Base rate fallacy dooms TSA’s risk-based screening

The TSA has been peddling the concept of risk-based screening vigorously of late. PreCheck is one oft-touted example of risk-based screening; others include behavior detection and modified screenings for the oldest and youngest passengers. The TSA might feel the need to mollify an outraged public, but the public should be only more outraged that the more »


5 things the TSA doesn’t want you to see

This is a picture of two Transportation Security Administration screeners leaving work last week. But look closely. They're nowhere near an airport. In fact, if you've ever been to Washington, then you'll recognize the area just outside a Metro station near a congressional office building. This is just one the images the TSA didn't want you to more »


Priest booted for sex abuse finds job at TSA

A Catholic priest kicked out of the church over sex abuse allegations has found refuge with the TSA in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia affiliate of CBS-TV has discovered that Thomas Harkin, formerly a priest working in South New Jersey, was removed by the Camden Diocese in 2002 because church officials found he had sexually abused two young more »

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A new low: TSA steals from Army officer on leave

Photo by Flickr user  Foxtongue, licensed under Creative Commons As someone who has been observing and writing about the TSA for a few years now, I often hear from members of the traveling public about their experiences with the agency. Their inevitably negative experiences, I should say, since I have not yet received a single e-mail, Facebook more »

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Game Theory – Applied

One Arthur Frommer, self-identified travel guru, has once again come out in favor of strip searches and gropes. Yes, we should be-oh-so-grateful to have the privilege of being assaulted by our government on a frequent basis. Um, no. I had the honor and privilege to listen to very bright, unemotional presentations of math-based and engineering-based facts more »


Senate committee votes to help TSA spend more money

Apparently, $8 billion a year isn't enough for the TSA. They've run into a budget shortfall. Hey, have some sympathy:  the skills required to bully, harass, rob, strip, and grope people -- and then lie about it -- don't come cheap.  Our noble Congress, whose members, as we were told on Capitol Hill yesterday, are hearing relentlessly more »

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Man Tasered for mentioning the word “bomb”

A man who was clearly intoxicated was attacked by police with a Taser after the TSA reported that he was "making threats" at Austin Straubel International Airport. I know we've been told for years not to make jokes about bombs or indeed even to mention the word "bomb" in the presence of the TSA. I get more »


TSA: Failure by the numbers

I just got back from a Congressional briefing on Capitol Hill organized by Freedom to Travel USA -- specifically Wendy Thomson, Renee Beeker, and Jeff Pierce -- and other TSA activists including Sommer Gentry and Jon Corbett. (Thomson and Gentry also write for TSA News). The briefing was attended by several Congressional aides from various Representatives' offices. more »

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What the hell gives them the right to frisk Henry Kissinger?

No one should have been surprised when Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger issued a statement praising the the Transportation Security Administration for its professionalism after he got a pat-down last week in New York. What was he supposed to do, call the TSA a criminal organization? But many of the agency's more »


TSA executive admits not a single terrorist-related arrest has resulted from whole-body scanners

We call it mission creep. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) started out as an organization with a mandate to protect Americans from terrorists in the post-9/11 world. The TSA mission on its website is: The Transportation Security Administration protects the Nation’s transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce. At a forum conducted by more »