TSA: Who, us? People love us!

TSA Deputy Administrator John Halinksi was called to Congress today to testify before the Subcommittee on Transportation of the Committee on Homeland Security. 

Halinsky took over the role of Deputy Administrator in July.

The topic of the hearing was misconduct by TSA Agents. Specifically, Subcommittee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-AL) wanted to know what the TSA is doing to identify and remove screeners who, to put this politely, sometimes exceed their authority or fail to follow proper authority. You know, like opening containers of cremated human remains and stirring them with a gloved hand (contrary to TSA policy) or mocking a deaf passenger (contrary to TSA policy) or fiddling with a passenger’s feeding tube (which is, you guessed it, contrary to TSA policy).

In fact, these kinds of things are so contrary to TSA policy that they supposedly never happened. Oh sure, allegations were made, but the agency investigated itself.

In the case of the feeding tube, the TSA reported to an anxious America: “Our investigation concluded that proper procedures were followed.” In the case of the deaf passenger, “after a review of the video, TSA found no footage . . . or anything to indicate that they were pointing at and ridiculing a passenger.” And, rest assured, human remains are always carefully and respectfully screened.

So maybe there are allegations that agents acted improperly, but they’re just allegations.

Until this morning.

Rogers opened the hearing with a statement that said: “The majority of Americans do not support the government’s current approach.” He went on to highlight instances of theft from luggage, taking of bribes, sleeping on the job, and failure to properly screen luggage.

Halinski replied that “overall, most travelers have a positive experience at the airport.” He objected to “the near constant criticism and frequently embellished allegations of improper screening reported in the media and repeated as fact by many individuals despite the evidence to the contrary.”

You can watch the entire hearing on C-SPAN, but as busy people you might need an executive summary. Here it is:

HALINSKI:  “Well, I-I-I would ask you, Sir, if you could provide us what the criticisms are.  I haven’t seen a lot of statistics about criticisms.”

That’s right, not only did those alleged incidents not occur, the actual allegations weren’t even made. POOF! They’re gone. Because, you know, being criticized is contrary to TSA policy.

(Photo: C-Span)

  • CelticWhisper

    One thing that stands out here is that it’s Halinski, and not Pistole, who attended this hearing. In the past it’s always been Chief Molester Pistole who was in the Congressional crosshairs. Whither goes the personal attendance, Pissy?

    I wonder if Halinski is being groomed to take Pistole’s place. If so, I wonder if it’s ahead of schedule. I’d love to think that Pistole is quietly packing up his desk and calling in every favor he can to get some kind of job that doesn’t involve the phrase “You want fries with that?” once he’s out of TSA, but I’d like to see more evidence before I get my hopes up.

    Unfortunately, Halinski would be just about the replacement we’d all expect. Shamelessly apologetic for the agency, a gifted denier, and showing no visible regard for rights, dignity, or the importance of the Constitution. All of which are, as I have said many times in the past, MORE IMPORTANT than safety.

    • I’m afraid Pistole might have his sights set on being head of the FBI. If so, and if he gets the appointment, we can kiss what few remaining rights we have left in this country goodbye.

  • Here you go, TSA Deputy Molester Halinski, I found you a reference for the “statistics about criticisms”: a fairly recent, excellent and comprehensive Reason/Rupe poll, detailed at http://reason.com/poll/2011/09/16/43-percent-of-americans-have-a

    Let’s get to the heart of the matter: More Americans have a negative view of the TSA than have a positive one. Americans who have negative
    views of the TSA fly more often than those with positive
    or neutral views of the TSA. So – of air travelers, who are the ones who actually have to suffer Halinski’s goons and their thieving molesting pants-invading hands, significantly more of those travelers have negative experiences than have positive ones, Ah, statistics. Halinski, you’re either a liar or an incompetent ignoramus. My money’s on both.

  • Excellent! It’s Halinsky’s motto: “Being criticized is contrary to TSA policy.” I love it that this loser only started work in July and is already facing down an angry mob in Congress, trying to placate them with lies. What the hell does Halinsky know about the years-long record of incidents in question, considering he’s barely unpacked his picture frames onto his new desk?

    • Actually, you should watch the video on C-SPAN. The members of the committee were awfully deferential and congratulatory to him. I would have liked to see a lot more pushback.

      Second point: did you notice that he begins with a statement condemning the “the near constant criticism” from the media and bloggers, followed by the comment that he’s really not sure what criticisms Rep Rogers is talking about.

      What a double-talking dirtbag.