Ask TSA

As TSA News readers know, the Transportation Security Administration has a nifty new “training academy” in Glynco, Georgia. Supposedly all new TSA hires from across the country, including Hawaii and Alaska, will attend this academy for two weeks of training (replacing the current four weeks of in-house local airport training), and all current TSA employees will be sent for additional training. Chris Bray wrote about it here.

My first thought was, how much is this going to cost taxpayers? My second thought: There’s no way the TSA is going to be able to train its employees to be efficient.

So I went to the TSA’s Twitter page, @AskTSA (where, by the way, I have been banned and had my First Amendment rights violated for speaking the truth), and began to compile a list of complaints about screeners’ actions in an attempt to show how much work the TSA needs to do to clean up its act.

(Then again, my colleague Lisa Simeone has been compiling a Master List of TSA Crimes and Abuses for years, and it hasn’t made a bit of difference.)

The complaints come in so fast on @AskTSA, I can hardly keep up with them. Comments come from both men and women:

THE PAT DOWN WAS THE MOST HORRIFIC THING I’VE EVER BEEN THOUGH IN MY LIFE!!!! Thx

Apparently if your crotch area lights up in airport security, you get a VERY AGGRESSIVE frisking. Many might say “sexual harassment”

wow, just had a most UNpleasant experience w 2 of your peops at #CLT airport. Utter lack of professionalism.

but FYI @TSA employee Carew at JFK = rude, unprofessional, dismissed request for help b/c 1 minute past her break

The scan plus opt-out pat downs seem egregious. Note I’m flying as my legal name, with a court order, my new temp license and old photo ID. I was asked twice whether I wanted a private screening but was scared to go to a non-public area.

My wife is TSA Pre✓ but got stopped for 45 min w/ our 9 month old for a stroller inspection & missed her

Wow. Invasive pat down by @tsa while trying to get my 7 wk old through security. Agent needs training before working w/ public.

Opting out of the @TSA body-scanner is getting harder with every flight. It took 15 minutes to find someone to do the pat-down.

glad your workers find it more productive to congregate and talk about weekend party plans than depreciating the lines @ EWR

Why do you constantly employ terribly rude employees at EWR? Specifically terminal C

thanks for taking my wife’s ice pack that was keeping her 3 days worth of #breastmilk from spoiling!

Somehow got through TSA at the airport with the wrong plane tickets, apparently my name is “Tanesha Brown” now… Doing your job well TSA

@TSA staff is out of control in FLL and PHL. #rude #unintelligent #unapologetic #vengeful goons is the best way to describe them

Can’t wait to get home and shower after being raped through my clothes at @iah by @TSA #TotallyViolated #Veteran #Raped by #TSA

How can I trust that your machines protect me if they report that my maxi pad is in my pocket? (TSA’s reply: We suggest you remove items from your pockets prior to the screening process. Completely missed the subtlety of the comment.)

why are your staff so mean and rude? There’s no need for it.

Disgusted by @TSA ineptitude in Terminal C at EWR: long security line, one lane open, five agents doing nothing!

After passing thought agent Wayne @ ATL international checkpoint, patted down roughly w/o warning. I felt humiliated & violated.

Had a lovely time at @IFlyOAKland yesterday, having my $140 @oakley sunglasses stolen off the conveyor while @TSA groped me!

Some really cheerful and pleasant agents in Portland, ME today /sarcasm

suggestion: provide more personnel for Pre at EWR! I paid money to use Pre there but it never seems to be open.

Why are my 9″ knitting needles allowed in my carry on but a 7″ specialty screwdriver I need for work is not?

Can we take another look at precheck process at EWR? It is a fiasco – long lines, still have to take everything out, not efficient.

why does Newark EWR NEVER have a pre check line open for the A gates????? What did I pay for?

The following from O’Hare:

“the security in terminal 3 this morning is unacceptable. 90+ min wait has hundreds missing flights
TSA’s response: We suggest arriving two hours prior to your flight during holiday weekends and peak travel times

Thanks. Did that. Security total wait was 1hr 55 minutes. One imaging machines for thousands of people will do that But I hope you have a good day, that way at least one of us will. Thousands here are miserable.”

Arrived an hour & 20 mins early for my flight at the truly dire @fly2ohare and STILL missed my flight thanks to @TSA! Looked like a war zone

Another insightful conversation with TSA on :

“destroyed my TSA lock. Do you all give out new ones or are these considered disposable?”

TSA response: We’re sorry to hear this, Philip. We can’t guarantee locks will never be lost or damaged during the screening process.

but you have keys for the locks right?”

youve got ALL priority access & TSA pre-check lines closed on a Saturday of a holiday wknd? What gives?

When can I expect someone to come open our suitcase for us? We didn’t lock it. Just saw a male @TSA agent interrogate a scared 5-year-old girl at the MSP airport. I feel so much safer already…

your workers at HSV were many. Check on the manager’s efficacy. There wasn’t enough personnel to support a TSA precheck line. I mentioned that a manager should be asked. They searched both my luggage and my husbands in retaliation. Childish TSA!!

AGAIN @AskTSA ??! #chs #tsaprecheck #closed EVERY TIME I repeat: Point of service is to skip line, stay dressed and not unpack the bag. None of those happen when closed, expedited or not

why do you keep not securing my protein powder lids and ruining all my clothes?

If your agent is going to grope me post scan I would like a warning and ask if I have sensitive areas before manhandling me at LAS

When the @TSA guy says, “Well, aren’t you a cute thing.” Ewwwww. #iamnotathing #creep

My mom loved getting told by your @tsa agent,Aloha,that she didnt want to touch her.Costumer service leaves something2 b desired

Just submitted an online complaint to @TSA. They dumped sand into my suitcase when they inspected it – a lot of sand. Professional?

you might have the most incompetent group of people to ever be under one roof working for you in #STL; so you train your employees to stand around with their arms folded telling jokes in the name the name of security? Sounds smart.

people are bypassing security by going through an unmanned checkpoint. No boarding pass scans, just going straight through.

EWR with 1 person working the security checkpoint, 9 standing around doing nothing.

Just want to say thank you for randomly pillaging my luggage today, dumping out various medications, and leaving my computer….bag open for my shower gel to leak into. It was very thoughtful for u to leave a note stating u can do that w/ no liability.

No “training academy” will be able to correct the behaviors and attitudes of TSA screeners exposed by the comments above.

Editor’s Note: By the way, if you ever want to file an official complaint about your treatment at the hands of the TSA, which we urge you to do, here’s the link to the official form at the DHS Office of Inspector General:

https://www.oig.dhs.gov/hotline/hotline.php

(Graphic courtesy of your tax dollars)

  • Susan Richart

    Addendum: Note, please, that AskTSA has not published any complaints about abusive “pat downs” since this article was published. Guess they don’t want the public to read such comments.

    What do you have to hide, TSA?

    I would ask anyone who has suffered an aggressive/abusive grope at the hands of the TSA and contacted AskTSA about such behavior, to please copy @Ifight4you89 with your Tweet and any response from AskTSA.

    • OK, what is that? Is it short for “I fight for you” and then the “89” means something? Or is that an “L”, not an “I”?

      • Susan Richart

        It’s an “I” & 89 means nothing.

        • OK, now tell us what it is?

          • Susan Richart

            ?????

          • What or who is the owner of @Ifight4you89? Who is behind that Twitter handle? Why would someone copy their tweet to that Twitter account? Is it an organization that fights for victims of TSA abuse? Where are they? And how do they fight? How can we find out more about this person/people/organization?

  • You have a great crowd of audience support. Thanks Susan… for standing up straight forward.

  • Susan Richart

    Tell me it’s not a coincidence that the TSA blog has put up two threads in the last couple of days each dealing with comments from the AskTSA Twitter page. 🙂

  • Joe Nelson

    Definitely TSA- I have flow twice since then, both domestic. Nothing of note happened except the usual crappy surly performance . I was with my wife and kids both times. I don’t know what I would have done if they were doing this to my 12 year old daughter. My girls are never going to fly by themselves, at least not in this country. The German passengers thought I was German and were laughing and commenting on the TSA antics.

    • Your children aren’t protected even if you travel with them. Just take a stroll through the stories at this blog to see that.

  • Joe Nelson

    Coming back into the country from a business trip to Italy April 2013- I had a bag, sealed by Italian Customs, with 3 bottles of wine and three bottles of olive oil. I was informed that the wine was being confiscated. When I asked why? It’s in a sealed bag. Also why is the olive oil ok you just have to take the wine? I was told to shut the hell up. I then said sarcastically I hope you enjoy it. That must have set off alarm bells. They had me wait in a room that it took 15 minutes to walk to while they tore apart my bags. I could hear dozens of TSA workers fooling around, joking, commenting on women in the films or x rays or whatever they were looking at while I sat in an adjacent room with one “guard” I asked if I was under arrest with no response but silence. After 45 minutes, I was cut loose. I still had time to get my plane, but before I could leave this area to get onto the puddle jumper to my home town from Houston, I had to go through one more gate. They left a TSA card in the bag, The last station the guy knew who I was – I was referred to as the “wine asshole” He made me empty my pockets and did another pat down, this time in full view. I had my shirt and shoes and socks off, and he probed me in my crotch so hard I had a bruise. He went to see when my plane left and came back and deliberately looked through my single suitcase for 45 minutes, despite the TSA card proving it was already searched, causing me to miss my flight. My boxers were ripped up and the olive oil they let me have was dropped into the bag over and over until they broke, the TSA clown saying “oops” sarcastically each time. My bag was ruined, my clothes were ruined, my gift for my family after being away two weeks were stolen or destroyed. When I asked if he could hurry up destroying my property so I could go(I know I should have shut up at this point) he said they could take me in the back and show me what he could do to me with a bottle and then I would go to jail. There was a young woman also working that station and the look on her face was fear- for me I guess.

    In summary- Trieste Italy Security, 6 armed guards, through it in 10 minutes no problem
    Munich Germany, 8 armed guards, through security in 10 minutes, no problem.
    Houston- literally over 100 TSA people milling about a football stadium sized area most doing nothing, all jabba the hut overweight obnoxious, and rude. Most of the people I was standing in line with were from Germany, and they all thought our security was a joke. I was embarrassed for my country.
    I haven’t mentioned this to many people, I usually get a puzzled look. But I am not making it up. It felt good just to type this out. Thanks !

    • Susan Richart

      ” It felt good just to type this out.”

      In a way, it sounds as if you have PTSD from a go ’round with the TSA. I think you are not alone but like you, many other people don’t want to say much about their awful experiences with the TSA.

    • Was this CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) or the TSA? Or both?

    • drbhelthi

      Reminds me of my visit through Atlanta Hartsfield in late Spring 2012. I complained to a Georgia congressman in writing. One year later, the situation had significantly altered, but I dont know if my letter had an effect or not.

      • Altered how?

        • drbhelthi

          Thanks, but I dare not explain it on this forum.

          • Well, as background info, I’m sorry, but I seriously doubt your letter had anything to do with it. Many of us here have been lobbying our Congressional reps for years, to no avail. Nothing has come of it. One of our writers, Sommer Gentry, was sexually assaulted at a checkpoint. She jumped through hoops, including going to her Congressional rep, to try to get justice. Nobody gave a shit. I’ve been on Capitol Hill talking to these people and I can tell you they aren’t going to do anything.

      • Dolt

        You can go through TSA 15 times and get 15 different results/treatments. I can guarantee that your “improved” experience was just a random occurrence. The problem is, liberty is not supposed to be left to chances of random occurrences.

        • drbhelthi

          “The situation had significantly altered” was my comment. I did not explain the situation to which I referred.
          I did not mention nor did I have an improved experience.

          Lisa Simeone caught the reference and asked for clarification.

  • Gee, what a coincidence — at Propaganda Central:

    FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2016
    @AskTSA Travel Tips In Over 140 Characters: Knitting Needles & Sewing Supplies

    http://blog.tsa.gov/2016/02/asktsa-travel-tips-in-over-140_19.html

    • Susan Richart

      Ain’t no such thing as a coincidence. Knitting needles for heaven’s sake, when there are much more things to address.

      BTW, I know a couple of women who get circular yarn cutters through checkpoints all the time.

      • Comment I left at his latest weekly round-up of Big Scary Terroristy Items (will it be allowed to post?):

        Oh no — not the dreaded Pure Silk Moisturizing Shave Cream, in Cherry Blossom, no less! Weapon of mass destruction extraordinaire! Please, please say it ain’t so!

      • And look at this asshole, an obvious TSA employee yet who writes under the cowardly “Anonymous”:

        Anonymous said…

        Tramky, actually it isn’t even confiscated. You as a passenger are given the opportunity to do several things with your prohibited items. You can check the bag under the plane in most cases, you can leave the item with someone who is not traveling, you can return it to your car or you can abandon the item to TSA. The choice is entirely up to you. TSA does not, and has not confiscated anything. Yet people still insist they had not choice…

        February 22, 2016 at 3:48 PM

        You’d just like to slap him. I am so sick of this incessant, abject lie that “the TSA doesn’t confiscate anything.” There aren’t enough cuss words in the English language for what I think of these shits.

        • Susan Richart

          This asshole is affectionately known as Boldy, who claims he is NOT a TSA employee but he seems to know a great deal about TSA operations.

          My response to him, not yet published:

          You really need to do some brain training to
          improve your memory, Boldy:

          “All have been
          confiscated from travelers screened at TSA checkpoints, Lisa Farbstein, TSA spokeswoman at the airport, said Thursday afternoon.”

          David Castelveter, spokesperson for the TSA:

          “We just keep track of the confiscations,….” Castelveter said.

          One wonders if Anonymous Boldy is really FORMER TSORon. 🙂

          It’s noteworthy that when Boldy is asked to present a citation for one of his claims, that citation never appears. Nor does he ever come back to challenge any one who proves him wrong in his statements.

    • Daisiemae

      What a sad little man he is!

  • Susan Richart

    My favorite comment from Thursday at AskTSA:

    Poster: why did you close #precheck at jfk terminal 8. Pointless!

    AskTSA Response: Sorry …..! Next time, inform an officer of your status to receive some form of expedited screening in the standard lane….

    Poster: i did. They told me to write y congressman and merge with the regular line. Almost missed my flight.

    • As we’ve been telling people for 5 years now, Pre-Check is a joke. But they still don’t believe it and still act surprised when they find out it’s true.

  • Susan Richart

    1 p.m. and still no critical comments. TSA is so freakin’ craven.

    • Maybe you should go over to Propaganda Central and ask Blogger Bob and West, et. al. what’s going on — ha ha!

      • Susan Richart

        🙂

  • Susan Richart

    Thursday morning, January 18, @AskTSA has been opened for questions since 8 a.m. and not one new tweet has appeared as of 8:42 a.m. What’s going on, @AskTSA? Trying to figure out a way to keep unflattering comments from appearing on the site? That’s o.k. as I’ve got hundreds documented
    and unless you wipe your site clean of comments prior to about February 2,
    2016, there are thousands more available for me to gather.

    • I’d like to think we have that kind of power, but I doubt it. More likely whoever’s in charge slept in, or maybe it’s just the usual incompetence we’ve come to expect from the TSA.

      • Susan Richart

        Not one comment critical of TSA as of 10:54 a.m. A change has been made.

        • Well, then, just as the TSA Blog uses our tax dollars to censor, ignore, and otherwise shit on us, so, too, does the Twitter arm of Propaganda Central. That’s the TSA we know and love!

  • Onetinythought

    What the hell. I’m even more discouraged and disgusted than ever.
    Thank you for the article…

  • RB

    TSA reminds me of the building that collapse in Taiwan during the recent earthquake. The building had empty tin cans in pillars and other places to make those structures appear more robust than they actually were. The connection to TSA? Fake cop uniforms. Fake cop badges. Managers and supervisors who have to look those two words up in a Funk & Wagnalls to learn what the words mean and lastly the most incompetent front line employees since the invention of paid jobs.

    Good article Susan.

    • Susan Richart

      Thanks, RB

  • dogmatix

    Gee, how hard is it to screen passengers? I went to county court recently on a traffic citation, (I won) and they had no difficulty screening the large crowd with metal detectors and wands. Quick and easy, no muss, no fuss. No naked pictures or pat-downs required.

    The lady in front of me forgot to take off her watch, and the metal detector alarmed. She took off her watch, went back through the metal detector, no alarm, got her watch and was cleared to go about her business. At a TSA checkpoint she would not have been allowed to go back through the metal detector; she would have gotten a pat down.

    Not one passenger in 100 million is a threat to anyone, so TSA’s job is super easy. On the other hand, TSA screeners are a known threat to everyone who travels. They lie, they steal, they sexually abuse passengers. Management turns a blind eye to their misconduct and a deaf ear to complaints. That’s an attitude that endangers everyone, and opens the door to real threats.

    While TSA was strip searching grannies and confiscating cup cakes and peanut butter, a smuggling operation was taking place right under their noses in Atlanta. The smugglers simply used their airport id to bypass security altogether. At Dallas, some 48 airport and TSA employees were involved in a smuggling ring. How could this happen? Where were the supervisors? Where were the managers? Where was the Federal Security Director? This is what TSA calls security?

    Who watches the watchman? Nobody, apparently. TSA’s attitude, and the attitude taken by its Aviation Security Advisory Committee, is that it would take too much time, effort, and money to screen TSA and airport employees the same way they screen passengers, even though it is required by law. A limited background check, less than that received by fast food workers, and an occasional spot check is what TSA considers adequate security for everyone else but passengers.

    Airport Security isn’t rocket science. Problems can be fixed, but like an alcoholic, TSA must admit it has a problem, and that it, not the public, is the problem.

    • Susan Richart

      “like an alcoholic, TSA must admit it has a problem, and that it, not the public, is the problem.” TSA has always blamed passengers for problems at the checkpoint.

  • Daisiemae

    Great job, Susan!

    • Susan Richart

      Thank you, Daisiemae.

  • Daisiemae

    All these cries for “Training! Training! Training!” are nauseating. You can’t train away stupidity and cruelty.

    • dogmatix

      Well said!

  • Jadeveon Clowney

    I have to fly occasionally for work. Otherwise, I never would. I don’t understand why all these people are putting up with this.

  • Susan Richart

    My list continues to grow and grow and grow……..

    • As you know, mine has been growing since 2010. Doesn’t matter. Nothing changes. Nothing will change.

  • Yet they continue to fly. Guess it must not be so bad.