And the TSA incompetence beat goes on . . .

As I wrote earlier this month, TSA incompetence and stupidity — combined with American populace passivity — are causing thousands of people to miss their flights. The amount of time travelers are supposed to allow to get through airport security keeps ballooning — from one hour to two hours to, now, three hours before their flights. And that’s for domestic flights, mes amis, not just international ones.

Yet despite the copious coverage of this insanity, people keep flying. They not only keep flying, they’re increasing their flying. They keep planning vacations, they keep taking trips they don’t have to take, they keep putting up with being abused, and they keep complaining — just read the comments at Jonathan Turley’s post on this. Yet they will do nothing to resist.

Guess things must not be so bad.

I’ve said it a thousand times before, and I’ll say it again: unless you’re forced to travel for work or for a family/medical emergency, you don’t have to fly. You’re choosing to fly. You’re choosing to risk missing your flight. You’re choosing to be treated like cattle to the slaughter. Your behavior is telling the airlines and the TSA that you’re pefectly content to be abused.

When people get what they ask for, I don’t see how they can be surprised.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

Not the TSA for once, just general moron America

Because the level of ignorance and stupidity in this country can never be overestimated, we have the latest incidence of one of America’s fine upstanding citizens displaying her intellectual acumen for all to see. And supposed airline professionals going along with her. True, this didn’t involve the TSA, but we can easily see how the stupidity and paranoia exhibited by that organization — and constantly hyped by our “security” overlords — has spread to the population at large.

From The Guardian:

Professor: flight was delayed because my equation raised terror fears
American Airlines says woman expressed suspicion about University of Pennsylvania economics professor, who was solving a differential equation

Menzio, who is Italian and has curly, dark hair, told the Associated Press he initially “thought they were trying to get clues about her illness.”

“Instead, they tell me that the woman was concerned that I was a terrorist because I was writing strange things on a pad of paper.”

He told the Washington Post that he was “treated respectfully throughout” the process but remains perturbed by a system that “relies on the input of people who may be completely clueless”.

Completely clueless? Well, that’s half the American population right there.

(Cross-posted at ABombazine)

TSA: Arrive Early and Still Miss Your Flight!

For months now, there have been so many stories in the news about the fact that airport security lines are getting longer, that the TSA is getting more onerous (as if that’s possible), that people are arriving earlier and earlier and still missing their flights. With increasing numbers of travelers during the summer, things will only get worse. Here are just a few such articles:

Travelers, staff ‘frustrated’ due to hour-long TSA wait times at Denver International Airport: Passengers were advised to arrive 2-3 hours early

TSA comes under fire AGAIN as 6,800 American Airlines passengers miss their flights in ONE week – and it could get worse, company warns

American Airlines Hits Out at ‘Unacceptable’ TSA Lines

TSA woes mean major delays for Philadelphia travelers

TSA Advises Complaining Passengers to Arrive Much Earlier

Charlotte’s airport director urges TSA not to cut staff, warns of delay

Catching a Flight? Budget Hours, Not Minutes, for Security

To all of which I have only one thing to say:

Ha ha.

Which is pretty much what I said at the comment I left at the NYT article (the last one in this list). Let’s see if they print it. I left it early this morning:

No sympathy. In fact, laughter. The TSA is an out-of-control criminal agency that abuses people with impunity. It has been doing so for at least the past six years. Yet people put up with it.

Stop flying, people! Stop flying and bring the airlines to their knees. Then things will change. But as long as you’re content to allow yourselves — and your children — to be bullied, harassed, robbed, and assaulted, you’re getting exactly what you asked for. Happy Trails!

(Photo: 01/13/16. KUSA)

TSA: Morons on Parade Episode 3,867

A recent tweet, brought to you by the brilliant minds of the TSA:

Agent [email protected]Apr 14

ADVISORY: #TSA RECOGNIZES PASSENGERS WHO MISS FLIGHTS DUE TO SECURITY LINES AS “MAKING HEROIC SACRIFICE FOR FREEDOM.”

There you have it — you’re making a heroic sacrifice for freedom!

Don’t you feel better already?

(Okay, the tweet is technically satirical, but it reads exactly like something the TSA would say. They say stupid shit all the time. Read on.)

This tweet was in response to the fact that thousands of people all over the country are missing their flights because the security lines are so long. But hey, all you have to do is arrive earlier. Then, when you’re all massed together at the checkpoint like sitting ducks, you can feel secure that if a bomb goes off there, the dead won’t be as dead as if it goes off on a plane, because — well, logic!

Keep flying, people. Keep rewarding the airlines and keep putting up with this abuse. After all, what do you have to lose?

Belgium attacks: more proof that the TSA is useless

The bomb attacks in Belgium today — three of them, two at different locations in the airport and one in the subway — present in high relief yet more proof of what we’ve been pointing out for five years now at this blog: the TSA is a charade. The TSA does not and cannot and will never prevent terror attacks. All the pre-boarding bullying, harassing, scanning, and groping doesn’t make a damn bit of difference, because — duh — people can set off bombs anywhere, not just on a plane.

From the Tribune wire reports:

Witnesses told The Associated Press that one occurred at an excess baggage payment counter and the other near a Starbucks cafe.

Hello?? Excess baggage payment counter. Starbucks cafe. In the airport. Not on a plane.

And the subway explosions happened in, er, the subway. Not on a plane.

Even the most credulous, unthinking TSA apologists can see those facts. I don’t believe it’ll make any difference — in fact, I know it won’t. But at least the rest of us can see what’s right in front of our faces even if they refuse to.

The TSA isn’t protecting you from anything. If you think it is, the kindest thing I can say about you is that you’re deluded. Willfully deluded. But I’ve been at this long enough to know that denial is one of humankind’s most cherished behaviors.

(Photo: Jef Versele via Yahoo News)

Cross-posted at ABombazine

James Bovard’s op-ed on TSA abuse in USA Today

Fellow crusader in the struggle James Bovard, about whom we’ve written before, has a new op-ed about the TSA in USA Today. Though he doesn’t link directly to TSA News, he does cover in a cogent, comprehensive fashion a lot of the same ground we’ve covered here over the years.

The title of the op-ed is “My too intimate relations with the TSA.”

Since USA Today accepts only Facebook comments, you can’t leave a comment unless you’re on FB. That counts me out. But I’d just say the same things I’ve been saying for years: the TSA is an out-of-control, criminal agency that abuses people with impunity. But apparently people are okay with being abused because they keep flying. We’re set to break all flying records this summer. I don’t believe things will change in my lifetime.

Oh, and one more thing, though we’ve repeated it countless times already: never, ever go into a private room with these people. They can’t force you to do that. Insist that they perform their abusive grope in public. As Susan Richart keeps reminding us, administrative searches — which is what by law the TSA is supposed to be doing, that and nothing more — have very strict guidelines:

“Moreover, the possibility for abuse is minimized by the public nature of the search. Unlike searches conducted on dark and lonely streets at night where often the officer and the subject are the only witnesses, these searches are made under supervision and not far from the scrutiny of the traveling public.”

See United States v. Skipwith, 482 F.2d 1272, 1275
(5th Cir. 1973).

TSA mocks blind man

No matter how often we hear these stories, one after another after another after another, for years now, each new outrage is still infuriating. No matter how low you think the TSA can go, it always goes lower.

Thus we have this story about a blind man named Joe Nerney being mocked and ridiculed by TSA agents — plural — at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. According to this account from WTNH, Nerney says he travels all over the world as a professional musician and that the TSA is usually accommodating. But not this time:

Joe has been blind since birth and he needs to be guided through the security machines, but on Thursday while clearing security at Bradley, the TSA agent was condescending, telling him to stand on the yellow line that he could not see. When he finished the checkpoint, they told him he had to go back in.

“I kind of got pushed back in I still wasn’t stepping on the yellow lines so my friend came in and kind of guided my feet toward the yellow line,” said Nerney.

But it doesn’t end there. It wasn’t just the one sadistic agent who insisted Nerney stand on yellow footprints he obviously couldn’t see. Other TSA agents got in on the action:

On this day as he felt his way out of the machine, he says the TSA agents were mocking him.

“I got out of the machine, but for some reason the TSA guys thought it was funny and they were laughing about it,” said Nerney.

This kind of thing should never happen. I don’t want to hear claims about “a few bad apples” and all the usual garbage that TSA apologists throw out there. Only a sick, twisted, sadistic shit ridicules a disabled person. And you can bet this isn’t the only time these agents have behaved this way. It’s just the only time we happened to find out about it.

How many times do we need to say it? How many instances of abuse — thousands of them, well catalogued — do people need to read before they get it through their heads?

The TSA is an out-of-control, criminal agency that abuses people with impunity. And as long as people keep flying, and keep putting up with this abuse, nothing will change.

TSA: False Premise Theater

Arguments made in support of the TSA are invariably a toxic stew of strawmen, question-begging, and self-refuting premises. This week’s winning pile of gibberish is from the American Federation of Government Employees, which warns on its website that the Atlanta airport may return to “Pre-9/11 Era Airport Security” by dumping smurfs and hiring private security staff.

Pull on a pair of your very tallest boots, cowboys, ’cause we’re about to wade deep into the bullshit.

Most ridiculously, the AFGE – like the TSA officers it represents – insists on dramatizing a job that mostly requires low-status employees with minimal training to make Madge and the kids hold up their hands in submission posture for a silly piece of security magic. Quote:

TSA officers have one of the most stressful jobs in the world.

They are responsible for millions of lives a day. They know that one mistake could lead to a tragedy. Their job is also incredibly dangerous. A bomb in an innocent-looking bag could go off, or an anti-government lunatic could walk up to the check point and open fire, just like what happened at the Los Angeles Airport in 2013 where a TSA officer was killed.

The TSA is almost 15 years old, now, and has had one employee killed on the job. It’s far more dangerous to sell blouses in the suburbs, or to do just about anything else. The most commonly performed functions of the TSA officer — sighing, eye-rolling, petulant shuffling, sullenly smoking cigarettes in front of the airport — are almost perfectly injury-proof, except (over the long term) for the last one.

To be sure, a new killing spree at an airport checkpoint could bring the TSA’s number of violent workplace deaths surging to an average of almost .1 per year, making it, apparently, “incredibly dangerous.” It’s like being a lumberjack, except without the labor or the productivity or the plaid.

And about that “one mistake” that “could lead to a tragedy”: The TSA invariably makes more mistakes than that. People who achieve three successes out of 70 security tests don’t get to brag about how they can’t afford to make a single mistake at work.

Then there are the moments that make you wonder if smurf apologists can use their eyes to read the things their fingers are typing. Getting warmed up, the AFGE first warns of a dark plot to “return airport security to the pre-9/11 era in which screeners were poorly trained and paid.” And then, a few paragraphs later, the same blog post on the same website from the same organization sadly informs readers that “TSA screeners’ average salary is only $32,000 a year. They are among the lowest paid federal employees.”

So you can’t replace TSA officers, because then airport security screenings would be done by poorly paid screeners, which is very dangerous, so you should insist instead on having airport security screenings done by TSA officers, who are poorly paid. Hold the smoke in your lungs when you inhale, and that reasoning will get you high as a kite.

And then, a few sentences later: “When airports are understaffed, screeners often times cannot attend training they’re supposed to go to. They cannot do their jobs properly if they are not trained properly.”

So TSA officers should be replaced by private-sector security employees, who are poorly trained, but the irreplaceable TSA officers are themselves “not trained properly.” I said hold the smoke. No coughing! Hold it! Hold it! (pause) Okay, let it out. How are you feeling?

Equally absurd – on its face, right up front, not in any hard-to-detect way – is the entire premise that the use of private-sector security screeners represents a “return to pre-9/11 era airport security,” since private screeners run checkpoints to standards set and enforced by the TSA.

But whatever. A careful reader could find a dozen more reasons to laugh out loud at the AFGE’s defense of its lowest-status members. Or you could just sigh at how familiar the whole mess has become, and pour yourself another drink.

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)

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.