Friday, February 1, 2008

Questions We Hear Everyday (Commenting Disabled)

Throughout the ages, there have been many unanswered questions that continue to baffle the human race. Who built Stonehenge? Is there life on other planets? Why does the TSA make me place my liquids in a clear sealable baggie?

Unfortunately, even the experts at the TSA were not able to solve all of the world's mysteries, but they were able to crack the code on a few.

For your viewing pleasure, we filmed some of our experts explaining a couple of TSA's most frequently asked questions from the flying public. We have others and will post those in the future but for today we have:
We know, we know, what about shoes? Well we're working on a video for this question and plan to update this post with that video this afternoon. In the meantime, check out our post on shoes in the link off to the right. We updated it this morning with a picture of a really funky pair of shoes we found on a guy flying from Alaska last year. We have also posted the x-ray image of a standard pair of shoes. We think it shows pretty clearly that we can actually tell if they've been altered.

You'll notice there's no mention of good old shoe bomber Richard Reid yet. That's because the current rule is not in place only because of one of the more famous residents of the Supermax in Kansas. No, it's all about intel and us knowing that terrorists are still interested in hiding explosives, detonators and other items we really don't want in the cabin of an airplane in their shoes.

Don't forget, we want your feedback but it has to be in the right place because we can't move comments around on this blog yet. Post shoe comments and questions in that link, post liquids issues and scientific research proving us wrong in the liquids page. For anyone interested in discussing screening the elderly and children, feel free to comment right here.

Finally, you'll be happy to know that Kip does not own shares in the plastic baggie business and he is fond of the elderly and small children. I'm also willing to bet you wouldn't even have to take your shoes off at his house. Enjoy...

Evolution Blog Team


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Anonymous said...

At least the clowns at the TSA are having some fun with this.

Now, watch this drive.

Anonymous said...

The real question is Why do we need TSA @ all? We don't, it is a complete waste of time.. you check nothing, find nothing, and simply clog up air travel.. I use to fly 15-20 times a year commercially.. now, i might fly 5 times a year.. only reason, aggravation of the mess that airports have become.. before 9/11... air travel was a breeze.. we have let the terrorist win.. The USA has become the nation of scared children.

Anonymous said...

Very helpful thanks

Anonymous said...

You failed to answer a very common question about liquids:

Why just put them in a big garbage can?

Oh, what was that? Right, because you know it's just a bunch of shampoo.

Then, why confiscate it?

Oh, what was that? Just trust us.

Right, because we all know how reliable the intelligence is in this administration.

Thanks for giving the terrorists just want they want: disruption of American's lives and freedoms.

You are part of the problem.

ScottysAir said...

Do you think about TSA will eventually changed the shoes policies. I think TSA had nothing can do it for 9/11 attacks. I should right thing to do for me that I am really allowable leave the shoes on while I am in the metal detector. Last time that I had a problems with TSA employees few years ago. It's doesn't no reason why I am taking off the shoes all of the times. It's importance some of those passengers will pleased allowed leave the shoes on while they are at metal detector.

The Weary Traveller said...

The liquids ban is really stupid. Nobody can create a bomb out of liquids unless he can hide in the restroom the whole flight while having access to a bunsen burner and other paraphenalia from a well-stocked lab.

The whole TSA is window-dressing, reacting to old news and providing theater instead of genuine security. Israel and other countries have found that the best way to stop hijackings is old-fashioned police work, intercepting the would-be hijackers before they get to the airport - otherwise it's too late. They can pass as airport employees and roam the secure areas at will while 80-year-old grannies are being given the third degree.

I give you props for reaching out to people and opening yourselves up to comments, but again it's window dressing.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lamb Cannon said...

I have flown four times in the last two weeks, and must report that the soi-disant 'security' force of the TSA fills me with despair.

No, I still think the "liquids up to 3 oz in a plastic bag" is the stupidest idea ever.

Are we seriously waiting for the 2nd coming of that little cretin Richard Reid? I don't feel any safer watching women struggle out of their Manolos. Perhaps a ban on UGLY FAT tennis shoes would be a good place to start, otherwise you are wasting all of our time.

As always, the grandmas in wheelchairs were thoroughly searched, while braindead-looking security staff with their ridiculously oversized walkie-talkies strutted around staring at people as if they were criminals. This was at the Delta terminal at JFK; I actually watched one security jerk dancing around to the "get down, Mr. Funky" music blaring out of the PA system, which was completely drowning out the English-challenged boarding instructions. This was at 6:15 in the morning, for God's sake.

At the same time there was a **shocking expose** on the CNN screens talking about how some dumb*ss pranced into Reagan airport with a GUN (no doubt a good Bush voter protecting his prized 2nd amendment rights) and how a fake bomb was waltzed right past the TSA goonsquad--was that at Dulles?

Let's face it--you are strikebreakers, not security people. As pleasant and patient as I try to be with your staff, they are still RUDE, and have the pseudo-official air of camp counselors or DMV workers for the most part. I cringe with embarrassment every time I know I am an American citizen and have to fly somewhere. Anywhere. I just turned down an excellent job opportunity btw because I would have had to travel once a month. That's once too often.

Get it together people. You can be replaced.

Anonymous said...

haha TSA you dont own the internets, you cant tell us to put our comments in 'plastic bags' and to put them in the 'liquid' box to be thrown out. you cant xray our comments! its all over!

Anonymous said...

I think you may be missing the point on this whole "blog" thing.

Many people have found that a blog is an excellent way to communicate ideas using the written word.

Anonymous said...

On the liquid and any other policy, there needs to be a nice consistency of training. On one flight, i have some of my liquids (which were done perfectly to regulations and already passed tow other checkpoints) confiscated. The reason i was given was that the bottle was not properly labeled. No where have i seen the need for labels. I asked aft the next check point about it and they said that is not a regulation. Please train your staff better.

Anonymous said...

You thought my banana was a bomb. It was not a bomb. It was a delicious and nutritious fruit.

Anonymous said...

You know what would be nice when you go through a security check? A place to sit down and put your shoes back on? In virtually every airport in this country, I'm left to grab my coat, bag, shoes and laptop and then wander around in my socks like an idiot until I see a chair somewhere in the concourse, use a bench or a wall, or do the manic one-legged dance of the guy trying to put his shoes on with one arm while holding his luggage with the other. When I do sit down in a chair near the x-ray table, I've been told to move because it's for personal searches only or something. Maybe this is the airport's job and not TSA's, but it would sure make the process a lot less annoying.

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? That video is the explanation for the liquid ban?

The ban that is completely useless? How does the 3-1-1 rule prevent anyone from getting as much liquid as they want past security? I can take 10 bottles of 3oz liquid in, or I can make repeated trips through security. At the end of the day, nothing is gained.

I had high hopes for this blog, but if that video is what we can expect as feedback or explanation, then consider this a failed experiment and close it down. It's just going to cause more frustration, since you're now just another government agency that doesn't address a SINGLE issue that people bring up.

Mike said...

Why are you using Windows Media? Does the TSA consider Mac and Linux users second class citizens?

YetAnotherDave said...

Okay, more foolish questions:
Why are you still confiscating nail files when there are now steel doors on the airplane flight deck?
Why won't you let people bring sealed bottled water through the gates? How about if they are willing to drink some of it in front of you?
Why is a sweater vest considered an "outer garment," which must be removed and x-rayed?!

Anonymous said...

What about small knives?

Anonymous said...

How about a guarantee that no person shall be placed on the no-fly list solely because of a post made here.

Anonymous said...


Many of us do not use Microsoft software and thus have no way to view streaming .wmv files. Please consider a format more widely available. I understand that YouTube tends to work quite well; maybe you should consider posting there or using that file format.

Anonymous said...

Here's another question: why does the TSA post videos in proprietary formats that only really work in Windows?

Anonymous said...

The restriction of liquids and gels is supposedly to prevent terrorists from mixing two part explosives to bring down an airplane. Yet many explosives experts who have written about the subject insist that mixing explosives successfully in a setting as primitive as an airplane lavatory is nigh impossible. Why should we believe the liquid and gel ban is anything other that a grotesque overreaction on the part of the TSA?

Not Surprised by Censorship said...

Censorship is alive and well with the Evolution Blog Team.

Why did I think it would be otherwise?

Anonymous said...

The liquids response still does not address the following issues:

1) Numerous sources have discredited the idea that the liquid-explosive TATP can be produced airside by mixing high-concentration peroxide plus acetone because of the laboratory conditions (precise timing and temperature) required and the noxious stench which would alert other travelers to the danger. Yet Kip Hawley admits that peroxide bombs are still the main concern ( Hawley has also admitted that airside-mixed explosives are not considered a threat. (

2) The original justification for the war on water was that bombs could be mixed airside using common harmless liquids that could not be detected by ETD. That has been debunked. Now, conventional liquid explosives such as nitroglycerin (used in the Philippene 434 bombing) are detected quite well by TSA’s existing ETD. Furthermore, nitroglycerin would need to be stabilized in a cotton-like solid to be stable enough to make it through an airport as was done on flight 434; yet soaked solids are not banned by TSA. So why does TSA need to ban all liquids?

3) Liquid explosives are inherently unstable (see above). So by maintaining the ban on liquids, TSA is maintaining that a liquid explosive exists that is stable enough to carry through a checkpoint in a water bottle (so can’t be nitroglycerin) and can’t be detected by existing ETD or puffer. I’ve seen no evidence of such an explosive. If such a liquid exists, then TSA should produce a video of a water-bottle sized container filled with liquid being moved as if through x-ray and a terminal and then detonated to produce a large explosion. Showing the video would not reveal the nature of the explosive or any secrets. Yet all TSA gives us is a vague video of a test explosion with no demonstration of the container or its transport.

4) Ever since the Tylenol cyanide scare a few decades ago, beverage and drug manufacturers have spent millions of dollars producing tamper-evident seals such that tampering is detectible at a glance by untrained persons. Wine manufacturers have used tamper-evident containers (cork and capsule) for decades longer to prevent forgery. So why does TSA need to ban factory sealed water and wine bottles, when any untrained person can instantly detect tampering visually?

5) We were allowed to fly with liquids for over a decade after Philippine 434 and for months after DHS was aware of the 2005 liquid threat. Yet once it became public, TSA institutes yet another reactionary ban on harmless items.

6) Why can’t TSA post clear rules on it’s website stating that empty bottles are not prohibited and that < 3 oz containers need not be marked with their size or original labeling? That would give passengers leverage against abusive TSOs who make up arbitrary rules and confiscate these permitted items.

If TSA wants to win back passengers, it must convince us that ever-increasing restrictions serve a purpose. Now, they seem to be mostly security theater and to be designed mostly to inconvenience travelers and further erode basic rights and dignity. Hiding behind SSI as an excuse to provide basic justification and to avoid admitting past mistakes only makes the problem worse.

Mike said...

There's this new thing called "youtube." It will let you upload videos and will automagically change them into videos that anyone can see. Then you can even post those videos right into your blog just by copying and pasting text, no thinking required.

Change TSA Culture said...

Imagine if each and every TSA security screening employee was exceedingly polite and respectful – it would fundamentally change the TSA's relationship with the public overnight.

TSA, why can't you hire people with these qualities? Retaining overly domineering and rude screening agents in your ranks will only further drive the public to resent you.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA,
      A recent poll (Associated Press-Ipsos, December 2007) found that the TSA was among the least favored of government agencies. Given that existing image problem, how do you feel about the DHS using the TSA as a tool for political punishment against those states that object to the REAL ID act?
      The DHS announced their final rule on the REAL ID act. As part of that ruling, starting May 11th of this year a state issued driver's license will not be considered valid identification for TSA purposes, unless the issuing state promises that their future driver's licenses will meet the REAL ID standard. Given that there is no possible security reason for this rule—a promise by a state that driver's licenses that it issues in 2011 will be secure has absolutely no effect on the security of an already issued driver's license—it is clear that the rule is designed to punish citizens of the states that have passed bills rejecting the act.
      In a time when the TSA is busy explaining why passengers must remove their shoes and trying to justify the 3-1-1 (liquids) rule, doesn't this clear political rule undermine the effort to get the American public to take the TSA's rules seriously?

Anonymous said...

You guys have it so easy. I think I'm going to start telling anyone who asks me a question I don't want to or can't answer that I can't answer for national security reasons. That's the kind of built-in excuse I thrive on.

Don't trust the government said...

So great, we're limited to small travel size containers of whatever. So get a dozen or so collaborators together to bring their small bottles of whatever together and aggregate them after you get through security. How is that different than one person bringing through a larger bottle? If terrorist organizations are as clever as you claim, I can't imagine that they would not have thought of this already. I have a feeling that the actual reason behind the size restriction is to ensure that the corporations who sell travel size toiletries get their piece of the security pie as on a per oz basis, the products are usually several times more expensive than they would otherwise have been had they been purchased in larger size containers. There is nothing that this government has done, does, or will do that is about the health, safety or welfare of the people of the USA. Everything it does is about lining the pockets of some corporate contributor or other republican crony. Follow the money. Just follow the money.

Anonymous said...

Why, if they're so smart, do your experts have to read their responses off of cue cards?

Anonymous said...

Not able to view the videos on my Mac.

100KFlyer said...

Hilarious! The video posted by the TSA basically says that "binary explosives can be created in a lab under controlled conditions, hence we assume that you can also make the exact same explosive in an airplane lavatory."

Paging Mr. Kafka, Mr. Kafka please report to the TSA Program Office.

Anonymous said...

The real question is why they are using blogger instead of their own server. Have their consul suggested it as a way around public records law?

Barry said...

Just wondering: given that the Israelis don't have a policy for stealing hair gel and toothpaste from travelers, why aren't we warned about traveling to Israel? It seems irresponsible to fail to warn travelers when they're traveling to a place that doesn't know anything about terrorism.

Anonymous said...

I can't really watch the video and get anything out of it because I don't have speakers or even a headset at this time. Also, I'm just not good with listening to people explain things - I'd much rather read it at my own pace. If you could transcribe or write something up that would approximate the video, that would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I posted previously but it didn't make it through moderation. But what about sexual assault? Where does that fit into the security policy? Eventually some husband or boyfriend is going to school a TSA screener because of one to many fondlings of his wife/girlfriend. Of course the TSA will just pull an arrest on him much like they did the gentleman who recently carried a gun through security and came back to report the problem and ended being arrested rather than thanked.

Anonymous said...

The problems with the liquid ban are: (1) There aren't any effective binary explosive compounds.
(2) Explosives can't be "manufactured" aboard the aircraft from precursors
(3) The arbitrary 3-oz limit doesn't prevent passenger collusion to collect arbitrarily large amounts aboard the plane.
(4) There are, roughly, 100 times more solid and powder explosives than liquids. Wait, should I have said that? Will TSA now ban solids and liquids too? Will only plasmas be allowed?

Anonymous said...

i was flying to los angeles:
the guy in front of me went through the metal detector and it went off. the tsa agents were too busy talking to stop the man.

Anonymous said...

If I have my only liquid/paste/gel item (deodorant) in a TSA-approved "Zip Lock (tm)" baggie, in the grey bin, then I can keep it.

If I have my only liquid/paste/gel item (deodorant) in a grey bin, then I can't keep it.


Anonymous said...

One of my friends is dead certain that a TSA baggage screener stole his iPod out of his checked luggage. Do you get accused of this a lot? Are the accusations founded?

Livid Mom said...

We were returning from my mother's memorial service in Feb. 2007 and TSA decided to search my sixteen-year-old daughter because she did not have a government ID which is not necessary until age seventeen according to TSA's website regarding ID's. I was upset they wanted to search her at all but even after I continually said, "She's a minor. I'm her mother. I need to be present when you search her!" they ignored my remarks and escorted me away from where she was being searched by a female TSA employee. Apparently they thought I was lying about her age. What else could it be? Why would it have bothered them to allow me to observe the search? They checked in her bra, etc. I was livid. Still in mourning for my recently deceased mother I never filed a formal complaint however Frontier did report it as the agent at the gate was the same woman who processed our luggage at the reservation window. She was appalled at how we were treated.

Anyone want to comment on this?

Anonymous said...

Why confiscate knives, or other similair tools? Guns I can understand, bullets in a plane are bad. But a terrorist still has a chance to smuggle a handheld weapon onboard.

Passengers are a plane's best hope. Everyone knows that after 9/11, it's best NOT to comply with a terrorist's demands, and it's better to fight. With locked cabin doors, its unlikely they'll be able to take over a plane again.

So why take away openly carried pocketknives? Why deny passengers the ability to defend themselves in a incident? Why make all our lives a lot more inconvenient due to this "Security Theatre" farce?

Anonymous said...

So after about 2 days of this blog being set up, we've ascertained (a) most people think that the liquids ban is stupid and pointless, (b) most people think that taking off their shoes is stupid and pointless, (c) there are some TSA screeners who are badly trained and unprofessional, (d)there are some TSA baggage screeners who are thieves, (e) some people don't fly any more because the aggravation seems too much. It seems to me this blog needs to provide more than just a forum for people to repeat these 5 or 6 basic complaints ad infinitum. How about having separate posts directed towards particular airports? As TSA performance seems to be so airport-dependent perhaps the best way to raise the performance of particularly maligned airports is to gather the comments from people who use that airport regularly all in one place. Then perhaps someone with the power to do something about it could read it and do something about it! We can but dream...

Anonymous said...

Come on people, why complain about the liquid restrictions? It's not like it's a surprise now - it's been pretty well publicized what amount of liquids you can bring on to the airplane. If you don't like it, don't fly. Geeesshhh.

Anonymous said...

we indirectly must thank osama bin laden for making the TSA make its own blog.

by the way im so tired of throwing away liquid soap and not being able to bring water aboard the plane. cant you guys have a screening machine that identifies water?

Anonymous said...

So whats the deal with sandals/flip flops cause thats basically all I ever wear, and lets be honest, theres like no place to hide anything. Most of the time I don't have to take them off but one time a TSA person asked me to take off my shoes and I was like uhhh what shoes. Also along the same point my mom's boyfriend has shoes with a flask built in to the soles by the company cause he likes to drink. Would you guys totally freak if you saw that? He also has a pair of flip flops with a bottle opener on the bottom.

But on a serious note, if I change my liquid to a solid through the complex process known as "freezing" you wouldn't be able to take my water would you?

Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous: a blog that preemptively screens every single comment for "appropriateness"!

Isn't it silly to use such an open medium to do PR for a very unpopular program? The obvious solution (to screen and heavily comments) contradicts the whole point of having a blog.

Agencies like TSA should accept that much of what they do is unnecessary and therefore unpopular with most of the population (who are not stupid and have no problem recognizing what is a legitimate security need and what is not) and should stop trying to push PR on a medium designed for building real communities around ideas and things that people actually respect.

Anonymous said...

Please, it has been proven time and time again that making a bomb from binary liquids is nigh impossible within the confines of a plane, how about you actually have real security standards, not restrictive fake ones that just justify your jobs.

ab said...

I believe tou have absolutely no right to do this kind of checking. Did the government gave you the right? Sorry, rights are not granted by governments. Rights are natural. Airline security a serious matter, but it is between the passengers and the airline, period.

All the government imposed checks are an immoral aggression on citizens and airline companies. The government is not "special" it doesn't have "special rights" and the same moral rules apply to government agents and everyone else.

If a random person had the strange idea of imposing his own security controls on airlines he would be arrested by the airport's security.

Governments agents are not different, they are just bullies.

Think about it this way, why people don't take +100kg of luggage? Because the airline refuses to take it. That's it they just refuse a deal.

Why people comply with security checks? Is it because they agreed to it? NO ! It's because if they don't they'll be arrested. The so called "services" the government provide are based on coercion and not on legitimate trade.

By taking a plane, I am taking my own responsibility, and I leave to the airline the responsibility of ensuring my security. It is up to me to decide whether I believe the airline provides a good service or not.

I do think that airline security is a genuine concern, and as a passenger I do care for it, but it has to remain the private business of airline companies.

The government employees performing checks are acting like parasites, living off taxes and making passenger's life miserable.

Shrike said...

I have a question that has been nagging me for some time and have yet to recieve a half logical answer from the many security personell at the checkpoints. If the screening person checks my passport against the bording pass that I also hand him, how does this make me more secure to be on the other side of the checkpoint? Here are the problems with this as I see it and would like your take on them:

Problem 1). I am in essence giving them my ID and the "Test" for that ID. Bording passes can be printed on a $50 printer at home that will match the name on the ID (many airlines allow this and it would take near no skill to print a false one). They dont check the name against any No Fly list so i'm assuming that impetus is on the airline.

Problem Scenario: Terrorist #1 on the no fly list knows that the airline is the one checking names against the no fly list so they ask their that is not on the list to buy a ticket for them in their buddies name. They print the valid boarding pass then take 3 minutes to print another but with the name changed to match Terrorist #1's real name on his ID. He then has a fake ID made up (ill explain why this may be neccesary later and why it does not ahve to be particularly sophisticated). Now he has 2 sets of documents: A. Real ID with Fake boarding pass both with his real name on it. B. Fake ID and Real boarding pass with his buddies name on it. He walks up to the security checkpoint and to the NTSB operative who presumably is trained on how to spot a fake ID. He hands him his real ID and the fake boarding pass. Remember the fake boarding pass is a piece of paper that is identical to the real one except for just the name (if they passed a law stopping the airlines from alowing home printing of passes then the little card ones would take 3hrs to falsify instead of 3 minutes but would still be easy). The NTSB guard checks the ID against the fake pass and of course it matches and he is let through. Once he is on the other side, the "secure" zone he walks up to the gate and watches the airline stuard to see if they are checking ID. They normaly dont. If that is the case he just walks up when its his turn and hands them the real pass with his buddies name. If they are checking ID he hands them the real pass with the fake ID and since they are far from highly trained they will accept it.

Problem 2). Now this problem makes the above problem almost irrelevant and this whole thing a bit of a farse. It is unconstitutional to not allow someone to travel (including flying) in the US without showing ID. I know that you can be subjected to a more stringent search if you refuse but that does nothing, absolutely nothing about people on the No Fly list from Flying.

Pleast help me understand this. I fly quite often and am a very very security minded person and have many concerns and concepts I would love some insight on. I will limmit this comment to this one as it has now become a wall of text. Thank you

Anonymous said...

From my POV this is a pile of malarkey. As a chemistry student and amateur journalist i have done some research into the necessity of confiscating liquids. I have asked chem professors and individuals in the munitions industry. There are explosives which can be transported and used in containers the size of tubes of toothpaste or a water bottle. BUT these materials are either incredibly volatile (walking through a metal detector, bumbing into someone, or a light static charge will set them off), very expensive,easily detected, very hard to make, and/or only manufactured by western governments.

If someone wished to commit an act of terrorism at the moment the current security procedures would make no difference. At the moment all the security does is make travelers angry and the TSA power hungry, convinced they have the right to publicly humiliate passengers.

It is worth noting that other nations such as France, The UK, Spain, and Germany have much more relaxed security protocols despite having suffered terrorist attacks and having a much higher risk of homegrown terrorism. As i already said these procedures do not make us safer they just make us angrier and far more miserable, they also provide a disincentive for flying.

Anonymous said...

I want my Tweezerman nosehair scissors back, please. It's starting to look like the Black Forest in there.

Anonymous said...

All your security really does is make it more frustrating to bring whatever we want onto a plane in more creative and elaborate means.

--Think that's an empty water bottle?
Wrong. It could easily contain a rather generous amount of an explosive, or noxious gas.

--Think a small amount of liquid isn't a problem?
Highly corrosive acids, the components to make Hydrogen Cyanide, and other deadly substances are easily stored in clear small PVA containers.

--Spare Laptop Battery?
Think spare explosives.

--Wallet filled with business cards?
Wallet filled with the occasional business card shaped razor.

In short, you'll have to force this nation to travel naked if you want the reliable security.

Anonymous said...

The liquids thing is idiotic.
Liquids were banned because of some people who apparently had tried to come up with a way of using them and never got past the initial idea stage, the idea was unworkable.

The TSA has nothing to do with real security. It exists to do two things - react after the event to cover their own asses, and keep people scared, keep them used to a security state.

What good does making people take their sneakers off do when the cargo being loaded onto that same plane is unscreened?

What good does throwing out your pocket knife do when I could have a large glass or obsidian knife taped to my leg, undetectable?

The TSA methods are based on the idea that all terrorists and all public are idiots, apparently.

The whole thing is a pathetic joke.

concerned said...

TSA - I want to warn you that with the kinds of shoe laces you find on dress shoes a terrorist could easily sneak up behind a steward and take them hostage by threatening to strangle them. I think you should consider confiscating business shoe shoe laces.

thanks, just an idea.

Chance said...

Chance from the Evolution blog team here: regarding what 'not surprised by censorship' said above, yes, we will delete certain posts that do not adhere the comment policy standards. I for one have no wish to be over zealous, but it simply is not feasible to allow this forum to be a free for all. Trolls and flame warriors can quickly make the best discussions turn into non constructive arguments (not saying you're either). I respect that you may strongly disagree, but please keep all comments respectful and on topic.

To the anonymous commenter who asked why our people may sound like they are talking off cue cards: these aren't actors, these are actual TSA employees. I don't know about you, but I don't have any experience in front of the camera, so I'm not going to criticize anyone else's performance.

mark said...

The liquid ban is idiotic. Pure theatrics to scare the idiots.

The shoe removal thing is even more stupid.

How about a real assessment of the risks and the disbandment of the TSA

Anonymous said...

Hey Blog team, can you repost the videos in ether Flash video (.flv) or MPEG-4 format? I can't view them in an operating system that has a more evolved security system than Windows -- aka, Linux.

John said...

Congratulations on beating the IRS to become the most hated government agency in America. You've earned it!!

Anonymous said...

The whole fluids rule is the modern paranoia of our age. That the whole "binary explosive" TATP is not even possible, just makes me angry. So why all the fuss? And the confiscation of clippers and stuff is just annoying.

On my most recent four or five flights, the TSA staff treated us all as criminals. I've normalized the humiliation of taking off my belt, shoes, etc. on every single flight. But I really hate flying. I would rather drive, take the train or bus.

And you read about the security lapses AT the airport, I think the whole purpose of the TSA is to make us all FEEL better without actually accomplishing anything.

Anonymous said...

I havent flown in quite a while,is there a list of banned materials,items we can get at travel agent. I would like to go back to Las Vegas some time soon and dont want to have my money wasted on stuff that will be taken away from me and my wife. Im not a rich man ya know??

Anonymous said...

With all respect ... the videos don't really add anything to the discussion that a written response wouldn't provide. A written response is less wasteful of bandwidth, and doesn't present problems to people who can't handle Windows Media files.

Unless you're going to do something creative with the video, I'd just as soon see an ordinary written response.

Anonymous said...

I had one of 2 pairs of pliers confiscated from my carryon. Apparently, one pair of pliers is harmless, but with 2 you can take over a plane? Moronic.
On the same flight was a college baseball player who was allowed to bring his baseball bat on the flight.
Brilliant logic, TSA.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but these things are absurd.

The "war on liquids" is insane, and let's face it, if it were legit, there'd also be regs in place to prevent price gouging on the purchase of bottled liquids after security. The existence of the price gouging tells the traveler all they need to know about why there's a need for a "war on liquids."

There is no valid reason to screen laptops separately. If there were, the EFF would never have had to sue the government to attempt to find out why it's needed.

There is no reason for the shoe thing. I can fly to a whole host of countries brave enough to let their air passengers go through security without the shoe nonsense.

Really, we're tired, tired, tired of the whole thing.

Even calling it "security" is nonsense; this artificial jumbling of belongings increases the risk that they'll be lost or stolen.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, you guys have heard of YouTube right? Upload your videos there so everyone can see them. Only inefficient government agencies use crap from Microsoft.

Anonymous said...

Could anyone please refer me to the law(s) that authorize the TSA to
1. search me without probable cause
2. detain me without probable cause
3. require me to show ID

What are my rights? What is the extent of their authority? What recourses are available if they overstep their bounds? What are their recourses if I'm found not to be in compliance with the law?

Anonymous said...

I would like to know what rights the passengers have during the screening. What is the legislative and regulatory authority used by the TSA in their implementation of security policies? Are the legal, regulatory, and security policies available for public review? What redress is available to passengers who object to how they were treated? Making this information would help the public trust you. If it's all "we know what we're doing, just trust us", you get the exact opposite reaction.

Anonymous said...

1. I can't watch your videos because I use a Mac and can't watch streaming Windows Media files.

2. I personally would like to say that I don't feel one bit safer by having you all around. I'm not afraid of terrorists -- I'm afraid of what dumb hoop I'm going to have to jump through next just to get on my plane. I don't fly a lot anymore because of the TSA.

3. I do appreciate your attempt at being a cutesy, quirky blog but could you please make fewer jokes and perhaps act like you care what we think and are going to change things? Right now you are regaling me with verbal banter about how Kip doesn't own stock in plastic baggie corporations. I'd rather you act like you might listen to the people you're trying to protect and let us have our liquids, luggage locks, and shoes back. It's not hard -- just tell us what you're going to change to make things better.

P.S. Your employees are some of the rudest on the planet. Condescending, patronizing, uninterested in helping, rude. I don't feel safe in their hands. They make me feel like I have to prove that I'm a good citizen (and I am) or they're going to throw me in a white room and scream at me because I forgot to take the metal clips out of my hair and thus set off the alarm. (And the snide comment about my devotion to fashion was unneeded. I have a right to pull my hair back from my face if I want to, thank you.)

sean said...

In the past, pilots were trained to hand over the plane to anyone who tried to hijack it. Nowadays they are trained not to hand over the plane no matter what. My question is, why isn't this enough?

Blindly bombing a plane is one of the least effective ways to inflict the most amount of damage. It only became effective when the terrorists were able to control the outcome. Isn't educating people to not be victimized better then any screening you could do in the terminal?

Anonymous said...

Instead of all the cute banter regarding stock in plastic bag companies, how about posting your actions regarding the GAO findings from 2005 concering Sensitive Information that "TSA does not have guidance and procedures, beyond its SSI regulations,
providing criteria for determining what constitutes SSI or who can make
the designation. Such guidance is required under GAO’s standards for
internal controls. In addition, TSA has no policies on accounting for
or tracking documents designated as SSI. As a result, TSA was unable to
determine either the number of TSA employees actually designating
information as SSI or the number of documents designated SSI. Further,
apart from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests or other requests
for disclosure outside of TSA, there are no written policies and
procedures or systematic reviews for determining if and when an SSI
designation should be removed."

Anonymous said...

The fundamental problem with the current process is that it simply doesn't make anyone safer. We all stand around with our luggage, in long winding lines, jammed all up together, waiting and waiting to go through security: we are SURROUNDED BY PEOPLE WITH LARGE BAGS THAT HAVEN'T BEEN SCREENED. Five suicide bombers just show up at rush hour with two large bags each, filled with cheap industrial explosives, and explosive vests. They can destroy the entire security hall. I would be infinitely happier to have the entire TSA budget repurposed: have metal detectors only, and put two or three armed federal marshals on every flight. The jamming everyone up into a big room BEFORE THEY'RE SCREENED, in the interest of protecting us from explosives, is just dumb.

Anonymous said...

To all the people who are saying the TSA serves no purpose and that we're asking for too much, could you please list the last time a plane was hijacked in America? Thanks, try again. The simple fact is that the TSA hasn't done ENOUGH and that restrictions will become much larger in the future, so get used to it.

Anonymous said...

Many travellers carry multiple luggage items and laptops. After you cross the metal detector, it is very stressful to grab stuff like shoes, laptop, coat/jacket, keys, coins, suitcases from different trays because there is little room on the belt/platform and then you have to grab everything without forgeting anything and then put the shoes on standing while others are rushing in. And also to remember to not drop boarding pass and driver's licence while you are doing all this! Can this be improved?

Anonymous said...

Ok the last post didn't work very well...go to and search for the Aviation and Security Act. That will tell you where TSA gets authorization.

jeff321 said...

Hello, I don't fly much but I had to last year and I was completely unfamiliar with the regulations. Please provide better signage and communication so that people like me know what needs to be done to get through security easily and quickly, like remove shoes, etc. Thank you.

jason said...

I sympathize with how difficult the TSA's job is. However, even children can see just how sad and useless the security theater that goes on at our airports is. There is no need for physics or chemistry to prove this point.

There used to be a big poster showing things you couldn't bring on planes. It was stuff like guns, knives, gasoline and the like. That made sense and didn't put anyone out.

Now that poster would have things like batteries, shampoo, water, a swiss army knife, hair gel, hand lotion, soda, any oh yeah, lets not forget containers larger than the magical 3oz limit at which liquids endanger a plane.

In an age where progress used to be measured in the time it took to travel across this amazing country of ours, I find myself willing to drive further and further to forgo the rude, useless, reactionary tactics created to make it look like your being useful.

Please stop designing security by committee and if you can't keep us safe (and trust me, you can't) at least try to find the courage and honesty to admit your failure. Don't put up a website that tries to cover that up, it just makes it worse.

Tired of TSA said...

While I appreciate that some members of TSA may have good intentions, your whole organization has become a farce and would be a laughing stock if you weren't such a severe threat to the liberty of US citizens. You cultivate a culture of fear with your bogus security theater actions such as the ridiculous liquid bans and shoe policies. A woman in front of me at a PHX security line complained that her high-heeled shoes were hard to take off and clearly weren't smuggling anything (they were tiny!) The TSA agents just made fun of her as soon as she was through the detector and outside of earshot (while I was taking off my shoes).

Ben said...

The TSA needs something to do to spend their over-inflated budget so they get the same next year. Only in America.

Anonymous said...

This, my friends, is in desperate need of a good Slashdot.

Anonymous said...

How about not prefacing your blog articles with banal idiotic tidbits like: "Throughout the ages, there have been many unanswered questions that continue to baffle the human race. Who built Stonehenge? Is there life on other planets?"

If we want to read stupid little facts like this, we can watch Discovery Channel advertisements.

It just makes you sound like a bunch of condescending fools who don't take the public seriously. I suppose if this is true, then there's no reason to discontinue the practice. Carry on.

hendrixski said...

This must be a common question too: WHY?

Why do I have to get screened so often on the same trip?

Why is it that after I spent 14 hours between airports and planes flying from Lausanne Switzerland to Rochester NY, USA, passing through some 4 or more security checkpoints, at my last stop I was sent through a special screening reserved for suspicious people? Yes, I was tired, unshaven, and angry, and I guess that makes me a prime candidate for your abuse.

Why did I have to throw out a bottle of expensive wine from the duty-free even though I am allowed to bring one across the border?

Thank you for turning a bad trip into a terrible one. So.. WHY? WHY do you make it so unbearable? WHY?

Anonymous said...

For all those complaining about not being able to watch the videos on Mac or Linux - they currently don't work on Windows XP or Vista either. Great work TSA.

Anonymous said...

Someone said it before me. Why is the TSA needed at all, other than to clog air travel? Its not as though they find anything. I make it a point to no longer fly in or through the US- thank you TSA!

Based on the paranoia the TSA engenders, the terrorists have already won.

Just Not Right said...

Isn't terrorism an unavoidable consequence of living in a world where some nations and peoples feel frustrated and powerless?

How does throwing time and money at the problem do anything about its source other than enabling it to drain the resources of the US?

For the TSA to "lower its guard", so to speak, would provide more of a benefit to the people of the US than any increase in successful terrorist actions would cost them.

You can't balance an equation by just piling more and more factors onto one side of it.

I haven't flown in years. It's been really hard missing out on family events and not being to see all the wonderful things in this world. But by going along with the way the TSA's running the show, you're only saying that it's OK to put up with it.

It's not.

Doesn't like the TSA said...

TSA is a waste of time. Their Security theatre makes me sick!

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous poster who asked when the last time an American flight was hijacked...a better question would be, when was the last time any flight was hijacked? With the rest of the world ignorant of the special magical knowledge of terrorists that the TSA possesses, allowing people to get on planes with full sized tubes of toothpaste, uninspected flip-flops, and toiletries not in zipper baggies, you'd think there'd be planes going down every couple of minutes. Even though Americans like to think we're the center of the universe, there are lots of terrorist organization in lots of other countries with grudges against their own governments, or other countries, who'd be happy to blow something up. Where are the Israeli flights being hijacked? How about India? Pakistan? Russia? Indonesia? All these places have movements of armed radicals and extremists, and yet none of them have "security" procedures approaching the level of intrusiveness we have here. Even Britain, buddies in the greater war on terror, home to a shocking number of its own Islamic extremists, doesn't go as overboard as the TSA.

We don't resent security. We resent being inconvenienced as part of "security theatre", where the emphasis is more on the appearance than on actual security.

Drakimor said...

I want to know if it ever bothers TSA agents that they are simply agents of fear?

Do they know they are not stopping anything real and simply reminding people the government wants them afraid?

The people who thank you are victims of this fear, victims of terrorism and they continue to be victimized every time they give in to the fear.

I know you won't actually post this, but I want you to think about it.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering - but what keeps someone with poor intent from simply walking on board a plane with a package of explosives?

last I checked, though I might be wrong, the metal detectors detected only metal, and not chemicals. there's no mass spec anywhere near them.

Shrike said...

I would like to state something that I cant seem to find discussed anywhere :

The days of someone pulling a gun, a knife, a box cutter and certainly a pair of tweezers and hijacking an airliner full of people came to an abrupt and absolute end on 9/11. I don't know about you but I, and im guessing the old lady sitting next to me, will steamroll anyone that even slightly attempts a hijcaking. Personally I don't care if they are gripping a freshly oiled Kalashnikov, Me (and im guessing at the very least 50% or the passangers) are going to summarily rip them appart limb from limb. As far as box cutters or tweezers are concerned, I'm guessing they would not get passed first class alive. All macho talk aside. There is no way someone is hijacking a plane overtly ever again. No way, no how. That said, covertly is a whole other story. I'm guessing that may be why the liquid ban came into play. I wont get into that one since it has been dessimated by other commenters with much more chemmistry expertise than me. It still just smells of security theater to me. Like the random searches of bags in the NY subway. Anyone with even an iota of common sence knows that was theater to keep the sheep (the really really dumb ones) happy. I am far from saying that we need no security, just that it needs to be well.... real. Taking away a knitting needle from a grandma and ticking off a poin on "got one" column of the weekly security report does not make us safer. So far, the only effective measure I have heard of in airport security was the hiring of the security expert from the Tel Aviv airport to train Everyone at the Miami International Airport (even the guy that wraps the bags in celophane) to spot behavioral tells so that they may report them for further investigation. As far as the other measures go (pardon the sarcasm, i'ts in my nature):

Metal detectors: Ceramic guns/ammo/knives?

Liquid Restrictions: 10 tangos with enough small quatities of "the evil liquids" between them all get on the plane?
Is C4 liquid? I know the puffers detect it, but what if it is placed in a sealed container in a lab environment and then handed at the last momment to the operator who never touched the stuff? (if that sounds too complex just remember that the 9/11 boys took flying lessons and orchestrated something much more complex)
No Fly List:
Legaly they can't ask you for an ID to fly. (I tested this when I flew from Miami to Houston without my wife. She would have killed me faster than any terrorist if I had tried it with her. That said, I got on with a further search but as a Jon Doe. ( I know this does not help you get a weapon on the plane but still, another example that makes me picture some burocrat with zero security experience sitting in a cubicle comming up with policy)
Security Checkpoint:
I don't know about other airports but here in South Florida, all our airports are completely surrounded by chain link fence. Furthermore they all have businesses in them with zero security and public access with nothing between them and the runway. Why would a terrorist try to get something on a plane through the checkpoint when all they have to do is buy some uniforms that match the workers and make some slightly plausible ID tags (I doubt anyone checks them much once you are out on the tarmac) then simply walk up to the plane? In essence it is like having a bank vault with a 2000lb steel door but the rest of the vault is chicken wire.

Something rather obvious to me but not discussed too much is the fact that security at other airports that connect to the US is 1000 times more Useless. I recently flew from Quito Ecuador to Miami on a large commercial plane. My wife got extremely ill on the way to the airport. We were taken to the exellent infermary with the airport where they treated her for what they belived was food poisoning. They gave here a shot and some pills to take later and then loaded us on an ambulance when she was well enough and drove us up to plane where they proceeded to put our bags on board and check our passports and tickets. ZERO security check. And I have been at airports considerably less sophisticated than UIO where it would be 100 times easier to pull something off.

I know this is all critique. But IMO what you guys need is Training, Training, Training. Then have deviant minded bastards audit your systems and run Red Cell styled probes to find the weaknesses.
Take a note from your boys at DHS running the cybersorm exersices.

Anonymous said...

Your metal detectors are broken. Seriously. The last couple of times I've flown, after passing through it and trying to put my shoes, belt, laptop back together, I've put my wallet back in my pocket only to encounter... surprise! my all aluminum iPod Nano was in my pocket the entire time and I forgot to take it out. And this has happened twice at two different airports, so it wasn't a one-time fluke.

If you can't detect a hunk of metal the size of an iPod what good are those other ridiculous precautions for?

Ethan said...

Hiding stuff in shoes? Give me a break. They can wrap a belt of explosives around their belly and carry far more than they could stuff into their shoes.

Anything you get through the metal detectors via hiding in shoes, you could hide even better between/under/in your clothes.

This is just more theater so you can make a show of doing "something".

rtconner said...

Eve though people ask "why?", we don't actually want to know why we can't bring liquids on, and why we have to take off our shoes. There is zero need to explain why. No one cares why.

What we are really saying when people ask "why?" is: Stop it!! It is not worth the security to us the American people. We don't want these security measures if they are going to embarrass us or cause us such problems.

For my health, I bring water on the plane to drink, because I feel that my body needs a certain amount of water with minerals in it over a certain time period. I do not want to drink the the liquids given to me on the plane. Four hour flights are too long to not drink anything.

And certainly you can see how taking shoes off can infringe on a persons privacy. Possibly embarrass them in front of other.

If there is one message you need to hear, it would be: Just stop it.

Anonymous said...

Passengers do not realize that they themselves are generally one half of the problem in the passenger/screener relationship. I can tell you as a screener myself that I try my hardest to treat passengers who come through my checkpoint with the utmost respect, but more often than not I am treated to rude ill-tempered and cranky passengers not wanting to comply with my orders. It's my job to tell you what to do, you can either deal with it or just know what you're doing ahead of time so I can stay out of your way. It's simple, really.

Anonymous said...

Please can you post responses as text for those of us who do not want to (or cannot; some users cannot) download and listen to your audio files?


Anonymous said...

Just a pure technical point:
Some people (like myself) don't run Windows and have trouble viewing WMV files. In addition, since this was a streaming file, I was unable to download it for viewing, which meant that the viewing was choppy.

May I suggest either a Youtube posted view (it's free - think of all the taxpayer money you are saving), or a nice MPEG video file we can download?

Mercerch said...

How do they answer the problem of chemistry? It is not possible to produce the quantity of explosive necessary through the volumes associated with typical consumer items that fall within the liquids rule. The average consumer items like toothpaste, pit stick, etc come in volumes larger than the TSA allow.

This also does not answer the problem that the only explosives you are able to produce this way would be highly unstable and you would likely screw it up long before you were able to put it together.

Cereal said...

I think it's pretty hilarious that the TSA is officially screening comments to this blog.

Do the comments have to wait in a little line? Do they have to take their shoes off? If I put more than 3 ounces of liquid in this comment, is it going to go off in a separate little room where it's placed in handcuffs and positionally asphyxiated?

Anonymous said...

TSA - why won't you listen? The American people don't want the stupid security. Stop it with the shoes, stop it with the liquid bans. We are aware of the risk and we accept it. Please LISTEN TO US.

Anonymous said...

This organization is ridiculous. The only thing your screening prevents is me from enjoying my vacations. The Tsa has done nothing to prevent terrorist attacks with its new policies. Its like me saying a rock protects you from bears and then asking you how many times you have been attacked by a bear.

missing my corkscrew said...

The last time I had to board go through security, I had accidently left my wine corkscrew in my bag and had it confiscated. Checking TSA's website a few days later, I found that they are actually allowed. While I understand misinformation can travel down through the ranks, please try harder to keep a consistent policy.

Anonymous said...

Someone way down the forum thread said:
> To all the people who are saying the TSA serves no purpose and that we're asking for too much, could you please list the last time a plane was hijacked in America?

To which I have to ask, how many planes in Europe and other developed countries have been hijacked in a similar time frame.

There may not have been many in the US since 911, but that may have zero to do with the TSA, compare with other countries who don't have the stupid TSA rules to get an idea if the TSA is showing any signs of being useful.

Anonymous said...

Evolution of Security?

Shouldn't it be The Intelligent Design of Security?

Thank you, I'll be here all week.

campbeln said...

When traveling to Guam from Palau via Yap (Micronesia), half the plane is ushered off at Yap at about 2am (the flight leaves Palau around midnight). These lucky passengers are asked to bring their carry-ons and are placed in a seat-less, cement floored chain-link cell. Thankfully in the two times I've made this journey, I've had to rely on fellow travelers accounts of said cell, but I'm told the mosquitoes are lovely (as is the horrid humidity).

Then, once these unlucky few are offloaded, the TSA comes onto the plane and proceeds to "check" the newly empty seats. This "check" consists of fluffing the seat cushion and sweeping out the seat pocket. Then the other half of the plane is asked to switch over to the empty side and off they go fluffing and sweeping again.

Funny thing is they don't seem to check the overhead bins, nor do they check us for anything. And considering the places they look I can only guess they are looking for box cutters and the like, just not very hard.

This is truly the dumbest "security" check I have ever witnessed. Though it's good to see that 3 local Yapanese (plus whatever ground staff they have guarding the cage) have gainful employment.


Anonymous said...

You think selling $3 bottles of water on the other side of security is preventing terrorism?

Dorkboy said...

If anybody had tried hijacking a plane in the post-9/11 TSA era, the hijackers would be killed by the passengers. The worse the TSA performed -- that is, the more guns and knives passengers brought on board -- the faster the hijackers would be killed.

The TSA is just another way of giving taxpayers' wealth to unions and corporations.

pottedmeat said...

Please TSA, if you're going to run this blog properly, you need to implement the 5 Whys policy.

"The five whys is a question asking method used to explore the cause/effect relationships underlying a particular problem"

Anonymous said...

The term is "Every [space] Day", not "Everyday."

Anonymous said...

Why are the answers in WMV format?

Flash is the de facto standard for video on the Web, and most other formats work without Windows.

But the real question is: Why do I have to download a video to find out why I can't bring a water bottle on a plane? Perhaps you could print the answer in plain English. Hm?

Since you clearly prefer video to writing, maybe you ought to invite people to share their personal experiences with the TSA through YouTube?

Okinawa said...

Wow, great info in this thread!

thenNetImp said...

By posting these videos you are breaking the law. They need to be accessible by all. I am on a Mac, and can not watch it. Someone mentioned that they wanted it transcribed which means it's not subtitled for the hearing impaired.

That said. I travel 2 to 3 times a year. I find that every airport is different. I've seen people have their liquids in 3oz or less brought in a ziplock back and had TSA staff tell them that it was the wrong kind of bag. I've gone through some airports where I've had to take off my shoes and others where I haven't. In the US.

The inconsistancies are absolutely stupid. I never know what to expect. There should be a page on the website with a list of HUMAN READABLE rules, that someone can print out and bring with them so that when the idiot at the security gate who doesn't know the rules (note not all of them are idiots just the ones who don't know the rules) tells someone something, they can pull out the paper, and say "bullshit" and call them on it.

Oh, and it was real great my last trip back from Japan 3 weeks ago. I get to SFO and my bag went through the xray machine 6 fricken times. Why, they thought I had liquid in it. No it was a toy matchbox car.

Oh thanks for the place to vent, and these restrictions suck. The terrorists have won, as we lose more and more liberties.....

Anonymous said...

I have worked for TSA for almost 6 years, and I remember when we were about security and customer service. I am embarrased at how some TSO's treat passangers and other co-workers, have we forgoten the words PLEASE and THANK YOU all I hear is barking of orders to do this, and to do that. I think it is time for some serious customer serivce training and a reality check supervisor need to be on the floor with the screeners dealing with these issues as they accure. If a TSO is being rude they need to be dealt with ASAP passangers dont need to be subjected to it when they are trying to get through the security process and dealing with all the rules and regualtions. Now don't get me wrong some passangers are EXTREMLEY rude. I have been called every name in the book and then some, do you think that I should be subjected to that kind of treament if I have been nothing but nice and just trying to do my job? Some of the post seem to think that since I took the job of a TSO I should have to deal with this everday I come to work. I trully do this to protect you and my family as my wife is a 100k flier. I dont get kicks out of taking your liquids and gels or making you take your shoes off it's the procedures and I follow them. We at TSA have alot of work to do to make the process easier for the traveler. But I think it can be done and I hope that we can bridge the gap between TSA and the passengers. I know people respect and appricate the work that we do and I thank you for that. But in closing everyone knows that if someone got and IED through in a pair of shoe, and god forbid took a plan down. The news headline would be how did the TSA allow this to happen? The answer would be we changed our screening policy to make the travelers happy. Because they said this would never happen. It can happen and if everyone taking there shoes off prevents 1 IED from making it on a plan 1 time then in my opinon it is well worth the time it takes to remove my shoes to prevent it from ever happening.

Anonymous said...

Partly because of the TSA, one of the hardest choices I am having to make is whether my wife and I want to attempt entry into the USA so we can attend my sisters wedding.

On the one hand, of course I desperately want to attend. But on the other, the outrageous treatment and potential to be placed on an unregulated terrorist watch-list and be refused entry into the country, after I land is a very real possibility my wife & I need to prepare for.

I come from a country that respects both human and individual rights, so I am extremely nervous exposing myself to an organization and national policy that respects neither.

There are no effective avenues of recourse with these TSA bullies, it really is a hopeless situation. It's really a shame and an embarrassment to the good people of the USA, who have allowed beaurocrats and politicians to besmeech their good name.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, I would have watched your video but they are in a Windows proprietary format that I as a Linux user don't like to use. I would appreciate an open format being used so that everyone could view this absolutely 100% useful information....yeaaa

spinner95 said...

As Kafka might say, the ultimate goal of any burueacracy is to ensure its own survival indefinitely. This is why I doubt TSA will ever do anything that will really make travelers' lives easier.

The more rules, pointless checks and and inconveniences that they can subject travelers to, the more personnel that they must hire. The more that they can create an illusion of security, the more their own burueacratic survival is ensured.

I would love to see them prove me wrong and start instituting some sensible streamlining. Quit with pointless rituals like confiscating liquids and removing shoes. Make things more convenient. But the truth is that any streamlining will reduce the need for extra employees. So instead they will echo hollow slogans and pointless exercises in the name of security.

Anonymous said...

I'm on dehydrating medications. In-flight beverage service just does not cut it. I was physically ill after my last Nashville-Oakland flight.

Honestly, I think this could be a disability access issue if I wanted to bother with it.

Anonymous said...

I have but one question, in fact I'd like to see a blog entry covering this.

How can you justify the existence of the TSA, and what goes on at air ports?

The Fourth amendment would seem to preclude the existence of this agency.

Anonymous said...

Each day major airports like those used on the morning of September 11th see thousands of visitors pass through their doors. Other buildings and thoroughfares in major cities see equal or greater traffic. It is lucky that the attacks were perpetrated so early in the morning, not for the people involved, but for the people who as a consequence, were not. Airplanes can be used for dramatic terrorist attacks, but any terrorist organization capable of bringing on significant levels of explosives onto a plane puts far fewer lives at risk doing that than making a surprise attack on a major structure. Indeed, I would be vastly impressed if the TSA managed to prevent even one major terrorist attack within the next decade.

Why do I say this? It isn't because the TSA is so good at its job that they don't think about trying, it's that the US Citizens on board a plane would do everything in their power to prevent it, necessitating only basic screening. Yes, terrorists could endanger the lives of the people on the plane, but in greater quantities, I posit that they would have to attempt a different method.

I think only one thing is necessary to prevent a major airplane based terrorist attack from occurring in the future: tell the people that if someone threatens their lives on the plane, it is their civic duty to apprehend that individual and present them to the authorities. There is nothing more that needs to be done. A complacent populace that does not think for itself is antithetical to a free society. The TSA encourages this, frankly.

Reduce the screening. If terrorists board the plane, we'll know what to do. Your jobs would be better spent making sure terrorists don't utilize novel methods in order to take our lives. I don't say our freedom, because they've already taken that, thanks to the TSA and other organizations.

The TSA is funded with approximately four billion dollars per year. I suggest we cut that to 1 billion dollars, reduce the screening, and spend the remainder on paying intelligent people to come up with ways to prevent crazy, outlandish attacks. The mundane won't work in the US and the terrorists know that.

progressive said...

The TSA = Thousands Standing Around.

The TSA bans passengers from carrying shampoo and toothpaste but does not screen the cargo loaded on planes nor does it screen airline employees who have access to the planes before passengers embark.

The TSA and DHS are two cynical jokes at the taxpayer's expense. Y

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Could you guys think of a way to do security without the security lines? Personally I feel very insecure being that closely packed next to people who have not been checked: no where else, even on a unsecured plane, could one murder-bomber kill so many people. Personally I think security lines, as they are done now, are among the greatest threats to the lives of average Americans.

Anonymous said...

I spent most of 2006 in the United States and I flew to other countries for short 3-days trips around 15 times (yes, that's more than 1 per month). However, having to put up with all the inconvenience and very unfair and rude treatment by TSA employees, I have decided to move to Europe, where things are not so bad. I now live in Switzerland and avoid going to the United States to avoid having to put up with things I dislike. In the second half of the last year, after I moved, I managed to only fly to the United States once. I will probably continue to avoid flying to the United States, although my job will require me to do this at least once per year (and I would probably be able to do it more efficiently if I went there more often). My money will now remain mostly in Europe.

Garrett said...

It's pretty clear that all the not-at-all-minor inconveniences are just knee-jerk reactions to failed terror plots.
Someone tried to bring bombs in his shoes? Let's all take our shoes off from now on.
Someone was attempting to make an explosive out of liquids? (Something chemists have since debunked the possibility of) Let's ban all liquids, giving a nice naturalistic drink oligopoly to stores in airports and causing other problems.

Great thinking, thanks guys. =/

Anonymous said...

If you follow the rules, then the liquids policy saves time.

I travel once or twice per month. As best I can tell, if they find a violation, then they hand-search the entire bag.

Almost everyone screws it up. The bottles are the wrong size, or the bag isn't Ziploc, or they leave the bag in their luggage. This means that the screeners are busy confiscating toothpaste.

So as long as you get that right, you're done. I used to always have trouble with weird-looking equipment (for work; too fragile to check). Now I sail through.

Might have been smarter to use this for security, vs. an arbitrary game, but I will gladly play along.

Of course, the terrorists will too. And if a hijacker does end up killing me, then you can bet that he packaged his mouthwash in a separate plastic bag.

Anonymous said...

I don't fly anymore. I'm not frightened by terrorists. I'm frightened by you people.I don't want my belongings stolen.

Go get real jobs, do something useful with your lives, and stop harassing people at airports.

Anonymous said...

911 was a colossal failure of the US government. What's strange to me is that instead of purging our government, we instead ask for more of their incompetence.

Anonymous said...

Try this one on for size: In my carry-on I had a travel-sized Pepro Bismol (necessary for India), and the screener took that away. I got on the plane and was given a metal knife and fork with my business-class meal.

Arbitrary and dumb, IMHO

Anonymous said...

Here's one you may not hear everyday: why can't the TSA make signs stating instructions for the 10% of the nation who is Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing??? Instead you stand there shouting instructions and then get snippy at me for not being 100% compliant. Heard of ADA lately?

Can you hear me now? Or is there an 800 number Deaf people can call and talk to an operator to complain?

feh said...

Lose the video answers or at least offer transcripts as well.
Some of us don't want to sit through a speech.
Some of us can't see or hear.
Others just prefer to read.
If you want a vlog, go make one...

RationalFlyer said...

My wife and I flew from San Francisco to Dulles on Thursday, 31 Jan 08. As we neared the front of the security screening line, Bob Dole and two of his assistants were ushered past us to the "puffer" line.

As if anyone couldn't know, Bob Dole is a former US Senator, distinguished veteran, candidate for President, and head of the Walter Reed inquiry. He's readily recognizable even to non-politicos. He's 84 years old, has no use of his right arm, and limited use of his left.

He also has a replacement hip (he told them) he tripped the detector and was directed to secondary screening. Seeing an 84 year old public figure have to take of his shoes (all-the-more inane because he cannot do so easily without assistance at this point), be wanded from top to bottom, and have his bags poked through makes him a poster child for what is wrong with the TSA and why it is a (deserving) lightning rod for (valid) criticism.

Yes, I know. Some 64 year old guy blew himself up in Pakistan once upon a time. A single example (and irrelevant - the US is not Pakistan) does not form the basis for disruptive but useless policies affecting millions and millions of people - one at a time.

The official "explanation" is just a rationalization. If TSA wants people to take it seriously, it's going to have to ACT on the feedback. Don't just give them a sandbox to vent and TSA a soapbox to explain, but DO something about it. Evolve security to be more sensible and more effective...then we can support you.

Anonymous said...

When I flew from South Korea, the Korean version of TSA had us remove our shoes. But they were so much more courteous about it: They gave us slippers to wear during the check.

What is so shocking about TSA is its willingness to humiliate people in a free country.

Anonymous said...

To the person advocating the lack of hijackings as proof the TSA works: I have a magic rock that keeps tigers away. Would you like to buy it? Don't laugh! I've had it for 35 years, and I've never been attacked by a tiger in all that time. No one around me has been attacked either. Want to buy my rock? Isn't it worth it to eliminate the risk of tiger attacks?

Unhappy Traveler said...

At LAX, I witnessed a family with three small children subjected to repeated screening and a lot of harsh treatment. When it was my turn, I came out of the other side of the metal detector with the diaper bag for my own infant son, which contained, of course, baby food. Immediately the screener barked, "Where's the baby?" He was in my husband's arms; said husband and baby were being given the third degree. It just seemed really harsh and unnecessary to subject us to all that, and that poor family with little kids who thought they were in trouble. They could at least be gentle and try to explain to the kids what they're doing.

By the way, I'm the least likely person to hijack a plane. I'm 5'1", female, and 97 pounds. I'd probably be the idiot that tries to beat the daylights out of a terrorist, though, leading the rush to stop him from whatever he is doing.

One thing about liquids: obviously a man instituted this policy. Do you know how hard it is to get my skin care, shampoo, contact lens care, and makeup into one of those wee bags?! Trust me, you can't blow up the plane with a Lancome Juicy Tube. Do not confiscate it.

Anonymous said...

How did "federalizing" airport security employees make them more qulified.

If liquids are potentially so dangerous, why are they unceremoniously dumped in a garbage can in the most crowded part of our airports?

Why have the liquid and other policies become so inconsistent?

Since short knives were used in the 9/11 attacks, why do you still allow short knives on airplanes? Why do you allow laptops?

How do we know we can trust TSA employees? Do all TSA employees have full U.S. citizenship status, no criminal record and a full background check?

Nick said...

His wife makes us take off our shoes, but generally only if it's raining or snowing out :-/

Add another vote from me for a different format for the videos, proprietary formats ftl.

BTW @ all the people who are talking about the whole "But then 5 people can each bring on 3 ounces" thing. I would bet it would be a lot easier to spot 5 terrorists on a plane than one?

Also to the people who are complaining about the comment moderation system, what should they do to prevent the inevitable goatse and 2G1C that would be posted? I'm sure they would take any literate suggestions to heart.


TSA-STSO said...

I understand your concerns about some of our employees. You are correct. Hopefully your input will enable Kip Hawley to take appropriate action about this.
I know that you don't like to remove your shoes. Airport floors are not clean. Have any of you given any thought to what is in your bags? TSO's constantly must go through your dirty laudry, rotting food and any number of items that would make you cringe. This is both disgusting and unhealthy as is having to pat people down. One writter was very correct in stating that some people are not clean. Patting people down is not pleasant. We do all this because it is our job.
I don't want to exclude Grandma and Grandpa. We have found hunting knives in their carry-on luggage and in their wheelchairs. Is there any harm intended? Probably not. But, these items are prohibited nevertheless.
We don't know what a terrorist looks like. We do not assume that you are a terrorist. If, however, you are carrying prohibited items, no matter who you are, you may be considered a threat.
You need to be treated with respect. Most of us are very aware of this. We know how stressful the screening process is. It is not easy and it is not comfortable. We know this.
Please help us to help you. If you know that you can't bring an item into the secure area, please don't try to bring it in. You are not an exception. Many of you seem to think that the rules are not for you. They are. It does not matter if you think the rules are stupid or not. They are there.
Every morning before I begin my shift I say a prayer that I don't make a mistake in the screening process that might cause a plane to go down. I couldn't live with a mistake like that. Most of us feel this way. We care deeply about you and your family getting wher you need to go safely.
Thank you for flying.
Thank you too for the opportunity to see both sides.

Anonymous said...

Fist of all, what ever happen to repecting someone in a uniform,period.What are we teaching our children?I see people going thorugh the Airport every day disrespecting the ones trying to do a Job and in the mean while trying to keep us as safe as they can.Even a little is better then nothing.I see alot of complaining on here,It takes only minutes to do as they ask,whats the problem?If you dont like it then dont go to the Airport...That easy,and if you have a complaint,give a solution,at least they are trying,What are you doing to keep yourself or your family safe?

squarebird said...

Up through the 1960's, it was perfectly normal for passengers to bring guns on board the plane with them. (For example, watch the "Gremlin" episdode of Twilight Zone .. William Shatner casually draping his holster over the back of his seat is considered a normal scene prop in 1962). Hijackings did not begin until passengers started to become dis-armed. There is a very cheap solution to the current fear of airborne terrorists. The reason the TSA will not consider it is because it does not involve giving up personal information and privacy to the feds.

Robert Brom
Arlington, Virginia

Anonymous said...

Why should we think you are going to do anything other than ignore this feedback?

Will any policy actually change as a result of this blog?

Are you having a good laugh at the voiced frustrations of air travelers?

The best thing is that this is a moderated blog. Is this screening ostensibly for our protection as well?

Anonymous said...

TSA Keep Up the good work, I know you have a tough Job.

Anonymous said...

I'm just blown away that this blog exists. Even if I still don't like the TSA, at least you guys are trying.

salsa said...

Comments tend to fall into three categories:
1) TSA is stupid, its policies are stupid, I hate your face.
2) I work for TSA-- we're trying, really-- it's hard.
3) Be weak, love authority, quit hating America.


LOOK: passengers are trying to get somewhere, TSA people are trying to do their jobs. Take it as a test of how to get through quickly, and issues of inconsistencies and minor frustrations disappear when you're respectful and patient.

Stay ahead of the TSA procedures, stay calm, and check your aggression-- you'll be surprised by how quickly you can get through.

Too many people escalate minor misunderstandings and annoyances into the most horrible injustice they've ever endured.

I'm the first to admit it's a farce, but it's rarely more than an inconvenience, and hopefully all this unloading of pent up frustration will help us get to real failures like the handling of checked luggage.

Anonymous said...

I still don't how the no-liquids policy makes us any safer when you can buy liquids past security perfectly easily. Can the TSA not detect liquid explosives and thus has to confiscate a sealed bottle of orange juice?

If the TSA cannot detect liquid explosives, I'd hope they can at least detect the components they are made from in solid form - if they can't, there's no reason someone couldn't arrive several hours early, bring them through security, buy liquids past security, and assemble them past security.

The posted video does nothing to explain the problem; what I want to know is what makes the orange juice you buy past security or on the plane so much more safe than the sealed one you bought at Wal-Mart. If the TSA can't show that conclusively, please just remove the no-water ban.

The TSA certainly has a purpose and in my experience it does a good job of catching ticking items with timers and metal items people forgot to take out of their pockets (which should raise a red flag). But all the arbitrary restrictions with no apparent reason are far more trouble than they're worth.

On the plus side, the last time I was selected for extra security the TSA worker was very understanding and polite. I hope that this continues to be the case, though it appears the good customer relations may have been the exception.

Chance said...

Chance from the Evolution blog team here:

Rationalflier, seeing a well know public figure like the former Senator must seem pretty crazy, but I have to ask you, if we made exceptions for well know public figures on a regular basis, wouldn't we be open to charges of favoritism?

I have to disagree with you about your statement that because Pakistan isn't the U.S., incidents that occur there (or most anywhere in the world for that matter) are automatically irrelevant. We'd be negligent to discount threats from overseas.

Steven A, said...

Maybe you guys can add a new item to the FAQ. I would title it, Why is TSA screening and general line management at Dulles International Airport (IAD) so absolutely slow and horrible? I'd also love to see an answer!

Anonymous said...

or how about my blonde, blue eyed friend who NEVER gets through an airport security checkpoint without being selected for a "random" screening. sometimes she is even patted down.

she is pretty threatening. or maybe there is something else going on here...

Chance said...

Chance again,

To the anonymous poster with the magical tiger repelling rock, if you have any magical terrorist repelling rocks, please let us know.

But, to get serious, you are absolutely correct that pointing to an absence of evidence is a logical fallacy. However, in my opinion it is very likely that we're being hit by something called the "paradox of warning". Let's say I warn you that your house is going to be robbed this week, and so you buy a guard dog. The dog scares the robber, so he never even tries to rob you. At the end of the week, you haven't been robbed, so either I was just completely wrong or your actions (based on my warning) prevented the very thing I warned you of. I can't prove it was my warning, and you can't prove I was wrong. In a perfect world, i could present all my data and analysis, and try to show why I believe I am correct, but that just isn't possible in this forum.

From the comments I've been reading it seems pretty obvious that most people would assume that the former assumption (completely wrong)is more correct than the latter (my warning worked!). I respect that, and understand a good argument could be made either way, but I wouldn't still be doing this job if I didn't think our actions weren't making a difference.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote: "The average consumer items like toothpaste, pit stick, etc come in volumes larger than the TSA allow."

I would suggest that you walk to Wallmart/Target/Cub/whatever and look closer. Everything a traveler needs can be bought in small travel sizes and sample sizes. Don't make your laziness a major problem.

That being said, I don't beleive the vidoe cleared anything up and that you (TSA) have not justified the liquid restrictions.

Toby said...


You are missing the point. I don't want you to do your job. I don't want "security" or "protection."

I want liberty. Not libertinism, but my Constitutional liberties.

I am not a liberal or ACLU nutjob either.

I'm just a man who want to be free. It may or may not interest you to note that both C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien embedding these very principles in all of their writings, and the Founders all believed in a government that was so limited it could never think to provide the "security" your agency claims it brings us. It's not like you have to be an uneducated hillbilly to desire liberty.

Anonymous said...

Two things:

Why do we have to leave our water at the security checkpoint, then leave any water we purchase inside the checkpoint behind before entering the plane?

I guess what TSA saying is the water inside the security zone is not considered safe. Well, that's no surprise, we all know the "secured" zone is not very secure at all. Bottom line this is a scheme hatched by airport vendors to sell water. Otherwise, just let me take my water through the checkpoint and confiscate it at boarding time.

About the shoes. How about handing out some paper slippers so we don't have to endure the health risks of going bare- or stocking-footed?

The whole shoe thing is a red herring. Anybody knows the real way to get a bomb on the plane is to put it in the mail.

Kickstart said...

The liquid/gels/shampoo/gramma's homemade jam ban is the most ridiculous. If those are banned, but gel-filled bras and mastectomy breast replacements are allowed through, then terrorists will recruit single-breasted or A-cup women to blow up planes. It's not like we've never heard of female suicide bombers.

As others have said, it's window dressing. It's security theater at its worst, attempting to make people think they are secure by pretending to do a good job.

I don't mind the shoe thing. Idiots will try to hide weapons in their shoes.

wcw said...

Two telling comments.

From the original post, "we want your feedback but it has to be in the right place." This neatly encapsulates one of my major complaints with the TSA: the idea that its employees whims not only have the force of law (alas, de facto, they do) but are necessarily infallible and right.

Now, see all these complaints? That's prima facie evidence that you folks are not necessarily infallible and right, whether in your oft-addlepated policy decisions, or even in the simple job of running blog comments.

From comments, "I wouldn't still be doing this job if I didn't think our actions weren't making a difference." Sure, we all want to feel our job makes a difference. It takes real wisdom to admit that your job is essentially futile, and I wouldn't expect most TSA employees to exhibit that wisdom.

Still, the utter lack of bombings and terrorist attacks on every single transit authority in the US that lacks TSA protection -- which is to say, most of them -- is prima facie evidence that for all the TSA's well-meaning efforts, its work essentially is useless at achieving its purported goals.

The sooner the TSA realizes that it can do its work without so inconveniencing travelers that hundreds of them show up at its blog to complain, the better.

Anonymous said...

Once again, the explanations are poor at best. It's like answering a question with the question. It's time for the TSA to become a transparent organization that actually answers questions and tries to serve the taxpayers it represents. Liquids bans, shoe removal, etc. are arbitrary rules meant to dupe the vast majority of the flying public into thinking something is being done. As a frequent flyer I feel like none of it makes me safer.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if the posts on the blog were done in a serious, informative manner instead of joking around. Like many of the agents at the checkpoints, I don't feel like you're taking this seriously.

Toby said...

Kip Hawley said in an interview for Schneier's blog that several times a week would "low ball" the number of dangerous people who are stopped from boarding airlines because of the no-fly list.

Why can't I have proof of that? I pay your salaries, so I should be able to KNOW whether or not your methods are effective.

I frankly think Hawley is a liar.

PROVE me wrong. Don't give me some version of "trust us." I don't trust you.

If you insist on the "trust us" argument, then give me a SINGLE solid reason why I should trust any of you enough to hand over my liberty to you.

I don't think this post will be published. None of my others have been.

Anonymous said...

if tsa is worried about whats inside passengers shoes why the heck do i have to take my open toed sandals off?!!?!?!?

Anonymous said...

If TSA made it a rule to let children, the elderly, and the disabled through security check points without ANY searches, don't you think that the "bad people" would see that as an opening? They would start using the young, the old, and the disabled to do horrible things.
It would be irresponsible and stupid to let some people through while searching others. It seems like most of you bloggers just want TSA to search people who look Arab or Muslim. Most of you don't even know the difference, and that to be either means to be a terrorist. You may not like the rules, but where would we be without them? Some are inane and need updating, they are often inconsistant, but those are things that can be fixed, this forum is for our input, maybe more of us could try to give that, instead.

Anonymous said...

If it takes, say, 20 ounces of bomb juice to blow up an airplane, then you can just send two terrorists with 10 ounces of bomb juice each on board, and they can combine their bomb juice to make a 20-ounce bomb. So why the seemingly idiotic limits on the amount of liquids in my carry-on bag? And why, if I'm in the security line with a bottle of water or a cup of coffee, can't I just drink some of it to demonstrate that it is not, in fact, bomb juice?

Anonymous said...

If all the liquids are presumed to be dangerous, why are they just piled up next to the screener? If you were to actually to confiscate bomb making liquids, why by the way do not exist, then you'd be putting u all in danger by leaving them lying around.
It's almost like the tsa knows that the liquids are not harmful and this is all just some elaborate theater.

Anonymous said...

"i could present all my data and analysis, and try to show why I believe I am correct, but that just isn't possible in this forum."

Of course it is. It's a BLOG. You can post whatever you like. The fact that you people consistently refuse to respond to the documented facts about the near-impossibility of a "liquid explosive" attack, or the uselessness of shoe removal, or to the non-screening of cargo, and the like demonstrates that TSA is at its root corrupt, unconcerned with anything more than useless security theatre.

TSA? More like CYA. Stop wasting my time and taxpayer money and go do something that will REALLY make planes secure, like screening cargo.

Anonymous said...

1. I didn't watch the videos. I don't need to hear whatever lame excuse you've come up with to justify your inane "policies". Also, they don't work on my Linux box.

2. Many people have already pointed out that the liquid thing is entirely pointless and the shoe thing is utterly ridiculous. I won't belabor those points any further.

3. To all the TSA employees who complain about people being rude to them - sorry, it's just that we don't like the job that you do. And the job that you don't do. While you're busy making people strip off their clothes and confiscating their harmless possessions there are security testers who are actually making it through your "security" at an alarmingly high rate.

3. Considering how hard it would be for a terrorist to actually hijack a plane due to the passengers who would rise up and fight back, I would think that the bottleneck you create at the checkpoint would now be a much easier and more desirable target. You need to find a way to move people through that line a lot faster.

4. By definition, a terrorist creates terror. If we allow our liberty and freedom to be taken away in the form of unconstitutional searches, seizures and restricted travel because we think we can trade those things in for a false sense of security, then the terrorists have already won. Please figure out how to get your job done without infringing on the rights of American citizens.

5. I have flown exactly once since 9/11. It was not an experience I will be repeating anytime soon if I can help it. You have managed to completely suck all the dignity, humanity and fun out of flying. Congrats on being one of the most hated government organizations. Between NSA, FEMA, DHS and the IRS, you've got some pretty stiff competition.

Anonymous said...

I agree with most of the posters. The TSA is a complete failure. Not allowing liquids is laughable, and actually pretty sad. Taking away civil liberties and making a complete mess of the airline industry is not the way to "fight terrorism".

I feel NO safer with the TSA in place.

That being said, I do not fear terroism at all. Take away the TSA and give us back our freedom.

Bob said...

Anonymous said... At least the clowns at the TSA are having some fun with this.

Yeah, we're having a great time. I'm just kicking back with my red nose and big shoes. :)


Evolution Blog Team

Anonymous said...

The best thing about traveling international is how good the security is. You don't take off your shoes, take your laptop out of your bag, or anything!

The most embarrassing thing is when you have to go through "Extra" security in another country at the gate because TSA requires it. Last time I did that the security agents and the passengers didn't care. They just asked "Do you smoke cigarettes? I said no. They said OK thanks" and motioned me through.

Poor TSA. No one listens to them :(

Bob said...

Anonymous said...

"The real question is Why do we need TSA @ all? We don't, it is a complete waste of time.. you check nothing, find nothing, and simply clog up air travel.."

Last week, 15 firearms were found during screening at TSA Checkpoints.


Evolution Blog Team

Bob said...

Anonymous said..."I had high hopes for this blog, but if that video is what we can expect as feedback or explanation, then consider this a failed experiment and close it down."

Stick around. As you know, this Blog is brand new. We have tons of ideas and are currently paying close attention to the feedback we're getting. As far as the liquids explanation, what was lacking? Tell us what you were looking for.


Evolution Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I hate flying. The last time I flew I had two small children who were not exactly cooperating, and guess how happy they were after spending 2 hours standing in the security line at LAX? With all the carry on garbage you have to have flying with two kids, and then having to rush to our gate to make out flight (they held it for us) because of how inefficient the "security" screening was, I absolutely dread having to fly again.

I argue that all the harassment we go in the name of security is nothing more than a feelgood BandAid that Congress passed so that they could "do something" for their re-election campaign. I was told on more than one occasion that I was chosen for "random search" because I had a very small carry-on that was easier to check.

Feel safer yet?

So now we can take nailclippers on board again, well isn't that special? Be on the lookout for well manicured terrorists!

One moron with some pretty obviously altered shoes tries something stupid and now everyone has to practically disrobe to get through security at National? This is idiocy. There's just no other word for it.

I hate hate hate hate hate what my government has done to its own citizenry "to make us all safer." You keep saying it, but I've yet to see any evidence of it.

Nothing personal of course, I just think the entire nationalized "security" system is an inefficient sham and waste of time and taxpayer money.

Anonymous said...

The only things that should be banned are weapons that could take the plane out of the sky: i.e., bombs, rocket launchers, machine guns, etc.

Anything, absolutely anything can be used as a weapon. I could snap the stem off of my glasses and stab someone in the eye with the fragment. I could strangle someone with my scarf. The rules and regulations against 'weapons' are so ridiculous that my diabetic friends have been forced to fly without their insulin and needles.

Please just give up and focus on REAL security - locked cockpit doors, plain-clothes officers on flights, and some sort of scheme to KEEP PEOPLE FROM STEALING MY LUGGAGE. Theft is far more common than plane-jacking. Why don't y'all do something about that?

Brit said...

I'm cautiously optimistic about this experiment. I thank the TSA for allowing even the negative comments. We are all interested in the results of this new development. Will the TSA really respond to the common complaints? Are changes really coming? If so, then kudos.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is we're gradually becoming a nation where you're presumed guilty until proven innocent. I personally can't stand going to airports and being treated like a criminal. For this reason, I avoid flying as much as possible.

Right now, the people who are running this are still pretty benign, but all the mechanisms are being set up so that we could quickly become a police state. Sooner or later, the "wrong" people will get their hands on this power, and then it will be too late.

I think the risks to the country from the TSA ultimately outweigh the risks from terrorists.

Anonymous said...

I like it when people state that TSA violates their rights, and why is TSA even around anymore. Since when was flying on an airplane a right? You're playing for a service from the airlines, and who wants TSA to screen passengers? The Airlines do. There is an opt out program if airports don't want TSA, and only a few airports in the nation have done so, and that was only because they participated in a pilot program. .

Anonymous said...

Why are there so many employees checking (or better said, pretending to be checking) the boarding passes. I am traveling out of LAX, and there are like three rounds of checks. Interestingly, only the first one seems to pay attention to the ID and to the boarding pass. The remaining three are very vociferous about having the boarding pass in hand, but never check. I gave them a folded boarding pass, and 50% of the time nobody cared. 25% of the times they told me the boarding pass should be unfolded, and asked me to do it, after which they did not look at it either. They really look like a bunch of incompetents trying to make us feel safer, when in fact they seem to only be paid for staying around to yell at people.

Anonymous said...

What does the TSA do for security at the airport? The weak point for security has moved from aircraft to the airport.
What happens if a device detonates at a TSA check point while checking luggage?
TSA workers must be under alot of stress, knowing they might be the targets.

Zagurim said...

The TSA is a ridiculous notion. Reading through this and you found guns.. Big Deal, in case you haven't noticed, we have the 2nd Ammendment which GUARANTEES the right to keep and bear arms.

Additionally, all the TSA does is make travel a pain for Americn citizens. The TSA is NOT needed, and you have absolutely ridiculous policies.

I cannot wait to see the TSA and DHS defunded. It is my sincere belief that those of you that work for the TSA are no better than the terrorists that you claim to be "protecting" people from.

Bob said...

Anonymous Said: "You know what would be nice when you go through a security check? A place to sit down and put your shoes back on? In virtually every airport in this country, I'm left to grab my coat, bag, shoes and laptop and then wander around in my socks like an idiot until I see a chair somewhere in the concourse, use a bench or a wall, or do the manic one-legged dance of the guy trying to put his shoes on with one arm while holding his luggage with the other."

You are absolutely right. You should have a place to sit down. My home airport and others I travel through have plenty of chairs. Thanks for bringing up something I thought we already had at our checkpoints. Good feedback…


Evolution Blog Team

Bob said...

Change TSA Culture said...
"Imagine if each and every TSA security screening employee was exceedingly polite and respectful –it would fundamentally change the TSA's relationship with the public overnight."

I agree. It works both ways though. As you can see from the comments on this blog, there are some passengers we'll never win over. The same could be said for some of our officers. I was just on the screening floor prior to writing this and I tried a little experiment. I greeted each passenger with a smile and asked how they were doing. You would not believe how much that little bit of effort changed the climate at the checkpoint.

I travel quite often and I've seen officers be rude to passengers. On the other hand, I've seen passengers get irate with officers for things as minute as having to wait in a three minute line.

I guess what I'm trying to say is there is room for improvement all around. I'm willing to do my part.

Thanks for commenting!


Evolution Blog Team

Bob said...

"Anonymous said...
You guys have it so easy. I think I'm going to start telling anyone who asks me a question I don't want to or can't answer that I can't answer for national security reasons. That's the kind of built-in excuse I thrive on.

I would comment on this, but I can’t for reasons I'm not allowed to discuss. (National Security Reasons)


Evolution Blog Team

anonymous said...

Hmmm... Not very anonymous if I need to enable cookies to see the Captcha. I guess I'll have to delete the cookie as well as switch browsers and change ip addresses each time I use this.

I understand that the TSA has a difficult job. Unfortunately, it is Theater, like many security efforts.

I am educated enough to understand that much of security is really about deterents, not real security. While the TSA does nothing to actually ensure security, it does deter the dumbmest of terorrists. Technically, that makes the TSA effective, albeit in a very minor way. I can understand why some of you TSA employees would think that you are doing your job effectively. You are just a visible deterent, and in no way a real barrier to intelligent individuals who wish to cause harm. You are window dressing, plain and simple.

Richard Colvin Reid, aka Abdul Raheem and often referred to in the media as the shoe bomber, was the entire reason for the shoe search. However, if the initial securty forces were paying attention, he would not have even entered the plane that day. He was actually prevented from boarding his initial flight, but they allowed him to board the very next day. Luckily, that was enough to allow the passengers and the crew to prevent him from causing any harm. The reason we have a TSA is because initial security was complacent.

We have a liquid ban because a thwarted plot brought to light the idea of the unfeasable liquid explosives. Unfeasable, because chemists have already determined that the effort to try this would be completely ineffectual. Unfortunately, the people who run the departments have no true understanding of science so we have this idiotic liquid ban/requirement.

The reason we have DHS was because our other intelligence (I use that term loosely) agencies were complacent. The 9/11 terorrist were identified, and reported to authorities by responsible citizens, yet nothing was done at high levels of command to apprehend or detain these individuals. Rather than fire the incompetents, and fix the agencies involved, they created yet another bloated and ineffectual agency.

The TSA is not needed. There are too many useless and ineffectual TSA officials running the show. Each airport has inconsistant rules, because of too many untrained humans running the show. I would rather go back to the lowly paid non-citizen immigrants who used to run the show at many of our international airports. It would be cheaper for airports and still provide the same amount of security theater. Most of them were also much more respectful because they were more afraid of losing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

From a practical standpoint:

If one person in the next 20 years is prevented from bringing liquid explosives onto a plane, isn't that worth slightly inconveniencing every traveller for 2 decades? We're talking about putting bottles in a ziplock bag... I don't know about you guys, but it takes me 3 or 4 hours to pack for a trip. If I was really concerned about inconvenience at the airport, I could take 30 seconds out of my packing time to put stuff in a ziplock ahead of time.

That being said, the fact that TSAs make you take off your shoes and reveal your liquids (that sounds dirty) DOES NOT suggest that those are the only two potential points of insecurity. I often hear people argue "Ya, but someone could fill their laptop batteries with plastique" or "someone could hide a bomb in their iPod" etc. Yep, you're probably right.

Keep in mind, small inconveniences are just that - small. Focus your efforts on the big issues that actually matter to your civil liberties - like fingerprinting travellers. Insecure RFID passports, etc. If we all collectively whine about minor frustrations that really don't matter at the end of the day, nobody will listen when something important needs comment.

Anonymous said...

Bob said: "Last week, 15 firearms were found during screening at TSA Checkpoints."

How many did you miss? Of course, you'll never know.

TSA only provides the ILLUSION of security for the flying public.

The 'explanations' provided on this blog are a continuance of that illusion. Searching shoes? Liquid explosives? Soon we'll be removing batteries from out laptop.

Is the flying public any more secure from a semi-intelligent terrorist? Nope.

Bob said...

Anonymous said... I'm so tired of throwing away liquid soap and not being able to bring water aboard the plane. cant you guys have a screening machine that identifies water?

The same technology that screens and allows liquids, aerosols, and gels to travel in checked baggage is available for checkpoints.

Maybe I can suggest somebody in the technology realm write an article about the future of TSA checkpoints?


Evolution Blog Team

MissingNo said...

@anonymous: "The real question is Why do we need TSA @ all?"


Kristofer said...

Let me understand this. You want comments to be made in the appropriate place; then you post a place for us to put our gripes and complaints; and then after getting 419 comments you disable further commenting. Either you are either not serious about this effort or you can't take criticism.

I wonder if this will make it past the censor? (Excuse me, I meant to say moderator. My bad.)

Anonymous said...

The Liquid ban and the shoe removal:

Shoe removal is pointless in so much of the cases. Also there is a major lack of folow through with it. When wearing my adidas speedcat shoes which have a rubber sole less than .25 inches thick they always just let me go through with them on.

The liquid thing is total BS. One, looking at less than 1oz size shampoo and stuff is one thing, but it all has to be in a plastic bag, of a specific size ... yea that really saves us from terrorists *sarcasm*

Also, if someone is actively drinking a beverage, or is willing to sip it ... that pretty much shows that it is non-toxic and wont explode ... especially since in most airports if you take an evening flight there is no food or beverages to purchase since all the stands are closed, and airport personel can walk through with any fluids they want, and little or no security checking, the whole thing is just stupid.

Having seens some of the employees at airports I would say that is the real weak link in the system. You have people that make so little money that brining in a coke for someone for a small tip would be a major bonus, or perhaps they just work for terrorists. I mean really a guy making minimum wage, or just over, who can't really take care of his family isn't thinking about the saftey of america ... he's dreaming about a car that starts everytime you turn the key and a new pair of shoes for his little boy.

From that point of view, anything it takes to achive the dreams of just above subsistance living would be worth the risk.

The TSA security is so irregular from airport to airport they allow diffrent things to pass through. For instance at PDX you have to throw away all liquids, cept if you have a nalgene bottle with water in it stuck in your backpac, then it gets through EVERY TIME. I mean wts.

Kristofer said...

Numerous bloggers have asked why TSA didn't simply hire nicer people. The answer is contained in the Stanford Prison Experiment. A group of students were divided into two groups, one labeled prisoners and the other labeled guards. The experiment was planned for two weeks, but was called off after six days. It turned out that the simple act of making a normal person a "guard"---of giving that level of control to regular people---turned a number of them into abusive people. Turning other ordinary people into "prisoners" and stripping them of their rights and dignity turned them into mindless, faceless sheep. The TSA is the Stanford Experiment writ large.

The experimenter writes: "We had created an overwhelmingly powerful situation -- a situation in which prisoners were withdrawing and behaving in pathological ways, and in which some of the guards were behaving sadistically. Even the "good" guards felt helpless to intervene." Sounds like the relationship between TSA employees and the traveling public to me.

Anonymous said...

Too funny about shoes.

I just returned from a LHR - EWR trip. When boarding the flight back to london in newark and passing through security. I took off my shoes, but a gentleman rolled through with assistance in a wheel chair.

The man pushing the wheelchair explained to tsa that it would be too difficult to remove the gentlemans shoes.

TSA waved them on through....

No point in us all taking our shoes off if anyone is allowed through with them on.

What a joke!

Anonymous said...

I find the liquid thing interesting. The security folks take the liquid that might be "dangerous" and dump it all in to the same bucket right next to the security screening area, which is full of people without shoes. What a perfect way to blow everyone up and do the terrorists job for them.

Dave said...

Thanks for the information about the shoes. That changed my perspective on this issue. But can the TSA do three things?
1. Add more chairs before and after the checkpoints so that one doesn't have to balance on one foot to get the shoe back on or do so in the middle of the line blocking other people.
2. Have the screeners be friendlier. The vast majority of passengers are neither a terrorists or criminals. So please don't act as if I am a terrorist or criminal who is only out to ruin the screener's day.
3. Have one thorough check and then be done with it. I've been through airports where I had to go through three security checks to get to the gate. Why?

Anonymous said...

Bob said...
As far as the liquids explanation, what was lacking?

What was lacking?! Bob, you cannot seriously be that clueless!

What was lacking was any explanation at all about the liquid ban in it's current form. There is no information aside from the typical "Oh my god, TERRORISTS!!!" rhetoric that has become all too familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the farce security the TSA has implemented since its inception. What would be nice would be a real explanation that addresses the issue raised numerous times that the "potential explosives" that are disallowed from the airplane (you know Aquafina bottles, toothpaste, deodorant, gel insoles, etc.) are casually tossed into an open plastic garbage bin right next to the TSA employees and waiting passengers. It also doesn't address any of the other issues raised in the previous comments about the ban. You have 196 comments under the below liquid ban post. Try reading them and then ask yourself if the video answers any of the questions raised. Here's a hint: it doesn't!

Even ignoring that for now, the three reasons given in the video make absolutely no sense if you spend anytime thinking about it. First, it does not significantly limit the amount of liquid someone could bring on board because, unless I'm mistaken most liquids do not set off the metal detector. What that means is if someone doesn't want you to find the liquid they are carrying they can stuff it under their shirt or down their pants and pass unmolested through the checkpoint.

Second, if one of your goals really is to "declutter" the carry-on then why target liquids? I guarantee I can easily clutter my bag with completely solid items. The irony of it is a bunch of small items is a lot more "cluttery" than a few bigger containers.

And finally, unless looking at said liquid containers (in a transparent 1-quart platic bag!) with a pair of human eyeballs is defined as "other inspection methods and technical means" I think the third point is an outright lie.

And for those who don't have windows media player the video does not show anything except a TSA employee telling us the following:

In the past we've seen terrorists use liquid explosives to bomb airplanes and last year's UK liquid explosives plot and other recent intelligence shows us that it's still a continuing threat. Our 3-1-1 protocols do a number of things for us. They limit the amount of liquids any one passenger can carry, they declutter the carry-on bags, and they give us the opportunity to use other inspection methods and technical means to inspect those items. These protocols were developed after extensive testing with other federal agencies and international partners using live explosives in actual field and laboratory conditions.
-Ed Kittel, Chief, Explosive Operations Div.

There's a whole lot nothing in that statement if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Why isn't the TSA concerned at all about the high rate of baggage theft? Is it not common sense that if a significant number of thieves have access to the secure areas of the airport, then some number of them would be happy to slip a bag full of C4 onto a plane for, say, $50,000? Why would a terrorist bother with something exotic and suicidal like a shoe bomb when they can just pay an existing TSA-approved thief a modest sum to blow up planes for them the simple and easy way?

IMHO, the TSA should use the theft rate at major airports as an indicator of how well it's doing its job. If the day ever comes that I can check a bag at SeaTac that contains an expensive video camera and not have the slightest fear that it will be stolen, that's the day I would believe the TSA might be effective against terrorists.

Anonymous said...

Flying is always an adventure.. Well, not so much the flying part, but getting to the plane. Ya never really know what to expect, it's a different experience at every airport.
One commonality between all airports I've been to is no matter how nice you are, compliant you are, complacent you are - you are treated like you are doing something wrong.
Why does it have to be this way? I'm generally a nice person, especially to someone that can make my life difficult. No matter how big of a grin I have, no matter how polite, yes sir/ma'am, no sir/ma'am, I get treated like crap.

If I treated my customers like that they would go somewhere else.
Sadly, we don't have much of a choice. I used to fly a couple times a month. Now I drive.

Thanks, TSA - I enjoy the scenery more than I ever have before.

Anonymous said...

Referring to the search of former Senator (and WWII hero) Bob Dole, this was posted:
"Chance from the Evolution blog team here:

Rationalflier, seeing a well know public figure like the former Senator must seem pretty crazy, but I have to ask you, if we made exceptions for well know public figures on a regular basis, wouldn't we be open to charges of favoritism?"

No, you'd be showing some common sense. Your reply shows just how thick-headed you and your outfit are. Wanding Bob Dole wasn't done for security, so man up and admit it. (Sounds like it was just a power trip for one of your losers with a badge.)
Look, you've gotten all kinds of posts...but I've yet to see any admission that you have a serious PR problem, and you need to do a lot of work before the public will have any regard for you.
Posting answers such as the one above makes me realize just how clueless you are. It's probably futile to hope you'll ever change.

Anonymous said...

In Europe, they allow 100 mL containers containing liquid. This is equivalent to 3.4 ounces. The TSA allows travelers on flights originating in Europe to carry 3.4 ounces of liquid. Why does it impose a different standard in the US: 3.0 ounces? Many cosmetics, sunscreens, perfumes, etc. that are manufactured outside the USA come in 100 mL containers. Since you are already allow 3.4 ounce containers on some flights, would you please extend that policy to all flights? Thank you.

Anonymous said...

As far as the "why can't we bring liquids" video. You didn't answer the question. Trying to scare people into accepting your policies might work, but it is unethical, and, ultimately, will diminish consumer interest in flights, and increase stress related ilnesses.

we don't need the TSA said...

none of these policies would stop a 911 style terrorist attack. John is still allowed a pencil on a flight, and he could stab you with it. You will never be able to prevent that, but you may be able to trick people into thinking you're trying.

Anonymous said...

The thing that irritates me about the various prohibitions - pocket knives, water bottles (or any liquid over 3oz), god knows what else - isn't that they're prohibited, so much the fact that the efforts are both token and almost entirely ineffective. The measures in place are merely a token, and while they prohibit some things which may assist a terrorist, are in no way the only tools which could be used; indeed, they're not even the best tools available.

Not only are there many, many ways which a person could 'hijack' or destroy a plane using the materials allowed on, but the hijackings of 9/11 are now culturally impossible due to the awareness of such attacks. Another box cutter hijacking would require 3 or 4 times as many hijackers per plane due to the citizenry's awareness of the new airline hijacker MO, and that alone would raise suspicions enough to be more scrupulous - that is, if it wasn't for the completely asinine refusal to undertake even the most basic profiling measures.

Let's take a look at why some of the prohibitions are outright foolish (as opposed to simply manipulative):

Prohibition of water bottles or, for that matter, almost any kind of liquid bottle. The thing about binary agents is that they have a distinct, non-consumable odor. They don't smell good. This odor is very different than that of, say, a 20oz Mountain Dew, half consumed, or an odorless bottle of water. This is even more childish when - and I've seen this happen - the TSA agent prohibits an unopened bottle of water which he just saw you purchase at the airport.

Add to this the complexity - nigh on impossibility - of constructing a bomb with binary liquid agents on an airplane which is even remotely powerful enough to damage the airplane (or harm more than a small handful of people) and banning liquids is in the 'asinine' territory.

I have to wonder: what might several 3oz bottles of pure alcohol, kerosene, or other combustible liquid do if soaked into a rag and lit on fire? It would be trivial to orchestrate, and certainly easier than a binary agent explosive. (And no, I am not encouraging it, just trying to bring to attention the inherent shortcomings).

Prohibition of pocket knives - the only reason box cutters were able to supposedly take over the planes was because, up until that point, people had been told to cooperate with airline hijackers due to previous demands for money and/or released captives, and the perceived danger of resisting. Granted, we are still told to not resist (it's better to be a defenseless victim, after all).

Now, compound this with the fact that it is trivial to bring not only a knife onto a plane in your carry-on (I've done it, accidentally, a number of times - and I know several others who have as well, including one individual who flew regularly for over a year with a metal steak knife he'd been given for his dinner on one of the flights). Hell, I've flown with loose ammunition since 9/11 - in my carry on bag - before, unknowingly. I know of one other who has done the same.

And then there's the issue of those trash cans sitting right next to a long line of people, closely packed during busy travel periods. Almost everyone crowds around those cans while they're getting onto flights; it would be trivial for someone to drop a timed (or otherwise) explosive in one or more of them before the security check.

(I'm not aware of any countermeasures in the event of such an explosion, but hopefully they involve stopping flights from taking off until the incident has at least been determined to be isolated - I can imagine the confusion caused by such an event allowing someone to, say, sneak a similar explosive onto a plane.)

Prohibition (er, lack of prohibition?) of cigarette lighters - this one makes absolutely no sense to me at all, if it's looked at from the perspective of maintaining security and not simply pacifying people. Either cigarette lighters are a threat, or they aren't.* Yet the TSA has changed its mind, and now allows lighters - likely due to the din and cry of smokers, I'd imagine. But that's inconsequential - the thing of consequence is that nobody thinks the TSA is competent due to this, and many other, shortcomings in follow through, consistency, and ability. (And no, I'm really not using the term "nobody" as hyperbole. The feedback I've gotten on this has been quite consistent.)

What it all boils down to is that the security measures in place are neither stringent enough to actually pose any sort of security countermeasure - replacing all that fancy equipment and lowly-paid hourly employees with one trained, professional profiler (to detect suspicious behavior), like part of the British airline security model, would likely (in the event of another airline attack) provide just as, if not more, useful. The machines provide a false sense of security, to be certain, and the weak link will always be human.

And, in short, this list of items and explanations is why I'm simply sick and tired of flying. If anyone at the TSA is wondering why jokes about airline security are as common as they are, it's because the security measures in place are a complete joke, and they're venting frustration about that, not that they have to be searched and go through the hassle. People will go through that hassle for a legit reason - ie, increased security. But the TSA at the gates is obviously not providing that.

And this isn't even getting into the fact that several known terrorists have been found to be working inside airports after the fact. The only reason we've not had another 9/11 event is, quite simply, miraculous: either they're not trying, or the ones who are trying are amateurs and haven't got a clue what they're doing. I thank God for that, at least; small mercies indeed.

Anyway, I'm sure you've read/heard all of this before, and you're just going to dismiss it as has been the trend. This site's existence alone is evidence of the TSA needing a "boost" in PR perception. (Continuing to ignore the concerns as well as complaints of the average citizen won't help matters any in that regard.)

However, I write this as a concerned citizen who would like to see matters improve beyond the status quo "security theater".

Anonymous said...

Last week, 15 firearms were found during screening at TSA Checkpoints.

How many of those guns belonged to terrorists?

Steve Elmore said...

So, some suggestions to help TSA repair its reputation:
* Have free bottled water available on the other side of the checkpoint.
* Have TSA screeners address travelers as Sir and Ma'am.
* Have chairs on both sides of the screening area.
* Have TSA screeners help people prepare their belongings for screening - hold a jacket, pass out bins, etc. This could be part of the screening effort if you think about it.
* Pass out customer service surveys: how did we do?
* Frequently clean the floor or get runners that are replaced every 2 hours during peak traffic times.
* Pass out lollipops to kids - at least they will be fans!
* Create a pass system for people w/ CPAPs and similar devices. It is no fun being stopped every time for a swabbing.

Anyway, glad you are taking a first step in improving the flying experience.

Anonymous said...

I've flown on both domestic and international flights. I follow the idiotically simple rules and I never have a problem.
If you have difficulty at any of these checkpoints, it is probably because you are too stupid to follow simple requests. The TSA should be allowed to turn you (the non-compliant time-waster) into Soylent Green. At least you could finally serve a purpose.

Anonymous said...

About the liquid policy--if the concept is that you are frightened that a mad chemist is planing to board an aircraft with naughty intentions, why are you confiscating passenger's liquids and tossing them in the garbage instead of a bomb-proof container? Seems to me that that is way more of a risk than a single aircraft going down.

Also, this is to "bob" of the Evolution Blog Team: Maybe if you and/or many TSA folk weren't so insulting/demeaning in your response to questions and comments from citizens and the flying public, this exercise in PR would not be necessary. I find that your statements of 2-February go a long way to confirm the poor state of TSA in terms of TSA's duties and responsibilities to the citizens of this country.

Daniel said...

I am revolted about TSA not allowing plain water while passing the security checks. My theory is this policy is a result of lobbying by drinks company to sell to you water at much inflated prices.

It is also ridiculous this no water policy is extending to other government agencies. The other day, at Social Security Administration I was not allowed to bring my own water.

TSA as an organization should be accountable and not allowed to impose it arbitrary policies on us, the people.

As result of not being able to have water with me while flying, I am giving up on traveling by plane.

Regards to everybody,

NickH said...

Thanks for setting up this blog, but I think the TSA is a monumental waste of money. 9/11 was an anomalous occurrence. I hardly think that staffing airports with tax money that could be used for dozens of other activities--often by thugs who want to intimidate citizens--is a good way to promote security and safety. We went years before without an attack and after one freak occurrence we're made to feel like enemies by our own country and submit to asinine rules like children.

Honestly, there are huge security holes in airport security like why do vendors have less restricted access to planes than travelers and if terrorists were such a threat, then why not just buy some stingers missiles, sit outside of the airport and shoot down the planes? They seem to do that very well in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Further if toothpaste, water, and breast milk are so potentially dangerous, then why isn't there a bomb squad on hand to disable the supposed explosives? Nope, they just sit in a box and the checkpoint. What TSA is saying to Americans is that they don't take the threat of toothpaste seriously either, but they have to do something with the copious taxes they levy.

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