Red Leader. And I’m proud of my team’s 75% failure rate. It is a rate 21% less catastrophic than any other TSA team.

      • Kilgore

        Kilgore does not understand sarcasm. Nor does the TSA. Keep that in mind the next time you’re standing in my security line joking about a 5 oz bottle of toothpaste in your luggage. That kind of horseplay will get you yanked out of line and waterboarded.

    • Susan Richart

      You obviously don’t read all the complaints about Pre on AskTSA and other sites. It’s becoming less and less available, except at DC area airports where TSA would never let such a thing happen.

      What about your TSA sisters or are you a Trumpster, dismissing the women?

      However, the above said, I will assume you were being sarcastic.

      • Kilgore

        I was in no way being sarcastic. Obviously, you have not flown before or you would know that the TSA does not understand “sarcasm”. We have no appreciation of saying one thing but meaning another thing. That’s what terrorists do. Are you calling me a terrorist? I can find out who you are and put you on the “no-fly” list. Except you never fly, so that would be pointless. But I’m part of an all-powerful, all-knowing organization and I have supreme authority over you while you stand in my security line.

        • “I can find out who you are and put you on the ‘no-fly’ list.”

          Ha ha ha ha ha! They wish they had that power!

    • Daisiemae

      Oh, dear! Delusions of grandeur abound!

      Keeping this country safe? 4% of the time?

      Oh, that’s right! Keeping this country safe from Grandma’s Dirty Diaper and Aunt Mabel’s home made jam. And designer perfume? TSA nabs it every time! America can sleep peacefully tonight knowing that no toothpaste will make it onto any plane.

      But weapons of mass destruction? They get past TSA 96% of the time. Oh well, those weapons of mass destruction that TSA missed never placed any passengers in harm’s way, did they? That’s what your TSA Molester-in-Chief has told us, so of course, it’s true.

      But that toothpaste? That placed the entire country at risk.

      So thanks, Kilgore, for serving on the last line of defense against diapers and toothpaste!

      Now we all feel safe! Well worth $8 billion per year.

      • Kilgore

        I read what you wrote about me and it made me so mad I x-rayed the same person 4 times today out of spite. Somebody has brain cancer because of you. I hope you’re happy. Some day you people will learn to respect and trust the TSA elite.

  • TestJeff Pierce

    Although the logic against allowing the unwashed into PreCheck is kind of obvious, the logic of allowing PreCheck is not obvious. There is ZERO discernible, historical security difference for US flights between background-reviewed PreCheck privileged citizens and no-background-checked American citizens. I only point out citizenship as the only 2 (miserable failures) suicidal passenger bombing attempts were from non-US citizens boarding plans outside the United States…that is 2 passengers out of the approximately 20 Billion passengers on global commercial flights. NOTE: For those who track this stuff, I am not counting the Russia bombings by the 2 Chechnya “black widow” women as I am not convinced they had non-metallic bombs around their breasts as alleged by Russia, nor that they didn’t have certain other help to get bombs on board.

    I had business travel today (Monday) and was shocked to find the non-PreCheck line I was in only had a metal detector! The PreCheck line and the airline’s “quicker line (you could pay $26 to upgrade to a dedicated line for business travelers and get priority boarding)” had more than the normal amount of people, and they were being run through the scanner.

    I did have to bypass the TSA agents who camped out at the gate while US Air announced that people would be subject to “random checks” and to “please have your ID ready”. I put on headphones and looked preoccupied… and was lucky they didn’t single me out when I walked by.

    The only other comment I would add to Lisa’s superb article is to point out that PreCheck is essentially 2002/(partial)2003 security. No passengers ever complained then or stopped flying because it was “unsafe”.

    • ‘I did have to bypass the TSA agents who camped out at the gate while US Air announced that people would be subject to “random checks” and to “please have your ID ready”.’

      Obedience training.

  • Susan Richart

    Actually, this illogic began even before PreCheck. It began when the TSA declared that children under a certain age were apparently no longer a threat to air travel and allowed them to go through screening with their shoes on and excused them, for the most part, from WBI. Then it went to the old folks who didn’t have to remove their shoes.

    These actions happened after several years of TSA professing that terrorists didn’t hesitate to use kids and oldsters as bomb delivery people and therefore it was absolutely necessary to screen them to keep us safe.

    Although I guess I shouldn’t be surprise, it astounds me that the MSM has not picked up on the contradictions in TSA policy over the years and laid them out for all to ponder.

    • Daisiemae

      They are all products of the government education system. Therefore, they are incapable of that type of critical thinking.

      Plus, the fact that their paycheck comes from the corporate empire is a huge factor. Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, right?

  • Robert Hollis Weber

    The quote from Jeff Pierce absolutely nails it. So what’s the Vegas line on TSA’s likely reaction?

    1. Having been passed over for the top job at the FBI this year, maybe Sherriff John Pistole,beset with ennnui, will finally give up, acknowledge that the AIT scanners are odious, illegal, ineffective, and counter-productive and remove them from ALL checkpoints (not just pre-check), thereby speeding the flow of passengers and restoring Fourth Amendment rights.

    2. Of course, I can’t remember the last time the TSA admitted to being wrong about anything, so they may simply ignore the obvious contradiction between their “everyone-must-assume-the-position” position and the reality of their actions. The mildly positive result may be that a trickle of travelers will continue be spared their criminal frisking. Ignoring logic is, after all, a competency John has perfected.

    3. Or Pistole may double down and close this glaring “security hole” by insisting that the bloated employees on his bloated workforce who staff the Pre-Check lines must simply stand around with nothing to do if there are no pre-checkers in line. Given the TSA’s death-grip on inefficiency, this seems a real possibility as well.

    I’d like option #1, I’ll grudgingly accept option #2, but I fully expect option #3.

    Hey John: surprise me! After all, it’s Christmas.