Friday, July 18, 2008

Calling All Lurkers

We have about 4000 unique readers on our blog per week and only a very small percentage of those readers comment. We’d like to hear from the silent majority. You know – the lurkers.

We're going to dedicate this post to taking your top 10 questions. Ask away and on Monday at close of business, I'll begin tallying up the questions and we'll see to it that the top 10 questions are answered. We’ll try to get them all posted within a week.

Of course, these are aviation security related questions, so please don’t ask me what the meaning of life is. (42) The blog team probably doesn’t know how to fix your stove or build a suspension bridge, so save those questions for another blog.

Before all of our current commenters get their feelings hurt, we appreciate you guys and of course we want to hear from you too, so even if you’ve asked a question before, ask again if you haven’t received an answer yet.

We’ll see how this goes. This may be a good manageable way to get your questions answered 10 at a time.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

NOTE: to see comments above 200 click on the "post a comment" link to make a comment (you can view the 200+ comments from the blogger.com website). Or Click Here.

286 comments:

1 – 200 of 286   Newer›   Newest»
Phil said...

Unanswered questions, unfulfilled requests & promises, etc., from other TSA blog posts include:

1. Where is the information from a TSA SSI expert about x-ray images of Apple's latest laptop computer Bob wrote that he would provide?

2. Where are the un-doctored full frontal images created by the electronic strip search machines?

3. Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the new form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints?

4. In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?

5. Why are the reported 10 people per day who decline to show ID considered so likely to be a threat to air travel security that TSA restricted their right to travel by refusing to allow them past TSA's airport checkpoints?

6. How does the cost of this new policy of invasive interrogations at government checkpoints in airports compare to that of to the previous policy of thoroughly screening anyone who did not show ID regardless of his reasoning?

7. TSA cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport. 49 C.F.R § 1540.5 appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict?

G in Berlin said...

I don't actually have questions. I read this in order to keep up on what's happenning. As an ex-pat with kids, I really appreciate some of the changes, such as the "green" line, as we have two toddlers and lots of baggage, car seats, strollers, etc. I have seen a real change in the attitude of screeners to be more professional and helpful and we appreciate it. Last time we came back from Disney, 8 suitcases, two car seats two strollers, 4 carry ons,a backpack, a diaper bag a purse, and a swim noodle, and we were amazed at how smoothly it went. We really appreciate the addition of benches after security, so we can sit down, get everyone's shoes back on, gather laptops and stuffed animals, and regroup.

Robert Johnson said...

Is this Friday's puppy post? :D

Additionally, why has there been such a lull in postings both from TSA and submissions making the post? I KNOW there have been more than what's been posted.

Is the lurker call to fish for more cheerleaders to try to paint us regulars in a bad light?

Robert

Anonymous said...

Here's a question:

Suppose that two people go to a checkpoint, and the first one claims to have lost his ID while the second one says that he'd prefer not to show it. Can you explain why it's safe and feasible to let the first one onto the plane (after a verification and screening process) but not the second one?

Thanks.

Jim Huggins said...

I've asked this several times without an official answer. But you invited non-lurkers to ask, so I'll ask ...

Current SOP requires passengers to present ID and a boarding pass to enter the screening checkpoint. IDs are being validated to ensure that the passenger matches the ID. But IDs aren't matched against the selectee/no-fly lists; they are matched against boarding passes, which are unauthenticated. Given that it's trivially easy to forge a boarding pass, how does presentation of validated IDs do anything to ensure that people on selectee/no-fly lists don't enter the sterile area?

scim said...

Why do TSA workers mostly have to be void of common sense or kindness?

Does this organization believe that making their employees more "human" leaves them open to social engineering by terrorists?

Anonymous said...

1. How many people have to manually check in per day because of name similarities with the watch list?

2. How many people are SSSSed because of the watch list every day?

3. How many people per day are denied flight due to the no fly list?

4. What makes someone who does not want to show ID more dangerous than someone who says they lost their ID?

5. Why limit the amount of liquids, and not check for the type of liquids?

6. Why does everyone have to take their shoes off - don't the metal and trace detectors work?

7. Why can't the full body scan screeners work where the person scanned can see them?

8. Can I keep my laptop in its protective sleeve to go through the X-ray, or was that post a few days ago just to annoy us?

9. Why must liquids be in a zip-lock bag? Do zip locks contain explosions?

10. Why were my bare arms patted down? do you check for fake skin?

11. Exactly how many flights have air marshals on them?

12. When will cargo be screened reliably?

13. How can handing a person a SSSS boarding pass, then allowing them to roam freely, increase security?

14. When will all workers be screened?

15. When will this madness end??

IAH Flyer said...

1. Where is a list of the new rules related to liquids and how are they being implemented?

2. How many people have been impacted by the watch lists?

3. Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints?

4. In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?

5. Why are the reported 10 people per day who decline to show ID considered so likely to be a threat to air travel security that TSA restricted their right to travel by refusing to allow them past TSA's airport checkpoints?

6. TSA [URL="http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/enhance_id_requirements.shtm"]cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport[/URL]. [URL="http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title49/49-9.1.3.5.8.1.10.3.html"]49 C.F.R § 1540.5[/URL] appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict?

7. Where are the un-doctored full frontal images created by the new search machines?

8. Where is the information from a TSA SSI expert about x-ray images of Apple's Mac Air Bob [URL="http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/03/update-bob-screens-apple-macbook-air.html#c2205338061382415211"]wrote that he would provide[/URL]?

9. Is there are requirement for a person traveling with just one liquid item of less than 3.4 oz, for that item to be placed in a quart bag and, if so, why?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you answer the questions of the vocal minority? I mean, they ask a question and then as best we get an answer that answers nothing.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Phil's 7 questions - so I'll repeat them. They all belong in the top 10. I'll also add some of mine.

1. Why has TSA thrown out the bedrock of American democracy - "innocent until proven guilty". If someone is so dangerous as to be on the no fly list, then why are they not arrested and charged.

2. Why, when its clear that terrorist prevention is done through good intelligence work, does TSA continue to spend tons of taxpayer dollars on security that is demonstrated as not effective by your own internal tests and measurements?

3. Why has Mr Hawley started a witch hunt for / against people trying to get an objective look at TSA beyond his propaganda machine (which includes this blog!)

4 Where is the information from a TSA SSI expert about x-ray images of Apple's latest laptop computer Bob wrote that he would provide?

5 . Where are the un-doctored full frontal images created by the electronic strip search machines?

6. Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the new form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints?

7. In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?

8. Why are the reported 10 people per day who decline to show ID considered so likely to be a threat to air travel security that TSA restricted their right to travel by refusing to allow them past TSA's airport checkpoints?

9. How does the cost of this new policy of invasive interrogations at government checkpoints in airports compare to that of to the previous policy of thoroughly screening anyone who did not show ID regardless of his reasoning?

10. TSA cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport. 49 C.F.R § 1540.5 appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict?

Gunner said...

I have a simple set for you:

How many layers of approval does one of your blog posts have to go through before you are allowed to post it.

What percentage of the blog posts originated outside (marketing/PR/Legal/Management) of the blog team.

How heavily are your responses edited/reviewed.

Anonymous said...

I want the complete audit trail regarding the addition of the name [U]Drew Griffin[/U] on the terrorist watch list. I want to know who entered the name, who authorized it, and I want whoever authorized it placed under oath to detail the justification for submitting that name.

Anonymous said...

Why can a TSO refer you to secondary screening when you cooperate fully but roll your eyes at their stupid demands? I thought retaliatory screenings were banned.

Anonymous said...

How much taxpayer money (including, what, 7 people at GS-12 or GS-13) is being spent on this effort to make a completely fascist agency look like Meals on Wheels?

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of Bruce Schneier and his work in the security space - it is very enlightening to me. He is a harsh critic of the TSA. His position is that much of what the TSA does is ineffective in providing real security, done to placate the masses (IOW, security theater) and is incredibly expensive for what is provides.

Can you tell me if & why he is incorrect in his assessment of the TSA?

Tomas said...

(1) In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?

(2) When will TSA comply with the ADA and provide adequate accommodations for disabled individuals to enable compliance with the demands of TSOs? (Seating for REMOVING and putting-on shoes, safety handrails at entrance and exit of metal detectors, assistance with moving those things separated into multiple grey trays - laptop, shoes, anything metallic, liquids - to a table to be reassembled into a carryable condition for someone with cane or crutches, etc.)

(3) What percentage of passengers passing through TSA airport checkpoints are flagged as a result of the watch lists? What percentage of THOSE are prevented from flying?

(4) Why haven't previously asked questions, especially those repeatedly asked by more than one poster, been adequately answered or otherwise fully addressed?

(5) Why are IDs like my shiny new US Government Passport Card w/RFID and other enhancements not accepted for US air travel, while IDs like my current state driver's license which is much easier to get, and MUCH less verified, accepted? http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html

That's my five for now.

Tomas said...

One more, sorry!

(6) Why are "secure area" and "sterile area" so often conflated in official blog personnel responses?

sammy said...

1) I'd like to see the audit trail of CNN's Drew Griffin's name or similar name appearing on the No Fly/Selectee watchlist (or whatever it's called--don't beat around the bush and say he's not on a list entitled that or that his name isn't on there as I've seen you do in other comments/posts)

2) What is the dangerous level of liquids? If a passenger can bring say 400mLs through security, in 100mL containers, and the passenger has 4 accomplices, that's 1600mLs. If the passengers exits security then proceed back through, they could have over 3Ls. Is that enough to bring down a plane? There are so many ways around the liquid ban it's ridiculous. The passenger could also bring a few "prescriptions" or "medicines" which could help bring in more explosives.

3) Since you're so secretive about the FAM program, why not develop a better way of getting them through TSA without them walking through the exit?

Anonymous said...

Why do we have to take off our shoes and have our water bottles confiscated, when in Europe there is no requirement?

Anonymous said...

When are you going to directly answer questions we've already asked and not give us the already canned answer that you posted on the blog?

Anonymous said...

I will tell you why most of us “lurkers” don’t post, or at least my opinion of why.

I and most of my co-workers that are screening officer find the majority of posts on the blog to be inflammatory or derogatory to what we do. A pretty good number of us believe that we are doing our part to keep our country safe. No, we are not that special compared to the other services out there.

I don’t post because I don’t want to be flamed, I get enough of that at the checkpoint, people yelling and screaming at you over a left over tube of toothpaste, whispering profanity at us because we asked them to remove their shoes (which we have to do, or we could be fired for not performing a required security procedure).

Honestly this is the only job I have ever had where some one could just short of assault you and then actually have a good chance of citing their right to fly and immediately skip town!

Scott said...

I do not have a question either, but would rather like to lend my support to the Blogger Team. They set this blog in motion, hoping to receive feedback that could help bring problems and ideas to the forefront. However, what they got was people turning an opportunity to expand on issues into a laundry list of grievances.

People respond to this blog angrily when they don’t get their questioned answered, but don’t make the connection of why their questions aren’t being answered. It is how you ask the questions. On this blog, people are given the change to say, “I don’t agree with that…” or “This might work better if…” But if you say, “Well that’s stupid!” people are not going to take your seriously.

For example, let say you are going to the bank to deposit a check. You are in line with a gentleman standing in front of you. A teller finishes with another customer and signals the gentleman to come forward. He advances and tells her that he would like to cash his check. She begins the transaction informing him that due to a new bank policy, cashing a check will cost $0.25. The gentleman begins to flip out, screaming at her, saying that he didn’t agree to this and that it is his money and he can do with it what he pleases. He then leans forward demanding to know who came up with such an idiotic policy.

Is the teller just supposed to just stand there with a smile on her face? Is she obligated to answer every single one of his questions not matter how insulting they may be? Think how mean and uncivilized that gentleman comes across by blasting his negativity all across the room. A policy was implemented that he didn’t like and rather than walking out or asking for the manager, he stood there making a scene.

I not saying people don’t have the right to free speech, nor am I saying don’t post. We need opposing opinions; opposing opinions are what allow an issue to evolve. What I am saying is think about how you formulate your questions.

If you try to talk about a policy you don’t agree with by saying, “TSA’s intrusive procedures,” then you have already biased your whole question. It would be as if a news reporters reporting on a gay pride parade, by started his report with, “The immoral homosexuals marched again today…” People would be in an uproar. He would be fired before he could finish his report.

So, the point of all this is, venting angrily and then expecting a response is no different than swearing in the bank or showing your bias on the news. Just badmouthing something constantly won’t change anything or make it go away. Ask questions in a neutral or even (gasp) pleasant tone and the odds of you receive a serious response will increase.

Just something to think about…

Anonymous said...

Unanswered questions, unfulfilled requests & promises, etc., from other TSA blog posts include:

1. Where is the information from a TSA SSI expert about x-ray images of Apple's latest laptop computer Bob wrote that he would provide?

2. Where are the un-doctored full frontal images created by the electronic strip search machines?

3. Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the new form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints?

4. In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?

5. Why are the reported 10 people per day who decline to show ID considered so likely to be a threat to air travel security that TSA restricted their right to travel by refusing to allow them past TSA's airport checkpoints?

6. How does the cost of this new policy of invasive interrogations at government checkpoints in airports compare to that of to the previous policy of thoroughly screening anyone who did not show ID regardless of his reasoning?

7. TSA cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport. 49 C.F.R § 1540.5 appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict?

8. Why has TSA restarted the pointless gate screening? If the sterile area is in fact sterile, there's no need to screed those who have already been screened.

9. Why has this blog declined to mention the resumption of gate screening?

Anonymous said...

What does a person have to do so as to have their luggage arrive secured?

Don't feed me the crap of using TSA approved locks.

Given that the screening process is a near random roll of the dice (i.e. we don't do that here. Everyone else is wrong.). What is TSA doing to have some semblance of rational thought processes behind screening?

When will TSOs consistanly treat passengers and their belongings decently?

When is the last curtain call on security theater?

Is a watermelon a solid?

Tired Citizen said...

Please explain and defend the logic of preventing pilots from carrying airline issue cutlery on board: http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2006/09/15/askthepilot201/

I'm sure there's many more dangerous things a pilot could do to/with an airplane.

I dare you to answer it seriously, and defend your position. But I doubt you can or will.

Cerulean Bill said...

Here's mine, which I know echo others --

a - what good does the 'no fly' list do? Have ANY bombers, terrorists, nasties been caught as a result?

b - how do you get OFF the terrorist watch list? What I hear sounds like yabba yabba yabba you don't yabba yabba.

c - do idiots like those nipple ring checkers in Texas get fired? Please say they do.

Steven said...

You guys are doing a great job considering the barrage that 'anonymous' brings through every time there's a new post.

CBGB said...

0)Given that you guys take the weekends off why are you only giving people 1-ish days to hit tihs, I plan on auditing your questions I think your intentionally avoiding this by creating a weekend black hole of comments over the weekends.

1) does your post mean we should post anonymously and not as often to get questions answered?

2)Why don't you answer the questions already posed before asking for more?

3)Why do your answers to questions miss the entire point of the question?

4)can we clone Dean?

5)why do your policies differ between the blog and the airport?

6)Why do you have access to my political affiliation?

7)why do yo uhave a consistent pattern of certifying positive comments before negative ones?

8)Why haven't you answered Trollkillers very specific questions about the obvious illegality of the new ID program

9)Do you really believe that all states plan on instituting REAL ID?

10)Will you respond to the corrections we will inevitably have to make to your answers

Anonymous said...

1) What logical sense does it make to xray a ziploc bag full of liquids, when xrays are incapable of distinguishing the volatility of liquids?
2) What is the logic for xraying shoes to detect explosives (see question #1)?
3) What is the logic in requiring photo ID at checkpoints (especially for domestic travel), when TSA "officers" are not even capable of finding my last name correctly on said document?
4) Other than window dressing and additional expense, what is the rationale for TSA's new uniforms, and elevating their title to "officer" for screeners?
5) If the strategy at play is discretion, why do air marshalls, flight deck officers, and other firearm-carrying individuals draw inordinate attention to themselves by entering airports through the exit lanes, and continue to board flights early?
6) Besides "another layer," what possible benefit do random gate screenings have on aviation security?

Jay said...

Many people do not take time to express their views, even if they have some views. It is like citizens do not go for voting when there is an election at their country. Not necessarily all citizen do vote.

Gene said...

1. how many people on the No Fly List keep trying to fly? Do they think some airports are easier than others?

2. If they're on the No Fly List, why don't you arrest them on the spot and send them to one of our secret prisons for rendition?

3. If you could get one message across to the public that would speed up processing for all of us, what would it be?

4. How are the "ski slope" lines working? black diamond=seasoned vets, green=first time fliers ...

9091 said...

Why do we have to take off our shoes and have our water bottles confiscated, when in Europe there is no requirement?


This always makes me laugh. Do you assume that those of us at TSA don't travel to Europe? I always hear the, well in Europe they don't blah blah blah.

Both times I have traveled to Europe, with two stops on the way I had to go through the exact same process there as I do here. Take off my shoes, remove my laptop from my bag, and remove my jacket. Both times, both within the last year, at two airports there and two airports back, AND to top it all off one airport was in a country that was part of the EU and the other was not.

Jim Huggins said...

Scott wrote:

People respond to this blog angrily when they don’t get their questioned answered, but don’t make the connection of why their questions aren’t being answered. It is how you ask the questions.

With all due respect ... I've been asking my same question (about validating boarding passes) repeatedly over the last month, and every time I've asked the question, I've done so respectfully and courteously. And I haven't gotten so much as an official acknowledgment of the question (other than, I suppose, the fact that my posts have been approved by the blog team).

At this point, I'd be thrilled if I even got a posting from Blogger Bob that said "Jim, you've asked a valid question, and we don't have a good answer for you yet." Silence is hard to interpret; I don't know if the staff can't answer my question, doesn't understand my question, or is actively ignoring my question.

It has been my observation that much of the disrespect here comes out of frustration. A number of bloggers start by asking respectful questions ... but when those questions aren't answered or acknowledged, they repeat the question, and when they aren't answered again, frustration builds. I suppose you could fault the bloggers for not having infinite patience ... but I wouldn't.

For a forum which is supposed to be an interaction between the TSA and the general public, IMHO, there hasn't been much interaction. Lately, it seems like what we get is a TSA-sponsored initial posting, followed by lots of general-public reactions ... but very little official TSA response to the reactions, which could lead to further reactions, and so on. It's not a dialog.

Now, granted, it's probably not reasonable to have a dialogue with 4000 people. But if it's really the case (as some on the blog team have said) that posting to the blog is an added, uncompensated duty for the blog team, it would seem that promoting dialog isn't a high priority for the TSA. (If it was, they'd give the blog team time to work on it, and hire more staff to due the other stuff. Budgeting shows priorities.)

And this is supposed to be about questions ... so I'll ask a new one ...

What does the TSA brass think about this blog? How is this blog affecting the way TSA thinks about policies, procedures, & passengers? What's been the biggest surprise?

Anonymous said...

I don't understand the REAL ID stuff and how/why it is going to be the only accepted form of ID for flight. I hope this question makes sense.

TSO # 3 said...

1. Since we are at Threat Level Yellow, or Elevated does that mean if the threat level rose would we have to ban or not allow all liquids through the SIDA?


2. In contrast, if it was possible that they lowered the Threat level, would we allow larger size liquids to enter?


3. With rising fuel prices and certain airplane companies losing money, will DHS/TSA work w/ the airport/ airlines to limit or create an allowed size on passenger's carry-on luggage?
I know some airports still have the bag measure.

Anonymous said...

Does this mean you have so much time on your hands you can actually start answering questions that have already been asked? ...like why there was no public comment period for your new regulations?

Kathy said...

1. Can laptops now remain in protective sleeves if those sleeves already meet the new "check-point friendly" requirements? If not, why the delay?

2. How does checking boarding passes against IDs prevent someone on the no-fly list from flying, given that neither the boarding pass (which could easily be a fake) nor the ID are checked against the no-fly list?

Anonymous said...

9091 said: "Both times I have traveled to Europe, with two stops on the way I had to go through the exact same process there as I do here. Take off my shoes, remove my laptop from my bag, and remove my jacket. Both times, both within the last year, at two airports there and two airports back, AND to top it all off one airport was in a country that was part of the EU and the other was not."

The last time I flew from an airport in Europe I was asked if I was going to the USA. I answered no and was allowed to go through security without taking off my shoes, or taking out liquids and my laptop. The guy behind me was submitted to a US-style search because he was going to the US. Best of all was that my boarding pass was not checked by the officer who asked me where I was going, and I was in the same terminal as flights going to the US. They trusted me, and it felt great! I will take trust and decency in the place of "security theater" any day.

Physicow said...

Ello. I'm in favour of the diamond lanes. I went to visit a friend while I was stuck in MSP, and then had to get back in. MSP has the diamond lane, and I was the only one in line (as opposed to the long line over on the other line). Awesome. :)

Anonymous said...

I had a TSA agent tell me that each airport is free to implement security standards beyond those listed on the TSA site -- meaning that they could restrict items from being allowed in carry-on baggage that are explicitly allowed according to the TSA site. If this is true, how are travelers expected to properly plan for their trips?

HSVTSO Dean said...

I tried to promise myself that I wouldn't comment in this thread, simply because I was going to wait and see if Bob keeps his promise to give more official-seeming answers to people's questions.

But I couldn't resist this one.

Gene wrote:
3. If you could get one message across to the public that would speed up processing for all of us, what would it be?

Please, in the name of all that is holy to any religion anywhere on the face of the earth, read the signs!

By and large, most people would be able to breeze through the checkpoint with a minimum of delays if they followed the signs - some of the basic ones include jackets off, laptops out, shoes off, their Freedom Bags (that's what they're called, I think) out, etc etc.

This particular situation happened at the checkpoint in Huntsville sometime last year. Woman's bag came through the x-ray and she hadn't removed her laptop computer. The screener informed her that he would have to take it back to the front to remove the laptop and run the computer and the bag back through the x-ray seperate from one another. For some reason, this upset her.

(paraphrased)
Woman: Nobody told me I had to take my laptop computer out of it's bag!
Screener: Ma'am, we have nineteen signs and a video. If you didn't get it by now [the time she reached the checkpoint] there's not much we can do.

And, yes, sometimes the signs aren't entirely accurate (such as any of the ones that still say the allowable size of LGAs is 3.0 instead of 3.4), and some of them disagree (we have one, much older, sign that says screeners may recommend the removal of shoes, and two more further up that state all shoes have to come off, period) but, generally speaking, I'll be willing to bet that most of them are on the money.

That's just my own personal thing, though. Maybe Bob has a different message he would really like to get across the flying public.

p.s.: CBGB, I'm in the process of writing up that thing I promised for you. It's going to end up being a big list of mostly trivial stuff, with only a couple ringers on it that you're already familiar with; it's just time-consuming.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, it seems that at least 90% of these posters are the same "Alex Jones guys" as always...

Lurkers speak up!

Bob Eucher said...

Here are my questions:

1. What makes the people on the "no-fly list" so dangerous? If they are searched for any type of weapons, what do you think they may do, if allowed to fly?

2. How are the approx 10 people a day, that you do not allow to fly, compensated for missing their flight that they paid for?

3. What immediate measures can a person take when encountering a less than friendly TSA agent? Filling out a complaint form, does not address the issue immediately where it can be corrected on the spot.

4. Why is the "complaint form" SSI?
It states at the bottom: "WARNING: This document contains Sensitive Security Information....".
Is it SSI when blank, filled in, or both. If any of the above, can I get in trouble for having this form?

5. How does the mandatory ID check REALLY enhance security?

6. Why must we do a juggling act at the check-points. Holding on to our boarding pass/ID, trying to take off shoes, belts, etc, getting our kippy bags out, trying to watch all our belongings, etc.

7. When will TSA take FULL responsibility for items stolen from our checked bags? You know there are thieves among the ranks, yet you take no responsibility.

8. Please comment on why the CNN reporter, Drew Griffin, has been added to the no-fly list or has been targeted for his speaking out against the TSA and DHS.

9. Are you REALLY going to answer our questions with REAL answers?

10. I have heard several times that TSA purposely keeps the rules and procedures at the check points confusing, so as to keep the terrorists confused. Is this true?

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...

Posts on this blog claim that citizens traveling by air who decline to show ID will not be permitted to fly, even if they are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations about one's political beliefs and personal finances. A commenter on this blog, claiming to be a TSO named Dean, says this is not the case, and that anyone willing to be interrogated by TSA will be allowed to fly whether they have lost their ID or decline to show their ID. Two questions:

1. What is the real TSA policy, that posted on this blog by TSA's bloggers, or that stated in the comments by Dean?

2. If the policy is, in fact, that described by Dean, why did TSA use this blog to lie about its own policies?

Anonymous said...

Why is TSA more unpopular than the IRS?

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...

I, too, would like to know how Drew Griffin got on the watch list. The whole thing smacks of retribution.

Tim said...

Why don't I have the same experience throughout the different airports across the country in regards to the TSA. For example, you've said that airports and airlines controlled the process pre-9/11. From my perspective there are stark differences between the fairness and equity of the screening process between airports. Why doesn't the TSA step up and make everything uniform to give everybody the same experience (and get rid of 3rd party favoritism)?

Has the TSA considered a 'safe travelers' program for those willing to undergo government background checks to be cleared, so they can get through security lines quicker? Yes, many people on this blog will find that intrusive, but knowing that the government is going to do what they will do - I'd rather accept it and have myself cleared and have background checks, etc. Should would make my traveling easier. I honestly don't care if the government knows I'm a clean citizen. Airport/airline employees get background checks and can move through quicker, why can't we?

Extra security is somethign we're going to have to live for rest of our lives, 13 men made sure of that on 9/11 - I honestly don't care - when you look at other countries we are still pretty lax in the grand scheme of things.

Why won't the government make it easier?

Why won't people accept some simple things like as luggage checks and having a valid ID? For gosh sakes, I don't even know why you wouldn't mind showing that you're a valid american citizen. honestly, I didn't even know I could get by (in the airport) without one before June 30th...

Wintermute said...

A couple of questions, some new and some old:

What is the difference between someone who respectfully refuses to show ID but is otherwise cooperative and someone who claims to have lost their ID?

If Dean's answer to the above is the same as the official one, and there is no difference, why hasn't anyone from the blog team answered in the same manner?

Trollkiller has questioned the legality of the ID check much better than I can articulate it. Please refer to his many attempts at getting an answer, and add "ditto" from me.

Why the call for questions from the silent majority when you still have answered very few from the vocal minority?

Will blogger Christopher ever apologize for his snarky post which took the vocal minority's comments out of context in order to paint us in a bad light?

Will the answers you provide actually follow the questions you are answering? For example:

Q: What is the difference between someone who respectfully refuses to show ID but is otherwise cooperative and someone who claims to have lost their ID?

A: We think ID is important.


Regardless of legality or constitutionality, how does knowing someone's identity make the flight more secure if the TSA has thoroughly screened everyone to begin with?

Do your BDOs watch the pilots, air marshals, TSOs and other inside threats, or just the traveling public?

How does the blog team feel about their supporters within the comments who resort to childish name-calling of their critics?

I have more, I'm sure...

Tomas said...

...
(7) Is the TSA Complaint Form available on-line as a printable PDF, and if not, why not?

(8) Why doesn't TSA consider items being stolen from checked bags a security threat? Dangerous items could just as easily be ADDED to luggage...

(9) If I have a good enough background to get a TS clearance in the military, why am I treated like a criminal or prisoner by the TSA just to travel?

Bill Harshaw said...

I haven't flown this century (now retired). I'm assuming, as you all are great at Internet things, you have a web page giving me the lowdown on what I need to know when I do muster the nerve/money to fly.

Kathy said...

Anonymous said... (July 19, 2008 1:19 PM)

Posts on this blog claim that citizens traveling by air who decline to show ID will not be permitted to fly, even if they are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations about one's political beliefs and personal finances. A commenter on this blog, claiming to be a TSO named Dean, says this is not the case, and that anyone willing to be interrogated by TSA will be allowed to fly whether they have lost their ID or decline to show their ID. Two questions:

1. What is the real TSA policy, that posted on this blog by TSA's bloggers, or that stated in the comments by Dean?

2. If the policy is, in fact, that described by Dean, why did TSA use this blog to lie about its own policies?


OK, time for another request that those of us in the vocal minority take the moral high road and use some diplomacy here.

There are effective and ineffective ways to debate and argue; accusing the other party of lying is not any list of "effective tools" I've ever seen. That behavior only results in the other party getting more defensive and less cooperative.

I know a lot of folks on here want to see "proof" and want the TSA to publicly confess all their sins, but that is simply not realistic. Our current administration doesn't play by those rules, so even if we ask for proof a thousand times, we will never get it. The most we can hope for is for changes to be made quietly and behind the scenes.

We also have to find pockets of trustworthy information and make the best use of them. I see no reason to doubt Dean's word that he is a TSO; I trust and respect him. No, he is not an official spokesperson, but he's as good as we'll get. Questioning his integrity is worse than pointless, it's downright insulting.

Imagine, if you will, the kind of unofficial diplomacy we practiced with Cuba, China, and the USSR in years past. Working through unofficial channels behind the scenes is often the most effective way to influence one's adversary.

On this particular question, I firmly believe that the TSA changed its policy. Originally those who refused to show ID were going to be denied entry regardless of their willingness to cooperate. At some point the TSA realized this policy made no sense, so they changed it. No, they didn't lie. They changed their mind. And I think hell will freeze over before they admit any of this.

I also think it is pointless to continue asking what "official TSA policy" is, because it's a moving target. If we force the issue and demand a public statement of policy, then they probably will be disinclined ever to revise that policy again -- a big mistake!

As I said in a previous post, I think our goal here should be to encourage positive change on the part of the TSA. We can't fix all the other problems in our government or our society, but this is definitely an opportunity to influence one small piece of it.

Dunstan said...

I have a couple:
1)Why doesn't TSA work with the packaging industry within the US to produce verifiable sealed drink, toiletry, and other containers for the traveler? This would go a long way to reduce tossing harmless items during checkpoint transit.

2) why doesn't TSA use and provide seals for check-in luggage to prevent theft or the addition of hazardous items to passenger's baggage?

Sam Levine said...

I apologize if I sound like I've been under a rock for the past 7 years, but...

Does the TSA use any technology more advanced than a dog to detect dangerous chemicals, explosive devices or nuclear material on passengers?

If not, how expensive would it be to start screening for these kinds of things at an airport? Would it need to be any more invasive or time consuming than the screening currently performed?

Rachel said...

I am a lurker because I am a TSO officer trying to find out how to improve my abilites in screening the public while also keeping them happy (at least as happy as I can, considering the circumstances!). while reading the comments can get downright depressing, I still come back for each new post.

I will be interested in seeing which questions get answered!


-TSO Rachel, ORF

Sandra said...

RE: Dean

I honestly believe that Dean is a "plant" who has been given authority by the TSA to answer some of the questions that the TSA, for whatever reason, does not wish to answer.

Had Dean posted on FT as he does here, the TSA would be gunning for him as they have others from the TSA, as well as CATSA, who have posted frankly on FT.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Here I go again. This one turned out to be a lot longer than I meant it to be. Oh where, oh where, did my lunch break go...?

Anonymous wrote:
1. What is the real TSA policy, that posted on this blog by TSA's bloggers, or that stated in the comments by Dean?

2. If the policy is, in fact, that described by Dean, why did TSA use this blog to lie about its own policies?


Okay. Here it comes:

When the bloggers first put up the original statement about the travel document checking policies, it was accurate and, as of that time, the policy in place.

Fast forward a week. Maybe two - the exact timeline escapes me just at the moment - and a nice new little security directive comes out revising it. And it includes a flow chart.

They didn't lie about their own policies, Mr. Anonymous. What they said was true - at the time. It was revised, and the very day it was revised was when I wrote my first comment about it, laying out everything for all the world to see (while observing the SSI requirements; ah, what a masterpiece!).

Hell, not five minutes before I started writing it was when we had finished the re-training of the new policy, and the new procedures were to take effect immediately.

Or, to use a lot less words...

Kathy wrote:
Originally those who refused to show ID were going to be denied entry regardless of their willingness to cooperate. At some point the TSA realized this policy made no sense, so they changed it. No, they didn't lie. They changed their mind.

Which is the nutshell version of it.

I see no reason to doubt Dean's word that he is a TSO

I swear, one day I'll get some pictures made. The nameplate, me in the uniform, my government ID. At the very least, it'll stop this "claiming to be" spiel.

Thank you though, Ms. Kathy. :)

Questioning his integrity is worse than pointless, it's downright insulting.

And now, on a more personal note...

Something Phil said in another thread, about how it seemed as if I was offended that he said I might not be a TSO - I was. Many years ago, I took an oath that I hold to this day. While many provisions of that oath are no longer applicable just because the context of my life has changed, the third segment of that oath is still something I live up to, to this day, even though it's been almost twelve years since I first took that oath.

The third article is "I will not lie, cheat, or steal."

(Incidentally, it was not one of the ones that had "nor tolerate those who do" tacked onto the end of it.)

A high standard to live up to, I'll admit, but it's served me well enough throughout the bulk of my adult life (I took this oath at 14), and anyone that knows me personally knows that my word is as good as it gets, because it came from me.

So, yeah, I was offended with that whole "claiming to be..." thing. I've gotten over it, now. You guys don't know me personally, I've come to accept that, and I suffer impingement against my honor a little better now than I did when Phil first did it.

Okay, I promise this time, no more comments from me on this one about any of these questions. I'm gonna let the bloggers take care of business since Bob said they'd make the effort to get these questions asked.

Unless someone asks me a direct question, anyway, I suppose. Then I guess I'd have to respond. :P

Anonymous said...

How come you sometimes see policemen or TSA men stopping passengers and checking passports in the hallways leading to arrivals? The twice I've seen it they were very brash and unbecoming to all passengers.

GI said...

Here are mine:

Where are the full frontal pictures of the virtual strip machine? Bob said they would be OK for the Kindergarten!

How many bad people have you caught with your dozens of layers of security? Please tell me the exact number AND how many of them are accused to have planned/started a terrorist attack. When does the trials start?

Why didn't you (seriously) answer all the valid questions that were asked before?

How many people run this blog?

Why do we have to trust your words without any evidence? (See virtual strip machine OK for Kindergarten but no evidence, no way to save the pictures -> no evidence instead you trust the manufacture of the machine and so on....)

Why do you rely on the airlines to check their costumers to the no fly list? They have a legitimate business interest to sell their tickets.

How many hours of training do you train your screeners, yellers (joke), xray operators, supervisors and bag checkers? Please be exact on this one too, e.g. 20h of identifying an xray images, 10h of customer care and so on....
Is there training like customer care? Tell us what is the stuff they learn there.

From which companies/sources you get the sensible informations for the "lost" ID interview?
Do you have a contract with these companies / sources?

How many TSA managers have second jobs at any contractor related to the TSA? Do you check for corruption?

When do you start to set up sterile areas for the other 18.000 airports in the US?

Do you take improvement advises from you staff? Which ones gave you a try?

Since your organization is called TSA -> Transport....
when do you address to secure the transportation via bus, car, ship, train to the standards like the ones now in air travel?

When do you begin to start screening all cargo that is transported in the same plane under the passengers you screened?

If there is a new administration next year do you think that some managers of the TSA are going to be replaced? If you don't think so tell us why.

It is very quite now about this red team blue team thingy, are there no more tests like that? Is the number of dangerous items that are not detected still the same/worse/better?

That's it so far....

I would be happy if you answer at least 50% of the questions asked by all the posters.

Thank you for screening bags and persons for dangerous items to make us safer, but not for everything else!

GI

Anonymous said...

When the bloggers first put up the original statement about the travel document checking policies, it was accurate and, as of that time, the policy in place.

Fast forward a week. Maybe two - the exact timeline escapes me just at the moment - and a nice new little security directive comes out revising it. And it includes a flow chart.

They didn't lie about their own policies, Mr. Anonymous. What they said was true - at the time. It was revised, and the very day it was revised was when I wrote my first comment about it, laying out everything for all the world to see (while observing the SSI requirements; ah, what a masterpiece!).


Thing is, Dean, we have only your say-so that this is the case. And while I don't think you're lying, don't you think it's a bit odd that, given how loudly TSA trumpeted the new policy on this very blog, they have not said one single thing to clarify the matter here -- even though this blog ostensibly exists for the interchange of ideas between TSA and citizens it serves. The matter demands an official clarification from TSA, not just the report of a single TSO in comment #37 or whatever it is on a post somewhere. And that is, in fact, what the question you're talking about is asking TSA to do. So what's the problem?

Anonymous said...

I had a question for the regular posters.

I know a lot of you have many issues w/ the liquids policy.

I had a question or example. 10 people fly each w/ their own quart size bag, w/ 3 bottles of 3 fl oz.

So that's what 30 bottles of x liquid. Maybe the liquid is alcohol, Grey Goose or Absolut. Let's even add further I have 1 emtpy bottle/ glass bottle of H20, say we pour all that Alcohol into the bottle. All I would need then is a piece of cloth and a lighter right. Instant Molotov Cocktail.

I guess TSA liquids rule is kind of bad. Would it be better if TSA just banned and refused all liquids? I mean, then you wouldn't have to worry about having you're liquids thrown away, you could check everything, just like you can now.

So, all of those expensive perfume/ cologne bottles won't go to waste, you're shiraz wines will be safe.

Anonymous said...

tomas said:
(9) If I have a good enough background to get a TS clearance in the military, why am I treated like a criminal or prisoner by the TSA just to travel?

It isn't about you're background, I've worked for Northrup Grumman for 10 years under a TS security clearence, Army for a about 10 years, and am now on my 5th year at TSA.

You shouldn't be treated like a criminal nor a prisoner. However, when you go through airports do you expect something bad to go wrong?

A lot of passengers who come through such as the SSSS passengers say they go through this everytime. You might go through it some 100 times, but how many people do you think we screen?

I respect the military and their contributions they give to us, America. But some people don't, some screeners are grouches to anyone they meet.

Honestly, if their was a quicker & more efficient way to screen people, I would go for that. Do people think we enjoy touching you up? I don't enjoy it. If technology gave us better tools or if we actually utilized those tools then I would use them.

CBGB said...

What number of TSA screeners have pased background checks and later been found to have felony convictions?

What testing is done to standardize procedures between airports beyond written SOPs?

What is the penalty for screeners who violate policies, how about the second time? third? etc?

Can you comment on the strange correlation between TSA/DHS terror warnings and other newsworthy events as documented by Rollingstone magazine among others?

Anonymous said...

I would have to think that the passenger that ultimately stripped naked on the AA BOS-LAX flight must have exhibited (poor choice of words)some "strangeness" in the terminal prior to boarding. Will the TSA review the video of the screening area to determine if the BDO may have missed something.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Sandra wrote:
I honestly believe that Dean is a "plant" who has been given authority by the TSA to answer some of the questions that the TSA, for whatever reason, does not wish to answer.

You would be mistaken, too.

The difference between my own posts, and the posts that others do elsewhere, is that I take a very, very keen sense of mind to the strictures of SSI. It's a delicate dance, but so far I've been able to do it well enough to not have any terrible things happen to me.

The only authority I have as far as TSA is concerned is writing up weekly inventories for our consumable supplies, since I'm the schlep that they landed in charge of that here in Huntsville.

Anonymous said...

I guess I am a "lurker", however I used to be a "commenter" early on but the lack of meaningful feedback was disheartening. I certainly appreciate the small percentage of active commenters as they challenge the TSA, and the governement, on a regular basis and keep you/them on your toes. But alas many of those direct questions continue to go unanswered.

Let's see how you avoid the valid questions asked by many people in this post that have been repeatedly asked before but have been ignored.

arikb said...

The reason why I'm subscribed is that as a frequent traveler I want to keep abreast with whatever you guys decide to put me through.

The reason why I am a lurker is that my mom told me that if I don't have something good to say, I should keep my mouth shut. It's not like I'm going to make any change to your policies.

-- Arik

Anonymous said...

Why are snow globes of any size not permitted past the checkpoint?

Anonymous said...

Similar to other \"lurkers\"...

1) Why x-ray a ziploc bag full of liquids, when x-rays are incapable of distinguishing the volatility of liquids?

2) Having traveled abroad, the Japanese have been using devices to screen liquids for several years. Why has DHS not employed those devices... and don\'t say \"coz they don\'t meet our spec\" as nothing ever meets govm\'t specs.

3) I am also curious, who/ what agency added Drew Griffin, to the no-fly list.

4) Why do checkpoints NEVER have complaint forms when we ask for them? Is the TSA Complaint Form available on-line as a printable PDF, and if not, why not?

5) Why is the new US Government Passport Card w/RFID not an accepted ID for US air travel, while less secure IDs such as state driver\'s license are accepted?

6) Why can\'t screeners in the US \"talk\" to us at the checpoint vs \"yell\" at us to take off coats, have BP\'s out, etc. The screeners at the European, African, Asian airports I\'ve been through don\'t have to \"yell\" ...

7) Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the new form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints?

8) Why the re-start of gate screening? Is the sterile area not \"sterile\" anymore?

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

tomas said...

(5) Why are IDs like my shiny new US Government Passport Card w/RFID and other enhancements not accepted for US air travel, while IDs like my current state driver's license which is much easier to get, and MUCH less verified, accepted? http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html


That's the State Department's decision, not us.

Personally, I'd like for us to accept it, as it is a government issued ID.

However, we can't even form a consensus on our internal forum/wiki, the IdeaFactory were we toss out of new ideas for the TSA upper-levels too look at it. On a side note, a lot of our comments on there are just as sarcastic and witty as you blog posters. ;) We have a sense of humor too you know. Probably better then the EoS team :P Sorry guys!

But I can say, Web 2.0's social networking and user interaction concepts are a good fit for the TSA, the blog here for the public to interact with us and the IdeaFactory were we share ideas among each other.

Anyways, I am a lurker (a TSO lurker!) so here's my questions.

1) Guys, why are you ignoring some of the nice passengers questions that they've been harking on constantly, one of our priorities is customer service, it's not a top priority but is a priority.

2) So we're gonna get the cool new advanced X-rays here at BOS, cool! But when will get to where the nice new blue uniforms? They've been sitting in my closet for a while, gathering dust... plus, I can't wait for the metal badge so I can assert my "authority" on the 60' x 60' area that is our checkpoint and gain the "respect" of passengers!

3) When we get these newfangled liquid container screeners (didn't we that try once before already?) does that mean the 3-1-1 will be gone for good and for the most part that most of the Internet will stop hating us, aside from that whole ID thing?

Thanks guys!

HSVTSO Dean said...

Anonymous wrote:
Thing is, Dean, we have only your say-so that this is the case. And while I don't think you're lying, don't you think it's a bit odd that, given how loudly TSA trumpeted the new policy on this very blog, they have not said one single thing to clarify the matter here -- even though this blog ostensibly exists for the interchange of ideas between TSA and citizens it serves.

A much better way of saying it. And, yeah, I'm wondering at their silence on the matter, myself. Ever since the first thing on the changes to the TDC policy went up, I've been scratching my head wondering about the sudden silence (relative to their interactivity in earlier threads) of the blog team.

The matter demands an official clarification from TSA...

I agree! All it'd take is Bob (since I like him the best out of the whole EoS team) taking a glance at the nifty little flow chart (which makes it so you don't even have to read the whole thing anymore) and then write "Yep, Dean's right!" and be done with it.

But, strangely like I said above, most of the EoS team seems to have gotten a case of kittens attacking their tongues.

Anonymous said...

Have you considered how to modify airport security if the unlikely possibility of a zombie outbreak comes to pass? How would you insure that infected individuals, attempting to flee from infestations, remain off airplanes? How would infestations in / attacks on airports be dealt with?

Gunner said...

Poster Scott asked:
Is the teller just supposed to just stand there with a smile on her face? Is she obligated to answer every single one of his questions not matter how insulting they may be? Think how mean and uncivilized that gentleman comes across by blasting his negativity all across the room. A policy was implemented that he didn’t like and rather than walking out or asking for the manager, he stood there making a scene.

I work in a major US financial institution, and the answer to that question is Yes. The teller, regardless of gender, is supposed to patiently and politely listen to the customer (no matter how upset the customer is) and if they are unable to personally resolve the customer's issue, they are to personally escalate that customer's concern to the next higher manager in the chain fo command.

The massive difference is that the person behind the counter is assumed to be intelligent enough to interpret and apply the rule, to determine if they fit the particular situation, and within certain guidelines, make a judgment call, not just blindly follow the instructions. Further, the bank employee is not allowed to freeze the customer funds because the customer called them a bad name or questioned their lack of parentage.

Randy said...

Why can't TSA develop a ID that has the same information on both sides so that pax can easily see the screener's name and ID #. It sometimes seems that ths SPO is for screeners to wear their ID's so pax can not ID the screener . . . the metal nametags are hard to read under some of the lighting conditions at checkpoints.

I wear ortho shoes and screening staffers do not all know it is OK for me to keep them on. Even more troubling is the variations in the screening after I clear the WTMD without alarming it. Why don't screeners know the SOP? Or, is the SOP totally variable?

If my CPAP is out of the bag and xrayed, why is it also swabbed for explosives? Is that the process for laptops?

Why do screeners get offended when I ask them to change thier gloves before touching me or my possessions?

Tomas said...

(10) When an incorrect (or even just "no longer correct") statement is made by the TSA on this blog, why isn't it corrected ASAP. (Things like the differentiation between "lost ID" and "rather not show ID" being changed back to comply with Gilmore, or the misstatement that the checkpoint area is a federal reservation.)

OK, that's it, I tossed out my own personal ten questions, put my name on 'em and took responsibility for 'em.

I'd be very pleased if someone at TSA with intelligent and factual answers would do the same with the answers...

Considering that is the purported reason for this blog, I don't believe that is too much to ask.

Eric said...

Huh? The passport card isn't valid for air travel? I thought it was.

(And this shouldn't count as one of the 10 btw.)

Tomas said...

tomas said:
(9) If I have a good enough background to get a TS clearance in the military, why am I treated like a criminal or prisoner by the TSA just to travel?

Anonymous said...
It isn't about you're background, I've worked for Northrup Grumman for 10 years under a TS security clearence, Army for a about 10 years, and am now on my 5th year at TSA.

You shouldn't be treated like a criminal nor a prisoner.


I agree. :o)

Even though I've never been arrested, it is my understanding that the booking process bears an amazing similarity to a TSA checkpoint...

Remove one's outerwear, shoes, jewelery, belt, hat, empty one's pockets, hand over identification, hand over any mobility aids, then pass through a metal detector, be wanded or searched, and I should be ready for incarceration...or travel to the other side of my state.

Add in the near future the high-tech full body scans and it is even more thorough than being booked for a crime and imprisoned.

Hmmmmmmmm... Only thing missing is fingerprinting.

Is there any way I can plead "not gulty?" :oD

Tom

Jim said...

Well, I appreciate the outreach you all are doing. (And truth be told, it does take less time to get through the security areas these days - now if the airlines would only run on time.)

A lot of my questions are mentioned here already, but one thing I was curious about was whether the juggling of items was intentional.

To wit, while going through the line, I'm tasked with timely disemboweling of my carry-on bag -- removing my toiletries (separate bag) and laptop (separate bin), and closing the bag's top. In addition, there is fumbling to take off my shoes and jacket -- these must go in separate bins. So, given I have two hands to accomplish this, how can I be expected to keep my boarding pass and ID in my hand in case I'm asked to present it for inspection?

Brandon said...

1) Why are you giving all your regular readers the finger in asking for the lurkers to comment? Why don't you just answer the questions the regulars ask after every post? Why doesn't the TSA regularly respond to questions posted in the comments?

2) What's the budget of the TSA? How much of the taxpayer's money do you waste annually?

3) How does the TSA feel about being the most hated section of the US government?

4) What are you doing to limit and prevent laptop theft at airports, which has been on the rise since the TSA took over?

5) Why was my remaining 1/9th of a toothpaste tube taken away from me when I flew last month, but the large piece of plastic I had in my bag (the neck of a Guitar Hero 3 controller) allowed on board?

6) What are the names of every every person on the watch/no fly lists?

7) Why are you only picking the top ten? Why not the top 12, or top 15, or top 50?

7) Why-- ah, screw it. I really doubt I'll ever see answers to any of my questions from you people, at this point I'm convinced I'm wasting my time with yet another marketing stunt.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "I guess TSA liquids rule is kind of bad. Would it be better if TSA just banned and refused all liquids?"

No it would not! You forget that many of us fly internationally and spend a day or more in airport space before we see our checked luggage again. Denying a person toothpaste and deodorant in this situation is inhumane, not only to the passenger but also for the person who has to sit beside him/her on the last leg of the journey.

Yes the liquid rule is bad. Limiting quantities and using zip lock bags makes no sense. What they should do is screen for trace chemicals. Remember, not only liquids can be explosive!

So the question is: Dear TSA, when will you end the "freedom baggie" madness and use trace scans instead?

Also, I have been through the "puffers" and had my luggage checked for surface traces a few times (I am one of those unfortunate SSSS persons). Why do I still have to remove my "freedom baggie" and shoes after all that? Either I do have explosives or I don't!

Andy said...

Hello,

I've been a "lurker" here for a while. Since you've asked for "lurkers" to ask questions in addition to the questions continuously posted by the "regulars." From what I've seen the "regulars" have posted legitimate questions. While some criticize the tone of the questions by the "regulars," it is understandable when they appear to be ignored. In some cases, when questions are answered, the tone is just as bad. The "ID Q&A" post is a clear example.

From the ID Q&A post of July 2nd:
1.)
Trollkiller said... ONCE AGAIN, I CHALLENGE THE TSA TO PROVE THE TWO SECTIONS OF 1540 THAT THEY CITE (§ 1540.107 & § 1540.105 (a)(2) ) GIVE THEM ANY AUTHORITY OR RIGHT TO DEMAND AN ID AS A CONDITION OF ACCESS TO A STERILE AREA June 23, 2008 10:06 PM

TROLLKILLER…MY VOICE IS GETTING TIRED FROM SCREAMING. Our attorneys interpret ATSA as saying we can do this, we think it’s important so we’re doing this. I’m not an Internet-based attorney but I probably could play one on TV.

Couldn't you have a lawyer at the TSA answer this question? How exactly does the TSA interpret the statutes Trollkiller and others keep asking about. It would be nice to have their interpretation on the record.

2.)
[A different] Andy said... Why are you targeting those who simply refuse to show ID? Some people refuse to show ID because of: identify theft concerns; religious reasons; self-privacy reasons; and/or their own principle. We are free people here in the USA, and we have a right not to show ID. People can lie and say they lost their ID, and get by, but those truly wanting to stand up for their rights will be punished. Is there a political connection to this? I think it's blatantly obvious what your purpose is here, TSA. June 24, 2008 5:08 PM

No political connection Andy, none at all. It’s all about strengthening security. There’s no “targeting.” People are showing up without ID and we’re verifying identity, simple as that. We believe we have the legal authority and we believe this increases security.

What exactly makes you believe that you have the legal authority? Could you have a lawyer from the TSA post the TSA's interpretation?

3.)
*** Anonymous said... How can requiring ID fit within our constitutional rights?

We’ve answered this repeatedly. Our position is that Gilmore v. Gonzalez affirmed our ability to require ID for transportation via air and the law that formed TSA, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) empowers the TSA to make these decisions.

Could you elaborate on your position? Perhaps you could have a lawyer from the TSA post the TSA's interpretation of the Gilmore v. Gonzales ruling.

You see, in many of your answers you simply assert that you are correct without any explination. You seem to answer questions with a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style "We have top men working on it." I think that once you provide the TSA's interpretation of things like the ATSA and Gilmore v. Gonzales, we can have a much more effective debate.

Another thing I'd like to know about is VIPR Teams. There are some comments on this blog like, "If you don't like it, go Greyhound." Yet, I read that the TSA sends agents in "TSA Inspector" windbreakers to Greyhound and Amtrak stations. Not only that, they are at stations for buses, ferries, and light rail routes that don't travel across state lines.

As far as I know, VIPR Teams haven't been where I live, so I haven't seen them first-hand. If they have, I'm sure it would have been posted in the News & Happenings section of the TSA's website.

My question is: What is the point of these teams? What do they do? They can't enforce the 3-1-1 rule or make people take off their shoes, like in airports. Is it just to saturate the line with a visible presence? Is it little more than a performance of security theater? Under what authority do they do whatever it is that they do (have a lawyer answer this if necessary)? Do they need to be invited by the law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction of the transit system? Is it a condition of receiving federal funds?

I haven't traveled by air since the Summer of 2004, so I haven't seen the way things work at airports these days. However, these VIPR Teams on other forms of transportation are something I'm more likely to encounter. I would really like to know more about what they do, and what my rights are if I encounter a VIPR Team.

Thanks.
Yours sincerely,
Andy

Anonymous said...

9091 said: "Both times I have traveled to Europe, with two stops on the way I had to go through the exact same process there as I do here. Take off my shoes, remove my laptop from my bag, and remove my jacket. Both times, both within the last year, at two airports there and two airports back, AND to top it all off one airport was in a country that was part of the EU and the other was not."

Anonymous said...
The last time I flew from an airport in Europe I was asked if I was going to the USA. I answered no and was allowed to go through security without taking off my shoes, or taking out liquids and my laptop. The guy behind me was submitted to a US-style search because he was going to the US. Best of all was that my boarding pass was not checked by the officer who asked me where I was going, and I was in the same terminal as flights going to the US. They trusted me, and it felt great! I will take trust and decency in the place of "security theater" any day.


Why is it when people fly in Europe to any where except to America do they get to keep their shoes on and do not have to surrender their bottled water?

Anonymous said...

Would you drop Christopher from the blog team and make Dean an official blog team member?

Dean has made every effort to answer questions with courtesy and respect towards those who ask them. While Christopher attempts at humor have culminated in his recent post where he cherry picked questions and gave us rude and snarky answers.

BlognDog said...

1. In his comments related to the announcement of the new TSA policy of denying travellers their first amendment right to peaceably assemble if they chose to exercise their fourth amendment right to be free of unreasonable search and seizure, Kip Hawley justified the policy on the basis that he thought passengers should "just tell us who you are." Is Kip really so completely ignorant of the law that he believes that his desire to have this information is all that is required for him to force people to provide it?

2. Since the TSA does not take any measures at all to reduce the 30 - 40 thousand deaths that occur every year in the United States due to autmobile accidents, why does it feel compelled to systematically trample on people's rights in the name of preventing a few hundred deaths from terrorism?

HSVTSO Dean said...

A question of my own for the EoS team:

I already know that none of you guys work the blog as a full-time duty (though Bob's own dedication to it could come close~), but the "Meet the Bloggers" page hasn't been updated in some time. For example, we know absolutely nothing about Sterling, since she doesn't appear there.

My questions is this: Do any of the Blog team actively perform screening functions?

I know Bob used to before he went and got promoted to BDO and later to some analyst position, but otherwise it seems to me the closest you get to that is a Federal Security Director, and that isn't close at all.

If you don't have anyone on the Blog team performing active screening functions, why not?

Just being on the inside, I know, for example, that even internally TSA hides its SOPs from other branches. It doesn't matter that Nico works for TSA, I don't think he's permitted to read security directives or the SOP on grounds of need-to-know, as he performs duties as a public affairs official instead of screening duties. In another example, I, as a TSO, am not permitted to see or read the SOP that the Behavior Detection Officers work by.

So, just to reiterate:

Do any of the Blog team actively perform screening functions? (i.e.; TSO, LTSO, STSO; maybe a TSM, but that's starting to stretch things a little bit, realistically speaking~ It depends very heavily on the particular TSM.)

If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

More of the same line of questions:

1. When are you going to end mandatory shoe removal?

2. When are you going to end mandatory laptop removal?

3. When are you going to end the stupid liquid rules?

4. When are you going to end "watch list" use?

5. When are you going to reach reasonable cost/effectiveness?

6. When are you going to focus attention on other forms of transportation?

Dunstan said...

" Anonymous said...

Have you considered how to modify airport security if the unlikely possibility of a zombie outbreak comes to pass? How would you insure that infected individuals, attempting to flee from infestations, remain off airplanes? How would infestations in / attacks on airports be dealt with?

July 20, 2008 1:14 AM"

I have my own concerns about organized biological attacks via
aircraft passengers. A staged and planned passenger borne epidemic could be far more devastating than another shoe bomb, potentially killing hundreds of thousands of people in hundreds of coordinated outbreaks. Does TSA have a plan, or even a clue as to how to prevent such an attack?

Dunstan said...

" Anonymous said...

I would have to think that the passenger that ultimately stripped naked on the AA BOS-LAX flight must have exhibited (poor choice of words)some "strangeness" in the terminal prior to boarding. Will the TSA review the video of the screening area to determine if the BDO may have missed something."

I was thinking along the same lines, but realized that I had a similar experience (pre BDO) with a fellow passenger failing to take his medication (insulin) prior to boarding. The passenger was somewhat incoherent. The crew did eventually have him removed from the plane (this all happened at the gate prior to take-off) but it took a nurse sitting near us using her medical knowledge (and a no nonsense tone of voice) to get the flight crew to call in some EMTs, and remove the passenger for his own safety. The flight delay was well over an hour.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I would have to think that the passenger that ultimately stripped naked on the AA BOS-LAX flight must have exhibited (poor choice of words)some "strangeness" in the terminal prior to boarding. Will the TSA review the video of the screening area to determine if the BDO may have missed something.

Why? So you can analyze that video and laugh or say find faults in us again.

CBGB said...
What number of TSA screeners have passed background checks and later been found to have felony convictions?

Great question, seeing as their are a lot of TSO's and other screeners that may be doing hard time.
To you: If we said little would you believe us?

What testing is done to standardize procedures between airports beyond written SOPs?

Some airports contain videos or pictorals to help with the screening.

What is the penalty for screeners who violate policies, how about the second time? third? etc?

I'm assuming that you ask only b/c you have seen some screners violate rules. Some airports will write you up immediately if you were to say curse word. While others are unfortunatley more lenient.

Anonymous said...

gi said:

Why do we have to trust your words without any evidence? (See virtual strip machine OK for Kindergarten but no evidence, no way to save the pictures -> no evidence instead you trust the manufacture of the machine and so on....)

You don't have to trust us, since a lot of you already disapprove w/ a lot of the policies.
At the same time, I don't really trust you either. I don't know who you are, who you work for, while not relevant, you can be anyone. Terrorists and smart if not smarter than most of the people in the USA. Think of them alone as our CIA/ NSA Operatives.

Anonymous said...

Robert Johnson said...
Is this Friday's puppy post? :D

Additionally, why has there been such a lull in postings both from TSA and submissions making the post? I KNOW there have been more than what's been posted.

Is the lurker call to fish for more cheerleaders to try to paint us regulars in a bad light?


Howdy their Rob. While I enjoy reading the, hate. . . .negative comments on how to do our job, a lot of the other readers here don't comment.
Actually a lot of us like to laugh at most of the postings here.

Anyway, if you feel like we're bullying you, then speak up. Not like we're doing anything different than what you're saying on this blog.

-Anonymous.

Dunstan said...

" Anonymous said...

You don't have to trust us, since a lot of you already disapprove w/ a lot of the policies. At the same time, I don't really trust you either. I don't know who you are, who you work for, while not relevant, you can be anyone."

It is a really difficult job, having to distrust everyone, probably quite counter-intuitive to human nature, especially if you don't have the background, training and tools to separate out the people who really need to be distrusted.

"Terrorists and smart if not smarter than most of the people in the USA. Think of them alone as our CIA/ NSA Operatives."

I think the terrorists may be determined, rather than overly smart. Our own intelligence services have their own problems putting their collective heads together, overcoming the rivalry seems to be difficult. Getting them to share their information and technology has been a challenge.

Anonymous said...

3) How does the TSA feel about being the most hated section of the US government?

2nd most hated, 2nd to the IRS. Other than that, it's great. No different that any other jobs I worked previous. It's different & the same wherever you go.


5) Why was my remaining 1/9th of a toothpaste tube taken away from me when I flew last month, but the large piece of plastic I had in my bag (the neck of a Guitar Hero 3 controller) allowed on board?

GH3 is a great game, hopefully GH4 will be better. However, we do not look at what's inside of the tube, glass, cylinder, things like that. We only remove what the size is. So even though there might have been 1/9th of say 4 fl oz tube, its the actual size that we take unfortunately.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "Why is it when people fly in Europe to any where except to America do they get to keep their shoes on and do not have to surrender their bottled water?"

Good question. When I went thru security at Seoul Incheon International last week, the person in front of me wasn't flying a US flag carrier or going to the US. No shoe removal. I show my boarding pass showing a United flight (even though it was just Seoul to Tokyo with no onward flight) and I got the shoe carnvial.

Unlike TSA, at least they provided nice slippers and polite about it. The floor actually looked clean too ...

Robert

Anonymous said...

QUESTION: Why do you always change the subject, providing snide remarks in response to legitimate questions of civil liberty?

ANSWER: Because the real answers to the questions don't further the propaganda end this blog seeks.

QUESTION: Why is there so much misinformation posted here by travellers and TSA employees alike?

ANSWER: Because you hide the truth, and even admit that.

Anonymous said...

To the person who asked when the TSA will start paying attention to other forms of transportation:

WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? The last thing I want is some idiot making me take my shoes off and check my liquids before boarding a bus or train. All travel would grind to a halt in this country if we couldn't get on the subway with liquids because somebody deemed them a threat to our Rodina.

To the State Security employee who said that he/she doesn't like searching people:

Have you considered looking for a different job?

To the State Security employee who believes that he/she is helping to keep the country safe:

Homer Simpson believed that the magical rock was keeping him safe from tiger attacks. Believing that you're keeping people safe doesn't mean that you are keeping people safe.

Kathy said...

Blogger Bob said:

We're going to dedicate this post to taking your top 10 questions. Ask away and on Monday at close of business, I'll begin tallying up the questions and we'll see to it that the top 10 questions are answered.

If I understand Bob correctly, he is going to count how many times each question has been asked on this particular blog entry. Then he will answer the 10 questions that were asked most frequently, or in other words the ones that got the most "votes."

If that's the case, it will be a challenge (as well as a potential loophole) for him to determine which questions are similar enough to count as the same one, and which are different and thus split the vote. In addition, he has no obligation to go through old posts and gather up questions that were asked repeatedly elsewhere.

So, to get the most benefit from this opportunity, I think we all should:

a. review past blog entries for good questions that have not been posted here yet

b. repeat questions others have posted here if you think they are important (be specific, not just "I agree" or "I have the same concerns")

c. as much as possible, use the same or similar words that others have used so that Bob counts those votes together

If someone else wants to take the time to create a "ballot" for us, that would be fantastic. I'm referring to an organized list of all the questions ever asked, numbered or lettered, so that subsequent posters can vote for their favorite questions simply by copying and pasting from the ballot or even just listing the question number. That would certainly make Bob's life easier, and the results would be more accurate.

Anyhow, I wanted to throw these ideas out there to try to prevent this exercise from being meaningless, but I fully realize that everyone will do whatever they want no matter what I say....

Obi said...

How many employees has TSA fired for breaches of stated policies on acceptable conduct? Eg, asking about political affiliation, harassing the handicapped, racial or ethnic profiling.

How have TSA management, training staff, and other "buck stops here" folks been punished for these transgressions? Note many such transgressions may be violations of federal civil rights laws.

What method is TSA using to ensure that customer complaints are actually acted on rather than given the usual political PR spin (see the post on the nofly list) they get here?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said: "The last thing I want is some idiot making me take my shoes off and check my liquids before boarding a bus or train."

Nobody wants that. All we want is consistency. Terrorism happened on trains and buses too. So why are we spending so much time, money and energy on airplanes? The answer the TSA will never give you is: it is all just for show.

Anonymous said...

#1. Why are liquids limited to 3.4 ounces or less? If liquids are indeed dangerous, why not ban them all? What's to stop Peter, Paul, and Mary from combining their 3.4 ounces into something "dangerous"

#2. How come cargo is unscreened?

#3. Why bother with gate checks? Isn't initial screening enough?

#4. Why bother checking ID? It seems to be revenue protection for the airlines

#5. Why is shoe removal required?

#6. Why search checked bags by hand? Why not search in front of the passengers

#7. The country is broke, why waste money on new uniforms every several months?

#8.

Anonymous said...

We need more people with a rationale such as Scott's. He was right on with his comment as how to ask a question for the TSA Blog Team.

There is a lot of complaining going on within the justification of TSA's security procedures. I noticed that many people are asking for proof as to how many terrorists TSA has stopped since it took over airport security. People need to understand that security today must evolve by remaining proactive. It seems as if most people who are angry against TSA would rather have TSA shut down for a day, have multiple aircraft highjackings and bombings before saying, "I guess what TSA does everyday actually keeps us safe."

If a layered approach is not what's best for aviation security, then I challenge those who disagree to come up with a better solution.

Anonymous said...

You have frequently said that the images created by millimeter scanning are tame enough that you have no problem with your children seeing them. If that is truly the case why have you failed to provide an animated female image? Many news organizations have done so, and the image appears quite different from what has appeared on this site.

CBGB said...

[i]CBGB said...
What number of TSA screeners have passed background checks and later been found to have felony convictions?

Great question, seeing as their are a lot of TSO's and other screeners that may be doing hard time.
To you: If we said little would you believe us?

What testing is done to standardize procedures between airports beyond written SOPs?

Some airports contain videos or pictorals to help with the screening.

What is the penalty for screeners who violate policies, how about the second time? third? etc?

I'm assuming that you ask only b/c you have seen some screners violate rules. Some airports will write you up immediately if you were to say curse word. While others are unfortunatley more lenient.[/i]

1)your not a blogger please don't answer questions like one

2)There are several commenters here who have posted links to convicted sex offenders workin for the TSA. If your performing searches on me that expose enough of me that you have to put the people looking at the images somewhere else, it would be nice to at least be confident they weren't a perv

3)if yo ucan't detect felonies how can you have any confidence that the screeers aren't terrorists?

4)I meant testing of screeners, most fliers are quite familiar with the screening process. I wouldn't feel confident saying the same about Screeners. If you need pictorials to do your job then you really shouldnt be charged with protecting airplanes.

5)Why isn't discipline standardized? Your SOPs are secret, doesn't that mean they are still SOPs that should be followed though?

6)typically the TSA employees on here identify themselves as such throug htheir handle.

Anonymous said...

The question about the zombies will probably be the first answered.

Miller said...

People need to understand that security today must evolve by remaining proactive. It seems as if most people who are angry against TSA would rather have TSA shut down for a day, have multiple aircraft highjackings and bombings before saying, "I guess what TSA does everyday actually keeps us safe."

9/11 happened because the security measures in place allowed for the aircrew to follow the instructions of the terrorists. Harden the door to the cockpit and refuse to talk to the terrorists means that you can't have another hijacking go on like the ones on 9/11. TSA is tasked with keeping weapons, explosives, incendiary devices off of the plane. That makes sense. Now as to the shoe removal, war on liquids, and the rest of the Potemkin security theater, it is a waste of time and effort.


If a layered approach is not what's best for aviation security, then I challenge those who disagree to come up with a better solution.

How about doing what TSA was originally charted to do and to do it better than current tests have demonstrated? Expanding your operations when you can't even do your primary job is a good recipe for cascading failures.

Anonymous said...

cbgb said:
If you need pictorials to do your job then you really shouldnt be charged with protecting airplanes.

When I'm presenting a survey or project either at school or work, or taking a test, I need to visually see it, I don't like to just hear something and write that down.

anonymous:
QUESTION: Why is there so much misinformation posted here by travellers and TSA employees alike?

ANSWER: Because you hide the truth, and even admit that.


Each airport has different ways of handling things unfortunately. That may be one of the reasons behind different postings. Numerous times I have people who come through and say, "Atlanta let me take it through". DCA/ BI isn't Atlanta.
Also while each airport may be different, each shift and person are different on how they handle situations.
Some of my co-workers always re-run you're laptops, I on the other hand just tell them next time to take them out of bags.
One last thing to note, the blogs Delete-O-Meter states and SSI info will be taken off.
If half of these procedures and what not weren't SSI, which most of them aren't, and if the Mods would allow us to say stuff we would.

cbgb said:
1)your not a blogger please don't answer questions like one

And this is relevant beacuse?
How about, you're like everyone else, stop complaining. You're no one special, you follow the same rules like everyone else.

Just like many other posters here you're attacks on TSA are countless.

I might not have a acct here on Google, that doesn't mean I don't blog. Still though, how many angry passengers are there, too many. Not everyone is blogging.

Anonymous said...

obi said:
What method is TSA using to ensure that customer complaints are actually acted on rather than given the usual political PR spin (see the post on the nofly list) they get here?

I don't think that their complaints are even looked at. Which is really bad.


TSA Leave you comment said:
This is a moderated blog, and TSA retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not. We expect all contributors to be respectful. We will not post comments that contain personal attacks of any kind; refer to Federal Civil Service employees by name; contain offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or vulgar language. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly off topic or that promote services or products.


You should really try to follow you're own rules. Not to mention, half the posts people post here aren't even approved.

Trollkiller said...

Hidee Ho Bloggerinos,

I took the liberty of creating a poll compiled of 29 of the most interesting or most asked questions.

I did not include non answerable questions like "When will the madness end?" or questions that have, in my mind, been answered satisfactorily already.

The poll is multiple choice but please limit your choices to 10 so we can see the most pressing questions. I am hoping the poll will help the Blog team to pick the most urgent questions.

You will still need to post your questions here.

Take the Poll here.

BTW just in case any of you are slow, the TSA does NOT support, endorse, control or even like my blog. If you don't like something on my blog tell it to me, not Blogger Bob or anyone else on the TSA Blog Team as they have nothing to do with it.

Frank said...

If a layered approach is not what's best for aviation security, then I challenge those who disagree to come up with a better solution.

I'm going to answer this with the statement that was likely part of the reason I'm on the watch/no-fly list. I would not be surprised to see TSA kill this response, it will be saved and released in other venues should that happen.

Terrorism is a diffuse threat that requires a diffuse defense. Google "asymmetrical warfare" for lots more information on this. Governments are notoriously poor at diffuse defense, just look at the Vietnam not-a-war. And the events of 9/11/01 continued to prove it -- not one attack was foiled by government action. The one that was foiled was the direct result of passenger intervention, no government agents involved.

The airline industry ironically had the best diffuse defense against terrorism until the early 1960's, when the feds decided that the best way to stop hijackings was to forcibly disarm everyone except the pilot in command. You younger folks may not remember this, but at one time pilots carrying air mail and letter carriers were required to be armed by federal law. This began to end after Malcolm X scared the crap out of the government and the Kennedy assassinations turned gun owners into the pariahs that Muslims are today.

But federal regulation still allowed a pilot in command (The captain) to be armed in the sterile area of an airport, even if by then airline employee policy mostly forbade it. That regulation was finally revoked on September 1, 2001. Irony, thy name is George W. Bush.

What we have today is kabuki security. It is strictly for show, because in the words of Cornelius Fudge when he put an innocent man in prison, "the government has to be seen doing something." Osama Yo Mama and all the others are laughing their butts off as us, because congress and the president are doing exactly what the terrorists want -- making our lives miserable to no advantage, and TSA is only one small part of that.

If aircraft safety were truly the goal, we should turn the clock back to 1960. At the very least, airlines should be giving discounts to law enforcement and concealed permit holders to travel while armed. The next terrorist hijacking should look like this:

http://www.scottbieser.com/sept11.html

The problem is, aircraft safety is not the goal. 9/11 was a Reichstags Fire and used as an excuse to clamp down on all of us. The example of Drew Griffin makes it clear that the purpose is to punish those who do not toe the government line. Those of us who refuse to parrot Bush, who insist that government be limited by the Constitution, who report government incompetence and malfeasance are considered potential terrorists and treated as such.

Trollkiller said...

I have been holding my questions to give the lurkers a chance to come out of the shadows. BTW I am copy/pasting some of the questions from other posters the sentiments are the same.

1) TSA cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport. 49 C.F.R § 1540.5 appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict?

2) How does the ID only check of pilots not violate 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105?

3) Why haven't TSA lawyers answered my very specific questions about the obvious illegality of the new ID program?

4) What makes someone who does not want to show ID more dangerous than someone who says they lost their ID?

5) Why and how do you have access to my political affiliation?

6) Does the TSA/DHS keep the ID verification data in house or do you contact an outside vender's database each and every time you feel it necessary to verify ID?

That is all I can think up now.

I appreciate the attempt to prioritize the questions being asked. Do us, and you a favor, let us know the 10 questions you picked and keep us updated if any of the questions take more than a few days to answer. It is a lot easier to wait for something if you know for sure it is on the way.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the Guitar Hero console piece vs. the 1/9th remaining toothpaste in a 4 oz. tube:

It's just stupid that you would look at the container and not what's in it... That is probably the lamest thing I've ever seen posted on here. That was your purpose for restricting liquids in the first place. You were afraid of what might be *contained* not the container itself.

I have a 16 oz. humidifier chamber on my CPAP, and I could make a really snide remark about its use... but then you would probably ban us sleep apneic patients from flying with our CPAP machines.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the blog team is trying to find a better way to answer your questions.

Some of you just will not let up with your snarky comments. You wonder why the TSA is snarky?

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous Trollkiller said...

The poll is multiple choice but please limit your choices to 10 so we can see the most pressing questions. I am hoping the poll will help the Blog team to pick the most urgent questions.

Take the Poll here."

Great Trollkiller-
Nice bit of work...

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like the blog team is trying to find a better way to answer your questions.

Some of you just will not let up with your snarky comments. You wonder why the TSA is snarky?"

Take it out here on the blog, and do a professional job at the airport. As a TSO, you are paid to follow the rules, and professional behavior is part and parcel of those rules. Sadly, the average traveler has no such responsibility. That does sometimes put you at what seems to be a disadvantage, depending upon the attitude you bring to the job that day. Giving the passenger a hard time, beyond your duties, is disrespectful to your fellow TSO's and the mission itself, which is to prevent harmful things from entering the aircraft cabin.

Anonymous said...

anonymous said:

It's just stupid that you would look at the container and not what's in it... That is probably the lamest thing I've ever seen posted on here. That was your purpose for restricting liquids in the first place. You were afraid of what might be *contained* not the container itself.


While I may work for TSA, I don't always agree w/ half of their rules. Such as this one, many times I've had people with say an 8 oz perfume or toothpaste, lotion where there will only be about .5 oz so small. At those times, i did want to let them have it.

Why do many stores have a 30, 50, 90 day give back money gaurentee? Why can't it be more? I'm sure people hate that everynow and then.

Anonymous said...

What are you going to do whether it's TSA/ DHS related or not when Obama wins? McCain?

TSO # 3 said...

anonymous said:
Would you drop Christopher from the blog team and make Dean an official blog team member?

Dean has made every effort to answer questions with courtesy and respect towards those who ask them. While Christopher attempts at humor have culminated in his recent post where he cherry picked questions and gave us rude and snarky answers.


Oddly enough, I agree with you. While some posts here aren't necessary, how he answers isn't necessary at times as well.


Also, I understand that you moderate our comments however, it would be nice(r) to see more of the blog team post.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Trollkiller:

I scoped out your poll thing on your own blog page, Trollkiller, and made my choices. There were only six on there that I marked, though - there would have only been five, but my wife very specifically wanted one of them marked.

"Can we clone Dean?"

Dunno about the official EoS team, but my wife gives that one a hearty two thumbs up! :D

Anonymous wrote:
The question about the zombies will probably be the first answered.

I, for one, would very much like to know that information given that I work at a checkpoint for eight hours a day.

Though I have read the Zombie Survival Guide in full. If TSA needs any tips in this regard, I'm totally there to offer my counsel.

Anonymous said...

I saw a question in Trollkillers list of questions that I thought was interesting. Who approves a blog posting before it appears on the website? After Christophers recent posting about ID questions I have to wonder who is responsible for vetting the EOS team member blogs.

CBGB said...

Can you show us redacted versions of the 450 (at this point) deleted comments?

How is the counter updated?

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

To the person who asked when the TSA will start paying attention to other forms of transportation: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? The last thing I want is some idiot making me take my shoes off and check my liquids before boarding a bus or train. All travel would grind to a halt in this country if we couldn't get on the subway with liquids because somebody deemed them a threat to our Rodina.

Actually, you're proving the original poster's point quite well.

Security and access are opposites. The more secure a system is, the more difficult it is to obtain access, and vice versa. Every security measure imposed on a system makes it more difficult for people to use.

Why would you object to TSA-style screening at subways or bus depots? After all, such screenings would give you greater assurance that none of your fellow passengers is carrying a weapon (or the ingredients for a weapon) on board. Would that not make things more secure for your bus ride?

If not ... then why treat buses and subways any differently? After all, terrorists (both foreign and domestic) have been successfully using carbombs for many, many years ... while I can only remember one occurrence of airplanes being used in a terrorist attack.

The question is always this: given that there is no such thing as absolute security, what is the best way to spend limited resources? And if those resources aren't going to be applied uniformly, how do you make the decision where to spend them?

Anonymous said...

"Some of you just will not let up with your snarky comments. You wonder why the TSA is snarky?"

We are the citizens, you are our employees, we outrank you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
It looks like the blog team is trying to find a better way to answer your questions.

Some of you just will not let up with your snarky comments. You wonder why the TSA is snarky?

..........................
Actually what I understand from Blogger Bobs post is that the top ten questions from the silent readers will be answered.

For any regular poster to expect any kind of real answers is a pipe dream.

Trollkiller said...

HSVTSO Dean said...

Trollkiller:

I scoped out your poll thing on your own blog page, Trollkiller, and made my choices. There were only six on there that I marked, though - there would have only been five, but my wife very specifically wanted one of them marked.

"Can we clone Dean?"

Dunno about the official EoS team, but my wife gives that one a hearty two thumbs up! :D

Anonymous wrote:
The question about the zombies will probably be the first answered.

I, for one, would very much like to know that information given that I work at a checkpoint for eight hours a day.

Though I have read the Zombie Survival Guide in full. If TSA needs any tips in this regard, I'm totally there to offer my counsel.


Thanks for checking out the poll, my only question is if we could clone you, which one would have to take out the garbage or would you share the duty?

As for the zombies, no worries there. Zombies feed on braaaiiins and as when know brains are a scarce commodity at the airport. How else can you explain someone paying $4+ for a bottle of water when the water fountain is right there? Those poor zombies would starve to death.

Trollkiller said...

anonymous said:
Would you drop Christopher from the blog team and make Dean an official blog team member?

Dean has made every effort to answer questions with courtesy and respect towards those who ask them. While Christopher attempts at humor have culminated in his recent post where he cherry picked questions and gave us rude and snarky answers.


I am going to defend Christopher a bit. The Blog world is not really his world, Christopher is used to basic puff pieces on the TSA where he can talk in sound bites ready for broadcast and blurbs ready for printing.

On the blog Christopher does not have his usual outs of "Sorry no more questions" or "I can only give 15 minutes". Here the reporters (us) never quit and never stop pushing for the answers.

I think that the snarkiness shown by Christopher was an honest attempt at humor. As much crap and sometimes mean posts that we give the Blog Team, I think we can take a bit back from them.

Leave Christopher alone, he has been properly spanked for his indiscretion.

As for making Dean part of the Blog Team, I think that would be a good idea IF he wants it and IF it won't hamper his forthrightness.

Tomas said...

Just some passing remarks here...

To those folks arguing having the Transport-Sicherheit Offiziere challenge bus, train, and subway riders, we already have Border Patrol riding our state ferry system challenging riders and asking for ID on our inland waterways that don't even cross a STATE boundaries, let alone go international.

As to buses, when I was a regular metro transit rider commuting to and from work, I was likely as heavily armed as the average police officer, and legally licensed to do that as a civilian. (I also kept up on my practice and carried Glaser Safety Slug ammo so bullets wouldn't come out the other side of my 'target' and injure someone else. My being armed did not endanger other riders, and indeed could have protected them in a bad situation.

I used to do that on trains, but Amtrak has effectively put an end to that by making firearms only available to criminals on trains.

Just a quick question, since I'm not sure, though: Haven't there been considerably more terrorist actions against trains and buses than there have been against planes?

Lastly, TSA (or anyone) taking responsibility for planes flying without major terrorist activity for the last few years brings to question the previous 100 years of safe flying. Who "protected" us then, or are "black hats" a recent invention? :o)

====

Thanks for the poll, TrollKiller! I've entered my choices there. Looks like we have some clear leaders.

Anonymous said...

We are the citizens, you are our employees, we outrank you.

The problem with this comment is that we are also citizens. Citizens with a job to do that is often misunderstood and misrepresented. Some of that is necessary to allow due to SSI rules and those not understanding calling what we do theater. Do you tell the law enforcement officers that have policies and laws that you disagree with that they work for you?

But, I wonder if you hold your voted in representative to the same standard. Because frankly they mandated our existence and mandated our administrator the authority he has to institute the policies and procedures that are in place to ensure the safety of the flying public.

Anonymous said...

It looks like the blog team is trying to find a better way to answer your questions.

Some of you just will not let up with your snarky comments. You wonder why the TSA is snarky?


The blog team has made limited efforts to answer questions since this blogs inception. Most answers come across as "trust us we know what we are talking about". Answers that are very limited in there scope. Or more recently Christopher's responses in the ID thread.

Now instead of answering any of the questions in past threads that have been asked in a reasonable answer. We are being subjected to this top ten questions approach, soliciting questions from the majority of the people who don't post. Why? I can only guess they are hoping to answer easy questions and avoid the more difficult questions asked by the "regulars".

Anonymous said...

How often do screeners' gloves get washed? How you done any research on the ability or propensity for them to spread disease?

When will all commercial packages on airplanes be subject to a similar level of screening as people?

When will containers be subject to a similar level of security as people?

The previous two questions are hard to answer because of the potential impact on the economy, and the overall cost. How to you compare that economic impact to the personal impact and loss of perceived freedom due to the current security systems?

When entering the USA from abroad we are confronted by the TSA, immigration and customs. The TSA has done some impressive work to get people through a pretty complicated process. When will Immigration adopt the same techniques? For example predicting when planes arrive and staffing accordingly.

Why do you believe that so many people are posting on this blog anonymously? How can you allay their fears?

When will the queues disappear. I'm serious - that's the goal right?

Why is so much attention and money spent on aviation, when the possible threats to and from other modes of transport are now much greater and easier to execute?

How many people are SSSS'd each day? How many are XXXX'd more than 3 times a year? How many are SSSS'd more than 50% of the time they travel? What percentage of SSSS'd travelers result in a "positive" search result?

Have you conducted a benefit (risk assessment) to cost (privacy, value of time) analysis on removing essentially all of the visible security at airports, replacing it with information and staff only? (i.e like customs inside EU - there are people there but almost everyone just walks through). Consider that the risk of something material happening on an airplane has reduced since he security doors and marshall (re)deployment.

Anonymous said...

(5) Why are IDs like my shiny new US Government Passport Card w/RFID and other enhancements not accepted for US air travel, while IDs like my current state driver's license which is much easier to get, and MUCH less verified, accepted?

Actually they are acceptable according to the TSA website [url=http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm]LINK[/url]

Marshall said...

Isn't this a sad commentary on the TSA, posted by screener Rachel who comes to the blog site in an attempt to find information in order to do her job well:

"I am a lurker because I am a TSO officer trying to find out how to improve my abilites in screening the public while also keeping them happy (at least as happy as I can, considering the circumstances!). while reading the comments can get downright depressing, I still come back for each new post."

Anonymous said...

I have the same questions as Phil:

1. Where is the information from a TSA SSI expert about x-ray images of Apple's latest laptop computer Bob wrote that he would provide?

2. Where are the un-doctored full frontal images created by the electronic strip search machines?

3. Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the new form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints?

4. In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?

5. Why are the reported 10 people per day who decline to show ID considered so likely to be a threat to air travel security that TSA restricted their right to travel by refusing to allow them past TSA's airport checkpoints?

6. How does the cost of this new policy of invasive interrogations at government checkpoints in airports compare to that of to the previous policy of thoroughly screening anyone who did not show ID regardless of his reasoning?

7. TSA cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport. 49 C.F.R § 1540.5 appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict?

Anonymous said...

TSO Dean - what is a "Freedom Bag" when it's at home?

Given your governments for naming things, I'm going to guess it has absolutely *nothing* to do with Freedom. All hail the Fatherland ^H^H^H^H^H^H Homeland.

Anonymous said...

Check out CNN´s i-reports on the TSA:
http://www.ireport.com/ir-topic-stories.jspa?topicId=47300

Anonymous said...

I'm not a blog team poster but I might have a few answers to some of your questions. I've been a Screener for over a year now and was lurking on this blog for a while.

Liquids
As far as the liquids questions regarding size, ziplock bag, etc. The ziplock bag is used as a measurement tool for how much you are bringing through. They should be removed from your carry on, but technically they don't have to be in a quart size bag. All your non-exempt liquids have to fit in a quart size plastic bag and the bag must be able to close. If the liquids look like they would clearly fit into a quart size bag then you don't need one. That's how we do it where I work.

Shoes
Now onto shoes. Everyone recalls the Richard Reid incident(Shoe Bomber) and for a while even after that incident shoes were still allowed to be worn through the checkpoint. TSA used to profile shoes and certain types of shoes had to be removed and sent through the X-Ray. Since people have been caught trying to conceal prohibited items in their shoes(because they knew their shoes didn't fit TSA profiled shoes category), TSA implemented an all shoes off policy following the liquid ban around Aug 2006. Anything that's hidden in someone's shoes stands out really clearly on the X-Ray.

CPAPs
Yes, CPAP machines get Swabbed even if you take them out of the bag when running them through the X-Ray. Some models have parts in them that look suspicious on the X-Ray which require the swab that you get whenever you travel with it. I wish I could be more specific but they would probably delete my post if I was. Hopefully they will change the requirement in the future to allow a screener's best judgement on a CPAP that is out of the bag on whether it is a potential threat or not.

Everyone seems to be really upset about the ID checking. I don't think I can answer the questions being asked about IDs, I'm not a lawyer and I don't make the rules. I never thought showing my ID when I travel was a big deal but I guess some people have a problem with it. IDs are checked by your airline as well, and even before TSA started checking IDs there were airport employed staff checking IDs right before you got to the checkpoint. I don't see what the difference between TSA checking IDs and the airport employees checking it. They still selected people for additional screening if the passenger didn't have ID with them. I never really heard people complaining about their ID being checked before TSA started doing it. Maybe the regulars can shed some light onto why its a big issue when it wasn't before.

Hope I was of at least some help to you. I'll check back for a response later.

Phil said...

Where are up-to-date copies of all rules and regulations that TSA requires someone to abide by in order to fly via commercial air from one American state to another without leaving the country published?

(Some of these rules seem to be communicated to the public via press release, and a TSA TSO who posts comments here as Dean states that these rules are communicated to TSA airport agents via private memo. Surely travelers are not bound to abide by rules we are not allowed to read -- otherwise, how are we expected to achieve compliance with those rules?)

Anonymous said...

What conditions would we have to see in order for security procedures to reset back to their pre-911 status, i.e., no more taking off of shoes, no more limitations on liquids, not having to take laptops out of cases, just put your jacket, purse & carryon through the scanner and walk through the metal detector?

Anonymous said...

Bob or other moderator.

Some time ago as I recall you mentioned that the Blog team was going to be expanded by several people. Did that happen or is it still in the plans?

Wintermute said...

I've attempted to predict some of the answers, with plenty of snark and questionable taste, of course. Hope no one takes offense at any of my predictions. (the "Links to this post" section should have the link, so I won't repost it here.)

Anonymous said...

AS of today the TSA website has the following information:

"Make Your Trip Better Using 3-1-1
3-1-1 for carry-ons = 3 ounce bottle or less (by volume) ; 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; 1 bag per passenger placed in screening bin. One-quart bag per person limits the total liquid volume each traveler can bring. 3 oz. container size is a security measure."


When will TSA update the Information for Travelers to specifiy the correct information of 100 ml or 3.4 oz (by volume)?

radiationman said...

My biggest question concerns laptop screening.

Why is it that TSA requires laptops to be removed from bags (or transported in the upcoming "TSA Friendly" bags) when security personnel in the UK and other nations seem to be able to screen laptops without requiring travelers to unpack them? What is the UK doing that TSA isn't that allows them to screen laptops without unpacking them and why can't TSA adopt whatever technique the UK uses to screen laptops?

While the upcoming TSA friendly laptop bags are a step in the right direction, the more TSA can do to elimanate the need for travelers to unpack, undress, or otherwise fiddle with their belongings in order to pass through security the smoother the entire process would go and the happier travelers would be...

Bob Eucher said...

Anonymous said...
"Do you tell the law enforcement officers that have policies and laws that you disagree with that they work for you?"

The police departments are fairly transparent, have an internal affairs department, answers to an elected official (mayor), and most all of their actions are public record (I can read police blotter, if I desire). They do not hide behind SSI.

The police do police work, and let the judicial branch do their work. It has it's checks & balances. If I get arrested, at least I have my day in court, and can be judged by a jury.

The TSA has authority beyond what was originally intended. By preventing passengers from flying, you have become the judge and jury. With the TSA there is no "due process". You have to admit you are given powers that go beyond keeping bad things off airplanes.

Comparing TSA with LEO, is apples & oranges.

Gunner said...

Top 10 questions to blog team hopes to see:

1. What is your favorite color?

2. Do any of you have dogs or cats?

3. Can you post pictures?

4. How's the weather?

5. What is your favorite food?

6. When you travel, what is your favorite destination?

7. What is your favorite airport?

8. Would you recommend slip ons or laced shoes for travelers?

9. Do you have a cafeteria where you work?

10. Are you going anywhere interesting on summer vacation.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...


But, I wonder if you hold your voted in representative to the same standard. Because frankly they mandated our existence and mandated our administrator the authority he has to institute the policies and procedures that are in place to ensure the safety of the flying public.

I know I didn't make the comment that you're referring to, but I hold them to a higher standard. I write, call, fax, and email. I fill our petitions. And, most of all, I vote against those with what I feel is poor policy. I'm guessing that most of the "regulars" on here exercise that right as well, though that would just be a guess.

Anonymous said...

Why does Amtrak demand ID after one has already boarded the train typically when the train is already under way?

Will there be a process to verify boarding passes?

When will I get my country back?

Anonymous said...

"Why can a TSO refer you to secondary screening when you cooperate fully but roll your eyes at their stupid demands? I thought retaliatory screenings were banned."
-----------------------------

A TSO can pull aside any person who they believe is acting in a suspicious manner. Perhaps they think that the rolling of the eyes is suspicious, or the bad attitude is suspicious. And why are you rolling your eyes because of the procedure in the first place? Are you a grown adult or a 5 year old?

Phil said...

1. Do the electronic strip-search machines (both backscatter imaging and "millimeter wave" versions) show operators only still images, or animated/video images?

2. If the latter, where can we see a sample of what that video looks like?

Dunstan said...

Anonymous said...

The blog team has made limited efforts to answer questions since this blogs inception. Most answers come across as "trust us we know what we are talking about". Answers that are very limited in there scope. Or more recently Christopher's responses in the ID thread."

To some of us, we ask Why?, and the bloggers answer something akin to "Because I am the Mommy, that's why"...

Anonymous said...

"2) When will TSA comply with the ADA and provide adequate accommodations for disabled individuals to enable compliance with the demands of TSOs? (Seating for REMOVING and putting-on shoes, safety handrails at entrance and exit of metal detectors, assistance with moving those things separated into multiple grey trays - laptop, shoes, anything metallic, liquids - to a table to be reassembled into a carryable condition for someone with cane or crutches, etc.)"
__________________________________

There should be chairs and benches for people to use before and after they walk through security. And there are companies at every airport, all you have to do is ask for someone. These people are there just to take you through the checkpoint. They help you get your shoes off, get your things into the bins, help you out of your wheel chair or just give you a hand walking through the metal detector. When through they will collect all of your things for you and help you get your shoes back on. Now you know. Ask for the assistance at your ticket counter next time you fly out if you need it.

Anonymous said...

"(5) Why are IDs like my shiny new US Government Passport Card w/RFID and other enhancements not accepted for US air travel, while IDs like my current state driver's license which is much easier to get, and MUCH less verified, accepted?"
___________________________________

Why wouldn't you be able to use a passport as your ID to travel. Any government issued ID will work. Where do you people get your information?

Anonymous said...

"Why do we have to take off our shoes and have our water bottles confiscated, when in Europe there is no requirement?"

Because this is not Europe!

Anonymous said...

"Please explain and defend the logic of preventing pilots from carrying airline issue cutlery on board: http://www.salon.com/tech/col/smith/2006/09/15/askthepilot201/

I'm sure there's many more dangerous things a pilot could do to/with an airplane.

I dare you to answer it seriously, and defend your position. But I doubt you can or will."
___________________________________

Here is the answer. Are you ready? It's really simple. Pilots and flight crew go through security like everyone else. The rule is no knives. Get it?

Anonymous said...

I want this question answered:

"In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID?"

Anonymous said...

"The last time I flew from an airport in Europe I was asked if I was going to the USA. I answered no and was allowed to go through security without taking off my shoes, or taking out liquids and my laptop. The guy behind me was submitted to a US-style search because he was going to the US. Best of all was that my boarding pass was not checked by the officer who asked me where I was going, and I was in the same terminal as flights going to the US. They trusted me, and it felt great! I will take trust and decency in the place of "security theater" any day."
___________________________________

"They trusted me and it felt great."

Well isn't that nice you lied and it felt great. Sounds like a winner.

Tomas said...

For those wanting to see the current results of Trollkiller's poll, here's a link to the results.

====

Wintermute, I tossed in my own snarky comments to your "answers." Sorry for anyone feeling insulted by or objecting to my 'answers' - it's all in fun. :o)

Tom

Tomas said...

OK, several people apparently unable to view or understand the clear English statement on the State Department page about Pasport Cards where it says, in bold print:

"The card may not be used to travel by air."

...have questioned where I got my information suggesting the card cannot be used for air travel.

I got it from State Department Page about the Passport Card.

Hopefully that adequately answers those who have questioned my veracity or reason for asking. :o)

Anonymous said...

Here's a question. If somebody shows up refusing to show ID, how is the occurance documented? Obviously you keep stats on the number of people denied access to the checkpoint.

HSVTSO Dean said...

An Anonymous person wrote, a while back but I seemed to have missed it:
TSO Dean - what is a "Freedom Bag" when it's at home?

Given your governments for naming things, I'm going to guess it has absolutely *nothing* to do with Freedom. All hail the Fatherland ^H^H^H^H^H^H Homeland.


Uh-huh.

Actually, the term "Freedom Bag" was coined by some passengers who thought the rules governing liquids and gels were stupid.

To the point, they complied with the policy by putting their stuff into the baggie like they were supposed to, and then took a big black marker and wrote "Kip Hawley is an Idiot!" on the front of the bag.

Henceforth, they called them "Freedom Bags."

...And then an overzealous supervisor at a checkpoint did something stupid, and gave the TSA another black eye.

I was going to provide a link to the webpage where the Freedom Bag thing started, but, interestingly, it seems to no longer be there.

Sandra said...

"Well isn't that nice you lied and it felt great. Sounds like a winner."

You are so far off base with that comment. The poster never said that he was going to the US, he said he was flying within Europe and his flight was from the same terminal as U.S. bound flights.

Learn to read and offer an apology to the poster.

Phil said...

My off-topic reply to another commenter follows (i.e., no need to look for questions for TSA in this comment):

Someone anonymously wrote:

"I never thought showing my ID when I travel was a big deal but I guess some people have a problem with it. IDs are checked by your airline as well [...] I don't see what the difference between TSA checking IDs and the airport employees checking it."

You choose to do business with your airline. Anything that happens between you and your airline is completely up to you and that airline -- a mutually-agreed-upon arrangement between two private entities. You can choose not to agree to something one airline requests and do business with its competitor instead. You have no choice in the matter when an agent at a government checkpoint refuses to let you pass until you identify yourself and receive permission to proceed.

"I never really heard people complaining about their ID being checked before TSA started doing it. Maybe the regulars can shed some light onto why its a big issue when it wasn't before."

Sir or madam, please see "What's Wrong With Showing ID" at The Identity Project.

What's new is our government stopping us from going about our business and demanding that we identify ourselves to them then wait for permission to proceed before doing so. It is a restriction of our right to travel, and thus of our right to associate. These rights are crucial to a free society and we are unwilling to relinquish them.

Our government is now deciding who may go about his travels within the country without interference from the government, via the only practical means of travel to many places and the only practical means of travel in many circumstances (via commercial airline), deciding who may proceed only after additional hassle, and deciding who may not travel by commercial air at all -- based on government blacklists. That, alone, is bad. Where's the government transparency? Where's the due process of law?

Though catching criminals is a worthy cause, TSA's duty is to ensure transportation safety, not to catch criminals. Setting up a checkpoint at airports to stop everyone just to find the few criminals is un-American, and probably unconstitutional.

TSA is simply conducting a dragnet operation for the Department of Homeland Security, and it should not be allowed to do so. Note that most of the instances of passengers being caught with falsified ID cards and passports that are described on TSA's "Travel Document Checker (TDC)" Web page (under "Travel Document Checking Success Stories") were arrested on charges of immigrations violations, possession of illegal drugs, or credit card theft. None of those people arrested as a result of TSA's identification process at airport checkpoints is described by TSA as having been found to be carrying anything that, had he brought it onto his flight, would have put other passengers or crew at risk.

Our courts have established that people in this country have the right to travel and associate without being monitored or stopped by the government unless they have been convicted of committing a crime or are suspected -- with good reason -- of having committed a crime. They have ruled that we cannot set up roadblocks and checkpoints to stop everyone who passes just to catch the few who have done something wrong, or to find the few who are suspected of intending to do something wrong.

This is really simple: If someone is so dangerous that he shouldn't be allowed to travel within the country, we should send the police to arrest that person and get him in front of a judge -- not wait for him to show up at an airport, then hassle him or turn him away. If he's not believed to be of sufficient danger to have him arrested, then we should let him go about his business without interference from the government.

It is not the duty of the TSA or any other part of the Executive Branch to judge guilt and impose punishment. Those are reserved for the Judicial Branch. However, that is precisely what the TSA is doing. Those people whose names match those on the government blacklists are punished without ever having a trial, without any chance to face their accuser, and with no chance defend themselves.

Paraphrasing words of The Identity Project: 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.

Sandra said...

"Since people have been caught trying to conceal prohibited items in their shoes(because they knew their shoes didn't fit TSA profiled shoes category), TSA implemented an all shoes off policy following the liquid ban around Aug 2006. Anything that's hidden in someone's shoes stands out really clearly on the X-Ray."

And those items that were hidden in shoes were going to bring a plane down exactly how?

P.S.

Do you have any clue as to how ridiculous the TSA looks when it forces people to remove flipflops, sandals, ballet-type slippers?

Anonymous said...

"Why do we have to take off our shoes and have our water bottles confiscated, when in Europe there is no requirement?"

Because this is not Europe!


Europe has been dealing with terrorism, both homegrown and international since the 1970's. If anyone was going to introduce the policies that the TSA has, like removing shoes, European countries would have done so by now.

So why is it an issue in the United States and not in Europe? After all the flight Richard Reid got on originated in Europe.

And I'd like an answer not another "trust us" answer like the one above

Phil said...

In comment section for the "Checkpoint Changes Coming" post, in response to TSA Director Kip Hawley's statement:

"[Adding layers of security in order to be effective against adaptive terrorists] means adding a capability to detect a potential problem even if they are not carrying anything prohibited -- in other words, more focus on people, not just things. That means deploying more officers specially trained in behavior detection and document checking to identify people that intend to do harm, not just waiting to find their prohibited item in a carry-on bag."

I posed the following as-yet-unanswered questions:

1. What is an "adaptive terrorist"?

2. Please provide an example of a potential airline passenger who although not attempting to carry on anything prohibited, has such a great potential to cause a problem that he should be barred from traveling.

3. How does the punishment of being barred from air travel, not for a crime that has been committed or for the attempt to commit a crime, but for the perceived potential to commit a crime, judged by any one of thousands of TSA agents, without any indication of an attempt to commit a crime, much less conviction of such by a judge or jury, fit with your interpretation of the United States Constitution?

4. How do you expect that checking documents will identify people who intend to do harm?

Abelard said...

Everyone seems to be really upset about the ID checking. I don't think I can answer the questions being asked about IDs, I'm not a lawyer and I don't make the rules. I never thought showing my ID when I travel was a big deal but I guess some people have a problem with it. IDs are checked by your airline as well, and even before TSA started checking IDs there were airport employed staff checking IDs right before you got to the checkpoint. I don't see what the difference between TSA checking IDs and the airport employees checking it. They still selected people for additional screening if the passenger didn't have ID with them. I never really heard people complaining about their ID being checked before TSA started doing it. Maybe the regulars can shed some light onto why its a big issue when it wasn't before.

Before the inception of the TSA, I had never been asked for ID at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport by anyone other than airline personal which I had no problem with because my interacting with, say, Southwest Airlines is a private transaction and the rules are different.

Before the TSA, I simply showed my ID to Mr. or Ms. Southwest, got my boarding pass, checked my luggage and went on my merry way to the gate. The only thing I had to show was my boarding pass to the screener to ensure that I was allowed past the metal detectors (this was well after the days where anyone could go through screening and wait at the gate).

I object to having to show my ID to a government representative because 1) the law doesn't allow for it (see trollkillers numerous posts on the issue) and 2) because the TSA had not shown any evidence that showing ID has made traveling safer.

Oh, they have said "we think it enhances safety" but never say how or why. It goes back to - again - who cares who someone is if they have been screened for weapons or whatever that could potentially bring harm to the plane or passengers? Showing ID does nothing to enhance security, but the TSA uses that ruse as security theater.

We are all supposed to feel better now that we have to show are IDs. We just don't know why other than the TSA said so.

My government has been less than honest with me on so many things in the past eight years. Why should I trust them now?

Bob said...

OK, it's 1900 hrs EST.

COB was two hours ago, so I guess it's time to start compiling questions.

Thanks to everybody for participating!

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Tomas said...

Link to "Freedom Bag" article at Wired for those interested...

HSVTSO Dean said...

Tomas wrote:
[the link to the Freedom Bag thing]

Thank you, sir. The original website was gone, and I'm the lazy sort on my off-days so I didn't feel like expanding my search to try and find it.

Trollkiller said...

Bob said...
OK, it's 1900 hrs EST.

COB was two hours ago, so I guess it's time to start compiling questions.

Thanks to everybody for participating!

Bob


Here is the tally from my poll.
----------------------------
In the context of ensuring air travel safety, what is the difference between two people, both of whom are willing to cooperate with TSA's invasive interrogations, one of whom politely declines to show ID, the other of whom claims he lost or misplaced his ID? (14) 41%

TSA cites 49 C.F.R. § 1540.107 and 1540.105(a)(2) as the law giving them authority to demand identification as a condition of granting access to a sterile area of an airport. 49 C.F.R § 1540.5 appears to limit such passenger screenings to searches for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries as the only requirement for granting access to the sterile area. How does TSA reconcile this conflict? (20) 59%

Given that it's trivially easy to forge a boarding pass, how does presentation of validated IDs do anything to ensure that people on selectee/no-fly lists don't enter the sterile area? (14) 41%

Why haven't you answered Trollkillers very specific questions about the obvious illegality of the new ID program? (9) 26%

How many people have to manually check in per day because of name similarities with the watch list? (7) 21%

How many people per day are denied flight due to the no fly list? (2) 6%

Why are "secure area" and "sterile area" so often conflated in official blog personnel responses? (3) 9%

Why can't the full body scan screeners work where the person scanned can see them? (9) 26%

Why were my bare arms patted down? do you check for fake skin? (1) 3%

When will cargo be screened reliably? (8) 24%

When will all workers be screened? (10) 29%

Where is the Privacy Impact Assessment for the form that TSA provides to people who claim to be unable to present credentials at TSA airport checkpoints? (9) 26%

Where is the information from a TSA SSI expert about x-ray images of Apple's latest laptop computer Bob wrote that he would provide? (5) 15%

How many layers of approval does one of your blog posts have to go through before you are allowed to post it. (5) 15%

When will TSA comply with the ADA and provide adequate accommodations for disabled individuals to enable compliance with the demands of TSOs? (12) 35%

Why has TSA restarted the pointless gate screening? If the sterile area is in fact sterile, there's no need to screed those who have already been screened. (12) 35%

Why do you have access to my political affiliation? (11) 32%

If the strategy at play is discretion, why do air marshalls, flight deck officers, and other firearm-carrying individuals draw inordinate attention to themselves by entering airports through the exit lanes, and continue to board flights early? (7) 21%

I had a TSA agent tell me that each airport is free to implement security standards beyond those listed on the TSA site -- meaning that they could restrict items from being allowed in carry-on baggage that are explicitly allowed according to the TSA site. If this is true, how are travelers expected to properly plan for their trips? (14) 41%

What immediate measures can a person take when encountering a less than friendly TSA agent? (12) 35%

Why is the "complaint form" SSI? (9) 26%

Can we clone Dean? (6) 18%

When will TSA take FULL responsibility for items stolen from our checked bags? You know there are thieves among the ranks, yet you take no responsibility. (7) 21%

Are you REALLY going to answer our questions with REAL answers? (5) 15%

Why doesn't TSA consider items being stolen from checked bags a security threat? Dangerous items could just as easily be ADDED to luggage... (15) 44%

From which companies/sources you get the sensible informations for the "lost" ID interview? (7) 21%

Why is the new US Government Passport Card w/RFID not an accepted ID for US air travel, while less secure IDs such as state driver\'s license are accepted? (10) 29%

Why do checkpoints NEVER have complaint forms when we ask for them? Is the TSA Complaint Form available on-line as a printable PDF, and if not, why not? (10) 29%

Do any of the Blog team actively perform screening functions? (11) 32%
-------------

Hope it helps.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Sandra wrote:
Do you have any clue as to how ridiculous the TSA looks when it forces people to remove flipflops, sandals, ballet-type slippers?

The flask sandal

You never know.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Phil wrote:
Anything that happens between you and your airline is completely up to you and that airline -- a mutually-agreed-upon arrangement between two private entities.

Just out of curiosity, man, how exactly does that square with the fact that the only reason they check your ID at all is because they operate under a security directive from the government to do so?

Bob said...

Thanks TK. I created a spreadsheet from your poll and will include it with the other questions. Good stuff...

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Bob said...

Sandra wrote: Do you have any clue as to how ridiculous the TSA looks when it forces people to remove flipflops, sandals, ballet-type slippers?

Good call on the flask, Dean.

Sandra, do you realize how ridiculous it is that metallic or non metallic detonators can be concealed in these flip-flop/sandals, slippers you speak of?

Speaking of ridiculous, I can't remember the last time I saw somebody pirouette through the checkpoint with ballet slippers. :)

Ok...sorry...back to compiling questions. I'm hungry and I need to go home and let my dog out.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Tomas said...

OK, several people apparently unable to view or understand the clear English statement on the State Department page about Pasport Cards where it says, in bold print:

"The card may not be used to travel by air."

...have questioned where I got my information suggesting the card cannot be used for air travel.

I got it from State Department Page about the Passport Card.

Hopefully that adequately answers those who have questioned my veracity or reason for asking. :o)


Tomas, if you use this link:
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm

You'll see that the passport card is accepted by the TSA as acceptable ID.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Bob wrote:
Speaking of ridiculous, I can't remember the last time I saw somebody pirouette through the checkpoint with ballet slippers. :)

It's happened at Huntsville. Had a ballet team flying out to some exhibition or competition somewhere, and they might've been bored or something. It was quite entertaining.

Anonymous said...

Tomas said...
OK, several people apparently unable to view or understand the clear English statement on the State Department page about Pasport Cards where it says, in bold print:

"The card may not be used to travel by air."

...have questioned where I got my information suggesting the card cannot be used for air travel.

I got it from State Department Page about the Passport Card.

Hopefully that adequately answers those who have questioned my veracity or reason for asking. :o)

Tomas,

The sentence prior to, "The card may not be used to travel by air" reads:

"The passport card facilitates entry and expedites document processing at U.S. land and sea ports-of-entry when arriving from Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean and Bermuda."

I think the State Department was trying to say, "The card may not be used to travel by air to (and from) Canada, Mexico, etc.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob wrote: Ok...sorry...back to compiling questions. I'm hungry and I need to go home and let my dog out.

Well, I guess that answers my question ... :)

Phil said...

Off-topic:

I wrote:

"You choose to do business with your airline. Anything that happens between you and your airline is completely up to you and that airline -- a mutually-agreed-upon arrangement between two private entities. You can choose not to agree to something one airline requests and do business with its competitor instead. You have no choice in the matter when an agent at a government checkpoint refuses to let you pass until you identify yourself and receive permission to proceed."

HSVTSO Dean responded:

"how exactly does that square with the fact that the only reason they check your ID at all is because they operate under a security directive from the government to do so?"

Can you cite a source for that fact? I suspect that you have stated a common misunderstanding.

It's my understanding that airlines attempt to verify passengers' identities in order to maintain their ability to practice price discrimination. By attempting to ensure that the person who boards a flight with a given ticket is the same person who purchased that ticket, they eliminate the market for re-sold tickets. People who purchase a flight months in advance at a discounted fare can't change their plans and sell their ticket to a business traveler who would otherwise be paying nearly full-fare to purchase a ticket at the last minute. For more on this, including some suggestions for dealing with it, see "Why don't US airlines check passenger IDs? Money" by Chris Soghoian, October 12, 2007.

EPIC has published a 1996 letter from FAA that states that FAA issued a security directive requiring airlines to request that passengers "show ID" but not requiring the airlines to require passengers to do so prior to flying. Wired News reported this to be accurate in 2002. Has this policy changed?


Following are two relevant questions and answers from the "Gilmore v. Ashcroft -- FAA ID challenge FAQ" (and if you're interested in the ID issue, I encourage you to read the entire FAQ):

"Q. What is the history of ID requirements in air travel?

"Before 1995, there was no requirement to identify yourself in order to board an airplane. (Somehow the world got along anyway.)

"In 1994, the FAA started a research and development project for a computerized passenger profiling system.

"On July 17, 1996, TWA Flight 800 exploded shortly after takeoff from Long Island, killing all 230 people on board. Eighteen months later, the FBI concluded that there was no evidence that a bomb or missile destroyed the plane. In 2000, the National Transportation Safety Board finally ruled that an explosion in the center fuel tank caused the crash, probably due to a spark igniting gasoline vapors in the near-empty tank. Despite the ultimate conclusion, the government jumped forward in 1996 with plans to build computerized air traveler profiling systems.

"The Washington Post reported on August 31, 1996:

"
The FAA has supported research and development work on computerized profiling since February 1994, and is now funding a development project with Northwest Airlines.

"
Virtually the entire federal law enforcement and intelligence establishment has participated in developing the criteria for a database, Flynn said.

"
Since the TWA crash "we have been accelerating the hell out of it," Flynn said, predicting development work could be completed within months.

"
But even then, he said, "there are a whole variety of constitutional and legal questions that will still have to be resolved before this can go forward."

"Apparently those constitutional and legal questions were never resolved; they merely installed the system anyway, and required all airlines to use it on passengers who check baggage.

"After 9/11, the FAA reportedly required that the system be used on all passengers, not just those who check baggage. Then, Congress passed the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, which was signed into law on November 19, 2001, federalizing the entire airport security infrastructure. This created the TSA (Transportation Security Administration), which we believe is currently administering the ID requirement."



"Q. Aren't Southwest and United merely private companies refusing your business because you aren't doing business the way they want to do it? That seems legal to me.

"Airlines are heavily regulated by the government. So far, every case relating to airport security has treated the actions of the airline employees as being equivalent to acts of government, e.g. they have to follow the Constitution. Thus, they can't say "You can't fly with us unless you consent to whatever kind of search we demand". The case law is very clear: only searches limited to finding weapons and explosives are allowed, and to no greater extent. Anything beyond that violates the Fourth Amendment. There is no probable cause to suspect every person in an airport of committing a crime.

"The airlines are treated this way by the courts largely because the government really IS pulling the strings behind the scenes, telling the airlines what they can and can't and must do. Remember all those signs in the airports saying "The FAA requires passengers to show ID"? It turns out that they're lying -- neither Congress, FAA nor TSA has ever published a law or regulation requiring passengers to show ID. But it is true that there's a secret government order to the airlines, that makes them ask for (and/or demand) your ID. I sent them a FOIA request for it, and they acknowledged the existence of these orders, but wouldn't release them. It's the same with the x-ray machines and the shoe searches and all the rest; it all comes from the government, as orders which the airlines must follow, but which the public cannot ever see.

"There's a separate reason why the airlines are liable even if the above wasn't true. Southwest and United are common carriers. They're required to take anybody who shows up and pays the published fare. Why would such a business need to know who its customers are? Their license to operate as a common carrier doesn't let them pick and choose who they'll permit to fly.

"Then there's a third thing. The airlines are selling a commodity, but they hate to price it that way. Businesses who did (like People Express) were outcompeted by ones who made tricky pricing schemes. So the whole industry has tried to tie customers to particular tickets and particular times and dates, penalizing them on price if they want changeable tickets, and only selling re-sellable tickets to "consolidators", not to the public. If you buy a bus pass for transit in your town, you can give or sell that bus pass to someone else and there's nothing illegal about it. Your name isn't even on it. Same with theatre tickets, for another example. The bus company isn't trying to charge you $1 for the seat and sell the next seat over to somebody else for $10. But that's what airlines have been doing for years.

"Until 1996, no airline required that people show ID so they could check that the name on the ticket matched the name on the person. Every airline was afraid that as soon as it enforced such a policy, lots of customers would switch to some other airline. In other words, a competitive market would be operating correctly. So instead they banded together and got the FAA to order ALL of them to check IDs. Suddenly there's nowhere sane for the consumer to turn, so no airline loses any business and none is tempted to break ranks to gain business (which is how most cartels fall apart)."

College Kid said...

Whoops, looks like I missed the deadline. I wanted to know the precise boundaries (in their function and legally) between various institutions involved in air travel: the TSA, the FAA, airport security guards, customs officials, the NTSB, and the airlines themselves. And maybe this is more a question for the FAA, but do cell phones turned on really pose any threat to the airplane when it's in the air?
I regularly read this blog (although I've never posted before) and generally approve of the TSA. You're part of the administration, and people hate the administration, whether it's in a junior high school or the nation. Overall, the checkpoints have gotten better and faster. Of course, there are improvements that can be made, but nobody's perfect.

Bob Kim said...

We all know a flask sandal is dangerous because it contains liquids. Detonators. You guys seriously amuse me. :rolleyes:

You guys just keep looking for your Big Catch® in fliflops.

runarut from FlyerTalk said...

I rather like the questions posed in Phil's comment. Phil is the first one on the list.

Can you answer those? They seem serious and well thought out.

Tomas said...

Looks offhand like the cutoff is 29% - that's about 11 questions that got 29% or more.

Good luck on the answers, Bob.

CBGB said...

http://www.homeofheroes.com/news/archives/2002_0100_foss.html

forgot to ask about this one...

why doesn't the TSA support the troops?

Bob said...

CBGB said... http://www.homeofheroes.com/news/archives/2002_0100_foss.html

forgot to ask about this one...

why doesn't the TSA support the troops?

July 21, 2008 11:41 PM


CBGB, I dispelled that long ago. While the event with Joe Foss was truly unfortunate, this happened on January 11th, 2002.

Guess what? The TSA had not federalized any airports yet. This incident involved private screeners in Scottsdale, Arizona.

You can read about it at Snopes.

Bob

Eos Blog Team

Bob said...

Jim Huggins said...
Bob wrote: Ok...sorry...back to compiling questions. I'm hungry and I need to go home and let my dog out.

Well, I guess that answers my question ... :)

July 21, 2008 9:38 PM


Jim, Jim, Jim. You got me! That's almost as bad as this.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

1. I will be carrying film thru the checkpoint. It will not get x-rayed, and I have found ways to keep it from being x-rayed within your rules. I do hav eit already in a clear plastic bag seperated out, that used to be enough... (On the flip side, I let you x-ray the cameras to your hearts content. However, I do not want your screeners manhandling the cameras and bag. If you want me to open it, just say so and I will be happy to open it for your inspection. Why can't I handle it, when the VALUE of the contents of that bag may total more than a year's salary for one of your people?)
3. Yes, I have a laptop, and yes, I am getting it out for inspection, but it is a tight fit in the bag and it takes a moment, meanwhile, I have the other items to handle (see above). I'm doing the best I can, quit trying to shove me thru!

2. I have medicine that must be kept cooled, and as such, use a thermos to do so. Teach your people about this, it isn't rocket science! I will let you x-ray it, and even open it for inspection, just be nice about it.

Tomas said...

¡We've been Rick Rolled! :oD

Thanks, Bob, we needed that.

Trollkiller said...

Welcome back Blogger Bob, we missed you. Look Ric rolling and whatnot are funny but on a more serious note, if this man is not on your watch list the TSA is useless.

Anonymous said...

I guess I missed the deadline but I'm just curious about this. If my 20 oz bottle of coke that I just bought at the gas station on my way to the airport is such a high explosive risk that it must be confiscated, why is it not treated as such by men in hazmat suits but is instead trivially thrown into a big trashc an with a bunch of other dangerous explosives?

9091 said...

Anonymous Bob Kim said...

We all know a flask sandal is dangerous because it contains liquids. Detonators. You guys seriously amuse me. :rolleyes:

You guys just keep looking for your Big Catch® in fliflops.

July 21, 2008 10:22 PM




I think this is attitude is part of the problem, passengers don't seem to understand.

you do realize that the detonator does what it implies right? It detonates its intended explosive. without it all a terrorist has is some molding clay. If such an item can be concealed in a flip flop, your so adamant about wearing, then I feel its prudent that they be x rayed, you may feel differently but we are all entitled to our opinion

Anonymous said...

To the poster who thinks I lied about my destination to get through security in Europe without going through the TSA-type procedures: I did not lie. I was not traveling to the US. Some of us move around a lot. We see much more cost/effective, pleasant and professional work done than when we travel within TSA realm.

Sandra said...

Boy you guys are really grasping at straws re sandals and flipflops.

Please post pics of all the detonators that have been found in sandals.

Re the flask flipflops: each holds 3 oz. of liquid, under the limit of 100 ml. allowed in the "KHIAI" baggie per container. Anyone who wants to carry harmful liquids on board is going to use their baggie to do it, not a pair of flipflops.

On another topic, there's a most enlightening editorial in today's NY Times about the current administration's flaunting of the Constitution which says, in part:

"In her important new book, “The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals,” Jane Mayer of The New Yorker devotes a great deal of space to David Addington, Dick Cheney’s main man and the lead architect of the Bush administration’s legal strategy for the so-called war on terror.

She quotes a colleague as saying of Mr. Addington: “No one stood to his right.” Colin Powell, a veteran of many bruising battles with Mr. Cheney, was reported to have summed up Mr. Addington as follows: “He doesn’t believe in the Constitution.”

Anonymous said...

"1. I will be carrying film thru the checkpoint. It will not get x-rayed, and I have found ways to keep it from being x-rayed within your rules. I do hav eit already in a clear plastic bag seperated out, that used to be enough... (On the flip side, I let you x-ray the cameras to your hearts content. However, I do not want your screeners manhandling the cameras and bag. If you want me to open it, just say so and I will be happy to open it for your inspection. Why can't I handle it, when the VALUE of the contents of that bag may total more than a year's salary for one of your people?)"

Make sure you are rude. No one can ever write something without being rude. "The contents of that bag may total more than a years salary for one of your people."

Well if you do not want your things to be xrayed than you can not touch them until they have been cleared. Reason being, if there is something you shouldn't have in the bag, you could hurry up and grab it hiding it on your person. Thats the reason.
No one cares how much your stuff is!

Dunstan said...

" Anonymous said...

I guess I missed the deadline but I'm just curious about this. If my 20 oz bottle of coke that I just bought at the gas station on my way to the airport is such a high explosive risk that it must be confiscated, why is it not treated as such by men in hazmat suits but is instead trivially thrown into a big trashc an with a bunch of other dangerous explosives?"

Well, personally, the only thing I use coke for is cleaning the stainless steel shot in my magnetic tumbler... FYI, diet coke and Pepsi don't work. So, I think of it as a useful solvent.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Sandra wrote:
Boy you guys are really grasping at straws re sandals and flipflops.

For the record, you're the one that brought it up.

I was just pointing out how one could conceal a possible threat in something as ridiculous as that.

9091 said...

In response to sandra:

are you serious, I mean really, you need to see a picture of a detonator in a sandal? why don't you do a google search to see how small they are.It is a preventative measure,fact of the matter is a detonator can fit into a sandal and until there is a better way to go about it all footwear needs to be xrayed.

As for the flask sandals, its not the fact that they can contain liquid thats the issue. its just an example of what can be concealed in a sandal, the flasks can easily be removed, and other not so airplane friendly items can be put in those neat ready made compartments.

Miller said...

However, I do not want your screeners manhandling the cameras and bag. If you want me to open it, just say so and I will be happy to open it for your inspection. Why can't I handle it, when the VALUE of the contents of that bag may total more than a year's salary for one of your people?)

Make sure you are rude. No one can ever write something without being rude. "The contents of that bag may total more than a years salary for one of your people.


The photographer relies on his/her equipment to make a living. TSA has demonstrated to many people (including me) just how little regard TSA has for the traveling publics belongings. This person may have heard just how difficult it is in getting TSA to honor a valid claim and how many months it may take before that claim is honored. This person is justified in their concerns for their belongings by TSA past and current behavior. TSA continues to have little regard for both passengers and the passenger's belongings.

I've seen the too bad, so sad attitude on the part of TSA. The bad thing is that it doesn't need to be that way. When traveling with my 34Kg tool chest I've often spoken to TSA baggage screeners, supervisors, etc and one of the things I often say is "that's how I make my living" and even then that gets the smirk and condescending remarks.

Sandra said...

Dean said:

"For the record, you're the one that brought it up."

The TSA is the agency that forces passengers to remove sandals and flip flops. That card was in play before my comment.

To 9091:

Passengers understand all too well that the TSA is nothing but a show. Yes, there are some travelers who are of the "anything for security" ilk, but anyone who uses his or her little gray cells at all knows it's just a show.

But you go right on believing that you are making the skies safe if that makes you happy.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Sandara: "Passengers understand all too well that the TSA is nothing but a show. Yes, there are some travelers who are of the "anything for security" ilk, but anyone who uses his or her little gray cells at all knows it's just a show.

But you go right on believing that you are making the skies safe if that makes you happy."


Don't you know? Just like there's a terrorist behind every bush, there is a bomb in every shoe.

One can only cry wolf so many times ...

Robert

Dunstan said...

" 9091 said...

In response to sandra:

are you serious, I mean really, you need to see a picture of a detonator in a sandal? why don't you do a google search to see how small they are.It is a preventative measure,fact of the matter is a detonator can fit into a sandal and until there is a better way to go about it all footwear needs to be xrayed.

As for the flask sandals, its not the fact that they can contain liquid thats the issue. its just an example of what can be concealed in a sandal, the flasks can easily be removed, and other not so airplane friendly items can be put in those neat ready made compartments."

Wouldn't it be great if you applied the same concern to passenger's check in luggage.

If the detonators are that small, they can be put in a ball point pen, or just about anywhere. Flip flops are just the tip ( or perhaps, less likely, the sole) of the problem. I hate to be flippant about this, however....

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