Wednesday, May 7, 2008

What’s the Best Way to Screen Airport Employees?

Photo of an airport employee being screenedFor some time, there's been debate on whether TSA should implement 100 percent screening of airport employees every time they enter the secure area of an airport. We screen passengers every time they get on a plane, so some say we should screen airport employees every time they go into a secure area of an airport, including baggage facilities, gate areas, and airplanes. After all, they say, if a bad guy had access to critical areas of the airport, they could pull off an inside job.

It’s important to note that airport employees who require access to secure areas of airports must pass a background investigation to obtain an access badge. Through the background check, we know a lot about these airport employees, and they are also well-known to other airport workers who see them every day and would know if something didn’t look right.

Currently at all airports, TSA officers can be deployed anywhere at anytime to inspect workers, their property and vehicles. These officers ensure workers follow proper access procedures when entering secure areas, display the appropriate credentials and do not possess items unrelated to their work that may pose a security threat.

Earlier this week, TSA began an employee screening pilot program in seven airports, as required by Congress in January 2008. The pilot programs started on May 5 and will run for 90 days.

Seven airports will participate in the pilot, representing different locations and airport sizes. One hundred percent employee screening at either the checkpoint or airport perimeter gates will be conducted at Boston Logan International Airport, Jacksonville International Airport in Florida, and Craven Regional Airport in New Bern, North Carolina. This means that every time an employee has to enter the secure area, they have to be screened. At these airports, there may be slightly longer checkpoint wait times for passengers and employees, particularly during peak times, as the volume of traffic will increase.

Denver International Airport in Colorado; Kansas City International Airport in Missouri; Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in North Bend, Oregon; and Eugene Airport in Oregon will conduct layered, enhanced employee screening methods. These include increased random physical screening and the deployment of portable equipment to screen employees throughout the airport environment. Additionally, we will be providing behavior detection training for law enforcement officials and airport operations/security personnel and employee security awareness training to enable these individuals to identify potential security risks.

The Homeland Security Institute will assist in collecting results, evaluating the programs and reporting the results to Congress in December 2008. They’ll be looking at efficiency and effectiveness of the pilot programs, required costs to implement comparable activities at all commercial airports, staffing requirements, necessary infrastructure improvements, and passenger and employee wait times, among other things.

We look forward to seeing the results, and as soon as we can, we’ll report them on the blog. If you’re going through one of the airports in the pilot, let us know how things went for you.

Lynn
TSA EoS Blog Team

78 comments:

Dunstan said...

Finally... Someone to use the MMW machines on.

Cargo needs to be secure. At least you are thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

That's not a MMW image.

,>)

T. Saint

Anonymous said...

Lynn, would you ask Bob to post the MMW WBI images that are ok for preschoolers.

Changing the subject won't work this time!

Anonymous said...

Will these employees be submitted to full body scans? Could you please send us their images???

Jim Huggins said...

Lynn,

It’s important to note that airport employees who require access to secure areas of airports must pass a background investigation to obtain an access badge. Through the background check, we know a lot about these airport employees ...

I'm sorry ... but this argument doesn't really hold water for me.

If passing an appropriate background check was sufficient evidence of integrity to avoid screening as an employee, then there would be no need to screen passengers who are members of the military, or other government employees with appropriate security clearances. (Or even passengers participating in CLEAR.) But we've heard a number of times on this blog that every passenger has to be screened, regardless of what security clearances they might possess.

Having said all of that ... I'm glad that you're looking at employee screening in a careful and systematic way.

Miller said...

Watch the prices at airports for everything take a quantum jump if they have 100% screening of airport workers. Some airline employees have had part of their lunches confiscated/abandoned/donated at TSA checkpoints. The airline employees aren't happy at all with that situation.

Anonymous said...

"Millimeter wave will allow our TSOs to view a noninvasive image of a passenger revealing any items that were not divested. These images are friendly enough to post in a preschool. Heck, it could even make the cover of Reader’s Digest and not offend anybody."

Blogger Bob posted the words quoted above.

My question to Blogger Bob, do you stand by these remarks regarding the MMW images?

If so why will you not post front and rear images that have been asked for so many times? Why will you not discuss this issue?

Blogger Bob= Zero Credibility

Not going away!!

Anonymous said...

I watched the recent hearings where director Hawley and others spoke before a select committee of congress. The GAO representative spoke about the hole of SIDA access (access to the secure area of the airport)and the need for TSA to close this hole by taking over the responsibilities of doing the background checks and issuing out SIDA badges and privileges to airport employees. Is this something that is projected in the foreseeable future? If not, then why because it's an obvious hole in security that screening each and every employee daily costing lots of time, money, and effort on can't begin to fill. The problem at ORD with illegal aliens working in the secure area has surely highlighted this hole. How and why were they given access when they didn't have valid social security numbers? The background checks are lacking severely since this wasn't found out before they were already granted access.

Miller said...

Do a google search on:

Airport Security Report

Read some of the articles that come up under that one. Disturbing.

Ayn R. Key said...

Excellent, the MMW Post is no longer on the front page. Now we'll forget all about it and not ask you to post those images any more.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

Will these employees be submitted to full body scans? Could you please send us their images???


That is a really good question, it also brings to mind the following question.

Will the TSO be required to go through the metal detectors? If so does that mean they have to remove that fancy metal badge from the new "cop" uniform?

Anonymous said...

Good morning TSA! Will we finally see those images today??

Anonymous said...

"It’s important to note that airport employees...must pass a background investigation to obtain an access badge. Through the background check, we know a lot about these airport employees..."

I hold a TS/SCI clearance, and am read in to a handful of SAPs--I guarantee I've had a far more intensive background check than any airport employee. But I still need to be screened to get on a plane. So what's your point?

If I were a terrorist, rather than trying to sneak something past your MMW as carryon, I'd just bribe a low-paid, nonscanned airport worker to sneak stuff in for me. Seriously, you get one of those minimum wage earning immigrant people who are having problems making the mortgage this month, and it's only gonna cost me a little scratch to flip one. No muss, no fuss. No laborious time carving up C4 to fit into laptop batteries; and I don't have to attend Hogwart's potions class in order to come up with a magical binary explosive liquid compound to stuff into wee shampoo bottles.

This, my friends, is why you trust no one, and scan everyone. Even the TSOs, even their supervisors. The pilots, the trolley dolleys, every last soul through that gate gets checked. No exceptions. You either check everyone or no-one, because checking almost everyone is exactly the same, in terms of security, as checking no one.

Anonymous said...

miller: the employees are upset at having their lunches taken away? Poor babies! I'm upset at having to take my shoes off, being limited in liquids, being forced to buy beverages at exorbitant prices behind the secure area, and generally having my Fourth Amendment rights systematically violated every time I get on an airplane. I don't give a rat's patootie how sad the employees feel, they can suck it like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

re: Some airline employees have had part of their lunches confiscated/abandoned/donated at TSA checkpoints.
-------------------------
Gotta be real careful with that BLT and pudding cup.
Never know when it may go off!

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said:

If so does that mean they have to remove that fancy metal badge from the new "cop" uniform?

I hope so. With pliers. You never know if that badge is really a disguised blasting cap.

txrus said...

Lynn said:
It’s important to note that airport employees who require access to secure areas of airports must pass a background investigation to obtain an access badge. Through the background check, we know a lot about these airport employees, and they are also well-known to other airport workers who see them every day and would know if something didn’t look right.
*********************************
First off, welcome to the blog Lynn; I think you'll find lots of very spirited discussions to keep you going.

Next, since it's inception, how many screeners have been found to have been stealing from passengers, smuggling drugs (ATL), & let's not forget good old Alvin's 'bring a gun to work' day, to name but a few examples of problematic behavior amongst the TSA workforce? All of these people had, presumably, passed one of your highly regarded background checks, correct? That worked well, didn't it?

Lynn, since you're new here, allow me to point out what has been pointed out, repeatedly, on this blog & others w/re: to the 'background checks'-passing one has absolutely NO bearing on the potential for FUTURE wrong-doing, therefore, to say airport employees & screeners should be exempt from screening & following the TSA's own rules pertaining to the on-going 'War on Water' (see 'Got Feedback' for BOS for further examples of this or, even better, take a stroll over to the Travel Safety & Security forum on Flyertalk.com) is patently absurd & shows just how little respect the TSA has for the traveling public that is footing the bill for your security theater.

Finally, where are the frontal pictures of the MMW we've been asking for?

Anonymous said...

comment counter not working!

Anonymous said...

And catering trucks? UPS? Fedex? Fuelers? Anyone who drives through the so called "Security Gate"?? Until everything get searched, it is all smoke and mirrors!

As far as the Anonymus comment that expresses no sympathy to working aiport employees going throuh the checkpoint. Maybe he will think twice when it is past his flights departure time and the agents working the flight are still stuck at the checkpoint going through screening! Another set up for further airline failures. The traveling public does not get it!

Anonymous said...

I am a manager with an airline and also know of a few of the Jacksonville, FL airport employees, and to say its a disaster up there is an understatement. Has TSA opened the checkpoint before 5AM, which is when a few of the airline employees are to start yet? or are airlines still taking delays until your staff shows up???

I'm all for security, but I also feel that the TSA screeners should go thru the same process if you are going to make employees who undergo a 10 year background, fingerprint, and criminal check and training do the same thing.

Anonymous said...

re: As far as the Anonymus comment that expresses no sympathy to working aiport employees going throuh the checkpoint. Maybe he will think twice when it is past his flights departure time and the agents working the flight are still stuck at the checkpoint going through screening!

--------------------------
If going thru screening is required to report to work then I suggest getting there early enough to clear screening. Goes for TSA'ers also, no front of the line privilege is needed.

Do what is being required of the flying public, add two hours to your schedule.

TSNC

Tux said...

Check everyone or check no one. Anything else is hypocrisy. Oh yeah, and you better not be letting those deadly bottles of coke past security!

Post the frontal MMW images please. Oh, and explain how items too dangerous to take on a plane are safe enough to be donated to homeless shelters.

We're not going away.

Anonymous said...

I want to reinterate what jim huggins said about the background investigation...your background investigation can only be as good (which I highly doubt), but definitely not better than the ones for high level government security clearances. So, if your "backgroud check" is good enough for you to trust your employees, it should be good enough for you to trust other government employees. I have seen employees of federal law enforcement with high level secutity clearances, in professional clothes and all their credentials on them, get treated with utter disrespect and even get secondary screening while some airport employee whose dressed like a gangsta thug flashes his badge and walks through.

Anonymous said...

CREWPASS NOW!


CREWPASS NOW!


If you dont know what CrewPass is, Google it.

Anonymous said...

"fancy metal badge from the new uniform"

Are they really going to give them badges?

What an insult to LEOs.

Anonymous said...

OK, I'll admit I'm hooked. I just HAVE to come back to this blog to see if the images appear. I think I may be a little disappointed if they ever do show up...

Anonymous said...

anonymous 5/8 9:00 AM said:

"If I were a terrorist, rather than trying to sneak something past your MMW as carryon, I'd just bribe a low-paid, nonscanned airport worker to sneak stuff in for me....

"You either check everyone or no-one, because checking almost everyone is exactly the same, in terms of security, as checking no one."

That's exactly it, folks. Game-set-match, the victory is ours. Tough screening for most people is just smoke and mirrors if others (who can be easily identifed, no less!) do not get screened 100% of the time.

There is no way to refute these statements, but I'd love to see the TSA try.

But then again, I'd love to see the full frontal MMW pix, too...

Anonymous said...

All of the arguments that you make against performing checks of all airport employees when they enter a secure area, could be made for any other secure area (prisons, nuclear plants, other critical infrastructure}. I work in a nuclear power plant, where we have all had background checks, know each other, and are subject to continuous scrutiny by security. Yet we are screened each and every time we enter the secure areas. I think that it is vital that these checks of airport employees be performed and it should quickly become mandatory at all airports.

Anonymous said...

responding to - Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Millimeter wave will allow our TSOs to view a noninvasive image of a passenger revealing any items that were not divested. These images are friendly enough to post in a preschool. Heck, it could even make the cover of Reader’s Digest and not offend anybody."

Blogger Bob posted the words quoted above.

My question to Blogger Bob, do you stand by these remarks regarding the MMW images?

If so why will you not post front and rear images that have been asked for so many times? Why will you not discuss this issue?

Blogger Bob= Zero Credibility

Not going away!!

___________________________________

Wow man----anger and conspiracy??? Why don't you just go to the MMW manufactures site and take a look? Now be sure not to mistake the MMW for the Body Scan made by AS&E, it has a very clear image but is slowwwww. The MMW images I have worked with, about 4 years now, are pretty lousy compared to other imaging forms.

I say again, go to the manufacture's site and ask them questions and/or request information.

Anonymous said...

Responding to - Anonymous Anonymous said...

I watched the recent hearings where director Hawley and others spoke before a select committee of congress. The GAO representative spoke about the hole of SIDA access (access to the secure area of the airport)and the need for TSA to close this hole by taking over the responsibilities of doing the background checks and issuing out SIDA badges and privileges to airport employees. Is this something that is projected in the foreseeable future? If not, then why because it's an obvious hole in security that screening each and every employee daily costing lots of time, money, and effort on can't begin to fill. The problem at ORD with illegal aliens working in the secure area has surely highlighted this hole. How and why were they given access when they didn't have valid social security numbers? The background checks are lacking severely since this wasn't found out before they were already granted access.

________________________________

ORD happened because a service company was maintaining the SIDA badges of terminated or resigned employees, getting the PIN with it and then hiring day labor and providing them with a badge & PIN. They did this when they should have reported the employees loss / resignation the the airport authority and turned in the badges. They did it for profit and as far as I am concerned put their greed above the safety of any and all of us. Super wrong and illegal. Hopefully they will face jail time.

They also access the airport through means other than the check points. TSA has programs in place for screening at places other than checkpoints but I believe it is congress who has limited the number of screening officers, not the TSA's refusal to hire. Think about how many people you would have to have to check employees at every access point at all 400 + commercial airports during all hours they are coming and going.

Again, limited resources and trying to figure what is priority. Also, regardless of what the industry says most think everyone should be checked but them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

re: Some airline employees have had part of their lunches confiscated/abandoned/donated at TSA checkpoints.
-------------------------
Gotta be real careful with that BLT and pudding cup.
Never know when it may go off!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My experience tells me most all employees have it down pat with darn few giving up much of anything. Makes a good sob story though

Anonymous said...

Right now in my airport... I am an airline employee by the way.

There appears to be 1 TSO for every airline employee and a few left over to man the checkpoint. Sarcasm off........

Many airports to comply with this directive will have to spend millions and possibly billions cutting off access from public space to sterile space.

Most small airports you can walk from the ticket counter directly to the bagroom which is a part of SIDA. All of that access will have to be walled off.

You the paying customer.. Discover at the checkpoint you have a bottle of expensive perfume that exceeds current limits. There will be NO WAY now to get that added to your luggage. You can return it to the ticket counter but, the agents can no longer walk back to the bagroom and place said item in your checked baggage after the TSO's have screened it.

You check in and realize your passport is in your checked luggage and you need to retrieve it... Not happening now. Your bag in a city such as ATL will have to be returned to the claim area where you retrieve it and you join the hordes waiting to check in so you can re-check your bag.

As indicated earlier.. All of us airline employees now have to go through the checkpoint unless you want to expend additional tax payer dollars so the TSA can set up lanes outside of public contact. Better plan on getting to the airport even earlier now.

I as a manager come up to the counter because YOU wanted to speak to me??? Guess what I now have to be re-screened as my office is in the secure area. You think I am going to do this 6-7 times a day??? WRONG!

Another point of contention IS the screening of the TSO's.... Imagine if the TSA policed their own as they plan to for the rest of us...

The fox watching the hen house... Bring on screening for airline employees and watch delays, customer service, et al continue to head in the wrong direction.

To those government employees talking about security clearances.... If I had completed a background check and wanted to head to the Federal Court House... Perhaps I should be exempt from screening as you think you should be in my place of business.

TSA = Thousands Standing Around and that is from personal experience. Until WE as citizens DEMAND something other than cosmetic band aids on security it will NOT happen.

There is a reason EL AL has bomb proof cargo compartments. Bullet Proof flight decks.. NO CURBSIDE CHECK IN. Profiling....

Anonymous said...

HEY TSNC,

Again I say sending all employees through the checkpoint is setting the airlines up for failure. We are not just talking Pilots and Flight Attendants. At my station agents sometimes go back and forth betweeen the counter and gates 7 to 8 times a day. You say add 2 hours to your schedule? Let's see that's another 20 percent hourly cost to your payroll. Sure at $120a barrell for oil, that will be the end of another bunch of air carriers. Which means fewer Thousands Standing Around.

winstonsmith said...

So Lynn, let me get this straight, you're telling me that not every person who enters the sterile area of an airport gets screened. Not every TSA employee gets checked every time he or she goes past a checkpoint.

Unless 100% of the people who enter the sterile area of an airport get checked each and every time they enter they enter the area there is no way to consider the area in any way secure. Unless 100% of the vehicles entering the sterile area of the airport get checked each and every time they enter there is no way to consider the sterile area secure.

Effectively what you've told me Lynn, is that the TSA has left the barn door open for the horses to come and go freely as they please and is only now thinking about the relative merits of maybe shutting it if it wouldn't be too inconvenient for the horses.

You're telling me that a person or persons determined to do harm to an aircraft could circumvent what minimal protection the checkpoint may offer by going through the gaping holes in the system that TSA has left in the system. This is what my tax dollars are paying for? Kip Hawley still has a job why?

You at the TSA pull these boneheaded moves and still expect us somehow to trust you. Not only no, but HELL NO! Give us our independent scientific verification of the need for 3-1-1. Show us the frontal pictures from the millimeter wave strip search machine. Prove to us there is an ongoing need to remove shoes. Prove to us that the TSA has made us or kept us any safer in the skies than we were on 9/10 and then maybe we'll start to talk.

Anonymous said...

"Millimeter wave will allow our TSOs to view a noninvasive image of a passenger revealing any items that were not divested. These images are friendly enough to post in a preschool. Heck, it could even make the cover of Reader’s Digest and not offend anybody."

Blogger Bob posted the words quoted above.

My question to Blogger Bob, do you stand by these remarks regarding the MMW images?

If so why will you not post front and rear images that have been asked for so many times? Why will you not discuss this issue?

Blogger Bob= Zero Credibility

Not going away!!

CBGB said...

I am by no means a master of public relations, but for the love of god just post the damn images.

If you post the images and they are bad, then we will flip nuts.

If you post them and they aren't we'll shut up about it

But, if you DON'T post them, we're going to assume the worst (or you wouldn't need to hide them) we're just going to continue spreading it around and more and more people are going to ask why you won't show them. Even your parrots will begin to question why. If you just showed us the pics they would say its not that bad, and its necessary, but right now you have zero credibility.

Anonymous said...

This is just to clarify things for everyonem TSOs all go through the same security screening passengers go through, except they do it at least once a day before they can start work, and if they leave the sterile area on a break, at most airports they have to be re-screened. If they alarm the metal detector twice, they get hand-wanded too.

Jeff said...

"while some airport employee whose dressed like a gangsta thug flashes his badge and walks through."

Exactly where have you seen these airport employees "dressed like a gangsta thug?"
Most airport employees are wearing a uniform of some sort. I'll grant you a lot of ramp employees don't look that attractive, but I'd hardly say that they're dressed like thugs.
Besides, any employee (as well as anything the employee brings with them into the sterile area) is subject to search.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I think that this is a waste of time and money by the TSA. Not that the TSA is any better today than before 9/11. Employees have had their food and drinks taken away by the TSA. I don't think this is a good idea.

Anonymous said...

As an airline employee at a small airport i would be curious as to more specific information how this is implemented as it would have to be custom tailored for every airport.

Being that with the smaller airports who have minimal staffing, and at times may have to enter/leave the sterile area multiple times in excess of the standard, say 20 times in a shift for various reasons, FA forgot to inform about a pax with special needs, pax checking a bag at the cutoff time or less having to run it to the plane at the last minute, etc, this really puts a hurt on the situation. Many airlines have reduced staffing and some locations can't be reduced any further. IF this is implemented it would necessitate that the TSA force the
airlines to hire more workers which
as an end result would increase the ticket prices quite a bit. The
time needed for the screening depending on what is done would end up having the ultimate affect on the passengers either in a monetary
value or in wasted time due to irregular operations or similar situation.

Anonymous said...

Show us the full frontal MMW pics now! Or else....we'll write angry blogs that you'll continue to ignore because you've already told us why you haven't yet...

Does anyone get the message in here?

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous said...

All of the arguments that you make against performing checks of all airport employees when they enter a secure area, could be made for any other secure area (prisons, nuclear plants, other critical infrastructure}. I work in a nuclear power plant, where we have all had background checks, know each other, and are subject to continuous scrutiny by security. Yet we are screened each and every time we enter the secure areas. I think that it is vital that these checks of airport employees be performed and it should quickly become mandatory at all airports.

May 8, 2008 7:00 PM"

A very good point. They should be screened on the way out as well. Employees of precious metal refining, fabrication and jewelry making facilities are screened upon exit to make sure valuables stay within the building. This is a good use for the MMW.

Anonymous said...

"Millimeter wave will allow our TSOs to view a noninvasive image of a passenger revealing any items that were not divested. These images are friendly enough to post in a preschool. Heck, it could even make the cover of Reader’s Digest and not offend anybody."

Blogger Bob posted the words quoted above.

My question to Blogger Bob, do you stand by these remarks regarding the MMW images?

If so why will you not post front and rear images that have been asked for so many times? Why will you not discuss this issue?

Blogger Bob= Zero Credibility

Not going away!!


Are you going to censor this post also?

Anonymous said...

anonymous said.....

Do what is being required of the flying public, add two hours to your schedule.

Does this make your time 4hours?

Anonymous said...

jeff,

I CONSISTENTLY see guys dressed like "thugs" walk down the employee line at Chicago Midway and O’Hare with a badge on a lanyard around their neck and go right through security with no pat downs or metal detectors. And even ones that were wearing a “uniform” were allowed to wear ones that are four sizes too big and a non-uniform ball cap…sideways. That’s REALLY professional and confidence inspiring let me tell you.

Anonymous said...

Screen employees and TSA staff exactly like you do a traveler.

If any item in the hands of a traveler is dangerous or prohibited then it should not be permitted in the seclusion area.

So only 3oz of jet fuel per truck, no tools, no beverage trucks, no airlines!

Sounds and is ridiculous, just like the liquids and shoe policies for travelers.
Not to mention the virtual strip search MMW WBI machines that TSA won't post images from.

Just think, DHS and TSA is getting new senior staffing in a few months. I wonder if they will screw this up as much as the current crew.


POST THE MMW WBI IMAGES

Anonymous said...

Are you ever going to post those frontal MMW images???

Anonymous said...

re: Does this make your time 4hours?

May 9, 2008 10:19 AM

........................
Not sure if your post was a smart a__ comment or what.

TSA suggest that travelers arrive two hours before their flight to allow time to clear security.

I suggest if airport workers, TSA included, need to clear a security checkpoint so they can report for work then they allow themselves enough time to do so.

When you go to work can you add your commute time to your workday?

Why should TSA or airport workers be able to do so?

Anonymous said...

The answer is simple. Treat everyone, and I mean everyone, like a potential criminal. Pat downs, body scans, and even cavity searches if necessary. Ve mus be safe, comrades.

Welcome to Soviet Amerika.

RB said...

At my airport (ORF) we check the airport employees already. They have to go through security each time they enter the sterile area. This includes walking through the WTMDs each time. TSOs, however, do not. Our belongings are xrayed each time, though.

I am a TSO, and I would go through the MMW. It's definitely safe and secure. I would send my one year old daughter through it, too.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

"Millimeter wave will allow our TSOs to view a noninvasive image of a passenger revealing any items that were not divested. These images are friendly enough to post in a preschool. Heck, it could even make the cover of Reader’s Digest and not offend anybody."

Blogger Bob posted the words quoted above.

My question to Blogger Bob, do you stand by these remarks regarding the MMW images?

If so why will you not post front and rear images that have been asked for so many times? Why will you not discuss this issue?

Blogger Bob= Zero Credibility

Not going away!!


I have seen the front MMW images posted on news sites and from the L3 Provision brochure. I agree with Blogger Bob's assessment.

What I don't agree with is attacking Blogger Bob when he is UNABLE to post the images. The man is being BLOCKED by those that have to give their approval to show the images. Fair is fair.

We need to direct our venom at the TSA, DHS and our Representatives until the images are shown.

You and I both know that hiding the images will create an unnecessary PR nightmare. Apparently the "powers that be" are ignorant to that fact.

Keep the heat on the TSA, DHS, and your Representatives on the Hill until they show the damn image.

winstonsmith said...

So if we have all of these people walking around in the sterile area of the airport who have not gone through screening, then it's safe to assume that many of them have with them quantities of liquids, gels and aerosols in excess of 3.4 ounces that have not gone through screening.

It's safe to assume that none of these people are carrying anything that would be otherwise prohibited in the sterile area that would have caused a passenger at a checkpoint to be detained and searched and perhaps even arrested were the same item to be found on his or her person.

It's safe to assume that because these people have had background checks that the fact that the check came back clean at that moment in time makes them immune from any kind of future scrutiny.

People have quite rightly brought up how impractical it would be to screen everyone and everything that goes in and out of the sterile areas of the airport each and every time it goes in. However, the only way to ensure actual security is to do just that. When it comes to infringing on the rights and convenience of passengers, the TSA does not seem to have any problem with the idea of impracticality or inconvenience. The TSA shakes down the sheeple and leaves huge security holes. It's time for the TSA to put up or shut up. Either tell the corporations and airports to suck it up and find a way to make it work or knock off the security theater and give us back our civil rights.

Anonymous said...

Screen Everyone.

Show the MMW WBI images.

tsa loves you said...

Mods, I'm terribly sorry if this is coming to you multiple times. When I click "publish" I'm just getting a page refresh, with my comment still in the text box and a new captcha. All of these posts should be the same, so it doesn't matter which one you approve.

"anon@5:31 :
Does anyone get the message in here?"

They're parroting it to show their resolve, not because they expect any real answer. The TSA isn't going to post frontal images any time soon, just like they still haven't explained the 3-1-1 rule. Commenters remind them of both simply to prove they haven't forgotten.

I personally could not care less about the MMW images. It's not that I'm not offended by the gross invasion of privacy, I just understand that the whatever image TSA posts, if they post anything, will be a lie. The MMW machine is capable of producing images that ARE a strip-search. At the resolution the hardware is capable of reaching, there is no denying or arguing with this. This machine sees you naked.

The TSA's claims of kindergarten-friendly images rest solely on the putative existence of a software layer which blurs and de-faces the images. This is, they HAVE the full resolution, softcore pornography version of you, but do not store or display it. We're told the TSA agent, despite being alone and unmonitored in a dark room, will only ever have access to the blurred one. Really truly you guys. Seriously.

So that's why I don't care if they post frontal images or not, whatever they happen to be. They have the capability to virtually strip-search me, and I have only their assurance that they won't use those capabilities. Although I must admit that it's unfair to the TSA and blog staff because they can't disprove me, at this point every interaction I have ever had with a governing body's "assurances" tells me they're *already* storing high-res naked pictures of every single person who walks through the scanner.

Instead of worrying about the frontal images they'll never post, here's what worries me. How long will it be until:

*) We hear that MMW screeners can access the high-res images. "Temporarily, only portions (like zooming in)," the TSA PD drone will say, "and only in case of suspicious items."

*) It's leaked that the TSA screeners are doing it all the time anyway. Pretty girls must have a lot of suspicious items on them.

*) We find out that the high-res images are stored. "Only those of suspicious persons, and only the facial area, for the purposes of identification."

*) Leak: No, the full bodies of everyone.

*) MMW images start showing up on child porn sites.

*) MMW machines are too widely used and too finely ingrained into the system to be removed without admitting complete incompetence, and we're stuck with them anyway.

The most objectionable part of all of this for me is that kids will be subjected to this MMW too. You might be fine with some random schmuck looking at your flabby moneymaker, but say you have a nine year-old daughter. You're told to put her in a strip search machine, where someone you don't know and can't see will look under her clothes and you have only the TSA's SOLEMN STATEMENT that the man is not a pedophile who will walk away with naked pictures of her. If you find that objectionable and happen to be well informed (cause they sure don't volunteer to tell you your rights at the gate), you can opt to have her taken away and fondled instead.

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear, right?

Anonymous said...

re: What I don't agree with is attacking Blogger Bob when he is UNABLE to post the images. The man is being BLOCKED by those that have to give their approval to show the images. Fair is fair.

..................................
I have to disagree with you a bit. It was Bobs post where the images were stated to be ok for preschoolers and ok for the cover of readers digest.

If he did not believe it he should not put his name to it. He never came back and did anything to backup his remarks. I have yet to see any statement saying that higher ups at DHS/TSA had blocked the posting of the images.

So Bob has to take the heat for his comments, just like I have to take ownership for my remarks.

As we have seen the images have finally been posted. I think they border on indecent and would never have anyone but an adult scanned if they agreed to do so. A minor should never be requested or permitted to be scanned. I hope someone at TSA takes this for action.

I have to wonder, just what are the limits to an administrative search? Surely the search cannot encompass every possible means to search a person. The MMW is nothing other than a strip search. I will not participate!

I will accept that the posted images are in fact what the screeners will see and will lay off of Bob, at least for now.

I hope I in some way help to convince DHS/TSA to come clean and do the right thing.

I also hope that DHS/TSA has learned something from all of this. Yes we are the public, but we are also citizens and the government still reports to us. Not the other way around.

Finally, I would think that Kip is busy working on his resume, he'll be gone in just a few months!

Anonymous said...

RB said...
At my airport (ORF) we check the airport employees already. They have to go through security each time they enter the sterile area. This includes walking through the WTMDs each time. TSOs, however, do not. Our belongings are xrayed each time, though.

I am a TSO, and I would go through the MMW. It's definitely safe and secure. I would send my one year old daughter through it, too.

----------------------

Just wondering -why do they get a front of the line pass?

Why don't TSOs use WTMD and remove their shoes for xray? WTMD would detect guns

RB said...

RB said...
At my airport (ORF) we check the airport employees already. They have to go through security each time they enter the sterile area. This includes walking through the WTMDs each time. TSOs, however, do not. Our belongings are xrayed each time, though.

I am a TSO, and I would go through the MMW. It's definitely safe and secure. I would send my one year old daughter through it, too.

----------------------

"Just wondering -why do they get a front of the line pass?

Why don't TSOs use WTMD and remove their shoes for xray? WTMD would detect guns"


-----------------------------

We do go through the WTMD. We go to the front of the line so we can make it in time for our shift. I even arrive to work an hour early to make sure I get there on time, anyway.

We don't remove our shoes- this is true. Neither does the military (as long as it's not steel toed so it won't alarm the WTMD) and neither does airline crew or other airport employees. I'm not sure why, to be honest with you.

Yes, WTMDs do detect guns. We DO go through the WTMD.

RB said...

Oh, and I'm sorry -to clarify, we walk through the WTMD at the start of our shift. That's what I meant to say the first time.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you a bit. It was Bobs post where the images were stated to be ok for preschoolers and ok for the cover of readers digest.

If he did not believe it he should not put his name to it. He never came back and did anything to backup his remarks. I have yet to see any statement saying that higher ups at DHS/TSA had blocked the posting of the images.


Normally I would agree with you but if the "powers that be" told Blogger Bob to drop it, he would be a fool to come on here and tell us.

I have it on good authority that the images were being blocked and it was out of Blogger Bob's hands.

I am glad the "powers that be" finally realized the problem was not going to just go away and hiding images that were already in the press was just stupid.

Anonymous said...

Seatac has a theft problem, to include handguns, from the secured area. A local TV station pointed out employees enter through an unmarked locked door near carousel 8 without screening carrying everything up hockey bags.
http://www.kirotv.com/airports/14295025/detail.html
The last time I flew from STL, I was first in line waiting for passenger screening to begin at the checkpoint. Employees were arriving and getting their credentials checked by the lone TSA checker and then getting their belongings x-rayed and walking through the WTMD. Individuals and groups of employees bypassed the credential check by just ducking under the cattle-chute guides. When I commented to the TSA lady that she "seemed to have missed a few" she turned around and looked as more bypassed her, snapped her gum, and gave me "the eye". When the checkpoint opened for passengers, she took my military ID and boarding pass, scribbled SSSS on it and told me to "you have a NICE day" in an exagerated manner. I'm sure my secondary screening was random, not retalitory.

Anonymous said...

http://www.kirotv.com/airports/14295025

Anonymous said...
Seatac has a theft problem, to include handguns, from the secured area.

............................

Thanks to the above poster for the link.

The story is clear why screening of all airport workers (includes TSA) is needed. It seems they need to be screened going in and out!

TSA inspects and clears baggage only to have the bags leave their control to be compromised. TSO's seem to be in the game also.

Tell me again why I should trust TSA about anything? Clean up your agency, start ensuring the materials and people entering secure areas of the airport are inspected and safe before questioning me about my damm bottle of water.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said... in part

Normally I would agree with you but if the "powers that be" told Blogger Bob to drop it, he would be a fool to come on here and tell us.

...........................
Not to beat a dead horse;

I can understand that Bob may have been in an tight spot. We (readers of the Blog) did not have any indication of that and if Bob's superiors really have much respect for him would have made a post explaining why the images would not be posted taking Bob of the hook. They did not do so and Bob took all the heat. In my opinion rightly so.

This is just another example of TSA trying to pass off PR Spin as fact. So far they have a pretty poor track record doing so as evidenced by the lack of trust of travelers. This blog is just an extension of the flying publics concerns with a way to provide feedback and ask quesitons.

Sadly, Bob has chosen to be part of this misguided machine and will take some lumps when carrying water for his superiors.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

Not to beat a dead horse;

I can understand that Bob may have been in an tight spot. We (readers of the Blog) did not have any indication of that and if Bob's superiors really have much respect for him would have made a post explaining why the images would not be posted taking Bob of the hook. They did not do so and Bob took all the heat. In my opinion rightly so.

This is just another example of TSA trying to pass off PR Spin as fact. So far they have a pretty poor track record doing so as evidenced by the lack of trust of travelers. This blog is just an extension of the flying publics concerns with a way to provide feedback and ask quesitons.

Sadly, Bob has chosen to be part of this misguided machine and will take some lumps when carrying water for his superiors.


You have to admit Blogger Bob took the lumps well. I don't think I could have held my tongue while being blamed for something out of my control. This is probably why I wouldn't survive long in a Government job.

While we were being blocked from the images I contacted a high ranking official in the Bush administration and asked them about the images. I got a bit of the back story, this person explained that Blogger Bob was not at fault and was actively and courageously working on the release of the images.

Armed with my new found knowledge I posted in defense of Blogger Bob because I do not want one of the good guys to get discouraged.

We have to remember that Blogger Bob is only allowed to publish certain things, things like images or anything that may be remotely considered SSI has to be approved by an entity that likes secrecy. Making things secret keeps them in a job.

Please don't think I am saying in anyway shape or form not to keep the pressure on the TSA.

The public pressure on this blog is what made the folks that are over the "must keep it secret" entity to release the images. I am very proud of the accomplishment we achieved.

I just have a problem with personal attacks especially when I know the person is not at fault. It is that damn fairness streak in me that makes me defend even those I dislike when they are being wrongly attacked, even sHillary. (just to be clear, I like Blogger Bob)

Anonymous said...

You have to admit Blogger Bob took the lumps well.

Yes he did.

The whole course of events says more about the character of Bob's superiors than it does about Bob.

Would you work for an organization that left you hanging in the breeze like they did to Bob?

I would not!

Anonymous said...

"We don't remove our shoes- this is true."

Unless, like me, you wear boots with metal in them. Then they go off as I go through the WTMD. TSO-Joe

Anonymous said...

The questions, "What’s the Best Way to Screen Airport Employees?", has a simple answer.

The procedures used to clear anyone into the secured area should be the same. Plain and simple!

Airports workers may have need to have certain tools/equipment but other than that if the security standards are appropiate for a traveler then they are appropiate for a worker. Any person represents the same degree of potential hazard as the next person.

All persons entering the secure area, passengers, airport employees, TSA staff and any other groups must be cleared to have any real security. The secure area should be a weapons free area for all!

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

The whole course of events says more about the character of Bob's superiors than it does about Bob.

Would you work for an organization that left you hanging in the breeze like they did to Bob?

I would not!


One thing my Dad always impressed on me was this "You may have to shovel sh*t for a living but you don't have to eat it."

That philosophy has served me well but it has not made me successful in the normal terms.

As I have aged I have learned to cut people that will play the game a bit of slack. They tend to look at the picture in a more selfish overall view. Die a little here, live a little better there.

Then again, Blogger Bob may have taken one for the team and was being a good soldier.

I hope it was being a good soldier, because that I can respect.

Anonymous said...

re: Then again, Blogger Bob may have taken one for the team and was being a good soldier.
..................................

Bob took one for the team because the team hung him out to dry.

We will never know Bob's motives but can make an educated guess about his superiors motives.

Anonymous said...

About Bob.

To the newly arrived:

This is the same Bob who got called out for having a bit of a 'tude early on.

The same Bob who claimed that a few spoke for many in an attempt to support his assertations.

The same Bob who helped the terrorists spread terror by repeating a horrible but highly improbable rumor.

Just sayin'.

Anonymous said...

"What’s the Best Way to Screen Airport Employees?"

One at a time, each and every one of them!

Anonymous said...

You have so many illegal aliens working at the airports that it is laughable to suggest that your background clearance process is even remotely effective. These people need to be screened 100%. Military retirees, WWII veterans, and others who have risked their lives defending our nation and would never speak a bad word against it suffer indignities of your pre-boarding security screening process, while you argue that that the illegal aliens working the airports don't need 100% screening because you've performed a background investigation. That's a joke. I guess that's why you've been so effective at ensuring that criminals never get jobs in the airports either, and nothing (like mail or firearms) are ever stolen from the airline cargo. My one question is this: Who, exactly, do you think you're kidding?

Jim Huggins said...

So ... since I'm sure someone will comment at some point, what's TSA's reaction to today's CNN story regarding an angry flight attendant who set a fire onboard a flight from Minneapolis to Regina?

The article seems to indicate that the flight attendant smuggled a lighter on-board the aircraft, and that the flight attendant was mad at the airline regarding his work route.

It seems like this is not only a screening failure (the article seems to imply the lighter was contraband), but also a BDO failure (since the attendant was described as being angry, it would seem plausible that BDOs might have noticed his behavior).

Obviously, it's not TSA's fault that the attendant committed the crime. But it seems to be a timely example of how employees can be just as likely to commit criminal acts as passengers. Which is the point of this particular thread ... namely, that employees ought to be screened with the same level of thoroughness as passengers.

Anonymous said...

The thing about screening crewmembers is that they are flying the plane. If they want to do harm to the plane or passengers they can easily do so. Hopefully that isn't nor will ever be the case but it is the truth. Lighters are allowed on planes now for passengers and for crew.

We do screen crew as well as airport employees although it's intended to be somewhat random unless it's one of the pilot airports that are doing 100% employee screening.

The BDO's job is to work in the public area where he or she was unlikely to see the flight attendant that was angry.

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

We do screen crew as well as airport employees although it's intended to be somewhat random unless it's one of the pilot airports that are doing 100% employee screening.


See, there's an inconsistency here. It's ok to screen just a few airport employees, selected randomly, even though they have greater ability to cause mischief. But the general public must be screened 100%, no exceptions. I'm not sure why there's a distinction.

Parrot Toys said...

i appreciate what the TSA does. Keeping U.S. citizens safe is a daunting task. We should all show them our appreciation. The agents at checkpoints don't make the rules, they just enforce them.

vegasloanguy said...

"You either check everyone or no-one, because checking almost everyone is exactly the same, in terms of security, as checking no one."
Nothing more to say.

Anonymous said...

It is the buddy system at the akron canton airport in ohio.
food service workers get screened 100% and baggage handlers and ticket agents 25% of the time. You can watch them in the secure area behind the subway resturant laughing and joking with tsa. Someone from tsa should in force the rules at this airport, remember trust nobody!
















you can watch them out back of the

Anonymous said...

So who is checking the tsa people it is already publicly known that they have stolen stuff from peoples bags, and who knows even thought they had a back ground check could still pull off a inside job with access to the sterile and secured areas if its good for passengers and the workers and the pilots, why not them..... but I guess my lunch is a national threat now....