The TSA “Academy”

All analysis about the TSA eventually becomes the very same analysis, because the core of what the agency does never changes. Nor does the news media’s relentlessly credulous approach to covering the agency. After a while, you can just put new names into the template: 2016 is 2014 is 2012, and TSA Director Peter Neffenger is just the Dumb and Dumber sequel to Fifty Shades of John Pistole. The latest example comes from CBS News, which just offered a breathless report on the TSA’s new national training academy.

Something new? Don’t be fooled. The new academy is a response to the TSA’s spectacularly high failure rate during “red team” testing. The agency’s smurfs used to “train” on the job at airport checkpoints, but now “train” at a single, national facility. Take a moment to watch the video: TSA officers are still TSA officers, slack-jawed mouthbreathers (in a GED-optional job) who mindlessly repeat empty slogans about the dangers and challenges of Thedala Mageeing septuagenarian crotches and sobbing toddler bodies.

And the training is still the training: A trainer points at an x-ray screen, for example, and asks a trainee: “Do you see anything prohibited in that bag?” But instead of pointing at an x-ray screen and asking a trainee, “Do you see anything prohibited in that bag?” at a local airport, the trainer now points at an x-ray screen and asks a trainee, “Do you see anything prohibited in that bag?” at a national facility.

It’s totally different, man! It’s more nationaler. It’s like if the bagger at the Piggly Wiggly flew to a different city to learn how to put eggs in a bag — that training just got mega-advanced, because it’s in a different location.

Oh, and the academy’s standards? The training course is two weeks long. It’s like medical school, really, except that it’s almost exactly four years shorter. It’s like the initial portion of military basic training where you learn which bunk is yours and where the dining hall is and how to kind of not fall down when you march in a formation. Two solid weeks of hardcore study — it’s the gold standard of professional development, just a few steps below Hamburger University.

The best part of the report is the sit-down interview with Neffenger, who responds to a question about the likelihood that smurfs trained at the new national facility will now succeed at the red team testing with a confidence-inspiring, “I don’t know if we can catch everything. I sure hope we can catch all of them.”

For the first time, nearly 15 years after the formation of the TSA, the agency’s new national training program brings airport security all the way up to the standards of gosh, we really hope this works.

Asked for a specific number to describe the success rate of screening procedures under the agency’s new training protocols, Neffenger falls back on the dodge that will forever be the TSA’s favorite accountability maneuver: He can’t answer the question, because then the terrorists will know. “I’d rather not say publicly,” he says, literally averting his eyes from the interviewer like a parody of a mediocre conman. That’s the agency we’ve all come to know and love.

And now its wanna-be cops can talk about their days “in the academy,” like the wannabe-cops they will forever be. The transition of our nation’s airport gropers toward fake law-enforcement status shambles another slovenly step forward, while the smurfs go on doing the same theatrical nothing for yet another idiot director. Save that last sentence — it’s an evergreen.

  • Susan Richart

    Somebody has written a piece on the “Academy” for the TSA blog:

    Reads as if it was written by a 5th grader. 🙂

  • Susan Richart

    OT: TSA wants to enroll 25 MILLION in Global Entry and PreCheck. They claim to have 5 million now. It will never happen.

    • Not only won’t they succeed, but they’ve already admitted and demonstrated that Pre-Checkers aren’t exempt from scanning and groping. So what’s the point?

      The right hand clearly doesn’t know what the left hand is doing at that agency. Then again, there’s a sucker born every minute, as evidenced by the people who’ve forked over $85 in extortion money.

  • Dolt

    Just like how police departments set up training academies that attract rejected military hopefuls and are run just like a quasi-military training, now TSA can attract the rejected police hopefuls with their quasi-police style training academy. A perfect example of how the shit continually rolls down hill.

  • spike spiegel

    so this is how chomos theives and serial gropers are trained?

  • Susan Richart

    From the comments on the CBS article on this:

    ” I wanted to work for TSA and I had completed the assessments and was
    ready to start the hiring process until they told me I had to fly to another state far from home for a 2 week training. They dont pay enough money for that and I think that its to much.”

    How many single parents work for the TSA; how many screeners are part-time screeners? Single parents of the TSA type can’t leave their kids for two weeks for training; maybe TSA doesn’t like having single parents as screeners and this is a way to get rid of them. They’re going to send part-time workers for training?

    Like all else TSA, not a lot of thought went into this plan.

    How many TSA screeners even know where Georgia is on a map?

  • Daisiemae

    Pathetic pandering!

  • Susan Richart

    This thread at FlyerTalk is an interesting discussion of the TSA “academy”

    Basic conclusion, except from one semi-optimist, is that nothing will change.

    I’ll have more to say on this later.

    • Some of those comments over there are great. Here’s just one:

      “I suspect that this training center needed a reason to continue to exist, so they decided to train the TSA clerks at this facility. There is a huge travel and per diem cost associated with this as well. I also suspect, if we looked closely enough, that this training center is located within a powerful congressman’s district.”

      I looked up the Congressional district. Rep is Earl L. “Buddy” Carter. Don’t know how powerful he is, but pretty much all these guys are in somebody’s pocket. He’s on, among others, these committees:

      Committee on Homeland Security
      Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency
      Subcommittee on Transportation Security

      • Oops, on second thought:

        “There are tons of people trained at FLETC who are not 1811 LEO’s. BOP non-LEO’s are a good example. It’s simply a physical facility with the housing, catering and transport logistics in place to handle all of this.”

        • Susan Richart

          However, there’s still a considerable cost to flying new trainees there in addition to housing and feeding them, in-house or not. Can you imagine what it would cost to fly people from Guam, Hawaii or Alaska to GA?

          • Great comment Feb 12, 16, 7:48 pm by chollie:

            “All you can do is approach the checkpoint the way you approach a very large, strange, growling dog. Avoid eye contact, suck up, and cross your fingers you encounter one of the relatively few good TSOs who doesn’t get a kick out of groin chops or stealing people’s things – or watching another TSO do these things without saying anything.”

        • Susan Richart

          But I’ll bet those “tons of people” are more than screening clerks and perhaps even have useful jobs to do.

      • Susan Richart

        So the committee listing goes a long way to suggesting that Carter did have some influence on this choice of site. I am sure there are many other sites around the country where people could be trained.

        • Well, according to our own RB and others, that site is already heavily used for law enforcement training, so it already has lodging, catering, amenities on site.

          • Susan Richart

            Granted, but should TSA clerks be training at a facility for LEO training, even if they are never intertwined.

            Besides, the only way the TSA is going to improve is from the top down and until that happens (probably never), improvements to training is a further waste of money.

          • Oh, you already know I think the whole thing is a crock of shit. This so-called training isn’t going to amount to a hill of beans and we all know it. It’s yet more window-dressing, which is what the TSA is to begin with. And this is just more CYA for Neffenger. “See? I’m doing something!”

          • Daisiemae

            Dang! Those are some expensive curtains!

          • RB

            The FLETC has been in operation since about 1975 at Glynco on the grounds of a former Naval Air Station. The property has been under government control for many years even before the FLETC. I know that BOP and Federal Marshals are trained there but not sure what other agencies.

            The FLETC was originally under the hat of the Treasury Department and was transferred to DHS in 2003. It may surprise some but Glynco is the HQ and there are satellite training facilities in New Mexico, South Carolina and Maryland.

            What training the TSA provides there will likely be well separated from real LEO training.

  • I could barely get through this video. The sickening, sycophantic blather by the reporter was bad enough. But then the ridiculous bombs going off on the beach, which has nothing to do with anything — completely irrelevant to the so-called jobs of the gropers in blue — unbelievable. The fear mongering is so obvious and so calculated.

    By the way, that bombs-on-the-beach footage is from days of yore. I first wrote about it here:

    • Dolt

      Not to mention, some moron in Somalia just gave us a real-life test of a suitcase explosive on an actual plane in flight … even sitting in what one would consider a place for maximum destruction: right above the wing. And what happened? He blew himself out of the side of the plane, then the plane lands safely with no other serious injuries. So what are they trying to prove with footage of random sand-blasts on the beach, exactly?

      We need to start shaming the people in our lives who have any type of fear or buy into the hype of this crap. Shove the real facts in their face and tell them to stop being a part of the problem and wise up.

      • 1amWendy

        Sadly I have been doing this for years and I either get rolling eyes, blank stares, or “you’d be sorry if…”