Monday, September 8, 2008

An Update on Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bags

It’s been almost a month since we launched our new laptop bag procedures. As expected, there have been a few folks (including my Dad) who thought they could just leave their laptops in any old bag with cables and gadgets galore. We expected some confusion and just like any new procedure we’ve rolled out, we’re hopeful that the majority of folks will get the hang of it pretty quick. We put together a video that might help some of you out.

Click here to see a video on new laptop bag procedures.

Here are a couple of laptop bag related stories I found on the web.

USA Today: Flyers Cheer Laptop Policy Change

Jet with Kids: Airport Security and Laptops – Reporting Back (Lessons Learned)

But enough of my yackin’ – I wanted to share what others who have tried the new process had to say. Please remember that TSA does not endorse any of these bags specifically, we’re just sharing the insights and experiences of the travelers.

ZD Net: The Mobile Gadgeteer


PC World: Road Test: Checkpoint Friendly Laptop Bags

In case you missed it, check out our original blog post announcing the launch of the new laptop bag procedures.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

162 comments:

Phil said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tomas said...

Phil, as a traveller I'd really much rather have an actual printed government phamphlet or a document on TSA/DHS letterhead that I could carry with me after assuring I followed every step exactly.

My reason for this is that I'd rather be able to pull it out and say to the person on the other side of the table "Here is the official government document I followed, please show me a newer one that says you can refuse to allow my _________ to be carried on board."

I think many of us have had it up-to-here with marginally trained, or untrainable "transportation safety officers" making up rules as the go along.

I, for one, do NOT want to lose possibly valuable personal possessions because some officious screener is having a bad day.

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Zayin said...

Interestingly enough, I had plane tickets on the day you started this policy. I decided to test it out by bringing two laptops, one in a bag that followed the guidelines and one that clearly did not with obtrusive zippers on all sides, a power cord, and a usb cord. While I was ready to take that one out of its case, I was surprised to find that the agent let me send it through without issue. This worked on all three flights I had to take on my multi-city journey. When I finally asked why they let me, the woman said it was her discretion which need to come out and which don't and that she would rather see the line go smoother than hold it up with me taking out my laptop.

Anonymous said...

I tried leaving my laptop in its protective sleeve and got scolded. No matter how hard I try to follow your silly rules, I always get mistreated and singled out for super searches.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. And let's be clear that a "list of rules" could say something like... "our staff may at their discretion restrict other items" and stuff like that, if that is in fact the "rule" - we just want to know WHAT the rules are, so that when a TSA staffer on a power trip starts making things up, we know if we're in the right or not.

As for bag confusion - well, if TSA'd come out with a "certified" logo or something, or worked with industry to do so (a la the TSA-accepted locks), you'd have less of a problem with confusion.

Anonymous said...

>>I want to be sure I know what my responsibilities are. I don't want to have to guess what the rules that agent will require me to follow are, and I don't want to wait around for that agent to tell me.<<

I want to know what my responsibilities are, also. More importantly, I DON'T WANT TO GET YELLED AT FOR NOT FOLLOWING SOME LOCAL EMBELLISHMENT OF POORLY DOCUMENTED RULES.

Oops, excuse me. I don't want to get yelled at for not following some local embellishment of poorly documented rules.

Examples I remember from prior posts on this blog:

-- the one-quart zip to bag has to be a "ziplock" -- a bag with a bona fide zipper is not permitted.
-- your 3 oz (or is it 3.4 oz) bottles have to be "labeled", though the type of label and what it says are not specified.
-- your 3 oz (or is it 3.4 oz) bottles have to have a factory label, never mind that short of chemical analysis, how will a TSO know whether the content matches the "factory" label
-- your 3 oz (or is it 3.4 oz) bottles have to be translucent, which doesn't square with the prior item, because factory labeled bottles are usually opaque.
-- under the 3-1-1 exemption for beverages for children, you can have Gatorade, but not grape soda in your bag
-- somehow the medical items exemption to 3-1-1 doesn't apply to contact lens solution

I also don't want to get fined by the TSA's kangaroo-court system of fines for bringing a prohibited item in the face of nebulous rules.

I also don't want to get fined for "interfering with the screening process" or making "non-physical contact" if I start asking questions as I try to understand all this foolishness.

Anonymous said...

Hello Phil. I work for TSA and I want to let you in on a few things to clear up some confusion you may have with the big hassle of screening. We can not give you a list of procedures we use as that is SSI. You are able to ask an officer to explain some things to you. If you do not want to wait then that is up to you as then you will not know information you seek. There are signs everywhere before the checkpoint for your viewing to help you through the process. There are such pamphlets out there with a list of all items prohibited. Our list is not at all inclusive and can be expanded as we see fit though. Procedures are more of a guideline and we can not just say they are the process. Lastly a big thing that can help you and many others with your concerns is the website. You have to navigate through to find some stuff but I am sure most everything is there that passengers need to know to prepare for the security process.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers

Ayn R. Key said...

Tom,

The pamphlet is a great idea, but the list needs to be make in the first place before it can be put on a webpage or a pamphlet.

TSO Jason said...

Radiationman wrote:

"So what are the British doing differently that they don't require special bags for laptops but TSA does?"
**********************************
Using better x-rays that allow for more than 2-D imaging so that the operator can see above and below the laptop.Check out:

http://www.silicon.com/retailandleisure/0,3800011842,39257528,00.htm

Bob said...

FYI - I deleted Radiation Man's comment because the link he provided was far too long and was messing up the format of this page. Here is what he posted:

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

I'm still waiting for TSA to respond to why their screeners aren't skilled enough to allow laptops to remain in their bags - regardless of whether or not they have been deemed "checkpoint friendly."

Again other countries have been able to do it for years why has the US had an issue with this. From BAA's Heathrow website:

"All items carried will be X-ray screened. You no longer have to remove your laptop from your bag at Heathrow Airport."

So what are the British doing differently that they don't require special bags for laptops but TSA does?

September 9, 2008 12:54 PM

Phil said...

I wrote (emphasis added/modified):

"please tell us where TSA has published a list of all the rules and regulations [...]

"Note that I'm not looking for hints, tips, clues, outdated and internally-inconsistent Web pages, press releases, bag-packing suggestions, or super-secret operating procedures, just the rules you require us to follow in order to avoid having our freedom of movement restricted by your staff."


Someone claiming to work for TSA anonymously responded:

"We can not give you a list of procedures we use as that is SSI."

Thanks, but I tried to head off such a response by explaining that I'm not looking for your procedures, just the rules that you require me to follow, in writing, published for me and all of the public to see.

This TSA employee continued:

"You are able to ask an officer to explain some things to you."

An officer? We're talking about airport security guards, right? I don't consider those to be "officers".

Regardless, it's unwise to leave legal matters in the hands of anyone besides ourselves and our attorneys. TSA airport security guards are busy searching people and their luggage. They are frequently misinformed, and even those who want to make themselves informed about TSA's rules, like frequent EoS commenter HSVTSO Dean, find it nearly impossible to do so.

"If you do not want to wait then that is up to you as then you will not know information you seek."

So you're telling me that I will not be allowed to read the rules that you require me to follow ahead of time, and that I must instead wait and ask an airport bag-checker what my legal responsibilities are?

"There are signs everywhere before the checkpoint for your viewing to help you through the process."

I wouldn't say that they are everywhere, but I'm familiar with those. Some of those signs are blatently inaccurate. I photographed some inaccurate signs bearing the TSA logo at MCI last year. In fact, I filed a complaint with TSA and received a response from Jeanne Oliver, Associate Director of TSA Office of the Executive Secretariat. She did not indicate that TSA would fix the problem, but did confirm that if a traveler was (at the time; this has since changed) "unwilling or unable to produce a valid form of ID, the traveler [was] required to undergo additional screening at the checkpoint to gain access to the secured area of the airport," and thus that the signs were inaccurate. I wrote about this experience in a comment in reponse to the "Gripes and Grins Part 3" post (in a comment submitted 2008-03-31 15:01 -0700) and again in response to the Why is ID Important for Security?" post (in a comment posted 2008-06-11 15:29 -0700). A story about my experience was run on the front page of the Kansas City Star ("Although airport security tells passengers they must show ID to board planes, they really don't," Scott Canon and Mike Rice, Kansas City Star, April 9, 2008; that paper does not allow free access to their archives, but the story was also run by the Seattle Times: "If truth be told, you don't always need ID for domestic flights", Seattle times, April 14, 2008 and also by the Arizona Daily Star: "You can fly without ID, but a hassle will accompany you", Arizona Daily Star, April 20, 2008).

The signs are not useful in this case.

"There are such pamphlets out there with a list of all items prohibited."

At 2008-08-18 23:31 -0500, in the Keep Your Lap Top IN if you have a `Checkpoint Friendly' Bag" post, HSVTSO Dean wrote, "there are these neat little pamphlets. I haven't seen one in a bit, but they used to be all over the airline ticket counters down in the lobby with an exhaustive prohibited items list, and the passengers were allowed to keep them. The only thing that was out of date, last I saw it, was cigarette lighters - they're permitted again."

So TSA had and likely still has outdated and thus inaccurate information in circulation with those pamphlets. Thus, they are not useful in this case.

"Our list [of rules you are required to follow] is not at all inclusive and can be expanded as we see fit though."

See, that's not the way things are supposed to work in the United States. We are not supposed to be subject to such secret and arbitrary rules. How can we determine if someone who has been accused of violating a rule did so? How can we know if we are in compliance with the rules? How can we know that the rules are constitutional? I'm no legal expert, but this is pretty fundamental stuff.

"Procedures are more of a guideline and we can not just say they are the process."

You lost me, there. If that was an important point, please rephrase it..

"Lastly a big thing that can help you and many others with your concerns is [the website]. You have to navigate through to find some stuff but I am sure most everything is there that passengers need to know to prepare for the security process."

I get the impression that you are making a genuine attempt at being helpful, and I thank you for taking the time to do so. I also get the impression that you have not read the voluminous discussion of the inaccuracies of TSA's Web site. Both Bob and Lynn have acknowledged specific inaccuracies the commenters here brought to their attention, and after Bob referred to the same "guidelines for travelers" page you cited, as many other people soon noted, was not what we're asking for, as that information is incomplete, internally inconsistent, and not an authoritative source for the rules we are required to follow. (Note: You'll have to load the main page for that post first if those links don't work. There's something wrong with TSA's blogger.com setup.)

TSA's tips for travelers site is not useful in this case.

Can anyone show me the rules I am required by TSA to follow in order to avoid having their staff restrict my freedom of movement?

Anonymous said...

Folks,

Going through airport security is not rocket science. Your responsibilities at the checkpoint are fairly straight-forward.

Let me break it down for you:

1) Leave bombs at home. Leave guns, knives, other weapons, screwdrivers and other tools you clearly don't need on your person when you fly in your checked baggage. It's common sense.

2) Show your boarding pass and ID to the document checker.

3) Remove your laptop, shoes, and ziplock bag and place them into the provided bins.

4) Put your stuff on the X-ray belt, and with boarding pass in hand, walk through the metal detector when motioned through.

5) Follow the instructions of the officer and don't argue; it's ultimately up to them whether or not you're allowed to take it through security. An 'all inclusive' list is not required.

'nuff said?

Ayn R. Key said...

Hello anonymous TSO.

Hello Phil. I work for TSA and I want to let you in on a few things to clear up some confusion you may have with the big hassle of screening. We can not give you a list of procedures we use as that is SSI.

He's not asking for a list of your procedures. He's asking for a list of the rules we must follow. If you tell me that is SSI then you are violating the Administrative Procedures Act when you enforce it. One day you'll even enforce it on a DA who is sick of the TSA's nonsense, and you will be up on charges for violating that act.

You are able to ask an officer to explain some things to you.

And as a result get fined for non-physical interference with screening, also in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

If you do not want to wait then that is up to you as then you will not know information you seek.

If the TSO feels like disclosing this information in the first place, and if asking doesn't result in "DYWTFT?"

There are signs everywhere before the checkpoint for your viewing to help you through the process.

That is not a list of rules that travelers must follow.

There are such pamphlets out there with a list of all items prohibited.

Where?

Our list is not at all inclusive and can be expanded as we see fit though. Procedures are more of a guideline and we can not just say they are the process.

And that is where the TSA is in the wrong. Only that which is forbidden is forbidden. You cannot make up new rules on the spot. That is what we are all complaining about, and the list of rules is vital for us to be able to say "See, this is not forbidden, therefore you cannot forbid it." The traveler who had to pour out 11 oz of breast milk because the rules said she could have gel packs and the TSO said she couldn't could have used that list.

If we have a list, the intimidation process of "I have a badge and if I decide so you don't go through" can be contested viably with the TSA's own words. If you say "no" and Kip says "yes" to a certain item, who wins?

If we show you the list and you forbid it anyway, then we have grounds to have you disciplined, instead of you levying a fine of an unspecified amount for an unspecified charge, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.

No wonder you don't want us to have a list. If we have it, we might not "reh-spect yer authar-itah".

Lastly a big thing that can help you and many others with your concerns is the website. You have to navigate through to find some stuff but I am sure most everything is there that passengers need to know to prepare for the security process.

What about the contradictory parts?

Anonymous said...

" Your responsibilities at the checkpoint are fairly straight-forward. Let me break it down for you:"

Hmmm. I couldn't find the part of your post that deals with cooling packs for breast milk.

Phil said...

Apparently in response to our repeated and unfulfilled requests to see the rules TSA requires us to follow at their "airport roadblocks", someone anonymously wrote:

"Going through airport security is not rocket science. Your responsibilities at the checkpoint are fairly straight-forward."

Great! Please point us to the place where these straightforward rules are published.

"Let me break it down for you:"

You've phrased this as a list of what to do, and made lots of possibly-inaccurate assumptions. I'd much rather assume that I need to do all the things I always need to do, and read about the exceptions that apply at TSA's airport checkpoints.

The following responses may seem nit-picky, but we're talking about possible restriction of my right to travel, and more plainly, a huge disruption of my travel plans and/or waste of money spent on airfare. So we need to be very clear about my legal responsibilities at your airport checkpoints.

"1) Leave bombs at home. Leave guns, knives, other weapons, screwdrivers and other tools you clearly don't need on your person when you fly in your checked baggage. It's common sense. "

Common sense is to keep everything you'd rather not have abused or lost on your person. TSA does nothing to assure security of checked baggage. Airlines claim very little responsibility for missing or damaged items and they make it quite difficult to recover anything from them in the event of such loss or damage. And what's clear to me may not be clear to the airport security guard. We need to clarify this stuff in writing rather than relying on varying levels of common sense.

Additionally, please define "tool", as I suspect that a grumpy airport baggage inspector might disagree with other people's definition. And I think I heard that only tools larger than a certain size are banned. This makes me think #1 is incomplete or inaccurate.

"2) Show your boarding pass and ID to the document checker."

"Showing ID" (identification is a verb, not a noun; you meant credentials but few would understand that anyway) is not required. For a description of why people might prefer not to do so, please see What's wrong with showing ID? at The Identity Project.

What constitutes a boarding pass, anyway? Each airline's looks different. I guess you mean, "show something you printed at home that looks, at a glance, like a boarding pass, and has the name you plan to use on it." That's a useless rule.

"3) Remove your laptop, shoes, and ziplock bag and place them into the provided bins."

I won't necessarily have any of those things with me, so the rule must be something like, "You may not wear any footwear besides socks through the checkpoint. If you have certain types of computer equipment and certain types of carrying-cases for them, you must remove the equipment from its case and put it in one of the not-as-protective-as-your-carrying-case bins that we'll shove through the x-ray and bounce down the rollers. With a few exceptions (this, that, something else) any liquids that are not in your body must be separated into containers whose capacity is no more than 3.4 ounces, put them in a single, quart-size, clear, plastic, resealable bag..."

Back to the laptop: What qualifies as a laptop? Will I be hassled by your agents if I have a PDA with a built-in keyboard and don't remove it from its case? A really large one? What about really small laptops?

Must my shoes go in a bin? What about the ones in my bag? If I remove shoes I'm wearing elsewhere in the airport and put them in my bag, do they still need to come out and go in a bin?

"4) Put your stuff on the X-ray belt, and with boarding pass in hand, walk through the metal detector when motioned through."

Put my "stuff" on the belt? Must I remove my clothes? Is my jacket considered clothing? What if it's a pull-over? What if it's a thin one and I have nothing on under it? Is a cardigan sweater considered to be a jacket? What if it's a white jacket that is difficult to clean and I'd prefer not run it through your dirty machine? How do you determine which articles of clothing must be x-rayed and which can be worn through the magnetometer?

Am I really required to have my boarding pass in hand at this time? I don't think that rule is presently enforced.

"5) Follow the instructions of the officer and don't argue; it's ultimately up to them whether or not you're allowed to take it through security. An 'all inclusive' list is not required."

This one alarms me. I won't follow any instructions of the security guard unless I am required to. Even a police officer is not authorized to make such arbitrary demands of me.

What do you consider arguing? If a bag checker is clearly in violation of the rules he is required to follow, may I question his or her reasoning? If arguing is questioning authority and voicing dissent, I suspect that the only place I am legally barred from arguing is in court. If I am legally required not to argue with a TSA agent who is searching me and my belongings, I would like to see that in writing.

For numerous reasons that we have discussed at length on this blog, an all-inclusive list is necessary.

Anonymous said...

"Follow the instructions of the officer and don't argue;"

Shut up and follow orders.

Oh comrade, if only the founding fathers had thought to make that one of our American ideals.

Anonymous said...

Phil said...
Apparently in response to our repeated and unfulfilled requests to see the rules TSA requires us to follow at their "airport roadblocks", someone anonymously wrote:

"Going through airport security is not rocket science. Your responsibilities at the checkpoint are fairly straight-forward."

Great! Please point us to the place where these straightforward rules are published.

"Let me break it down for you:"

You've phrased this as a list of what to do, and made lots of possibly-inaccurate assumptions. I'd much rather assume that I need to do all the things I always need to do, and read about the exceptions that apply at TSA's airport checkpoints.

The following responses may seem nit-picky, but we're talking about possible restriction of my right to travel, and more plainly, a huge disruption of my travel plans and/or waste of money spent on airfare. So we need to be very clear about my legal responsibilities at your airport checkpoints.

etc. etc. etc.....


Well Phil it seems by reading your post that you already have all the answers that you seek by yuor snide remarks.

You seem to be just another talking head that dislikes the whole federal government and just likes to cause as much hate and discontent to the rest of us who travel every day and end up behind the likes of you (yeah I said it) and your ilk (said it again) who end up causing the rest of us to be held up while you go off on your lunatic fringe rants against everything.

Do the rest of us a favor, Grow Up, go along with the process and find something else to complain about. It really is not that difficult to go thru the checkpoint. Millions of ordinary folks do it every year without any problems except when they get stuck behind the likes of you!

Anonymous said...

Only the fool is not concerned by organizations that rule by bureaucrats' memos that are kept secret. Where we were once citizens, now we are the subjects.

Were it just TSA the problem it wouldn't be so bad. What kind of a country do we leave the children?

Bob Eucher said...

In reply to anonymous who said going through the checkpoint was not rocket science.

This may sound trivial, but it affects my right to freely travel within the boarders of the USA, and to contract with a private entity to provide me that travel.
When the US Government tries to restrict those rights, it falls upon THEM to CLEARLY spell out what is REQUIRED of me, so that I may exercise those rights.

1) Leave bombs at home. Leave guns, knives, other weapons, screwdrivers and other tools you clearly don't need on your person when you fly in your checked baggage. It's common sense.

What about things that are NOT bombs, but to a TSO looks like a bomb, and is confiscated?
What constitutes a weapon? A ballpoint pen, has been used as a weapon.
Big problem is MY common sense is obviously NOT the TSA's common sense.

2) Show your boarding pass and ID to the document checker.

Show, or hand to and let them inspect it? What kind of ID? What if I do not have ID?

3) Remove your laptop, shoes, and ziplock bag and place them into the provided bins.

Are slippers classified as "shoes". Can my ziplock bag be opaque? Does the contents of my ziplock bag need to have labels?

I will stop here, although not rocket science the rules and regulations as you interpret them are clearly not as everyone else would.

Wouldn't it make so much more sense if the TSA would produce EXACTLY what is REQUIRED to pass through their checkpoint, and not have any room for guesswork?

Driving a car is NOT rocket science, but we have clear cut laws about what is required of us to drive that car.

Filling out a 1040EZ form is NOT rocket science, but the IRS publishes instructions what it expects from taxpayers.

Is it all that difficult then to expect the TSA to provide us with ALL the rules & regulations that they expect us to follow when trying to get through their checkpoints?

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"Well Phil it seems by reading your post that you already have all the answers that you seek by yuor snide remarks."

The only answer I seek here is one to the question of where I can find the rules TSA requires me to follow at their checkpoints.

I didn't intend for my responses to your attempt at a summary of those rules (or was it someone else's attempt? I can't tell since both posts were anonymous) to be snide, and apologize if they seemed that way. You didn't cite any specific examples of this supposed-snideness, so I can't defend myself. I think my comment was fairly matter-of-fact. I'm not looking for a general run-down of what generally to expect when I'm searched at an airpot, I'm looking for what the law specifically requires of me in that situation.

"You seem to be just another talking head that dislikes the whole federal government"

On the contrary. I think our system of government is great. I also think that TSA is operating outside of the boundaries we created for our government. We fought a revolutionary war to escape an abusive and out-of-control government, and we should not take defending what we set up after that war lightly.

The price of liberty is eternal vigilance, right? People shouldn't fear their government, the government should fear the people, right? I didn't coin these phrases, but I agree with those who did. Do you?

"It really is not that difficult to go thru the checkpoint"

Well, it's a bit more difficult than just walking through the airport without the checkpoint. It's certainly more time-consuming. And for those who are accused wrongly of not complying with TSA's rules, along with those on DHS' blacklists, it's quite difficult.

But I suspect you meant that the average person who already expects to be stopped and searched at TSA checkpoints doesn't find the experience to be difficult. I agree with you. Those people are likely to become increasingly-accepting of such searches and interrogations now that TSA also searches people at political party events, sporting events, and air shows. I don't think such desensitization will be good for us in the long run.

It's often more difficult to stand up for what is right than to go along with the herd.

Now, can someone please show me the rules TSA requires me to follow in order to avoid having my good 'ole American freedom of movement restricted by their airport staff? I'm not arguing that there shouldn't be any such rules, only that it's unreasonable, not to mention un-American, to expect us to follow them if we're not allowed to see them.

TSO Tom said...

An open statement to the blog team:
Please provide Phil and the other visitors of this blog with an answer regarding rules they are reuqired to follow when they pass through a TSA checkpoint. The question is legitimate and deserves an answer, and to have to read it over and over again while it continues to go unanswered is getting kind of annoying. So, a pamphlet, or a web site or list of some sort, or just plain simply an answer would probably quell the anger that some bloggers are feeling right now. As a Transportation Security Officer, it gets quite frustrating at the checkpoint when challenged by travelers who think I'm "making it up on the fly" when in reality I am following the rules as I know them to be. So again, please provide the list as requested.

Bob said...

TSO Tom,

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

Even though it's not what Phil wants, I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea. Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are. If B happens, we do D. Etc…

I predict Phil won't like this answer because he wants to know what the variables are.

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

>>Show, or hand to and let them >>inspect it? What kind of ID? >>What if I do not have ID?

I believe you have to hand it to them and let them inspect it with the little blue light thingy. If you don't have ID, you fall into one of two categories:

1) Unable. Comply with additional screening and/or alternate means of identification via questioning.

2) Unwilling. Entry to the sterile area is denied.

What kind of ID? A "real" ID. That's clearly spelled out here:

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm

U.S. passport

U.S. passport card

DHS "Trusted Traveler" cards (NEXUS, SENTRI, FAST)

U.S. Military ID

Permanent Resident Card

Border Crossing Card

DHS-designated enhanced driver's license

Drivers Licenses or other state photo identity cards issued by Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent) that meets REAL ID benchmarks (All states are currently in compliance)

A Native American Tribal Photo ID

An airline or airport-issued ID (if issued under a TSA-approved security plan)

Registered Traveler Card (that contains the following: Name; Date of Birth; Gender; Expiration date; and a Tamper-resistant feature)

A foreign government-issued passport

Canadian provincial driver's license or Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) card

Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)

---

I hope that clears things up a little.

TSO Tom said...

Bob;
Thank you for replying in this forum, whether it will quell Phil's request or not is another story, but I appreciate the reply nontheless. Do please consider the Passenger brochure or handbook or whatever the case may be. Perhaps a disclaimer stating that "rules are subject to change according to circumstances" will help in creating an understanding of the "variables" that we face day to day.

Phil said...

TSO Tom wrote:

"Please provide Phil and the other visitors of this blog with an answer regarding rules they are reuqired to follow when they pass through a TSA checkpoint. The question is legitimate and deserves an answer,"

Bog of the EoS Blog Team responded:

"There is no one place you can get the information he seeks."

First, I'm not the only one asking to see the rules TSA requires us to follow in order to avoid having our freedom of movement restricted by TSA staff. At least a half-dozen other commenters here have requested the same. I happen to be quite vocal about it because I feel strongly about it, and I'm working at a computer all day, so it's easy for me to fire off a comment here and there.

Second, this is the first time I've seen any "official" word from TSA that there is no one place to find those rules.

Bob, how many places are there? I haven't seen any of them. We've established here on your blog that the TSA Web site is inaccurate (it's not even internally-consistent), that airport signs are inaccurate, that these mysterious pamphlets are inaccurate, and that many airport bag- and people-searchers misunderstand the rules.

Can you point us to any authoritative source for any of the rules you require us to follow? You know, one that we can print out, carry to the airport, and point to when some misinformed bag-checker tells us something contrary?

"I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea. [...] there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are [...]

"I predict Phil won't like this answer because he wants to know what the variables are."


Bob, the variables and your procedures are your business. (Well, they're our business, too, since you are our government, but for the purpose of this discussion, let's just say it's your business.) I just want you to tell me what special rules I am required to abide by when I'm stopped by a government agent on my way to my domestic flight. I can handle the rest. Why is this so difficult? Just tell me what you require me to do so that we're all safer on commercial flights, and I'll do it, and you can leave me alone because I'm not doing anything wrong.

How is anyone supposed to find out what is required of him at the TSA checkpoints? How can we possibly know if people are in compliance with the rules if we haven't seen them? Are we to blindly believe the word of our TSA agents when they accuse someone of wrongdoing? That's not the way things are supposed to work in the United States.

I hope everyone who comes to this blog looking for information about TSA ends up thinking, "Wait a minute. I thought the TSA airport rules were confusing and kind of ridiculous, but I assumed that if I was interested, I could go read them. You mean we're not allowed to see the rules we're required to follow?" That seems to be the case.

I get the impression that some people who post here think of TSA's screening like something a private entity might try to perform, like something that we could avoid if we didn't like it, something that the private entity can change at-will and that we have no right to see. But it's not. This is the United States Government. We are required to follow these rules. It is absolutely reasonable of us to demand that we be shown the rules we are required by our government to follow.

Tom, I hope you and others can withstand the annoyance of repeated requests from others and me to see the rules we're required to follow. I'm not thrilled about repeating myself, but I think it's important for people to keep asking until our request is fulfilled, and I know I'm not the only one who thinks so, because people have told me so. Letting it drop or pretending we've received an answer when we have not received one would not get us anywhere.

Phil said...

Someone anonymously and helpfully attempted to provide some information about TSA's airport ID policies. He or she cited TSA's "Driver's License or Passports Preferred ID at Checkpoints" page.

That page falsely states, "Beginning on May 26, 2008, adult passengers (18 and over) will be required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature."

In fact, no passengers have never been required to do any such thing.

That TSA page also states that all states are currently in compliance with REAL ID benchmarks. I don't know when the page was last updated, because TSA does not provide this information, but as of May 11, 2008, statutory deadline for implementation of the REAL ID system, not one state was in compliance, and 19 had laws or resolutions rejecting the program (see EPIC's May 2008 report, " Real ID Implementation Review: Few Benefits, Staggering Costs" (PDF, 456KB) for details.

Are we to trust the other information on that page?

Marshall's SO said...

Two thumbs up for TSO Tom for having the courage to take on his employer and second Phil's request for a list of the rules! Thank you.

To Bob and the rest of the TSA, two thumbs down for this:

"Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are. If B happens, we do D. Etc…"

Secret laws are what we have folks. Bob just said it.

Ayn R. Key said...

Bob,

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks.

Then make one place. Make that one place authoritative, so that if other places disagree they defer to that one place.

The answer your boss provided is insufficient.

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous

1) Unable. Comply with additional screening and/or alternate means of identification via questioning.

2) Unwilling. Entry to the sterile area is denied.


Do you see any constitutional problems with that? Oh, by the way, other TSOs have said otherwise on that.

Given the inconsistency, that is why Phil keeps asking for an authoritative SINGLE SOURCE for rules passengers are supposed to follow.

Abelard said...

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

And neither do I nor most of the public. We want a direct resource for the rules we are expected to follow.

With one click, I can find every single statute for the State of Arizona:

http://tinyurl.com/2rnd85

I can guarantee you that there are more Arizona statutes than there are rules for travelers set down by the TSA.

I predict Phil won't like this answer because he wants to know what the variables are.

You don't know that, Bob. You are simply assuming that is the case. It is no different than the variables within state statutes or federal law.

We have courts to factor in the variables if, and when, they arise.

Bob Eucher said...

Not to nitpick, but to point out inconsistencies that I have pointed out several times before.

The TSA webpage on ID's has errors, which should not be there. They have plenty of lawyers on the payroll, and I would think that after 7 years, they could produce a document that would stand up in court.

If TSO's can be nitpicky (empty water battles not being allowed through checkpoints because they have a few DROPS of water in them), then we too can be nitpicky.

The ID page states: federal or state-issued photo ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date and a tamper-resistant feature. These IDs include:
- U.S. Military ID


Sorry, but it is NOT clearly spelled out.
Do they know that retired military ID does NOT have gender or expiration date on them?

So if I just happen to encounter a TDC that says my military ID does not met the criteria set forth, he would be VERY CORRECT! And I would be VERY CORRECT, because the TSA says retired military ID's have gender/exp date on them, even though they don't. Who is right?

We must hold the TSA to a standard that we hold other government agencies to. They are requiring us to follow rules and regulations, that if we don't, we can be fined (without due course, mind you), arrested, or restricted from flying with a private firm that we entered into a contract with when we purchased a ticket. Yet, they have not produced ALL those rules and regulations they expect us to follow.

What if you called a taxi, and before being allowed to enter that cab, a government agent stopped you and made you perform a bunch of silly rituals? I think you may be somewhat upset. But yet we allow the very same thing to occur millions of times everyday, and somehow it's OK?

I am all for security, and very appreciative of all true efforts in providing security, but I think people have begun to realize that this is past providing security, it's about control.

Bob Eucher said...

Blogger Bob said:
We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

That is the problem, it is scattered all over. We have NO way to know if we have found ALL of it or some of it. We do not know if it is outdated, official, or just in error.

Is that any way for a big government agency to promulgate information? What about ALL the people without internet access? It shouldn't have to be a scavenger hunt.

What if the IRS had their rules scattered all over, but you had better find them all, and abide by them? I doubt anyone would like that.

In no way is this directed at Blogger Bob, he is just in the unfortunate position, left to defend the TSA through this blog, while the people that should be answering, sit comfortably in their offices ignoring the public's requests for some information or clarification.

Bob Eucher said...

One last comment about presenting boarding pass and ID.

No where on the Acceptable Identification at the Checkpoint webpage does it say that the name on the ID MUST match the name on the boarding pass. In fact NO mention is made of the boarding pass at all. So can I safely assume that I will not be prevented from traveling if the 2 names do NOT match?

One last comment on liquids and 3-1-1.
PDF handout indicating the test of liquid or gel For those that don't want to download it, the TSA claims that liquids or gels constitutes anything that can be: poured, pumped, squeezed, spread, smeared, sprayed or spilled.

So I guess my shaker of salt would NOT be allowed, as I can pour it and spill it.

But the GOOD NEWS is that my 2 liter bottle of ice (frozen water), should easily pass through with NO problems. Since ice (frozen water) does NOT have any of the above properties.

And I am in 100% compliance with the rules that the TSA has scattered around the internet.

Andy said...

Eos Blogger Bob said...
TSO Tom,

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.


You haven't answered Phil, Bob. If you had, we would all have a single publicly publishe document that contains all the rules, regulations, and guidlines that passengers are expected to follow. Instead, we have you thinking that you've answered Phil and dismissing him as a crackpot.

You see Bob, we've all read or heard the horror stories of decent, hardworking, law-abiding, patriotic Americans who read and follow the rules, but are still treated like criminals.

When the incident is reported in the press, and the TSA decides to comment on the incident, it states that the incident "should never have happened." Yet, the incidents continue to happen.

You see, with a single publication containing all the rules, passengers could point to a rule and say to a mistaken TSO "I'm following the rule, I'm a good American, I love my country, and I deserve your respect."

Even though it's not what Phil wants, I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea. Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are. If B happens, we do D. Etc…

We understand that there a variables to some rules, regulations, and procedures. With some rules, however, there should be no variation at all. For example, a United States Passport Card is a valid document for identification by the TSA. There should be no variation on that point, yet improperly trained TSOs/TDCs have failed recognize the document.

We don't want your super secret information. We want to know that if A happens (I hand my Passport Card to the TDC), B happens (they accept it and don't ask me for another form of identification).

I predict Phil won't like this answer because he wants to know what the variables are.

Bob

EoS Blog Team


Bob, if you answer means that TSOs continue to treat us like potential terrorists instead of law-abiding citizens, then I don't think anybody will like it.

BlognDog said...

Bob:
What Phil described is not what "Phil" wants, as you put it. It's what we ALL want, what we are ALL entitled to, and what we ARE going to get, despite Chertoff's continued efforts to operate outside the law.

Trollkiller said...

Good News Everybody!!!! I am so excited I can hardly type...

I received a response to the OIG complaint I filed via email. Below is a copy of the response, the bolding is mine.


Re: TSA
Tuesday, September 9, 2008 10:49 AM
From:
"TSAInspectionHotline" Tsainspectionhotline@dhs.gov
To:
[Redacted to thwart email harvesters]

Dear Mr. Cummings,

We have received your email dated June 26, 2008 from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General on September 8, 2008. A hotline control number of HL08-0526 has been assigned to your complaint.

We have reviewed your complaint and determined that the information contained therein would be more appropriately addressed by the Office of Chief Counsel. Therefore, we are forwarding your complaint to that office for their review.

Sincerely,

Hotline Staff
Office of Inspection
Transportation Security Administration


For those that are not super fast at math, this means it took 75 DAYS to move from the DHS OIG to Office of Inspection
Transportation Security Administration.

Now the only things I can see that would cause an email to take 75 days to be acknowledged is the OIG has such an avalanche of complaints filed against the TSA that the poor workers are in danger of full body paper cuts or a thorough investigation of my identity, background and psychological profile takes a really long time.

Shall we take bets on how long it is before I get a reply from the Chief Counsel's office?

CBGB said...

[i]TSO Tom,

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

Even though it's not what Phil wants, I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea. Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are. If B happens, we do D. Etc…

I predict Phil won't like this answer because he wants to know what the variables are.
[/i]

Nice Bob...so basically what your saying is there isn't one because it doesn't exist. Well I might point out that the REAL police do a lot of things on the fly, however they do it WITHIN the rules and regulations provided for them via PUBLIC LAWS. There are overarching principals that apply to them. Those principals also apply to the TSA unfortunately the shortsighted culture of fear and thumb sucking adherence to anything called security has created an enviroment where you aren't held to that standard. They don't get to violate them and call them secret. It sholdn't be OUR job to gather information and rules from dis-seperate sources and parse it into A) what we need to do AND B) make sure we are flexible enough to comply with your TSO's when they choose to ignore/modify it at their own whim. You can say it doesn't happen but evidence says otherwise...you guys recently mentioned sending out a memo to staff reminding them that retaliatory screenings are not allowed am I right?

I also rather like the fact that TSA issued ID's are fine, but DOD/CIA/NSA/NGA (trivia points for the last one) aren't.

tso jason said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Going through airport security is not rocket science. Your responsibilities at the checkpoint are fairly straight-forward.....

5) Follow the instructions of the officer and don't argue; it's ultimately up to them whether or not you're allowed to take it through security. An 'all inclusive' list is not required."
**********************************
If number 5 is true than why do you need 1-4?
It is not ultimately up to the officer whether or not the passenger can take an item through. There are rules that we must follow in this job regarding prohibited and permitted items. The fact that not all officers are aware of the rules and regulations that apply to them shows a breakdown in training and oversight. I don't think that anyone can argue that there are TSOs out there that either don't know or are not following the rules. The problem for the passenger is; how do you tell who is following the rules and who isn't? Ask a TSO? Your answer depends on the one you ask; just look at the past posts in this blog.

A passenger should be able to argue with a TSO if that TSO is stepping outside of his duties and rules. (The TSO that took the gel packs for the breast milk)

Nobody is claiming that security is rocket science, but if even simple rules are not known then how can someone be expected to comply?

Just so this does not sound too negative, I work with some great people that are generally helpful, knowledgable and do their jobs well. I am not TSA bashing but at the same time I don't think we need to ignore feedback; negative or positive. If we wish to improve this agency then we need to constantly assess what we can do better and at this point we have a lot of work to do. Instead of closing our eyes and covering our ears lets roll up our sleeves and get to work.

John Mc said...

Interesting, the Anonymous TSA person says just follow rules, but last time I flew there technically still wasn't a sign asking for footwear to be removed, even though we had to (and still no benches to do so, so we have to sit on the floor. sigh).

But since the article was about laptops, interesting no comments on the policy of 'we can take your laptop for as long as we want and keep all the files if we feel like it' policy... hmmmm

yangj08 said...

"
We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

Even though it's not what Phil wants, I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea."

I don't see what's keeping you from throwing everything together into a "how to make sure your screening goes smoothly" thing.

Oh, and "Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are." conveys an attitude that is rather off-putting. This is why people complain about the TSA- an agency that sees itself as "holy" (ie. "we'll do as we like and don't have to tell you why or how it works") will be seen by people as "nonsensical" (remember the breast milk thing? For all the TSO knew, this was a "variable"- spelling everything out would prevent such silly incidents).

Miller said...

From Bob:

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

Why aren't the rules in one place? Too difficult to do? Why aren't the rules/guidelines/hints/clues kept up to date? Too difficult to do? Is this just another layer of confusion for the terrorists or is is an out for one of your out of control make up rules on the fly TSOs?

Bob, you can dance around this all you want to do, but in the end TSA owes it to the American people to let them know the rules. FYI SSI is not a valid classification for classified material.

1) For official use only - not for foreign dissemination.
2) confidential.
3) secret.
4) top secret.

They've got others above TS, but that isn't the point here. We want answers, not the song and dance we've witnessed for the past few years from TSA.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob, you wrote:

Even though it's not what Phil wants, I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea. Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are. If B happens, we do D. Etc…

While I'd like to be sympathetic with what you're saying ... this flies in the face of other things that TSA is saying publicly.

For example, TSA says:

We're asking you to become an active partner in your security experience by knowing the rules and carefully packing your carry-on bags. (emphasis mine)

It's a little hypocritical for TSA to ask passengers to help by "knowing the rules", and simultaneously say "there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are". Passengers can't know the rules if you're not willing to tell them.

Now, I'm overstating this to make a point. Obviously, TSA is willing to tell me many of the rules, if I'm willing to spend some time jumping around the various pages. Both you (Bob) and Lynn have noted the lack of a single source of information, and have conceded that something like that would be useful.

But the lack of a definitive list of rules creates ambiguity, which can create conflict. If I approach the checkpoint with an item which I believe is permitted, after having done my due diligence,
and the TSO tells me that the item is not permitted, who's right? It might be that the TSO is enforcing one of the "secret" rules, and therefore the TSO is right. But it also might be the case that the TSO doesn't know the rules (as in the oft-reported cases of TSOs denying breast-milk ice packs, or opening sterile medical equipment). And trying to inform a TSO that they don't understand the TSA's own rules is likely to be an unpleasant experience for all concerned.

I think we all agree that the TSA screening experience can be inconsistent, as rules (and non-rules) are enforced differently by different TSOs. We all agree that better consistency is needed. Various TSA officials here (such as Bob) have noted those problems, and promised to fix them after the fact. Which is good, of course ... but still sucks for the people who were disadvantaged by the incident. Having a single list of definitive rules, available to passengers and TSOs alike, would provide passengers greater control over the screening experience by allowing them to demonstrate to a TSO that a given item is, in fact, in compliance with TSA's rules.

Matter-Eater Lad said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CBGB said...

@TK...no more blog link? Now your selling Tshirts? I <3 you :)

Anonymous said...

The below was posted by Dean on the "More on Passive Millimeter Wave Technology" report.

HSVTSO Dean said...

...THEN there is the deal with FSDs having a whole heck of a lot of power to make their own procedures and policies up as they go. ... If a FSD says to not allow unlabeled bottles of liquids and gels through the checkpoint, despite TSA's website stating that bottles of liquids and gels don't have to be labeled, ... (I'm not entirely 100% sure what authority the FSDs have in regard to these things, but I do know that if the FSD tells us to do something, we do it) then the TSOs would be trained to not allow unlabeled bottles of liquids and gels through the checkpoint, and it doesn't matter what the TSA website says at that point. The measuring stick I've always understood it to be is that the FSD cannot implement local policies that are less restrictive than what is required in the SOP, but can make policies that are more restrictive...

...Either way, the prohibition on local polices, lightly enforced as it ever was so long as it didn't get too grotesque (like the airport that required all electronic items to be removed from bags, period), was abandoned. TSA, judging by it's public statements, now indeed seems to embrace the unpredictable nature of screening. It is "designed," in spirit, to keep bad guys guessing so that they can't learn our procedures.

The side-effect is that normal passengers can't learn our procedures either.

And yes, this does put you, the passenger, at the "mercy" of the TSOs who's responsibility it is to help guide you through the process. ...

September 10, 2008 10:05 AM
______________

Based on the above statement, any talk about putting together a pamphlet or web site listing all the rules would be a moot point, since the FSD would be able to override them.

Was the talking of the ice packs for the breast milk an FSD directive?

Robert Johnson said...

Bob, A nonanswer is not an answer. It's a dodge and you know it.

TSA is asking and expecting a lot of people. And you show a perfect example of what you think SHOULD happen vs. what ACTUALLY happens. Otherwise, you wouldn't cringe at the horror stories regularly posted on here. They shouldn't happen, but they do because TSA doesn't clearly communicate rules to its people or the public as a whole.

Inconsitencies and errors are strewn all throughout your website and even Lynn has acknowledged problems that need to be fixed. You can't even give us an assurance the information on your website is right and then you expect us to follow it as gospel?

It should not be such a hard task to post rules in one place (or two: one internally and one externally). You don't have to go into great detail enumerating ever little variable but maybe you can internally so your TSOs know what the heck's going on.

This problem manifests itself as someone can take something thru the same checkpoint multiple checkpoints multiple times or thru multiple checkpoints only to have a screener elsewhere take it away. When asked about it, the answer is invariably "They do it wrong."

I think you don't publish the rules because it allows TSA to move the goal posts at will. Flexibility is one thing ... it does need to be there. However, the "inconsistency" that results I think is laziness on TSA's part because it can't or won't rein in its screeners.

Until you publish a single list internally and externally, you're going to have the same BS everywhere because it's clear that TSOs largely make up the rules as they go. You call it discretion. We call it incompetence.

Come on, McDonalds has been able to standardize its products with lower quality workers. I can walk into any McDonalds in the world, order a Big Mac and get the same burger every time. Many government agencies have done it too. I know what to expect every time I deal with the IRS, Social Security, and so forth and I have a consistent experience with them.

There is no reason that TSA can't do this. The only reason for designed inconsitency is an excuse for incompetence and failed management.

Security thru obscurity (i.e. hiding the rules) doesn't work. Ask Bruce Schneier about that. Good security is resistant to attack even if the method of securing it is known. Security thru obscurity relies on the hope that some doesn't find out the method and gives a false sense of security that said method is secure because they don't know if it's been compromised. Just ask Schneier why he hates security thru obscurity. One of the big reasons is the mess that results once it's exposed.

After all, that's why TSA has 19 layers, right? Let them have at the layers. How likely is it that a baddie will get thru all 19 layers? That is, unless, all 19 layers are bad, but I digress.

At any rate, publish the rules we need to follow in one place and make it easy to read and find. It shouldn't be hard to produce one for TSO's and a redacted version (if needs be) for the general public. That way, we're all singing from the same hymn sheet and we'll drastically reduce the problems everyone faces at the checkpoint from arbitrary rules made up on the spot.

Otherwise, you're just showing that TSA's "designed inconsistency" is really just institutional incompetence for failing and refusing to perform a basic task.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Frankly the TSA does need to provide something more updated than the current brochure that covers what you can and cannot bring onto an airplane. Since this blog has started there have been numerous incidents where TSA’s enforced policies that may or may nor exist. But seemed to cover by SSI so we can’t be sure if what we are being told is valid or some TSA screener is abusing there position, like the anonymous TSA employee who posts here gives the appearance of.

These incidents have included:
Nipple gate
The Mac Book Air that the screeners didn’t believe was a computer
Gel packs confiscated that were being used to keep breast milk cold
Breast milk confiscated because the TSA screeners felt the parents had more than needed.
Sterile medical supplies opened and contaminated because they needed to be inspected.
A battery pack confiscated because it “looked” like a bomb
Airports requiring all electronics out of the bag, a policy not approved by the TSA
TSA agents being told you have to declare $10,000 when you travel with it. Instead of declaring it only when you leave the country.

A booklet is needed so people can make sure that when a screener tells them something has to be inspected or can not be brought onto an airplane. The TSA can work with the American public to find viable solutions, like the laptop friendly bags. Or they can fight us every step of the way and face more bad press every time something escalates at a check point. When it could have been avoided.

PS
Welcome back Bob, its good to see posts being approved in a timely manner and that a dialogue between you and the commenters has resumed. You could tell the difference when you were away.

Anonymous said...

Can I bring my water on the plane now.

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/world/international-britain-plot.html?_r=2&hp&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

The prosecution presented no evidence that a viable bomb had been made.

Anonymous said...

Yet another reason why we need to get things in writing

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/showpost.php?p=10329948&postcount=1

Its TSA policy to pat down anyone wearing cargo pants??!!

Anonymous said...

"Do you see any constitutional problems with that? Oh, by the way, other TSOs have said otherwise on that."

I don't know if you meant to imply otherwise in reply to my post, but just for the record, I am not a TSO; I don't work for, speak for, or represent the TSA in any way, shape, or form. I'm just one of the 99.95% of travellers who put up with the maybe 5-minute process of going through security on a weekly basis without complaining about it. The fact is that we have TSA because it's what our elected representatives demanded (and thus by extension, we demanded it). And the other fact is that it's leaps and bounds better than what we had for airport security before, and I'd say the experience has been generally improved overall from what it was in 2001-2003.


Interesting, the Anonymous TSA person says just follow rules

Again, if this is in reference to my post, see above.



Finally, I think TSA's website provides more than enough information that I, as a customer, need to know when going through security. It seems like what you guys are asking for is a means to become an armchair lawyer everytime you deal with TSA. "Look here, you're telling me to do this, but paragraph 3.4.5.2.6 doesn't require me to, yada yada yada...." Is that how you'd handle a traffic stop? No! Never argue with the officer on the scene; you'll have your day in court to make your case. Are you the same bunch of people who demand that flight crews show you specifically in the FARs where is says you must turn off your cell phone on the plane? I hope not because you won't get very far; the law requires you to comply with all flight crew instructions, and it's your responsibility to know what the law is--ignorance is no excuse. Just like the law requires you to comply with TSO instructions by not interfering with the screening process (verbally, physically, or otherwise). My point is--please don't use the airport screening areas as a forum to advance your legal interpretation of the law; if you have a beef, take them to court.

(or use this blog if you wish, but I doubt that's as effective as hiring a lawyer and going to federal court)

Miller said...

Shall we take bets on how long it is before I get a reply from the Chief Counsel's office?

Trollkiller, how many years have they estimated it would take for a black hole to evaporate through Hawking radiation?

TSO Tom said...

One poster commented on "TSO Tom taking on his employer". This is not the case....I have spoken out about an issue that is causing concern in this forum, and other threads on this forum. I believe the issue is valid and that an answer is deserved, that rules do need to be prominently displayed and followed accordingly. I also believe that those requesting the information, as American citizens have a right to know what those rules are. I also believe that TSO's need to follow the rules that we are charged with enforcing, and that "discretion" can be taken too far at times. I'm not taking on my employer, I'm giving a suggestion on how best to serve the public that we have sworn to protect. Its that simple folks; WE are on your side, but things get confusing, not just for you, but for us too. I highly suggest that TSA consider printing a "handbook" "brochure" whatever you want to call it, so the public has access to the "rules they are required to follow when they traverse through a US Governement Checkpoint" enroute to their departure gate. No its not rocket science, but it is something that needs to be corrected. Phil, while it is annoying to read your request over and over again, I commend you for making sure your request is heard. For those traversing through our checkpoints, please be patient with us, most of us are simply doing what we know the rules to be at that particular time. Also keep in mind, that certain rules do change quickly based on certain variables, we have no control over that either. To the EOS blog team, sorry to have "called you out" like that, but I felt it necessary to at least get some kind of response in this forum.

BlognDog said...

Bob:
Unbelieveable. Either you delete-o-metered my previous response (which did not violate any of the published commenting rules on this blog, but maybe you have some others that are SSI?) or you are not reviewing/approving them in chronological order.

But I asked a very important question that I still expect an answer to -- once again, EVERY other (that's over 200) airline security agency in the world other than the TSA is able to clear passengers through airport security WITHOUT the liquids carnival, WITHOUT the shoe carnival, and WITHOUT subjecting passengers to the whims of ignorant, power-tripping "agents" muttering "DYWTFT?" in response to any challenge to their au-thor-i-tay. None of these other agencies have had to introduce special new bag regulations because they have always let you go through with whichever bag you think is best for you.

Again, I don't know how many times I have had a TSA agent attempt to grab my bag off the X-Ray belt and walk away with it for "inspection", and refuse to stop unless and until I literally have to shout "STOP right there! Come back here with MY bag RIGHT now!" Anywhere else in the world, the rules strictly forbid them from even touching your bag. They may search, but YOU (the passenger) has to open each compartment at their request, and they can never put their hands inside, but instead must use a wooden probe.

And so again, I ask you, how is it that EVERY other airline security agency in the world can do this but the TSA cannot? And if the TSA is so incompetent that it cannot manage the same level of professionalism that EVERY other agency can, why should you, Chertoff, Hawley and the rest of you be entitled to keep your jobs? Shouldn't you be hanging your heads and resigned in shame and failure? Nobody is looking for miracles from you -- just the same level of competence that agencies everywhere else seem to manage without difficulty.

I do hope you post this time because I'm annoyed enough I had to compose it twice. But now I have it saved, so delete-o-meter it again and I'll just keep submitting it until you finally publish it.

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"[TSA-provided airport security is] leaps and bounds better than what we had for airport security before"

In what ways?

"I think TSA's website provides more than enough information that I, as a customer, need to know when going through security"

As we've repeatedly discussed on this blog, and as both Bob and Lynn of the EoS Blog Team have acknowledged, that Web site contains inaccurate information. Information about your responsibilities at a checkpoint found on the TSA's Web site should not be trusted.

"It seems like what you guys are asking for is a means to become an armchair lawyer everytime you deal with TSA."

No, we just want to know what is required of us. We want to be sure that we are in compliance with the rules TSA requires us to follow, but TSA will not show us the rules. What little we are told varies significantly from one source to another. We have no way of knowing if we or anyone else is in compliance with the rules. When someone is accused of violating the rules, we have no way of determining whether that claim has merit. We have seen multiple examples of TSA airport staff wrongly accusing people of breaking the rules. Best we can tell, they misinform people with impunity. Information that TSA airport security staff provide about your responsibilities at the checkpoint should not be trusted.

"`Look here, you're telling me to do this, but paragraph 3.4.5.2.6 doesn't require me to, yada yada yada....' Is that how you'd handle a traffic stop? No! Never argue with the officer on the scene; you'll have your day in court to make your case."

At a traffic stop, a law enforcement officer collects information and informs you of what he suspects you have done wrong. If he believes that you are a danger to yourself or others, he may place you in custody so you can be brought before a judge. More often, he gets your written promise to appear before a judge and leaves you to go about your business. The officer does not judge guilt or impose punishment. He accuses you of violating rules that he, you, your attorney, a judge, or anyone else may read at any time.

At a government checkpoint in an airport (which is essentially an indoor road block for pedestrians), government agents -- who are not law enforcement officers -- stop you without cause, search you without warrant, and require you to present documentation of your identity or submit to their interrogation. If they accuse you of wrongdoing at this checkpoint, they impose punishment on the spot by restricting your freedom of movement and thus your freedom of association. No judge is involved. You have no day in court, and you are not allowed to make your case. You have no access to an attorney. You are not allowed to see the rule that you have been accused of violating before, during, or after the incident. There is no process for appeal.

These are entirely different situations. Your example of a traffic stop is irrelevant.

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"I'm just one of the 99.95% of travellers who put up with the maybe 5-minute process of going through security on a weekly basis without complaining about it."

My experience has shown that airport security takes between 3 and 10 times your estimate. You must travel when few other people do.

I suspect that more than one out of every 2000 passengers who fly weekly complain about TSA's airport security.

Anonymous said...

"Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are."

That is exactly the wrong statement. Last I checked the US Consitution was still in force, hence there are no secret laws or rules. Why, sir, do you hate America?

A rule book that says "Add to this list anything we choose to without notification" is illegal.

Anonymous said...

Trollkiller,

Don't get your hopes up. TSA is simply responding to their legal requirement to reply in some fashion in about 75 days. They purposely did not address your request until then in hopes that you get run over by a bus or something and lose interest.

Tomas said...

Phil, please allow me to add my feeble voice to the chorus of voices pleading with the TSA to provide the traveling public with a portable compendium of the rules their leader (Kip) has asked us to learn and follow.

Thing is, to anyone with even a shred of security background (in any field), it has long been obvious that the TSA doesn't really have it's act together.

They do try hard, and they do really believe (for the most part) in their mission and make a very good attempt to follow through in "protecting commerce and the traveling public."

Part of the problem we see, though, with ill-trained TSIs and TSOs and random variances from rules we KNOW to be true* is the fact that there is no easily referenced single point of guidance about the rules THAT BOTH SIDES OF THE ENCOUNTER MUST FOLLOW.

Not only would publishing the rules for the traveling public help the traveling public tremendously, it would also help the TSA folks in doing their jobs with a lot less stress.

It would also help in preventing the random overreactions of TSA people where they misinterpret/misrepresent/misapply what they believe to be the rules BUT ARE NOT.

====

Back to anyone who has real experience in "security"... A large part of why you do not have and likely will not see a reasonably understandable and correct set of riles for the TSA and traveling public to follow is the lack of a real overall security plan. What you are seeing is a hastily created and applied patchwork of wild guesses at what needs be done hidden in the usual "SECURITY BY OBSCURITY" mantra that never really works.

Any black hat who really wants to know where the holes are in the process already knows - there are probably better than 40,000 current employees and an unknown but large number of ex-employees of TSA who can and do leak vast amounts of useful data on a daily basis.

Even just casually observing for a reasonably short time will expose gaps in the "security" perimeter.

THAT is the big problem with SECURITY BY OBSCURITY: That with few real secure systems or secure procedures actually involved, once any of the holes in the pseudo-security are discovered, the obscurity of the rules broken, the entire process fails.

This applies to everything from military security to software security. One needs that multiply redundant, truly secure process or rule set that protects even if the rule or process is discovered.

TSA doesn't have that, and will likely never have that, so they obscure what they are doing, hoping that no one will find out that one really CAN get around 95% of their "protections" with just a bit of knowledge and planning.

They also hope that the public will not catch on, because that would spoil the continued flow of the vast amount of money being thrown at their SECURITY BY OBSCURITY process.

For those who really haven't been directly involved with security (for me it has been military, industrial, customer record and software security), possibly a Google search on "SECURITY BY OBSCURITY" might be an eye opener.

====

Bob, you have a tough job. On the one hand you need to seem open and above board in what you present here on EoS, on the other hand, you have to hide the utter lack of really secure processes and rules in what TSA does, and on the third hand, you probably know that no matter what you do, the bad guys already know, anyway.

TSA really does need to produce, now, that single compendium of unique rules we as travelers are required to follow in order to pass one of your checkpoints, if for no other reason than yoru own boss has said we as travelers must learn those rules and follow them.

Even if you firmly believe that "secret laws" are what this country is built on, at least you should recognize and understand a direct order from your boss to get the public trained and up to speed on the rules.

Make it happen.

Tom (1 of 5-6)

* They are often published rules or laws and when the TSO/TSI fails to follow them, the PR machine rumbles into action and promises to correct the problem.

Anonymous said...

Still would like a response as to my question earlier of if the TSA is in compliance with the 9/11 Commissions requirement on the screening of cargo carried on passenger aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Found this on Flyer Talk, this is why an updated passenger brochure needs to be created.
---------------------------
The Scene: A not-so-busy Terminal 3 security checkpoint.
The Characters: A 60-something-year-old TSO, n301dp, n301dp's cargo pants

The Story:

I'm sure that I am among a whole host of people on this board who wear cargo pants whenever they travel. Today was no different for me.

After loading up the x-ray machine belt with my usual bins, cases, and extra-large bottle of contact solution I proceeded up to the metal detector with my boarding pass in hand. As I began walking through the archway, the TSO monitoring the detector looked down at my pants and said "whoa...you need to either go through the puffer or you'll have to receive a pat down."

I was not wearing pants that had an exorbitant amount of pockets--they are normal pants with a cargo pocket on each leg at about the knee level.

After shooting the officer an incredulous look I asked for clarification--I didn't set off the metal detector when I began walking through. His response was that every person wearing cargo pants needed to follow this procedure or go through secondary screening. At first I thought he was joking until he actually waved me over to the puffer machine. As I went through the metal detector again I once again expressed the fact that this rule made no sense and has not been in practice anywhere else I've traveled this year, including at CVG twice prior! He kind of laughed off my comment.

Excited for a rum & coke at the DL CRC, I decided not to push the issue further. On second thought, after the R&C and a few beers later on in the evening, upon hearing the new rule about cargo pants I should have just taken my pants off and walked through the metal detector in my boxers. I'm sure that the police would believe that I did it on the order of the TSA .

Anyone else have a similar experience?

TSO Tom said...

The measuring stick I've always understood it to be is that the FSD cannot implement local policies that are less restrictive than what is required in the SOP, but can make policies that are more restrictive...
***********************************
This is technically incorrect but correct at the same time. Here's the deal, local procedures can not SUPERCEDE procedures that are outlined in the SOP. But since those procedures are rather broad, there is leeway for the FSD in certain areas to "make it up as he goes" or to implement a procedure that is more restrictive than that of the SOP itself. We can't go below what the SOP calls for but we can go beyond what the SOP calls for. I know it doesn't make sense because procedures are "supposed" to be set in stone...they are not and the reason they can't be set in stone is because of the nature of what we do. Unpredictability is our best friend in this case. Here's a scenario to think about. Let's say everything at every airport was the same. Terrorist A went to airport B and Terrorist B went to airport C. Later on, after watching for several hours what was going on, they met up and discussed their findings. Nothing was different between the two airports, and they found several holes in the way things were done. They realized that to get something through they would have to work together, but act as though they were alone. Everything went well on the test run, and they are now ready for their "mission". Now we have planes falling out of the sky again. This is why we have to be unpredictable, our procedures must change, sometimes rapidly to avoid having the bad guys catch on. We know its a pain in the ass to our passengers, trust me its a pain in the ass to TSO's too! But its necessary. That's why its called "security". Now I know some of you call it theater, and I can understand your frustration. Unfortunately, the world we live in today dictates how we secure our airports.

Tomas said...

Yet another Anonymous wrote...
I think TSA's website provides more than enough information that I, as a customer, need to know when going through security. It seems like what you guys are asking for is a means to become an armchair lawyer everytime you deal with TSA. "Look here, you're telling me to do this, but paragraph 3.4.5.2.6 doesn't require me to, yada yada yada...." Is that how you'd handle a traffic stop? No! Never argue with the officer on the scene; you'll have your day in court to make your case.

The two situation are entirely different and cannot be handled in the same manner.

When the police officer stops and tickets you, he proveds you a signed document detailing which laws you broke and containing instruction on the steps you need to take to either pay the fine or contest the citation in court.

When a TSO arbitrarily refuses to allow you to pass through a government chokepoint with some piece of potentially very valuable, or even irreplaceable (need I mention the incident with a medal of honor holder?) piece of personal property, the traveler is faced with an instant choice: Not travel and waste potentially thousands of dollars, time and opportunities or part with the personal property right then and there with no chance it can ever be recovered.

When the TSA insists you divest yourself of personal property or not fly, it is NOT something that can be fussed about at some later time: Even if the TSA is shown to be in the wrong, the flight has already left or the property is already long lost.

An incorrect or even unlawful threat by a TSO to not allow one to fly unless one "voluntarily surrenders" personal property to them MUST be met head on right then - it is often something that cannot be delayed to some future time. CAN NOT. Understood?

I'm not talking about losing 3.5 ounces of shampoo here, but potentially valuable items of the sort one is warned to never place in checked baggage. Got it?

Already the time spent on the ground at an airport because of all this monkey motion is probably longer than the average flight, or if not, it must be getting close.

Most of the time there is NOT the option to mail/ship the personal property to one's home or destination when a TSO challenges it, and the cost of doing so, insured, if it IS available is often insanely high. An unless one plans to leave enough time to go through "security" twice, plus time to find a place to ship one's belongings from, etc., the flight has already left.

No, an improper challenge by a TSO with no grounds or valid reason has to be met then, not later.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Anonymous wrote:
Was the talking of the ice packs for the breast milk an FSD directive?

Likely not. More likely is the case, it was screener error. Long has it been written in the SOP that ice packs and things of that nature are permissible for the cooling of medicinal items. Not so long ago was the addition of breast milk considered A-OK in all circumstances (previously, it was only exempted from the 3-1-1 exception if they were traveling with an infant).

And, since despite all the best intentions in the world, not all Supervisors can keep all TSOs up-to-date on the latest changes (and I do mean all of them. Major changes are normally covered in in-briefings. That wouldn't have been considered a major change; just from my own experience here at HSV, the only time it was brought up specifically was when the new exemption was added to breast milk in that it was permissible even without the infant traveling with the parent[s], with no mention made at all about the cooling packs being permissible for this instance as well as for medicinal items).

Versions, changes, and revisions occur to the SOP frequently, and often without notice. Also things that change the screening process are management directives, operational directives, and security directives. Unless the STSO feels the situation is major enough to bring up in in-briefing, or if the TSO takes it upon themselves to read the SOP as if it were some kind of religious tome of ancient knowledge, then the TSO - indeed, even the STSO - may not have known.

In general though, the smaller airports, in my experience, tend to have better-trained TSOs far more up-to-date with the current versions, changes, and revisions of the SOP, if no other reason than that the TSA operations at the larger airports simply don't have the time to devote TSOs to training.

And, by the way, personally speaking, I do consider this to be a problem TSA needs to get its arms around. I think it's a bigger problem than even TSA HQ knows about. Or, alternatively, if they do know about it, they're working out how exactly would be the best way to combat it.

Also, there's something else I've been wanting to write for a while now, and just haven't gotten around to it. With there being no time like the present, and even it being off-topic, why not here?

The so-called "Nipple Gate" affair.

Back in the good ol' days of TSA, we used to have the procedure that we do now - the passenger could show the sensitive-area piercings to a screener in a private area, and all would be well. That ended after a couple of years when the accusations of TSA strip-searching people came about, and TSA modified it's approach to where the passenger could be given the option of going to a private area to remove the piercings, and then resubmit to screening. That was the procedure for, like, three or four years. Then the situation happens in Lubbock, Texas, with the woman having to remove her nipple piercings as per the new, non-strip-searching procedures. They even gave her a pair of pliers when she said she needed some to remove the piercings (public relations aside, I'm sure they probably viewed it as customer service!).

Well, hell.

In the end, TSA took a look at either situation, determined which one was the least invasive - in this case, they determined it to be the first procedure that was in place, for the passenger to show the piercings in a private area to a screener of the same gender in order to resolve the alarms - and decided to just go ahead and return to that particular method for resolving the alarm.

RB said...

Bob said...
TSO Tom,

We have answered Phil. There is no one place you can get the information he seeks. As you know, the public information we can provide is scattered in different locations on TSA.gov. But Phil doesn’t want that.

Even though it's not what Phil wants, I think a passenger handbook based on public information would be a good idea. Folks would just have to realize that there are variables to each rule/procedure and we're not going to tell them what those variables are. If B happens, we do D. Etc…

I predict Phil won't like this answer because he wants to know what the variables are.

Bob

EoS Blog Team
......................

Bob, any time an entry level employee can modify a rule that I must comply with problems will happen..

The rule and the procedure is two seperate things.

How TSA reacts to a rule does not need to be public information, however if I must comply with the rule then I have every right to know what it is I am complying with. Until TSA understands this TSA will never gain the respect or trust of the people.

Every agency must provide rules we citizens are subject to, why does TSA think they are exempt?

Trollkiller said...

Anonymous said...
Trollkiller,

Don't get your hopes up. TSA is simply responding to their legal requirement to reply in some fashion in about 75 days. They purposely did not address your request until then in hopes that you get run over by a bus or something and lose interest.


Thanks Captain Buzzkill. ;-)

The story gets better, I received today (Sept 10) a response from the DHS OIG. They told me that they had forwarded the complaint to the TSA Office of Inspection.

So in a nut shell it took 75 days for the DHS OIG to do anything, and 77 days to acknowledge they had even received my email.

On the other hand it took the TSA Office of Inspection 1 day before they passed it on to Francine's department and to inform me of it.

I guess I am better known at the TSA than I am at DHS.

Hey, I almost forgot to tell you guys about how calling the Toll Free DHS OIG Hotline WILL result in a long distance charge to YOUR phone bill.

After 13 days I assumed my email was eaten by the Great Interweb Monster so on July 8th I called the Toll Free DHS OIG Hotline number (1-800-323-8603). A very nice gentleman answered the phone and recorded my complaint and contact information. He made sure I knew I did not have to reveal my identity to file the complaint. In 10 minutes we are done.

Fast forward a couple of weeks when I get my phone bill. On my bill is a number in Fredericksburg Virginia. (540-369-9120)

My home phone DOES NOT have long distance service. Being that it does not have long distance I can not place a long distance call. I tell the wife to call AT&T to clear this up while I sleep.

When I awake she tells me that AT&T says the call originated from our house and that she had called the number using her cell phone and it was DHS OIG.

I called AT&T Customer service and tried to explain to “Mark”, “Robin”, and “Mike” from the “east coast of America” how calling a toll free number should not be back charged to me.

Mark agreed with me that calling a toll free number should be free for me, but said he can’t remove the charge because the call came from my house.

Of course I did not buy that, so then I was told by his “supervisor”, “Robin”, that the Department of Homeland Security is no longer in existence and because that “company” was closed they could not charge it back to them. (That would be worth the $4.68) I “calmly” explained who the Department of Homeland Security was, and no they were not closed. “Robin” Then explained to me that the DHS had accepted my call on a Toll Free number but then transferred me to another number thus causing the charge. I told him that I thought he said DHS was closed down and then I demanded to speak to someone in America.

Robin transferred me to an American woman (could tell by the accent) that promptly transferred me to “Mike” in the same call center I had just gotten away from. ARRGGG

I rehashed my problem with “Mike” and he too agreed that I should not be charged for a Toll Free number, he agreed that my phone was not enabled to make toll calls and then he DISAGREED that the charge should be removed.

I figured if I have to pay for a $4.68 Toll Free call I would get at least $4.68 worth of stress relief. I ripped him so hard that when I was finished my son puts his fist in the air and said “Go Dad!” That is one person that won’t want to immigrate.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I think I have found a replacement for Kip. “Mike” could not follow simple logic, but he took a verbal pounding like Gandhi. I was impressed.

Blogger Bob can you give me the address so I can send a bill to the DHS for my $4.68?

Is the DHS hurting for cash so bad that they would pull a telephone scam?

Has anyone else filed a complaint with the DHS OIG on their Toll Free number only to have it back charged?

Trollkiller said...

CBGB said...

@TK...no more blog link? Now your selling Tshirts? I <3 you :)


Aww, I <3 you too.

I still have the blog but I have not updated it in a few weeks. I did not want to slow the responses on "Banned posts, what does the TSA not want you to see?" with trivial stuff. I will try to update this weekend.

Speaking of shirts, Blogger Bob should appreciate this.

On my "The TSA wants to see me naked" shirt I have the image from the MMW. Half of my coworkers think the image is too racy and half don't. I have gotten comments ranging from "Is that his.... OMG it is!" to "wonder why they did not show fat people" and one coworker stated "that is a job I want" until I pointed out that most people at the airport look like me.

Everybody thinks the shirt is funny until I explain that, yes that is really what the TSO manning the computer sees.

Once explained the giggles turn into dismay at this contumely.

Astonishingly several of my coworkers have experienced the MMW device and yet had no idea of the level of voyeurism this device allows.

It appears that the signs used at the checkpoints are inadequately conveying what a MMW does and what the image will look like.

If the feedback I am receiving is indicative of the population in general the TSA needs to improve communications on this issue.

There is nothing wrong in my mind with the MMW device as long as people understand the amount of privacy they are giving up when they step into this machine.

Trollkiller said...

Miller said...

Trollkiller, how many years have they estimated it would take for a black hole to evaporate through Hawking radiation?


Anywhere from 3 billion years to 10 to the 67th power.

Dang it man why did you make me try to comprehend math before bed. Now I will have to count Einsteins to get any sleep.

NoClu said...

Phil said...
"At a government checkpoint in an airport (which is essentially an indoor road block for pedestrians), government agents -- who are not law enforcement officers -- stop you without cause, search you without warrant, and require you to present documentation of your identity or submit to their interrogation. If they accuse you of wrongdoing at this checkpoint, they impose punishment on the spot by restricting your freedom of movement and thus your freedom of association. No judge is involved. You have no day in court, and you are not allowed to make your case. You have no access to an attorney. You are not allowed to see the rule that you have been accused of violating before, during, or after the incident. There is no process for appeal."

Don't forget that the agency may also choose to impose fines for behavior they deem inappropriate. The victim in this case also has no venue for appeal.

Anonymous said...

My post with the printable but disrespectful comments about the Anonymous Rocket Scientist TSA booster seems to have been delete-o-metered. I think gist of it was something like this:

Is it your "Follow the instructions of the officer and don't argue" rule that makes you think its OK to take our gel pack and cause us to waste 13 ounces of my wife's breast milk? TSA doesn't deserve any respect.

TSO TOM said "A passenger should be able to argue with a TSO if that TSO is stepping outside of his duties and rules. (The TSO that took the gel packs for the breast milk)"

I did argue with the supervisor some, but since the conflicting "rules" are scattered all over the internet, it is hard to argue that I remembered or interpreted the "rules" correctly. How can you properly argue against an agency with arbitrary and secret rules?

Anonymous said...

I am the LTSO that posted anonymously at the beginning of this thread. Forvive me that I do not have the time to get into fun debates on this blog as I would love to try and help the general public understand more things we do. Some of the answers TSA gives are a little difficult to comprehend at times if you do not know about the information they are giving. I do want to say that the website is the best place you have to find out about the process you go through at the security checkpoint. While this website may not have everything, it does have the bulk of the information you all need to get through the process. Granted the process does have some unpredictability so passengers need to be aware and prepared for that at any given checkpoint. I also want to say that some of you do mention things that officers seem to do wrong. They are just doing what they feel they need to do to help you through the process. If some things are such big deals do not hesitate to ask for a supervisor and talk with a supervisor about something. The only way to correct an issue is to bring it up to a superior of some kind.

So I will once again reference the site because I myself do know there is good information on it! I understand you want everything in one place but until something comes out, this is what you have. Thanks for reading.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers

Anonymous said...

Granted the process does have some unpredictability so passengers need to be aware and prepared for that at any given checkpoint. I also want to say that some of you do mention things that officers seem to do wrong. They are just doing what they feel they need to do to help you through the process. If some things are such big deals do not hesitate to ask for a supervisor and talk with a supervisor about something. The only way to correct an issue is to bring it up to a superior of some kind.

So I will once again reference the site because I myself do know there is good information on it! I understand you want everything in one place but until something comes out, this is what you have. Thanks for reading.

http://www.tsa.gov/travelers

September 11, 2008 2:49 PM

..............................
You seem to miss the point.
If a screener can use personal judgement then there is no rule.

If I complain then it is just another screeners judgement if the first actor was right or wrong. I have nothing to substantiate either decision and am at the mercy of someone who may or may not know what they are doing.

Either way I have no recourse since TSA does little to nothing to discipline bad employee's.

As a citizen I deserve to know what rules I must comply with in order to satisfy my government.

Secret rules/laws violates constitutional protections.

Of course TSA seems little concerned with the rights of the people.

Anonymous said...

HSVTSO Dean said...
Anonymous wrote:
Was the talking of the ice packs for the breast milk an FSD directive?

Likely not. More likely is the case, it was screener error. Long has it been written in the SOP that ice packs and things of that nature are permissible for the cooling of medicinal items. Not so long ago was the addition of breast milk considered A-OK in all circumstances (previously, it was only exempted from the 3-1-1 exception if they were traveling with an infant).
................................
Dean I respect that you try to clear the confusion around here but if I remember the OP's post they did talk to a supervisor. The supervisor backed-up the TSO who interpeted the secret rule incorrectly.

This is an excellent reason why the rules should be known to all.

What recourse does this traveler now have?

Will TSA compensate for the loss of the breast milk?

Will TSA fire the TSO and the supervisor or take other forceful actions for not knowing their job?

I can tell you what will happen, nothing!

TSA is famous for not taking action against employees.

Miller said...

One of the problems with secret rules is that the rules often are so secret that those enforcing them don't know what the rules really are. This throws the gate into an organized chaos, where people know the goals they are attempting to meet without knowing how to get there from here. You then get draconian enforcement at one gate and lax enforcement at another. The passenger is left confused and confusion often results in anger towards the TSO who really is doing his/her job.

This is a management issue and management should address it as soon as possible. Randomness, as others have talked about is hard to achieve because people like routines. Disrupt that routine and you have unpleasantness.

You want to do screening in a way that throws the terrorists off balance? Good luck in doing that. They know what you're primarily looking for (i.e. guns, explosives, knives, incendiary devices). The terrorists, if they're interested in getting those items on board an aircraft, now must determine how they can avoid TSA detecting the smuggling attempts. Passengers aren't a good means of smuggling, mostly because the limits of what they can carry. Most successful smuggling attempts use either the aircrew or ground crew to get large amounts of contraband on the aircraft. So who does TSA go to for enhanced searches? Not the people most likely to actually smuggle contraband on board the aircraft. They go for the easy targets, the passengers. This is a whole lot easier than running around an airfield dealing with flight crews and ground crews. Want to scare terrorists? Try enhanced searches on the people usually written off by TSA as not being a security risk.

TSO Tom said...

Miller said...
They go for the easy targets, the passengers. This is a whole lot easier than running around an airfield dealing with flight crews and ground crews. Want to scare terrorists? Try enhanced searches on the people usually written off by TSA as not being a security risk
***********************************
You raise a good point actually. It is unlikely but not impossible that someone would attempt to smuggle something dangerous through the checkpoint. The fact is, that guns are frequently found at the checkpoint area, as well as ammunition, and other prohibited items other than liquids, gels, etc. As for searching those who were "written off" as you stated, that is being done and has lead to multiple finds inside the sterile/secured areas of airports. Obviously I can't go into details here, all that secret stuff you know. :-) But I can tell you that every airport employee, contractor, etc is subject to random screening inside the secured areas of the airport. TSA took heed that some of the problems were occurring from within and threw in an extra "layer of security" to minimize that possibility.

Anonymous said...

To the person held for wearing cargo pants: I was told I had to go through "secondary screening", including puffing, wanding and patting, because I was wearing a sweatshirt. There was nothing remarkable about the sweats - I just like to travel in comfort. Apparently there is an unwritten rule that persons wearing clothes that do not show the contour of their bodies go to secondary. Wear lycra, nice and tight, on your next flight. Inappropriate, but hassle-free, at least until another unwritten rule appears...

Anonymous said...

People seem to make things more complicated than they are. People think that there should not be any personal judgement involved. That is just bad security then. You can not have just black and white rules. Things must be up to the officers that are working security.

But to help clarify that you can bring things up to a supervisor if something is done wrong here is an example. You come to the TDC and they ask for ID and boarding pass, so you try to hand them a passport. The officer conduction TDC doesn't accept a passport as an acceptable ID. Ask for a supervisor then. Now some passengers I have seen try to use some ID's that are not acceptable and they make a big deal about it. The fact is some people are just wrong and think they are correct.

Anonymous said...

If people cooperated with the whole process everything would be so smooth.

RB said...

TSO Tom said in part....But I can tell you that every airport employee, contractor, etc is subject to random screening inside the secured areas of the airport. TSA took heed that some of the problems were occurring from within and threw in an extra "layer of security" to minimize that possibility.

September 11, 2008 6:20 PM
...........................
Tom, what seems to escape the brain trust at TSA is if you do not clear every single person entering the secure areas then you have no security.

It's just that simple.

So you guys can keep on saying its to hard, takes to much manpower or any other excuse you want to bring forward. The fact remains if even one person enters the secure area without being screened then TSA has failed its tasking.

If manpower is an issue, perhaps keeping TSA people doing jobs at airports instead of political events, airshows and sporting events would free up some people.

Contract Screeners wouldn't be misused in these ways so maybe getting rid of government screeners would be a good thing!

Would save us taxpayers some money in the process.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
People seem to make things more complicated than they are. People think that there should not be any personal judgement involved. That is just bad security then. You can not have just black and white rules. Things must be up to the officers that are working security.
........................
If you want personal judgement involved then you must be darn sure that the person using that judgement is up to the task.

Right now that is apparently not the case at all checkpoints.

Until TSA can train its people properly then rules need to be published and readily available to the people who are abused by TSA.

If the frontline screener makes an error there must be a process available at that time to correct the situation. Then, not weeks or months later.

How about this, a $1000 fine for every error a TSA makes and is documented. The motivation would be high to know the procedures in place.

When a TSO can seperate a person from their property without recourse then a major problem exist and must be corrected.

Today TSA is ineffective on discipline.

Anonymous said...

To the person who stated.....
"We understand that there a variables to some rules, regulations, and procedures. With some rules, however, there should be no variation at all. For example, a United States Passport Card is a valid document for identification by the TSA. There should be no variation on that point, yet improperly trained TSOs/TDCs have failed recognize the document."

Obviously you can not even follow rules when they ARE provided to you in black and white! Go to the official US Gov't Passport Card Site and you will see it clearly stated that US Passport Cards are NOT valid for air travel. Maybe YOU should READ the rules before you say that the TSA doesn't follow them!

An exact quote from the main page...
"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. The card may not be used to travel by air. Otherwise, it carries the rights and privileges of the U.S. passport book and is adjudicated to the exact same standards."

I will restate that for you since you obviously missed it when you read the rules so carefully...

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

Not only is it clearly stated, but it is stated in BOLD type face!!!

http://travel.state.gov/passport/ppt_card/ppt_card_3926.html

Guess that TSO knew what he was doing after all, eh?

So, even if the TSA clearly posted all it's rules, would you be able to follow them?

yangj08 said...

"If people cooperated with the whole process everything would be so smooth."
*twitch* *twitch*

Please don't think that every problem with the screening process is an error on the traveler's part. For example- going through security at Detroit, I set off the metal detector twice and got a secondary despite not having any metal on me (the pants I was wearing that day used plastic buttons where a zipper would normally be used). I probably waited for about 10 minutes while they found someone to do the wanding and pat-down. Lo and behold, the wand didn't go off anywhere and the pat-down didn't find anything. I wasn't allowed to leave the "holding area" while I waited (with my stuff still in the bin out for anyone to take from).

Lessons that the TSA should learn- have people on hand for secondary screening- missing a connection, especially the last flight of the day, is not fun (did I mention staying the night at the airport). Also, have some way to secure the belongings of anyone who's going through secondary- maybe I'd still have my DS Lite (not this flight- that was coming off an international flight connecting to a domestic one; you'd think that Customs screening is enough).

Anonymous said...

"If people cooperated with the whole process everything would be so smooth."

Fine ideal tovarishch.

Worthy of Chariman Mao, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Joe Stalin, Saloth Sar, the Shah of Iran, the Russian Invaders of Afghanistan, The Project for a New American Century and a host of others.

Bob Eucher said...

Anonymous said...
Obviously you can not even follow rules when they ARE provided to you in black and white! Go to the official US Gov't Passport Card Site and you will see it clearly stated that US Passport Cards are NOT valid for air travel. Maybe YOU should READ the rules before you say that the TSA doesn't follow them!

I think the US Government needs to hire an English major instead of a webmaster to publish their websites.

Just to point out, the TSA does accept the U.S. passport card as valid ID. Read it here: Preferred ID at Checkpoints second one down on the list.

It appears that the TSA did NOT know what ID's are even accepted.

Is there a big problem here? YES.

Is every passenger expected to print out every TSA webpage prior to heading off to the airport?

In defense of the Dept of State, what they really mean is that you can NOT use the US Passport Card for international air travel to foreign countries that require that an entry stamp or visa be stamped in your passport.

It is common sense, but it appears that some people do not even possess that.

Maybe if the TSA would be as fast in publishing all the rules required of us, as they were to get the liquids ban in effect, there would be no need to keep asking for them.

Jim Huggins said...

One anonymous respondent wrote:

For example, a United States Passport Card is a valid document for identification by the TSA. There should be no variation on that point, yet improperly trained TSOs/TDCs have failed recognize the document."

Another anonymous respondent said in reply:

Go to the official US Gov't Passport Card Site and you will see it clearly stated that US Passport Cards are NOT valid for air travel. Maybe YOU should READ the rules before you say that the TSA doesn't follow them!

Folks, both statements are true, in different contexts.

TSA will (or should) accept a passport card as a valid ID for purposes of entering the screening area. Note that this is completely independent of your destination; you can use a passport card for domestic travel.

Customs will not accept a passport card as a valid ID for purposes of entering the country by air --- that is, for purposes of entering passport control.

To ask whether a passport card is "valid for air travel" is ambiguous. It's ok for passing through the TSA checkpoint, but it's not ok for passing through customs.

Anonymous said...

Passport cards, wow this is causing a stir! But Jim Huggins is correct, a passport card IS valid for travel within the US, as well as entry into the country via land and sea ports from certain international destinations. The passport card is NOT valid for INTERNATIONAL travel via air. However, most TSO's are used to seeing passport books, and licenses, etc. including the TWIC card. We do not see many passport cards, in fact I haven't seen ANY passport cards while performing TDC functions. I think that it needs to be made clear that these cards are acceptable if the person is traveling within the US.

Anonymous said...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7607043.stm

1/2 liter of liquid explosives on board a plane. Are you sure you want the liquids ban dropped?

Anonymous said...

" Bob Eucher said...
Anonymous said...
Obviously you can not even follow rules when they ARE provided to you in black and white! Go to the official US Gov't Passport Card Site and you will see it clearly stated that US Passport Cards are NOT valid for air travel. Maybe YOU should READ the rules before you say that the TSA doesn't follow them!

I think the US Government needs to hire an English major instead of a webmaster to publish their websites.

Just to point out, the TSA does accept the U.S. passport card as valid ID. Read it here: Preferred ID at Checkpoints second one down on the list.

It appears that the TSA did NOT know what ID's are even accepted.

Is there a big problem here? YES.

Is every passenger expected to print out every TSA webpage prior to heading off to the airport?

In defense of the Dept of State, what they really mean is that you can NOT use the US Passport Card for international air travel to foreign countries that require that an entry stamp or visa be stamped in your passport.

It is common sense, but it appears that some people do not even possess that.

Maybe if the TSA would be as fast in publishing all the rules required of us, as they were to get the liquids ban in effect, there would be no need to keep asking for them.

September 12, 2008 10:25 PM


Jim Huggins said...
One anonymous respondent wrote:

For example, a United States Passport Card is a valid document for identification by the TSA. There should be no variation on that point, yet improperly trained TSOs/TDCs have failed recognize the document."

Another anonymous respondent said in reply:

Go to the official US Gov't Passport Card Site and you will see it clearly stated that US Passport Cards are NOT valid for air travel. Maybe YOU should READ the rules before you say that the TSA doesn't follow them!

Folks, both statements are true, in different contexts.

TSA will (or should) accept a passport card as a valid ID for purposes of entering the screening area. Note that this is completely independent of your destination; you can use a passport card for domestic travel.

Customs will not accept a passport card as a valid ID for purposes of entering the country by air --- that is, for purposes of entering passport control.

To ask whether a passport card is "valid for air travel" is ambiguous. It's ok for passing through the TSA checkpoint, but it's not ok for passing through customs.

September 12, 2008 11:34 PM
"

Man, it's amazing how you haters will "excuse" the Dept of State for "ambiguity" but slam the TSA! Wow!

Anonymous said...

>> Wear lycra, nice and tight, on your next flight. Inappropriate, but hassle-free, at least until another unwritten rule appears...<<

Ironically, I remember a post where a passenger complained of having been groped so many times going through security that the passenger wore a unitard to security. The screener then summoned an LEO, seeking to have this person arrested for indecent exposure. The LEO declined, because all the relevant body parts were covered.

Consequently, it appears one's clothes need to be form fitting, but not too form fitting.

Anonymous said...

If people cooperated with the whole process everything would be so smooth."

Cooperation by the passengers? I'm going to lift a portion of one of my posts from some months back, and then ask how one "cooperates" with this situation.

In Flint MI, for example, I was the first of four passengers in line. Count them 1-2-3-4. The screening area at this airport has very little background noise. I already had my plastic bins on the table, my notebook PC in a bin, my regulation ziploc in the bin and was starting to take off my shoes. The people in line behind me were doing similarly. Obviously, we all "knew the drill." Then, the screener / wannabe drill instructor started barking orders. "TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES AND PUT THEM IN THE BIN. PUT ANY NOTEBOOK COMPUTERS IN A BIN. KEEP YOUR BOARDING PASS AND PHOTO ID IN YOUR HAND AT ALL TIMES."

OK, if we cooperate, everything will go smoothly (supposedly). How does one "cooperate" with this request to do all the juggling while keeping one's boarding pass and photo id in hand at all times?

Did the screener really expect people to remove footwear, pull out notebook PC's, pull out ziploc bags, handle bins, etc. one handed in order to keep their boarding passes and photo id in their hand at all times? What is that supposed to accomplish, anyway? (I would loved to see the screener demonstrate how this is done.)

Realistically, if I had actually
done all the juggling one handed, it would have slowed my efforts considerably. If I had "cooperated", I wonder if the drill instructor wannabe would have had me summarily fined for "interfering with the screening process".

How about some common sense by the TSA? Many of us have asked for the same common sense things, and the response has been a deafening silence. One example is, upon request, securing the belongings of any passenger that is sent to secondary. Ironic that the TSA wants us to "keep control of our belongings to prevent introduction of prohibited items" (as evidenced in the tape that plays continually at the airport), yet will not make the simple provision to pull the passenger's bins aside.

I could also flog the point about documenting the rules at some length, but I'll keep that part of my post short -- it's hard to "cooperate" with the rules when you don't know and can't find out what they are. I'm not talking about the obvious common sense stuff, like "leaving the knives, guns, bombs, etc. at home" as a TSA poster recently commented. I am talking about the local embellishments, such as 3-1-1 bottles having to be labeled, you can have formula for an infant but not "too much" formula, Gatorade is OK as a beverage for a child, but not grape soda, etc., etc.

As a former Naval officer I'm used to understanding, enforcing and obeying rules, and I do my bloody best to come into a checkpoint in a cooperative spirit. However, it's hard to stay in a cooperative spirit when the TSA personnel start acting like petty bureaucratic tyrants, inventing their own rules, failing to treat me with ordinary civility, and refusing to admit error.

In my Navy days, I had to enforce my share of silly rules, but I did my best to do so in a civil manner. I didn't yell at people for no good reason, and I didn't embellish the rules to create the opportunity to throw my weight around. As a result, my subordinates generally cooperated, which is something the TSA should think about.

GSOLTSO said...

Phil said - "An officer? We're talking about airport security guards, right? I don't consider those to be "officers"."

The correct title is Transportation Security Officer. You can haggle all you want over it, but that is the official designation of the peorsons screening you at TSA checkpoints.

Phil also said - "See, that's not the way things are supposed to work in the United States. We are not supposed to be subject to such secret and arbitrary rules. How can we determine if someone who has been accused of violating a rule did so? How can we know if we are in compliance with the rules? How can we know that the rules are constitutional? I'm no legal expert, but this is pretty fundamental stuff."

See this is one of the biggest problems and there seems to be a disconnect between the public and the TSA. We can't give you a comprehensive list of things that can or can't go because said list would have 4,397,116....wait, a new one? make that 4,397,117.... wait a new one? make that.... you get the idea. There are some guidelines in place that are followed more closely at certain times, and more loosely at times, THAT is one of our biggest problems as an organization - that inconsistency between TSO's in LAX and TSO's in LGA. It is something we are working on, but we will always have problems with inconsistencies because every employee is different. I wish there were a better way to communicate what can and can't go, but there just isn't at this time. We can't tell you that 4 oz Jiffy (TM) crunchy peanut butter can go because the situation will be different every time it comes through. I hope that you can understand what I am trying to get across here. It can be frustrating for the TSO's as well as the passengers, I don't like telling a kid that their soda can't go, I don't like telling YOU that you can't have a 12 oz bottle of shampoo, but those are the rules we have to follow.

Anonymous said...

You post a complaint about TSA phone charges, but nix my post about the erosion of civil liberties in the U.S following 9/11 ? Lame, TSA, really lame. Way to silence meaningful dialog.

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn R Key said - "Then make one place. Make that one place authoritative, so that if other places disagree they defer to that one place.

The answer your boss provided is insufficient."

Ummmm, I really hate to break this to you, but Bob is not our boss. He gives you info, posts blogs and researches things for the online crowd, but he is not OUR boss. The answer he gave was sufficient it was just not the answer you guys wanted. Bob does not have the authroity to "rebuild" the TSA online empire and create you a page that is all encompassing just to make you happy. Bob has the responsibility (along with a group of other bloggers, researchers, etc) of maintaining this page. TSA does have some problems with the way they put information out, I agree 100% that there should be a main travel page for the public that gives you the rules that make travelling easier and the responsibilities for the passenger. I have already posted that the list of go/no go items would be so huge that it would be ridiculous and would change every 5-10 seconds (not to mention with the TSO discretion rules each time something comes through it is subjected to a different set of eyes). I think that a list of current rules with a disclaimer explaining that each situation is different should be enough for the masses (maybe not the 2-3 people that keep posting the same spammo comments on EVERY blog on here, but the masses will be better informed). Bob, if you can get the basic list instituted it would prolly make your life more easy....but then again prolly not.

GSOLTSO said...

Miller said - "Bob, you can dance around this all you want to do, but in the end TSA owes it to the American people to let them know the rules. FYI SSI is not a valid classification for classified material.

1) For official use only - not for foreign dissemination.
2) confidential.
3) secret.
4) top secret."

Actually SSI is a correct designation for THIS organization. It has been used since I have been here and this is the ONLY organization I have seen use it that way. The list you provide is the list that movies and the alphabet organizations use when the public might be involved. Oh yeah, you also forgot to include "Eyes Only" with a designator for the intended recipient and originator. There are plenty of us that can name off several different ways to classify things, but just because something doesn't fit with YOUR list doesn't mean it is not official.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Phil said - "An officer? We're talking about airport security guards, right? I don't consider those to be "officers"."

The correct title is Transportation Security Officer. You can haggle all you want over it, but that is the official designation of the peorsons screening you at TSA checkpoints.
.................................
Well GSOLTSO I doubt that anyone here does not know what your agency named you guys.

The fact of the matter is that the public has for the most part rejected that name and does not accord TSA screeners the "Officer" status.

Perhaps had the performance of screeners been different, behaviors more professional, and other things that citizens have made known to your superiors the "Officer" tag may have been accepted.

Most of us "citizens" would give mall cops more status than TSA screeners. For months now we "citizens" have been repeatedly voicing the problems we see at your checkpoints, yet our voices are ignored. We are ridiculed for not respecting TSA screeners, our belongings are stolen without recourse and we are often treated poorly at your checkpoints.

So you call yourseleves anything you like, just know that we "citizens" will call you a screener because that really is what you are. No more!

valerie said...

What is the standard operating procedure for dealing with people who accidentally bring a reusable (non-disposable) bottle that is partially filled with water (less than one cup)? Can they drink it on the spot, empty it out, or are they required to go through the (very-long) security line all over again starting with the id/boarding pass screening?

Can you tell I had an incident yesterday? I felt completely powerless while the TSA screener tried to teach me a lesson even though I had been compliant throughout the whole process. She abused her authority.

Ayn R. Key said...

Given that the blog team won't allow any critical comments in the "Seven Years Later" blog post, I find it oddly interesting that no new posts have been made since then.

There are issues that need to be discussed, but they cast the TSA in a less than heroic light.

Jim Huggins said...

GSOLTSO wrote:

We can't give you a comprehensive list of things that can or can't go because said list would have 4,397,116....wait, a new one? make that 4,397,117.... wait a new one? make that.... you get the idea.

Then, with all due respect, the TSA leadership needs to drop the whole
"know the rules" PR tactic. I can't know the rules if TSA won't tell me them. And knowing the rules won't guarantee me a hassle-free experience, because the rules can always change without notice.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I cut you guys a break last week out of respect, but now it's game back on.

gsoltso said...
See this is one of the biggest problems and there seems to be a disconnect between the public and the TSA. We can't give you a comprehensive list of things that can or can't go because said list would have 4,397,116....wait, a new one? make that 4,397,117.... wait a new one? make that.... you get the idea. There are some guidelines in place that are followed more closely at certain times, and more loosely at times, THAT is one of our biggest problems as an organization - that inconsistency between TSO's in LAX and TSO's in LGA. It is something we are working on, but we will always have problems with inconsistencies because every employee is different. I wish there were a better way to communicate what can and can't go, but there just isn't at this time. We can't tell you that 4 oz Jiffy (TM) crunchy peanut butter can go because the situation will be different every time it comes through. I hope that you can understand what I am trying to get across here. It can be frustrating for the TSO's as well as the passengers, I don't like telling a kid that their soda can't go, I don't like telling YOU that you can't have a 12 oz bottle of shampoo, but those are the rules we have to follow.


Are you serious man? You're telling me that there are over 4.3 Million things that may or may not be allowed through security and that it changes by the second? We get it that we're not allowed to have the 12 oz bottle of shampoo or a soda (for whatever ridicules reason), but the Jiffy peanut butter?? You make yourselves sound like you're some kind of mastermind organization with up-to-the second intel on the latest threats, when in reality you just can't hold yourselves to some kind of standard, and every screener (err....'Officer') interprets the rules however they want. Is peanut butter a 'gel'? I bet if I ask a random group of you that question, it'd be about 50/50. Why not educate yourselves and the public as to what's prohibited and stop taking away everything else? In fact, I think your performance would dramatically improve if you just focus on the things that really don't need to be brought onto airplanes.....and I probably have enough fingers to represent that all-inclusive list. I'm not saying it's up to any of you front-line employees to do that, but your leadership really needs to establish some priorities and buckle down on those before worrying about things like shampoo. Or your management may continue to hide behind SSI to justify it's own inability to establish these priorities; as someone who has access to more government secrets than most of you do, I'm confident that's the case and TSA just doesn't want to come out to the public as incompetent.

Anonymous said...

Man, it's amazing how you haters will "excuse" the Dept of State for "ambiguity" but slam the TSA! Wow!
-------
Actually the problem is the person who stated that the passport card is not acceptable for an ID for air travel at a TSA check point based on the State Department website. Not on what is posted at the the TSA site.

Neither site is ambigous, but posting the wrong information is not a help.

Anonymous said...

valerie said...
What is the standard operating procedure for dealing with people who accidentally bring a reusable (non-disposable) bottle that is partially filled with water (less than one cup)? Can they drink it on the spot, empty it out, or are they required to go through the (very-long) security line all over again starting with the id/boarding pass screening?

Can you tell I had an incident yesterday? I felt completely powerless while the TSA screener tried to teach me a lesson even though I had been compliant throughout the whole process. She abused her authority.

September 16, 2008 12:32 PM
----------
Please file a complaint with the TSA now that you can do it online. The more comments they get about various issues the harder it is to claim its an isloated incident.

Bob Eucher said...

Anonymous said...
Man, it's amazing how you haters will "excuse" the Dept of State for "ambiguity" but slam the TSA! Wow!

Sorry, but the Dept of State doesn't write the rules for TSA. What the Dept of State wrote is correct, you cannot use the US Passport card for travel by air. They never stated that you cannot use it as identification at an airport TSA checkpoint. Two very different things.

The original poster (andy)
stated that the TDC may not recognize the US Passport card as proper identification, which prompted a reply from someone saying that the TDC were following rules from the Dept of State's website. Both Jim and I merely pointed out that the TSA's website clearly stated that the US Passport card was a valid form of identification, and that the wording on the Dept of State's webpage really did not apply to the TSA.

I do not see where either Jim or I excused the Dept of State. Both websites clearly state what the US Passport card can be used for, the problem is that people cannot read properly.

Bob Eucher said...

GSOLTSO said:
Actually SSI is a correct designation for THIS organization. It has been used since I have been here and this is the ONLY organization I have seen use it that way. The list you provide is the list that movies and the alphabet organizations use when the public might be involved.

That statement actually shows how the TSA seems to think that it doesn't have to follow the laws of the land. Did you ever wonder why, the TSA was the ONLY organization to use the designation "SSI"?
Maybe because it is NOT a valid classification.

Please read Classified information in the United States.

Under the TSA's made up classification, if SSI material did get out, then how would any other government organization know exactly how to handle it?

This is prime example of how TSA cannot follow "established" rules and regulations of the United States, so how can we ever expect anything coming out of this "rogue" agency to be within the laws of the United States.

HSVTSO Dean said...

Valerie wrote:
What is the standard operating procedure for dealing with people who accidentally bring a reusable (non-disposable) bottle that is partially filled with water (less than one cup)?

There is none that I am aware of.

Officially, if there's any liquid inside the bottle at all, and the bottle is over 3.4oz/100ml, then it's prohibited. How any given airport operation deals with that is their own discretion.

I imagine any one of those three examples (which, by far, are the most prevalent that I know of) could be found at any number of airports, or used by any number of TSOs.

Miller said...

I have already posted that the list of go/no go items would be so huge that it would be ridiculous and would change every 5-10 seconds (not to mention with the TSO discretion rules each time something comes through it is subjected to a different set of eyes). I think that a list of current rules with a disclaimer explaining that each situation is different should be enough for the masses (maybe not the 2-3 people that keep posting the same spammo comments on EVERY blog on here, but the masses will be better informed).

Hey, chuckles, spammo? We, the traveling public want our Constitutional rights back. We want rules written down in black and white, not some super secret idiocy randomly generated by a shake of the magic eight ball. Other countries handle security much better than we do and manage to do it without offending their citizens. Helsinki and Schiphol airports handled security with both professionalism and authority. Sorry, can't say that about a lot of the airports here in the US.

Bob, if you can get the basic list instituted it would prolly make your life more easy....but then again prolly not.

Basic list? Stop the war on liquids. Stop the shoe war. Did you hear about the old guy who had one of his shoes go missing in the x-ray machine? He was rightfully angry. I suspect, though that you would have him arrested, fined, and strip searched because he 'interfered with the security process. Ever hear of the town of Potemkin? Much of the security foisted on the American public share much in common with Potemkin.

Anonymous said...

I tried leaving my laptop in its protective sleeve and got scolded.

The correct title is Transportation Security Officer.

I associate the word "officer" in a title with being held to a higher standard, whether you're talking about an LEO, a military officer, or even an officer of a club or organization. Part of this higher standard is knowing your own rules.

In my experience, unfortunately, the behavior and knowledge levels of the people working the checkpoints has not risen to the higher standard expected of a person with the word "officer" in their title. Having followed this blog from its early days, I've read about the experiences of others, and it's painfully obvious that I'm not the only one who feels this way.

There's an awful lot of checkpoint personnel out there that combine the characteristics of a schoolyard bully with those of an officious, yet incompetent, bureaucrat.

Sadly, the TSA has focused a lot of effort in improving the checkpoint experience on soothing music and color schemes, but not nearly as much as focusing on the issue of the behavior of checkpoint personnel. For example, while the TSA continues to conduct its proactive covert testing to make sure its people are detecting prohibited items, there has been no mention of a corresponding proactive program to evaluate people skills. It is up to the passengers to use the purely reactive "got feedback" process to inform the TSA of problem personnel. The TSA needs to do its own homework, not foist part of its responsibilities off on the passengers.

The organization can bestow all the titles it wants, but as long as the arrogant, power tripping bureaucrat mindset is allowed, I think calling these folks "officers" is unwarranted. If the TSA was as aggressive in identifying and addressing problems with how its people treat passengers and making sure its people knew its own rules, it would be a lot easier to accept the title of "Transportation Security Officer".

Ayn R. Key said...

gsoltso, I prefer the United States to your policy. In the United States only that which is actually illegal is illegal and everything else is legal. In the United States the rules are clearly stated so that people can actually discover them and follow them. The United States does not exist at your checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

"What is the standard operating procedure for dealing with people who accidentally bring a reusable (non-disposable) bottle that is partially filled with water (less than one cup)? Can they drink it on the spot, empty it out, or are they required to go through the (very-long) security line all over again starting with the id/boarding pass screening?

Can you tell I had an incident yesterday? I felt completely powerless while the TSA screener tried to teach me a lesson even though I had been compliant throughout the whole process. She abused her authority."
___________________________________

Here is the rule, plain and simple. You have any liquid in a container over 3.4 ounces the container is to be discarded. Unless you let them walk you out so that you can drink or get rid of the liquid yourself. Otherwise it does not matter if the container is disposable or not, it gets thrown away. And even if it is a cup of water, TSA is not here to measure the amount of liquid in that container.

Anonymous said...

"Is peanut butter a 'gel'?"
___________________________________

Im ganna have to go with cream. Yeah its creamy not a gel.

Either way it can't go.

Yay, there is one more prohib you passengers can add to your list of things not to bring through a checkpoint.

Anonymous said...

"KEEP YOUR BOARDING PASS AND PHOTO ID IN YOUR HAND AT ALL TIMES."

OK, if we cooperate, everything will go smoothly (supposedly). How does one "cooperate" with this request to do all the juggling while keeping one's boarding pass and photo id in hand at all times?

Did the screener really expect people to remove footwear, pull out notebook PC's, pull out ziploc bags, handle bins, etc. one handed in order to keep their boarding passes and photo id in their hand at all times? What is that supposed to accomplish, anyway? (I would loved to see the screener demonstrate how this is done.)

Realistically, if I had actually
done all the juggling one handed, it would have slowed my efforts considerably. If I had "cooperated", I wonder if the drill instructor wannabe would have had me summarily fined for "interfering with the screening process".

How about some common sense by the TSA?"
___________________________________

Ok and this is why questions do not get answered on this page. Really, you really think that the TSO meant to hold onto your boarding pass at all times. Do everything one handed. Ok, now who needs some common sense.
I hear it all the time keep your boarding passes in your hands at all times, meaning make sure you have it to show to the next person who needs to see it.

Anonymous said...

"To the person held for wearing cargo pants: I was told I had to go through "secondary screening", including puffing, wanding and patting, because I was wearing a sweatshirt. There was nothing remarkable about the sweats - I just like to travel in comfort. Apparently there is an unwritten rule that persons wearing clothes that do not show the contour of their bodies go to secondary. Wear lycra, nice and tight, on your next flight. Inappropriate, but hassle-free, at least until another unwritten rule appears..."
___________________________________

There is no unwritten rule. It is the TSO's discression. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

" Anonymous said...
valerie said...
What is the standard operating procedure for dealing with people who accidentally bring a reusable (non-disposable) bottle that is partially filled with water (less than one cup)? Can they drink it on the spot, empty it out, or are they required to go through the (very-long) security line all over again starting with the id/boarding pass screening?

Can you tell I had an incident yesterday? I felt completely powerless while the TSA screener tried to teach me a lesson even though I had been compliant throughout the whole process. She abused her authority.

September 16, 2008 12:32 PM
----------
Please file a complaint with the TSA now that you can do it online. The more comments they get about various issues the harder it is to claim its an isloated incident.

September 16, 2008 3:09 PM"


First of all, the standard is 3.4 oz (or 3.0 if you want to debate the "standardizing" the TSA did on the web page. A "cup" (or so) is over 3.4 oz - hence, not allowed. The TSO was correct in that part of the interpretation.

The "treatment" was a different issue and a complaint should be filed if indeed it was warranted.

Most airports will not hand a prohibited item (including a bottle of water) back to a passenger once the item has come through screening. That's just asking for trouble. If (and I say "IF" because it could happen) there was a caustic chemical or any # of other liquids in that bottle, it is now out of the TSOs control. Even if it was in fact just water, you now have to stand there while the passenger decides, "Do I drink it?". "Do I empty it?" "Where do I empty it?". "Do I empty all of it or all but 3 oz?", etc, etc. While other passengers stack up behind them.

Far easier to pull it out give the passenger the option of surrendering it or escorting them out of the CP to do whatever with it and then coming back through.

Some airports will allow this passenger to come to the front of the line, some make them get back on the end and do the whole process over again. That's the local aspect of it.

Simply put, check your carryon before you get to the TSA. take some personal responsibility and don't be a whiny baby when a prohibited item is found in your bag. D'uh!

Anonymous said...

Really, you really think that the TSO meant to hold onto your boarding pass at all times.

Those were the screener's instructions, so I would presume that was what she "meant". People giving orders expect to be obeyed. Also, I thought that part of "following the rules" was following instructions at checkpoints.

This would all be a huge non-issue if the screener's instructions made some sense. What's wrong with a simple "have your boarding pass and ID in hand as you approach the metal detector."

As far as my own level of common sense, there's part of my original narrative that I think you didn't fully digest, where I said:

Realistically, if I had actually done all the juggling one handed, it would have slowed my efforts considerably.

Note the "if" in the above quote --in actuality I didn't follow her instructions. Actually, I had already put my papers in my back pants pocket before the various orders were barked, and I just left them there to have both hands available.

This was a concious choice between two evils. Door #1 was obey instructions to the letter, gunk up the works, and as I noted originally If I had "cooperated", I wonder if the drill instructor wannabe would have had me summarily fined for "interfering with the screening process." Door #2 was to keep following my own plan, which was to keep both hands available, do what needed doing, and pull out the papers the next time I needed them. I took door #2.

In other words, I disobeyed her instructions and took a calculated risk. Thankfully, I got through security OK. In my view, I shouldn't be having to do these sort of risk analyses just to navigate the security process.

This is why I, along with others, have a low regard for how the checkpoints are run. There's an old saying to "be careful what you wish for - you just might get it." Why give counter productive instructions, and what's wrong with a little civility? Also, I could have given this person the benefit of a doubt, but with her abrasive manner, I'm not inclined to.

Anonymous said...

valerie said...
What is the standard operating procedure for dealing with people who accidentally bring a reusable (non-disposable) bottle that is partially filled with water (less than one cup)? Can they drink it on the spot, empty it out, or are they required to go through the (very-long) security line all over again starting with the id/boarding pass screening?

Can you tell I had an incident yesterday? I felt completely powerless while the TSA screener tried to teach me a lesson even though I had been compliant throughout the whole process. She abused her authority.

September 16, 2008 12:32 PM
--------------------

Actually the SOP procedures is to send you back out to dump your water, or to drink it, or to allow you to surrender it to us so that we can throw it away for you. If we have time we can do a favor and dump it in the trash and give it back to you, but it's not in the SOP at all. This was not a power tripping TSO.

Anonymous said...

Regarding leaving out your boarding pass to show as you walk through the metal detector. When I work as TDC I will tell passengers they'll need to keep out their boarding passes to show to the TSO at the metal detector. I don't say keep it in your hands at all times and I tell them they can put away their ID as they are done with it.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

"To the person held for wearing cargo pants: I was told I had to go through "secondary screening", including puffing, wanding and patting, because I was wearing a sweatshirt. There was nothing remarkable about the sweats - I just like to travel in comfort. Apparently there is an unwritten rule that persons wearing clothes that do not show the contour of their bodies go to secondary. Wear lycra, nice and tight, on your next flight. Inappropriate, but hassle-free, at least until another unwritten rule appears..."
___________________________________

There is no unwritten rule. It is the TSO's discression. Get over it.
----------
If its up the discretion of a TSO that makes it an unwritten rule. This is why TSA policies need to be in writing for passengers. When someone in authority can use their discretion by creating rules that aren't part of officially stated policy.

GSOLTSO said...

Miller wrote - "Hey, chuckles, spammo? "

Yes Miller, "spammo", anytime someone posts something off topic because they are unhappy with the answers they have been given previously - it is spammo comments. You have your constitutional rights or you wouldn't be able to post comments like this on a federal government website. As for the "wars" as you call them, there are valid reasons that the items you mentioned are prohibited. I will not argue with you that we could do a better job of informing the public of responsibilities! I AGREE with you on that, however the list of items (as indicated earlier) would be too big for a comprehensive listing. I hope the elder gentleman (old man is a derogatory term) found his shoe. If he were to come through my checkpoint, we would search high and low to help him find his shoe. More than likely what happened is the following - during the rush of getting through, his shoe got mixed in with someone elses stuff and they took it with them. This happens almost every day (and I am at a smaller airport!) and people get halfway to the back of the checkpoint before they realize they have someone elses stuff with them.

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn R Key said - "gsoltso, I prefer the United States to your policy. In the United States only that which is actually illegal is illegal and everything else is legal. In the United States the rules are clearly stated so that people can actually discover them and follow them. The United States does not exist at your checkpoint."

You obviously have not lived in the real US. There are interpretations applied to laws and regulations all over the country and they vary from person to person area to area. One police officer will apply the laws one way, one will apply them another in almost carbon copy situations, then the case goes to court where the judges apply the law according to their own interpretations (again, different from day to day area to area). Things would be a lot easier if we had an all encompassing list of things we can and can not do, unfortunately in order to memorize said list you would have to study for decades just to get a working knowledge. I would love to see (ahem, Bob? little help here) a basic responsibilites page on TSA.gov. I would also love to see a basic list (with disclaimer that things are subject to change) of prohibs and allowed items in the same location so it would be easier for the travelling public to get a basic idea of what is expected. I would REALLY LOVE to see that, but the web gods have not allowed that to happen yet.

Jim Huggins said...

Gee ... another inconsistency? What a surprise ... :)

An anonymous poster reported being ordered by a TSO in Flint to "KEEP YOUR BOARDING PASS AND PHOTO ID IN YOUR HAND AT ALL TIMES".

Another anonymous respondent commented: "I hear it all the time keep your boarding passes in your hands at all times, meaning make sure you have it to show to the next person who needs to see it."

To which the first respondent replied: "Those were the screener's instructions, so I would presume that was what she "meant". People giving orders expect to be obeyed. Also, I thought that part of "following the rules" was following instructions at checkpoints."

An anonymous TDC responded: "When I work as TDC I will tell passengers they'll need to keep out their boarding passes to show to the TSO at the metal detector. I don't say keep it in your hands at all times and I tell them they can put away their ID as they are done with it."

So, we have reports of two different TSA employees giving different instructions to passengers, and passengers interpreting those statements in different ways. All of them can't be right. Which one, if any, is right? And, more importantly, how do we know which one is right?

I suppose if we had a definitive list of the rules that passengers are supposed to follow, it would be possible for us to "
become an active partner in [the] security experience by knowing the rules
". (Cue Phil ...)

Anonymous said...

I'm probably not on the right page but I do wonder when, with my laminated card in hand which tells the manufacturer/type of hip transplant I have, the Dr. who performed the surgery, when it was, etc. will convince the screeners that this 71-yr old grandmother of 10 is not hiding something under her bra strap or the zipper on her pants. Of course, I also have to wait for a female agent -- who greets me with varying degrees of impatience that she has to come to me. I don't enjoy the procedure any more than she does, believe me! I am all for safety but as I stand in the plastic booth, hoping no one swipes my stuff on the conveyor belt, I can't help but notice stuff going by that surely is more able to hide something than my bra buckle.

Ayn R. Key said...

gsoltso wrote:

You obviously have not lived in the real US. There are interpretations applied to laws and regulations all over the country and they vary from person to person area to area. One police officer will apply the laws one way, one will apply them another in almost carbon copy situations, then the case goes to court where the judges apply the law according to their own interpretations (again, different from day to day area to area).

Ah, but what the police officers do not have the power to do is make up laws on the spot, enforce them, and then take away my rights for violating a law that doesn't exist. That is a power the TSA has.

Since you don't have a judge on call at the terminal enterance, if I protest that a legal item is legal while a TSO asserts the legal item is illegal, then I can either not fly (violation of my rights) or surrender the item (violation of my rights). At least with the police example they can't arrest me without probable cause, I can go about my business after the police encounter, and later on have a judge tell the officer he's a dimwit for enforcing laws that don't exist.

Things would be a lot easier if we had an all encompassing list of things we can and can not do, unfortunately in order to memorize said list you would have to study for decades just to get a working knowledge.

No, you don't. What you need is to have the list handy. Therefore if I protest that you have no cause to take away something, you can check the list. Oh my, look, it's not on the list, I can keep it. Of course dealing with government officials as often as I do they need to keep reading the list over and over to find that it is actually off the list because it not being on the list doesn't mean that it's not on the list.

I would also love to see a basic list (with disclaimer that things are subject to change) of prohibs and allowed items in the same location so it would be easier for the travelling public to get a basic idea of what is expected.

If you want a "things are subject to change" disclaimer, I want a "changed under this authority only and not by a front line TSO who has forgotten the rules" disclaimer attached to the disclaimer.

The legal principle of the USA is still that anything not actually forbidden is by default allowed, but then I do not claim the United States still exists where the TSA has set up shop.

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Miller wrote - "Hey, chuckles, spammo? "

Yes Miller, "spammo", anytime someone posts something off topic because they are unhappy with the answers they have been given previously - it is spammo comments.
-----
The problem is we don't get any answers someone authorised to do so from the TSA. Just people who may or may not work for the TSA, some of whom view these questions as challenging their authority.

Anonymous said...

"Actually the SOP procedures is to send you back out to dump your water, or to drink it, or to allow you to surrender it to us so that we can throw it away for you. If we have time we can do a favor and dump it in the trash and give it back to you, but it's not in the SOP at all. This was not a power tripping TSO."
___________________________________

Not at our airport we don't open up anyones liquids and dump them in the trash. Aren't we looking for explosives. What if you poor two of the wrong liquids in that garbage can together.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"Actually the SOP procedures is to send you back out to dump your water, or to drink it, or to allow you to surrender it to us so that we can throw it away for you. If we have time we can do a favor and dump it in the trash and give it back to you, but it's not in the SOP at all. This was not a power tripping TSO."
___________________________________

Not at our airport we don't open up anyones liquids and dump them in the trash. Aren't we looking for explosives. What if you poor two of the wrong liquids in that garbage can together.

September 19, 2008 2:20 PM
............................

How many times has this question gone unanswered of why all the confiscated liquids and other items get disposed of in common trash bins at the checkpoint.

Surely if these items are so dangerous that they cannot enter the secure area of the airport they must be to dangerous to co-mingle in a common trash bin.

Once again TSA demonstrates its total lack of reasonable procedures.

If an item is a potential explosvie then it must be treated as such until it is determined to not be a threat.

Kinda the same concept of clearing an alarm. Me telling you its just an implant is not good enough, you have to determine it's not something else.

TSA is a total waste of resources in its current form.

Jim Huggins said...

(Apologies if this is a duplication ... my first post appears to have hit the delete-o-meter ...)

So, we have reports here of statements from two different TSA employees, stating contradictory information on whether passengers must hold their boarding pass in their hands at all times. We also have contradictory interpretations of that statement from passengers.

You know, if there was a definitive list of the rules that passengers have to follow ...

GSOLTSO said...

Ayn R Key said - "Ah, but what the police officers do not have the power to do is make up laws on the spot, enforce them, and then take away my rights for violating a law that doesn't exist. That is a power the TSA has."

We do not have the authority to "make laws". Just because people are not happy with the decisions made doesn't mean we are making laws. It means we have been given a framework to make decisions (I agree that there is WAY too much leeway given to frontline TSO's, even to me as a Lead) and we do so. I agree with you (for like the 10th time on this site) that there is a HUGE inconsistency problem at the checkpoints (one TSO lets a tube of lotion go at one checkpoint, another takes it 20 minutes later.... man I hate that!). When it comes to items that have been voluntarily surrendered (or even confiscated by TSA or the local LEO's) there is a reasoning behind it. The decision is based on the people and items involved, not some arbitrary theft motive. I am not certain what items you are mentioning that are taken, but I can assure you that the decision to not let them fly here at GSO is based on a threat/no threat principal. If it poses a possible threat to passengers or the plane then it doesn't go, if it poses no threat it goes (note that this does not include liquids, gels and aerosols, knives, guns, obvious threat items - we have firm rules in place about those).

Anonymous said...

We do have lists and guess what? People bring things on the lists all the time. Very rarely is the item a questionable item not on any list. You cannot bring items that are club like, or pokey and yet people try to bring bats and golf clubs and knives every day through checkpoints. They will say: the let it through this airport or that airport and I just don't believe them. Guns and gun parts aren't allowed but you'll see the list of guns caught in checkpoints weekly on our website.

Quite frankly I'd quit worrying about some item that some rogue TSO or STSO won't allow and use some common sense. If the item can be commonly used as a weapon it's most likely not going to be allowed. For example martial arts stars aren't allowed.

Anonymous said...

"How many times has this question gone unanswered of why all the confiscated liquids and other items get disposed of in common trash bins at the checkpoint.

Surely if these items are so dangerous that they cannot enter the secure area of the airport they must be to dangerous to co-mingle in a common trash bin.

Once again TSA demonstrates its total lack of reasonable procedures.

If an item is a potential explosvie then it must be treated as such until it is determined to not be a threat.

Kinda the same concept of clearing an alarm. Me telling you its just an implant is not good enough, you have to determine it's not something else.

TSA is a total waste of resources in its current form."
___________________________________

All of the liquids taken should not go in the same trash together. The TSO have brought that up. But we just keep on doing as we are told.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
"(Apologies if this is a duplication ... my first post appears to have hit the delete-o-meter ...)

So, we have reports here of statements from two different TSA employees, stating contradictory information on whether passengers must hold their boarding pass in their hands at all times. We also have contradictory interpretations of that statement from passengers.

You know, if there was a definitive list of the rules that passengers have to follow ..."
___________________________________

Who cares if the boarding pass is in the hand at all times. It is not a rule it is stupid that this has even been brought up more than once. Who cares what you do with your boarding pass, until you get to the person who needs it you could shove it in your sock (trying to be a bit nicer than I want to be). Who cares!

Passengers are told what they can and can't have on the TSA web page. If you just follow directions and use common sense the rest is easy.

I can't believe the things that are brought up on here repeatedly. Some of the things are so petty. Your complaints are so repetative and useless. This is why post after post you don't get responses.
Bring up a serious issue that isn't a waist of time for TSA to respond to.

Anonymous said...

We do have lists and guess what? People bring things on the lists all the time. Very rarely is the item a questionable item not on any list. You cannot bring items that are club like, or pokey and yet people try to bring bats and golf clubs and knives every day through checkpoints. They will say: the let it through this airport or that airport and I just don't believe them. Guns and gun parts aren't allowed but you'll see the list of guns caught in checkpoints weekly on our website.

Quite frankly I'd quit worrying about some item that some rogue TSO or STSO won't allow and use some common sense. If the item can be commonly used as a weapon it's most likely not going to be allowed. For example martial arts stars aren't allowed.
___________________________________

I've noticed that working with the public, common sense is something that many many many people lack. You just can't teach people common sense.
Nice post.

Jim Huggins said...

Who cares if the boarding pass is in the hand at all times. It is not a rule it is stupid that this has even been brought up more than once. Who cares what you do with your boarding pass, until you get to the person who needs it you could shove it in your sock (trying to be a bit nicer than I want to be). Who cares!

If the TSO operating the checkpoint is going to yell at me when I put my boarding pass down, as has happened to other passengers as noted in this very blog item, I very much care. On the whole, I'd rather not be yelled at when I enter a checkpoint.

Besides which, TSA is very quick to observe that failure to obey the instructions of its employees can have serious consequences. The least of which is being denied the opportunity to fly. Fines and arrest make that a lot worse.

So ... it matters what the rules are. It matters that both the TSOs performing the screening and the passengers being screened know what the rules are, and that they agree on what the rules are.

So it'd be nice, you know, if there was a single definitive list of the rules that everyone has to follow ...

(Yeah, I know ... they're working on it.)

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "How many times has this question gone unanswered of why all the confiscated liquids and other items get disposed of in common trash bins at the checkpoint.

Surely if these items are so dangerous that they cannot enter the secure area of the airport they must be to dangerous to co-mingle in a common trash bin."

The Blog team already answered this question. Just because you don't like the answer does not mean they have not answered it.

Nico TSA EoS Blog Team said..."A question raised many times on this blog is how can we justify throwing all of these liquids away in a trash can near the checkpoint if they are such a danger. While a fair question, the answer has been available in many different threads though not directly answered, so here it goes.

We have said since the institution of the liquid ban that the fear or threat is the combination of items, including liquid explosives while in flight to create an improvised explosive device. That combination means explosives, detonator and other components to have a fully assembled bomb. Take one component away and you have a collection of harmless items. Of course we don't want liquid explosives anywhere near us but without the other components, they're not causing catastrophic damage.

That’s why it is safe for us to store the items together in a trash can near the checkpoint and that's what we do with prohibited items."

Bob Eucher said...

Anonymous said
Of course we don't want liquid explosives anywhere near us but without the other components, they're not causing catastrophic damage.

That’s why it is safe for us to store the items together in a trash can near the checkpoint and that's what we do with prohibited items.


Come on, you know, I know, we all know that the liquids you confiscate are TOTALLY harmless everyday items. No one in their right mind would handle hazardous items in such a way as you do.

Please don't insult our intelligence with that explanation. They are not causing catastrophic damage because they can't. I never heard of toothpaste or mouthwash exploding.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "How many times has this question gone unanswered of why all the confiscated liquids and other items get disposed of in common trash bins at the checkpoint.

Surely if these items are so dangerous that they cannot enter the secure area of the airport they must be to dangerous to co-mingle in a common trash bin."

The Blog team already answered this question. Just because you don't like the answer does not mean they have not answered it.
...............................
You call what Nico wrote an answer?

Nothing but a bunch of PR PC rubbish.

If an item is considered to be so unsafe to transit the checkpoint then common sense dictates that the item be treated as a threat until proven othersise.

Like most of TSA answers they never address the whole question or answer the whole question.

I will keep asking the same questions over and over until a reasonable answer is provided. Such as the question of rules one must comply with at a TSA checkpoint.

TSA is a government agency that answers to the taxpayers. As of today I am in good standing as a taxpayer and will do my civic responsibilites and demand answers to reasonable questions of any government agency,TSA included!

Anonymous said...

Who cares if the boarding pass is in the hand at all times. It is not a rule it is stupid that this has even been brought up more than once. Who cares what you do with your boarding pass, until you get to the person who needs it you could shove it in your sock (trying to be a bit nicer than I want to be). Who cares!

Passengers are told what they can and can't have on the TSA web page. If you just follow directions and use common sense the rest is easy.

I can't believe the things that are brought up on here repeatedly. Some of the things are so petty. Your complaints are so repetative and useless. This is why post after post you don't get responses.
Bring up a serious issue that isn't a waist of time for TSA to respond to.

September 22, 2008 4:46 PM

...............................
Another fine example of a TSA employee!

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly I'd quit worrying about some item that some rogue TSO or STSO won't allow and use some common sense. If the item can be commonly used as a weapon it's most likely not going to be allowed. For example martial arts stars aren't allowed.
............................
Items like the following?
A Bic pen?
A pocket comb?
A toothbrush?
A plactic ruler?
The temple from a pair of eyeglasses?
A necktie?
A shoelace?
A guitar string?
A 3.4 ounce container of hand sanitizer?

Should I go on?

Theater, just not good theater!

Ayn R. Key said...

gsoltso wrote:
We do not have the authority to "make laws". Just because people are not happy with the decisions made doesn't mean we are making laws.

So when TSA guidelines say it is acceptable for a nursing mother to bring cooling packs with the pumped breast milk, and a front line TSO says it isn't, that's not making up a law on the spot? You must have an unusual definition of the term.

I am not certain what items you are mentioning that are taken, but I can assure you that the decision to not let them fly here at GSO is based on a threat/no threat principal.

I would be more convinced if you wrote "based on a 'respect mah a-thor-i-tay' principal." That's what it comes down to. Someone says to the TSO "TSA regulations say this is allowed" and that guarantees that the TSO will never allow that item because a-thor-i-tay has just been challenged. The TSO's supervisor will back up the TSO because a-thor-i-tay has been challenged and the criminal, er, flyer has to be put in his place. At which point the traveler must either surrender a legal item (a violation of rights) or not fly (a violation of rights) because the criminal, I mean flyer, dared to stand up for his rights.

If you have a judge at the terminals, not paid for by the TSA, instantly hearing cases wherein there is a dispute over whether an item is allowed, then all of your "we have leeway to make up the rules as we go along" principles would be a lot more acceptable. Not acceptable, but more acceptable.

You bring up repeatedly that you hate inconsistency. What I hate are hidden rules and enforcement officers with legislative ability. Every time I say "I hate hidden rules and officers who can make up the rules" you reply with "I also hate inconsistency." We're not talking about the same thing.

I want my constitution back. Stop taking away my bill of rights. It is criminal to do so, even if you are just obeying orders.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: The Blog team already answered this question. Just because you don't like the answer does not mean they have not answered it."

Unfortunately, his answer shows that it's not grounded in reality and not very well thought out.

From Nico: "We have said since the institution of the liquid ban that the fear or threat is the combination of items, including liquid explosives while in flight to create an improvised explosive device."

The "liquid bomb" has been debunked many times and shown to be Hollywood Fiction. Liquid explosives are highly unstable and the chance of getting them the to the airport let alone on a plane is extremely small.

Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible?

"That combination means explosives, detonator and other components to have a fully assembled bomb. Take one component away and you have a collection of harmless items."

If that's the case, then why are they taken away from us? TSA is admitting it's taking inert substances away.

Let's look at it this way. ANYTHING, missing an element, can be construed to be "everything but ..." in a bomb. I can take an alarm clock, some wire (headphones, etc) and a 9V battery thru security and all I'm missing is an explosive. Is TSA going to take those away? After all, I'm missing one element. Conversely,

"Of course we don't want liquid explosives anywhere near us but without the other components, they're not causing catastrophic damage.

That’s why it is safe for us to store the items together in a trash can near the checkpoint and that's what we do with prohibited items."


Of course, Nico's still stuck thinking about solid explosives that are relatively stable. Trying throwing some liquid TNT into that jug and see how safe it is. No detonator needed. That's just one example.

Keep in mind that the puffers and swabs would detect such things while TSA's x-raying of Kippie Baggies would not.

Some really good info on Schneier's blog with further links:

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2006/08/on_the_implausi.html

Bottom line: TSA has only given us spin and propaganda for an answer and ignores scientific evidence that points to the contrary. Their answers may sound plausible, but hey, Hollywood thrives on making the impossible look plausible, else special effects wouldn't be important.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "Not at our airport we don't open up anyones liquids and dump them in the trash. Aren't we looking for explosives. What if you poor two of the wrong liquids in that garbage can together"

And you're not going to find them with TSA's current methods either. Can you tell liquid TNT from water, mineral oil, or saline solution just by looking at it?

Just throw a bottle of liquid TNT into a garbage can and see how safe it is just because you're not "mixing" them. :rolleyes:

Robert

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote:

"Passengers are told what they can and can't have on the TSA web page. If you just follow directions and use common sense the rest is easy."

There is no such thing as "the TSA Web page". TSA has multiple pages. As we've noted on this blog and as both Bob and Lynn of the TSA EoS Blog Team have acknowledged, those pages are sometimes outdated and internally-inconsistent.

All we're asking for is a list of all the rules TSA requires us to follow when we're stopped at one of their airport checkpoints -- not a bunch of tips, bag packing suggestions and press releases, and not a bunch of often-inaccurate Web pages. Until they show us the rules, it is unreasonable to require us to follow those rules in order to avoid having our freedom of movement restricted.

Anonymous said...

I want my constitution back. Stop taking away my bill of rights. It is criminal to do so, even if you are just obeying orders.
___________________________________
Ewww! Once you submit your items into the xray and you yourself step into the metal detector, you have given TSA the right to search you or your bags. The signs outside the checkpoint that state that you are subject to search when you enter let you know this. Just like everyone talks about wararntless searches. You people submit your belongings for screening. There are no rights being violated.
If it is believed that an item should not be allowed on a plane than that is that TSO's choice.

Anonymous said...

rober johnson said... "The "liquid bomb" has been debunked many times and shown to be Hollywood Fiction. Liquid explosives are highly unstable and the chance of getting them the to the airport let alone on a plane is extremely small."

No... it has been proven twice.
Here is the latest
ABC NEWS Video!

The mass muder in the sky article was made back in 2006. None of the bomb details were avaible back then.

rober johnson said... Just throw a bottle of liquid TNT into a garbage can and see how safe it is just because you're not "mixing" them. :rolleyes:

Last time I checked, the plot involved liquid explosives – concentrated hydrogen peroxide – to be smuggled on board in sports drinks bottles, dyed orange with Tang. How did we get to liquid TNT? You are correct. I would not want liquid TNT in a garabage can next to me while trying to go through the CP. On that note. Thier policy is fine for the threat they are worried about.

rober johnson said... Keep in mind that the puffers and swabs would detect such things while TSA's x-raying of Kippie Baggies would not.

The smartest thing I have ever heard on this blog(though riddled with opion and hate.) I will keep pressuring TSA on this issue and I hope you do the same.

phil said.... All we're asking for is a list of all the rules TSA requires us to follow when we're stopped at one of their airport checkpoints

Please give phil what he wants.

Ayn R. Key said... "So when TSA guidelines say it is acceptable for a nursing mother to bring cooling packs with the pumped breast milk, and a front line TSO says it isn't, that's not making up a law on the spot? You must have an unusual definition of the term."

Here is my two cents on this little debate. By definition of "law" you are correct Mr. Key. The confusion is that in context it sounds like you are referring to them making up a US Law. With that aside(dumb arguement), it seems the real issue is about TSO, LTSO, and STSO's ability to use "discretion". This is great in my opion. Not everyone is going to fall into the mold that is perscribed in a "SOP". Every case needs to be done one on one. With the checkpoint evolution it seems they are going the way of giving more discretion to TSO's and the bunch. I am happy you guys made Got Feed Back. With more discretion I can see more cases of abuse(such as the milk issue.)

As usual all this is just my opion...

thank you for your time

Ayn R. Key said...

Anonymous TSO on September 24th wrote:
There are no rights being violated.

If a legal item is banned at the whim of a TSO then a right is violated.

If it is believed that an item should not be allowed on a plane than that is that TSO's choice.

Which is why we need a list of rules, so that when the TSO decides to ban a legal item, you have the ability to contest it. Why do you so object to being able to legally contest a TSOs decision?

Another anonymous (probably not a TSO) on September 24th wrote:
By definition of "law" you are correct Mr. Key. The confusion is that in context it sounds like you are referring to them making up a US Law. With that aside(dumb arguement), it seems the real issue is about TSO, LTSO, and STSO's ability to use "discretion". This is great in my opion.

It's not so great in my opinion. The principle of United States law is that only that which is illegal is illegal, and everything else is legal. Allowing the government to use "discretion" to expand the law (note, I didn't say discretion to enforce the law but to expand the law) goes entirely contrary to the basic principle of Constitutional justice.

Discretion in enforcement is one thing. They could give everyone 100% searches, but decide to save that for those who they think really need it. Discretion to expand the law says "even though there is no law against what you are doing you are being punished for doing it." That's the TSA's stand though. The TSA doesn't provide us with a list of rules because they want expansion discretion.

That's not the way things are done in the USA. Even regular police must think up some valid charge if they want to arrest you. TSOs simply get a whim to ban a legal item and then call it discretion.

The TSA doesn't want accountability, it doesn't want us to be able to say "here is proof you are wrong", which is why they won't provide us with the list.

With more discretion I can see more cases of abuse(such as the milk issue.)

Well, that's true. With more expansion discretion, more irreplacable items can be ruined because the TSOs are not following actual law but the law they make up in their heads.

Anonymous said...

On that note. Thier policy is fine for the threat they are worried about.
..........................
Great foresight, no worry about new threats or seeing a weakness and using that avenue to accomplish a goal.

More evidence that TSA is more about Theater than Security!

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "No... it has been proven twice.
Here is the latest
ABC NEWS Video!"


No, all we've seen is a propaganda video with a supposed quantity of "explosive" that wasn't shown how it was mixed (which is an important part of the process), how it was transported (stuff's highly unstable), and what the quantity was.

Showing the jar and then the plane going boom doesn't illustrate the point. Considering how the news has been known to embellish points for added effect (remember the exploding GM gas tanks?), and there's no independent verification (DHS doesn't count) I don't have a lot of faith in them.

"The mass muder in the sky article was made back in 2006. None of the bomb details were avaible back then."

You think the science has changed much since then?

"Last time I checked, the plot involved liquid explosives – concentrated hydrogen peroxide – to be smuggled on board in sports drinks bottles, dyed orange with Tang. How did we get to liquid TNT? You are correct. I would not want liquid TNT in a garabage can next to me while trying to go through the CP. On that note. Thier policy is fine for the threat they are worried about."

The problem is you can't select parts of the threat and ignore the other parts. So in other words, what you're saying is the peroxide bomb/Tang "threat" should be mitigated, but ignore liquid TNT and any other liquid explosives. That's intellectually bankrupt thinking.

It can't be assumed that because they're only looking for one threat that that's the only one that will show up. Or does someone actually have to throw liquid TNT into a garbage can and have it go boom before TSA will look at how they handle this stuff.

The stuff is either hazmat or it's not. If you believe the peroxide/tang thing, then if it's mixed, it's as much as a threat being thrown into a garbage can as any other explosive. Do you think it's a good idea to be tossing liquids into a garbage can if anything could be an explosive? The fact that they don't shows that they don't even think the possibility is very high.

And if there could be explosives in there, why isn't it being treated and disposed of as hazmat? That stuff shouldn't just be thrown into a landfill.

TSA's liquid lunacy has been shown to be intellectually bankrupt time and time again. They had no problem giving the confiscated items out to the homeless and charities. If that was the case, why couldn't people take those items on the plane? Or do they not care about the homeless and charities that they gave them potentially explosive items?

Robert

Anonymous said...

Robert Johnson said... No, all we've seen is a propaganda video with a supposed quantity of "explosive" that wasn't shown how it was mixed (which is an important part of the process), how it was transported (stuff's highly unstable), and what the quantity was.

The test was conducted by Dr. Sidney Alford(guy in the video) of Alford Technologies.
Info on Alford Tech
Is a BBC approved contractor and I don't see why Dr. Sidney would agree to do propaganda. If they(what abc?!?! wich is owned by Disney?!?!) wanted propaganda it would have been easier to use a military EOD team. Also, abc reported that the Dr. Sidney used the same techniques that would have been used by the people involved in the liquids plot.

The reason the mixture is a secret is because there is a reported flaw in the planned explosive. The plotters(real word) did not have time to do any testing. To give them the "making of" would do the testing for them or any counterparts they may or may not have.

The tang mix is stable. Can't go into detail because that would get this comment X'ed. The unstable part wich is most commonly referred to but is mistaken for the the soft drink is the HMTD. The HMTD was to be held in hollowed-out AA battery cases. HTMD is a very comman explosive used by suicide bombers. Terror networks have lots of experience with this type of explosive. The current 311 policy would not cause a early detonation as AA battery cases are not thrown away in a garabage can.


Robert Johnson said... The problem is you can't select parts of the threat and ignore the other parts. So in other words, what you're saying is the peroxide bomb/Tang "threat" should be mitigated, but ignore liquid TNT and any other liquid explosives. That's intellectually bankrupt thinking.

The liquids ban and subsequent 311 policy are reactionary. This isn't a "what if" TSA think tank. This is real. They had a threat and had to use existing equipment to combat it. At first they didn't know what to do and banned all liquids. After consulting thier government EOD teams and private contractors they came up with the 311.

Who is ignoring liquid TNT?!?!
TSA Bottled Liquid Scanners

I have not seen any proof that TSA is ignoring any liquid TNT threats.


Anonymous said... Great foresight, no worry about new threats or seeing a weakness and using that avenue to accomplish a goal.

More evidence that TSA is more about Theater than Security!


If there was only the 311 policy at the Check point you would be right. Its not. The first time I brought a parachute through the checkpoint the TSO did not know how to screen it. A Supervisor was called and the heavy set gentlemen went to a tall desk and pulled out a 4in thick binder and looked it up. Seems to me there are plenty of other rules and policies.

Now if they would only publish said rules.


Robert Johnson said... TSA's liquid lunacy has been shown to be intellectually bankrupt time and time again. They had no problem giving the confiscated items out to the homeless and charities. If that was the case, why couldn't people take those items on the plane? Or do they not care about the homeless and charities that they gave them potentially explosive items?

Nico TSA EoS Blog Team said..."Early on, there was a move to donate the liquid items to local homeless shelters but we were forced to suspend that practice after the determination was made that there is a liability risk. We couldn’t continue to donate items and not know if the if the water was truly water or if the shampoo was truly shampoo. While unfortunate, the litigious world in which we live forced the abandonment (pun intended) of that process. So now, those items are tossed out."

Poke around the blog. Many questions have been answered but only get answered once by the blog team.

from the one of five people who post

just my opion folks

commercial real estate loans said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
HSVTSO Dean said...

Robert Johnson wrote:
Or does someone actually have to throw liquid TNT into a garbage can and have it go boom before TSA will look at how they handle this stuff.

In my own personal experience with watching how TSA has done things over the years?

Yes. :D

But, hey, that's what I got life insurance for.

Anonymous said...

Man they lost my laptop last week. It sucks.

September 26, 2008 2:11 AM

Another imbedded link to commercial services, yet you censor my remarks when you don't like how I refer to TSA employees.

Thats the problem with censorship, you will be wrong every time by someone elses standards, or when you don't follow your own guidelines.

Of course TSA seems to have little problem on violating its policies at the drop of a hat!

Anonymous said...

Man they lost my laptop last week. It sucks.

September 26, 2008 2:11 AM



\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
SPAM
/////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

Anonymous said...

commercial real estate loans said...
Man they lost my laptop last week.


Did they? Or are you just lying to get your link on this site?

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from HSV TSO Dean: "In my own personal experience with watching how TSA has done things over the years?

Yes. :D"


Sadly, I think you're right.

Robert

Anonymous said...

Robert Johnson said... No, all we've seen is a propaganda video with a supposed quantity of "explosive" that wasn't shown how it was mixed (which is an important part of the process), how it was transported (stuff's highly unstable), and what the quantity was.

The test was conducted by Dr. Sidney Alford(guy in the video) of Alford Technologies.

Is a BBC approved contractor and I don't see why Dr. Sidney would agree to do propaganda. If they(what abc?!?! wich is owned by Disney?!?!) wanted propaganda it would have been easier to use a military EOD team. Also, abc reported that the Dr. Sidney used the same techniques that would have been used by the people involved in the liquids plot.

paragraph cut

The tang mix is stable.

paragraph cut

The "volatile part" was to be held "not in the soft drink".

paragraph cut


Robert Johnson said... The problem is you can't select parts of the threat and ignore the other parts. So in other words, what you're saying is the peroxide bomb/Tang "threat" should be mitigated, but ignore liquid TNT and any other liquid explosives. That's intellectually bankrupt thinking.

The liquids ban and subsequent 311 policy are reactionary. This isn't a "what if" TSA think tank. This is real. They had a threat and had to use existing equipment to combat it. At first they didn't know what to do and banned all liquids. After consulting thier government EOD teams and private contractors they came up with the 311.

Who is ignoring liquid TNT?!?!
TSA Bottled Liquid Scanners

I have not seen any proof that TSA is ignoring any liquid TNT threats.


Anonymous said... Great foresight, no worry about new threats or seeing a weakness and using that avenue to accomplish a goal.

More evidence that TSA is more about Theater than Security!


If there was only the 311 policy at the Check point you would be right. Its not. The first time I brought a parachute through the checkpoint the TSO did not know how to screen it. A Supervisor was called and the heavy set gentlemen went to a tall desk and pulled out a 4in thick binder and looked it up. Seems to me there are plenty of other rules and policies.

Now if they would only publish said rules.


Robert Johnson said... TSA's liquid lunacy has been shown to be intellectually bankrupt time and time again. They had no problem giving the confiscated items out to the homeless and charities. If that was the case, why couldn't people take those items on the plane? Or do they not care about the homeless and charities that they gave them potentially explosive items?

Nico TSA EoS Blog Team said..."Early on, there was a move to donate the liquid items to local homeless shelters but we were forced to suspend that practice after the determination was made that there is a liability risk. We couldn’t continue to donate items and not know if the if the water was truly water or if the shampoo was truly shampoo. While unfortunate, the litigious world in which we live forced the abandonment (pun intended) of that process. So now, those items are tossed out."

Poke around the blog. Many questions have been answered but only get answered once by the blog team.

from the one of five people who post

also this has been heavly cut due to my last comment being possibly deleted

just my opion folks

RB said...

Another excellent example of poor and unprofessional blog mangement is the post dated September 26, 2008 2:11 AM.

How long will it stay up before the Blog Team figures out that this post has embedded spam?

You Blog Ops certainly have no issues censoring my posts that only discuss on topic issues yet you allow a post with spam and take no action.

Much like the rest of TSA you make up the rules as you go!

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "The test was conducted by Dr. Sidney Alford(guy in the video) of Alford Technologies."

And if you do some research, you'd also see that he owns a company that contracts to the UK airports has a lot to gain from the liquid lunacy. Do you think that means he might be just a little biased?

The experiment should be reproduceable and verifiable by other scientists. All we have is DHS saying so with their "experiment" and Dr. Alford. BOTH entities have dogs in this fight. DHS has the control aspect and Dr. Alford has financial incentive.

"The liquids ban and subsequent 311 policy are reactionary. This isn't a "what if" TSA think tank. This is real. They had a threat and had to use existing equipment to combat it. At first they didn't know what to do and banned all liquids. After consulting thier government EOD teams and private contractors they came up with the 311."

It's not real just because TSA says it is. Many other experts like Dr. Jimmy Oxley of URI have debunked the liquid myth as well.

Look at the second part of your commennt. You mention private contractors. Gee, you think they might have a stake in suggesting 3-1-1 and selling their services?

Having been in the contracting world, I'm well aware of whose interests contractors' represent when advice is given.

"Who is ignoring liquid TNT?!?!
TSA Bottled Liquid Scanners"


And how many of those are deployed? Such technology has been in existence for years in Japan (though Kip said it wasn't) and it's now only being deployed here?

"I have not seen any proof that TSA is ignoring any liquid TNT threats."

Just look at how cavalierly TSA treats the confiscated liquids. TNT could easily detonate if just chucked in the garbage can.

Take a really good look at what Schneier has to say on this. It's a really good read.

"Now if they would only publish said rules."

Publishing said rules would mean they couldn't make them up on the spot nor would they be able to provide consistent inconsistency.

Nico TSA EoS Blog Team said..."Early on, there was a move to donate the liquid items to local homeless shelters but we were forced to suspend that practice after the determination was made that there is a liability risk. We couldn’t continue to donate items and not know if the if the water was truly water or if the shampoo was truly shampoo. While unfortunate, the litigious world in which we live forced the abandonment (pun intended) of that process. So now, those items are tossed out."

I also know my Congressman grilled them on that. The other side of that coin is that if they were safe enough to give to the homeless there was no reason to prohibit them.

And since we've never known TSA to say "we were wrong" when it comes to a security practice they implement, I think this is a plausible explanation for their spin.

Robert

Holster said...

You know, if there was a definitive list of the rules that passengers have to follow that would make things so much easier.

Ronnie Segev said...

One time I had a similar issue when I was travelling with a cellist, and they were concerned about her cello. There needs to be reason here too!

Ronnie Segev

Jenny said...

The last time I flew (mid-September), I was told on my outbound flight (from Burbank) that my laptop bag was one of the bags that did not need to be opened. I thought, "great!" It's flat, has no cable or other storage, and just consists of a sleeve for my laptop.

Then, on the way home, the TSA screener at the airport (Jackson, WY) told me to take out my bag. I told her I had been told that it was one of the laptop bags that had been approved to go through screening without being opened. The TSA agent's response was a scowl, and then she decided that not only did she need to have my laptop taken out of its bag, but it ALSO needed to go through extra screening.

It totally felt like a petty gesture on her part. And I felt like she was abusing her power. Now I don't mind if I have to take my laptop out of its bag for screening, but if an agent specifically tells me I don't have to, but then another agent acts like she has never even heard of the new laptop bag rules, THAT is a problem. Get it together!

Travel2Much said...

I have been traveling with the new Checkthrough bag from Skooba Design and it has worked flawlessley almost a dozen times already. Fantastic bag, and yes, it does make the process a little easier. And a little easier is a big deal when it comes to travel.

In fact, my bag has garnered positive comments from the screeners themselves, and a few jealous inquiries from other biz travelers.

The TSA is an easy target. For sure some of what they do seems odd, unecessary or even silly at times, and for sure not all of its officers are top notch. But--and I am sure I will get flamed for this--I do believe that they are trying with the best of intentions to protect the traveling public in what is a very difficult and arguably near-impossible mission. They are damned if they do, damned if they don't.

And no, I am not a travel newbie...I have been flying internationally, and very frequently, for 20 years (I suspect my butt-print is in more airplane seats than most of the TSA-haters out there) And for the most part I just don't have the problems or issues so many people seem to love to bark about.

JayBird said...

Nice post, travel2much.... and I agree with you. TSA gets WAY more abuse than it deserves.

By the way, for some reason the link in your posting does not work... goes to an error page on TSA site (OK, no wisecracks about TSA). Skooba-trying again?

Honest American Flyer said...

I've grown tired of putting my naked laptop in the gray bins so I stopped in here thinking you'd have useful information. WRONG! Your video is so bad, I thought it was a parody. What exactly are you showing me? Have you ever heard of narration? I still have no idea what kind of laptop case is allowed and what to do with my laptop and the case once I get to the checkpoint.

jpf said...

Checkpoint Freindly?? most times seems almost a contradiction in terms. Also wondering - what affect can those scanners on internal of laptops?

Anonymous said...

If TSA Tom can say "Pain in the ass" while we can't even use the acronym discuss TSA's https://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/02/cya_security_1.html then you are not running an honest forum.