Horror stories of the TSA

Airport-security-check-point622742382_bbe8fad2dd_oIf I were stupid enough to work for these ideates I would want my face blacked out too!

 

ATLANTA – (AP) — The Transportation Security Administration is considering additional security measures for airport and airline employees, federal officials said Thursday.The announcement from the Department of Homeland Security came weeks after five people were arrested in a gun-smuggling operation involving passenger jets traveling between Atlanta and New York City. One of those arrested was a Delta baggage handler and ramp agent who worked at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson visited the airport on Thursday to review U.S. Customs and Border Protection and TSA operations.

Additional security measures could include enhanced airline-employee screenings, random security checks and additional TSA and law enforcement patrols in secure areas, officials said in a statement. The Aviation Security Advisory Committee has also been asked to review the security of airports nationwide to identify all potential ways the Department of Homeland Security can address airport security vulnerabilities.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, praised the department’s announcement, which came a day after he called for the TSA to require daily screenings of airport and airline employees.

“When it is as easy to carry guns, explosives and drugs onto an airplane as a neck pillow, it’s high time to overhaul how airports are required to screen employees with access to secure areas of an airport,” Schumer said in a statement.

Robert Mann, a New York-based airline-industry analyst and consultant, said additional security measures are necessary.

“It was no surprise to anybody that’s been in the industry that this has been an area that was just rife for exploitation,” he said.

But he said the question now is how the TSA plans to implement any changes; shifting resources from passenger security checks to airline and airport employees without boosting manpower, for example, could negatively impact travelers, he said.

Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, who helped lead the investigation into the gun-smuggling case in Atlanta, said in a statement that he is glad federal officials are looking to improve airport security, but added that “the devil is in the details.”

“I look forward … to hearing more from DHS and TSA on the necessary steps that they will take to protect the American public,” he said.

Following the gun-smuggling arrest, the Hartsfield-Jackson airport has increased random inspections and its police presence, airport spokesman Reese McCranie said in a statement. McCranie said airport officials are working with federal authorities “on a daily basis to enhance our security posture, and we plan to announce further changes soon.”

Here we go:

With all due respects, to Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY, and his stupid praised the department’s announcement, which came a day after he called for the TSA to require daily screenings of airport and airline employees.

“When it is as easy to carry guns, explosives and drugs onto an airplane as a neck pillow, it’s high time to overhaul how airports are required to screen employees with access to secure areas of an airport,” Schumer said in a statement.  Maybe, just may be Chucky should be aware of the following.

When airport/airlines hire new people, those prospects are vetted, and checked by FBI finger print checks.  DHS and TSA, which is in the DHS, do their background checks.  They are background checked by the employer, i.e. airline or vender as well.  And last but not least the airport itself before they get an Airport ID (SIDA) Badge.  And if you need a customs seal, CBP does their own check even though they too are part of the all powerful DHS as well.

While working, if employees bypass security, they have to swipe all security doors so there is a record of who is entering secure areas.  Once in these areas, there are more cameras watching every move you make than at the best casino!  How many jobs have you, or most of your readers had where you went through such scrutiny?  Employees routinely go in and out of restricted areas many times a day in doing their job.  If they had to go through security every time they walked out of the secure area, it would tie up the lines more than they are now, especially employees’ with tools-of-the-trade.

How do I know this?  I’m one of these employees’!  I have worked for USAirways in Philadelphia for almost 18 years.  Before that, I was a Security Checkpoint Supervisor, when security meant something.  Not like this TSA nonsense, we have today.  I have been at PHL since 1989 and I have never seen nor heard any employee speak of doing something nefarious to airline travel or to the airport itself.

If you’re so worried about al Qaeda, and ISSIS (ISSIST), shmisis, whatever, or one knucklehead airline employee out of thousands sneaks guns underneath to bypass security, than hide under your bed because as long as man has been around and, as long as humans are on this earth there will be threats from one group to another.  There is no open back door at airports, no more than any other secure location.  The TSA has practically turned our airports into minimum-security prisons.  Now you want things even tighter because of jihadist chitchat, which has been going on for years?

Instead of jumping on employees’ not going through security, maybe you should look at all the money the TSA spends on the “Illusion” of security at the checkpoint while at the same time will not let your kids go past that very checkpoint to see you off at the gate, all for security reasons, of course.

By the way, a little titbit for you, TSA employees don’t go through security, either.  Now do you feel safer?

Yawning, whistling might get you flagged at airport security

ABC News

 UPDATED 2:08 PM EDT Mar 30, 2015
Yawn---generic

BOSTON —Excessive yawning, whistling and too much laughter could possibly find you detained by airport security agents for further questioning, according to a recently released list.

 

The SPOT Referral Report, which stands for “Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques,” was obtained a week ago by The Intercept, which claims the unclassified report is a “closely held” Transportation Security Administration (TSA) document detailing what Behavior Detection Officers look for when observing suspicious travelers and possible terrorists at the nation’s airports, ABC reported.

Actions appearing on the 92-point checklist featured on The Intercept were divided into categories such as “stress factors,” “fear factors” and “signs of deception,” and ranged from “appears to be in disguise” and “face pale from recent shaving of beard” to “excessive yawning,” “excessive throat clearing” and “gazing down.”

TSA would neither confirm or deny to ABC News whether the specific indicators listed in the leaked report are used by officials or other parts of the administration. But a spokesperson did acknowledge that it does use behavior detection and analysis.

“Behavior detection, which is just one element of the TSA’s efforts to mitigate threats against the traveling public, is vital to TSA’s layered approach to deter, detect and disrupt individuals who pose a threat to aviation,” said a TSA spokesperson.

Detractors of the SPOT practice contend that many of the behaviors listed on the report are no different from how regular travelers appear when passing through airport security.

Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently sued the TSA for not releasing SPOT documents, saying the program encourages racial profiling.

“What we know about SPOT suggests it wastes taxpayer money, leads to racial profiling, and should be scrapped,” said Hugh Handeyside, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “The TSA has insisted on keeping documents about SPOT secret, but the agency can’t hide the fact that there’s no evidence the program works. The discriminatory racial profiling that SPOT has apparently led to only reinforces that the public needs to know more about how this program is used and with what consequences for Americans’ rights.”

But the TSA defended its program in a statement to ABC News:

“Terrorists have used a variety of items and ways to attempt to inflict harm to aircraft — everything from shoes to liquids — but consistent across all methods of attack is the malicious intent of the actor,” said a TSA spokesperson. “Looking for suspicious behavior is a common sense approach used by law enforcement and security personnel across the country and the world, that focuses on those behavioral indicators, rather than items, and when used in combination with other security layers helps mitigate a variety of threats.”

But normal individuals with “strong body odor,” “trembling hands,” “protruding neck arteries” or exhibiting other factors noted on the report shouldn’t have cause for immediate worry, cautioned the administration.

“No single behavior alone will cause a traveler to be referred to additional screening or will result in a call to a law enforcement officer,” the TSA spokesperson said, adding, “Officers are trained and audited to ensure referrals for additional screening are based only on observable behaviors and not race or ethnicity.”

 

 

 

 

 

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Person You Love .. At Airport Security.

 

I never brag. I’m just an aging newspaperman in a busted-valise industry.My business-travel column in the New York Times has run weekly for almost 11 years — but I am awfully proud of the first four or five paragraphs in my column in tomorrow’s paper (which is difficult, as usual, to find on the newspaper’s Web site.)I teared up seeing this, writing it and, tonight, even reading it. This, I thought, is the nation that won the Battle of Midway six months after Pearl Harbor. And here were two once-young lovers, after all of these years, unable to protect each other’s simple dignity in some crummy joint with this asinine name,Newark “Liberty” International Airport, where an old man and an old woman felt so powerless to even communicate with one another.###

Just in case the link doesn’t work, here’s a paste-up of my column. As I said, it’s the first couple of paragraphs that matter:
***

By JOE SHARKEY
Published: December 7, 2009

The man looked old enough to have gone ashore on D-Day, and that thought haunted me. He was ordered to stand behind a security partition while a security screener worked over a frail woman bent in a wheelchair.

“Your wife?” I asked.

He nodded but did not take his eyes off her. As the screener ran the wand up her legs, the elderly woman glanced anxiously at her husband, and you thought how many years — 50 or more? — they had spent looking after each other. Transportation Security Administration agents stood around idly in their crisp blue shirts at security gates at the airport in Newark, but the screener worked energetically, poking and prodding and patting every inch of the body of the woman in the wheelchair, as if she were a suspect just dragged out of a cave in Afghanistan.

The screener roughly turned the woman’s palm upward and swabbed it with a chemical to check for explosives. Beside me the man stiffened. “I suppose they have to be careful,” he said. Finally, his wife was wheeled out to join him.

As yet another busy travel season approaches, how many times will we all witness sad scenes like this, which make you question the common sense of many security procedures. Watching screeners confiscate Christmas snow globes, bags of frozen tomato sauce, nearly spent toothpaste tubes, how many of us will have this thought: Are they making this stuff up as they go along? Once they X-rayed and intimately patted that woman in the wheelchair, what was the point of swabbing her for explosives?

Readers often write about perceived security absurdities. One women said her pumpkin pie was confiscated, on the ground that pumpkin pie contained gel-like material. Caitlin Chaffee, concerned about “inconsistencies,” wrote that at one security checkpoint, “I even had an orange confiscated, because they said it was a liquid of more than three ounces.”

The Homeland Security Department recently reminded travelers that liquids and gels could be carried on only in “three-ounce containers” that all fit in a quart-size zipper bag. But even that was slightly incorrect. For some time now, the maximum container size has actually been 3.4 ounces, in a nod to the European Union’s insistence that the standard should conform to the metric system (3.4 ounces equals 100 milliliters).

The T.S.A. says the limits on liquids and gels are based on chemistry, because such small volumes make it virtually impossible to assemble explosives on a plane. On the other hand, a separate T.S.A. regulation says that “travelers with disabilities and medical conditions” are “not limited in the amount of volume” of liquids or gels they may carry, including “items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons,” including “bras or shells containing gels, saline solution or other liquids.”

This is not to say that people with medical needs should have to fly without vital liquids or gels, but rather to underscore the inconsistencies, sometimes understandable, often infuriating, that we all face at the airport. A better effort is needed — and perhaps we should start here, with readers’ suggestions — to require airlines and security personnel to get the rules straight and to use more common sense in their application.

That includes some strange rules enforced in flight in the name of “safety.” As I have mentioned in several columns, some airlines had been instructing passengers that, based on Federal Aviation Administration safety rules, nothing could be placed in seat pockets — not even eyeglasses. In the commotion that ensued, the F.A.A. issued a notice on Nov. 12 to “clarify” that, saying small items not exceeding three pounds could be placed in the pockets.

SkyWest Airlines, which had been enforcing a total ban, immediately changed its policy to comply. But on Southwest Airlines, where the ban was sometimes enforced and sometimes not, evidently not all flight attendants got the word.

“I had two flights on Southwest this week,” Stephen Meltzer wrote the other day, and the flight attendants “on both flights making the safety announcements were very stern in telling us that nothing could be placed in the pockets.”

Southwest has now also clarified that. The F.A.A. “asks the airlines to take a common sense approach to items in the seat-back pocket,” said Whitney Eichinger, a spokeswoman for Southwest. “Personal items are allowed in the seat-back pocket, but the heaviest items must be secured.”

Let’s hear it for common sense.

###

3 comments:

Wanderluster said…
Thanks for pointing out the silly inconsistencies and the preposterous behavior that has now become common.I was “busted” at security for carrying peanut butter because it was “spreadable”. Could never find it listed on the TSA site…Now we get to contend with xray body screenings!
paleolith said…
Our current security procedures are based on walls. History tells us, from the Great Wall of China to the Maginot Line to the Berlin Wall, that all walls fall eventually. Our security is better enhanced by bridges than by walls.
Averill said…
Dear Mr. Sharkey:I am an employee with US Airways in Philadelphia, and found your story about the elderly couple and the problems encountered because the wife was in a wheelchair very frustrating.It is indeed a sorry situation that the joke called “airport security” has come to this, and I agree with your thoughts.However, there is something else to think about. What if the elderly woman, who was obviously frightened by this whole affair, was traveling by herself and not with her husband?

Because of the TSA’s continuing stupid policy of “ticketed passengers only” past security in force, she would be alone; her husband would not have been there to comfort her as he did not have a ticket.

I have a web site, while in no way is as popular as your blog, it deals with the issue of only letting ticketed passengers past security. www.changeairportsecurity.org

I ask you and your readers to look at my site and see how the whole folly of “ticketed passengers only” is not only a waste of time, and has nothing to do with security, except, perhaps, the illusion of security, and is a real hindrance to passengers and meeters and greeters as well.

If you have the time, I would appreciate your input concerning this “non” security measure and how it can be stopped. Perhaps you can help me with your site in this endeavor.
Thank you,

Averill Hecht
alhecht@comcast.net

 

Lots of people are posting highlighting how pointless airport security is given the ease with which a terrorist can bypass it by e.g. blowing himself up in the security line, targeting buses or shopping malls, making weapons from stuff bought “air side” etc.As this hasn’t been happening (despite how easy it would be for a terrorist to do), the only logical conclusion I draw is that the entire terrorist threat is so unbelievably overblown it doesn’t warrant even thinking about when it comes to evaluating personal safety. I mean, how can it not be, given how easy it would be for a terrorist to just stroll in to an airport departures hall with a jacket bomb and detonate himself yet the closest we’ve seen to this is one lunatic failing to ignite some powder in his shoes and another idiot burning his crotch.I think the real answer is that you can probably count the number of truly dangerous terrorists in the world on two hands. The rest of the current crop are nothing more than brainwashed amateurs who spend their time wreaking havoc and misery in isolated parts of the world that no normal person would ever have occasion to set foot in. This article from the FT makes a similar point: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/ee2a8412-2923-11e4-9d5d-00144…If I was a black man in the US I’d be much more afraid of looking at a cop the wrong way than being caught up in a terrorist outrage.reply
nikcub 7 hours ago | link

I ended up finding a way to get cigarette lighters through with a 100% success rate just by brute forcing it.If you travel a lot and you’re a smoker you’d know that the worst part is getting off the flight, crawling through the airport at exit and then not having a lighter because they took it off you at departure[1].

No penalty for being caught with a lighter, so I kept leaving lighters in my bag in different places deliberately to figure out how I could get one through.

Solution turned out to be simple, and I hit it almost accidentally. I removed the metal shield and then dropped the lighter into an inside pocket of my bag that contains pens and loose coins.

Worked 100% of the time thereafter.

The scanners being blacklisting like a virus scanner means they have the same problem, they can only identify known threats. Change the form of the threat and you’re through until they update and train their scanners again (both human and machine).

The illusion of safety. I’ve since quit both smoking and flying frequently.

[1] I gave the TSA the idea of handing out lighters they have confiscated from departing passengers to arriving passengers but they didn’t buy into it.

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MeinCrapf 5 hours ago | link

You sure you didn’t make that change around August, 2007?http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/lighters-and-matches

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iamtew 6 hours ago | link

That seems very odd that they would take a lighter. Mind you I’ve been on very few domestic US flights, and on a few flights in/out of the US, but I never had problems with lighters. I just drop it on the plate they send through the X-ray and pick it up afterwards, no issues.This was within the last 4 years though, maybe procedures have changed?

Here in EU I’ve never had any problems either.

The only thing that I know they frown upon is Zippo lighters, unless it’s brand new and still sealed. Something about the petrol being used in those lighters they don’t like.

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MeinCrapf 5 hours ago | link

They started allowing lighters again 7 years ago.reply

toong 7 hours ago | link

In Europe they let you keep your lighter, at least inside the Schengen Area.reply

MeinCrapf 5 hours ago | link

They do in the US, too.reply

idlewords 16 hours ago | link

I wish there was a transcript to go with these slides, or some context. It looks like an amazing talk.One thing that jumped out at me right away is that the explosives sniffer is also configured to detect narcotics, amphetamine and marijuana. Is this standard procedure at American domestic airports?

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ubernostrum 14 hours ago | link

TSA has more than a bit of scope creep going on. In theory, all they’re supposed to do is a basic administrative search to prevent weapons or explosives from being brought onto a plane. In practice, the perception in the public mind that they are a more general law-enforcement body allows them to easily perform other tasks on behalf of agencies that don’t have the same general search powers.The classic example is searching for large sums of cash. Detecting large quantities of traveling cash and ensuring it’s been properly declared is CBP’s (Customs and Border Protection) job, not TSA’s. But because TSA gets to X-ray and search every bag and body-scan every passenger, they catch that stuff, and then hold the passenger and go get CBP.

The result is that the number of outside-the-mandate things that can end up happening as an “incidental” result of TSA’s screening is staggering.

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seanmcdirmid 5 hours ago | link

The TSA does not search in-bound people, and CBP does not search out-bound people, so this doesn’t really make sense.reply

cushychicken 2 hours ago | link

CBP does not ALWAYS search outbound people, but retains the right to do so (at least in the US).reply

seanmcdirmid 1 hour ago | link

Where would they do it? At boarding? Most US airports have no wall between domestic and international flights.reply

basseq 56 minutes ago | link

I have seen them set up in the jetway after you show your ticket to the airline attendant.reply

granos 2 hours ago | link

You do get searched by TSA if you are coming from outside the country. In recent years I’ve flown in from Mexico, Spain, India and the Dominican Republic. For each flight, the boarding gate was blocked from general access and the only way to get in was to go through a TSA search. They only had metal detectors, but my bags were still searched. Had I been carrying a large sum of cash (or anything else that needs to be declared) they could have contacted CBP at my departure airport.reply

seanmcdirmid 1 hour ago | link

That is not the TSA doing the checks though. In Beijing, there is gate screening just as you described, but it is done by locals who don’t speak English, and they definitely aren’t looking for cash.reply

granos 29 minutes ago | link

All of the people who screened my flights in these situations were wearing TSA uniforms.reply

tedunangst 12 hours ago | link

Is searching for cash the classic example or a one time example involving Ron Paul’s cash courier, which then led to a rule change instructing TSA to ignore cash?reply

DanBC 5 hours ago | link

TSA claim they don’t search for eg drugs; they claim to search for expsi es and incidentally find drugs. This is the classic mission creep example.There are people who hide drugs in jars of peanut butter. This shows up on TSA screens as a jar with different stuff in, which they claim to view as suspicious because it looks like explosive.

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tedunangst 2 hours ago | link

There seems to be some goal post creep as well. How many classic examples are there?reply

tptacek 14 hours ago | link

I wonder how the THC thing could possibly work. I opt out at every checkpoint, and each time, they maximize body contact and then generate an input to those machines. Wouldn’t it go off for anyone who had smoked up earlier in the day, or the preceding day? It seems like they’d be spending all their time doing drug searches.(Don’t get me wrong: drug searches at TSA checkpoints are extremely alarming, because TSA has been given a near all-access pass to mechanically searching people).

Fun fact: if you do any welding before you get on a flight, there’s a good chance you’ll set those things off.

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GauntletWizard 9 hours ago | link

I’ve literally spent a night putting on a fireworks show, gotten up and flown the next day, and not set off the alarm. I’ve also at a different time been completely clean, set off the alarm for gunpowder (I could see the screen), and then had the TSA wave me through.They don’t know, they don’t care, they don’t do anything. Their sole purpose is to make people more comfortable with invasive government overreach.

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tombrossman 4 hours ago | link

Similar experience here. I was at a party the evening before a flight and had loads of rockets and small mortars stuffed in my cargo shorts, which we were running around and shooting at each other (alcohol may have been involved).Next morning at the airport was my first time seeing these machines. As the machines doors opened and closed, jets of air puffing at the passengers ahead of me, I wondered about the shorts which I still had on. I looked down at the empty pockets and they were literally sparkling with gunpowder and other residue from the fireworks the night before. ‘Let’s see what happens’ was my only thought and I felt a bit let down when I got through with no problem.

Edit: Shorts sparkling in the light with some kind of crystalline residue from the fireworks, not sparkling like a lit sparkler, which would have been even more impressive.

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tehwebguy 3 hours ago | link

I set the hand wipe and scan machine off once. Had to go to additional screening, it was my hair product.reply

js2 13 hours ago | link

I most recently triggered it at SFO after wearing clothing I had gone go carting in the day before. First time for me. The enhanced screening was fun. Aside, SFO security is a contractor, not TSA.reply

leftcoaster 1 hour ago | link

Contractor probably measured by throughput, not capture rate. Hence incentives are to push people through.reply

bane 9 hours ago | link

Also, if you spend lots of time outdoors around fertilizer you can set it off.reply

tagawa 7 hours ago | link

Yes, this happened to me after a couple of hours on the golf course.reply

eli 11 hours ago | link

It’s a confusing UI, but I’m pretty sure the “selected” column indicates that drug alerts are not configured to alert.reply

VonGuard 12 hours ago | link

Must not work that well. I flew alongside someone who smoked before a flight, and had the opt-out pat down… No alerts from the machine.reply

potatolicious 16 hours ago | link

There’s a sticker from the inside of the machine that indicates it belonged to the US prisons system at some point. Narcotics detection would seem very relevant to that application.Some of these vulnerabilities are shocking. This goes beyond carelessness and straight into incompetence.

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vesche 14 hours ago | link

It’s from blackhat USA 2014 (Aug 6/7), when the video is uploaded it should be posted here: https://www.youtube.com/user/BlackHatOfficialYT/videosreply

Implicated 16 hours ago | link

They don’t seem to be detecting marijuana in their currently configured state.reply

rustyfe 14 hours ago | link

This isn’t correct. They are checking for THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana.reply

eli 13 hours ago | link

The “selected” column indicates “no” for drugs.reply

pmorici 10 hours ago | link

Typical. Government organizations think IT security means having strongly worded statements and reams of bureaucratic rules and procedures. If you look closely though the strong words often aren’t backed by any meaningful action. In a government official’s mind if the 50 page IT security document was filled out and is on file that means the system is secure. It’s all a big joke really.reply

sleeping_pills 6 hours ago | link

I don’t think most of them would be that stupid. Just lazy. In a government official’s mind, if the 50 page IT security document was filled out then he can’t be held responsible when the shit hits the fan.reply

bedhead 1 hour ago | link

It’s both…it’s a problem of incentives. The government guy aint getting stock options or a real bonus or whatever for a job well done. And he’s probably close to impossible to fire if he does poorly. So what does he care? And while this is a problem in itself, it also creates a self-selection problem where good candidates don’t want to work there in the first place.reply

nhstanley 2 hours ago | link

Fifty pages filled out means it is now someone else’s job to read those pages and implement. His hands are clean.reply

stevefeinstein 15 hours ago | link

If this isn’t the answer, and I’m not asserting it is or isn’t. What is, and how do implement it. Or do you suggest if we scrap it all and go back to 1950’s like airport security that the few incidents that are inevitable are an acceptable risk? I don’t know the answer, but I’d like to have the conversation.reply

glenra 14 hours ago | link

I do suggest we scrap it all and go back to the 1950s. Let people walk right out to the gate to meet arrivals. Let people run through the airport right to the gate without having to stand in a line at all. Even the level of security we had before 9/11 was misguided and caused more deaths than it saved.Here’s all we should do: leave security policy up to the airlines themselves. Then there won’t be the sort of single points of failure we have now. If one airline wants to reinforce the cockpit doors or arm the pilots they can just do that without getting permission from a central authority and making that the new mandated standard. Get rid of one-size-fits-all security. Let “convenient security” be just one more attribute that airline companies compete to provide, along with “comfortable seating” and “frequent flights”.

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nfoz 14 hours ago | link

Why would the airlines have incentive to provide good-quality security? Terrorism events are rare and it seems unlikely that a reasonable amount of security infrastructure that the airline could provide would result in a substantial decrease in the probability that a sufficiently-motivated terrorist would be successful with an attack against that airline.I just can’t imagine we would get anything more than the airlines putting in a minumum amount of security theatre to meet appearances for the customers and appease the local regulations.

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glenra 14 hours ago | link

What airlines are doing now amounts precisely to “a large amount of security theatre to meet appearances for the customers and appease the local regulations.”I want to decentralize for two reasons:

(1) it removes single points of failure. For instance, post-911, airlines needed to GET PERMISSION to make changes such as strengthening the cockpit door or changing the protocol for opening it. Being more flexible means being able to quickly adjust to changing security circumstances.

(2) It gives customers the OPTION of purchasing LESS security. So far as I’m concerned, the airlines I fly are already far more “secure” than they need to be – I would pay extra to fly on a plane with NO security, one where people could just walk on openly carrying a rifle if they so desired.

Were it left up to the airlines, they would have to make tradeoffs between security and every other value customers have including cost and convenience. We then wouldn’t get somebody’s idea of “the best possible security no matter the cost”. Instead we’d get “the best possible security consistent with not spending too much money and not inconveniencing or annoying passengers very much.” Which is what we really want.

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nfoz 13 hours ago | link

I agreed with you more before this post. Let’s consider the advantages of centralization:(1) A single agency can have within its mandate, expertise, and budget the security apparatus, which requires full-stack authority: airport design and administration, customs officials, airlines, planes, luggage, etc. The airlines can focus on the task they actually want to perform and are qualified to perform, whereas the one agency responsible for security can be audited and held accountable for that task as a unit.

(2) Customers cannot purchase less security. This is an advantage. It is nonsense for a customer to walk openly onto an aircraft carrying a rifle.

I think “airport security” has much less to do with passenger security than the risks inherent with allowing planes to fly through our skies. 9/11 is a clear example that many more people than the passengers of the flight can be affected via air-terrorism. This is why planes are controlled.

I’m not opposed to that control; I just marvel at how awful a job the U.S. government does at determing the cost/convenience/effectiveness tradeoffs. In my experience in the United States, this seems to be a systemic problem with governmentally-administered services that does not seem to exist so much in other governments.

There aren’t many airlines, and I expect the overwhelming majority of consumers would consistently purchase the cheapest option. If airlines are the agency entrusted with safe flight, this makes everyone less safe. Rather, airport and flight security seems better serviced as an airport-surcharge or tax. What’s missing is effective, accountable security provided by experts that we trust. I don’t know why that isn’t something we can solve.

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msandford 11 hours ago | link

> It is nonsense for a customer to walk openly onto an aircraft carrying a rifle.I’m not sure that I agree. Prior to metal detectors and airport security here in the US plenty of guns were carried on planes and very few bad outcomes were the result. I’ve heard of planes getting hijacked and going to Cuba but nothing in the way of mass murders on airplanes.

I wish that instead of just stating this as a fact that you had argued it in some way. For point 1 you gave reasoning. For point 2 you just said “this is true” and stopped.

If you had said something like “air is necessary for life” yeah sure, I won’t belabor that point. It’s scientifically verifiable at least for humans.

But when the parent was posting “I wish people could just carry rifles and it not be a big deal” it’s clear that your position is more of an opinion than a fact. You might consider it a fact, but you’re replying to glenra who quite obviously doesn’t agree.

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mcdougle 50 minutes ago | link

A pretty common argument around the pro-gun community is that removing guns from a specific area (schools, movie theaters, airlines) makes those places a prime target for mass shootings/terrorism — the attacker knows that the area is gun-free and that, if he can get his own weapons into the area, he can’t be (easily) challenged.I’m not entirely sure if this is true or not, but it seems accurate — have there been mass shootings in areas before they declared “gun-free zones?” Anyways, my point wasn’t to argue for or against this, just that it seemed relevant to your comment — you say that there were no issues when we used to let people just walk on planes with their guns, but once we started banning them, we started having things like 9/11.

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hatandsocks 9 hours ago | link

> I’ve heard of planes getting hijacked and going to Cuba but nothing in the way of mass murders on airplanes.Now you have:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Air_Lines_Flight_773

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_Southwest_Airlines_Flig…

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DoubleMalt 8 hours ago | link

While these incidents are tragic, two incidents in the span 50 years of passenger aviation since WW2 don’t seem like a big problem.More people have been killed by lunatics while going to church without churches imposing a security theatre on attendees.

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dalke 5 hours ago | link

That was an response to the previous poster’s incorrect observation about hearing “nothing in the way of mass murders on airplanes.”It appears that you incorrectly interpreted it as a complete list, as you concluded that only two incidents have occurred. http://listverse.com/2014/03/26/10-people-who-committed-murd… gives other examples of people who have committed mass murder on an airplane, including http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Continental_Airlines_Flight_11 (as a consequence of a suicide-by-bomb insurance fraud).

Also, the context was “mass murders on airplanes.” Mass murder means typically 4 or more deaths. I have found many murders which took place at churches in the US [1] and ending up with one or two death. However, I haven’t haven’t found much in the way of mass murders of the sort that is supposed to be identified by security theater measures.

[1] If we go outside of the US then there are certainly metal detectors at some synagogues, bomb detectors at Mecca’s Holy Mosque, etc.

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ctdonath 1 hour ago | link

Over the decades of following online discussions, I’m growing ever more irritated at pedantic declarations of wrongness by countering reasonable generalizations with obscure/rare exceptions. Yes, out of the total vast number of commercial “airbus” flights ever, a minuscule number have suffered such incidents; likewise, a tiny number of holy sites are secured due to extreme attraction of violent nutjobs; taken in context both in absolute percentage of instances and in this being a casual discussion involving short comments of understandably less than peer-reviewed encyclopedic thoroughness, we don’t have to spend time arguing minute absolutes.reply

nfoz 8 hours ago | link

I appreciate your comment. I should have been clear to separate my opinion that “availability of rifles on planes make them less safe” away from the argument that “less-safe planes should not be a passenger choice because the harm caused by the lax security is commit against non-passengers as well”.reply

vacri 13 hours ago | link

one where people could just walk on openly carrying a rifle if they so desiredSo you also want airlines to modify cabins to handle oversized carry-on luggage? Nevertheless, the amount of people who would pay more to do this would not be commercially viable – you yourself state that cost is a significant factor for users. Keep in mind also that your security-free airline would have to have its own terminals, as its customers wouldn’t be able to mingle with existing airline customers.

Also, why would you pay more for an item that’s better off in checked luggage anyway? It’s not like you can use the rifle between luggage drop-off and pick-up, and it’s irritatingly large to carry around a cabin. It sounds like sacrificing pragmatics for pointless idealism, to me.

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glenra 12 hours ago | link

> So you also want airlines to modify cabins to handle oversized carry-on luggage?No more so than they already do. See, I routinely travel with an acoustic guitar in a gig bag as my “personal item”; it fits in the overhead compartment. And when I don’t have the big guitar I often carry a smaller “travel” guitar in a triangular case that is almost exactly the size and shape of a rifle case; they often let me hang that one in the coat closet to get it out of the way.

The problem here isn’t that I want to carry a rifle on board, it’s that I want other people to be free to carry a rifle on board. I want that because preventing them from doing so inflicts a cost on me. Preventing things like rifles means I need to get to the airport an hour before the flight and I need to stand in long security lines and let them grope and/or ogle me and search my baggage and confiscate my sunscreen and examine my guitar and send my electronics through a second time. Every. Single. Flight.

If I could skip all that nonsense – just come to the airport and walk right to the gate WITHOUT the search, that would worth at least an extra 5 or 10 bucks to me because it substantially reduces the chance that I’ll miss my flight. And it would SAVE the airline money not having to pay for search goons and their equipment, and it would even make me more likely to fly.

I want other people to be able to carry a rifle because I’m not a hoplophobe. In fact, I personally would feel ever-so-slightly safer in a flight where I knew other people might be armed as a matter of default than in one where the ONLY armed people are likely to be bad guys or Official Security. Because I trust that on average, by and large, my fellow passengers are competent and well-meaning people. They’re not ALL potential terrorists; any potential terrorists are seriously outnumbered and (in my world) outgunned.

I just want to get on the damn plane without the time-wasting rigamarole.

Have you ever gone skydiving? If so, did you notice that there’s no airport security there – you don’t have to take off your shoes and helmets and put the parachute through a metal detector? You just put on all your crap, get on the plane with it and the plane takes off. Right then and there. You can do this at small airports all over the country, using decent sized planes. And somehow nobody has ever used this as an opportunity to kick everyone out, hijack the plane and crash it into a building.

The specific threat that modern “airport security” is designed to stop is essentially nonexistent. We are fighting an imaginary hobgoblin, an empty set. The money we spend doing so is entirely wasted other than that it makes a few people feel more confident to think that we’re “doing something”.

We should address the same fear some other way. Maybe if we put up billboards and ran ads explaining why all the security theater makes us less safe, people would stop demanding it.

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edwhitesell 11 hours ago | link

I like your example about skydiving, but your reasoning is flawed. Hijacking a skydiving plane and crashing it into a building isn’t likely to cause a lot of damage. More importantly, it’s not likely to cause a lot of terror. The planes are relatively small, passengers are well equipped to simply jump out (therefore, no hostages), or some would happily make a fight of it, knowing they’d probably be safe getting out of the plane anyway.Nevertheless, your point is important. There are a lot of potential “terrorist tools” that are not protected. How about a terrorist taking over a subway/train and running full speed until it crashes or derails? I can’t be the only one who’s noticed operators are almost always alone. Even during a shift/operator change, overpowering 2 of them wouldn’t be difficult. Same goes for most other type of public transportation (commuter trains, busses, trolley, ferry, etc.)

There are a LOT of terrorist plot/targets that scare me more than a commercial airliner today. Lots of things that keep me awake at night and wonder about the world our kids will inherit. I’ll be completely shocked if a commercial airliner type of plot happens again in my lifetime. At least in that environment people would be far more aggressive towards an attack during a flight. The US government is well behind the curve with TSA and it seems clear they are simply attempting to justify the TSA’s existence.

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glenra 11 hours ago | link

It’s true that some people jump out of tiny planes like a cessna but I was thinking of the larger ones like this:http://www.skydivephiladelphia.com/wp-content/themes/asc/ima…

Even less than fully fueled that thing could put a pretty big hole in a building and the cockpit doesn’t even HAVE a door separating it from the main cabin. Yes, it might prove tricky to take over a flight full of instructors and students in the air, but given that legitimate customers have easy access to the airfield at ground level before and after a jump and there’s no real security there it’s not hard to imagine ways a sufficiently motivated and unscrupulous person could take over such a plane at relatively minimal risk to themselves and weaponize it.

But yeah, that’s just one of a zillion possible threats anybody with half a brain can come up with. The current airport security model assumes the existence of terrorists who have a really weird set of characteristics such that they are simultaneously:

(1) sufficiently driven and resourceful to successfully bring down a plane via a bomb or weapons if there were no security (this is pretty hard)

(2) NOT sufficiently driven and resourceful to find a way AROUND the current security measures (even though this is easy)

(3) also NOT sufficiently driven and resourceful as to find some OTHER way of causing a similar amount of terror and damage, such as blowing up 5 busses or funding a half-dozen “DC snipers” around the country or blowing up the security line itself.

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ben1040 11 hours ago | link

>And somehow nobody has ever used this as an opportunity to kick everyone out, hijack the plane and crash it into a building.Because how much damage could you really do with one of these, versus a widebody jet fueled up for a long flight?

Here’s someone who crashed a smaller aircraft into an office building. It just damaged a corner office and killed the teenager who was at the controls, not exactly the kind of major attack that terrorists go gunning for.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Tampa_plane_crash

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vacri 10 hours ago | link

What disturbs me is that you’re arguing from the opposite extreme. Airport security does stop security threats – it raises the bar considerably. There’s definitely an argument that current security is way over the top in the US, but the opposite extreme is even more silly. The moderate path is the way forward – it does not follow that all security measures are security theater.All the arguments about ‘what about blowing up trains/buses/whatever’ also miss vital points – namely, that the passengers on a plane cannot escape, and small damage to a plane can doom it. This is not true of trains or buses. Combine this with the point that the public, rightly or wrongly, are more significantly affected by a plane crash, and it becomes clearer why planes are better targets for terrorism. Similarly, the demographic that uses planes are largely middle-class. Those who use public transport have a much larger proportion of working-class people on them, who have less political power, and the media also cares less about them.

You also still have to face the issue of running your own terminals, because any international airport has its sterile zone, which is connected to every other international airport in the world. Until you get them all accepting your citizenry carrying weaponry, your local international airport is going to keep its sterile zones. And running your own terminals is going to cost you more than $5 extra/ticket…

Because I trust that on average, by and large, my fellow passengers are competent and well-meaning people.

‘On average’ is the problem here. The general public includes all sorts of idiots, terrorist or otherwise. Anyone who’s had a job facing the general public will be aware that there are plenty of people who fuck with you just because they can. Particularly in an enclosed environment where people sometimes get heavily inebriated.

And regarding the skydiving, light aircraft have only rarely been used for terrorism. The same is very much not true of heavy aircraft, which have a long track record of terrorism.

The specific threat that modern “airport security” is designed to stop is essentially nonexistent.

Ultimately, this is a chicken-and-egg problem. Hijacking has been made extremely difficult by the current measures, but even before 9/11, hijacking was much more difficult in the 90s than in the 70s due to increasing the bar for security. The threat is there, but higher security means you have to be better-resourced in order to defeat it.

Perhaps put another way: if there is actually no threat, then why do you say you’d feel safer if your fellow passengers were armed? Shouldn’t you be saying it’d make no difference?

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gav 1 hour ago | link

> Airport security does stop security threats – it raises the bar considerably.As somebody who flies a lot for work, it raises the bar enough to stop a really stupid terrorist. Those business travellers that you see flying week in, week out know more about airport security flaws than the TSA.

On the other hand airplane security does raise the bar. The change to have reinforced cockpit doors was the only thing that changed after 9/11 that makes flying safer.

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ctdonath 1 hour ago | link

It’s not about “using it”, it’s about transporting as you see fit. A good-quality rifle can easily cost $3000, and is a device of precision mechanisms & optics – not something you want strangers throwing about for hours a la “checked-in luggage”, especially as if you’re transporting it you will need it in good working order upon arrival (likely the point of the trip). Sure it’s long, but a slim-fit case can go into the coat rack well; “takedown” models in-case would fit well in the overhead bin.Yes, I have travelled with one. Check-in etc was more a hassle, and no more “safe” for all concerned, than if I’d just carried it on.

Some smaller flights make the issue laughable: for all the trouble of checking in luggage, screening it, and securing it for the trip, it’s all ultimately just stowed behind a curtain in the cabin.

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jimmaswell 14 hours ago | link

How exactly has airport security caused any deaths?reply

glenra 14 hours ago | link

Airport security makes flying much more expensive (both in time and in money) and inconvenient and generally unpleasant than it would otherwise be. So many people who otherwise would take a plane on a short trip choose to drive instead. Some of those people die needlessly in traffic accidents, since driving is orders of magnitude more dangerous than flying. That’s the primary mechanism of harm.A common estimate I’ve seen is that roughly 500 extra people a year die due just to the added security costs post-9/11.

A little googling finds a few relevant popular-press articles including these:

http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2012-11-18/how-airport-…

http://www.wired.com/2012/04/is-airport-security-killing-500…

One of the relevant academic papers is by Cornell University researchers Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali, and Daniel H. Simon, “The Impact of Post-9/11 Airport Security Measures on the Demand for Air Travel,” published in The Journal of Law and Economics in November 2007. (pdf here: http://dyson.cornell.edu/faculty_sites/gb78/wp/JLE_6301.pdf )

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whiddershins 12 hours ago | link

This comment is correct. People do avoid flying in particular because it is so annoying and humiliating. I know this anecdotally from talking to both frequent and infrequent flyers, and I believe several statistics and studies bear it out, though I haven’t carefully analyzed the methodology.Additionally, the economic costs of slowing and discouraging plane flight are staggering. The loss of people’s time spent waiting in the airport is a tangible economic price. Thousands of human hours wasted daily. The security procedures make what should be very short trips (for example, New York to DC) inconvenient enough that it becomes a toss up between plane, train, and car. In my opinion, this is a significant step backwards for our effective infrastructure.

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a_c_s 12 hours ago | link

I seriously doubt that a $5.60 fee has a significant effect on demand for $200-$500 plane tickets.If that were the case, one could argue that the overpriced food at the airport also kills people.

As for your sources: The paper linked by Business Week doesn’t say anything about the price of airport security deterring people, rather it is about the aggregate group that substituted driving for flying after 9/11, which has a myriad of causes. It does not support the assertion that the price of the TSA kills people.

The second link asserts that the time spent due to TSA procedures puts more people on the road, but I doubt this for two reasons: 1. security has been quick and efficient in my 2x-4x flights per year experience and 2. the rule of getting to the airport 1 hour before domestic and 2 hours before international flights existed before 9/11 too. So if somebody spends 30 minutes in a security line or 5 minutes, that affects their time twiddling their thumbs at the gate and not their travel time (and therefore doesn’t really impact the decision to fly or drive).

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Canada 12 hours ago | link

Personally, I don’t fly if I don’t have to. The cost of flights has nothing to do with it.The way things are now, I feel threatened in an airport. Especially a US airport, though Canadian ones aren’t much better. I feel a heightened possibility that my valuables be stolen from me. That it’s done under the color of law makes it even worse than being in a rough neighborhood.

Some may say this is unreasonable, but I know two people who’ve been stolen from by TSA.

I’d rather drive 8 hours than be subjected to a warrantless search.

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nhstanley 3 hours ago | link

Do you know they were stolen from by the TSA, or by baggage handlers? Getting rid of the TSA wouldn’t solve the latter problem.reply

ctdonath 1 hour ago | link

As a matter of TSA policy. They’re directed & empowered to take things which are harmless (save for absurdly extraordinary efforts with minute operational payoff), under the threat of “give this up or lose your paid ticket”.reply

coldpie 1 hour ago | link

TSA theft happens all the time. They have the ability to take stuff from passengers basically with impunity. What are you doing to do, start a row in the security line?http://rt.com/usa/tsa-stealing-from-travelers-358/

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jonlucc 14 hours ago | link

I’m not sure if it’s true, but I’ve read that the airlines didn’t want to have any part in security after 9/11 because of the liability.reply

thaumasiotes 3 hours ago | link

> I do suggest we scrap it all and go back to the 1950s. Let people walk right out to the gate to meet arrivals.You could do this in the 90s. It still boggles my mind that someone thought it should be stamped out.

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pessimizer 2 hours ago | link

It’s also a bit surprising that meeting people at the gate is thought of as some bizarre behavior that only happened in ancient antiquity. All of these restrictions, and all of these new bureaucracies are brand new, completely created and maintained over the administrations of only two presidents.reply

ctdonath 1 hour ago | link

Methinks he was referring to not what we think of now as the “gate” (the extended building reaching to the plane), but in fact walking right out on the tarmac.reply

cgio 1 hour ago | link

You can still dos it in Australia, for domestic flights (albeit you have to pass the security check.) Still, I was quite surprised the first time I noticed so.reply

tehwebguy 15 hours ago | link

I vote to drop nearly all of it.The cockpit door is reinforced and locked, without the ability to take over the aircraft there is literally less risk than if someone just drove a bomb into an airport.

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dlp211 15 hours ago | link

I vote to go back to the way it was pre-9/11. The 9/11 hijackings were a one time play, that is, they changed the rules by which the terrorists play by, and therefore the passengers have changed the way that they will react to a terroristic threat aboard a plane. We have seen passengers are more than willing to stand up to those that pose a threat on plane in post-9/11 air travel.reply

gsnedders 15 hours ago | link

> if someone just drove a bomb into an airport.Which is exactly what the 2007 attack on Glasgow airport was.[1]

All major airports in the UK now have limited access to the front of the terminal building (typically, buses and taxis only). Most now have a drop-off zone in the car park.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007_Glasgow_International_Air…

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scintill76 14 hours ago | link

Does moving the “attack zone” make any sense? What if someone bombs the car park — will the airport stop allowing personal cars into it?I know I’m not the first to say this sort of thing, and maybe it’s cliche, but really, what is there to protect at the front of the terminal, that is not just as vulnerable now in the car park? (Edit: I recognize the poster I’m responding to hasn’t necessarily endorsed the authorities’ action in this case.)

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ctdonath 1 hour ago | link

Shortly after 9/11, vehicles entering the airport car park were searched. Methinks it ended as formally extending the “security zone” to there proved untenable.reply

Natsu 14 hours ago | link

They should be protecting anywhere large groups of people are gathered. I do think that large security lines of people waiting to be screened are detrimental to that.reply

iancarroll 14 hours ago | link

I assume the theory is that there will be less people in the car park then in the terminal.reply

alistairSH 13 hours ago | link

I imagine the front of the terminal is a place where groups of people can typically be found – drop offs, pick ups, waiting for baggage, etc.Also, blowing up the front of the terminal has the potential to shut down airport operations much longer than a remote car park.

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cmdkeen 6 hours ago | link

It is also to do with glass windows. Terminals tend to have massive amounts of glass which a bomb will blow out massively increasing the casualties. Car parks are open at the sides and sparsely populated.reply

cookiecaper 15 hours ago | link

There’s a risk that an aircraft will be bombed in-flight, which doesn’t require access to the cockpit. Before 9/11, such bombings were the primary security concern as hijackings usually resulted in a hostage situation. It’d probably be wise to keep explosives screening.reply

toufka 14 hours ago | link

An in-flight bomb, though tragic, is much less of a threat, economic, social or otherwise, than an ‘airplane-as-missile’ into a populated area. So long as there is no access to the cockpit, the maximum effect of a terrorist’s explosion is the downing of a plane, not the downing of a $1B 110 story building.reply

joelhaus 13 hours ago | link

I don’t think this conclusion takes into account the ‘terror’ part of the plan.Most everyone here assumes rational responses from the: media > public > politicians. This is incredibly naive. It reminds me of economic arguments used by libertarians.

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tehwebguy 14 hours ago | link

Sure, but without taking over the craft and turning into a significantly more dangerous missile (a la 9/11) there is only as much risk as bombing a parking garage, mall, school or any other place with hundreds of people and virtually no security.Not sure how much that logic actually applies to anyone trying to bomb stuff, though.

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raldi 14 hours ago | link

If you want to kill 300 people, you can just blow up five buses. It’s much easier than trying to blow up a plane.reply

cookiecaper 9 hours ago | link

It doesn’t have the same publicity quality, though. The groups that carry out these attacks do it for attention, and they’re going to do whatever they can to maximize their press time. That results in worldwide publication of their message, often requiring their opposition to acknowledge and respond, and gives them outlet to advertise to potential new recruits. Airplane attacks and crashes get a lot more coverage than incidents involving similar loss of life due to the emotional factor of being isolated 35,000 feet in the sky, and that makes the cost involved in launching a more intricate attack on aircraft worthwhile.You can try to run away from a bomb at a parking garage after the initial explosion and an ambulance will be there to check things out and rescue people pretty quickly. If you’re in the plane when it gets attacked, you have no recourse and virtually no chance for survival, which is not usually the case when a ground target is bombed with conventional explosives. Even if you survive the actual ground impact (zero chance if an event happens at cruising altitude, small chance if it happens at a more reasonable altitude during takeoff/landing), there’s no guarantee you’ll be anywhere near civilization that can give medical help or attention. This makes the risk of an airborne attack much more frightening, since death is virtually guaranteed.

Passengers want a reasonable assurance that there’s something more than chance protecting the flights they’re boarding (and for whatever reason, they don’t usually make the same types of demands from ground entities like parking garages or bus stops). That’s why the airlines added their own security checkpoints in the 70s as hijackings became prominent. That’s also the reason the TSA can exist at all. The TSA takes it too far, and we all acknowledge that some threats can’t be screened out, but just going back to nothing isn’t a plausible solution, at least not at first. There needs to be a more gradual transition if we’re ever going to get there.

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thaumasiotes 3 hours ago | link

I agree that an airplane crash is more newsworthy than an attack on a bus.I’m not so sure about a campaign that takes out five buses. I’d expect that to get heavy coverage.

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Canada 12 hours ago | link

Just get rid of it. What currently exists is like something from a police state. It’s evil, tyrannical, and will fail stop a future attack against the traveling public inside the United States.If this gross violation of liberty and due process must continue for legitimate reasons of public safety, because the consequence of projecting power abroad is being targeted for reprisal, then at least grant immunity for offenses unrelated to aviation safety.

But that will not happen, because the people who enable and profit from these checkpoints aren’t subjected to them at all.

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chimeracoder 12 hours ago | link

> But that will not happen, because the people who enable and profit from these checkpoints aren’t subjected to them at all.Don’t worry – you can pay ~$100 to have the privilege of being “randomly” selected for “reduced” screening (ie, pre-9/11, with a metal detector).

Of course, this is certainly not random at all. I don’t have a random sample, but based on what I can see, it’s very unlikely that they actually select people randomly and fairly[0].

The existence of this program means that we’re separating travelers into two groups – those who can afford the $100[1] to be exempt from these draconian checkpoints, and those who can’t (or who can, but are still forced to go through them anyway).

[0] https://twitter.com/nickgrossman/status/476745477430734848

[1] Not just the fee, but also the time (you have to go for an in-person “interview”, which is really just so that they can fingerprint you… I don’t remember them asking any real questions)

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someone234 1 hour ago | link

> you have to go for an in-person “interview”, which is really just so that they can fingerprint you…Well, in Finland, we have to submit to fingerprinting to get a new passport these days..

Oh, and Japan started fingerprinting all foreigners a few years ago. You just can’t get into the country without it.

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sib 9 hours ago | link

I applied to – and was granted – the TSA Precheck clearance. Let’s face it; it’s $100 for five years. And the interview took well under an hour including waiting time. Works out to be an almost negligible increase in cost compared to the cost of the travel it covers.The fingerprinting is a different issue.

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ctdonath 1 hour ago | link

Can that be used to avoid the “pat-down” for those who cannot go thru the metal detector for medical reasons (metallic implants)?reply

Canada 9 hours ago | link

What kind of questions did they ask during your interview?reply

raldi 14 hours ago | link

Same plan we use to prevent terrorism at bus stations, beaches, and little league games.reply

a_c_s 12 hours ago | link

Yeah, all of this scrap-the-TSA talk makes me wonder how much people have flown internationally: in places I’ve been, security has been very similar to the TSA with minor variations. It seems like for every policy that had something a little less strict about it there was also something else it was a little more strict about: some care about liquids, some treat iPads as laptops, some make you remove your shoes.I’ve also been frisked by the TSA and at the Brussels airport and they were significantly more invasive in the latter.

My experiences include flying in the following places in the past 5 years as a single male US citizen: USA (2x-4x year), Brussels, Budapest, Denpasar Bali, Jakarta, Singapore, Tokyo, UK.

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Rapzid 12 hours ago | link

You’re not factoring in just how much of this international security is driven by US interests(US imposed security requirements for airports servicing flights bound for the US). It’s significantly driven by US interests. Domestic flights in several countries I’ve been to have much less security.Interestingly though, in Australia you can NOT opt out of the screening machines. They will quarantine and deport you if you refuse to go through them. But then, Australia isn’t exactly a bastion of personal liberty when compared to the US.

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u801e 10 hours ago | link

> Yeah, all of this scrap-the-TSA talk makes me wonder how much people have flown internationally: in places I’ve been, security has been very similar to the TSA with minor variations. It seems like for every policy that had something a little less strict about it there was also something else it was a littles more strict about: some care about liquids, some treat iPads as laptops, some make you remove your shoes.In my experience when traveling to south asia, once I was outside the US, they didn’t care about liquids or shoe removal. The security scan just involved sending one’s bags through the scanner and going through a metal detector. On the way back, though, it was much like the US with the shoe removal, taking the liquids out of carry-on bags, etc.

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nindalf 9 hours ago | link

Depends on which country in South Asia. I’ve travelled to Thailand, where they’re super lax about security. Their scans can be skipped and their pat-downs (if they occur at all) are cursory. Right next to Thailand is India, where the policy is indistinguishable from the TSA.reply

thaumasiotes 3 hours ago | link

I’ve done plenty of flying out of China, where you can get the death penalty for improper fundraising. The most onerous part of security is that you have to take your laptop(s) out of your carryon to go through. Out of US-instilled habit, I show up hours early for flights and end up spending those hours at the gate waiting to board. It’s enough to make you ashamed of your US passport.reply

PhasmaFelis 12 hours ago | link

How is that relevant? I don’t want to suffer through TSA shenanigans on domestic US flights. What they do in Brussels has nothing to do with that.reply

trop 12 hours ago | link

In Iceland (as of 2006) my recall was no security screening point for the airports besides Keflavik (the airfield for large international flights). Totally liberating and strange to walk right to the gate, then out the door and across the tarmac onto a small airplane. Am curious if this is still so. I took it as a sign of mutual trust in a small nation.I should also say that I remember even in the 1970s being able to walk to the gate without a ticket (albeit after passing through a metal detector). Both that and the Iceland experience had the romance of air travel which is lost during the humiliation of large airport screening procedures in the U.S.

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viraptor 6 hours ago | link

I didn’t think it was that different from European airports. Pretty much the same level of security in 2013 (Keflavik) and 2007 (Akureyri). Actually slightly more, since in Akureyri they got everyone into one room, closed it, and walked around with dogs sniffing for drugs (I guess).They were much nicer about it though than pretty much everyone at the airports in the US.

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hawleyal 2 hours ago | link

There aren’t fewer problems now. We are paying for nothing.reply

shamwao 14 hours ago | link

This is a ridiculous idea I’ve always wondered about, but… why not just drop everything, and allow open carry? Maybe keep the cockpit doors.I find it impossible to imagine any security threat to a flight where the passengers are packing and willing to defend themselves.

Doesn’t this make flying exactly as dangerous as being in a crowd? For zero dollars?

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Hydraulix989 8 hours ago | link

You’re overestimating the marksmanship/ability to use firearms of the average (untrained) person, especially when under extreme stress.reply

gsnedders 2 hours ago | link

And in an environment where people may well be panicking and moving around, making a clear shot difficult, even if your markmanship is good.reply

tharax 12 hours ago | link

A fight occurring in a plane is more dangerous than on the ground, specially if people are firing guns.reply

nathannecro 16 hours ago | link

Is there a video to go along with these slides? This is fascinating.The diagram-heavy slides could certainly use some context.

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uxp 16 hours ago | link

It was a presentation at Blackhat 2014. The videos are released sometime afterwards.https://www.blackhat.com/us-14/speakers/Billy-Rios.html

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jimktrains2 1 hour ago | link

I still maintain that security checkpoints are the scariest places to be. So many people gathered, huddled, around a small, politically sensitive area outside the “secure” zone.reply

BorisMelnik 11 hours ago | link

“TSA has not audited these devices for even the most basic security issues”This to me is the most troublesome aspect of this an entire ordeal. Any security pen-testing firm with their wits about them could have discovered these backdoors in a few simple audits.

The fact that he was able to find all of these is very worrisome to me. I can only imagine what other bugs/backdoors are built in to these systems.

Does any of this security matter with the fact that you can build weapons using airport giftshop items?

http://www.wired.com/2013/12/terminal-cornucopia/

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MichaelApproved 5 hours ago | link

The weapons in the video are not powerful enough to take down an airliner. They’d likely harm a handful of people nearby or blow a small hole in the side of the plane but not much more than that. A small hole in the side of the plane would likely not cause it to crash.Of course, I don’t mean to be flippant with regards to the lives of people close by but it’s not a larger threat than someone doing this on the ground. The biggest point of airport security is to keep the planes from falling out of the sky or flown into buildings.

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bussiere 13 hours ago | link

It makes laugh a lot, 9/11 happen because they used cutter.Airport security will piss you off for a kid cissor.

But they will let you buy a glass bottle of alcohol in duty free.

That you can break properly and use as a weapon …

Logic …

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farnsworth 10 hours ago | link

Relevant – This guy built a bunch of weapons from things you can buy in airport shops.http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2513362/Man-builds-h…

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jamesbritt 13 hours ago | link

Do they let you carry that own or do they hold that until you get off the plane? The latter was my experience some years ago.reply

dlss 12 hours ago | link

from their blog: http://blog.tsa.gov/2014/01/tsa-travel-tips-tuesday-travelin…Yep. You can bring two 1.7 oz glass bottles with you to the airport (in case you have a specific shape or kind of glass you’d like).

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cookiecaper 10 hours ago | link

There are many shops in the sterile area of most airports that sell goods that could be readily transformed into weapons.reply

est 9 hours ago | link

search for 2323098716 you get thishttp://www.joecasaletto.com/joekronos/2012/605/4500_telnet/

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warcode 6 hours ago | link

The increasing amount of security is more terror than any real group could hope to inflict. Technically the terrorists won.reply

neil_s 14 hours ago | link

Seems like the SFO Kronos has been taken offline since this disclosure.reply

blantonl 14 hours ago | link

“Pulling the Curtain on Airport Security” – This article’s title. Wow.Almost all airport security is a theater… The TSA are simply the actors…

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drdeadringer 14 hours ago | link

In this context, I’m having trouble filling in the blank in terms of TSA vs Public:“All the world’s a ___”

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jqm 12 hours ago | link

About a year after 9/11 I flew from Phoenix to Corpus Christi Texas. I brought a carry on case from work with me full of papers and (unknown to me) some tools including a large folding knife, a smaller pocket knife, a leather man and some screwdrivers. I honestly had completely forgot about the tools, they were buried in the bottom of the case under papers (yes, my case was not very organized).So, I took the case carry through x-ray in Phoenix, then, during a layover in Dallas I went outside the airport with the case, came back in through security, re-boarded the airplane and proceeded to Corpus Christi where I passed my vacation. After vacation, on the return flight to Phoenix, they found the knives and tools at the small airport in Corpus Christi as I attempted to board. I gave them to security and nothing came of it but I didn’t feel it wise to tell them that I had already been through two checkpoints with the contraband. I realize things have probably tightened further since then but still… I was a bit shocked. And I’m still thinking a lot of the “security” at airports is for show.

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joshfraser 16 hours ago | link

expensive security theaterreply

 

 

Dear TSA, Shoes On Or Shoes Off?232323232fp____nu894_9_5_257_wsnrcg34_5_5_979335nu0mrj

 

 

Posted on October 8, 2011 by mosesmosesmoses

While going through the TSA checkpoint at Dulles International Airport (IAD) today, I noticed the following sign:

 I have previously written about how I am better than you at the airport because I am not required to take my shoes off at TSA security checkpoints and that this either undermines security (if shoes are truly dangerous) or proves that shoes are in fact NOT dangerous and that shoe removal is therefore unnecessary.

Now the Transportation Security Administration has come out with this new policy, further undermining their position that shoes are inherently dangerous.  As I stated in my previous post:

As soon as you start making exceptions to the rules, you make the rules pointless and open to exploitation.  If the rules are unnecessary for a subset of the population, then they are inherently unnecessary.  If, on the other hand, shoe and belt removal are vital to the security of this nation, then every person who passes through TSA checkpoints should be required to comply with these rules without exception.

The TSA website states “[s]hoes remain a potential concealment technique that TSA takes seriously, but intelligence and history have shown that allowing passengers of this age to leave their shoes on poses little risk to aviation security”.  It could just as easily say:

Dear Terrorists, We understand how little you value life, even the lives of your children, so please use their shoes to conceal weapons in such a way that could defeat the security measures we have in place.  Thanks!  Your Friends at the TSA

TSA insists that shoes are dangerous, yet they have now opened up two routes for their security measures to be circumvented.  Make up your mind, TSA

The same can be said about “ticketed passengers only”.  If some people have to take of their shoes, and some don’t, than why can’t meters and greeters go past security.  Surely they are less likely to have a shoe bomb than a 90 year old Mullah or an 8 year old kid whose parents want to martyr their children for Allah. Averill

 

The 9/11 Anniversary and Twelve Years of TSA Farce

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On the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11 TSA once again demonstrates that the agency is completely useless and a colossal waste of resources to employ a nefarious workforce comprised of criminals, rapists, child molesters, murderers, smugglers and societal misfits.

The agency, which has cost taxpayers a nearly $100 billion in its twelve year existence continues to engage in a charade that ostensibly “protects” the traveling public from yesteryears threats, while DHS concedes that ISIS terrorists are planning to cross the southern border into the US amidst the massive influx of illegal immigrants from South America. The mishandling of the border assault and TSA’s decision to allow people here illegally to board airplanes without identification has led to legislation forbidding TSA from allowing persons with only a Notice to Appear from boarding aircraft in US airports.

Today, another example inanity of the TSA Security Theater was reported in the media. In this case a traveler was confronted after his plane land and he was exiting the airport and told that he needed a full body enhanced pat down because TSA neglected to do it at the departure airport. TSA threatened to have him arrested if he didn’t comply but, like any reasonable person, he refused their imbecilic demand and simply left the airport. Video of the incident was taken and has made its way onto the internet in several outlets.

Meanwhile, Fox News also examined whether TSA actually capable of keeping airports safe and hosted several notable airport security experts including engineer Jon Corbett whose videos conclusively demonstrated that metallic objects could easily be smuggled past both MMW and x-ray body scanners and effectively stopped the further deployment of these devices. In addition, security expert Bruce Schneier and Johns Hopkins researches whose study confirmed, for anyone with a doubt left in their mind, that the scanners can be beaten with minimal effort.

Contrary to the assertions of fear monger and terror profiteer Tom Kean, 9/11 Commission co-chair, TSA is not needed and is depriving America of much needed resources to prevent future terror attacks from ever reaching American soil, instead of paying low life TSA employees to molest children in airport security lines and violate our basic right to privacy.

cropped-tsa-search-9-year-old-boys-savannah-train-station

 

White House Refuses to Release TSA Sexual Misconduct Records Required By Law

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It comes as no surprise to many of us who have watched TSA trample the rights of Americans while too many submissive American cowards have sheepishly complied with these obscene regulations, allowing themselves and their children to be effectively. Despite years of warnings from diverse civil liberty groups ranging from EPIC, ACLU, The Rutherford Institute, Pro Publica and Cato Institute.

Given the record of TSA workers during the Obama Administration, it is no wonder that the agency and the White House would prefer to ignore this request given the horrific records of abuses by the low life workers that TSA subjects the traveling public to on a “comply or don’t fly” basis.

This may be an opportune time to review some of the most egregious examples of TSA misconduct, sexual assaults and pedophilia. While this list doesn’t come close to the number of molestations that occur in airport (most go unreported), a partial list of these can be found in the Master List link above which includes TSA abuse and sexual assaults of the general public, the elderly and handicapped, celebrities and children.

The current list (see Master List for links) of sex crimes includes:

Supervisor Vernon Lythcott accused of having sex with minors; Arrested at JFK Airport – ABC News New York – May 9, 2014

TSA Manager Shane Hinkle at Blue Grass Airport charged with sexual abuse of co-worker – Kentucky Herald Leader – Valarie Honeycutt Spears – August 13, 2013

TSA officer Larry Kobielnik arrested for kidnapping, sexually battering – Tampa Bay Times – John Woodrow Cox – July 27, 2013

Police: TSA employee, Miguel Quinones, had child porn on laptop – Fox News Boston – June 13, 2013

TSA Agent Paul Magnuson Arrested for Rape – WOIO CLEVELAND, OH – November 1, 2012

TSA screener Andrew Smeal arrested for child pornography. – CBS4 Miami – Video report – September 13, 2012

TSA agent Jose E. Salgado among 55 caught in child pornography arrests – The Boston Herald – Christine McConville – Wednesday, April 11, 2012

TSA agent Paul David Rains charged in online child-predator sting – Orlando Sentinel – Arelis R. Hernandez- December 15, 2011

Harold Rodman, TSA worker, arrested for sexual assault – WJLA News – Gail Pennybacker – November 21, 2011

Orlando airport (MCO) TSA employee Paul David Rains faces child pornography charges – Orlando Sentinel – Jeff Weiner – November 1, 2011

TSA Manager Bryant Jermaine Livingston Arrested for Running Prostitution Ring – MyFoxDC – John Henrehan – March 28, 2012

Md. TSA Agent Michael Scott Wilson Charged With Child Pornography – ABC2News – Joce Sterman – March 18, 2012

Nashville TSA Agent Clifton Lyles Charged With Statutory Rape – WTVF – Staff – September 20, 2011

TSA employee Andrew W. Cheever faces child pornography charge – MyFoxBoston – Staff – September 2, 2011

TSA Screener David Ralph Anderson Charged with Lewdness and Child Molestation – Elko Daily Free Press -Jared DuBach – August 26, 2011

PHL TSA Screener Thomas Gordon Jr Charged with Child Pornography – Fox Nation – John Shiffman – The Inquirer – April 23, 2011

Orlando TSA agent Charles Henry Bennett Arrested For Attempting To Make 15 year old Girl His ‘Sex Slave’ – The Huffington Post – Staff – May 25, 2011

TSA Agent Dwayne Valerio Arrested for Rape of Juvenile in Londonderry NH – Eagle Tribune – Jillian Jorgensen – April 2, 2011

Logan TSA employee Sean Shanahan accused of raping 14-year-old girl – WHDHTV – Staff – March 9, 2011

TSA Screener Randall Scott King arrested for kidnapping and attempted rape of 14 year old in ATL – Lagrangenews – Staff Reports – November 23, 2010

Disgraced Catholic priest who was defrocked after ‘sexually abusing two young girls’ now works as a TSA airport screener – CBS3 Philadelphia – Ben Simmoneau – May 24, 2012

Police: TSA employee, Miguel Quinones, had child porn on laptop – FoxBoston – June 13, 2013

The story and links follow:

Obama Administration Sued for Data on Sexual Misconduct by TSA Airport Screeners

The Blaze – Aug. 21, 2014 By Pete Kasperowicz 

Judicial Watch Sues TSA over Cover-Up: Passenger Complaints “Assaults Relating to Sexual Misconduct”

Judicial Watch announced Thursday that is has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to uncover reports of sexual misconduct by airport screeners.

While Judicial Watch agreed to narrow its request for information in March, TSA did not produce any documents at all, “or respond in any other substantive way as required by law.”

The government watchdog group said the issue of sexual misconduct by TSA came to light in January, when a Colorado woman filed a complaint that a frisking she received was sexual assault. Judicial Watch cited a press report in which Jamelyn Steenhoek was quoted as saying the agent touched her in place she’s “not comfortable being touched in.”

“On the outside of my pants she cupped my crotch,” she said. “I was uncomfortable with that.”

“The part of the search that bothered most was the breast search,” Steenhoek added. “You could tell it shouldn’t take that much groping. To me it was as extensive as an exam from my physician — full touching and grabbing in the front. I felt uncomfortable, I felt violated.”

When nothing was discovered, the TSA agent repeated the search.

Judicial Watch said it received assistance in its request for information from Jason Harrington, a former TSA agent who wrote an article for Politico called “Dear America, I Saw You Naked.” That article said TSA agents had a code they used to note when attractive female passengers were being scanned.

“With 56,000 employees and a $7.7 billion budget, the TSA is a massive government agency that requires diligent oversight,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“It is bad enough that many experts argue that it is unnecessarily intrusive and ineffective,” he added. “The fact that TSA would stonewall basic information about potentially egregious and criminal assaults on airline passengers is a further proof this agency is out of control.”

 

The legal action is connected to a March FOIA request that asked DHS for information about passenger complaints about sexual harassment.

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/21/obama-administration-sued-for-data-on-sexual-misconduct-by-tsa-airport-screeners/

 Judicial Watch Sues TSA over Cover-Up: Passenger Complaints “Assaults Relating to Sexual Misconduct”

http://www.judicialwatch.org/press-room/press-releases/judicial-watch-sues-tsa-cover-passenger-complaints-assaults-relating-sexual-misconduct/

TSA Used Cowardly Americans and the Media to Waste Millions on Useless Scanners

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For years TSA derisively criticize opponents to the naked scanners became mandatory in after October of 2010. In a disturbing revelation of American cowardice, many spineless Americans were also critical of the scanner opponents and allowed TSA to what scan their children to produce what an image that was later revealed to constitute child pornography.

When engineer blogger Jon Corbett defeated both the backscatter x-ray (Rapi-Scan) and millimeter wave scanners (ProVision) in 2012, TSA told the obedient mainstream media not to cover the story and, being the Administration lapdogs that they are, quickly clammed on any coverage of the story and perpetuated lies that put hundreds of millions of air travelers at risk by relying on failed technology that was known to be fatally flawed.

Even now many media outlets claim that the Rapi-Scan scanners are obsolete, despite the fact that they are in daily use in courthouses, public buildings and prisons where their accuracy is even more critical. Further, the ProVision scanners currently in airports have a higher false positive rate than their Rapi-Scan counterpart. The only reason that ProVison scanners remain in airports is that they added privacy software and Rapi-Scan was caught faking privacy filter results.

As one blogger put it, “the only thing that these are good at is seeing you naked”. So dear reader, for over $300 million of your tax dollars that did nothing to protect you, the many pedophiles and sex offenders at TSA had a great time seeing you and your children naked. For all of the sheep that obediently complied, you are as responsible for this travesty as the corrupt perverts who forced this on America and equally reprehensible.

Researchers Easily Slipped Weapons Past TSA’s X-Ray Body Scanners‏

San Diego Union-Tribune By Gary Robbins – Aug. 20, 2014

Rapiscan System’s Secure 1000 was used at dozens of airports between 2009 and 2013, including, for a time, San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ordered the scanners to be removed last year because they produced nearly nude images of passengers, stirring an uproar over privacy. Many passengers were also concerned that the low dose of radiation produced by the machines could damage their health.

The scanners are still used at some government facilities, including jails and courthouses, says the study by the University of California San Diego, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University. The study was released on Wednesday.

Airports now heavily rely on so-called millimeter wave body scanners, a different type of technology that was not tested by the researchers.

UC San Diego said found the flaws in a Secure 1000 scanner purchased from an eBay seller who got the machine at a surplus auction at a U.S. government facility in Europe.

Rapiscan System’s Secure 1000 was used at dozens of airports between 2009 and 2013, including, for a time, San Diego’s Lindbergh Field. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ordered the scanners to be removed last year because they produced nearly nude images of passengers, stirring an uproar over privacy. Many passengers were also concerned that the low dose of radiation produced by the machines could damage their health.

The scanners are still used at some government facilities, including jails and courthouses, says the study by the University of California San Diego, the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University. The study was released on Wednesday.

Airports now heavily rely on so-called millimeter wave body scanners, a different type of technology that was not tested by the researchers.

 

This “TSA” clown was taking pictures at my local suburban Septa train station a month ago.  Why was he taking pictures at Melrose Park (PA) station?  I yelled across why was he taking pictures of the train station.  He said “I can take pictures of anything I want”.  Which he can.  I answered that I can do the same with you, which is when I started taking pictures of him.  When I did this he walked down the ramp and drove away.  I couldn’t get a license plate because he was on the other side of the tracks.  Why was he so deceptive? what interest does the TSA have with my local train station?  The TSA is everywhere!

TSA – Failures, Lies and Extortion All in the Name of “Keeping Us Safe”

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In the week that TSA Administrator and serial groper, John Pistole defended his agency despite a growing chorus of calls in Congress to abolish the agency a woman with a history of stowing away again snuck past TSA security in San Jose and flew to LAX without a ticket or showing identification.

The fact that this woman was able to get aboard and make an entire flight punctuates the belligerence of Pistole’s testimony and him utter lack of credibility and that of TSA on the whole.

In an effort to defend the agency regarding the San Jose stowaway, TSA relied on its usual tactic of blatantly lying by claiming that she was screened despite the obvious fact that she managed to fly to LAX without a ticket. The local TSA propagandist Rosemary Barnes had the temerity to tell KTLA that “The passenger was screened by TSA for any prohibited items. It’s really important to point that out. This begs the obvious question as to whether they routinely perform security screening on un-ticketed people in airports, which would be a new wrinkle and odd behavior, even for TSA.

In his Congressional testimony an arrogant Pistole blatantly lied, denying responsibility for the policies that he created and implemented in October of 2010, many years after TSA was created.

The Hill article by Keith Laing on August 5, 2014 notes: “TSA critics have seized on complaints on social media from elderly passengers and parents of young children who have accused the agency of mistreating them to argue that techniques such pat-down hand searches and X-ray machines invade the privacy of airline passengers.

Pistole said in the interview that TSA was “just following congressional mandates,” despite the occasional criticism from lawmakers. “Congress said create TSA in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Don’t let this happen again,” he said.

“Some would say there has been a hassle factor. Absolutely,” he continued. “That’s been the case where we are patting down 95-year-old great-grandmothers with cancer or taking a teddy bear from a 3-year-old. Those policies have been changed to reflect the intelligence that says those people are probably not terrorists.”

What he fails to say is that those policies only have changed for those who assign up for PreCheck and pay the fee. TSA tried to garner public support by offering PreCheck privileges that exempt the traveler from the routine of disrobing and undergoing a public groping in the security line. However, these free passes will soon be withdrawn from the public at large and only granted to those who sign up and pay up the $85 membership fee and then only when TSA decides to allow those members access to the PreCheck line.

So not only does Pistole want Congress to keep funding TSA to the tune of $8 billion taxpayer dollars each year to do, well, practically nothing of merit, he also wants to be able to collect annual extortion fees from travelers to reduce their chances of being assaulted by TSA while traveling.

With the current cost and harassment involved in flying perhaps more travelers will try stowing away or just take to the highways instead.

Airlines Sue TSA Over Money, Not Abuses

For the past ten years the airlines have always loved the TSA and dismissed passenger complaints of abuse, molestation and theft as whining. Now that the TSA security has doubled and is affecting their profits, they are now crying foul. Any veteran traveler knows that TSA is not your friend, and is often your enemy but often overlooked the airlines culpability.

Savvy travelers have been critical of airlines but many frequent fliers ignored the shortcomings of their preferred airline in exchange for an infrequent upgrade or being allowed to queue three feet ahead of someone else. Now, the airlines have confirmed to all but the chronically stupid that they really don’t care that your child gets felt up by TSA as long as their bottom line isn’t reduced.

Airlines Sue TSA Over New Security Fees

Trade Groups Allege That TSA Is Violating Federal Law in Introducing Fee Changes

The Wall Street Journal – Doug Cameron – July 30, 2014

A group of airlines on Wednesday sued the U.S. government over new passenger-ticket security fees following months of squabbling over charges that came into effect last week.

The Transportation Security Administration introduced a new set of fees that scrapped an existing cap on the levy in place since 2002, effectively doubling the charge on many new tickets and applying it to some flights starting overseas that previously weren’t subject to the fee. The fee on a basic domestic nonstop round-trip ticket rose to $11.20 from $5—a one-way trip will cost $5.60 instead of $2.50 per flight segment, while the $10 per-ticket cap was dropped.

Airlines in recent weeks had pushed the TSA to delay implementing the changes until August, citing the need to make changes to their booking systems, and warning it would inflate costs and curtail demand. The TSA rejected the calls, according to regulatory filings, and on Wednesday the U.S.-based Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association took their challenge to court in an eight-page petition to the District of Columbia appeals court that called for a review of the changes.

The two trade groups alleged that the TSA is violating federal law in introducing the changes, asserting lawmakers didn’t intend for the new structure to include ending the fee cap on security fees or collecting taxes for trips that originate overseas. The TSA declined to comment because litigation was pending, but previously maintained it was following December’s Budget Control Act statute that paved the way for the new fees, according to regulatory filings.

The airlines’ lawsuit alleged that the TSA failed to follow statute and was making an attempt to “conjure up even more fees”. The TSA increase, which won’t apply retroactively to tickets sold before July 21, should raise an additional $12.6 billion over 10 years, according to the Department of Homeland Security plan published in the Federal Register.

Congress voted to send much of the increase to the general fund, not the TSA, to help reduce the federal deficit. For example, the increase will generate an additional $322 million in the remainder of 2014, according to Homeland Security. Of that, $122 million will go to the TSA and $200 million will contribute to federal deficit reduction.

With the fee increase, Congress also voted to eliminate the $420 million in annual aviation security fees that had been imposed on airlines after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The airlines’ lawsuit alleged carriers would incur “significant injury” because of the TSA’s proposed final rule.

U.S. airlines have been generating record profits in recent months. Ben Baldanza, a longtime critic of transport-fee policy and chief executive of discounter Spirit Airlines Inc., told analysts that industry conditions were “terrific,” citing capacity discipline among carriers and robust demand.

—Scott McCartney contributed to this article.

 

 

 

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