@AskTSA thread ending

I’ve decided to end the almost-weekly @AskTSA thread as the TSA’s site has devolved into posting praise from passengers for PreCheck, advising passenger’s how to make certain they receive PreCheck on their boarding passes, explaining to passengers how they can receive “expedited” screening in regular lanes, sometimes offering insincere apologies for the actions of abusive screeners, and claiming that security is their #1 priority.

For the most part, on the positive side, @AskTSA has stopped claiming that canine teams make checkpoint lines move faster, substituting the claim that they are bringing in “additional resources” to move the lines along.

There’s an all-out press over at the TSA Blog pushing PreCheck in addition to a general PR campaign to improve the TSA’s image. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem as if too many people are buying into that campaign.

I will keep reading @AskTSA, responding to individual tweets, and, from time to time, posting links to the more outrageous claims/comments @AskTSA’s Twitter page, such as when they claim that liquid explosives are still a threat.

@AskTSA Week 6 – How do dogs speed up TSA screening?

There are no screen shots of @AskTSA comments this week because 90% of comments from @AskTSA are in response to the growing number of complaints about long lines and lack of Pre-Check lanes.

There have been questions about hair pat-downs of women of color whom, in spite of an agreement with the ACLU, the TSA still seems to profile.

There have also been complaints about the scanners alarming on crotches. Two people complained that they get crotch pat-downs every single time they fly. There was no indication, however, about whether they might have been transgender passengers, which could explain the alarms. Then again, since the scanners alarm on seams, pleats, and sweat, as we have pointed out hundreds of times, who knows?

There were a couple of comment about the fact that @AskTSA is unwilling to give direct “Yes” or “No” answers to questions. We all know that’s standard operating procedure for the TSA. Gotta keep those terrorists guessing!

One of the standard responses from @AskTSA to questions about long lines is:

We’re working to address the volume by increasing use of canines, encouraging TSA Pre✓® enrollment & accelerating hiring.

How does increasing the use of dogs speed up the screening process? There don’t seem to be any reports of passengers who pass the “sniff” test being moved to PreCheck lanes, so if someone could explain to me how it works, I’d appreciate it.

And by the way, as we’ve also explained umpteen times, dogs are no panacea.

As for “accelerating hiring,” the TSA allegedly has plans to hire 800 more screeners. But a quick perusal of USAJobs, where TSA openings are advertised, shows no openings for TSA screeners in Chicago, Atlanta, or New York/New Jersey, areas that are seeing some of the the biggest lines and longest delays.

There are two openings for trainers at the “training academy” in Georgia, however.

In other TSA news, it’s been reported that 35% of newly hired screeners leave the agency in their first year of employment.

Until next week . . . .

Week 4 of @AskTSA

An update to the page @AskTSA has been posted. Click the link @AskTSA in the Menu bar at the top of the page.

Here’s a teaser for you (as always, click on image to enlarge):

robots 1

 

It’s so obvious that whoever mans the @AskTSA desk just looks for key words and then responds to those key words — in other words, just like a robot.

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?

@AskTSA

At the top of this blog, in the Menu bar, please note the arrival of a new page at TSA News: @AskTSA, a compendium from the AskTSA Twitter site of passenger comments and TSA responses that I consider noteworthy. For example, comments from passengers who criticize the TSA, or responses by the TSA that show a lack of reading comprehension, or incomplete responses, such as when a TSA rep tells passengers they can bring something on board, but doesn’t add that any screener can deny any item at any time for any reason.

The page will be updated on a regular basis.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post that include several comments from passengers who felt violated by the TSA during so-called “enhanced patdowns.” Since that post was published, no other explicit comments about “pat downs” have appeared on the @AskTSA Twitter feed.

Coincidence?

I don’t think so.

It certainly looks as if the TSA is now hiding critical comments. In place of those critical comments about abusive pat-downs, @AskTSA is now publishing comments from passengers about the great treatment they got from TSA screeners, how efficient and kind they were. If you believe those are the only kinds of comments travelers are tweeting to the TSA, I have a bridge to sell you.

The following Tweets appeared on AskTSA last night, March 30, 2016:

2.92.10

Vinnie Liar” opened his Twitter account yesterday and sent six comments to various U.S. and British agencies. Is there anyone who doesn’t think he was jerking chains and playing — anyone, that is, except @AskTSA?

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)