Thursday, July 3, 2008

Yet Another ID Post...With Some Answers to Your Questions

The ID topic has elicited lots of emotion. Many posters feel very strongly on this topic and I respect that discussion and their positions. This is a case where taking steps for aviation security touch other, related controversies that are larger societal/political issues. To the extent that there are legal issues relating to TSA’s actions, they will be resolved elsewhere.

I would like to move on to other topics since we are not going to solve the several complex issues here and we do have lots of other security issues to discuss.

The essential point is that validating a passenger’s identity matters a great deal from a security point of view. Our intelligence, military, and law enforcement colleagues -- at great risk to themselves -- develop sensitive information about potential attacks and the people behind them. They get that information to us so that TSA can do its part and keep those people off aircraft. It is our obligation to protect passengers and crew using the best information that we can get. That is what we are doing.

We will leave this open for further discussion and then move on with our next post. But before we move on, I wanted to provide answers to some of your questions.

Q: 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?

A: Building blocks.

TSA put up a national security baseline in 2002. This involved creating the organization, staffing, buying and installing equipment -- and the very familiar magnetometer/x-ray checkpoint. No-Fly and Selectee lists were established and given to airlines for them to match versus their ticketed passengers. Airlines continued the pre-9/11 practice of hiring contractors locally to check ID’s. That created a basic physical screening process at the checkpoint (TSA operated) and a basic person screening process through the airlines.

In 2006 and 2007 TSA strengthened the person screening process by adding a new layer (behavior) and improving the watchlist matching. Along with the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), TSA scrubbed the No-Fly and selectee lists and essentially cut them in half. (CIA and FBI are the major players nominating people to the Watchlists, TSC maintains a consolidated, accurate, government-wide watchlist, and TSA operationally makes sure No-Flys don’t fly.) The system is vulnerable to people evading watchlists if they use a fake identity with the airline and then show a fake ID at the checkpoint. This vulnerability was called out by many on-line posters (and noticed by us) and we took a major step last year to upgrade the ID checks by integrating the checking of ID’s with the rest of TSA’s security. That is why you now have TSA officers, with lights and loupes examining ID’s throughout the system.

The ID requirements we’re talking about here, are the next building blocks to be added. First, to require identity verification and better define the hierarchy of good ID’s -- hence the ‘gold standard.’

We know that terrorists use fake ID's to evade security scrutiny. While I recognize that there are very valid philosophical issues and debates around ID’s, for TSA, this issue is about closing vulnerabilities and stopping attacks.
There is considerable operational complexity to resolving the identity of a person without an ID real-time at the checkpoint. It is getting done now but is still clunky at times. We will get better over the coming months. In answer to the question, all of the building blocks mentioned above, needed to be in place. They are now and aviation is safer as a result

Q: What will TSA do if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

A: We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.

Q: If 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?

A: Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA. The system is automated and close matches are resolved on a one by one basis.

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

A: I can’t comment on the U.K. legal system but “certainty” in a criminal proceeding is very carefully defined. I can tell you from the intelligence and law enforcement information developed in this case that the threat to U.S. aircraft was chilling, lethal and the clock was ticking when they were arrested. Had that plot not been discovered, there may well have been thousands of casualties. Doubt about the reality or efficacy of that threat? Zero.

Kip

150 comments:

CBGB said...

among the things horribly wrong with what you just said...the link isn't a link. The numbering and lettering scheme doesn't follow which leads me to believe parts of your post were removed shortly before it was published. Do you seriously expect your employees to detect fake IDs with any certanty when they see thousands (and likely many different ones) a day, especially with the minimum of training and tools you give them. Also, WHAT GOOD ARE THE REAL IDS when a costco card or a social security card is good enough?

You have like six months left in office. Just stop talking we're not interested in your lies. The fact that you came and made a post specifically to move discussion on without adressing any of the serious issues brought up with your post leads me to believe you have no leg to stand on. So Kipper, when was the last tiem YOU flew a commercial airline?

I think its time for me to move on from asking rhetorical questions here to a much more pulic setting.

not that stupid said...

This blog used to make me angry.
Then it made me laugh.
Now it makes me sad and angry that there are people who actual buy this line of bull.

Here's a tip. Most of us can read. A lot of us have some grasp of reading comprehension. And a good number of us know side-stepping when we see it.

IHopeItGoesWell said...

While I don't agree with the ID concept, I do agree that it is time to move forward on to other things while this is ultimately hashed out in the courts over the next couple years.

Saturday I fly for the first time in quite a while, I will have my passport with me to avoid issues with TSO's unfamiliar with my states drivers license.

I will be carfully observing and making notes on how I am treated through the checkpoint and will report back on my experience on this blog.

Quite honestly, if this does not go well, I will look at other methods of transportation in the future, forget about flying again and not travel to those destinations requiring air travel.

Dunstan said...

Does this mean that the discussion will move on to issues like secure (from pilferage or introduction of dangerous items)check in luggage and cargo?

Dunstan said...

IHopeItGoesWell said...

"I will be carfully observing and making notes on how I am treated through the checkpoint and will report back on my experience on this blog.

Quite honestly, if this does not go well, I will look at other methods of transportation in the future, forget about flying again and not travel to those destinations requiring air travel."

Keep us posted. You can print out your own complaint/comment form before you leave home from tsa.gov.

Anonymous said...

Kip, we will stop raking you over the coals for pointless and invasive policies with no basis in fact when you reform those policies, and not one second before. Deal with it.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. With the threats to our safety today free people must make some accommodation with travel and security. The United States is not alone. Israel, one of the great free countries of the world, is noted for the best air security. The work of Shin Bet, local and civil police, the military and other investigative and enforcement agencies guarantees safety through coordinated teamwork. Similarly, the agencies of DHS are working together for US safety. It is not too much to expect the citizens of the US to support and help DHS do their jobs.

The people of America need to thank you all.

Eric said...

This post makes no sense, besides the fact that it does nothing but regurgitate previous posts from Christopher and Bob. Try again please.

Abelard said...

Kip stated:

We know that terrorists use fake ID's to evade security scrutiny.

The terrorists on 9/11 all had legitimate IDs.

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

c. We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.


So, now my passport isn't even valid ID? How is that possible? It will establish my identity well enough to admit me back into my mother country if I am abroad, but it isn't good enough to allow me through security at an airport? That's insanity or stupidity. Take your pick.

Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA.

Wow. Just wow. You do realize that there is anywhere from 30 minutes to hours between the time someone checks in at the airline counter and the time they get to TSA security, no? Because I can come up with two or three quick scenarios where someone could circumvent security without being bothered by a TSO.

Security theater.

Brandon said...

Quote: "Many posters feel very strongly on this topic and I respect that discussion and their positions."

Which is doublespeak for: "I have unlimited God-like powers and do not need to answer to you mortals. America is not a democracy, and you're funny looking for thinking that it was."

Requiring ID is pointless, but Kip and the TSA don't really care, as this is little more than security theater. The fact that there are more loop holes in this ID process than I have fingers to count with is just stupid, and makes the entire endeavor by the TSA the so far biggest waste of their time and taxpayer money (notice I said, "so far").

It doesn't matter how many banners the President stands under declaring victory, it's people like Kip, organizations like the TSA and stupid, stupid rules like these that are proof the terrorists won seven years ago, crushing everything America stands for, and continuing to terrorize the cowards in charge of this pitiful country.

Happy Independence Day.

yangj08 said...

I'm going to continue nagging about this until my question is answered because it could have quite an impact on the country's largest airports- what are you going to do about foreigners traveling within America who have no ID (assuming they had a valid visa in their lost passport)? If they're only in America short-term there's no info to verify their identity against and the problem gets even worse if said person doesn't have any grasp of English. This may not be much of a problem for those from Canada/Mexico, but from other continents...

Given the incidents I've heard of I wouldn't be surprised to hear of any TSO taking someone's English difficulties as uncooperativeness and refusing boarding, causing frustration and possibly bigger issues.

Anonymous said...

The most dangerous terrorists are not on the No Fly List.

I'll say it again if anyone missed it:

THE MOST DANGEROUS TERRORISTS ARE NOT ON THE NO FLY LIST.

Their names are excluded for "national security reasons." Don't believe me? Google it -- 60 Minutes and other responsible news organizations have reported this.

Would you care to respond to that, Kip? Would you care to explain why Osama bin Laden could get a boarding pass, show his real ID and get on any plane in the US because his name is NOT on the list?

ID checking is a farce. The No Fly List is a farce (it took an act of Congress to get Nelson Mandela off it).

Kip's "security theater" exists for one reason: to reassure infrequent fliers that its safe to fly (and, probably, to further the Bush administration's assault on individual rights and the Constitution).

Enough already!

Robert Johnson said...

Kip's translation:

You don't buy what I have to say so I'm just going to stop talking about it and hope you go away.

Robert

Bob Eucher said...

I think the TSA may need to read their own policies. Maybe it is too overwhelming to follow what they write, but then again, how many times have they posted conflicting information.

TSA: Civil Rights for Travelers

We treat all members of the travelers in a manner free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation. To emphasize our commitment to TSA employees and the traveling public, TSA issued its Civil Rights Policy Statement.

Quite simply, our policy statement assures travelers they will be treated in a fair, lawful and nondiscriminatory manner. It also emphasizes we have no tolerance for harassment in the treatment of the public we serve. Finally, it outlines out how we ensure an environment free of discrimination through program, policy, and operational reviews.


To ensure that the civil rights and liberties of the traveling public are respected throughout screening processes, without compromising security. The Division ensures that Agency processes and procedures do not discriminate against the traveling public, and abide by the constitutional freedoms of the traveling public.

Civil Rights – include the Constitutional rights to due process, and equal treatment under the law.

Civil Liberties – include the Constitutional freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly.


This is something we all can understand. Does the TSA?

Can anyone find the flaws in their official statement?

Anonymous said...

Good God the arrogance. You'll have the last word? Right. See ya in court January 20, 2009. We can only pray the Republican idiots who put you in charge will be changed out and hopefully, some of this madness will reside.

You have failed to address what happens when the Real ID is thrown out in court. You have failed to address what has happened to the agent in the previous post. You've failed to directly answer any of the questions.

True Arrogance.

Anonymous said...

Kip, you folks have been asked many times why a person with no ID is treated differently than a person who chooses not to display ID. If that person cooperates in every other way then TSA is in fact depriving the person who wishes to not show ID of their civil liberties.

Before we move on please explain why the two cases are treated differently.

Anonymous said...

And Now a Final Word on ID from Kip .
.......................

Yeah, I'd be bailing out too if I was you. Can't destroy the agency much more before you will be questioned by people who you do have to respond to.

Anonymous said...

You know Kip, plugging your ears and going "lalalalala" will not make the issues disappear.

Miller said...

Kip, please resign immediately. You've done enough damage to the American traveling public, airport security, and security in general to take several lifetimes to undo.

Your layered security theater does nothing except to make the Kettles feel safer.

theflyingdrago said...

So, people who chooses not to show ID cannot fly anymore, I guess, and person with no ID goes through interrogation and humiliation process . Are we still United States or may be North Korea, Cuba or Iran? And also I don't drive and don't have Driver License. That means I need passport if I want to travel between New York and Boston, according to your new ID polices?

Anonymous said...

Kip:

If your agency was actually serious about fixing security holes and actually performing the mission as specified ('as fragged'), the TSA might not have replaced the IRS as the most reviled federal agency.

Perhaps, if your agency was serious about fixing problems instead of generating them, more attention would be paid to some of the good suggestions that people have offered. Possibly, just possibly, there might be fewer layers of security theatre in the process to replace with security concepts that actually work.

Instead, all I see is CYA posturing that does nothing useful other than look pretty on paper and function as an 'prevent a GAO audit' measure.

You, and every single person in TSA's disfunctional upper and middle-managment cadres should be ashamed. Your people in the trenches, the majority of whom do care about what they are doing, deserve better. We, the flying public, the ones who are paying your bloated salary, deserve better. We should all demand better.

Anonymous said...

This blog is useess. We make comments on 311 rules, they ignore them and go on with it. We comment on luggage care and theft and they ignore us. We comment on screening workers and ramps, and they ignore us. We comment on screening all airports and other forms of transportation and they ignore us. We make comments on how full body scans are done, and they ignore them too. We make comments on ID, and they keep their silly rule. The rule is stupid not because of its legal implications, but because it specifically targets a group of persons who want to protect their civil rights and are not a terrorist threat.

The only sensible thing you have done recently, which does not hassle the general public is use behavioral detection.

Get a new job and leave us alone. I'll take the chances of being "unsafe" - they are lower than those of having a car accident on the way to the airport.

Anonymous said...

That you honestly believe it is acceptable to institute a papers-please state, where innocent citizens require papers, permission, and/or "cooperation" with government officials to engage in free movement and association, is truly disturbing. I learned in 8th-grade civics that such rules were unacceptable. All I can do is shake my head.

Even identification does increase security, that doesn't mean it is worth it. Your argument could be used to completely abolish the 4th amendment, due process at trial, and so on, because a total police state would be "more secure." Is that your next plan?

And that you admit to what appears to be a planned, incremental process over 6 years to create this papers-please society is even more chilling. What's next, mandatory SSSS for everyone who isn't a registered traveler once the people (sheeple really) get used to the forced ID checks? Outright denying travel to anyone who isn't registered after they get used to that? Requiring everyone to not only be registered but that they request explicit permission with a "valid" reason for travel before each trip?

What a sad thing to read on the 4th of July. Look at what's become of the land of the free. Our forefathers who fought and died are rolling over in their graves today. I have ancestors who fought in the Revolution, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War II, and my Father served for 20+ years during the Cold War. What you have done mocks their sacrifice and service.

Sandra said...

Kip, if you think that we will accept your words as "final" on the subject of ID, then you are sadly mistaken. We will "see you in court" - you can count on it.

On another subject, who wrote that drivel for you? Does that person have any clue at all as to what a decimal outline is supposed to accomplish?

Anonymous said...

"The work of Shin Bet..."

Torture. Murder. Abusive detention and interrogation.

Shin Bet is NOT something any citizen should want to see here in the US.

We need to keep the TSA and others from becoming Shin Bet.

ihopeitgoeswell said...

dunstan said:

"Keep us posted. You can print out your own complaint/comment form before you leave home from tsa.gov."

I won't preprint forms, I am going to try this with as much of an open mind as I can after reading this blog since January.

I really want it to go well, and at least I know what to look for as well as who to ask for if there are problems.

Last time I traveled, the TSO's were not in the least way respectful to the passangers. We will see if this blog has taught the TSA anything and if it has filtered down to the front lines. I will try to repost Sat. afternoon if I can get a free wifi signal.

lulu said...

Kip,

Thank you for personally answering some of the questions posed. Critics asked for answers but it seems it will never be enough. I hope someone gives you a magic wand soon and then you can make everyone happy.

Anonymous said...

What makes someone who declines to show ID, but is willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations, too dangerous to fly?

What is the difference between someone who declines to show ID and someone who lost their ID, if both are willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations?

If you cannot answer these questions, how can you claim with a straight face that you are not, contrary to your attempts to say otherwise, targeting anyone who declines to show ID?

Why are 10 people a day who decline to show ID such a threat that they cannot be permitted to fly?

How much money does the new regime of invasive interrogations cost the taxpayer, compared to the previous policy of giving those who cannot or decline to show ID a pat-down and bag-check?

Why have you repeatedly refused to answer these questions? What are you afraid of?

Anonymous said...

This is the Friday joke post, right?

...right?

Anonymous said...

"Q: If 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?

A: Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA. The system is automated and close matches are resolved on a one by one basis. For more on issues about passengers who have problems because someone else with their name is on the list, please see DHS Trip."


Wow. I'm stunned.

It is child's play to generate a fake boarding pass with any name desired. Thus anyone on the watch list or no-fly list could present his legitimate ID along with a fake boarding pass and thus gain access to the flight side of security.

Any idiot knows this. What I can't decide is if Kip thinks we are such idiots that we'll be fooled by this answer or if Kip himself is a special kind of idiot.

Answers such as that quoted above confirm the contempt TSA has for the traveling public and clearly demonstrate why the citizenry is developing a growing contempt for TSA.


T-the-B at flyertalk

Anonymous said...

"I can’t comment on the U.K. legal system but “certainty” in a criminal proceeding is very carefully defined. I can tell you from the intelligence and law enforcement information developed in this case that the threat to U.S. aircraft was chilling, lethal and the clock was ticking when they were arrested. Had that plot not been discovered, there may well have been thousands of casualties. Doubt about the reality or efficacy of that threat? Zero."

I'm very familiar with the intelligence process. Intelligence is by its very nature uncertain, and does not have the same checks and balances the legal system does to ensure facts are presented. Entire courses are taught in the IC on how to mitigate (not eliminate) bias and uncertainty, and even then the best intel officers can make serious errors in analysis. There is simply no such thing as slam dunk evidence in intelligence. If you have "Zero" doubt about the intel you're seeing, then either you are ignorant of how intelligence works, you've been led astray by your intel division, or you are just trying to use strong rhetoric to make your case sound more convincing than it really is. I'll buy (for the moment) that these knuckleheads where a real threat, but please don't insult OUR intelligence with hyperbolic rhetoric.

Anonymous said...

On one hand, I sort of admire TSA for having the guts to run this blog. On the other hand, it illustrates just what a sham TSA is.

As one of the other posters noted, the 9/11 terrorists all had real ID's, which makes me wonder what threat this latest TSA requirement is designed to prevent against.

But when you stop to consider it, creating a policy to address a non-existent threat is completely consistent with the entire existence of TSA, since one rationale for TSA's creation after 9/11 was to address the alleged cause of the 9/11 tragedy - lax gate security.

Which is absurd, since 9/11 didn't happen because of law gate security. It happened because our law enforcement agencies weren't talking to one another, and because the airlines at the time had a policy that forbid flight crews from resisting a hijacking.

So what did we do in response? Create the illusion of security in the form of unnecessary rules and regulations enforced by a new group of federal employees who believe they are entitled to respect.

That our nation has fallen for this sham is so very, very sad.

CBGB said...

@anonymous who said "Excellent post."

Not really.

Orwell was writing a warning to citizens, not a manual for government. The TSA has done nothing to make this country safer. Law enforcement has done that. All these references to failed terror plots don't mention the TSA not having anything to do with finding or stoppping them. In fact with the security theater and their miserable rate of detecting dangerous items, the TSA has likely made this country safer through complacency and creating a culture of such fear that people cant tell a real fro ma fake threat.

Shame Shame on you TSA.

Trollkiller said...

WOW! Ok now I am perplexed. How did "And Now a Final Word on ID from Kip" change to "Yet Another ID Post...With Some Answers to Your Questions"?

I am hoping this is an indication that there has been a realization by Kip and the TSA that the new ID policy has some serious issues that need to be rectified before we can proceed unfettered.

Trollkiller said...

Good job Kip, this is one of the few times in my life that I have been rendered speechless. There are a bunch of teachers that would bow at your greatness. Of course as you can well imagine, my speechlessness was only a temporary condition.

I am glad you took the time out of your busy schedule to back your Blog Team. I would have rather you spent your valuable time backing up the your assertion that the forced ID check as a criterion for granting access to a sterile area was in fact legal.

There is no need to resolve this legal dilemma in other venues, because according to statements by the TSA the legal issue has already resolved by 49 C.F.R. PART 1540. All we need is for you to show your work.

Your new policy was vetted by your lawyers, before implementation wasn't it? So far it looks like the answer to that question is a deafening "NO!"

I wish to remind you my questions about the forced ID check at this point are not hinging on the constitutionality issue or a philosophical issue but rather on the simple issue of legality.

Is the forced ID check as a criterion of granting access to a sterile area legal in light of the definitions governing 49 C.F.R. PART 1540?

Is there another law or executive order that I am not aware of that would make the forced ID check as a criterion of granting access to a sterile area legal?

Kip, I understand why the TSA took the ID check away from the airlines, the Aviation Transportation System Security Plan demanded it. (PDF warning. Document Page 9, PDF page 13) In an attempt at brevity I did not quote the irrelevant parts.

Departmental Requirements
Department of Homeland Security will:

Assume the responsibility for vetting international and domestic air passengers and crew against the No-Fly and Selectee Lists.

Assume responsibility for verification of passenger identity and deploy behavior observation techniques at and beyond the checkpoint.


Sadly once again the TSA FAILED to read the whole thing. Way up at the top of the document in the Forward is this little gem. (PDF page 3)

These plans do not alter existing constitutional and statutory authorities or responsibilities of the department and agency heads to carry out operational activities and to provide or receive information.

Kip your statutory responsibility is to search and inspect FOR explosives, weapons and incendiaries as the criterion for granting access to a sterile area.

Your statutory authority is limited to searching and inspecting FOR explosives, weapons and incendiaries as the criterion for granting access to a sterile area.

If I sound a bit ticked off it is because I am. I began writing this post while your title was "And Now a Final Word on ID from Kip". That title and the attitude conveyed by it had me spitting nails.

I was so mad I invented brand new cuss words just to describe you and the TSA. I am glad you had the title changed to the less inflammatory "Yet Another ID Post...With Some Answers to Your Questions". Because of the change in title I have edited this post, you should have seen the first draft.
;-)

You gave a solid answer about the Real ID, now I ask you to do the same about the legality of the forced ID check. As you may be aware I have already complained to the OIG, so far I have not heard back from them. Come Tuesday I will escalate that complaint if I don't have a satisfactory answer. If the OIG is not helpful I will take the next step and the step after that.

This is not going away, I am not going away, we are not going away. I like you Kip, I think you know that, but this is more important than you or me.

Please have the lawyers show their work and prove that this is legal. If it is not legal just roll it back until you can make it legal.

If ID is as important to the safety of aircraft as you claim it is, then put all your ducks in a row. Seek to have the law changed so what you are doing is legal. Let those that are charged with making the law do their jobs.

Anonymous said...

Please give us an update on your domestic flights foreign passports immigration status check policy. There have been many reported cases of such an incidents in recent months. Is this TSA scrutiny changed or it's about to be changed?
Many thanks for your reply.

Dunstan said...

lulu said...
"Kip,
Thank you for personally answering some of the questions posed. Critics asked for answers but it seems it will never be enough. I hope someone gives you a magic wand soon and then you can make everyone happy."

Someone else in the Bush administration would grab that "magic wand" immediately from Kip's fingers, before he could even compose his first wish...

The executive branch is rife with people who would like to magically wipe away their poor decisions, or at least the public's memory of them. Grow up Lulu, public figures face harsh but honest criticism of their policies on a daily basis, some admit their mistakes, some go forward making further blunders because they can't face and admit the truth of being wrong.

TSA wants to gloss over the 105 years of history and hundreds of thousands of pilots and ground personnel who make the private air industry, which safeguards 95% of the airports in the country, safe. It is still possible to fly any where in the country without the ID constraints Kip advocates. No magic wand is going to erase the truth.

Dunstan said...

"I'm very familiar with the intelligence process. Intelligence is by its very nature uncertain, and does not have the same checks and balances the legal system does to ensure facts are presented. Entire courses are taught in the IC on how to mitigate (not eliminate) bias and uncertainty, and even then the best intel officers can make serious errors in analysis. There is simply no such thing as slam dunk evidence in intelligence. If you have "Zero" doubt about the intel you're seeing, then either you are ignorant of how intelligence works, you've been led astray by your intel division, or you are just trying to use strong rhetoric to make your case sound more convincing than it really is. I'll buy (for the moment) that these knuckleheads where a real threat, but please don't insult OUR intelligence with hyperbolic rhetoric."

I would like to thank you for your insightful post. It is important that the leaders in this country are held to, and maintain the highest standards.

Miller said...

The ID requirements we’re talking about here, are the next building blocks to be added. First, to require identity verification and better define the hierarchy of good ID’s -- hence the ‘gold standard.’

All you do is verify that the ID was probably issued by a state office, not verifying the identity of the individual carrying that ID.
What's next? Sign countersign for the super-secret word of the day?


We know that terrorists use fake ID's to evade security scrutiny.

The 9/11 terrorists all had valid ID, issued by their state of residence. How would you deal with a terrorist with a state issued ID, Kip?

While I recognize that there are very valid philosophical issues and debates around ID’s, for TSA, this issue is about closing vulnerabilities and stopping attacks.

So what are you doing about screening cargo? Your attempts at cargo screening have been a dismal failure. What happened to the $500,000,000+ that's gone missing from your accountants? You haven't closed very large holes in the security process.

There is considerable operational complexity to resolving the identity of a person without an ID real-time at the checkpoint.

And you, the traveling public, are too stupid to understand those complexities. Kip, try us. We really aren't that stupid.

It is getting done now but is still clunky at times. We will get better over the coming months. In answer to the question, all of the building blocks mentioned above, needed to be in place. They are now and aviation is safer as a result.

No Kip, hardening the cockpit doors and changing the SOP for hijacking made aviation safer. Now as to your organization, what has it done to demonstrably make aviation safer (smoke and mirrors for the Kettles don't count)?

FYI, over the last 8 years I've had over 600 flights, dealt with TSA over a multitude of issues (i.e secured baggage being returned unsecured, attempts at a TSO removing a translucent dressing covering a 12" incision, papers and wallet being searched-retaliatory screening, etc) and am for the most part unimpressed with the lack of professionalism your organization displays at many airports (i.e. Newark, Orlando, O'hare and Atlanta).

Amy said...

The TSA should figure out that terrorists will probably think of new ways to destroy the US not the same way already used.
They are going to find new security lapses in different areas of travel.
Also, in the UK terrorists are often citizens with ID all in oreder which may be the case in the US too.
But you have to try don't you?

Anonymous said...

I see this has been answered a few time but some people just do not get it. The difference between some one who lost their ID and one who refuses is ATTITUDE!! If you are cooperative and go through the verification process then you can get through once your identity has been verified. Some one who say NO don’t want to show it to you is not cooperating with the program. It is as simple as that folks. If they refuse to show ID then refuse to follow the procedure that verifies ID with out documents, then they don’t fly. I fly roughly 150,000 miles a year I stand in lines just like everyone else. Sure there are TSA screeners who need an attitude adjustment in how they treat people then again there are passengers who need one too. They have had to fight traffic to get there maybe had the airline tell them they have to pay 15 bucks for a bag. So they enter the security line with this huge chip on their shoulder and want to crap on every person they come across. When liquid’s first got banned I was in line behind a lady who asked “Is water a liquid”, I am not excusing the TSA these people should be professional and no matter what treat all with at least common respect, but I can see after fielding that question and if I saw it once I am sure it has happened more then that you might get a bit worn down. We live in an ever changing imperfect world, trying to defend against an ever changing threat. No answer is going to be perfect. I have been reading this for awhile now and seems like we have a group that no matter what TSA does feel they are making the wrong call. Seems some would have no ID check no security just a free range. REALLY! Now let’s all put on our reality hats and see what that brings us. We live in a free society and yes you can travel state to state with no papers as some have joked. Get into you car and unless you violate a traffic law you will not be asked for ID from New York to LA.

HSVTSO Dean said...

For an Anonymous poster:
Interesting how this hasn't been answered yet, given that it's such a simple and easy answer. I've been refraining from answering these questions myself since I wanted to research into the process more, and at least now I'm comfortable enough to try to explain the process from a technical standpoint. I don't think I'm qualified to talk about any of the various what-ifs that could come up, but here goes with the official, no-problems-at-all process:

What makes someone who declines to show ID, but is willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations, too dangerous to fly?

Nothing.

What is the difference between someone who declines to show ID and someone who lost their ID, if both are willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations?

Again, nothing.

Officially speaking - If someone declines to show their ID, or lost their ID through some other means, but is willing to cooperate in order to verify said ID, then the operating procedure we got says to go on with the screening process of calling the security operations center and doing the ID verification procedure.

If they're not willing to cooperate at all (i.e.; refuse to show ID as well as refusing to fill out the form that gets handed to them) then they're not permitted to enter into the sterile area.

Assuming the operations center cannot verify their identity, we then turn the situation over to an LEO to attempt to do so. If the LEO can not or will not establish their identity, then they're not permitted to enter into the sterile area.

Either way, operations center or LEO identification verified, a BDO makes the determination of whether or not they're acting suspiciously. If so, then they're referred for selectee screening when they go through the checkpoint. If not, then they process through normally.

We got this whole great flow chart and everything for it.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Abelard wrote, in parts:
What will TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

c. We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.

So, now my passport isn't even valid ID? How is that possible? It will establish my identity well enough to admit me back into my mother country if I am abroad, but it isn't good enough to allow me through security at an airport? That's insanity or stupidity. Take your pick.


I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that that's a misunderstanding, and that Kip proably didn't use as many words as he should have to completely convey the thought behind what he was writing.

Allow me to speculate:

Specifically, I think he meant that if one of said state's respective citizens produced a driver's lisence for that state that does not conform to REAL ID, then we would attempt to verify their identity another way and that it would take longer.

A US passport is still on the list of acceptable ID all by itself, and so is a TWIC card and military ID, among others. So even if, say, Alabama chooses not to conform to REAL ID -- my Alabama driver's lisence would not be acceptable as the primary form of ID, but my passport still would be.

Unless the list of acceptable ID gets narrowed again, anyway, but I doubt that'll happen.

Better, Abelard? :)

Anonymous said...

Anon said...

"but please don't insult OUR intelligence with hyperbolic rhetoric."

HA! You've got to be kidding me!!!! All of the usual suspects on this blog mindlessly chanting the same line of "hyperbolic rhetoric" day in and day out, but can't take it when it's dished right back to 'em!!! Please, for all our sakes, find a new/better raison detra than this tired, ignorant and legally insufficient argument against ID requirements.

winstonsmith said...

Kip said:

I would like to move on to other topics since we are not going to solve the several complex issues here and we do have lots of other security issues to discuss.

Kip, what you would like is to sweep this under the rug, like you have done with so many of the other issues that people have raised on this blog, issues such as:

* Why all airport personnel do not get screened when entering the sterile area and how it is that the TSA has not yet come up with a plan to address this.

* How it is that all vehicles entering the sterile area of airports do not get screened and how it is that TSA has not yet come up with a plan to address this.

* How it is that 7 years after 9/11 we are still flying on top of unscreened cargo.

* How the low bar to entry and the high attrition rate among TSOs contributes to security.

* How the TSA has made us one bit safer in the air than we were on 9/10/2001.

* How ever more invasive tactics such as the MMW make us safer and at what cost to the 4th amendment and how and why the 4th amendment does not seem to apply to the TSA.

* Where did that half a billion dollars go? Wasn't there a recent audit of the TSA that came up with about that much money that seems to have gone *poof*?

These are just but a few of the questions that people have put to you and your people. Not one of these questions has received a straightforward answer. What we get, on the rare occasion that we do get a question addressed, are platitudes, "trust us," "it's SSI," "you wouldn't understand," "it's one of many layers of security and while maybe it doesn't seem like much, really it works and it's for your own good," and so many other lies and obfuscations that they now just wash over me like so much raw sewage.

No Kip, what you would like here and what we the people will permit, I think, are two different things. Trollkiller, Dunstan, Ayn R. Key, Marshalls SO, Abelard, CBGB, NoClu, Sandra, Wintermute, and so many others who have been so good about holding your feet to the fire I hope will inspire others to do the same, just as their continued determination inspires me to keep going (Thanks Folks!)

Adrian McCarthy said...

All of this misses the point.

The new ID policy (like the 3-1-1 policy) does not do what you says it does.

The TSA is not checking the passengers' ID against the selectee and no-fly lists. They are checking them against the boarding passes. Boarding passes are trivial to doctor.

So either you're complete idiots (which I doubt) or there's a motivation other than security.

Jim Huggins said...

Kip,

Are you validating boarding passes along with IDs? As I see the system right now, a terrorist can get access to the sterile area simply by creating a forged boarding pass (easy enough to do, since one can print boarding passes at home), and presenting the forged boarding pass with their own legitimate ID.

Ayn R. Key said...

Q: What will TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

A: We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.


OMG.

Well, thank you for finally answering my question.

Do you really think the traveling public is going to accept 100% full screenings? Are you expecting the traveling public to blame the state or to blame the TSA?

I feared that would be your answer. I asked trying to give you an out. I really was trying to get you to say "I think this is a stupid policy so let us rethink this." It didn't work.

Unfortunately the one thing I cannot say about your answer is "unbelievable."

Anonymous said...

Hmm-- I've scanned through the recent ID posts to find some discussions about minors (by "scanned", I mean searched for "minor" in the text).

I'm not seeing it-- maybe I'm dense, but I'm also not seeing a link to the policy. I've found it here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm . If it is displayed somewhere, my apologies; if not, you probably ought to include it with each posting on the subject.

It says, in short "Beginning on May 26, 2008, adult passengers (18 and over) will be required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID". Can you clarify-- we're traveling with our two minor children (6 and 8)-- is there any ID requirements for them?

Anonymous said...

Thank you Kip, Thank you TSA.

Those of us defending our rights as citizens of this great country appreciate the enormous efforts it takes to keep Americans safe from those who would destroy everything we take for granted each and every day.

Keep up the great work, Americans need people and agencies whose job is thankless but very necessary in these troublesome times.

God Bless the USA!

Anonymous said...

Why did you change the title, format and content of this entry?

It is massively changed since I first read it.

Anonymous said...

Why was the content of Kips original post changed?

This current version is much different than what was first posted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comments, Kip. Can you respond to "Baxter-nonymous"'s comment on July 2, 2008 11:47 PM?

I think it clearly defines the core of the issues with identify verification as done today, and the manner in which names are checked against the No-Fly and Watch lists.

Thank you?

Eric said...

Reports on FT say that the liquid ban has been relaxed. Official comment please?

Wintermute said...

Q: If 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?
A: Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA. The system is automated and close matches are resolved on a one by one basis. For more on issues about passengers who have problems because someone else with their name is on the list, please see DHS Trip.


Ignoring the legal and Constitutionality issues, does the TSA really not understand this question? If the no-fly and selectee checks are done before the boarding pass is issued, and then not done again at the security checkpoint, then the boarding pass is the weak link. Here's the scenario yet again:

Terrorist buys ticket with fake name, making it past the NFL. Terrorist photoshops boarding pass to put real name on it. Terrorist uses real boarding pass with fake name on it (and fake ID to match) when dealing with airline employees who are not trained to spot fake IDs. Terrorist uses fake boarding pass with valid ID when going through checkpoint. Terrorist makes it through security because nothing authenticates that the boarding pass is valid, and the name on the valid ID and fake boarding pass match, and no one is checking the NFL at the time of ID check.

For the ID check to actually work to improve security, it must be checked against the NFL at the time it is presented at the checkpoint. It seems that the TSA is sticking its head in the sand on this, because it's been pointed out repeatedly but never even acknowledged.

Marshall said...

Kip said:

"I can tell you from the intelligence and law enforcement information developed in this case that the threat to U.S. aircraft was chilling, lethal and the clock was ticking when they were arrested. Had that plot not been discovered, there may well have been thousands of casualties. Doubt about the reality or efficacy of that threat? Zero."

The loosening of the 3.1.1 nonsense says that you are NOT telling the truth.

Anonymous said...

Where are all our posts? Are we not allowed to criticize Kip at the same rate as Bob or Christopher?

Colby said...

I think a lot of the angry posters on these blogs need to take a step back and think about what they are saying.

As a TSO I would like to address a few of the more opinionated ideas frequently posted in regards to the new ID requirements.

1. Just because you don't like the responses you receive from the TSA bloggers dosen't mean they aren't answering you or your questions!

2. The TSA is going on the idea that the requirement is legal and ethical, you are allowed to disagree but to presume anyone is attempting to circumvent the rights of passengers or any laws regarding the matter seems to me to be ridiculous. If there is a legal matter to be had it will be settled in court and not by a bunch of anonymous, over-caffenated bloggers with too much time on their hands.

3. A lot of people criticize Kip Hawley and that is fine, that's all part of his job, but give the man credit for openly addressing the public and trying to come up with solutions to very large problems at the very least.

4. If people would bother to read and understand the new requirement and the reason for it I think a lot of your questions would be answered. The failure of so many people to understand what they are discussing before they post is appaling and shows a almost mob mentality in your frequently uninformed statements.

5. To everyone commenting on the sad state of affairs in our country; maybe you need to take a look around the globe and see how good we have it. I love my country and am proud to defend it as a member of the TSA, maybe some of you should take a little pride in your country and try to find a way to make it better rather than just complaining about how bad it is. The first step to change is when when you quit talking about wanting it and do something about it.

I'm sure a lot of you will have a lot to disagree with me in all this, just remember to be thankful you live in a country that allows you that right and that we have government agencies like the TSA working hard to protect that right.

Anonymous said...

The boss said:

"Thusfar, every state in the union is working with DHS on REAL ID."

Why did you tell us such an obvious untruth?

Fighting you is not "working with you".

Are you really so embarassingly uniformed of the actual facts?

...or did you simply try to pass off a lie?

It has also been said that the states who are fighting you have requested and been granted extensions.

This also is not true. States were given unasked for extensions to kick the ball down the field to the next administration.

Again, are you that clueless? ...or simply willing to lie to us?

Chris Boyce said...

Wow -- this is unbelievable. Kip, I will hit on just a couple of points, because I don't have all day:

1.This is a case where taking steps for aviation security touch other, related controversies that are larger societal/political issues. To the extent that there are legal issues relating to TSA’s actions, they will be resolved elsewhere.

It is totally irresponsible of you as a political appointee/senior executive service agency head to have not done a complete legal review before you instituted the ID policy. Your arrogance astounds me.

2.I would like to move on to other topics since we are not going to solve the several complex issues here and we do have lots of other security issues to discuss.


The last I checked, We, The People, set the agenda. Based on Bush's approval rating of about 27%, your agenda isn't going over too well. And, as a political appointee/senior executive/agency head, I EXPECT YOU to solve "complex issues" -- most of which YOU created.

I won't discuss the intelligence aspects of your remarks because someone else already did a great job.

While I have the floor, where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the ID game you're playing that OMB required you to publich BEFORE you instituted your new policy?

Oh yeah -- where are the full-frontal images?

Scavenger said...

I think the silent majority is, ya know, silent. So, as a member of the silent majority I'd like to pop out of the woodwork for a second to tell you how thrilled I am that a government agency is doing this. A free, open blog in which you really discuss whats going on is unprecedented in government, and the fact that you actually listen to and answer people's questions is incredible. I may not always agree with the TSA's policies, but I think that this blog is a wonderful thing, and I hope the loud minority of idiots doesn't turn you off to continuing to talk to us about whats going on.

Anonymous said...

Abelard: The terrorists on 9/11 all had legitimate IDs.

Me: Not true! I love how arm chair security experts can just make stuff up.

Try reading the 9/11 Commission Report: http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/911Report.pdf

Page 3: Hani Hanjour, Khalid al Mihdhar, and Majed Moqed were flagged by CAPPS.The Hazmi brothers were also selected for extra scrutiny by the airline’s customer service representative at the check-in counter. He did so because one of the brothers did not have photo identification nor could he understand English, and because the agent found both of the passengers to be suspicious.The only consequence of their selection was that their checked bags were held off the plane until it was confirmed that they had boarded the aircraft.

Page 73: He had met Ramzi Yousef in Pakistan, where they discussed bombing targets in the United States and assembled a “terrorist kit” that included bomb-making
manuals, operations guidance, videotapes advocating terrorist action
against the United States, and false identification documents.

Page 169: KSM and Abu Zubaydah each played key roles in facilitating travel for al
Qaeda operatives. In addition, al Qaeda had an office of passports and host country issues under its security committee. The office was located at the Kandahar airport and was managed by Atef.The committee altered papers,
including passports, visas, and identification cards.

Page 178: Late in the afternoon of December 14, Ressam arrived in Port Angeles.He
waited for all the other cars to depart the ferry, assuming (incorrectly) that the
last car off would draw less scrutiny. Customs officers assigned to the port,
noticing Ressam’s nervousness, referred him to secondary inspection.When
asked for additional identification, Ressam handed the Customs agent a Price
Costco membership card in the same false name as his passport. As that agent
began an initial pat-down, Ressam panicked and tried to run away.

Page 390: All but one of the 9/11 hijackers acquired some form of U.S. identification
document, some by fraud. Acquisition of these forms of identification would
have assisted them in boarding commercial flights, renting cars, and other necessary
activities.
Recommendation: Secure identification should begin in the United
States.The federal government should set standards for the issuance
of birth certificates and sources of identification, such as drivers
licenses. Fraud in identification documents is no longer just a problem
of theft. At many entry points to vulnerable facilities, including
gates for boarding aircraft, sources of identification are the last opportunity
to ensure that people are who they say they are and to check
whether they are terrorists.

Me: Thank you DHS/TSA for pushing on many different fronts to implement the 9/11 Commission recommendations: REAL ID, biometrics, etc. It's all about layers. TSA just put in place another important layer. You call it theater. I call it smart and successful. So far...knock on wood, cross your fingers, say your prayers, thank God...we haven't had an incident since TSA was created. Is that a coincidence? You can believe what you want. I don't believe it is.

Anonymous said...

First you really edit the heck out of Kip's piece, then you don't publish the posts asking why you made all the changes, now no replies cleared for days.

Anonymous said...

Once you verify my ID as a retired US Navy captain with a Top Secret security clearance ( at one time ) AND as a retired airline captain, why can't I carry my small Swiss Army knife with me on the plane?

Jim Huggins said...

Colby:

1. Just because you don't like the responses you receive from the TSA bloggers dosen't mean they aren't answering you or your questions!

Colby ... I've been repeatedly asking the same question, respectfully, repeatedly ... and have not had anyone officially or unofficially acknowledge my question. At this point, I'd be happy if someone like Bob said "that's an interesting question, and we're working on it". (I won't bother to repeat my question yet again.)

The truth of the matter is that, even if you throw out the obvious flamebait, the blog team is answering some questions and not others. Now the team's silence on those questions could be innocent, malicious, or somewhere in-between; your opinion on that probably depends on your opinions about TSA in general.

4. If people would bother to read and understand the new requirement and the reason for it I think a lot of your questions would be answered.

With all respect ... the ends do not justify the means.

Our grand country, in which I am proud to live, balances the rights of its citizens with the needs of government. No rights are absolute. But when the government imposes upon the rights of its citizens, the government must show that its impositions are justified, effective, and the minimum necessary in order to achieve the desired purpose.

No-one here disputes that the TSA has been given an important job to do. The question is not one of motivation. Rather, it is a question of effectiveness and appropriate limitations.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

Why was the content of Kips original post changed?

This current version is much different than what was first posted.


I proofed the current post against the post I printed around 8:30pm on July 3rd these are the edits I saw;

The TSA changed the title to a less inflammatory one and they cleaned up the lousy numbering job done by Kip.

They replaced the clunky 1. ii with an easier to read Q & A format but as near as I can tell they did not change the actual content.

Wintermute said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

you are idiots, and here's why: You trust the potential terrorist to print and deliver an access credential to you. (The boarding pass, you idiots.)

The potential terrorist doesn't even need to buy a ticket to walk through your highly evolved checkpoint -- Just imagine escorting your aged mom safely through to her gate by printing an additional copy of her boarding pass with the name altered to match your ID. How many wispy layers of security are in your way?

Zero (you idiots.)

Anonymous said...

Here is real and serious transportation security threat that kills 40,000+ people per year, and TSA is making it worse. Level of trust in TSA's ability to "keep us safe"? Zero.

Trollkiller said...

Winston Smith said...

* How it is that all vehicles entering the sterile area of airports do not get screened and how it is that TSA has not yet come up with a plan to address this.


Point of correction, vehicles do not enter sterile areas as defined by Title 49 Part 1540 § 1540.5. Vehicles would enter AOA and secure areas.

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.

Anonymous said...

For the 391st time (maybe one day somebody will answer).

For people who claim that the TSA has made us safer, using the fact that aviation hasn't been attacked since 9/11 as the evidence:

1. Who is then given the credit for the lack of attacks from the 1962 bombing of Continental Flight 11 until 9/11/2001? Or was that just 39 years of dumb luck?

2. What has the TSA done that private security from pre-9/11 wasn't doing that has kept us safer?

3. Can I give this rock on my desk credit for the fact that I haven't ever been attacked by a bear?

Anonymous said...

What people are up in arms about with the new procedure is that it "apply[s] exclusively to individuals that simply refuse to provide any identification" -- you actually don't need REAL ID or a state issued ID to get through, you just need to "cooperate". The new policy discriminates exclusively against dissenters.

That's why you are idiots.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: The potential terrorist doesn't even need to buy a ticket to walk through your highly evolved checkpoint -- Just imagine escorting your aged mom safely through to her gate by printing an additional copy of her boarding pass with the name altered to match your ID. How many wispy layers of security are in your way? Zero (you idiots.)

Me: I'm scared now! Even in this scenario, a terrorist hasn't gotten on a plane with a weapon, you idiot. You've been pyhscially screened, and there's no guarantee your fake boarding pass won't be spotted and that you won't be turned over to law enforcement. Momma might have to postpone her trip to bail you out of jail.

winstonsmith said...

Trollkiller kindly points out:

* How it is that all vehicles entering the sterile area of airports do not get screened and how it is that TSA has not yet come up with a plan to address this.

Point of correction, vehicles do not enter sterile areas as defined by Title 49 Part 1540 § 1540.5. Vehicles would enter AOA and secure areas.

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.


Thank you for the clarification TK. I stand corrected.

Now, Kip, how about an answer.

Sandra said...

Kip wrote:

"Q: What will TSA do if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

A: We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer."

What's going to happen when the citizens of those several states that refuse to participate in REAL ID start to be hassled at the airport?

They are going to go to their elected representatives and raise holy heck. And then those elected representatives will be on the TSA's back to force changes and you will change those procedures else the TSA won't get funding.

P.S.

How much are you paying people to post nice things about the TSA?

Anonymous said...

In response to anonymous who said: For the 391st time (maybe one day somebody will answer). For people who claim that the TSA has made us safer, using the fact that aviation hasn't been attacked since 9/11 as the evidence..."

Me: That rock on your desk may be the last line of your defense against the bear, but I doubt it would stop it -- if it made it that far. That's why you have layers -- doors, windows, food and garbage precautions when camping, animal control experts who capture wild animals who happen to wander into your town, etc.

Anyway, if you don't want to believe me that TSA has made progress and enhanced aviation security, believe the Government Accountability Office.

GAO in 2003: Since September 11, 2001, TSA has made considerable progress in meeting congressional mandates designed to increase aviation security. By the end of
2002, the agency had hired and deployed about 65,000 passenger and
baggage screeners, federal air marshals, and others, and it was using explosives detection equipment to screen about 90 percent of all checked
baggage.

Since September 2001, TSA has made considerable progress in meeting
congressional mandates related to aviation security, thereby increasing aviation security.

Civil Aviation Was
Vulnerable before September 11, 2001

Before September 2001, screeners, who were then hired by the airlines,often failed to detect threat objects located on passengers or in their carryon
luggage.

link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d031150t.pdf


GAO in 2008: DHS and TSA have undertaken numerous initiatives to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation system, and should be commended for these efforts. Regarding commercial aviation, TSA has developed
processes to more efficiently allocate and deploy the TSO workforce,strengthened screening procedures, is working to develop and deploy more effective screening technologies, strengthened the security of air
cargo, and improved the development of a program to prescreen passengers against terrorist watch-lists. Further, TSA has more recently taken actions in a number of areas to help secure surface modes of
transportation. More work, however, remains.

link: http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d08487t.pdf

Wintermute said...

hSVTSO Dean said...

Officially speaking - If someone declines to show their ID, or lost their ID through some other means, but is willing to cooperate in order to verify said ID, then the operating procedure we got says to go on with the screening process of calling the security operations center and doing the ID verification procedure.

I removed an earlier comment, as I didn't catch the "officially speaking" part of your answer.

Thank you for finally answering this. It would appear that the blog team (or at least, Bob) is mistaken, as they have stated on multiple occasions that this was aimed at people who refuse to show ID. It's good to know that it's not, as long as the person is otherwise cooperative.

Since you've actually answered something, maybe you can get other answers for us? ;)

CBGB said...

Hope you enjoyed your long weekend off bloggers. Maybe you learned soemthing about freedom. Now can we get back to answering the relevant questions posed?

For starters, can we at least correct the REAL ID discussion.

Do any of the bloggers have any comment or justification for why several statements have been made that explicitly state that ALL states plan to enact REAL ID legislation? This is simply not true. You can argue legality with Troll Killer or claim SSI or half answer questiosn, but this one is clearly a matter of public record...

Small steps is all we're askign for.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous @ 4:29 PM: I'll notice that you chose to answer the silly part of my question (the old adage about the rock being used to ward off bears) rather than the serious part, as to who gets the credit for keeping aviation safe from the bombing of Continental Flight 11 in 1962 (back when there was actually no security) until 9/11/2001.

And TSA red team tests have repeatedly shown that the TSA constantly fails to detect bombs or other dangerous devices.

So how, exactly, are we safer?

CBGB said...

@anonymous

I see this has been answered a few time but some people just do not get it. The difference between some one who lost their ID and one who refuses is ATTITUDE!! If you are cooperative and go through the verification process then you can get through once your identity has been verified. Some one who say NO don’t want to show it to you is not cooperating with the program. It is as simple as that folks. If they refuse to show ID then refuse to follow the procedure that verifies ID with out documents, then they don’t fly.

Why is my attitude relevant at all? Especially when you justify the bad attitudes of the TSO. My attitude doesn't make me a threat to a plane. If they don't liek their jobs, they can quit (and a lot do) just like I didn't like some of the customer service jobs I worked in.

CBGB said...

You still haven't discussed anythign about the political affiliation question that was 'under investigation'.

If its not the TSA's policy to ask those type of questions, then WHY is the information available to the peopel doing the verification?

if it was asked to one person the thoguht process mu st lead us to believe its information available to all of the verifiers on all of the people.

Anonymous said...

It would certainly seem that TSA is headed for a Certified Traveler Program. I'm just wondering how long will the serial number tattoo on our arms be?

Anonymous said...

Partial remarks by HSVTSO Dean ...

Officially speaking - If someone declines to show their ID, or lost their ID through some other means, but is willing to cooperate in order to verify said ID, then the operating procedure we got says to go on with the screening process of calling the security operations center and doing the ID verification procedure.


Dean, it seems that what you posted and what the offical policy posted by the Blog Operators disagree.

Would you speculate on why that is?

Did the Bloggers get the wrong info?

Did they just not tell the truth?

Was the policy changed because of the obvious mistreated of one group of people?

It would seem like if the policy was changed to allow for one who wishes not to display ID but cooperates in every other way then Kip, or his staff would have posted that.

I'm sorry but I smell old fish.

Abelard said...

Unless the list of acceptable ID gets narrowed again, anyway, but I doubt that'll happen.

Better, Abelard? :)


Thanks, Dean. If that is the case, I wish Kip had been more clear.

However, that begs the question of why institute the REAL ID program when people can either get a passport book or card since that program is already in place. Then, you wouldn't have to worry if the person is a driver or not and you wouldn't but the mandate on the states.

Someone wrote:

Abelard: The terrorists on 9/11 all had legitimate IDs.

Me: Not true! I love how arm chair security experts can just make stuff up.


It was a mistake on my part and I am owning up to it.

Now, to make the point: SOME of the 9/11 terrorists had valid ID and got aboard those planes. How would ID checking have prevented them from getting on the planes if they had valid ID?

Ayn R. Key said...

Anon asked:
What is the difference between someone who declines to show ID and someone who lost their ID, if both are willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations?

Hsvtso dean answered
Again, nothing.

Officially speaking - If someone declines to show their ID, or lost their ID through some other means, but is willing to cooperate in order to verify said ID, then the operating procedure we got says to go on with the screening process of calling the security operations center and doing the ID verification procedure.


I like your answer much better than that of the TSA, which has to this point indictacated that the new policy specifically demands showing of ID for all except those who lost their IDs, that alternate screening is only acceptable for those who lost their IDs. According to the most recent blog posts, the mandatory ID policy will not allow into the sterile area those who refuse to show ID, even if they are willing to undergo extra screening, because they are defined as uncooperative.

I hope you are right and the bloggers are wrong on this. If my understanding is correct this new policy is aimed at those who do not want to show ID. If your understanding is correct there really is no change of policy at all.

Anonymous said...

"It would certainly seem that TSA is headed for a Certified Traveler Program. I'm just wondering how long will the serial number tattoo on our arms be?"

Focus groups found that tattoos were unacceptable for historical reasons. The current plan is to use embeded microchips.

,>)

CBGB said...

Just as a point to those crediting hvTSO dean. First of all, thank you for at least attempting to answer questions. Unfortuantely you guys get the end of the stick.

However, if this is really your policy then why does the head of yoru agency say different? I think what this is either:

a) A smokescreen to introduce the databases which have been shown to include political affiliations

or

b)Another example of policies of the TSA varying significantly from site to site

Anonymous said...

Just as a point to those crediting hvTSO dean. First of all, thank you for at least attempting to answer questions. Unfortuantely you guys get the end of the stick.

However, if this is really your policy then why does the head of yoru agency say different? I think what this is either:

a) A smokescreen to introduce the databases which have been shown to include political affiliations

or

b)Another example of policies of the TSA varying significantly from site to site


What about

c) everyone at TSA is as incompetent as Kip Hawley

?

Anonymous said...

According to the DHS web site:

All but one of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers carried government-issued IDs – mostly state driver’s licenses. The hijackers found it easy to obtain these documents, often by taking advantage of an underground network that services illegal workers.

The 9/11 Commission was as dismayed as the rest of us by how easy it was for the hijackers to beat the system, and it recommended an overhaul of the way states issue such documents. Congress responded with the REAL ID Act, which sets minimum standards for states to issue IDs.

Unfortunately, while many states have begun to secure their driver’s licenses, others have been slow to do so, claiming that security improvements are too costly. In any event, we do not think that the cost of secure identification is too high, especially compared to the cost of keeping the current system, which helped not just the 9/11 hijackers but millions of illegal workers who use fake documents to get jobs in the U.S. and identity thieves who take advantage of easily forged ID to invade the privacy and ruin the credit of tens of thousands of Americans each year.


All but one had a valid ID. So who's right? Both can't be right.

Trollkiller said...

Colby said...
I think a lot of the angry posters on these blogs need to take a step back and think about what they are saying.

As a TSO I would like to address a few of the more opinionated ideas frequently posted in regards to the new ID requirements.


2. The TSA is going on the idea that the requirement is legal and ethical, you are allowed to disagree but to presume anyone is attempting to circumvent the rights of passengers or any laws regarding the matter seems to me to be ridiculous.

If there is a legal matter to be had it will be settled in court and not by a bunch of anonymous, over-caffenated bloggers with too much time on their hands.


A well thought out post, but I disagree with your assessment. BTW thank you for disclosing that you are a TSO.

If the TSA thought the policy was legal then it would be easy for them to answer my repeated questions about the limits imposed by Title 49 Part 1540 § 1540.5.

As you know so far those questions have gone unanswered.

Why should this legal matter be settled in court when it could be settled right now? The questions I am posing are not the heady constitutional questions but a simple question on the basic legalities that should be able to be answered by a first year law student.

Do you want your money wasted on a court battle if it is not necessary? I know I don't. The cost of a wasted court battle will take money away from important security technology.

It is a shame that I have to even bother filing complaints with the OIG about this.

CBGB said...

would something like http://www.washingtontimes.com/weblogs/aviation-security/2008/Jul/01/want-some-torture-with-your-peanuts/#again

be a different subject?

"A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal website, the bracelet would be worn by all airline passengers."

Jim Huggins said...

Abelard writes:

However, that begs the question of why institute the REAL ID program when people can either get a passport book or card since that program is already in place. Then, you wouldn't have to worry if the person is a driver or not and you wouldn't but the mandate on the states.

Because, in a weird sort of way, The Powers That Be are trying to make things easier.

Far more people have driver's licenses than passports; incorporating the ID requirement into a commonly-held document means that I have one less card to carry.
Plus, the fee to maintain a driver's license is usually significantly less than the fee to maintain a passport. (Currently, a 10-year US passport costs $100; my DMV charges $18 for a 4-year driver's license --- the equivalent of $45 over 10 years.)

This is completely independent of the related issues of (a) whether the risks of a universal identity document outweigh the benefits, and (b) how presenting an identity document plays into the whole security process. I don't want to get into that debate, since it's so well argued in other places here. But if you accept the premise that some national ID standard is required, it is certainly more convenient for most people to integrate that standard into commonly-held identity documents already in common use.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Hoooboy. This is gonna be a big one, but I'm gonna try to get to everybody that I can. I'm fairly confident that everything here passes SSI muster.

[Post-Script - Just finished proofreading everything. Science H. Logic, this thing took me over two hours to write!]

Either way... here goes:

- - - - -

Eric wrote:
Reports on FT say that the liquid ban has been relaxed. Official comment please?

It kind of has, and then it kind of not has.

Officially speaking - the official rule is that all liquids are banned; period, finito.

...Now that the screaming is over with, let me also qualify that by saying that there are exceptions made to that rule. Baby stuff (mother's milk in a cup, diaper rash cream wipe, etc.) is an exception. Anything in your quart-size bag that's 3.4oz or less is an exception. The diabetic person's orange juice is an exception. Exceptions, exceptions, exceptions.

As of the past week, the liquids rule was tweaked just slightly to allow individual TSOs to utilize their discretion. From how I understand it, under extraordinary and compelling circumstances, any TSO can authorize any liquid of any size to enter into the Sterile Area, provided that it's been screened in all possible ways so that it could not possibly be a threat or contain a threat, and that the person it belongs to is also obviously not a threat.

Now, define "extraordinary and compelling reasons."

A good example that I can think of would be, like, a tube of toothpaste that, if full, would have 7oz of paste in it, but is rolled up to where it couldn't possibly have more than a half-ounce. Normally, it didn't matter - it'd be prohibited. Now, we, as the TSOs on the line, can utilize our discretion to let it go.

NEXT!!

A Citizen, speaking on condition of Anonymity, wrote:
Dean, it seems that what you posted and what the offical policy posted by the Blog Operators disagree.

Would you speculate on why that is?


It doesn't really disagree, per se, but like my speculation about what Kip wrote, they didn't use enough words. Now, granted, I know the EoS team is busy with other, actual paying jobs, too (one of the reasons we might not be seeing much of Bob anymore is because of that promotion, who knows) - one of them is a Federal Security Director, for cryin' out loud. Me, I'm just a frontline, single-strip-on-the-shoulder TSO who goes and mans the checkpoint Wednesday-Sunday, but I still have access to the SOP and management directives and stuff and, with the help of a Supervisor every now and then to bounce something off of just to make sure I don't compromise my continued employment by posting Security Sensitive Information, I think I have more time to devote (and, golly, it is devotion!) to the Blog than some of the actual, official members of the Blog Team do.

That said:

I don't think they wrote enough, didn't dedicate enough time to the post or whatever, to fully convey the ideas behind what it was they were trying to get across. I actually came into work almost an hour early just to take a magnifying glass over the policy so I could write the post that I wrote, try to get some of the questions answered, and continuing trying to help bridge the gap between the flying public and the schleps in the white (or blue!) shirts at the checkpoints.

That said:

Was the policy changed because of the obvious mistreated of one group of people?

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say possibly. In the time it's been enacted, the TDC procedures for this stuff has changed three times in subtle ways. I can't really get into the whole of the specifics because of the SSI issue, but what I wrote on July 5th at 11:24 AM (which you'll have to scroll WAAAAY up to read, now) is the most up-to-date information that I have on it.

[Post-Script - I've answered this more fully when I responded to Ayn R. Key below. Keep reading]

Since it's conception (and this was seriously true back six years ago when I rolled out with Huntsville), TSA has kind of had an unofficial motto. "Don't like something that we do? Just wait. Next week, it'll change."

NEXT!!

A Citizen, speaking on condition of Wintermute wrote: :)
Since you've actually answered something, maybe you can get other answers for us? ;)

I do the best that I can, but remember that I'm just a schmoe down on the front line. Most of the questions that get asked get stratospheric over and above my pay grade.

I removed an earlier comment, as I didn't catch the "officially speaking" part of your answer.

Just out of curiosity, what was your original comment? I've got this sick, twisted sense of curiosity about this kind of stuff. If someone says, "Hey, Dean?" and then follows it up with "...Nevermind" - I'll lose sleep over it trying to figure out what they were going to say to me.

NEXT!!

The Citizen that, on Weekends is known as The Trollkiller, wrote:
Is the forced ID check as a criterion of granting access to a sterile area legal in light of the definitions governing 49 C.F.R. PART 1540?

I actually asked a couple people, Trollkilla', but the best answer I could get was that the whole thing went on 49 CFR 1540, combined along with P.L. 107-71. I spent the better part of a half-hour scouring over PL 107-71, and didn't see much of interest, but maybe lawyers poke at something that flies by me.

In other words, I didn't find much in the way of a satisfactory answer.

Somehow, I have a nagging little bug at the back of my head that tells me that the whole shebang will be determined to not qualify under the articles you pointed out, given that the TDC podium is outside of the screening area. Just wait. It's the wonderful little technicalities like that, that make the world go round.

NEXT!!

Ayn to the R to the Key wrote:
I hope you are right and the bloggers are wrong on this. If my understanding is correct this new policy is aimed at those who do not want to show ID.

I'd stand by the fact that I'm right. According to the aforementioned snazzy little flowchart that TSA issued this past week, in as far as entry-denied based on someone being uncooperative -- only the totally and completely uncooperative people (i.e.; the people who refuse to show ID, as well as refuse to fill out the identification verification form) get denied access to the sterile area.

But, like I said to Anonymous, the whole thing has changed, like, three times since it was put into effect, so it's possible that under the old method they still were.

[Post-Script - Mr. Anonymous, this is the part that I told you about.]

No, scratch that. It came to be just now as I was writing that - under the original creation of the new TDC policies, people who refused to show ID *were* denied, point-blank, right at that point in time, entry into the sterile area. I do remember that, now.

Yes. That has changed, now. Let the people rejoice. :D

If your understanding is correct there really is no change of policy at all.

There is, and there isn't. It's some subtle differences, and everything that's different I've already mentioned, but it's definitely different from the old "no ID, make 'em a selectee!" mantra.

...That's actually kind of catchy.

Hm.

NEXT!!

It was a dark and stormy night when Abelard wrote:
However, that begs the question of why institute the REAL ID program when people can either get a passport book or card since that program is already in place. Then, you wouldn't have to worry if the person is a driver or not and you wouldn't but the mandate on the states.

Just speculation on this one again, but probably it has something to do with the fact that the driver's license is still the most common form of ID that gets handed to the TSO at the TDC position, followed by military IDs. As it stands, every State does their driver's licenses according to the Wily Nilly method of how they want to make them look, and so some of them don't have certain key security features such as fluorescent ink stamps or digital images or whatever. Some IDs that I get - like Alabama, or Arizona, or Washington - are incredibly easy and fast to verify. Others - like Georgia, Indiana, or New York - are much harder and actually take a lot more time to do.

So, from the standpoint of efficiency, an ID card that utilizes uniform security features really, really, really rocks.

NEXT!!

The Anonymous person that puts the little smiley at the end of his posts wrote:
Focus groups found that tattoos were unacceptable for historical reasons. The current plan is to use embeded microchips.

As a student of history, this did make me laugh out loud when I read it. :D A terrible thing it was, yes, but your use of wit there is awesome.

Now if only something could be done about the people who were left scratching their heads saying "...Wha'...?"

- - - - -

There were some other people that wrote some comments or questions, but I think between what I wrote before, and what I've written so far in this post, most of everything has pretty much been caught up, that's within the scope of my ability give an answer for.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "It would certainly seem that TSA is headed for a Certified Traveler Program. I'm just wondering how long will the serial number tattoo on our arms be?"

You know, I just visited the DMZ today between North and South Korea. On the way up, we were hearing how awful life in North Korea was. Generally, the people are not free to move around. Hardly anyone has cars and bikes give the people too much movement and hinder security forces' tracking efforts. People can generally go to work and stay in residential areas. They need government permission to go anywhere else.

With what Kip's said about plans being laid to get to the point where we are now, I can't help but think that what I just mentioned above is what we're on the path to ... all in the name of security.

Funny thing is, we can all agree that North Korea has an oppresive regime where freedom to move and associate is greatly hindered or nonexistent. We all decry that as evil. So why is what's happening there not acceptable but yet the fact that TSA is heading that direction in this country acceptable?

Food for thought.

Robert

Anonymous said...

HSVTSO Dean is correct and although it appears that the sites and statements are inconsistent I believe it's because the policies are evolving perhaps due to public outcry. I'm speculating but I also believe that TSA headquarters are reasonably trying to catch badguys and not just dissenters to the ID policy. Frankly showing your ID is much faster and much less trouble and verifying your ID gives access to the same and more information than just showing your ID would.

As a vet and military dependent required to show ID just to shop or even drive on post this outcry just seems ridiculously hyperbolic to me.

Wintermute said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CBGB said...

just to clarify to the TSO's and 'love it or leave it' folks

If the TSO said 2+2=5 and thats what our math says. Most of the commenters would vigorously disagree with the answer but would at leasst accept that they answered the question. however the TSA is saying

2+2=Hamster and then not respondign to the real question. It really is beginign to feel like we're arguing with toddlers.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone pointed out that it was the 9/11 Commission and Congress who initated the REAL ID effort. DHS is merely implementing it. Even before that the Intelligence Reform bill required TSA to set standards for what kinds of IDs you could use to get on an airplane. They are just getting around to doing it.

RE: all but one of the terrorists having valid IDs. Exactly, that's why we have REAL ID. It tightens up the requirements States have to use to validate identity -- in accordance with Congressional intent. So, if you want to complain about the new ID policies or REAL ID, whine to your congressperson.

Wintermute said...

Deleted original to fix typos and add a point:

CBGB said...

Just as a point to those crediting hvTSO dean. First of all, thank you for at least attempting to answer questions. Unfortuantely you guys get the end of the stick.

However, if this is really your policy then why does the head of yoru agency say different?


I, too, originally questioned the apparent contradiction. Now I question whether it is the TSOs or the blog team who are mistaken on this point, as hvTSO dean indicated that his is the official answer with his "officially speaking..." comment. I await clarification of this point.

Anonymous said...

Abelard: The terrorists on 9/11 all had legitimate IDs.

Me: Not true!


A minor nitpick. All but one had valid ID. Eight were even registered to vote. Which is why the commission recommended what Congress is trying to implement as REAL ID.

I also await a real response to trollkiller's legal arguments, though one might speculate that the TSA is already involved in a related lawsuit, preventing them from making any sort of comment on the matter. But the last time I made that speculation, blogger Christopher took my comment out of context of the larger discussion to try to discredit us all. So I'm not speculating, I'm just saying that one might speculate ;) (In case you're wondering, Christopher, I feel you owe me an apology for that one.)

Then there's the constitutionality question if hvTSO dean is mistaken, and this is, in fact, targeted at those who wish to not show ID.

Then there's the outright lie that all states are working on REAL ID. No, they are not. A quick google reveals the truth.

Then there's the statement that if our state doesn't comply with REAL ID, and we have no other form of ID than our state-issued driver's license, that we'll need our ID verified via other means. Such as a Costco card, according to the gentleman who was asked his political affiliation.

Which brings us to the point of why this is even available to the TSO, or the person feeding the questions to the TSO, in the first place. And what happened to the TSO, or the person who fed him this question, who asked this?

Finally, how does ID make us safer? The only answers we've been given boil down to "we think it does" or "we feel it is important." Why is it important? How does it help? Apparent answer: it doesn't, or the TSA would have answered by now.

To the TSA apologists on here, it's not that we don't like the answers we're being given. It's that the answer given is typically a non sequitur and avoids addressing the issue. In the one case where we do get an honest answer, it is A) not from a member of the blog team, and B) contradicts what the blog team have stated. This could be partially solved by making hvTSO dean part of the blog team ;) The remainder of the solution is to, you know, actually answer the questions.

Trollkiller said...

I spoke to a very nice fellow at the Office of Inspector General today, his name is Chip.

I filed a complaint, the number is DHS080708-36 if anyone wants to track this at home. You will need to file a Freedom Of Information Act request to find out the status/action of the complaint.

I suggest everyone that is disturbed by the TSA's illegal policy to call the DHS OIG Hotline: 1-800-323-8603 and file a complaint.

A lone voice in the wilderness will not be enough to make them investigate this policy. Please add your voice to the chorus.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

RE: all but one of the terrorists having valid IDs. Exactly, that's why we have REAL ID. It tightens up the requirements States have to use to validate identity -- in accordance with Congressional intent. So, if you want to complain about the new ID policies or REAL ID, whine to your congressperson.

Which misses the point entirely. The weak link is not the ID; it's the boarding pass. REAL ID certainly may have prevented eight of them from registering to vote, but would it have stopped 9/11? Depends on if the TSO would have seriously allowed a Costco card in lieu of other ID.

For the record, my congress-critters all know where I stand on a variety of issues, including REAL ID. I just love how the TSA apologists paint us all as whiners when they have no clue how active we are politically.

Anonymous said...

Wintermute said: The weak link is not the ID; it's the boarding pass. REAL ID certainly may have prevented eight of them from registering to vote, but would it have stopped 9/11? Depends on if the TSO would have seriously allowed a Costco card in lieu of other ID.

Me: The watch list is classified for a reason. In order to circumvent the system and print a boarding pass that works, you have to know what names are on it. Otherwise, it's a crap shoot/unpredictable.

The new identity verification requirement gets around the costco card issue. I recently opened a home depot credit card account, and they asked me questions that even my wife doesn't know about our finances (I pay the bills) and our address/location in an effort to verify my identity.

It sounds to me like TSA is onto something that seems to be working in the private sector.

DHS-S&Tspokesman said...

Shocking, but False

Sometimes it just amazes me how these stories evolve. Let me start off by saying that the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate nor TSA have been pursuing shock bracelets for airline passengers as alleged by the Washington Times Blog.

This allegation stemmed from a misleading video posted on the Lamberd Website which depicts an ID bracelet that would contain identifying information as well as the ability to stun the wearer. The company claims to connect use of such a device to DHS and TSA, but no discussions between these agencies has ever taken place.

This all originated from a meeting held two years ago with a private company representative (not Lamberd) who proposed bracelet technology in response to the TSA's desire to find less-than-lethal means to detain an apprehended suspect.

The bracelet was never intended to replace boarding passes, contain ID information or be worn by all passengers as asserted in the Lamberd video and discussed in the Washington Times Blog.

The hypothetical use of the bracelet would have been for transporting already apprehended prisoners and detainees at prisons and border patrol facilities, and DHS was looking to see if there were potential air travel applications for apprehended suspects.

This concept was never funded or supported by the DHS or TSA and hasn’t even been discussed for two years. The letter circulating throughout the blogosphere from Paul Ruwaldt was not addressed to Lamberd and merely states the DHS was interested in learning more about the technology. Neither side followed up.

DHS/TSA does NOT support the asserted use and has not pursued the development of such technology.

- John Verrico
DHS S&T Spokesman

Trollkiller said...

DHS-S&Tspokesman said...

The hypothetical use of the bracelet would have been for transporting already apprehended prisoners and detainees at prisons and border patrol facilities, and DHS was looking to see if there were potential air travel applications for apprehended suspects.


- John Verrico
DHS S&T Spokesman


The real question John, would the apprehended suspects have to show ID to board the flight?
;-)

CBGB said...

John,

First of all thank you for a clear reasonable and sincere response to my post. I wish I could offer you a job here at the blog.

Because this has been clarified so thoroughly, I will delete the post if you like, but I think it serves you better PR as a clear question and response showing some candor from DHS.

Regards,
CBGB

Anonymous said...

Response to Dean re:

A Citizen, speaking on condition of Anonymity, wrote:
Dean, it seems that what you posted and what the offical policy posted by the Blog Operators disagree.

Would you speculate on why that is?

It doesn't really disagree, per se, but like my speculation about what Kip wrote, they didn't use enough words. Now, granted, I know the EoS team is busy with other, actual paying jobs, too (one of the reasons we might not be seeing much of Bob anymore is because of that promotion, who knows

...............................
Dean, while I have no reason to doubt what you say it was very clear that the policy announced by official means said that if one did not present ID that they would not be permitted access to the secure area.

As of now no "Official" change to that policy has been announced. It would seem your leaders ran out a trial ballon to test the air.

The obvious problems of treating the two classes of people, those with no ID and those who wish to not present ID had legal issues written all over it.

KIP came on here and confirmed the policy as first announced yet doesn't have the cojonnes to retract or correct his words.

I find this typical of him and this agency.

Regarding your posting, I thank you for taking the time and risk to do so. I would hope your superiors could see the benefit of posting clear, straight answers to issues we joe citizens have.

Perhaps you will get the nod to join the Blog Team, but then you would have to post according to company restraints.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

Me: The watch list is classified for a reason. In order to circumvent the system and print a boarding pass that works, you have to know what names are on it. Otherwise, it's a crap shoot/unpredictable.

Security through obscurity. Ask anyone in the security field and they'll tell you it doesn't work. Plus, with more names presumably not on the list than on, odds are tilted in Mr. Terrorist's favor. Even more so if Mr. Terrorist has a 3rd cousin who recently flew successfully on his own ID. Mr. Terrorist knows one name not on the list, and that's all Mr. Terrorist needs.

I reiterate. The weak point is not ID. It is the boarding pass.


Anonymous said...

The new identity verification requirement gets around the costco card issue.

No. The Costco card issue occurred because of the new ID requirement. It occurred within the first 48 hours of the new requirement, and the gentleman was asked for a Costco card before he was moved into the new identification verification questioning. It could have been a poorly trained TSO, or it could have been SOP. We don't know, because the TSA hasn't said.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Wintermute wrote:
This could be partially solved by making hvTSO dean part of the blog team ;)

I'm not even sure I'd do it if they did contact me about it.*

I like reading the posts and answering the questions that I'm capable of answering, not putting up PR reports, moderating other people's commentary, and trying to be a peacekeeper.

I might do it, I don't know. It'd just depend on what the offer they pitched was. I value my free time, and writing comments don't take away too much from my playing Oblivion or Counter-Strike or whacking at my brother with a Force-FX lightsaber. :D

...Yeah, I'm a geek.

*The only contact I've ever recieved to something in response to this Blog was when a misunderstanding was made wherein some people on the Blog thought that I had been told to stop commenting by TSA. Bob got the wheels turning on finding out a clarification, and the Office of Public Affairs called my Federal Security Director, who called my Supervisor, who came and gave me a phone and a number on my lunch break to call said FSD so he could call the Office of Public Affairs and relay the fact that, no, nobody in TSA has ever tried to pressure me not to write to the Blog.

Trollkiller wrote:
The real question John, would the apprehended suspects have to show ID to board the flight?

Incidentally, no.

When an apprehended suspect is brought through the checkpoint, they're generally taken up the exit lane. The law enforcement officers escorting him have to have their credentials checked and fill out a log book about their entry, and they (the LEO) certify the prisoner-under-guard's identity for them.

It'd be the same as if you didn't have ID, and the operations center couldn't verify your ID. If an LEO certified your ID for us, you'd be cleared for screening.

Dunstan said...

"DHS-S&Tspokesman said...

Shocking, but False

Sometimes it just amazes me how these stories evolve. Let me start off by saying that the Department of Homeland Security’s Science & Technology Directorate nor TSA have been pursuing shock bracelets for airline passengers as alleged by the Washington Times Blog."

Nice to have a reality check...

TSA would do well to shift it's focus from suspecting 2,000,000 people a day, to concentrating on marginally suspicious people (perhaps 20 a day, nationwide?).

Anonymous said...

I see this has been answered a few time but some people just do not get it. The difference between some one who lost their ID and one who refuses is ATTITUDE!! If you are cooperative and go through the verification process then you can get through once your identity has been verified. Some one who say NO don’t want to show it to you is not cooperating with the program. It is as simple as that folks.

This is possibly the single most idiotic thing I've read today. Congratulations.

Here's why you're not very smart:

1. This forced-identification is presented as a means to increase the safety of air travel.
1a. A person's "attitude" has no bearing on air-travel safety. The TSA is not there to ensure that every passenger on a plane is all sunshine and lollipops.

2. Civil rights violations are probably not exactly an irksome point to a guy who is in the middle of a terroristic plot. Someone who is actually a threat is going to go out of their way to avoid calling attention to themselves. They are not going to cop an attitude with Dudley Do-right at the security checkpoint. They will smile big, appear to cooperate fully, and move right along.

Ignoring the plethora of legal issues with this policy, it doesn't even pass a basic test of logic.

Chris said...

Using ID cards can be a good idea for security but implementing it wont be the easiest of things. It will take time, money and efforts. Another security threat can be fake ids.

Phil said...

Wintermute wrote:

"The weak point is not ID. It is the boarding pass."

I don't know why no one here has mentioned it, but it seems that a fix for this is in the works. On the Department of Homeland Security's Privacy Office - Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) page is:

"Boarding Pass Scanning System, November 29, 2007 (PDF, 7 Pages – 163KB) The Boarding Pass Scanning System (BPSS) is a process and technology that validates the authenticity of the boarding pass at the TSA security checkpoint using 2-dimensional (2D) bar code readers and encryption techniques. The BPSS will display machine readable data from the boarding pass for confirmation against the human readable portions of the boarding pass to verify that the boarding pass is legitimate and has not been tampered with. Once confirmed, the displayed data will be deleted from the BPSS."

As I have previously written, this problem is easily solved, and I'm concerned that focusing on it will distract us from the more troublesome aspect of this program -- restriction of people's liberties without due process. I'm also concerned that the same loophole that makes the current system seem a bit less troublesome will make excellent justification for later amending the system to be something that is definitely more troublesome.

Please think beyond the immediate situation of you walking through an airport security line and whether someone who wants to know who you are can do anything useful with that information to what kind of long-term change you are agreeing to and how hard it will be to stop this ball -- should we ever want or need to -- once it's rolling.

With this system of "just trust us" checkpoints, how can we know that people's movement is being restricted for just reason? We can't. Of course, we can simply trust that those who are able to put people on the list, now and forever, will use their best judgement, and that they have good judgement. But we should not need to trust them, so people long ago set up a very effective system of justice that did not require such blind trust in anonymous people in positions of authority.

Sometimes we need to stop some people from moving around, and we have a system that allows us to do so: We put people on trial. If the judge or jury finds that the person's movement should be restricted, we imprison him or place him under house arrest.

We don't need another system for restricting people's movement, and we need not to have one that restricts their movement for reasons that are kept secret. When we restrict someone's liberty, we need to be very sure of our reasoning, and that means we need to have a very transparent process.

Didn't we Americans learn long ago that restriction of rights and liberties based on a secret blacklist is bad?

Anonymous said...

Who cares if TSA wants to check ID's. All you people care about is making a big deal out of nothing. TSA does not do anything for reasons of making people mad or uncomfortable. But all you people act like you are being tortured. I think you are just a bunch of people who need to get a life. Why would you want to waist your time fighting with the government about their policies, when you could just relax and not sweat the small stuff. If the TSA was not around then you people would be complaining that the government needs to do something more about airport security. All of you regular bloggers are just looking for something to complain about. Why don't you just appreciate the TSA? If they were not around none of you would want to fly. It is funny all of you complaining about the rules given in the airport security checkpoints, but your complaints don't make any sense. It's like you people don't even know the reason why these rules are in effect. Which is why most of the things on these blog pages are irrelevant, because you don't know what you are talking about.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Anonymous wrote:
As of now no "Official" change to that policy has been announced. It would seem your leaders ran out a trial ballon to test the air.

Maybe. TSA would be really well-served by making an official statement concerning the new changes (meaning the ones I've outlined) and bring the public more up to speed with the actual official new procedures we have on the books. It's like the TSA is telling Citizen Joe one thing, and then secretly whispering to the TSOs behind the scenes that it's really not that strict.

I don't understand it, personally.

The obvious problems of treating the two classes of people, those with no ID and those who wish to not present ID had legal issues written all over it.

Which is probably why it got changed in the first place :P

Regarding your posting, I thank you for taking the time and risk to do so. I would hope your superiors could see the benefit of posting clear, straight answers to issues we joe citizens have.

I'm in full agreement with you on this one. Granted, me writing a comment onto the Blog takes about twenty minutes to a half-hour for one the size of this one that I'm writing now, and up to several hours to write one of the big ones, but I want to be absolutely sure and certain that everything I write is clear to the average reader. It's a small courtesy that, I think, the Blog Team could really pick up on (Bob did a pretty good job of this, IIRC). Humor is, in itself, simply inadequate and useless when you're still not conveying the whole of the thought you were trying to get across, you know?

Perhaps you will get the nod to join the Blog Team, but then you would have to post according to company restraints.

Another reason why I don't think I'd want to officially join the Blog team. For example, I don't think I'd have been allowed to maintain my personal opinion that validating IDs doesn't do much to enhance security, and, at the same time, talk about how great it is to do it to the rest of my fellow Americans.

I might be wrong, but there just might be an ethical qualm in there somewhere! :D

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"Who cares if TSA wants to check ID's?"

Everyone who understands the potential ramifications of allowing our government to force people to ask for and receive permission before moving about their own country cares.

If you're truly interested in this and not just looking for something to complain about, please see "What's Wrong With Showing ID?" at The Identity Project.

Paraphrasing part of that page:

No matter how sophisticated the security embedded into an I.D., a well-funded criminal will be able to falsify it. Honest people, however, go to Pro-Life rallies. Honest people go to Pro-Choice rallies, too. Honest people attend gun shows. Honest people protest the actions of the President of the United States. Honest people fly to political conventions. What if those with the power to put people on a 'no fly' list decided that they didn't like the reason for which you wanted to travel? The honest people wouldn't be going anywhere.

CBGB said...

Bloggers? Hello bloggers? I think i hear noises in the darkness around me on this blog. It sounds like people in the shadows approving posts and then leaving your front line employees holding the bag (in this case Dean) again. hes not getting paid to answer questiosn you are. I wonder if I will get a monetary award for reporting this government misuse of funds.

Honestly I think this is worse than the policy in the first place. It means that they lied to intimidate people who are workign for our rights as US citizens into treating the filling out of an official affadavit to travel as a win. Thats unbelievably backhanded. You have literally introduced the need to sign a legal affadavit as a condition of traveling and using your rights.

Do any of the TSA idoleters support lieing to the American public?

Anonymous said...

"Why would you want to waist your time fighting with the government about their policies, when you could just relax and not sweat the small stuff."

This country would have been far better off if only Washington, Jefferson and the rest of those old crybabies thought the way you do.

Anonymous said...

About the bad guys not copping an attitude with us, yes they probably wouldn't but creating a disturbance so that his buddy gets through without as much scrutiny is such a commonplace way around that Hollywood has even acknowledged it. Why do you folks not get this. It is a security issue when someone cops an attitude, yells, swears, treats officers badly enough that it's listed in 49CFR as something that will keep you from coming through security. It might even get a person arrested and yet it happens every day in checkpoints and we TSO's do our best to calm the passengers.

Anonymous said...

Well phil maybe we shouldn't have ID's at all. I mean if it is such a horrible thing to have to show your ID. Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's. The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID. Right? Dumb!

Dunstan said...

"Who cares if TSA wants to check ID's."

Obviously, just you...

"All you people care about is making a big deal out of nothing."

Yes the founders argued for months over the wording of documents that mean nothing to you.

"TSA does not do anything for reasons of making people mad or uncomfortable. But all you people act like you are being tortured."

A little common sense could be applied to the security process, or is that too difficult?

"I think you are just a bunch of people who need to get a life. Why would you want to waist your time fighting with the government about their policies, when you could just relax and not sweat the small stuff."

We all do have lives, we just think that involving ourselves in the democratic process is worth the time and effort.

"If the TSA was not around then you people would be complaining that the government needs to do something more about airport security."

Airport Watch seems to work just fine for the private air sector...

"All of you regular bloggers are just looking for something to complain about. Why don't you just appreciate the TSA?"

Just let us make a few quick changes, and you'll be surprised how much better you feel...

"If they were not around none of you would want to fly. It is funny all of you complaining about the rules given in the airport security checkpoints, but your complaints don't make any sense. It's like you people don't even know the reason why these rules are in effect. Which is why most of the things on these blog pages are irrelevant, because you don't know what you are talking about."

I've flown through General Aviation, not a TSO to be seen, and never felt I was missing anything. Not even from my luggage... You have made some rather large and unwieldy generalizations, and have not made the slightest effort to substantiate them. At the least, that is lazy, perhaps you really don't know what YOU are talking about.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

Well phil maybe we shouldn't have ID's at all. I mean if it is such a horrible thing to have to show your ID. Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's. The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID. Right? Dumb!

Flawed logic. First, if the police pull you over, they have probable cause that you have broken the law. If they do not have probable cause, it's an unlawful stop. Then, what they ask for is license, registration, and proof of insurance. Your identification is secondary to knowing that you are lawfully entitled to drive the vehicle you are driving.

As for the cashier asking for ID, the two situations that I can them see asking are buying age-restricted materials or cashing (or paying with) a check. In the first case, they are verifying your age in order to comply with the law, not verifying identity. In the second, they are verifying that you are the person who is entitled to use the check. Your actual identity is less important than knowing who to go to if the check bounces.

Stawmen, non sequiturs, and red herrings is the only thing we've gotten other than from Dean. Which begs the question; is the blog team too far removed from the line that they don't know what trickles down to the TSOs?

Also, to the anonymous TSO who said:

About the bad guys not copping an attitude with us, yes they probably wouldn't but creating a disturbance so that his buddy gets through without as much scrutiny is such a commonplace way around that Hollywood has even acknowledged it. Why do you folks not get this. It is a security issue when someone cops an attitude, yells, swears, treats officers badly enough that it's listed in 49CFR as something that will keep you from coming through security. It might even get a person arrested and yet it happens every day in checkpoints and we TSO's do our best to calm the passengers.

You are mistaking attitude with actions. People who take those actions surely have a bad attitude, but not everyone who has a bad attitude is a jerk about it. Some people internalize it.

Dunstan said...

HSVTSO Dean said...

"Another reason why I don't think I'd want to officially join the Blog team. For example, I don't think I'd have been allowed to maintain my personal opinion that validating IDs doesn't do much to enhance security, and, at the same time, talk about how great it is to do it to the rest of my fellow Americans.

I might be wrong, but there just might be an ethical qualm in there somewhere! :D"

I echo the sentiment that you are an asset to this blog- my personal thanks for your time, clarity, and effort.

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

Well phil maybe we shouldn't have ID's at all. I mean if it is such a horrible thing to have to show your ID. Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's.

A police officer who pulls you over has probable cause to assume that you have committed a crime, and has a right to determine whether you are properly licensed to operate your motor vehicle. Are you suggesting we ought to license people in order to ride as a passenger on an aircraft?

The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID. Right? Dumb!

I don't know about you, but I don't have to present ID when I go to the grocery store. If I were to purchase alcohol, however, the clerk has the responsibility to verify that I am of legal age to purchase that alcohol. Are you suggesting that we establish a legal flying age?

HSVTSO Dean said...

An Anonymous person wrote:
Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's. The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID. Right?

See, this is exactly what I mean when I said in an earlier thread that most of the people that seem to be pro-TSA are making unusually asinine statements.

Just in those two examples that you used, Mr. Anonymous, it's comparing apples and oranges. The police officer is verifying your being lisenced to drive, and the cashier is verifying your age. It's not quite the same as verifying your identity - the fact that all three instances use the same card (generally speaking) is incidental.

Which isn't to say that I agree with Phil. His reasoning is something of a stretch I think, but if you're going to try to get into a debate with him on the matter you should at least bring the proper arguments to the table.

(Just as an aside: I have decided not to get involved with that kind of discussion; I've already decided that absolutely nothing good will come of it. Besides, I'm not here to try to debate people - I started writing to the Blog to try to help clarify issues and try to answer questions, neither of which would be served by challenging Phil on his point of view.)

Saying stuff like that just makes you look bad, and, as a direct result of the agency you're stepping up to defend, makes the TSA look bad, too.

And the TSA seems to be able to make itself look bad enough without any help, thank you very much. :)

yangj08 said...

"Well phil maybe we shouldn't have ID's at all. I mean if it is such a horrible thing to have to show your ID. Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's. The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID. Right? Dumb!"
If you think about it (even just a little) you'll see that those situations are a little different. The cashier doesn't ask because he needs to know who you are, he just needs proof that you're over 18/21 (depending on what you're buying). If you're buying groceries and stuff, does that cashier ask? NO. Same with the police pullover. If I pull out my passport and nothing else, will the cop be happy with it? NO. He just wants proof that I can drive (driver's license).

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"maybe we shouldn't have ID's at all. I mean if it is such a horrible thing to have to show your ID. Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's. The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID."

I'll give this person the benefit of the doubt and assume that he's not trolling, but simply not thinking this through, and try to explain. (And request a second time that he read "What's wrong with showing ID?" at The Identity Project.)

First, let's establish that we're talking about two different things here: 1) your identity, and 2) credentials that can be used to assist someone in identifying you. In the United States, a driver license is often suitable for #2. For the purpose of this discussion, I'll go along with referring to credentials as "ID".

If a police officer has reason to stop you while you are driving and does so, he will want to determine if you are licensed to drive, and thus he will demand that you present your driver license (we are required to carry that license while driving on public roads). Conveniently for him, that allows him to identify you, and he'll attempt to use that information against you (check to see if you have any outstanding warrants, etc.) as his job requires. I think it is reasonable for an officer who suspects someone of wrongdoing while driving on a public road to determine whether that person is licensed to drive on public roads.

In "stop and identify states" a police officer is authorized to demand identification of someone when he has reasonable suspicion to be believe that criminal activity is taking place and that the person is involved. As far as I know, this does not require that person to "show ID", only to tell the officer his name. In no situation in the United States are we required to identify ourselves to police unless they have reasonable suspicion to believe we're involved in criminal activity. For more on this, please see the Flex Your Rights Foundation FAQ.

And remember, in the United States, if a police officer asks you to do something, you have no obligation to do so. If he has the authority to order you to do something, he'll issue a demand, not a request. A common tactic in their attempt to build a case against someone (which is their job) is to manipulate that person into voluntarily giving up his rights. People like this anonymous commenter probably give up their rights without a second thought because they are not well educated about the rights guaranteed to them. Those people act as if they'd be just as happy living in a police state. I suspect that they would not.

As for the cashier at a store: I'm sometimes asked to prove my identity to a cashier when I pay for a purchase with a check. In that case, the cashier is under no obligation to accept this piece of paper in exchange for goods or even to do business with me at all, so if I want to pay in this manner, I'll probably need to do as he asks. However, I usually pay with cash, and no cashier needs to or attempts to identify me in that situation. Regardless, any action performed via mutual consent of two private entities is a completely different situation than a requirement placed on an individual by his government.

Anonymous said...

About the bad guys not copping an attitude with us, yes they probably wouldn't but creating a disturbance so that his buddy gets through without as much scrutiny is such a commonplace way around that Hollywood has even acknowledged it. Why do you folks not get this. It is a security issue when someone cops an attitude, yells, swears, treats officers badly enough that it's listed in 49CFR as something that will keep you from coming through security. It might even get a person arrested and yet it happens every day in checkpoints and we TSO's do our best to calm the passengers.

How is that relevant, exactly? What you have just described is, in no way, resolved by not letting someone on a plane because they refuse to show ID (instead of saying they "lost" or "forgot" it).

They can still create a disturbance, and their buddy can still be all smiles and have-a-lovely-days. If anything, all this does is give someone an extremely legitimate reason to cause a disturbance in the first place. Congratulations at being a dismal failure, TSA.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

Well phil maybe we shouldn't have ID's at all. I mean if it is such a horrible thing to have to show your ID. Then the police that pull you over should not ask for ID's. The cashier at the food store should not ask for ID. No one should be allowed to look at your ID. Right? Dumb!


Apples and oranges, so yes dumb!

If a cop pulls you over (s)he MUST have probable cause, the REASONABLE suspicion that you have committed a crime or civil infraction, in order to demand ID. If you are unfortunate enough to come across a DUI or insurance checkpoint, you can LEGALLY turn and use another road and avoid the checkpoint. (assumes you can safely do this within existing traffic laws)

If a cashier asks for your ID in order to sell you an age restricted item, then they are complying with a LAW in STATE statutes that restricts the sale of that item.

The TSA is NOT complying with ANY law on the Federal books by forcing ID verification as a criterion for granting access to a sterile area, they are in fact BREAKING the law to do so.

No one has the unfettered right to verify my identification. Not the police, not the cashier, and not the TSA.

You seem to support this ID program, let me ask you, or anyone else that supports this, a serious question.

If the TSA has the right and authority, by statute or executive order, to force ID verification as a criterion for granting access to a sterile area, why are they unable or unwilling to show the statute or executive order?

When answering the above question keep in mind that 49 C.F.R. PART 1540 § 1540.105 & § 1540.107 when properly viewed with § 1540.5 actually restricts the criteria for granting access to a sterile area to the search and inspection of persons and property for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries.

Trollkiller said...

HSVTSO Dean said...

See, this is exactly what I mean when I said in an earlier thread that most of the people that seem to be pro-TSA are making unusually asinine statements.


Dean, you have been showing uncommon bravery for a Federal employee. I am a bit concerned for your employment welfare. Please be careful.

Kathy said...

Dean addressed some of the folks on here who are trying to support the TSA but who say things that don't make sense:

"Saying stuff like that just makes you look bad, and, as a direct result of the agency you're stepping up to defend, makes the TSA look bad, too.

And the TSA seems to be able to make itself look bad enough without any help, thank you very much. :)


First of all, great comment, Dean. As everyone else has said, Thanks!

Secondly, I immediately got a sneaky idea. What if some of us who are critical of certain aspects of the TSA would write (or already have written??) posts that defend the TSA in a really stupid way? We would then be harming the TSA, which indirectly might force it to change. Just a thought...

But, here's my real suggestion. How about if those of us who are reasonably intelligent, passionate about America, and less fearful of "terrorists" than of losing our liberty, agree to ignore the foolish comments of anyone who is not with the TSA?

To argue with these folks is a waste of time and a distraction from the major goal: to help the TSA make some much-needed changes.

While I've got the floor, let me add: I think that now with Dean's help we are getting some real information, and we should stop beating the dead horses all around us. It is clear that policies are evolving based on the comments we have left here, but we probably will never get an honest admission of that fact. Instead of demanding explanations, let's continue to make suggestions and point out flaws. For example, we now know that someone who refuses to show ID can fly if they cooperate in otherwise establishing their identity. So, drop that argument.

I, too, am worried for Dean's employment security, but on the other hand perhaps the higher-ups realize his great value to the TSA. He can say stuff that they can't say. Kind of like back-door diplomacy. They don't have to admit they are wrong, but they can let it be known that they have made changes. It's a face-saving technique, but hey if it works, it works.

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is who cares who asks you for your ID! Police, cashier or TSA who cares! You people need to worry about things that really matter in this world. Being as though it is the government I am sure that everything that they are doing is legal.
Do you people really have nothing better to do?!

txrus said...

HSVTSO Dean spent a really, really long time writing his post of July 8, 2008 12:14 AM & then, after recuperating, came back on July 10, 2008 11:16 AM to say...

See, this is exactly what I mean when I said in an earlier thread that most of the people that seem to be pro-TSA are making unusually asinine statements.

(Other stuff snipped out to make room for the really good part)

Saying stuff like that just makes you look bad, and, as a direct result of the agency you're stepping up to defend, makes the TSA look bad, too.

And the TSA seems to be able to make itself look bad enough without any help, thank you very much. :)
**********************************
And thank you for taking the time to research & write your comments, even the really long ones, as well as your good humor in doing so. Christopher could take a lesson or two from you :-)

Keep up the good work! (Never in a million years did I think I'd EVER say that to someone in the TSA...)

HSVTSO Dean said...

Trollkiller wrote:
Dean, you have been showing uncommon bravery for a Federal employee. I am a bit concerned for your employment welfare. Please be careful.

Oh, I think I'll be alright. I do far more good than harm, I think, in trying to maintain good lines of understanding between the TSA and the flying public - especially given the leash that's been put on me in terms of the SSI regulations (man, Trollkiller, there's so many misunderstandings and so much angst that could be totally put away with the typing of a few simple lines, or the display of a few images, but we can't talk about them or show them). SSI notwithstanding, though, I think I do a fair job of trying to help bridge the gap of understanding.

(This next section might be taken as bragging, and I suppose to an extent that'd be accurate, but everything is true anyway, and I've never been afraid to speak absolute truth.)

And, even if this is a duty that I've taken upon myself on my own volition, my official duties still remain manning the screening checkpoint or checked baggage areas, and for years (six of them, this October) I've been performing at the best of my capability. I've got a personnel jacket three inches thick, full of performance citations and bonuses and on-the-spot rewards, customer service citations and other things of that nature. When a Supervisor wants something done, they know they can just tell me what to do and it'll get done without any oversight or micromanagement needed, and often to by-the-book specifications. I'm also considered a subject-matter expert when it comes to our standard operating procedures - Leads and Supervisors have come to me with questions on policy.

So, yeah, I think I'll be alright. I do a lot more good than harm with everything I do for the TSA, and despite the fact that I don't necessarily agree with the TSA party line (so to speak~) in some things, my Supervisors and Management know that I don't let my personal feelings get in the way of the mission.

If TSA ever did get angry at me for the stuff I put on the Blog, I have no reason to suspect they'd do anything but come to talk to me about it, first. So far, in my experience, from a human resources standpoint the TSA has been very open, honest, and fair.

...Believe it or not. :)

No, I doubt I'd ever just be instantly fired for something I put on the Blog. Unless it was blatantly SSI or something, anyway. TSA has said time and again that they actually value the input of the workforce, as it gives a separate point of view, one distinctly different from either the bureaucracy or the passengers. I just wish the workforce was as conscientious about what they put up here as I am.

Thank you for your concern though, Trollkiller.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is who cares who asks you for your ID! Police, cashier or TSA who cares! You people need to worry about things that really matter in this world. Being as though it is the government I am sure that everything that they are doing is legal.

Courts have struck down laws as unconstitutional in the past and will in the future as well. If the government never did anything illegal, the judicial branch would be much less necessary.


Do you people really have nothing better to do?!

Better to do? Yes. More important? I would say no. There is nothing more important than standing up for our liberties.

Also, Dean, thanks again. Not only could your fellow TSOs who post anonymously here learn a few things from you, so could the blog team.

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous said...

Bottom line is who cares who asks you for your ID! Police, cashier or TSA who cares! You people need to worry about things that really matter in this world. Being as though it is the government I am sure that everything that they are doing is legal.
Do you people really have nothing better to do?!"

Would it make you feel more secure if we all stopped posting and went away?

This is democracy at its best. A discussion of the relative merits of TSA policy. If you have a problem with that, you need to do some soul searching.

Phil said...

Kathy wrote:

"What if some of us who are critical of certain aspects of the TSA would write (or [maybe we] already have written??) [comments] that defend the TSA in a really stupid way? We would then be harming the TSA, which indirectly might force it to change."

Not a bad idea, but inflicting harm is not as compelling a goal to me as pointing out the absurdity of their practices and that of their apologists' attitudes.

Lampoon, n. Any satire ridiculing or mocking a person, activity, or institution by representing its character or behavior in an exaggerated or grotesque form; the representation may be written, filmed, or performed as a live skit, and may be intended as a severe reproach, or as good-natured humor.


"How about if those of us who are reasonably intelligent, passionate about America, and less fearful of "terrorists" than of losing our liberty, agree to ignore the foolish comments of anyone who is not with the TSA?"

I think what Kathy is getting at is, "don't feed the trolls". That's good advice. However, it's difficult to tell here whether someone is trolling (i.e, posting comments specifically to get a rise out of people) or simply a garden-variety idiot. Sometimes a calm, reasoned response to a foolish assertion that many readers may share can be informative.

"To argue with these folks is a waste of time and a distraction from the major goal: to help the TSA make some much-needed changes."

Again, I'll agree that it is sometimes a waste of time. As for "the major goal", I'm not sure it's to help TSA make changes, but to provide feedback (including constructive criticism) of the sort that they are unlikely to hear from their yes men, and also to get those people who would otherwise take whatever public relations B.S. TSA dishes out at face value to think a little deeper.

"Instead of demanding explanations, let's continue to make suggestions and point out flaws. For example, we now know that someone who refuses to show ID can fly if they cooperate in otherwise establishing their identity. So, drop that argument."

But we don't know it. Someone claiming to be a TSA agent claims he's seen a document at his work place. Until we see an official policy statement from TSA, it's just hearsay. Our government is supposed to be transparent. We must not accept this new practice of being subjected secret rules and regulations. Without access to laws we are bound to abide by, we're unable to determine whether they are constitutional. Such secrecy violates the due process of law we are guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, and without that, our other constitutional rights become unenforceable.

We want answers, and if TSA refuses to provide them, I think we should go to great lengths to publicize TSA's refusal to answer.

CBGB said...

So general assesment is blogger dean for blogger of the year?

TSA supporters, your being denounced by someone who agrees with you because your hurting your own case. You would be wise to listen to him...

Sandra said...

Anonymous said:

"Being as though it is the government I am sure that everything that they are doing is legal."

Have you read a newspaper recently?

HSVTSO Dean said...

CBGB wrote:
So general assesment is blogger dean for blogger of the year?

I'm not a Blogger, though, remember? The Bloggers are the actual members of the EoS team. I'm just here making comments like everybody else. One of the biggest differences, though, is that I'm on the inside, whereas most of the people here aren't.

Anonymous wrote:
Being as though it is the government I am sure that everything that they are doing is legal.

... :)

CBGB said...

I was just joking Dean :)

Lets just make sure nobody posts about thie blog being a failed experiment or double B (blogger Bob) will just post that on the front page and close the blog.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Phil wrote:
Someone claiming to be a TSA agent claims he's seen a document at his work place. Until we see an official policy statement from TSA, it's just hearsay.

And until there's proof of the stuff you talk about, it's just tin-hattery. Right?

Admittedly, it'd be a far more academic debate to have if the 9th didn't throw out Gilmore's Due Process claim mostly on grounds of jurisdiction.

What I can't get is an official policy statement - those are actually few and far between. Of the fifteen or twenty changes or revisions to our standard operating procedures over the years, there's only been about a half-dozen or so actual official statements made about them. (CBGB asked earlier, and I'm still in the process of assembling that information for him, but I'll get to the specifics of that one later.) This Blog here, in particular, seems to be the place where most of that is going to happen now, anyway.

Furthermore, since it seems like TSA has decided that it will no longer discuss the issue, I'm the best you got. Unless, anyway, they're gonna come out of the woodworks with a humongous post in a couple of weeks that answers every question (even Trollkiller's~) to everyone's satisfaction, which I somehow doubt is going to happen.

But just on the grounds that I'm claiming to be a TSO... well. I guess that just means I'm gonna have to write a big "Hi, Phil!" sign, date it, and have my wife take a picture of me in my uniform with it just for you.

Just wait. I'll do it. :P

p.s.: Anybody seen Winston Smith around here lately?

Anonymous said...

Simple question here.

This morning at DCA, waiting in a very slow moving TSA line, I got to the station where a TSA employee was checking boarding passes and ID´s. the family in front of me offered their boarding passes and passports. The TSA employee only looked at the adult passports. When Mom asked the employee if he needed to look at the children´s passports, he replied "Ma'am, we only require ID for passengers 18 and over" in a fairly loud voice.

So - TSA doesn´t believe that a 16 or 17 year old can be a terrorist?

Phil said...

Kathy wrote:

"Instead of demanding explanations, let's continue to make suggestions and point out flaws. For example, we now know that someone who refuses to show ID can fly if they cooperate in otherwise establishing their identity. So, drop that argument."

I responded:

"But we don't know it. Someone claiming to be a TSA agent claims he's seen a document at his work place. Until we see an official policy statement from TSA, it's just hearsay. Our government is supposed to be transparent. We must not accept this new practice of being subjected secret rules and regulations. Without access to laws we are bound to abide by, we're unable to determine whether they are constitutional. Such secrecy violates the due process of law we are guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, and without that, our other constitutional rights become unenforceable."

HSVTSO Dean responded:

"And until there's proof of the stuff you talk about, it's just tin-hattery. Right?"

Dean, you seem to have taken offense at my statements. I didn't intend to offend you. I trust what you've said as much as I would trust that which might be said by any person I bump into on the street and chat with about TSA policy.

You wrote, in a mostly-anonymous forum, that you are a low-level TSA employee, and you wrote that you have seen some TSA policy at your place of work and that you have accurately described it to us. That's not an official policy statement from TSA. It's not a written policy that we, the public, are allowed to see. At this point, it's hearsay, by which I mean that it is that which we have been told about by others but for which we have otherwise no evidence.

Kathy's assertion that we now know that someone who refuses to present credentials as requested by TSA can still be allowed to fly via commercial airline if he cooperates with government agents who attempt to determine his identity is false. That it is the case may be true, but that we know that it is the case is false. We don't know it, and in fact, the only relevant official statement available to us states otherwise: "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."

Dean, I don't know what you're referring to as "tin-hattery". Could you please explain? Most of what I've written here in the comments for TSA blog posts is related to the risks of a government restricting people's movement and to the harm that is likely to come from restricting people's liberty based on a blacklist.

Bob of the TSA blog team wrote:

"TSA doesn't have a "blacklist." We use two of the Terrorist Screening Center’s watch lists, no-fly and selectee. The no-fly is reserved for known threats to aviation, most of which are not in this country and are not exactly sitting around, waiting for a visit from any government official, U.S. or otherwise. While the exact number of "no-flys" is secret, there are many, many less than 500,000. No Ted Kennedy and other are NOT on the no-fly list. If a person truly is, they "NO FLY" get it?

"The other list is the selectee list. This list is for people that require additional screening before they fly. They fly after undergoing additional screening."


This may be accurate (though it's unclear whether when Bob says "we" he means the TSA blog team, TSA, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, or the federal government as a whole), but I don't feel that it is particularly relevant. The average person is not concerned with whether TSA maintains its own blacklists or, as Bob explained, TSA uses FBI's blacklists to determine who is allowed to travel via commercial airline, who is not allowed to do so, and who is allowed to do so only after additional harassment from TSA.

The United States government, specifically the Department of Homeland security, does blacklist people, restricting those people's liberties without due process of law.


A couple relevant definitions follow:

blacklist, n : a list of people who are out of favor [syn: black book], v : put on a blacklist so as to banish or cause to be boycotted; "many books were blacklisted by the Nazis" (WordNet 2.0)

blacklist, v. t.: To put in a black list as deserving of suspicion, censure, or punishment; esp. to put in a list of persons stigmatized as insolvent or untrustworthy, -- as tradesmen and employers do for mutual protection; as, to blacklist a workman who has been discharged. (1913 Webster)

Anonymous said...

Check out another story from a traveler who had to fly with no ID. http://tinyurl.com/5vnnbl

From the story: Brown’s ordeal didn’t end until more than an hour later, shortly before her flight took off. She was required to fill out a form, which TSA agents compared to public records to verify her identity; the Ohio Department of Motor Vehicles provided a photo of her; and she was questioned about everything from her trip to her family. Agents also reviewed a tax return she was carrying.

Travel_Medic said...

Well well well TSA is a bunch of lairs and yet again proves they cant be trusted to keep its word.

Kip you said political affiliation was out of line, but tax records is fair game. then you do this after your agents where able to look at a photo of the lady. This is a disgrace and you should not only be ashamed but you and the whole agency should be removed for your positions and deported for crimes against the constitution.

see artcle
http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2008/ju...ey/?city_local

To me this amounts to attempted identity theft.

Anonymous said...

TSA forcing you to have an id is the first step in make all state go to the "real id". There is a lot of state that do not want to waste there time and money on them. How long before they are on the black market with real or fake id's that will pass. If you need an id find a illegal alien he can get you one plus a social security card.

Anonymous said...

HSVTSO Dean asked; "Anybody seen Winston Smith around here lately?"

I think they have him in Room 101.

,>)

Anonymous said...

"Simple question here.

This morning at DCA, waiting in a very slow moving TSA line, I got to the station where a TSA employee was checking boarding passes and ID´s. the family in front of me offered their boarding passes and passports. The TSA employee only looked at the adult passports. When Mom asked the employee if he needed to look at the children´s passports, he replied "Ma'am, we only require ID for passengers 18 and over" in a fairly loud voice.

So - TSA doesn´t believe that a 16 or 17 year old can be a terrorist?"

Simple answer. I am sure a 16 and 17 year old are capable of being a terrorist. They are not adults and therefor not required to carry an ID.

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...

Simple answer. I am sure a 16 and 17 year old are capable of being a terrorist. They are not adults and therefor not required to carry an ID.


I am not required to carry ID either and I am much older than 16.

Router Bench said...

It seems to me that much of these so called security measures have no real benefit. They just make visiting the USA that much more difficult.

Surely the issue of Identification should be resolved prior to boarding, like maybe at the Visa application stage. These measures are aimed at keeping terrorists off of the flight are they not. In my country I can buy ID with any name I please if I try hard enough and I am guessing that its not impossible in most countries.

In the UK you can change identity by renting a home, getting services connected in that name. Then apply for a bank account. You are now to all intents and purposes a legitimate person. Getting a passport in that identity may be a little trickier.