Friday, June 27, 2008

ID Update and Word on the Blog

June 27th Update to ID Requirements:

Now that the new ID requirement is almost one week old, we wanted to provide additional stats. Below are the latest numbers:

Saturday, June 21-Wednesday, June 25:

Total flyers: Approximately 10 million
Flyers without ID: 1705 (.000017 of total flyers)
Flyers denied access: 59 (.000005 of total passengers)
Average wait time for identity verification or decision: 6.9 minutes

And an editorial comment:

A few bloggers have asked us where we are and why we have not responded to questions. Questions like:

“Do these questions being to make you realize why TSA is a joke?”

“Of what are you so afraid that you refuse to address this issue?”

“Unless you are just going to turn the blog iinto (sic) a carnival or circus?”

That last one brings us to an interesting point. As Kip wrote in the opening post of this blog on January 30th, “Our ambition is to provide here a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues… Our hosts…job is to engage with you straight-up and take it from there.”

I think we can all agree that comments like:

“I am just waiting for Kip to mutter "I would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids."

“My tinfoil hat theory is that the TSA knows it doesn't and have given up any pretense of spin control.”

“I agree -- more TSA crap. The sooner y'all are simply arrested for violating our rights, the happier I'll be.”

don’t really bring anything to the larger debate and really don’t beg for nor want a response.

The simple truth is that we’re just about the only government agency engaging in this type of dialogue on security issues and policies and we’re sincerely interested in rational debate and conversation...but we have neither the time nor the desire to respond to random, vitriol filled diatribes that don’t serve passengers or other bloggers in any way.

We’ve used this blog as a method of change and hope we have proven its merit on several occasions (ending the electronics problem in Hooray Bloggers, Diamond Lanes, etc.). These posts and the bloggers' comments have had a positive impact on your experience and mine at the checkpoint. We’re more than willing to engage in a vigorous debate on controversial issues and look forward to many more spirited debates without the poison for poison’s sake.

We’ve certainly proven over the past seven months that we can take a punch but the constant barrage of body (and low) blows without substance would tire even Mike Tyson in his heyday.

Christopher

EOS Blog Team

131 comments:

SANDRA said...

Oh, oh seems we have hit a raw nerve! Two thumbs up!

Anonymous said...

re: "As Kip wrote in the opening post of this blog on January 30th, “Our ambition is to provide here a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues…"


Any number of questions, most valid, have been raised regarding the ID issue.

No one at TSA has engaged or discussed.

We have been told, but that is a one way street.

The ID policy is wrong, violates civil rights and is not part of the law that is laid out in 49 C.F.R. § 1540.

So please lets discuss this and tell us were the authority lies to implement this disgraceful policy.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Christopher for your response here. I'm sure the low blows will keep up but at least you blog folks are trying. Explaining the ID requirement to folks that just do not get it and still think security is about keeping bad things instead of bad people off planes is what we are working with. It's been explained that someone can use their body parts as a weapon to no avail. Ink pens or belts could also be used. There is no limit to what someone with ill intentions can use to harm others, so it makes so much more sense to try to locate those with ill intentions and keep them off the planes as an added layer of security to keeping the innocent knife and gun carrying passengers from bringing them on.

Anonymous said...

Although I do agree that not answering some of the questions posted makes sense, there are some questions that are perfectly relevant that you haven't answered:

1. How can requiring ID fit within our constitutional rights?

2. What happened to those 59 persons denied flight?

3. How does checking ID make us safer?

4. How are the watch lists being improved? How did they come together in the first place?

Anonymous said...

And yet, you still avoid answering any of the real and valid questions!

Dunstan said...

What is your take on the the mother and autistic child who were denied re-boarding during a flight? Is this an ADA issue, a problem passenger issue, or something altogether different? According to the report, the child was tolerated on the first leg of the trip, and then denied passage on the connecting flight.

CBGB said...

"The simple truth is that we’re just about the only government agency engaging in this type of dialogue"

which part?

the blog or publishing their rules and regulations? Because one is much much more important than the other.Now lets go back to your previous entry/policy introdcution that you still haven't provided legal jurisdiction for after already having been told you couldn't do this by a federal court.

Phil said...

Christopher, you picked a handful of inflammatory comments that were posted after repeated attempts to engage TSA in discussion of this inexcusable policy of punishing those who wish to stand up for our rights, and completely ignored a multitude of reasonable comments.

If you want us not to judge the entire TSA organization by the actions of a few yahoos, please don't use the comments of a few justifiably-frustrated commenters as reason to shut down communications.

As for the reasonable comments, I don't have time to dig through them all right now, but off the top of my head, Trollkiller has repeatedly asked for followup on your associates' assertion that "49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 & 49 C.F.R. § 1540.105(a)(2) allow for this new requirement for granting access to the sterile areas". You have completely ignored it.

Additionally, you have yet to explain how you have a list of people who are so dangerous that they should not be allowed to travel within the country by commercial airline or should only be allowed to travel after being hassled by government agents at a checkpoint, but who we choose not to charge with any crime.

So please, drop the P.R. tactics and talk about this.

Ayn R. Key said...

If you want the blows to be of substance answer a few basic questions.

Trollkiller's legal question with regards to Gilmore as a precedent is a good place to start.

Or my question about REAL ID (not just ID but REAL ID and those states that have refused it) would also be a good place to go next.

Phil said...

NoClu wrote:

"in the second 48 hours how many citizens were hastled/detained because they didn't have their ID. How many were ultimately refused entry into the secure area? Any arrested because they were dangerous?"

I'd really appreciate you adding this statistic to your "Week at a glance" web-page."


That's a reasonable question.

Phil said...

I wrote:

"How are you improving security by stopping people at a government checkpoint, then preventing them from passing your checkpoint simply because they assert their right to travel without first showing you their papers?"

That's a reasonable question.

Ayn R. Key said...

Actually I sincerely resent the insinuation that questions such as the one Trollkiller asks about Gilmore or the one I ask about REAL ID are without substance. I think you owe several of the commentators an apology. Winson, Wintermute, Trollkiller, and I are all determined participants who do more than simply tell you how bad you are.





We prove it.

Anonymous said...

It is profoundly dishonest and disingenuous to pretend that the only questions asked in the comments below are ones like those you've cherry-picked.

As anyone who reads those comments can see, there were many substantive questions about the underlying assumptions of the new ID policy, its impact on travelers (ie, average time tells us nothing -- what were the longest and shortest interrogation times?), the unacceptability of interrogating citizens about their political beliefs, the time wasted on all sides under the new policy, the risk of identity theft posed by the apparent use of credit reports to verify identity, and many more.

Perhaps when TSA starts to show a glimmer of responsiveness to legitimate and fundamental questions about its policies -- policies which patently do nothing to make anyone safer, and continue to encroach on the rights of citizens while failing to increase security -- we will be less frustrated and angry when trying, and failing, to get answers from you people.

You might want to think about making an honest effort at answering the questions we asked below instead of whining "poor poor pitiful me."

Jim Huggins said...

Christopher (or whomever) ... in the spirit of trying to restore civil tone, let me ask a respectful question about ID checking:

How does verifying a passenger's identity (either by presentation of ID or alternative procedures) increase security? Knowing a passenger's name doesn't tell you anything about his/her intentions. (Especially since the TSOs doing the identity checking don't have access to the various no-fly lists, nor the means to authenticate the passenger's boarding pass.)

Phil said...

Tomas wrote:

"OK, as an old veteran who fought to protect our rights, this actually does bother me, Bob.

"It is not that I have a problem identifying myself, and even showing identification for a reasonable purpose, it's that the convoluted and warped logic being used just doesn't hold together.

"Please allow me to provide to scenarios: One where a person has valid ID but objects to a demand of "Papers please." The other being a person with no ID who claims the dog ate it.

"You will do some 'validations' on the 'no ID' person, and possibly subject them to some extra scrutiny, and if nothing further bothers the TSOs, it's "have a nice flight!"

"With the person saying "I'd rather not" when asked for their ID, what is the first thing you will probably find if you were to subject them to extra security checks? Right! Their ID! Duh!

"So, why not just accept the idea that not all people are sheep, and that some of us actually believe in, and risked our lives to protect, our Constitution and its Bill of Rights.

"If someone tells you they would rather not show you ID because they feel you have approximately zero right to demand it, treat them exactly the same as someone who said their dog ate their ID: Question them to verify identity, validate what they say, and go through what they are carrying on-board - which likely includes their ID.

"I totally fail to understand the TSA's insistence on treating those WITH good ID who object to the «Papiere, bitte!» scenario worse than those who simply pack their forged IDs, or mail them ahead, and claim they don't have any.

"Treat both the same. There is NO advantage to denying boarding to someone who objects to having their papers demanded to travel other than to cow the general populace and to accustom them to following any demand from anyone in uniform without thinking and without questioning.

"This is NOT the United States of America I fought so long ago to protect.

"Those young men under me who did not return would not believe what this once fine country has turned into."


That's reasonable and respectful. Would you care to address any of Tomas' concerns?

Abelard said...

We’ve certainly proven over the past seven months that we can take a punch but the constant barrage of body (and low) blows without substance would tire even Mike Tyson in his heyday.

Quite frankly, Christopher, some of that is your own fault.

There have been many legitimate questions asked that get 1) ignored, 2) not answered, 3) declared unanswerable because the answer is state secret or 4) they can't be answered because Kip or Bob or TSA Blogger X is on vacation.

So, in the spirit of fairness, I will put you and the TSA team to the test as to whether or not this post is just CYA or you really want to interacted with us.

Please answer the following five questions:

1. If requiring ID is truly instrumental in keeping the flying public safe, why did it take the TSA until June of 2008 to institute that policy?

2. What will the TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue READ ID cards to their respective citizens?

3. In general, what disciplinary action will be taken against a TSO who asks someone questions regarding their religion or political beliefs in order to verify their identity?

4. If the TSA believes that 1) checking ID increases safety to the flying public and 2) the no-fly list is there to catch terrorists, then why are the TSOs that check IDs at the airport not comparing names to those on the no-fly list?

5. Since it has been claimed by the TSA that the 3-1-1 rule was implemented due to the circumstances surrounding the London bomb plot, what position will the TSA take if the defendants are found not-guilty?

I await your answers.

Phil said...

T-the-B wrote:

"consider this: Scenario 1) I arrive at the airport without my ID and tell you that I mistakenly left it at home. According to your post you will question me and give me a secondary screening and let me fly. Scenario 2) I arrive at the airport without my ID and tell you that I deliberately left it at home. According to your post you will not let me fly. In both scenarios the passenger is the same; the lack of ID is the same. The only difference is whether or not I acknowledge your right to demand my ID or assert my right to refuse to show it.

"Secondly, you claim that this policy is intended to keep dangerous people off airplanes; however, the ID checker has no list to compare against. All the checker has is an ID and a boarding pass. Anyone with a PC and Photoshop can produce a valid boarding pass with anyone's name one it and the ID checker will be none the wiser."


Good points. I'd say they bring something to the larger debate and deserve a response.

Phil said...

Jim Huggins wrote:

"Sterling,

"Again, it's still easy to game this system. Mr. Bad Terrorist can produce a fake boarding pass with their own ID and get through the checkpoint, then use a boarding pass issued in someone else's name (presumably someone not on the no-fly list) to board an aircraft. Since you're not validating the legitimacy of the boarding pass, and you're not checking the no-fly list at the time of the document check, this threat still exists."


Nothing wrong with that. No response Sterling or anyone else at TSA.

Eric Bergen said...

How is the 6.9 minutes tracked? Is that 6.9 minutes after waiting an hour in the security line? How much does the ID verification slow down the line for the rest of the passengers?

Can we please commercialize the TSA and get some competition going between companies to help streamline this process? It's easy to do a bad job and not care when you can't be fired or edged out.

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"Thank you for finally showing numbers, albeit this is the kind of situation in which they will always favor the TSA (after all people want to fly).

"Could you please elaborate on those approximately 20 persons that weren´t allowed to fly?"


Well?

Phil said...

Chris Boyce wrote:

"Where is the privacy impact assessment for the new form and the obviously commercial datamining check? I don't recall seeing it on line, nor do I remember a public comment period."

Another reasonable question.

Brandon said...

Thrilling. But, you still have not responded directly via a blog post to ANY comments left behind. Yes, some people visit just to post "we hit a nerve!" but many, many others have left thoughtful, well written comments with serious concerns and questions, and these have never been addressed.

For example, how does checking ID increase security? All this has done is prevent 59 people from making their flights. The odds of this ID checking to actually catch a real, live terrorist is 0. Unless said terrorist is a really, really bad liar.

But you won't directly answer the public's honest concerns over your actions. Instead, you ignore, side step and refuse to apologize for forcing a girl to rip out her nipple rings. This isn't a blog, it's a PR stunt. I've read the comments. I've seen some very good concerns raised and I don't see the TSA addressing these concerns.

Until you begin answering the comments of those who follow your RSS feed, this blog will prove to be little more than another government joke.

Q: Why did the TSA write a blog?
A: To stop terrorists. *rimshot*

Thanks anyways.

Robert Johnson said...

Bravo, TSA! Bravo!

You truly have mastered the art of propaganda. Cherry pick the statements that are showing frustration with a lack of response to try to discredit your critics as raving lunatics. All the while trying to make your organization like it's on the high road and is an innocent martyr.

I think a lot of the postings here show furstration and rightfully so. I also think those posters have an absolute right to call TSA to the carpet on this and show their disgust with this and other policies.

I've asked a lot of questions on here and posted a lot of comment on here ... about have of which hasn't been posted. So when you can cherry pick the comments and not post a lot of valid questions, it's easy to make your critics look bad.

What happened to those 59 people denied boarding? Were they arrested? Were they asked any invasive questions like party affiliation, what they thought of the presidential candidates, or why they belong to their chosen religion? Other DHS offices have asked these questions and considering some of what TSA have asked, it's certainly plausible these are some that are being asked. Can you confirm or deny?

Honestly, if you're trying to show that you're encouraging dialogue ... this last week has been a very poor example.

The fact of the matter is that there isn't a lot of real dialogue. Nothing's changed. For the better anyway. You dictate, we respond, you poo poo what we say and go on. What's really the point to this blog?

How come you haven't had Francine or any other legal eagles weigh in on this? Was this purposely implemented just before the 4th of July when a lot of government employees would be on vacation so these questions would NOT have to be dealt with?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Robert

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: Thank you Christopher for your response here. I'm sure the low blows will keep up but at least you blog folks are trying. Explaining the ID requirement to folks that just do not get it and still think security is about keeping bad things instead of bad people off planes is what we are working with. It's been explained that someone can use their body parts as a weapon to no avail. Ink pens or belts could also be used. There is no limit to what someone with ill intentions can use to harm others, so it makes so much more sense to try to locate those with ill intentions and keep them off the planes as an added layer of security to keeping the innocent knife and gun carrying passengers from bringing them on."

How can you tell what anyone's intentions are without mind reading or looking into a crystal ball? Furthermore, how does looking at someone's ID verify good or bad intentions? TSA's never answered this.

Because "harm" can be caused by people and things, should we be carded, stripped naked, and fly while bound to eliminate the risk of a person with "bad intentions" doing anything? If he's tied up, he can't do anything. And even if he broke free, he wouldn't have anything to use ...

Robert

Phil said...

Responding to Kip Hawley's statement:

"It's unequivocally not our policy to use political, religious, or other sensitive personal topics as identity validation. If it happened, it was wrong and will not be repeated."

Bob Eucher asked three reasonable questions:


1. And we should believe you?

2. What guarantee do we have that it will NEVER be repeated?

3. And most important, What will happen if it does happen again?

Phil said...

Robert Johnson wrote:

"So 20 people were denied boarding because they wouldn't show an ID. How many of those were arrested? I'm guessing 0 ... else TSA would have been trumpeting it as a success rather than being thrown into damage control by asking someone his political affiliation.

"How many of these people were so dangerous that they couldn't be allowed to board a plane yet not dangerous enough to be arrested? Again, I'm guessing 0."


TSA: Can you address this? I wouldn't call it a low-blow.

Phil said...

Andy wrote:

"Question 1: You repeatedly claim this helps improve no-fly list enforcement. As we have told you over and over again, the ID checkers aren't checking names against a list. They're just comparing the name against the boarding pass, and the face to the ID. So, how exactly does this new policy enhance the NFL enforcement?

"Question 2: What exactly was wrong with the old policy (claim you have no ID, you get a SSSS and you're on your way)? We technically can still do that, and remember when there's a will, there's a way. There's no such thing as perfect security.

"Question 3: Why are you targeting those who simply refuse to show ID? Some people refuse to show ID because of: identify theft concerns; religious reasons; self-privacy reasons; and/or their own principle. We are free people here in the USA, and we have a right not to show ID. People can lie and say they lost their ID, and get by, but those truly wanting to stand up for their rights will be punished. Is there a political connection to this? I think it's blatantly obvious what your purpose is here, TSA.

"Well, I hope you at least have the courtesy to answer my questions (and others, too)."


I've seen no answers to these reasonable questions. I'd say they "bring something to the larger debate" and deserve responses.

Phil said...

Someone anonymously asked:

"Is Sterling a guest blogger from the legal department or some other office?

"Secondly, of the people who have not been allowed to gain access to the secure area of the airport and prevented from their travels how many were arrested and charged with a crime.

"What court determined that they could not travel freely and associate freely as our constitution provides for? What court restricted their civil rights?

"When did TSA become Judge and Jury and Executioner?"


Good questions, though they're somewhat rhetorical. All were seemingly ignored by TSA.

Phil said...

Abelard asked these two questions:

"How does showing ID keep me safe from an attack? No one seems to be able to answer that question."

"If I have been scanned, searched and screened and have no bombs, knives, guns or 4 oz. bottles of Coppertone lotion, what difference does my identity make when I get on that plane?"


That sounds like it belongs in a "forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues."

CBGB said...

alright we'll make this easy on you guys, a comment not a question so no response needed (not that i would get one)

The TSA is far more dangerous to the United States of America than terrorists are or ever were.

winstonsmith said...

Chris, your blog post of today smacks of just so much whining. We are not buying your line of Bandini anymore; we're not accepting your non-answers anymore; and you are not happy with it. The house of cards is caving in on you and you can't find the door.

So many of us, particularly Trollkiller (hats off to you Sir for your fine work on this one) have been holding your collective feet to the fire for this ridiculous policy. So many of us in the past have demanded and continue to demand that you show us actual results for your continued violations of our civil rights. So far TSA has been able to show no credible evidence that it has prevented or has the capacity to prevent any kind of terrorist activity on any form of transportation (the fact that there have been no strikes against any US aircraft since 2001 is not credible evidence -- there were no strikes against US aircraft for years prior to 9/11 either).

The TSA has yet to prove its worth. The TSA cannot show that it has made the traveling public any safer than it was on September 10, 2001. For the billions of dollars we have spent on TSA's security theater, there are giant holes that have yet to be plugged (i.e. has the TSA come to a decision yet as to whether to screen all airport employees each and every time they enter and leave the sterile area of an airport? Why is it going to be at least not until 2010 until we know that we are flying on top of fully inspected cargo?) TSA leaves these barn doors wide open while concentrating on making a show of checkpoint screening to make the public think that the government is actually doing something. All the while, with each confiscated item; with each denied boarding for lack of proper id; for each missed flight for the incompetence of screeners faced with technology they don't understand or have never seen but which is clearly not a knife, gun or bomb; for the fear that the TSA instills in each passenger to speak up for fear of retailiation when all that poor person wants to do is get to where he or she is going; for each disabled person who is forced to find to strength to rise from a wheelchair and walk through the magnetometer; to electronic dragnets and virtual strip searches; the TSA has found and continues to find new and exciting ways to violate our Constitutional rights with each passing month. The checking of ID is simply one more of them.

Chris, Bob, and to the rest of the TSA, it's time to put up of shut up. Answer the many questions that have been put to you. Stop hiding behind SSI (which is a complete crock and you know it).

Anonymous said...

Christopher, what is the cost-benefit analysis to spend all this effort to stop .000005 of total passengers, when red team tests are showing that .50 of would-be dangerous items are getting through the screening?

Wouldn't that be a better use of resources, as well as not trample the Constitutional rights of the citizens of the United States?

Anonymous said...

"Now lets go back to your previous entry/policy introdcution that you still haven't provided legal jurisdiction for after already having been told you couldn't do this by a federal court."

BBEEEEPPP! BS DECTECTOR GOING OFF!

Please cite where this occured. A lionk would be nice. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

We’ve certainly proven over the past seven months that we can take a punch but the constant barrage of body (and low) blows without substance would tire even Mike Tyson in his heyday.

Christopher

EOS Blog Team

...........................
The public are the ones who have taken the low blows.

TSA has engaged in a pattern of civil rights violations and continues to trample the constitution each and every day.

Now if you want to engage us, your employers, then step up and answer some fricken questions.

The way I see it, you and the TSA don't have anything coming!

Anonymous said...

Christoper, you posted a controversial article 17 days ago! Then you pretty much disappeared.

Now you author a post that addresses statements that "really don’t beg for nor want a response."

Why did you not use your time and the space to address some of the very real concerns and issues your post and the last few posts have raised?

"job is to engage with you straight-up"

Can you tell us 'straight-up' that the last few posts were straight up? Doesn't the ID thing require changes in the system to work?

Are more procedural changes regarding ID or getting to the plane coming?

"job is to engage with you"

Dropping some posts and disappearing is not engaging.

“Unless you are just going to turn the blog iinto (sic) a carnival or circus?”

I didn't get the dancing ponies I was looking for today.

:>(

We didn't get the cat show someone else requested.

We definitely didn't get anything substantive addressed.

You know, the Friday posts really are not amusing any more.

Please bring back the IED jokes.

,>)

sammy said...

another fluff piece.

yes there are some people out there that comment with some absurd things. and these are the ones you respond to?? all that will do is give more attention to these people.

instead, you could answer the true questions, that have been asked already here in the 27 comments before mine, but hey, i'll repeat them again, so maybe you can pick the most common one...

1) Since anyone can photoshop a boarding pass to match their ID, couldn't someone just buy a ticket under any old name, change their boarding pass, and then proceed through security, with their own, legit ID, since none of your employees are checking the boarding passes to see if a) they're legit, or b) if the person whose name is on it is on your "no fly" list?

2)What happens when someone truly forgets their ID, and the company you contract out with to verify has the wrong information?

3) How does this stop someone who is not a known terrorist?

4) Why, in their right mind, would a known terrorist use a legitimate ID to buy their ticket? Wouldn't they just get a good fake?

5) What if someone is a forgetful person...how many times can they have forgotten their ID??

Bob Hanssen said...

Assistant Secretary Hawley and "additional duty" TSA bloggers:

All of the posters before me onthis thread have responded in what I believe to be a rational manner. You simply have not addressed many of our concerns. We are the frequent flyers.

We are the ones who confront the "Constitution-Free Zones" that you have made at our airports, our train stations, our subway stations, and, yes, even our Greyhound stations.

We are the ones who sincerely wish we were making up the stories of the truly incompetent, irrational, illegal, or just plain stupid encounters we endure on a daily basis.

We are the ones who have served our beloved country, fought its wars (both just and unjust), have sworn to defend the Constitution -- not defend the TSA, Hawley, Chertoff, Bush, or anyone else -- and are physically sickened by what you have done. You have rubbed our noses in the Constitution.

Don't you people get it? Don't you people understand why so many of us are absolutely livid at you and everyone wearing a TSA uniform??

Your reaction to all of this is truly pathetic, embarrassing, and an utter disgrace to your oath and to the trust that, we, the people, have no other choice than to place in you.

Assistant Secretary Hawley, you are accountable for EVERYTHING your agency does and stands for. You came across as someone who will simply "Take my ball and go home."

Answer our real and valid complaints and our accusations of your agency's illegal and unconstitutional activities on a daily basis. If you don't want to answer or simply want to blow us off, be a LEADER and simply state this.

You OWE this to us.

Jake said...

check your math. It should be 0.017%, about 1 out of every 5800 passengers face secondary screening.

Bob Eucher said...

To the TSA bloggers.

You obviously have the upperhand, as you administer and moderate everything that is published here.
We admire your policy that allows posting of dissenting comments.
Yes, some posts are "low blows", but the majority appear to be from concerned citizens asking reasonable questions from an agency that our tax dollars support.
You are now in an excellent position to redeem yourself, and post each valid question, with an equally valid answer.
I have always been told, if you make a decision and feel that you are right, you should then have the courage to defend your decision. Your silence only reinforces that even the TSA knows that the decision they made is wrong, and there is no valid defense.

Anonymous said...

Christopher:

Thank you for the extremely well thought out ad hominem personam response. Unfortunately, I don't think you are going to be able distract anyone by doing so.

Instead, any chance of you trying answering our questions?

T. said...

Christopher (and TSA), thank you for the good work on this blog. TSA is under no obligation to provide this blog, and they are also under no obligation to answer questions - even if they are serious and have merit - posted on a blog. I don't understand why all of these trolls (yes, all of you) continue to harass the poor TSA representatives who actually want to try to make their regulations transparent and understandable.

Do I understand the new policies? Not necessarily. Do I think that comments in a blog, even one that was created to open a dialogue, are the place to demand answers on this? Come on, folks. You think he can tell us what happened to those 59 flyers denied access? You think that he can change the policy if it is truly illegal (which I don't understand why it would be)? I looked up 49 C.F.R. § 1540. The new regulations don't contradict.

TSA has the upper hand on this one and has no obligation to answer your questions. I'm grateful for those questions they choose to answer, and they don't owe us any more than that. Perhaps you'd like to kvetch about the Patriot Act and the new, post 9/11 reality, but don't take all your frustration out on the TSA bloggers.

Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying this now. You guys are finally starting to realize that you are losing the PR battle here - so now you start trying to insult your customers, who by the way are your EMPLOYERS.

My question for you not to answer is how many of the senior officials at DHS and TSA have to take an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution" - and when will they be held accountable for clearly violating that oath?

Trollkiller said...

Well it is nice to see at least something I wrote can get a response from the TSA.

It is also nice to know you read my email where I complimented the TSA Blog Team on the ability to take a punch.

You should have followed my advice in that email and made the Friday fun post about some of the heroes at the TSA like TSO Chris Harrington.

Sadly you did not wish to follow my advice. Instead you figured the best way to defend is to attack. Not a bad strategy in a war, the only problem this is not a war.

Time for a reality check Christopher, you work for us. Kip works for us. The whole of the TSA and for that matter the whole of the Government work for us.

Your BOSSES demand answers not piss-poor attempts to deflect the questions.

I have asked repeatedly about the legalities of forced ID checks to gain access to sterile areas when 49 C.F.R. § 1540 clearly forbids it by the limitations placed in 49 C.F.R. § 1540.5.

The response I was expecting was for Francine to chime in and explain that the blog team got it wrong and some other law allowed for the forced ID check.

I really thought that the TSA would have researched the law BEFORE implementing such a questionable procedure, especially in the light of the Gilmore ruling.

By the lack of response to my repeated question I see the TSA made an attempt to put forth a policy that is clearly illegal. Notice at this point I am not even questioning the Constitutionality of the forced ID check but rather the basic legality of it.

Christopher, I am still waiting on the vigorous debate on this issue, wait a second, strike that last part, I would settle for a proper explanation of the legality question I have repeatedly asked.

I realize the Blog Team is in a tough spot, you can't defend the forced ID check, if you could you guys would have already done so, you can't agree with the public or you are in trouble with your superiors at the TSA.

My advice is you kick my question upstairs. Get the lawyers involved.

One more piece of advice if I may, never compare yourself to a convicted rapist when you are trying to garner sympathy. Ask the sports minded in your office for a more acceptable example.

Anonymous said...

Word of advice: Cease and desist. When TSOs become similarly frustrated by TSA's lack of response, they "voluntarily" move on...

Anonymous said...

Maybe the TSA is the only government agency trying to communicate with the public because you know you are in trouble with us.

If you are trying to communicate, pleas answer our perfectly relevant questions.

Miller said...

Thank you Christopher for your response here. I'm sure the low blows will keep up but at least you blog folks are trying. Explaining the ID requirement to folks that just do not get it and still think security is about keeping bad things instead of bad people off planes is what we are working with. It's been explained that someone can use their body parts as a weapon to no avail. Ink pens or belts could also be used. There is no limit to what someone with ill intentions can use to harm others, so it makes so much more sense to try to locate those with ill intentions and keep them off the planes as an added layer of security to keeping the innocent knife and gun carrying passengers from bringing them on.

What happens when TSA examines your documents? If the documents are a high quality fake then you go through the routine screening process. When you have valid documents you go through the screening process normally. The issue is when you refuse to do the 'papers please' routine. TSA retaliates against people who refuse to cooperate with security theater.

Please tell me how the document screener determines, with any accuracy who you really are. They can't. They don't check fingerprints, perform a DNA test, they don't do anything that would verify who you really are. They can't and you spout off about how TSA 'makes flying safe' - it doesn't except for keeping weapons, explosives, and incendiaries off of the plane. Get real and stop drinking TSA's kool-aide.

Miller said...

Christopher, what is the cost-benefit analysis to spend all this effort to stop .000005 of total passengers, when red team tests are showing that .50 of would-be dangerous items are getting through the screening?

Wouldn't that be a better use of resources, as well as not trample the Constitutional rights of the citizens of the United States?


It is much easier to target people who refuse to play the game of TSA screening than it is to actually keep dangerous items off of the aircraft. TSA security theater playing at an airport near you.

Adrian McCarthy said...

Will the 59 innocent people denied access to the boarding area be compensated for their missed flights?

Trollkiller said...

While researching a few things for another post I cruised on over to the "Meet The Bloggers" page. I really should check that on a regular basis as there is some good news that Blogger Bob let sneak by.

Congratulations are in order for Blogger Bob's new baby girl due in August. Blogger Bob be sure to let us know when she makes her Blessed entrance. (It's okay to brag, we won't mind a bit.)

Speaking of kids, as I was writing this my 9 year old daughter asks me "Who are you destroying today?". She knows me so well. Rest assured there is no destruction in this post.

More congratulations are in order for Blogger Bob as he has been promoted to a Program Analyst with the Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs. I am not sure what a PA with the OSCPA is but it sounds exciting.

I guess we now know what has been keeping Blogger Bob so busy. It is nice to see one of the good guys moving up.

Trollkiller said...

Way back in February in this "In The Loop" article, Christopher put forth the following:

But after a while, everyone calmed down, White said, and there has been a "great shift to legitimate questions." It's not useful to post or to respond to comments such as "I hate you with every fiber of my being" or "you are idiots," he said, but if posters write "you are idiots and here's why," TSA will respond and "we'll run that all day" on the blog.

I'm sorry Christopher I did not know there was such an exact procedure involved to get a response to a question. I will try it your way.

You are idiots and here's why, 49 C.F.R. § 1540. the law you cite as giving the TSA authority and right to demand ID as a condition of granting access to a sterile area in fact restricts the TSA to screening for weapons, explosives and incendiaries as the ONLY criteria for access to the sterile areas.

How does the TSA justify the new forced ID requirement when 49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 forbids it?

How can the TSA claim that the new forced ID check is legal when clearly by my reading of 49 C.F.R. § 1540 it is not?

Hopefully you will finally answer these and other important and valid questions without requiring the idiot comment to proceed them.

CBGB said...

Question:

what is the arguement for introducing new policies when current policies are shown to fail regularly in testing. Why not fix the holes in current policies and then evaluate wether more is necessary?

Brandon said...

Day 2: Still no response from the cowards at the TSA regarding the above comments on Christopher's blog post.

John Mc said...

> Now that the new ID requirement is almost one week old

Well, given I have no clue what this new requirement is means your PR department leaves something to be desired....

Anonymous said...

"So far TSA has been able to show no credible evidence that it has prevented or has the capacity to prevent any kind of terrorist activity on any form of transportation (the fact that there have been no strikes against any US aircraft since 2001 is not credible evidence -- there were no strikes against US aircraft for years prior to 9/11 either).

The TSA has yet to prove its worth. The TSA cannot show that it has made the traveling public any safer than it was on September 10, 2001. For the billions of dollars we have spent on TSA's security theater, there are giant holes that have yet to be plugged (i.e. has the TSA come to a decision yet as to whether to screen all airport employees each and every time they enter and leave the sterile area of an airport? Why is it going to be at least not until 2010 until we know that we are flying on top of fully inspected cargo?) TSA leaves these barn doors wide open while concentrating on making a show of checkpoint screening to make the public think that the government is actually doing something."

Kudos to WinstonSmith for hitting the nail directly on its head.

The 9/11 attacks did NOT succeed because of lax gate security. They succeeded because of the airline policy in existence at that time that forbid airline crews from resisting a hijacking.

Robert Johnson said...

In Mike Tyson terms (as was used in the orginal post), what does Mike Tyson do when he sees he's losing? He bites an ear. Looks like TSA's attempt to discredit critics is an act of desperation akin to biting an ear.

Robert

Trollkiller said...

T. said...

Do I understand the new policies? Not necessarily. Do I think that comments in a blog, even one that was created to open a dialogue, are the place to demand answers on this? Come on, folks. You think he can tell us what happened to those 59 flyers denied access? You think that he can change the policy if it is truly illegal (which I don't understand why it would be)? I looked up 49 C.F.R. § 1540. The new regulations don't contradict.


Either you skipped over 49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 or you don't understand the law. Maybe I can help you out.

When laws are written they are either written very broad or very narrow. Without 49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 the two sections the TSA cites would allow for a forced ID check as a condition of granting access to a sterile area. Be sure to read carefully and note the words "screening" and "sterile area".

49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 Submission to screening and inspection.
top

No individual may enter a sterile area or board an aircraft without submitting to the screening and inspection of his or her person and accessible property in accordance with the procedures being applied to control access to that area or aircraft under this subchapter.


Here is where the contradiction comes in. This is the part that causes the forced ID checks, as a condition of granting access to a sterile area, to be illegal.

49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

Screening function means the inspection of individuals and property FOR weapons, explosives, and incendiaries.


As I am sure you can see now the definition of screening limits what that screening can be for. Law definitions are just as binding as the rest of the law they define. The definition for screening area reinforces the limits of the screening.

49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

Screening location means each site at which individuals or property are inspected for the presence of weapons, explosives, or incendiaries.


Now take a quick scroll back up to the section the TSA cites as the section of law that gives them the legal right to use ID as a condition of entry to a sterile area.

49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

Sterile area means a portion of an airport defined in the airport security program that provides passengers access to boarding aircraft and to which the access generally is controlled by TSA, or by an aircraft operator under part 1544 of this chapter or a foreign air carrier under part 1546 of this chapter, through the screening of persons and property.


Did you see where the definition of a sterile area also included the criteria for granting access to the sterile area?

That criteria is a screening of persons and property. A screening as we know is the inspection for weapons, explosives and incendiaries. Note that nowhere in the law have I found any mention of ID as a criteria for entering a sterile area as defined by 49 C.F.R. § 1540.

If you or anybody can point me to the section that allows the TSA to legally use a forced ID check as a condition for granting access to a sterile area, please please please point me to it.

I have looked at every law I can think of, heck I even looked at both the Aviation Transportation System Security Plan (3/26/07) and the National Strategy for Aviation Security (3/26/07). I can't find one thing that supports their assertion that the ID checks are legal.

Miller said...

"you are idiots and here's why," TSA will respond and "we'll run that all day" on the blog.

Respond? Hahahahahahahaha^1000. Face it you don't respond with anything that even begins to address many of the questions people have posted here. We get ignored, blown off, patted on the head and told to go away kid, ya bother me. You agency lacks accountability and by its actions considers itself above the law.

A poster called you cowards for failing to respond. Cowards is a good word elitist is another one. Traitor is another one. Sellout is another one. Dismal failure are a couple more words describing your lack of response to the American public.

You can get away with some of this with folks who rarely travel and are uneducated as to what are real security measures. Frequent travelers who've experienced real security measure see through the theater and the outrages foisted upon the public.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from T: Christopher (and TSA), thank you for the good work on this blog. TSA is under no obligation to provide this blog, and they are also under no obligation to answer questions - even if they are serious and have merit - posted on a blog. I don't understand why all of these trolls (yes, all of you) continue to harass the poor TSA representatives who actually want to try to make their regulations transparent and understandable."

Wow. An ad hominem. Adds a lot to your argument.

Who's getting harassed? It's us. EVERY TIME we go to the airport. Simply because we have the audacity to buy a ticket and want to travel.

Calling someone to the carpet on something illegal and unconstitutional isn't being a troll. It's being a reponsible citizen and not being a sheep.

Yes, TSA is under an obligation to explain itself. Especially when it's trying to pull something like this.

"Do I understand the new policies? Not necessarily. Do I think that comments in a blog, even one that was created to open a dialogue, are the place to demand answers on this? Come on, folks."

Then where would you suggest asking these questions? Call TSA? You get a boiler plate response and a promise to call back that's never kept. Write them? Same thing ... they can't even show that they've read the complaint let alone understand it. At the airport? TSO's probably don't know and can't explain it and a lot of them make up their own rules anyway.

No, this is EXACTLY the place to ask these questions.

"You think he can tell us what happened to those 59 flyers denied access?"

Why not? They trumpet every time they bust someone with a fake ID, deliver a baby, and catch some illegal immigrant. Why can't they tell us that X of those 59 people were arrested and charged with Y, Z, etc. That can be done without violating privacy law (not that TSA cares about that).

"You think that he can change the policy if it is truly illegal (which I don't understand why it would be)? I looked up 49 C.F.R. § 1540. The new regulations don't contradict."

Trollkiller already explained why it's bad. I'm not going there.

No one's asking Christopher or any blog member to change the policy. What we're asking is to get their legal eagles here to defend it and answer the questions we've been asking. I don't think that's too much. I'd like for TSA for just once to say "we were wrong and we overreacted."

In the security industry at the government, bureaucracies never met a threat they didn't like. And once something's in place, it's very difficult to get it changed. Fortunately, we have courts to help with that.

"TSA has the upper hand on this one and has no obligation to answer your questions. I'm grateful for those questions they choose to answer, and they don't owe us any more than that."

Actually, they do. They're a public agency making public policy and even have to abide by the law for public comment in various proceedings. TSA created this blog to answer such questions and now decided not to. They are a public agency. They owe the public the answers for the questions they ask. SSI isn't a valid answer most of the time because it's overused. DHS has the worst track record for overclassifying anyway.

"Perhaps you'd like to kvetch about the Patriot Act and the new, post 9/11 reality, but don't take all your frustration out on the TSA bloggers."

I would, but those are discussions for other times and places and as such are a red herring to this discussion.

If the new post 9/11 reality is that we kow tow to the government and give up our freedoms, I'll make a stink about it. And honestly, I think that any citizen who loves freedom should too. They'd sit here and criticize oppresive regimes like China, former Soviet block, and such while praising the exact same measures here thatthose governments did there. TSA is just a manifestation of that control, demanind papers to travel.

Robert

Richard said...

Trollkiller, your only contention then, is that the absence of any mention specically allowing for and ID check effectively prohibits them? Am I understanding you correctly? This seems to be a stretch.

Anonymous said...

Well said!!!

Anonymous said...

“TrollKiller: Do I understand the new policies? Not necessarily. Do I think that comments in a blog, even one that was created to open a dialogue, are the place to demand answers on this? Come on, folks. You think he can tell us what happened to those 59 flyers denied access? You think that he can change the policy if it is truly illegal (which I don't understand why it would be)? I looked up 49 C.F.R. § 1540. The new regulations don't contradict.

Either you skipped over 49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 or you don't understand the law. Maybe I can help you out.

When laws are written they are either written very broad or very narrow. Without 49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 the two sections the TSA cites would allow for a forced ID check as a condition of granting access to a sterile area. Be sure to read carefully and note the words "screening" and "sterile area".

49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 Submission to screening and inspection.
top

No individual may enter a sterile area or board an aircraft without submitting to the screening and inspection of his or her person and accessible property in accordance with the procedures being applied to control access to that area or aircraft under this subchapter.

Here is where the contradiction comes in. This is the part that causes the forced ID checks, as a condition of granting access to a sterile area, to be illegal.

49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

Screening function means the inspection of individuals and property FOR weapons, explosives, and incendiaries.

As I am sure you can see now the definition of screening limits what that screening can be for. Law definitions are just as binding as the rest of the law they define. The definition for screening area reinforces the limits of the screening.

49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

Screening location means each site at which individuals or property are inspected for the presence of weapons, explosives, or incendiaries.

Now take a quick scroll back up to the section the TSA cites as the section of law that gives them the legal right to use ID as a condition of entry to a sterile area.

49 C.F.R. § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

Sterile area means a portion of an airport defined in the airport security program that provides passengers access to boarding aircraft and to which the access generally is controlled by TSA, or by an aircraft operator under part 1544 of this chapter or a foreign air carrier under part 1546 of this chapter, through the screening of persons and property.

Did you see where the definition of a sterile area also included the criteria for granting access to the sterile area?

That criteria is a screening of persons and property. A screening as we know is the inspection for weapons, explosives and incendiaries. Note that nowhere in the law have I found any mention of ID as a criteria for entering a sterile area as defined by 49 C.F.R. § 1540.

If you or anybody can point me to the section that allows the TSA to legally use a forced ID check as a condition for granting access to a sterile area, please please please point me to it.

I have looked at every law I can think of, heck I even looked at both the Aviation Transportation System Security Plan (3/26/07) and the National Strategy for Aviation Security (3/26/07). I can't find one thing that supports their assertion that the ID checks are legal.”

Here is your response: The fact YOU or ANYONE else knows my duties better than myself is absurd. My duties have changed since June 21st 2008 and now required to add this task to all the others. Please look below.
Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.109 Prohibition against interference with screening personnel.
No person may interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties under this subchapter.

Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.105 Security responsibilities of employees and other persons.
(a) No person may:
(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.
(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.

So, this task is now a part of my duties. Hope you understand.

Phaedrus said...

Here's a civil question. TSA got authority from Congress and the courts to "screen" people for weapons and explosives. TSA's authority to skate past the Fourth Amendment and search people without warrants and without individualized suspicion rests on this limitation to weapon/explosive searches.

When and how did TSA get any authority to screen people and prevent them from traveling because they are carrying innocuous substances such as water or shampoo? Or to limit the quantities of innocuous substances that citizens or visitors can carry? Water is neither a weapon nor an explosive.

CBGB said...

I think we can definitely agree that certain comments serve no purpose in the wider discussion. In fact they hurt our case as shown here because you concentrate on those instead of real issues.

However, not adressing these problems hurts even more because of what it looks like.

Appearances are far more powerful than you might believe. If yo udon't adress the real, solid, polite, and well formed legal questions regarding this, especially while hiding behind the anger that comes FROM you not responding, then what are we to do?Why have yo unot responded?

yangj08 said...

Hey, no one answered my question. If you're not a US citizen and you, for some reason, need to go through secondary verification, what do they go by? (Especially important if you're somewhere without your country's embassy/consulate and need to fly out to the nearest one to get a new passport)

And are any of those people denied boarding non-US?

CBGB said...

Oh and for the record, the record is pretty clear on Mike Tyson being the one throwing the low blows.

Kinda makes the analogy more apt in my mind...

Marshall said...

Christopher, if you're not going to answer questions, why don't you just state that? It would make your life easier, since you don't seem to be able to take all the barbs, and we'd know where we stand.

You're a spokesperson for the TSA and, as such, your words and writings should be professional - your latest certainly were far from that.

Wintermute said...

Christopher, nice try. While I did, in fact, say "My tinfoil hat theory is that the TSA knows it doesn't and have given up any pretense of spin control," let's look at the rest of the comment, shall we?

"And Jon comes in to comment again but completely ignores the issues. Again."

This is absolutely true. Jon commented. But he ignored the questions that had been asked countless times.

"While I appreciate knowing that the FBI is so incompetent that they think a million or so Americans are terrorist, it doesn't really address the issue at hand."

OK. That was a little low. I'll give you that. But I think it shows frustration, as the second part was true. The issue at hand was not addressed.

"How does checking ID make us safer?"

The heart of the issue. The one that has not been answered. The one that is causing all the frustration from the commenters, giving you the following that you can misrepresent:

"My tinfoil hat theory is that the TSA knows it doesn't and have given up any pretense of spin control."

Does this sound like it's filled with vitriol? Makes a great sound-bite when taken out of context, though, doesn't it? And the entire comment is taken out of context as well. What I haven't shown is that I, and others, have asked the same question, "How does checking ID make us safer?" repeatedly, just to be ignored. It's very frustrating, and my comment, especially the "tinfoil hat" part, illustrates that very well. It was not the main thrust of my comment, and the blog team knows it. Had someone even attempted to address the question by that point, my comment wouldn't have even been made.

Anonymous said...

Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.105 Security responsibilities of employees and other persons.
(a) No person may:
(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.
(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.


Seems really simple to me, Present ID because it is a procedure being applied.

NoClu said...

Happy Monday

Looks like 4th of July is coming up. A great National holiday. One intended to remind us of our resistance to a government that didn't respect us.

Please provide some answers to the Citizens of the United States.

Anonymous said...

Actually in his heyday, Tyson's opponents didn't get many punches in before the bout was over.

Wintermute said...

In my previous comment, I was so flabbergasted, yet full of vitriol, that I forgot to ask:

Of the 59 flyers who were denied access, how many are now in jail on terrorism charges? How many were on the no-fly list? How many claimed they lost their ID? How many claimed that it was their right to not show ID? How many had a name mismatch and simply needed to purchase a new boarding pass with the correct name?

If you wish to remain transparent, then posting the numbers is meaningless without addressing the 59 who were denied access. The devil is in the details, so these 59 are the only ones who really matter to this discussion.

/me checks comment for snark, decides snark is below threshold to be taken out of context, pushes publish, and hopes for the best...

Anonymous said...

Are you making up these statistics?

Are these from some report of how much time some incident report takes once the passenger gets referred to someone else by a document checker? Or do they include when the customer has to present the different IDs in their wallet to the checker?

If you are saying that 6.9 minutes * 1705 passengers costs 196 hours of time for this new program, I doubt you are including the total time impact of the new system. How many people have to wait for how long behind the non-ID person?

And of the 59 people detected as non-identifiable passengers, who were they? Dissenters? Children? Terrorists?

Maybe your new anti-dissent procedure really does cost only 70 milliseconds per passenger, but the whole "we recommend arriving at least two hours in advance of flight time" by 2,000,000 passengers per day is an immense cost on society that isn't clearly buying us any additional safety.

Now that we have armored cockpit doors, and a national mindset to not cooperate with hijackers, we would be better off using the many thousands of TSA employees to improve safety on the roads rather than snoop through our carry-ons. If TSA can apply their forward-thinking safety skills to the transportation death problem and make a 1% improvement, they could save 420 lives per year.

Taking back the extra 2,000,000 passenger-hours per day the TSA wants for its hokey-pokey dance would be good for society too.

Anonymous said...

The new ID procedure is anti-dissent, not anti terrorist: "This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity."

With a photoshopped boarding pass, Osama Bin Laden could fly on his own ID with this dumb procedure.

Anonymous said...

If you don't respond to polite questions, maybe you will respond to rude ones.

Trollkiller said...

Richard said...

Trollkiller, your only contention then, is that the absence of any mention specially allowing for and ID check effectively prohibits them? Am I understanding you correctly? This seems to be a stretch.


Let me thank you for a coherent question.

It is not the fact that the ID check is not mentioned that makes it illegal, it is the fact that the criteria for granting access to a sterile area is restricted to a search for weapons, explosive and incendiaries. Anything outside the defined criteria, that is mandatory, would also be illegal.

As I am sure you noticed, when you read the law, that the use of metal detectors, MMW, Backscatter, puffers, sniffers, x-ray, pat-downs and hand searches, are not specifically mentioned either but none of those are illegal because they all are searches for weapons, explosive and incendiaries. The forced ID check is not a search for
weapons, explosive and incendiaries and therefore not part of the criteria for granting access to sterile areas.

As I stated earlier laws are written either broad or narrow. In this case we have a law that narrowly defines what the criteria is for granting access to a sterile area is. If you have no weapons, explosive or incendiaries you have successfully met the legally defined criteria for access to the sterile area.

When the TSA added the forced ID check as a criteria for granting access to a sterile area, they instituted a policy that breaks the very law they are citing as giving them the authority and right to mandatory ID checks. The TSA has stepped outside the law.

If you or I step outside that law we get arrested or sanctioned in some manner like a fine.

Let us look at why a narrow law such as 49 C.F.R. § 1540 is so important.

Under the current scofflaw thinking of the TSA a BDO or TSO could deny access to the sterile area for ANY reason.

If they do not like your attitude they can deny access, if they don't care for your political or ideological leanings, they can deny access, if they don't like the color of your skin or your accent, they can deny access, if they don't like what you are wearing they can deny access, if they think you are just too twiggy to fly they can deny access.

In an attempt to balance liberty and security, the Congress intentionally limited the TSA to just searching for weapons, explosive and incendiaries as a criteria for granting access to a sterile area. Congress, in the way the law was written, did not allow the TSA wide discretion on granting access to a sterile area.

What the Congress did grant the TSA a wide discretion on was the search for weapons, explosive and incendiaries. The TSA can legally employ any method they chose in that search as long as that search is restricted to weapons, explosive and incendiaries.

If the TSA chooses to employ the MMW, to see you in all your naked glory, they can. The law allows it to the extent of a search for weapons, explosive and incendiaries. If the TSA wishes to search your wallet, they can. The law allows it to the extent of a search for weapons, explosive and incendiaries.

What the TSA can't do is run you through the MMW just to see your privates or read the steamy love note in your wallet as neither would be searches for weapons, explosive and incendiaries.

I hoped that helped you to understand my position better. If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask.

Wintermute said...

Christopher, this is exactly what led to frustration in the first place, One single comment approved all day. No one is approving comments. No one is replying to the questions raised in the few comments which were approved. If you don't want people to speculate why that is, then maybe provide some answers instead of taking our words out of context and publishing them on the front page of the blog. Or is that an example of the TSA providing "a forum for a lively, open discussion of TSA issues?"

Gunner said...

Here is the problem I have with all of this:

You people need to understand that you have no credibility. Iour own Inspector General and your own Ombudsman came out with critical reports on employee maorale and retention and the highest level of management went into damage control mode, stating that both the IG and the ombudsman were wrong! And we are supposed to trust the verysame management to do right by us?

If you have any cajones, you would immediately appoint an independent passenger ombudsman who has the autority to independently investigate passenger complaints against your agency.

If you are going to take upon yourself the right to deny the prople the right to fly with no due process, then give us tghe ability to fight back.

And Christopher -- if you can't handle the blogspehere, go find a new career. There is no crying in the baseball or in the land of the blog.

Bob said...

For the record, I agree with this new procedure. I'm not hiding from anything.

I have no problem showing my ID. There is nothing malevolent about comparing your ID with the name on your ticket. It’s a simple request.

For those who say this procedure is idiotic, I understand it’s not perfect. That's why it's one of our many layers. It's just another piece of the puzzle to make things more difficult for those that wish to do us harm.

We realize all of our procedures are not infallible. We'd be crazy if we told you we could prevent every attack. But we'd be doing a great disservice to the world by not doing everything in our power to prevent another attack that would kill innocent people and cripple our economy.

I've compiled many of your questions from the last few ID posts and I'm working on getting some answers.

I could shoot from the hip and just throw some quick answers at you, but I know you don't want that.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Bob said...

Oh yeah, so you know, Glenn helps out with behind the scene type stuff with the blog and posts things for folks at times. He didn't write the article. He simply posted it for Sterling who by the way is not a "guy." She's another valuable member of our team here at the TSA.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

I think that a way of "voting" for the top 10 questions that we would like the TSA to answer would greatly benefit a site such as this - then at least we could separate the genuine queries from the not so genuine...

Anonymous said...

And an editorial comment:

A few bloggers have asked us where we are and why we have not responded to questions. Questions like:



TSA got authority from Congress and the courts to "screen" people for weapons and explosives. TSA's authority to skate past the Fourth Amendment and search people without warrants and without individualized suspicion rests on this limitation to weapon/explosive searches. When and how did TSA get any authority to screen people and prevent them from traveling because they are carrying innocuous substances such as water or shampoo? Or to limit the quantities of innocuous substances that citizens or visitors can carry? Water is neither a weapon nor an explosive.
…………………………………………….

What is the argument for introducing new policies when current policies are shown to fail regularly in testing? Why not fix the holes in current policies and then evaluate whether more is necessary?
……………………………………………………..
1. If requiring ID is truly instrumental in keeping the flying public safe, why did it take the TSA until June of 2008 to institute that policy?

2. What will the TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue READ ID cards to their respective citizens?

3. In general, what disciplinary action will be taken against a TSO who asks someone questions regarding their religion or political beliefs in order to verify their identity?

4. If the TSA believes that 1) checking ID increases safety to the flying public and 2) the no-fly list is there to catch terrorists, then why are the TSOs that check IDs at the airport not comparing names to those on the no-fly list?

5. Since it has been claimed by the TSA that the 3-1-1 rule was implemented due to the circumstances surrounding the London bomb plot, what position will the TSA take if the defendants are found not-guilty?
…………………………………
"Is Sterling a guest blogger from the legal department or some other office?

"Secondly, of the people who have not been allowed to gain access to the secure area of the airport and prevented from their travels how many were arrested and charged with a crime.

"What court determined that they could not travel freely and associate freely as our constitution provides for? What court restricted their civil rights?

"When did TSA become Judge and Jury and Executioner?"

Anonymous said...

I was bared from flying because the name on my ID did not match exactly the name on my boarding pass. I bough the ticket using my first and last name because my full name (two middle names plus a maiden name) did not fit on the online airline reservation form. At the airport, I was sent back to the check in counter to get a new boarding pass, where they also could not get my full name (half of the last name was cut off). The new boarding pass was also marked SSSS. I went back to the security line and was super-searched, plus had the person complain again about the wrong name on the boarding pass.

The whole process took over an hour. I am guessing they did not put my "case" in to get that 6 minute average.

Worse, the whole think was super-hyper stupid. How exactly does mistreating people with long names enhance security????

Anonymous said...

I was bared from flying because the name on my ID did not match exactly the name on my boarding pass. I bough the ticket using my first and last name because my full name (two middle names plus a maiden name) did not fit on the online airline reservation form. At the airport, I was sent back to the check in counter to get a new boarding pass, where they also could not get my full name (half of the last name was cut off). The new boarding pass was also marked SSSS. I went back to the security line and was super-searched, plus had the person complain again about the wrong name on the boarding pass.

The whole process took over an hour. I am guessing they did not put my "case" in to get that 6 minute average.

Worse, the whole think was super-hyper stupid. How exactly does mistreating people with long names enhance security????

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

This new policy did not effect you. People with wrong boarding passes have always been denied access to the sterile area. This policy effects people who choose not to show ID. You chose to show ID and your boarding pass did not match. You had your boarding pass fixed and was allowed access to the sterile area.

-Tim

Anonymous said...

I have no problem showing my ID. There is nothing malevolent about comparing your ID with the name on your ticket. It’s a simple request.

First, Bob, if it's mandatory, it's not a request. Please don't pretend otherwise -- your blog's reputation is so tattered that it can't take yet another hit after your last week.

Second, Bob, you know full well that the bulk of the objection to the new ID policy is not to the initial showing of ID -- though it must be noted that TSA has never once been able to explain one single way in which matching the name on an ID to the name on an easily-changed boarding pass enhances security. Rather, the objections are by and large about the new procedure for those who cannot or for whatever reason will not present ID. Previously, these individuals were given a pat-down and bag-check to establish that they were not a threat, and then allowed to fly. Now, for some reason, those who have lost or forgotten ID are subject to an invasive interrogation where, apparently, political affiliations are fair game -- a procedure that does absolutely nothing to enhance security, wastes the time of citizens traveling by air, and the time of the TSA employees who have to conduct the interrogations. On top of that, someone who declines to show ID is barred from flying. Why? TSA can't give us any reason other than spite. The sensible thing to do is to give the person a pat-down and bag check to determine if they're a threat, and if they're not, let them fly.

Instead, TSA has chosen to implement an invasive, pointless round of interrogation to deal with what TSA's own statistics show are extremely rare incidents that clearly pose no threat to anyone except, perhaps, Kip Hawley's ego.

And for all of TSA's trumpeting that these invasive interrogations "only" take 10 minutes, or 6.7 minutes, or whatever, you've refused repeated requests to know what the longest and shortest times for these interrogations is. What are you hiding, Bob?

For those who say this procedure is idiotic, I understand it’s not perfect. That's why it's one of our many layers.

No, Bob. A pointless layer does not become less pointless because there are other layers.

We realize all of our procedures are not infallible.

If you truly realized that, you'd get rid of the indefensible 3.4-1-1 nonsense and mandatory show screenings, which alone would speed up the screening process immeasurably.

We'd be crazy if we told you we could prevent every attack. But we'd be doing a great disservice to the world by not doing everything in our power to prevent another attack that would kill innocent people and cripple our economy.

Just stop, Bob. You've never done anything to prevent an attack. And you're NOT doing everything in your power -- you're not strip-searching every passenger or hand-searching every bag or putting citizens in restraints for the duration of their flights.

Why not? Because those would be excessive and stupid policies? But guess what, Bob? Most of what happens at airport screenings is pointless and stupid and does nothing but give TSOs an opportunity for power trips and give citizens one more reason to hate TSA. There's a reason you're less popular than the IRS, Bob.

I've compiled many of your questions from the last few ID posts and I'm working on getting some answers.

We're not holding our breath, Bob.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

The fact that this is not about the new policy does not make it any less stupid.

Besides, I did not have my boarding pass "fixed". I had TSA officers complain about my boarding pass both times, and even comment that I was "SSSSed" because my pass still did not match my ID. My full name simply does not fit. Am I going through super searches every time I fly because of the length of my name? What do you suggest I do? Change my name?

It would make my life a lot easier to print a fake boarding pass at home with my full name, or get a fake ID with a shorter name. Your policy, old or new, would never pick that problem up.

You are spending a lot of time and money inconveniencing innocent people and failing more than half of all tests done independently. It is time to get rid of stupid policies and respect the flying public.

IAH Flyer said...

Total posts: Approximately 10,000
Posts deleted: 429 (4.29% of total posts)
Low blow posts: 100 (1.00% of total posts)
Average wait time for comment to be posted: 4.5 hours

A little humor. However, new rules went into effect today concerning the liquids policy. Can we please have an update?

Dunstan said...

Bob Said:
"We realize all of our procedures are not infallible. We'd be crazy if we told you we could prevent every attack. But we'd be doing a great disservice to the world by not doing everything in our power to prevent another attack that would kill innocent people and cripple our economy."

As if the economy is in wonderful shape right now...

So why is it that 95% of the airports in the country are under a different system (Airport Watch) where people are free to fly without ID checks or baggage searches? Why is it that General Aviation and the private air industry can treat people in a civil manner, and TSA is unable to manage to scale that up for commercial flight? Does security at commercial airports have to be draconian to be effective? To the average passenger it is more like "20 layers of misery" than "20 layers of security".

Are there any forthcoming policies that will really secure check in luggage from pilferage?

Has the past 20% TSO turn over rate declined recently?

Those are a few of the questions I would like you to answer....

Anonymous said...

"I've compiled many of your questions from the last few ID posts and I'm working on getting some answers.
I could shoot from the hip and just throw some quick answers at you, but I know you don't want that."

Thank you Bob. This is the way to resolve issues with a group of frustrated people. Not the shoot from the hip comments and deprecating remarks that Christopher is becoming known for.

Bob acts and speaks like a spokesman for the TSA, this blog needs more Bob's to handle posts and interact with people who leave comments. Its thinking like this that must have got Bob his recent promotion.

miller said...

For those who say this procedure is idiotic, I understand it’s not perfect. That's why it's one of our many layers. It's just another piece of the puzzle to make things more difficult for those that wish to do us harm.

So when are the TSOs going to be dressed up as shamen/witch doctors? Will they be throwing divination bones on the floor or reading chicken entrails or tea leaves so as to assertain the true intentions of the flying public? That would provide both a puzzling environment and provide a show for the traveling public.

The more you attempt to have an inconsistant, puzzling environment then the more this sounds like something out of a Monty Python sketch gone very, very, very bad. Does anyone at TSA even comprehend what is going on?

What you've just said speaks volumes about an out of control agency.

Anonymous said...

Bob, One of the problems I'm having is that you and other bloggers continue to say that "this will add another layer of security" without talking about how it does that. We get flippant remarks like "no self-respecting terrorist will go through this procedure", which is silly at its core(and just as bad, in my opinion, as any of the quotes Christopher cherry-picked for this post)

So, please explain to me, to the others on this blog. How does requiring identification add another layer to security?

For the record, I show my ID. I'm not happy about it, and I wish we could go back to the days where you could get into the sterile area once screened whether or not you had a ticket, but I'll show my ID and boarding pass. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to question silly government practices when they're trotted out with little or no justification.

Anonymous said...

RE: Good questions, though they're somewhat rhetorical. All were seemingly ignored by TSA.
.........................

It would seem that all questions to the TSA and its Bloggers are taken as rhetroical. Certainly no answers from this group!

Trollkiller said...

Here is your response: The fact YOU or ANYONE else knows my duties better than myself is absurd. My duties have changed since June 21st 2008 and now required to add this task to all the others.

Please look below.
Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.109 Prohibition against interference with screening personnel.
No person may interfere with, assault, threaten, or intimidate screening personnel in the performance of their screening duties under this subchapter.

Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.105 Security responsibilities of employees and other persons.
(a) No person may:
(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.
(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.

So, this task is now a part of my duties. Hope you understand.


What do your "duties" and your ability to do them have to do with the fact that the mandatory ID check is illegal? I am sorry you are taking this personally, but I have refrained from calling attention to the culpability of the TSOs.

You left out 49 C.F.R. PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES Subpart A—General § 1540.5 Terms used in this subchapter.

In addition to the terms in part 1500 of this chapter, the following terms are used in this subchapter:

Screening function means the inspection of individuals and property for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries.

Screening location means each site at which individuals or property are inspected for the presence of weapons, explosives, or incendiaries.

Sterile area means a portion of an airport defined in the airport security program that provides passengers access to boarding aircraft and to which the access generally is controlled by TSA, or by an aircraft operator under part 1544 of this chapter or a foreign air carrier under part 1546 of this chapter, through the screening of persons and property.


Without the definitions, that are a part of the law, you can not make an intelligent judgment of the sections you have cited.

Please go back and read the sections you have cited through the filter of the definition section I have cited. If you still feel that the two sections you have cited carry enough weight to ignore part of the law come back and we will continue discussion.

miller said...

(a) No person may:
(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.
(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.

So, this task is now a part of my duties. Hope you understand.


Trollkiller, that TSA type just trotted out the 'thou shalt not interfere with TSA's activities in any way, shape or form, lest you be zapped by the all seeing eye.'

Wonder if he/she/it considers what you and many others are doing to be interference albeit by being a vocal critic? If that's the case then many of us are on the 'suspects to be rounded up list when the revolution comes.'

Abelard said...

For the record, I agree with this new procedure. I'm not hiding from anything.

I have no problem showing my ID. There is nothing malevolent about comparing your ID with the name on your ticket. It’s a simple request.


Quite frankly, Bob, I don't care whether you agree with the new procedure or not.

I have a grumpy old neighbor who insists that he doesn't care if the cops want to look inside his home because he has nothing to hide. He could care less about the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and warrants and probable cause.

But I do. And I refuse to sacrifice my rights under the Constitution just because you or Grumpy George don't care if your Constitutional rights are violated.

If you want to show your ID because some TSO with a shiny badge demands you do it (it isn't a request now, Bob), then you do so.

Don't make the rest of us follow suit just because you happen to agree with it.

Anonymous said...

More obfuscation, smoke and mirrors, this time dealing with $585,000,000 that has fallen through the cracks, flaky IT, and mismanagement :

Earlier this month the Washington Times reported that an independent audit of the TSA produced by KPMG revealed, among other problems, that TSA was unable to provide documentation to back up $585 million listed in its financial documents due to weak accounting practices. Oh, heck, what's half a billion anyway? Besides, they are a security administration; they don't do accounting. But evidently they don't have all the bugs worked out in employee screening either. The same audit found TSA didn't consistently conduct background checks on new employees and contractors who provide IT security to the Coast Guard's financial center. DHS didn't argue with the report and said it is "taking aggressive action to implement the recommendations provided in the report," according to a letter written by David R. Nicholson, assistant administrator and chief financial officer at TSA.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...
Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.105 Security responsibilities of employees and other persons.
(a) No person may:
(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.
(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.


Seems really simple to me, Present ID because it is a procedure being applied.


It is nice to see people are starting to really think about this. I am impressed that you picked the right word to key on.

(a)(1) basically says no sneaking past security. I don't think that is in dispute so I will skip it.

(a)(2) was one of the sections cited as giving the TSA the right to forced ID checks as a criteria for granting access to a sterile area. If you take the time to look up the definitions for secured area, AOA, and SIDA you will see part numbers that cover the security prescribed for each. Oddly enough they are called systems and measures but not procedures.

The sterile area is the only thing I am interested in right now as that is where passengers go.

Because "procedure" is not defined in § 1540.5 we can assume that the standard definition applies.

pro•ce•dure (prə-sē'jər)
n.
1) A manner of proceeding; a way of performing or effecting something:

2) A series of steps taken to accomplish an end:


As I have said before, and will say time and time again until I get this answered, the only criteria, allowed by the law cited, for granting access to a sterile area is the search and inspection for weapons, explosives and incendiaries.

Therefore any procedure to grant access to a sterile area is limited to the search for weapons, explosives and incendiaries.

Translation: I can not, under penalty of law, circumvent any search for weapons, explosives or incendiaries.

If the TSA requires I step through the MMW or be subject to a hand search to granted access to a sterile area, I have no legal standing if I refuse because the law allows the search and inspection for weapons, explosives and incendiaries.

The forced ID check falls outside the procedures for searching and inspecting for weapons, explosives and incendiaries. I hope you can see now that a forced ID check is not a procedure for granting access to a sterile area as defined by Title 49 Part 1540.

Please don’t take this as an attack on your intelligence because it is not meant that way. In fact I am glad you have to guts to take a contrary position.

Don’t you think if it was so easy to say “Present ID because it is a procedure being applied.” Kip would have been screaming from his office “Good God tell Trollkiller it is a procedure and shut him up!!”

The fact is the TSA has not been willing or able to answer what started as a curiosity question. Any number of TSA lawyers should have been able to answer, what looks to me to be a first year student question, by now. Kip should be able to answer this question as he did graduate from University of Virginia Law School with a J.D. degree.

So far silence.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

The fact that this is not about the new policy does not make it any less stupid.

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

Agreed


Besides, I did not have my boarding pass "fixed". I had TSA officers complain about my boarding pass both times, and even comment that I was "SSSSed" because my pass still did not match my ID. My full name simply does not fit.
-----------------------------------

Thanks for the extra detail but there is a lot of the story being left out. Who were you talking to. A supervisor, lead TSO(senior), a normal TSO, or a BDO.


Am I going through super searches every time I fly because of the length of my name?
----------------------------------


I'm sorry you believe you are going through super searches because of the length of your name. I have never heard of any federal rule about name length but you are allowed to blieve what you want.


What do you suggest I do?

-----------------------------------
You need to ask for a supervisor. Normal TSO's must go by the written rules of the SOP and are not allowed to be flexable. Written rules are not good for every special case (such as yours). A supervisor has that power to be flexable and can conform to any kind of special needs. Do some research and know your rights!!!


It would make my life a lot easier to print a fake boarding pass at home with my full name, or get a fake ID with a shorter name. Your policy, old or new, would never pick that problem up.
-----------------------------------

You seem to be confused. This is not my policy.


You(TSA) are spending a lot of time and money inconveniencing innocent people and failing more than half of all tests done independently. It is time to get rid of stupid policies and respect the flying public.
-----------------------------------


I have fixed your statement above.

I would also like to remind you that your complaint should not end here. Fill out a complaint form next time you go through the checkpoint (you can print them out at home). You can write your congressman. You have the right to hold a protest. Bring up your concerns with your airline. They have a lot more power over rules then you think. Remember its thier million dollar planes.

-Tim

Trollkiller said...

Bob said...
For the record, I agree with this new procedure. I'm not hiding from anything.

I have no problem showing my ID. There is nothing malevolent about comparing your ID with the name on your ticket. It’s a simple request.

For those who say this procedure is idiotic, I understand it’s not perfect. That's why it's one of our many layers. It's just another piece of the puzzle to make things more difficult for those that wish to do us harm.

We realize all of our procedures are not infallible. We'd be crazy if we told you we could prevent every attack. But we'd be doing a great disservice to the world by not doing everything in our power to prevent another attack that would kill innocent people and cripple our economy.

I've compiled many of your questions from the last few ID posts and I'm working on getting some answers.

I could shoot from the hip and just throw some quick answers at you, but I know you don't want that.

Bob

EoS Blog Team


I sure hope you picked my question as I am getting tired of typing "criteria for granting access to a sterile area" and "search for weapons, explosives and incendiaries"

I don't mind if you shoot from the hip as long as you let us know that those are Blogger Bob comments and not necessarily the TSA's official position.

You say "I have no problem showing my ID. There is nothing malevolent about comparing your ID with the name on your ticket. It’s a simple request."

That is the problem, it is no longer a simple request, it is now a simple command. A request I can refuse without sanctions by a Government Authority. This “request” I can not refuse if I wish to fly. Like I tell my kids, just because I say please does not make it an option.

When the ID check was a request I could refuse, I did not say spook about it. I could say no and take a legal secondary screening, a reasonable alternative to an ID request. The fact is, when asked for ID I would show it, my reasoning was it made it easier for the TSO to see that I have a very white, Christian sounding name and therefore would be smaller risk than if my name was Muhammad. It saved time and I did not have to get the grope and tickle. That was a choice I made not something illegally forced on me.

As it sits now, I think I have proven that the forced ID check as a criterion for granting access to a sterile area is illegal. The fact that there is no malevolent intent does not excuse the willful breaking of the law. If you catch someone that has “artfully concealed” a weapon, they go to jail. It doesn’t matter that they just wanted to get the weapon home and had no intention of harming anyone, the fact they willfully broke the law is enough. Fair is fair. The TSA needs to own up to its mistake now or else it will be dragged into court at a great waste of my money.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Right now the TSA is working overtime on building that road. Security must be balanced with Liberty. If you don’t there is nothing worth defending.

Anonymous said...

"
Earlier this month the Washington Times reported that an independent audit of the TSA produced by KPMG revealed, among other problems, that TSA was unable to provide documentation to back up $585 million listed in its financial documents due to weak accounting practices. Oh, heck, what's half a billion anyway? Besides, they are a security administration; they don't do accounting. But evidently they don't have all the bugs worked out in employee screening either. The same audit found TSA didn't consistently conduct background checks on new employees and contractors who provide IT security to the Coast Guard's financial center. DHS didn't argue with the report and said it is "taking aggressive action to implement the recommendations provided in the report," according to a letter written by David R. Nicholson, assistant administrator and chief financial officer at TSA."

Well, I sure feel more secure now! Which layer is "losing half a billion dollars and not conducting background checks"?

Anonymous said...

This blog has more than its fair share of trolls, but when TSA ignores respectful, thoughtful questions from commentors who seem to genuinely want to have a dialoge, the blog's credibility suffers. I don't blame you for ignoring Ann R. Key, but Trollkiller keeps asking excellent questions that you won't answer.

Wintermute said...

Bob,

Thank you for braving the comments and trying to get us some answers, but I think you misunderstand the issue some of us are having.

We've been told that those with lost IDs who cooperate will still be allowed in the sterile area, assuming their identity is established, but that those who refuse to show ID will be refused access to the sterile area, regardless of their willingness to otherwise cooperate in establishing their identities. I fail to see how kowtowing to the ID "request" makes me any more secure.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry that Christopher doesn't have the skin to handle the heat here but that is truly secondary to the larger issues. Perhaps Christopher is not suited for this type of engagement.

The ID policy as implemented permits TSA to take retaliatory actions against a citizen who wishes not to display ID to a TSO.

This point is very clear, that one who has no ID is treated differently than a person who wishes to not display ID to a government agent.

The person who wishes not to display ID is not accorded any due process and the actions by the TSA harms the person by preventing them from free association and travel.

This is certainly a violation of ones constitutional rights and may in fact be a violation of law by the TSO who refuses to take the same steps to clear this person in the same manner as one who has no ID.

As has been noted, TSA has failed to discuss these matters in any real means.

Many posters have asked TSA very direct questions.

This Blog is suppose to be a way for TSA to engage the public. I fail to see the engagement by the TSA while an active public is attempting just that.

I would say that the "Ball is in your court, TSA!"

Anonymous said...

Bob when you said: "For the record, I agree with this new procedure. I'm not hiding from anything", did you really mean that you like the pure anti-dissenter focus of it?

Beginning Saturday, June 21, 2008 passengers that willfully refuse to provide identification at security checkpoint will be denied access to the secure area of airports. This change will apply exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification or assist transportation security officers in ascertaining their identity."

Since the new procedure allows people without ID to fly, and targets only those who demand a right to fly without presenting ID, it is narrowly focused on inhibiting certain forms of political speech.

If that affront to the First Amendment isn't the part you agree with, what part of this new ID procedure you agree with?

Anonymous said...

We've been told that those with lost IDs who cooperate will still be allowed in the sterile area, assuming their identity is established, but that those who refuse to show ID will be refused access to the sterile area, regardless of their willingness to otherwise cooperate in establishing their identities. I fail to see how kowtowing to the ID "request" makes me any more secure.

It makes no one more secure; those who cannot show ID should be treated exactly as those who will not show ID, and the screening process for both should not involve invasive interrogations about one's political beliefs.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller said...
Anonymous said...
Title 49: Transportation
PART 1540—CIVIL AVIATION SECURITY: GENERAL RULES
Subpart B—Responsibilities of Passengers and Other Individuals and Persons
§ 1540.105 Security responsibilities of employees and other persons.
(a) No person may:
(1) Tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, attempt to circumvent, or cause a person to tamper or interfere with, compromise, modify, or attempt to circumvent any security system, measure, or procedure implemented under this subchapter.
(2) Enter, or be present within, a secured area, AOA, SIDA or sterile area without complying with the systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas.


Seems really simple to me, Present ID because it is a procedure being applied.

It is nice to see people are starting to really think about this. I am impressed that you picked the right word to key on.

(a)(1) basically says no sneaking past security. I don't think that is in dispute so I will skip it.

(a)(2) was one of the sections cited as giving the TSA the right to forced ID checks as a criteria for granting access to a sterile area. If you take the time to look up the definitions for secured area, AOA, and SIDA you will see part numbers that cover the security prescribed for each. Oddly enough they are called systems and measures but not procedures.

The sterile area is the only thing I am interested in right now as that is where passengers go.

Because "procedure" is not defined in § 1540.5 we can assume that the standard definition applies.

pro•ce•dure (prə-sē'jər)
n.
1) A manner of proceeding; a way of performing or effecting something:

2) A series of steps taken to accomplish an end:

As I have said before, and will say time and time again until I get this answered, the only criteria, allowed by the law cited, for granting access to a sterile area is the search and inspection for weapons, explosives and incendiaries.

Therefore any procedure to grant access to a sterile area is limited to the search for weapons, explosives and incendiaries.

Translation: I can not, under penalty of law, circumvent any search for weapons, explosives or incendiaries.

If the TSA requires I step through the MMW or be subject to a hand search to granted access to a sterile area, I have no legal standing if I refuse because the law allows the search and inspection for weapons, explosives and incendiaries.

The forced ID check falls outside the procedures for searching and inspecting for weapons, explosives and incendiaries. I hope you can see now that a forced ID check is not a procedure for granting access to a sterile area as defined by Title 49 Part 1540.

Please don’t take this as an attack on your intelligence because it is not meant that way. In fact I am glad you have to guts to take a contrary position.

Don’t you think if it was so easy to say “Present ID because it is a procedure being applied.” Kip would have been screaming from his office “Good God tell Trollkiller it is a procedure and shut him up!!”

The fact is the TSA has not been willing or able to answer what started as a curiosity question. Any number of TSA lawyers should have been able to answer, what looks to me to be a first year student question, by now. Kip should be able to answer this question as he did graduate from University of Virginia Law School with a J.D. degree.

So far silence.

July 1, 2008 2:13 AM



Trollkiller

I'm glad that you took the time to reply to my post. I personally would love it if the Blog Staff took the time to answer the many honest request for answers (like yours and others)and skip over the spite filled diatribe.

I really like that do believe that it is not just a procedure, although I did use just that particular word (laziness on my part) but it is a "systems, measures, or procedures being applied to control access to, or presence or movement in, such areas". I do believe that they (The TSA) are using all three words, taken together, to justify the new procedure. We can all cherry pick words and focus on a single one, however, as I'm sure that you are quite versed in this, the "Intent" of entire clause must be taken into account.

I am not a fan of doing things just for the sake of doing something. I am a fan of doing things for a reason. Honestly I can say that I believe that the TSA is trying to prevent another attack on our society, they are responding to information that the intelligence agencies are providing and are implementing measures that are Proactive, rather than what we all know as fact before 9-11-2001, ignore what little intel there was, put totally
inaffective Reactive policies into place for a few days, weeks, or months, and then abandon them with no explanations.

I remember quite fondly words that were spoken about me at my retirement ceremony from the U.S. Army, he chose to due the hard right over the easy wrong, mere words but they speak volumes about how I have always felt, we are at war with an enemy that wishes not only death, but total anhilation of our country, and any agency that tries like hell to defend us from them I am willing to give the benefit of the doubt to, as long as they defend our Liberty without destroying our Freedoms.

I believe that the TSA is defending our Homeland and deserves the benefit of the doubt.
That being said, if they due in fact start destroying freedoms, (I personally don't think they have crossed that threshhold) then all bets are of and I can no longer defend them.

Nuff Ced

Ayn R. Key said...

I don't blame you for ignoring Ann R. Key, but Trollkiller keeps asking excellent questions that you won't answer.

What is so awful about asking about REAL ID?

According to REAL ID, the states must conform to certain federal standards for their Drivers Licenses to be considered valid IDs for functions such as entering the sterile area of an airport. Unfortunately for the theory several states have outright rejected the policy.

The TSA has granted extensions for the states to comply (all of them apparently, not a single one is in compliance) but eventually the extensions will run out. Eventually it will come down to the state either conforms or it doesn't conform, and that will be it.

Given that, residents of those states will not be able to present valid ID to the TSOs upon request because their Drivers License will not be valid ID.

So I want to know what plans the TSA has for dealing with the several states and their citizens. Arizona has joined the list of refused compliance states, and they are not a small state and PHX is not a small airport.

Justin Seibert said...

Christopher - great post. I think it's wonderful TSA has taken the step forward to engage its customers (e.g. anyone who travels) in a 2-way dialogue. You'll continue to take punches, but don't let that dissuade you from continuing discourse on your policies and how TSA can provide excellent service.

The one thing I would agree with from the sample comments you posted is that "the TSA knows it doesn't and have given up any pretense of spin control." While we can all influence the conversation in today's Web 2.0 world, none of us have control.

serkan said...

Christopher - great post. I think it's wonderful TSA has taken the step forward to engage its customers (e.g. anyone who travels) in a 2-way dialogue. You'll continue to take punches, but don't let that dissuade you from continuing discourse on your policies and how TSA can provide excellent service.

Wintermute said...

Justin, I respectfully disagree about Christopher engaging us in any real way. It is my opinion that his post was little more than troll-bait, but thanks for quoting Christopher quoting me. The quote is still massively out of context, though ;)

Bob Eucher said...

Since this rule does not affect the under 18 year olds, I guess you feel safe that people in that group are not a threat. How will you determine if someone is under 18? Ask for identification? Seems like a conflict.
If someone truly under 18 refuses to show ID, will they be interrogated? Will their parents be allowed to accompany them? What will happen if you refuse to let them fly?
I can see many problems on the horizon, hope you are prepared to deal with them.

NoClu said...

Hello? Hello?

Seriously, how does not answering basic and honest questions improve the image of your department?

Image and perception is important, right.

6+ hours during a work day with no responses is a bit lame.

NoClu said...

P.S.

This from CNN today:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Former South African President Nelson Mandela is to be removed from U.S. terrorism watch lists under a bill President Bush signed Tuesday.

...

The bill gives the State Department and the Homeland Security Department the authority to waive restrictions against ANC members.

"He had no place on our government's terror watch list, and I'm pleased to see this bill finally become law," said Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts."

So, How do I get the name of my co-worker off the list. Do I need our congressman to introduce a bill or attach a rider to the next War Funding Appropriations Bill asking for her removal.

I've said it before, She's feisty for a 64 yr. old Sicilian, but she ain't no Ter'rist.

IAH Flyer said...

Total flyers: Approximately 10 million

Is this the number of passengers that went through screening checkpoints over the five day period?

I believe that this number includes connecting passengers, the vast majority of which would have only been screened at their originating station and not again while connecting.

Anonymous said...

Please keep doing what your doing TSA...Ignore these idiots...

Funny I travel ALOT and never heard one complaint in one airport...Million bucks says these 'whiners' never fly and have nothing better to do with their pitiful lives then sit on their mom's AOL connection 'giving it to the man'

There really are actual citizens out here that DO appreciate what you do and WE recognize that what you do has value...NO terrorist attacks on our homeland since 9-11...

Hell of a JOB! keep it up...

Anonymous said...

I commend TSA for hosting a blog such as this one. More agencies should do so.

Concerning requiring ID, my opinion is that it is a very small price to pay for keeping me and my family safe while travelling.

Anonymous said...

First of all anonymous at the top of the page says, "so please lets discuss this and tell us where the aurhotity lies to implement this disgraceful policy". Are you serious? Before TSA took over the document checking procedures, the contracted document checkers were already checking identification at the top of the checkpoint! This is NOTHING NEW people, you're just mad because the Government is doing it now. By the way, the only people who seem to complain are those that frequent this thread/blog. I haven't had anyone refuse to show me id at the checkpoint, not a single person has refused to show me id....read....NOT ONE. Now you may say, "well that's because they know they won't fly if they refuse, but you're still trampling our rights, blah blah blah". Whatever guys, listen Christopher I'm gonna say this again, please I implore TSA admin to abolish this blog at once so that we TSO's can get back to what we're supposed to be doing, KEEPING THE FLYING PUBLIC SAFE. For those of you who argue the opposite, talk to me when your plane lands safely at your destination.

Bob Krist said...

Hi: Can you elaborate on a story in the July 1 NYTimes about new types of cases for laptops that are TSA-acceptable for inspection? The possibility of letting a laptop through security in a protective case is such a great development, I would have thought it would be headline news on this blog.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You say ID is to make sure we don´t have "bad guys" on our flight. You say the "bad guys" are on the no-fly list. You never explained why the ID is not checked against the list. You also ignore that the list is flawed. Nelson Mandela just had his name removed from the list after years on it. See:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/07/01/mandela.watch/index.html

If it takes a Nobel peace prize winner that much time and work to get off the list, how can
the common man deal with this insane list?

Anonymous said...

I have to wonder if all of you guys who want to travel anonymously buy your plane tickets with cash...

Anonymous said...

I understand that TSA is now recording a lot of personal information as well as running verification services on anyone who doesn't have (in the view of the ID checker) a valid ID.

I also understand that TSA is saying that anyone protesting the ID checks on constitional or civil-rights grounds will be DENIED access to their flights. Likewise anyone that doesn't submit to the ID verification or isn't "cooperative".

It sounds like TSA and DHS are building a system to identify those that want to exercise constitutional rights or may be political dissidents (in the view of TSA). You don't even need to check political party affiliation to do that. In other words, if you disagree with Administration policy or you're not a "sheeple", you'll be denied your right to travel.

I'd like some comment from TSA legal or management on how you'll avoid punishing or denying rights to those that your screeners in the field deem to be "political dissidents". Is this another way to build a dossier on "complainers"? Is this a way of creating a system of punishing people for FWF (flying while free)?

Sounds like it is. I'd love to see you explain otherwise.

Oh, and by the way, despite your best spin, the blog really isn't about a dialogue - it seems to have turned into a way to gather information on your opponents and use that to direct propaganda. If it were truly a dialogue, you'd be listening and really trying to address issues like ID not really representing security.....

Anonymous said...

This blog is a joke. I see no progress here. I only see a bunch people whining about having to show their id's. The "Hey you work for the government, so you work for me!" comments are absurd and pointless. It seems to give a few people a feeling of empowerment. How do we REALLY know that when our Id's are being checked they're not being compared to something. SSI SSI SSI deal with it. We don't need to know it for some reason. Time would be better spent with friends or family or even volunteering to make this country a better place,not crying about how bad the TSA is. This blog is nothing more than a gripe fest for a minority of people, a real waste of time.

Anonymous said...

you are idiots, and here's why: TSA's costs (110,000 employees and 2,000,000 passengers per day spending an extra hour on TSA procedures, and 100 traffic fatalities) do not balance with the intangible and unrealistic safety benefits TSA uses to justify itself.

We would all be far better off if your 110,000 employees traded in their shiny new uniforms for reflective vests and went to work trying to improve road safety by even 1%.

Anonymous said...

Hey Transportation Security Administration, why don't you apply your mad "KEEPING THE PUBLIC SAFE" skills to the much more significant problem of 42,000 Americans dying each year.

Spending millions of dollars and millions of hours of people's time pretending you can find imaginary terrorists while there are real transportation safety problems worth fixing is downright stupid. Your "Evolution of security" is hurting America.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I have to wonder if all of you guys who want to travel anonymously buy your plane tickets with cash...

...................
Another stupid question.

My dealings with an airline is between myself and a private company, not the government.

They do not have to sell a ticket unless I agree to their terms. They do infact check the watch list to verify I am who I say I am.

The problem is being forced to identify myself to a government agent. That is a blatant violation of constitutional protections.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Hey Transportation Security Administration, why don't you apply your mad "KEEPING THE PUBLIC SAFE" skills to the much more significant problem of 42,000 Americans dying each year.

Spending millions of dollars and millions of hours of people's time pretending you can find imaginary terrorists while there are real transportation safety problems worth fixing is downright stupid. Your "Evolution of security" is hurting America.

Because they are the Transportation SECURITY Administration, not the Transportation SAFETY Administration you IDIOT, try not to add stupidity to the argument again. One has nothing to do with the other, try not driving while impaired, or talking on your cell phone and pay attention.

Anonymous said...

re:

Because they are the Transportation SECURITY Administration, not the Transportation SAFETY Administration you IDIOT, try not to add stupidity to the argument again. One has nothing to do with the other, try not driving while impaired, or talking on your cell phone and pay attention.

...................
Oh your so right, TSA certainly has little to do with SAFETY.

Anonymous said...

safety is a product of security

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
re:

Because they are the Transportation SECURITY Administration, not the Transportation SAFETY Administration you IDIOT, try not to add stupidity to the argument again. One has nothing to do with the other, try not driving while impaired, or talking on your cell phone and pay attention.

...................
Oh your so right, TSA certainly has little to do with SAFETY.

and

Anonymous said...
safety is a product of security


You are both missing the point, quite on purpose I suppose because it dose not suit you.

The TSA has nothing to do with increased deaths on the highways, many reputed safety experts agree that the increase in highway deaths have more to due with the increased use of cell phones (and other electronic media - navigational devices, ipod's etc) than any other factors combined.

Stop trying to blame the TSA for everything under the sun, it only exposes you to be whiners.

CBGB said...

@anonymous who said:SSI SSI SSI deal with it.

Paging Mr. Orwell Mr. Orwell please pick up the nearest courtesy phone.

FrankM1150 said...

I am always amazed at how many "Kool-Aid" we have in this country. Flying without a very watchful and proper identification would be insane

Michael said...

It is much easier to target people who refuse to play the game of TSA screening than it is to actually keep dangerous items off of the aircraft. TSA security theater playing at an airport near you.