I think we need to start calling it the TSA(W)

The TSA has a long list of failed programs and initiatives, about which we’ve written many times. 

From the SPOT program to the FAST program to the BDO program to Pre-Check to the incessant defense of the indefensible,

The TSA tried the puffer machines, then withdrew them from airports.

Then they a blew massive chunk of public money on the backscatter x-ray machines, then withdrew them from airports.

They insisted that Granny and Little Susie were just as likely to be terrorists as the rest of us (and of course we all are) and so needed to be groped like the rest of us, then backpedaled on that and declared that all grannies over 75 and little kiddies under 12 wouldn’t have to be groped (but they still are).

Then they spent a billion dollars on the voodoo-science, let’s-train-high-school-dropouts-to-perform-instantaneous-psychological-evaluations-using-small-talk Behavior Detection Officers. Now? The voodoo technicians are losing their jobs at a long list of airports. (Oh noes, no one will be reading terrorist microexpressions in Palm Springs!)

The TSA(W): Throwing Shit At the Wall, and waiting to see what sticks. Are they learning from their failures? Time will tell. They sure do have a lot of failures to learn from. (Then again, they are still using the oft-times-proven-to-be-worthless millimeter wave scanners, so one’s hope would seem to be misplaced.)

Thanks to Ron Bonner for the heads-up on the latest.

(Photo: Voodoo Joker by Dave Gough/Flickr Creative Commons)

  • Susan Richart

    This is just from the results of a Google search; I’ve not opened the document, but

    ” QS-B220. Desktop Explosives & Drugs. Trace Detector. Product Highlights. • Simultaneously detects explosives & drugs in seconds.”

    • Yes, this is the IMSC (Implant Sciences Corporation) product under discussion in this comment thread. As several of us have pointed out, we don’t believe it’ll work, and even if it does, it still doesn’t change anything about the TSA. Furthermore, if it detects drugs, it’s yet another example of mission creep. The TSA has no business looking for drugs.

      • Susan Richart

        Lisa, I’m trying to put a link in for the pdf but that link never appears when I hit “save edit.”

          • RonBonner

            Any detector that can be programmed to detect drugs should be banned for TSA procurment. Having the capability violates the limited administrative search doctrine for WEI.

          • Dolt

            See my comment in the article posted just before this one. http://tsanewsblog.com/14843/news/why-is-the-tsa-confiscating-peoples-medications/

            The TSA is pouring praise on clerks who find drugs and get LEO to arrest those carrying them. The officials claim this is what TSA is trained to do and they do it well.

            They have already gone beyond mission creep. They are defacto drug-war recruits and a volunteer arm of local LEOs who gladly take the easy busts from the clerks because it adds numbers to the drug arrests totals, thereby making it easier to meet the federal drug arrest quotas to qualify for the federal dollars that the city police departments rely on as part of their regular operations costs now.

  • RonBonner

    What is sad is that TSA hasn’t acknowledge what GAO reported, that BDO ‘s do no better than a person simply guessing.

    That GAO report should be evidence enough for TSA to completely shut down the program. Not doing so is fraudulent use of tax dollars and should place TSA Administrator Pistole in legal jeopardy.

    In corporate America if a persons job is cut then you go find a new job as best you can. It’s tough on workers but thats life. AFGE should butt out on this, there is no guarantee of employement and if TSA is cutting BDO positions they should be terminated as excess personnel. It’s not taxpayers responsibility to pay for excess workers, be they government or private sector workers.

    TSA still got it wrong, the BDO program was not terminated across the board.

    • Chris Bray

      The interesting thing is that Pistole is cutting back on the BDOs as the union demands an expansion in their ranks. It seems to me, as an outside observer, that the management of the TSA is going as far as it can in the face of competing pressures. They have multiple constituencies, and seem to understand that they’re running a jobs program. If these are modest cuts to air travelers, they look like the apocalypse to the AFGE. Susan is right in the comment below: Death by a thousand cuts is still death.

      • RonBonner

        I don’t really care what AFGE thinks or says. Eliminating BDO’s at 35 airports, small as they are, is prima facie evidence that the program doesn’t work, isn’t needed, or that the security threat is low enough to not justify this expenditure. At this point I would like to see justification for the continuation of thr BDO program at any airport.

        TSA is more like a Hydra than any normal creature and a thousand cuts might not be enough to kill the BDO program

        • Chris Bray

          AFGE has a powerful interest whether you care what they think or not — they collect dues and distribute them to politicians. All issues are rice bowl issues, like Rapiscan just happening to get a billion-dollar contract for useless machines while the former DHS Secretary was working for them as a “consultant.” The TSA is a $7 billion resource distribution machine that puts on a theatrical performance — rational outcomes by clear means are not on the table.

          • RonBonner

            I understand what AFGE is, what they do, and how they do it. I am of the belief that this particular union has intruded into governments business of managing employees. A union should have no voice in governments decision to down size employees if they are no longer needed. Federal employees have many job protections that private sector workers don’t have. Federal workers are hard enough to fire without the interference of some union only interedted in themselves. Who speaks for the taxpayers?

  • Susan Richart

    Trying again and copying my comment from the prior thread:

    It seems as if, once again, John Pistole can’t/won’t acknowledge that
    this program is a waste. Rather than doing the honorable thing by
    admitting such, he seems to be eliminating the program cut by cut.

    Oh well, death by a thousand cuts is still death.

    ETA: Looks like West Cooper might be affected by this:

    GSO Piedmont Triad International Airport (Greensboro, NC) is on the list.

    • RonBonner

      I suspect people like West will be alright. TSA will make accomodations through attrition, a hiring freeze, and reassignments to other jobs or even different agencies. Don’t forget federal hiring is the fastest growing sector of the job market.

      • Fred Barney

        Heip is on the way!

        The TSA & TSL just approved Implant Sciences Corp. (IMSC)
        NEW ETD EQUIP. for passenger and baggage.

        more sniffing, less gropping. plus, no radioactive material.

        Plus TSA has a C.R.A.D.A. with Implant for
        non-contact sniffing for narcotics & explosives.

        Finally, help is on the way. Yes, God does answer prayers.


        • Susan Richart

          If it’s real, does it work? This is the TSA we are talking about here.

          And does it alarm on everyday chemicals? If it alarms on the same things the current ETD system alarms on, then it’s useless. Remember, the TSA has NEVER found any explosive as a result of their ETD testing.

        • We’ve already written about this, and it isn’t help on the way. It doesn’t mean anything except yet one more piece of high-falutin’ technology that won’t work as advertised, and even if it does, still puts the passenger in the position of being a suspect. It doesn’t change the fact that the TSA has ultimate power. It won’t obviate the gropes and won’t reduce the bullying and harassment that the TSA dishes out.

        • RonBonner

          I don’t see how another desktop ETD device moves the ball.

          Gropes and electronic strip searches will continue unabated.

          Do you have a financial stake in this company?