Wednesday, February 25, 2009

3 oz or 3.4 oz? What gives???

Short answer: 3.4 oz. For more details, read on…

OK, here’s the scoop. If the U.S. would have switched to the metrics system in the 70s, this wouldn’t be an issue. How many of you out there had to learn the metric system in school only to never use it…

When TSA lifted the total liquid ban and implemented the 3-1-1 program, the permissible amount of liquids, aerosols and gels was 3oz. Press releases went out, WebPages were updated, and signs were printed and shipped out nationwide to 457 airports.

When TSA rolled out 3-1-1, the European Union was not on board yet. When the EU decided to lift the ban and allow liquids to travel, the amount permitted was 100ml. Well, as those of you who like me had to learn metric conversion in grade school, youmight remember that 100ml = 3.4oz. not 3 oz. In order to align with the EU, we decided to allow liquids in containers up to 3.4oz. We also decided to keep our signage the same to maintain consistency. (Besides, 3.4-1-1 just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)

From a marketing perspective, 3 ounces was easier to remember than 3.4. For the European Union, 100 milliliters was easier to remember than 89. So, behind the scenes, we’ve been allowing up to 3.4 ounces, but it hasn’t been reflected on the web or in signage.

We’ve read your concerns here on the blog, so from now on, we’ll use 3.4 on the blog when talking about liquid limits, and also make changes (as soon as possible) to the TSA web site. I worked with Lynn on this and she has crafted a new response for the contact center to use when communicating with the public. We are also going to send a message to the workforce as a reminder.

Some people have asked why we don’t convert the net weight of the toothpaste to volume since they are different. Good question. The 3.4 container/volume rule was created to make it simple and streamlined for both passengers and our officers. As you could imagine, taking weight into consideration would be a wrench in the spokes. I’m sure the public doesn’t want our officers using scales or conversion charts, etc.

I hope this has helped you better understand the 3.0/3.4 oz. conundrum.

Thanks,

Bob

EoS Blog Team

206 comments:

1 – 200 of 206   Newer›   Newest»
brian said...

To take this to its logical conclusion, we're also permitted to use 1 liter ziploc bags, which are about 10% larger than quart size - right?

Jim Huggins said...

Bob: thanks.

I would point out, as a totally random aside, that 100-1-1 would be a perfectly reasonable marketing slogan, if you made the decision to announce the limit in metric rather than imperial units.

And, yes, some of the emphasis on this topic is silly. But I think the public would adapt. After all, I have to buy my diet soda in 67.628 ounce containers these days, and I've adapted ...

Mr. Gel-pack said...

OK, you marketing geniuses, are the web pages and blog pages the authoritative rules that we are supposed to follow?

If I print out a TSA web page that says breastmilk is medicine, and another that says frozen gels are allowed for medical items, can anyone guarantee that some poorly trained TSO supervisor won't confiscate the gel pack?

A TSO supervisor in STL confiscated our gel pack, which led to the spoiling of 13 oz of my wife's breast milk. She cried when we poured it out.

I don't trust your organization to train its people well, since you don't communicate your rules well to either the public or your own workforce.

Good luck with the "We are also going to send a message to the workforce as a reminder."

Anonymous said...

TSA, as you well know, Bob, has repeatedly refused to present any independent research whatsoever to suggest that its liquid policies -- whether 3.4 or 3 -- bear any grounding in reality. Given that this is the case, why does TSA persist in this absurd charade that we and you both know is pointless and does nothing to make anyone at all safer?

If, as you claim, the official limit is 3.4, when will TSA's signage be adjusted to reflect this?

What steps are being taken to ensure that every TSO knows that the limit is 3.4, not 3?

What recourse does a citizen have against a TSO who insists on enforcing an incorrect 3 oz limit?

yourmom said...

I had been wondering about this. Thanks for posting.

Bob said...

yourmom said... I had been wondering about this. Thanks for posting. February 25, 2009 5:42 PM

Thanks Mom! Hey, can you bring a bowl of Cap'n Crunch down to the basement?

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Wow, between this and the fact that some TSA guys call Saline medicine and some don't, the liquids rule just gets more and more confusing. Thanks for making it all clear as mud!

Bubba said...

Bob,

As discussed at Flyertalk, more than one person has received this official statement from the TSA Contact Center (excerpt):

"Passengers traveling on an international flight from Europe or other foreign countries into the United States, the 3.4 oz containers in the zip lock bag will be accepted in carry on and will not be confiscated at the checkpoint.

Those passengers traveling from the United States into a foreign country or traveling on a domestic flight within the United States must carry the 3.0 oz containers as carry on in a zip lock bag."

This is a significantly different statement from yours: It says 100 mL are allowed if you are flying in from abroad, but not domestically.

Who should we believe?

And while we are at it, please define a liquid per TSA policy, and please provide peer-reviewed scientific evidence that liquids are a threat to commercial aviation.

Tomas said...

Thanks for finally saying officially, in an unofficial blog, that thousands of government signs and even the information propagated to the public from your very information center has been wrong for a couple of years.

Now if we only had the actual written rule from TSA about this, instead of having to depend on GAO reports and the ephemeral mentions of the actual rule on-line, maybe we would have something.

I won't repeat Phil's request - he's done so many times himself. :^)

Just rememeber the rules we must follow are NOT you playbook...

(Seems I can't help being snarky today. Sorry. I'll try to go back to being reasonable if TSA will make the same atempt.)

Tomas

RB said...

You say you will use 3.4 here and make changes to the TSA website. Will the signage and audio messages in airports be updated to reflect the correct information?

Anonymous said...

for anyone who says liquids can not be used as a threat go to google and jus type in liquid explosives in the video section. You only need to have a small explosion to put a hole in the aircraft

Trollkiller said...

Conversion charts would be an easy solution. When it doubt just look.

After a while the most common sizes and weights would become second nature to the TSOs.

MSC said...

I'm glad to see the new administration's intelligence has begun to filter down to the TSA :-)

Jim Huggins said...

Bubba: with respect, Bob answered your question in the original posting. He said:

I worked with Lynn on this and she has crafted a new response for the contact center to use when communicating with the public.

In short: the old message that the contact center has been using, which we've seen posted here and elsewhere, is wrong, and they're gonna fix it.

George said...

Some people have asked why we don’t convert the net weight of the toothpaste to volume since they are different. Good question. The 3.4 container/volume rule was created to make it simple and streamlined for both passengers and our officers. As you could imagine, taking weight into consideration would be a wrench in the spokes.

The spokes came from the factory pre-jammed with spanners. And the sound you hear is the square wheel trying to roll. Many of the items in Freedom Baggies are sold and labeled by weight rather than volume. But the rules only address volume, which for things like toothpaste or stick deodorant can't be readily determined from the weight. So how does any TSO enforce the rule with those items? And how does a passenger obey it? It's inviting arbitrary and capricious determinations, wrongful confiscation of innocuous items, and passengers who are frustrated and disgusted with the entire system.

The "3-1-1" rule (now retitled the "100-1-1 rule"?) has always struck me as one of those bureaucratic gems that seemed elegant and foolproof when presented on secret PowerPoint charts in classified briefings, to executives who travel by government jet and never set foot in public airports. But when it was declassified and implemented at real airport checkpoints, by real TSOs who may lack training and/or intelligence, it turned out to be far less elegant and foolproof, with myriad complexities the experts never remotely considered behind their locked doors at TSA headquarters. But of course they'd never admit that their brilliant scheme has flaws. The problems are all the fault of passengers who don't respect authority.

Trollkiller said...

Bob said...
yourmom said... I had been wondering about this. Thanks for posting. February 25, 2009 5:42 PM

Thanks Mom! Hey, can you bring a bowl of Cap'n Crunch down to the basement?

Bob

EoS Blog Team


I have the image of the Southpark WoW episode running through my brain.

Anonymous said...

TK,

If you mean conversion charts for products sold by weight, that would imply knowing the density of all different brands of toothpaste....

Bubba said...

Jim,

Thanks for the info I overlooked.

Now all I need to know is what is a liquid, and where the science is behind this strange policy.

Anonymous said...

Changing the signs? What would be the point? We were just told on the previous post that 'it is human nature NOT to read signs'. So why should we spend all the money to change something you won't bother to look at anyway.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought guys. Do you think the reason TSA doesn't bother updating their website and signs at airports is because they're about to increase the liquid limit in the near future?

What do you think?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Just a thought guys. Do you think the reason TSA doesn't bother updating their website and signs at airports is because they're about to increase the liquid limit in the near future?

What do you think?

February 26, 2009 7:19 AM
..........................
How long has the standard been 3.4oz/100ml?

How long before TSA relaxes the current standard?

The bottom line is that TSA expects travelers to abide by certain standards yet fail to provide those standards to the very people who need them.

If one must comply with some government requirement then government must supply accurate, timely information.

TSA fails on this point.

Anonymous #542 said...

MSC said...
I'm glad to see the new administration's intelligence has begun to filter down to the TSA :-)

Give me a break! The new administration doesn't even have an administrator for TSA yet. This is not them this is something TSA is doing internally without the new administration's help. Don't give credit where it doesn't belong.

Anonymous #542 said...

As for this nonsense on advertising. When it is something we need to know such as the limit, it is unfair to the passengers that you give us wrong information. We pay you guys to serve us! So in the past when I wanted to take something that just didn't come any smaller I thought it wasn't aloud. Thanks for being mean in this aspect.

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

Yay, now onto more pressing matters!

:)

I've always regarded the limit as 3.4oz and never below.

Now, if only people would stop arguing that 5oz hair creams are 3.4oz, I'd be alot more easier.

jhess56 said...

Perhaps if it hasn't already been,this info could be posted on the various airline websites.

Anonymous said...

"Now all I need to know is what is a liquid, and where the science is behind this strange policy."

There is no science behind this policy, or behind much of anything the domestic terrorists at TSA do.

Let'sTryAgain said...

I notice many posts that were made after mine have shown up but mine has not. Perhaps if I removed the word “b********s” you will post it.

______

I am bringing forward a conversation from the thread on Shift Briefs because I believe it is important.

kellymae81 has stated that screeners can see altered shoes inside of carry-on luggage. I am here to tell you that is absolutely not true. You see, I wear “altered” shoes because of a birth defect. I also always pack a second pair of altered shoes in my carry-on. Not once during the many trips I have made has any screener ever noticed those shoes and called a bag check for them. They have, however, called bags checks when they thought they saw something else – and went right on by the shoes in their zeal to find something that was not there in the first place.

They have also gone berserk when they see the altered shoes in the x-ray that I have several times been forced to remove at the checkpoint in spite of the fact that I should not be walking without the benefit of my orthopedic shoes and, according to the TSA rules, am not required to remove. However, sometimes it's just easier to take the darned things off that to argue.

Archimedes Testing Devices said...

Can I sell you some expensive special volume measuring screening devices to help you measure suspected over-volume items? We carry an Archimedes VMX-100 tester for only $1000. And for checking the sizes of the freedom baggies we carry an Archimedes VMX-946 for only $3900. Our Volume Measuring Examination technology was developed by a remarkable inventor, and has been used by major governments for over 2,200 years.

You wouldn't want a lack of equipment to cause TSA to make unreasonable and unwarranted seizures. Or would you?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Gel-pack said...
OK, you marketing geniuses, are the web pages and blog pages the authoritative rules that we are supposed to follow?

If I print out a TSA web page that says breastmilk is medicine, and another that says frozen gels are allowed for medical items, can anyone guarantee that some poorly trained TSO supervisor won't confiscate the gel pack?

A TSO supervisor in STL confiscated our gel pack, which led to the spoiling of 13 oz of my wife's breast milk. She cried when we poured it out.

I don't trust your organization to train its people well, since you don't communicate your rules well to either the public or your own workforce.

Good luck with the "We are also going to send a message to the workforce as a reminder."


You have recounted this story in what seems like every blog post there is. TSA officers are human. This supervisor in question, clearly made a mistake - I think everyone can agree on that. That does not mean that the 40,000+ other TSOs would make that same mistake. It is unfortunate that your wife experienced what was obviously an emotional situation for her and hopefully it will not happen to you or anyone else in the future. If you feel that printing out the webpage for a specific medical item that you must travel with would be beneficial, then I would encourage you to do that. I'm sure TSA officers aren't the only people who have made a mistake once in a while at their job. From your posts, it sounds like you must be the one in a million person that does everything perfectly every time. Lucky you. Perhaps you can show TSA how to never make a mistake. At least the mistake, while unfortunate, was on the side of being overcautious than a mistake of being lax and permitting something that shouldn't be permitted. TSA policies have been known to change frequently, especially when the threat is first identified, and maybe, just maybe, that supervisor had a moment where he / she reverted to the previous procedure where NO liquids were permitted regardless of their nature. Again they are human, we all are.
That being said, I think it is time to move on beyond this point. If you want to keep being mad, that is your right, but it can't change what happened in the past.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Now if only someone in TSA could explain why 3.4 ounces of shampoo is perfectly safe, but 4 ounces is a problem...or why two 3.4 ounce tubes of toothpaste can't blow up an airplane but one 6.8 ounce tube can...or what peculiar quality of airports makes it impossible for multiple people to collude to each bring a little bit of Magic Exploding Liquid through (in little 3.4 ounce bottles) and then combine them, then we'd really be getting somewhere!

Tomas said...

Yet Another Anonymous wrote...
Just a thought guys. Do you think the reason TSA doesn't bother updating their website and signs at airports is because they're about to increase the liquid limit in the near future?

What do you think?

________________

I wonder why they didn't update any of their public information on their site, in print, or on signs in the over two years they had to do it since the change. I wonder why as recently as this past month they were STILL putting out totally incorrect information to the public from their official information center. I'm wondering why the only government source for the correct information has been the U.S. Government Accountability Office (U.S. GAO) for the past two years, and not the TSA.

C'mon, everything TSA put out that was new in the past two years could have given the correct information to the public on this matter, but instead they chose not to give correct information.

With that sort of performance in providing the public correct information why should we believe ANYTHING said by TSA?

What do YOU think?

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Jim Huggins said...

Gussie Fink-Nottle writes:

Now if only someone in TSA could explain why 3.4 ounces of shampoo is perfectly safe, but 4 ounces is a problem

If you start with the premise that you need to limit liquids aboard an aircraft, you're going to have to draw the line somewhere. Obviously, there's nothing magic about 4 ounces versus 3.4 ounces ... but that would be true if the limit was 34 ounces, or 340 ounces. But if you don't have a hard limit, you have no limit at all. (And, yes, some people find that preferable. I don't have an opinion.)

...or why two 3.4 ounce tubes of toothpaste can't blow up an airplane but one 6.8 ounce tube can

TSA has said in the past that they are concerned about the size of the containers that could be used as a vessel for combining compounds to create an explosive. Keeping the containers small, in principle, limits the size of what could be created.

...or what peculiar quality of airports makes it impossible for multiple people to collude to each bring a little bit of Magic Exploding Liquid through (in little 3.4 ounce bottles) and then combine them, then we'd really be getting somewhere!

TSA would point out that every time you require The Bad Guys to perform one additional step, you make Their Evil Plan more difficult to execute ... making failure of the plan, or detection of the plan, more likely. (Perhaps only slightly more likely, to be sure ... but security isn't an all-or-nothing concept.)

Again ... I take no position on whether or not the limit on liquids make sense. But if you start from the premise that limiting liquids is necessary, the means by which TSA enforces those limits have some sound reasoning behind them.

Robert Johnson said...

Quote from Anonymous: "At least the mistake, while unfortunate, was on the side of being overcautious than a mistake of being lax and permitting something that shouldn't be permitted."

In other words, CYA.

The "Abundance of Caution®" excuse is really starting to get old. It's tossed around like a get out of jail free card for TSA screw ups.

I find it amusing that when the shoe's (pun intended) on (off?) the other foot and TSA messes up, like the stun gun incident or fails Red Team tests, it's spuns as a positive. Funny how the "Abundance of Caution®" mantra disappears then.

Robert

Anonymous said...

"You have recounted this story in what seems like every blog post there is."

And he should continue to do so until TSA apologizes and takes steps to ensure that no traveler will be abused as he and his wife were.

"TSA officers are human. This supervisor in question, clearly made a mistake - I think everyone can agree on that."

That supervisor should be reprimanded, and TSA should apologize to this citizen and his wife for abusing them.

"That does not mean that the 40,000+ other TSOs would make that same mistake. It is unfortunate that your wife experienced what was obviously an emotional situation for her and hopefully it will not happen to you or anyone else in the future."

Why did it happen in the first place? Why was TSA incapable of following its own stated procedures, even when presented with a printout of its own web site? Why are the supervisor and TSOs involved still employed?

"If you feel that printing out the webpage for a specific medical item that you must travel with would be beneficial, then I would encourage you to do that."

As has been repeatedly noticed, the TSA employees in question ignored the printout from their own agency's web site and made up their own rule, on the spot, at tremendous emotional cost to the couple they abused and for absolutely no increase in security. Indeed, these two citizens now justifiably hate TSA, as do thousands of other patriots.

"I'm sure TSA officers aren't the only people who have made a mistake once in a while at their job."

So? These TSA employees (let's not call them "officers," since that makes them sound like law enforcement) made the mistake in question. That's what's at issue here.

"From your posts, it sounds like you must be the one in a million person that does everything perfectly every time. Lucky you. Perhaps you can show TSA how to never make a mistake."

Shame on you. TSA abused an innocent couple and all you can do is throw snark at them? You should be ashamed of yourself.

"At least the mistake, while unfortunate, was on the side of being overcautious than a mistake of being lax and permitting something that shouldn't be permitted."

The mistake was not one of overcaution, it was one of reckless disregard for TSA's stated procedures that caused significant emotional trauma. And it was one that provided no increase in security, because despite all of TSA's lies -- and that is all they are, lies -- liquids pose no threat to any aircraft.

"TSA policies have been known to change frequently, especially when the threat is first identified, and maybe, just maybe, that supervisor had a moment where he / she reverted to the previous procedure where NO liquids were permitted regardless of their nature. Again they are human, we all are."

Since none of TSA's liquid policies have any grounding in fact, your suggestion is nonsensical. TSA employees are obligated to know what current policies are, and when they make mistakes that cause harm to citizens, they should apologize or be reprimanded or fired.

"That being said, I think it is time to move on beyond this point."

You think wrong. An innocent family was abused by TSA and is seeking justice. They should not "get over it." If anyone needs to get over something, it's TSA and its nonsensical policies that do nothing to make anyone safer.

"If you want to keep being mad, that is your right, but it can't change what happened in the past."

That does not mean TSA cannot apologize and reprimand or fire the incompetents who abused this innocent family.

Anonymous said...

I am here to tell you that is absolutely not true. You see, I wear “altered” shoes because of a birth defect. I also always pack a second pair of altered shoes in my carry-on. Not once during the many trips I have made has any screener ever noticed those shoes and called a bag check for them.

Perhaps your shoes are not looking like they have stuff packed inside of them. I think the TSA is referring to altered as in explosives or other mass stuff inside the sole of the shoe.

-James

Anonymous said...

Now if only someone in TSA could explain why 3.4 ounces of shampoo is perfectly safe, but 4 ounces is a problem...or why two 3.4 ounce tubes of toothpaste can't blow up an airplane but one 6.8 ounce tube can...or what peculiar quality of airports makes it impossible for multiple people to collude to each bring a little bit of Magic Exploding Liquid through (in little 3.4 ounce bottles) and then combine them, then we'd really be getting somewhere!

They said that information is classified.

-James

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Re: "From your posts, it sounds like you must be the one in a million person that does everything perfectly every time. Lucky you. Perhaps you can show TSA how to never make a mistake. At least the mistake, while unfortunate, was on the side of being overcautious than a mistake of being lax and permitting something that shouldn't be permitted. TSA policies have been known to change frequently, especially when the threat is first identified, and maybe, just maybe, that supervisor had a moment where he / she reverted to the previous procedure where NO liquids were permitted regardless of their nature. Again they are human, we all are.
That being said, I think it is time to move on beyond this point. If you want to keep being mad, that is your right, but it can't change what happened in the past."

###

Anonymous, I make plenty of mistakes. Everyone does. What matters is what you do once you make a mistake. From what I see, I think TSA's management style guarantees mistakes, and not just small ones. Adding one more secret memo to the pile of other secret memos doesn't fix the systemic problem that bit me and my wife: you don't have a well documented set of rules that you can use to communicate the "rules" to the public nor your own employees. So people have to make it up as they go along.

Regarding your hypothetical excuse for my specific case, the TSO superisor knew gel packs were not a dangerous item, "They are allowed for medicine, not infants," is what he said as he pitched the pack.

If TSA did as Persistent Phil asked and published the rules, situations like mine could have been fixed on the spot by referring to the rules. When the rules are some SSI loose-leaf binder of years worth of superceding "reminders", they are effectively unknowable, and you are setting youself up for future mistakes. Adding one more memo won't make the system better.

Rather than attempt to fix the system, TSA seems to revel in its unpredictability and lack of process control as one of its mystical layers of security. There are ways to use randomness to actually improve detection systems, but irregular enforcement of ill-defined secret rules is not one of them.

What I expect will keep me mad long into the future is that TSA is not fixing its systemic problems. TSA seems to be all public-relations marketing fluff, or in other words, Security Theatre. Take the reasoning driving Bob's post: for "marketing" and "consistency" reasons, TSA publishes the wrong limits on liquids, so we'll blog about it. If TSA actually had the rules down somewhere, anyone could just point at them instead of blathering about it.

As for me, I'll probably keep telling my gel-pack story as long as TSA keeps telling people how simple it is to just follow "the rules". What does it take to get TSA to follow its own rules?

If you will never publish the actual rules, you will always get situations like the one that harmed me.

Dunstan said...

another anonymous TSA apologist dithered:
"That being said, I think it is time to move on beyond this point. If you want to keep being mad, that is your right, but it can't change what happened in the past."
And that being said, how would you really feel if you were a victim of the breast milk fiasco? Studies indicate that breast fed children are more intelligent than bottle fed children. So, is ruining America's future one infant at a time TSA policy?

Last Hussar said...

Why do Americans use a measure of weight to describe volume, as weight depends on density? Avoirdupois has many units for volume, many of them as difficult to use as the weight sub divisions.

Anonymous said...

"If I print out a TSA web page that says breastmilk is medicine, and another that says frozen gels are allowed for medical items, can anyone guarantee that some poorly trained TSO supervisor won't confiscate the gel pack?

A TSO supervisor in STL confiscated our gel pack, which led to the spoiling of 13 oz of my wife's breast milk. She cried when we poured it out."

Mt Gel-pack, just what is your goal? You have repeated this story over and over, and you are right. The question I have is what will satisfy you? An apology from TSA? (did you even get one? you should have). A document telling everyone at TSA that breastmilk is medicine, and another that says frozen gels are allowed for medical items and have them sign it and swear to never, ever take it away again? The complete dismantleing of TSA? Or is this an unpardonable sin that you crusade against forever? You've been on this board over and over agin, but have nothing new to bring to the table, unlike Trollkiller or Phil. Just what is the endgame for you?

Anonymous said...

"If you feel that printing out the webpage for a specific medical item that you must travel with would be beneficial, then I would encourage you to do that. I'm sure TSA officers aren't the only people who have made a mistake once in a while at their job."

Actually, this can help sometimes. I had an incident where I was to have a passenger suuenrder/abandon her liquid when she told me that she needed it for a disability. After asking my supervisor about it, we allowed the liquid through because she had the web-site print out. (I think my sup looked it up, too, but I don't recall) Now I know, and the other people I've seen with similar issues are taken care of much more quickly. TSO-Joe

Kevin said...

Letstryagain

Do you think we don't see orthopedic shoes daily? We see shoes each and everyday in every single shape you can imagine and when something is out of the ordinary it sticks out. That being said there are TSO's who just don't know what orthopedic shoes look like as you don't know what a real pair of altered shoes look like.

Anonymous said...

Are you all really that hung up on 3oz or 3.4oz? Oh my. I mean, it says 3oz, so it should be a nice surprise that its actually larger allowed. It is what it is, whats happened has happened, and what will be is to be. You do not have the "right" to fly, just as you don't have the "right" to drive.

George said...

@Anonymous, February 26, 2009 2:34 PM, in reference to Mr. Gel-pack: You have recounted this story in what seems like every blog post there is. TSA officers are human. This supervisor in question, clearly made a mistake - I think everyone can agree on that. That does not mean that the 40,000+ other TSOs would make that same mistake. It is unfortunate that your wife experienced what was obviously an emotional situation for her and hopefully it will not happen to you or anyone else in the future.

It merits repeating until we have some assurance that the TSA has real and accountable processes in place that provide him and the rest of us with assurance that it indeed "will not happen to you or anyone else in the future." There is currently no such assurance.

You and various TSOs and TSA officials can repeat the obvious truth that the officer and the supervisor made a mistake, and recite all the reasons why it's not supposed to happen. But it does happen. And I can only suspect it happens because the TSA leadership has done nothing to make sure that it doesn't happen, and they perpetuate a culture that equates abuse and hassle with "security." They don't discipline or otherwise discourage TSOs for those abuses. I would even suspect the TSA leadership doesn't see any of this as a problem, except to the extent that victims of abuse insist on publicly complaining about it instead of quietly accepting it as "a necessary sacrifice for national security." To the TSA leadership, the only problem is that the passengers-- who of course are entirely to blame for any difficulties they bring upon themselves at checkpoints-- insist on creating embarassing publicity for the TSA.

I don't have any need for baby milk, but I do need weekly injections of a biotech medication that needs to be kept cold. I know the TSA has specific procedures that, in theory, would allow me to carry my medication in a cooler with gel packs. But because of my fear of encountering a TSO who doesn't follow the procedures, I limit my air travel to trips of a week or less to completely avoid that risk. In addition to Mr. Gel-pack's account, I've read about a TSO who insisted on opening up a sterile feeding tube package. If a similar thing happened to me, I would not only lose the benefit of the medication, but I'd lose thousands of dollars that my insurance would not cover.

I rationally know that if I did travel with my medication, it's most likely that the people at the checkpoint would follow the procedures in a fully professional and respectful fashion, and I'd be on my way with a minimum of difficulty. But in light of my experiences with TSOs inappropriately confiscating my sunscreen and solid deodorant-- neither of which were essential to my health, and both of which I replaced at a modest cost-- the (probably small) risk of an incompetent TSO damaging my essential medication is simply too great, and the consequences just too costly.

So if I ever want a vacation longer than a week, I put the syringes in an ice chest in the trunk of my car and enjoy a great road trip. But because of my fear of TSOs who don't know the procedures (or who don't care about following them because they face no consequences from not following them), there are many places I just can't go. TSA apologists may tell me that this is just a minor, necessary Wartime sacrifice. Maybe they could explain how that does anything to either win the War or make the Homeland secure, since I can't see it at all.

The TSA seems to think it's in their best interests to keep the traveling public fearful and terrified. That seems to be the only thing they can unequivocally claim as a success.

Let'sTryAgain said...

Anonymous and Kevin must have missed this part of my post:

"They have also gone berserk when they see the altered shoes in the x-ray that I have several times been forced to remove...

Further, Kevin wrote:

"That being said there are TSO's who just don't know what orthopedic shoes look like..."

How many weeks of training do you get?

Anonymous said...

"But if you start from the premise that limiting liquids is necessary, the means by which TSA enforces those limits have some sound reasoning behind them."

The premise is faulty: Limiting liquids is unnecessary, as you and we and TSA well know. The policy must be abolished.

Anonymous said...

"Do you think we don't see orthopedic shoes daily? We see shoes each and everyday in every single shape you can imagine and when something is out of the ordinary it sticks out. That being said there are TSO's who just don't know what orthopedic shoes look like"

Many thousands of people wear orthopedic shoes. Why would ANY TSO not be trained to know what such shoes look like?

"as you don't know what a real pair of altered shoes look like."

TSA has never found "altered shoes" that could harm an aircraft.

George said...

@TSO-Joe: I had an incident where I was to have a passenger suuenrder/abandon her liquid when she told me that she needed it for a disability. After asking my supervisor about it, we allowed the liquid through because she had the web-site print out. (I think my sup looked it up, too, but I don't recall) Now I know, and the other people I've seen with similar issues are taken care of much more quickly.

Oh... my.... God!

Here we have a TSO who admits that he nearly caused a passenger to suffer the loss of an "essential" liquid because he (the TSO) didn't know the rules! And if this passenger didn't have the foresight to print out the website, insist on her rights under the rules, and educate the TSO about the rules, she would perhaps have suffered damage to her health. And how many other (less prepared, less assertive) passengers suffered needless damage to their health at the hands of Joe and his poorly-trained co-workers, before this passenger finally taught him (and the rest of them?) the rules?

I do have to give Joe credit for admitting his error, and for listening to the passenger rather than barking "You'll give me that liquid now if you want to fly today!" This is a very clear failure on the part of Joe's superiors to provide adequate training. But this is probably the tip of a very large iceberg peeping out from behind the TSA's black curtain of secrecy. It can only suggest a systemic failure at the TSA that's at the root of the "bad behavior" many of us have seen.

So what is the TSA doing to correct this failure?

Bob said...

Mr. Gel-pack said... OK, you marketing geniuses, are the web pages and blog pages the authoritative rules that we are supposed to follow? If I print out a TSA web page that says breastmilk is medicine, and another that says frozen gels are allowed for medical items, can anyone guarantee that some poorly trained TSO supervisor won't confiscate the gel pack? A TSO supervisor in STL confiscated our gel pack, which led to the spoiling of 13 oz of my wife's breast milk. She cried when we poured it out. I don't trust your organization to train its people well, since you don't communicate your rules well to either the public or your own workforce. Good luck with the "We are also going to send a message to the workforce as a reminder." February 25, 2009 5:37 PM

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

Mr. Gel-pack… I think you might be the marketing genius seeing that I’ve memorized your breast milk incident. Jeesh… It was an unfortunate incident. The first time I read your post; I apologized and immediately contacted the airport in question’s customer support manager.

Your story first came up here.

Our conversation went like this:

Bob Said: September 5, 2008 8:36 PM As a new father that has watched his wife nurse both children, I am sincerely sorry that this happened to your wife. Have you contacted the airport through Got Feedback? I spoke with the Customer Support Manager and was told that they are looking into the incident. If you haven’t contacted them with your info, please do so.

Mr. Gel-pack Said: September 6, 2008 5:36 PM Thanks for the sympathy. I did contact do the "got feedback?" thing with my flight, security lane, and time, but not with my name or email. Since the milk is gone, there isn't a dang thing TSA can do to make us whole. The best I can hope for is that you-all do a better job of training your people to your ill-defined and effectively secret rules. I don't have much hope about that.

Bob Said: September 7, 2008 1:49 AM That’s one of the purposes of Got Feedback. The airport will look into the incident and retrain the individual involved. I wouldn’t be surprised if an airport wide briefing goes out to the Officers at that airport.


So let’s see, I apologized, contacted the airport, and made you aware of Got Feedback. If you would have left your contact information on the Got Feedback form, the customer support manager could have followed up with you to let you know what steps were taken. But, you would just rather assume that nothing happened and continue to post your story over and over and over.

Once again, the Supervisor was wrong and this was a very unfortunate incident, but please let it go. Move on…

Bob
EoS Blog Team

Bob said...

Anonymous said... If, as you claim, the official limit is 3.4, when will TSA's signage be adjusted to reflect this? What steps are being taken to ensure that every TSO knows that the limit is 3.4, not 3? What recourse does a citizen have against a TSO who insists on enforcing an incorrect 3 oz limit? February 25, 2009 5:38 PM
--------------
1)Signage will not be changed, only future references on the blog, web content, and the contact center’s response. Changes have already started on the web content and the contact center’s response is now current.

2)TSOs should already know this, however, it is being discussed in the nation wide shift brief and I’ve posted it on my internal TSA blog.

3)Ask for a supervisor or manager. Or, go to our Got Feedback page> and speak with the customer support manager from that airport.
-------------------
MSC said... I'm glad to see the new administration's intelligence has begun to filter down to the TSA :-)February 25, 2009 8:07 PM
---------------------
Nothing to do with the new administration, but thanks…
-------------------
Anonymous said... If you mean conversion charts for products sold by weight, that would imply knowing the density of all different brands of toothpaste....February 26, 2009 3:45 AM
------------------
Ding, Ding, Ding!
-----------------
jhess56 said... Perhaps if it hasn't already been, this info could be posted on the various airline websites. February 26, 200910:04 AM
-----------------
I’ll run the idea up the ladder. Thanks!
-----------------
Gussie Fink-Nottle said... Now if only someone in TSA could explain why 3.4 ounces of shampoo is perfectly safe, but 4 ounces is a problem...or why two 3.4 ounce tubes of toothpaste can't blow up an airplane but one 6.8 ounce tube can...or what peculiar quality of airports makes it impossible for multiple people to collude to each bring a little bit of Magic Exploding Liquid through (in little 3.4 ounce bottles) and then combine them, then we'd really be getting somewhere! February 26, 2009 2:41 PM
-------------------
Gussie – Read Kip’s interview with Jon Stokes from Ars Technica> on liquids. Click HERE to read the interview.
---------------------
Dunstan said... Studies indicate that breast fed children are more intelligent than bottle fed children. So, is ruining America's future one infant at a time TSA policy? February 26, 2009 5:24 PM
--------------------
Wow….

Bob
EoS Blog Team

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Bob @: "So let’s see, I apologized, contacted the airport, and made you aware of Got Feedback. If you would have left your contact information on the Got Feedback form, the customer support manager could have followed up with you to let you know what steps were taken. But, you would just rather assume that nothing happened and continue to post your story over and over and over."

##

I was aware of got feed back and believe I used it before I posted on the blog. Also in the thread I thanked you and others for your apologies. I did not assume that nothing happened. I did and do think that TSA has done nothing to address what I perceive as the root cause: inaccessible documentation of the rules which leads to poor training and enforcement. I post my story over and over as a specific example of damage caused by TSA's poor communication and consistency.

What do I want? I want the real rules published such that passengers can hold TSA accountable at the time of the mistake. Recourse after the fact isn't possible in some cases. TSA saying it is sorry without fixing the underlying system is purely public relations.

I cooperated with the TSO supervisor at the time because I thought he actually was quoting some real non-made up rule. I became incensed when I learned that he didn't know the rules and his ignorance caused me real, significant, and irreparable damage.

There already was documentation on the website at the time of the incident, and I assume that TSA would have sent several internal memos or "reminders" about the changes allowing breast milk as medicine, gel packs for medicine, along with all the other memos like your promised message to the workforce clearing up the 3.0/3.4oz "conundrum".

As I mentioed at the time, "The best I can hope for is that you-all do a better job of training your people to your ill-defined and effectively secret rules." And here, months later, you are still blogging about the disconnection between the public documentation, the private documentation, and promising a memo to the workforce to solve the training issue. Management by memo is bad management process and inevitably leads to process mistakes. Maybe a memo will fix a specific error for a limited time, but it is just a band-aid; the next round of memos will push the old ones out and you'll make other mistakes.

My specific incident (and this 3.0/3.4oz "conundrum") could have been easily resolved on the spot if TSA published the rules that Phil and so many others have long been asking for.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Bob @"Anonymous said... If you mean conversion charts for products sold by weight, that would imply knowing the density of all different brands of toothpaste....February 26, 2009 3:45 AM
------------------
Ding, Ding, Ding! "


#######

Volume measurement is very easy:jam it in a partially-filled graduated cylinder. If you want to keep the item from getting wet, wrap it in plastic.

RB said...

Once again, the Supervisor was wrong and this was a very unfortunate incident, but please let it go. Move on…

Bob
EoS Blog Team

February 27, 2009 12:19 PM

..........................
Was any type of punitive action taken against the officers who caused the breast milk problem.

That is what is missing, no accountability visible to those who are harmed by TSA.

RB said...

1)Signage will not be changed, only future references on the blog, web content, and the contact center’s response. Changes have already started on the web content and the contact center’s response is now current.
.......................
So the lie continues!

Anonymous said...

"So let’s see, I apologized, contacted the airport, and made you aware of Got Feedback. If you would have left your contact information on the Got Feedback form, the customer support manager could have followed up with you to let you know what steps were taken. But, you would just rather assume that nothing happened and continue to post your story over and over and over.

Once again, the Supervisor was wrong and this was a very unfortunate incident, but please let it go. Move on…"

Bob
EoS Blog Team

-----
Exactly. Some of you just want to be mad for the sake of being mad. No matter what TSA does, short of eliminating all of the rules, some will not be happy. Then, if God forbid, something happens again, they will say - why wasn't something done to prevent this? The rules are inconvenient for everyone, including those who have to enforce them, I'm sure.
By the way, Mr. Gel Pack, I am not a TSA apologist - nor do I work for TSA. I am a traveler who believes that the success of the TSA is dependent on both passengers and officers working together - not against each other. The TSA is still a relatively new agency in the greater scheme of things and have improved since the start

Anonymous said...

"1)Signage will not be changed, only future references on the blog, web content, and the contact center’s response. Changes have already started on the web content and the contact center’s response is now current."

That is mind-bogglingly stupid -- you're going to continue to post signs with incorrect information on them? That's like a restaurant posting the wrong prices on its menu, or speed limit signs posting the wrong limit. There is absolutely no justification for this. At all.

"2)TSOs should already know this, however, it is being discussed in the nation wide shift brief and I’ve posted it on my internal TSA blog."

Many TSOs have been shown to not already know this, as you well know Bob. One way to make sure TSOs know the proper limit would be to post the correct information on the signs in airports.

"3)Ask for a supervisor or manager. Or, go to our Got Feedback page> and speak with the customer support manager from that airport."

And if the supervisor or manager also seek to enforce the incorrect limit, what then? The citizen has no choice but to surrender his property to a bunch of thugs who don't know what rules they're supposed to be enforcing?

Gee, if only there were signs in airports with the correct information on them that citizens could point to when confronted with incompetence at the checkpoint.

Bob, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Anonymous said...

"So let’s see, I apologized, contacted the airport, and made you aware of Got Feedback."

Gee, you wrote a meaningless little apology. Well, THAT makes it all better. And it was so sincere, too!

"If you would have left your contact information on the Got Feedback form, the customer support manager could have followed up with you to let you know what steps were taken. But, you would just rather assume that nothing happened and continue to post your story over and over and over."

Fine: Tell us what happened right here. Tell us that the TSA employees in question were fired or fined or otherwise reprimanded. Make them give the apology to Mr. Gel-pack and his wife for the abuse they suffered. Tell us what TSA is doing to make sure its screeners do not make this mistake again.

"Once again, the Supervisor was wrong and this was a very unfortunate incident, but please let it go. Move on…"

No. Patriots need not "let go" the abuses of cowardly tyrants simply because an apologist for tyranny says so.

Tomas said...

Blogger Bob wrote...
So let’s see, I apologized, contacted the airport, and made you aware of Got Feedback. If you would have left your contact information on the Got Feedback form, the customer support manager could have followed up with you to let you know what steps were taken.
________________

Allow me to ask you, Bob, if it would be appropriate for the TSA's head public relations blogger to find out what steps were taken by the customer support manager and relay them to Mr. Gel-Pack on the TSA's public blog, since it is well known that Mr. Gel-Pack frequents the blog? If not, why not?

Wouldn't that help bring some of the closure that is obviously needed for this incident?

At this point it isn't just Mr. and Mrs. Gel-Pack who want to know, it is obviously a wider group...

Thanks,
Tom

Dunstan said...

---------------------
Dunstan said... Studies indicate that breast fed children are more intelligent than bottle fed children. So, is ruining America's future one infant at a time TSA policy? February 26, 2009 5:24 PM
--------------------
Wow….

Just being sarcastic, Bob... but I do have a theory on why the 30z/100ml muddle came about...;<)

Anonymous said...

"Or, go to our Got Feedback page> and speak with the customer support manager from that airport."

Your link goes to a "404-Not Found" page. Typical.

Ayn R. Key said...

Did you know that if you call it "100-1-1" it is also catchy?

I don't believe I just gave them advice that might help them. I'm slipping.

Camilla said...

The way I see it is:

There is no scientific evidence that liquids are a threat to aviation.

Even if there were such evidence, limiting the quantity rather than the kind of liquid makes no sense, no matter if the cut off point is 3.0, 3.4, 8 or 10 arbitrary units.

Even if limiting the quantity of liquids were useful, it cannot be enforced since there are too many personal and medical conditions that require taking substantial liquids aboard a plane.

Ergo, the liquid rule either was developed by persons a lot dumber than me (and I am blond!!) it is completely unrelated to any real security threat and in place to increase perceived security (or maybe to completely destroy commercial aviation).

Bob said...

I forgot the "D" in Got Feedback.

Bob

Eos Blog Team

Dunstan said...

"The TSA is still a relatively new agency in the greater scheme of things and have improved since the start"

I've seen variations on this "young agency" argument over and over. So, in general, when DOES a government agency mature? When it starts using drugs? When it takes itself seriously and polices its own members? During the first major corruption scandal? When it is so hopelessly useless that even Congress gets disgusted? Please lets us know what the standards are and why "young agency" is a valid excuse.....

Sandra said...

Camilla said:

"Even if limiting the quantity of liquids were useful, it cannot be enforced since there are too many personal and medical conditions that require taking substantial liquids aboard a plane."

Totally correct because as soon as any exception to the rule has been made, security is compromised.

That is why so many people are calling for screeners to submit to the full screening process each and every time they enter the "sterile" area of the airport. As soon as one person is allowed into the "sterile" area without going through the entire screening process, security is substantially compromised.

Sandra said...

"1)Signage will not be changed, only future references on the blog, web content, and the contact center’s response. Changes have already started on the web content and the contact center’s response is now current."

And just how are travelers who do not have a computer supposed to access said information?

Anonymous said...

"Ergo, the liquid rule either was developed by persons a lot dumber than me (and I am blond!!) it is completely unrelated to any real security threat and in place to increase perceived security (or maybe to completely destroy commercial aviation)."

Or both! I'm thinking it's both.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

I'm am absolutely certain that the STL TSO supervisor truly thought that he was doing the right thing, and did not intend for our 13 oz of breast milk to spoil. I'm sure he did hear of the incident, and I think he probably fully understands the real secret rules in this area. I have no resentment towards him and bear him no malice.

I do blame the TSA systems that failed to train him well in the first place. I also blame the TSA for not communicating the rules that we must follow to the public. If they were available, anyone could have trained him at the checkpoint and we could have avoided the unredeemable harm.

The faux- intricate and difficult problem of 3.0 versus 3.4 oz, or unlabeled versus labeled containers, or just about any other example of inconsistency is evidence that this is an unresolved problem.

I am not crying over spilt milk, I am ranting about mismanagement of training and communication using an explicit example.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Are you all really that hung up on 3oz or 3.4oz? Oh my. I mean, it says 3oz, so it should be a nice surprise that its actually larger allowed. It is what it is, whats happened has happened, and what will be is to be. You do not have the "right" to fly, just as you don't have the "right" to drive.

February 27, 2009 1:30 AM

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

I don't care if it is 3.0oz or any other amount. What I do care about is that I should be able to review the rule that states whatever amount is permitted. The government has an obligation to provide accurate, timely information and that the information is correct in all references. This clearly is not the case with TSA and the liquid rule. What else is not correct? How could anyone know without a list of rules?

As for rights to travel I think you need to educate yourself a bit, you seem lacking in that department.

Anonymous said...

""Once again, the Supervisor was wrong and this was a very unfortunate incident, but please let it go. Move on…"

No. Patriots need not "let go" the abuses of cowardly tyrants simply because an apologist for tyranny says so"

You must write bumper stickers for a living. GIVE ME BREAST MILK OT GIVE ME DEATH!! LET MY (wife's) BREAST MILK FLY!! FREE ALL GEL COOLING BREATS MILK!!

GSOLTSO said...

First.... YAYYYYYYYYY BLOG TEAM! This is long overdue, and I understand some of the reasons for the delay, but now that it is here Yayyyyyyy! whew. Now, back to other stuff, Anon said "The premise is faulty: Limiting liquids is unnecessary, as you and we and TSA well know. The policy must be abolished."

Wow, you are really not even in the real world are you. This argument is a non starter, there is a credible threat by using liquids. There is a gap in technology where testing liquids is concerned (and where there is no tech gap, there is a funding gap!). This creates the situation we are currently in. Until the tech catches up, or the funding catches up, there will be some sort of situation like we are in now.

Mr Gel-pack, I really hate to point his out, but MOST of us that read this blog have your story memorized. It was unfortunate, wrong and it has been addressed, now move on.

MarkVII said...

I'm going to add my voice to the basic point of Where's the accountability?

What does the TSA do to evaluate its employees for adherence to the organization's rules and hold its people accountable for how they treat the passengers?

I've asked that question myself here a number of times and in a variety of ways. The only answer I recall is that "it's part of our pay for performance program". That's all fine and dandy, but who evaluates the person, and based on what criteria?

Mr. Gel Pack's anecdote (as tedious as the continual retelling can be) speaks volumes about the lack of accountability in the TSA.

When the TSA makes a mistake, who bears the pain and consequences?

Not the TSA, but passenger whose property is wrongfully confiscated, the passenger who is unnecessarily hassled over their orthopedic shoes, the passenger who gets yelled at for no good reason, etc., etc.

Though Blogger Bob apologized to Mr. Gel Pack in this forum, this situation was so egregious that it merited a stronger response. As I pointed out, Kip Hawley owed Mr. Gel Pack a letter of apology.

I've said this before, and I'll say it again -- the TSA needs to put strong proactive measures in place to evaluate its people's knowledge and how they treat passengers.

There's an extreme irony that the TSA can fine a passenger for infringing the various rules, "interfering with the screening process", and "making non-physical contact". (The last two strike me as "if we don't like the way you comb your hair".)

Yet, a passenger has no effective recourse against the TSA, so the TSA essentially holds itself above the people it supposedly protects and serves. When a passenger is wrongly deprived of property, does the TSA make them whole? Of course not.

I'd love to be able to hand out some fines to the screeners who don't follow the rules and can't open their mouths without yelling. They might learn the rules and how to speak to passengers in a civil manner if it cost them $300 a pop (twice that if they try to contest the fine, of course).

So once again, where's the accountability?

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

Bob accidentally confirmed that TSA has no employees that have ever taken a single chemistry class. The chemical energy in any substance is directly proportional to the mass, not the volume of the sample. To have the slightest chance of effectively limiting explosives (ignoring the stupidity of multiple containers or multiple actors with little kip baggies) when measuring items by volume, you NEED those density charts to have any idea how much material you are examining.

Anonymous said...

Sandra said:

"Totally correct because as soon as any exception to the rule has been made, security is compromised.

That is why so many people are calling for screeners to submit to the full screening process each and every time they enter the "sterile" area of the airport. As soon as one person is allowed into the "sterile" area without going through the entire screening process, security is substantially compromised."

=====

What about airport police who are not screened? or some airport employees who have access to the sterile area without having to go through the checkpoint? FFDO's are not screened either. Neither are armed federal LEO's. They walk right past security too, no screening.

And what about flight crew? TSA does not require flight crew to be screened; airlines do, which is why you seem them going through checkpoints. And this is why TSA allows them to bring pretty much anything they want with them (no restrictions on liquids), except weapons and such. Oh, if their shoes don't alarm they can wear them too.

What about military personal? When in uniform they can wear their footware if it doesn't alarm.

Thoughts, Sandra?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:18 PM: Everyone should be screened the same way. And that you for confirming that liquids and shoes are not weapons.

Anonymous said...

I am not Sandra but I am going to respond to Anonymous's post:

We all know that airport LEOs and FFDOs have weapons. The pilot has a weapon also: the airplane.

As for the soldiers - every body should be allowed to keep their shoes on if there is no alarm.

I would imagine that Sandra is talking about those individuals who are not supposed to have any sort of weapon on them while in the sterile area.

Everybody who is not allowed to carry a weapon must be screened thoroughly.

Anonymous said...

"This argument is a non starter, there is a credible threat by using liquids."

No, there isn't. TSA has failed to provide a single shred of independent research that supports its current liquids policies. If such research existed, TSA would trumpet is like they would a harmless pipe found in a show. Since TSA has not done so, we know that no such research exists, and no such research exists because no such threat exists. I dare anyone at TSA to prove me wrong, but I won't hold my breath.

RB said...

Mt Gel-pack, just what is your goal? You have repeated this story over and over, and you are right. The question I have is what will satisfy you?
....................
Not Mr Gel-pack but I think it is clear what is wanted.

Honesty by TSA when communicating with the public.

(3.0oz signs in all airports not the correct 3.4oz and Photo-shopped MMW images)

Accountability to the public for TSA employee actions.

(TSA holds the public accountable while at the checkpoint, why are TSA employees not held to similar standards?)

Clear, published rules that the public must follow when transiting a TSA Checkpoint.

(How else can TSA expect compliance?)

A method to challenge decisions by a screener on the spot if a mistake appears to in the making.

(Are all TSA employees infallible?)

Preservation of property until all challenges have been exhausted.

(TSA has no right to confiscate property unless it could cause harm to the conduct of a flight!)

None of the above are unreasonable.

Irish said...

An Anonymous Traveler Thinks:

“I am a traveler who believes that the success of the TSA is dependent on both passengers and officers working together - not against each other. The TSA is still a relatively new agency in the greater scheme of things and have improved since the start.”


I would love a system where passengers and TSO’s worked together. Unfortunately, TSA’s shroud of secrecy and stealth, and their reliance on security theater instead of security operations make that impossible.

Interestingly enough, February marks the seventh anniversary of TSA’s takeover of checkpoint security. Seven Years.

Seven years after inception, and still the agency rolls out the virtual strip-tease machine without having YET adequately addressed cargo security. Seven years, and still the GAO finds checked-baggage inspectors spend an average of 66% of their time doing SOMETHING ELSE. Seven years, and suddenly the agency feels the need to subject small aircraft to the same security measures as commercial airlines. Seven years, and now the agency wants to require seasonal workers who dress in colonial garb at an historical park in Easton, Pa. and operate a MULE-DRIVEN canal boat along a two-mile long canal, to obtain a TWIC card – a requirement which, absolutely technically, might apply to mule drivers and for which they have, so far, denied a waiver. At least they haven’t made the same demand of the mules.

How long, exactly, is the “new agency” excuse supposed to be a credible explanation of their shortcomings?

Irish

Irish said...

GSOLTSO said...

“Anon said ‘The premise is faulty: Limiting liquids is unnecessary, as you and we and TSA well know. The policy must be abolished.’

Wow, you are really not even in the real world are you. This argument is a non starter, there is a credible threat by using liquids.”


Robert Heinlein asks:
"What are the facts? Again and again and again – what are the facts? Shun wishful thinking, ignore divine revelation, forget what 'the stars foretell,' avoid opinion, care not what the neighbors think, never mind the unguessable 'verdict of history,' – what are the facts, and to how many decimal places? You pilot always into an unknown future; facts are your only clue. Get the facts!"

And I ask you, GSOLTSO, to cite your sources. If these mysterious stable-during-transport, but exploding-only-at-altitude liquids exist, they would be common knowledge. You should be able to cite at least ONE peer-reviewed study or ONE acknowledged chemistry reference work or even one encyclopedia article. Until you can show me the facts, and to how many decimal places, your unsubstantiated assertion that these magickal substances exist is suitable for fertilizing my orchids. Doesn’t matter how many times you repeat it.

Irish

Anonymous said...

seriously people just google a video "liquid explosive" and you will see that it is a threat

Ponter said...

@Anonymous, February 28, 2009 9:08 AM: Since TSA has not done so, we know that no such research exists, and no such research exists because no such threat exists.

The research is extensive. The results are unambiguous. The conclusion is compelling and unspeakably frightening. Any competent chemist who reviewed the research would immediately reach the same conclusion, and be unspeakably afraid.

Unfortunately, all this research is highly classified for very good reasons. So you'll just have to accept what we're allowed to tell you, and understand that our rules provide passengers with the best possible balance between practical convenience and effective protection from a very real, very grave, and unspeakably terrifying threat.

You may, of course, choose not to believe the reality and extent of the threat. But that doesn't change the facts. I wish we could reveal the classified research, since I'm certain that would convince even the most skeptical among you and (best of all) put an end to all the tiresome ignorant whining. But the other undeniable fact is that secrecy is the most powerful and effective defense we have against an enemy that is determined to destroy us! The sooner the public accepts that reality-- and in particular learns to trust and have faith in what the government does to protect the Homeland instead of wasting so much time and energy criticizing and challenging everything, the sooner we will have Victory in the Global War On Terror!

Anonymous said...

Mr Gel-Pack...
It's breast milk for gosh sake, not the holy grail. Get over it. My wife travels, had to toss her milk and make some more. Get a life. No harm, no foul.

RB said...

In order to align with the EU, we decided to allow liquids in containers up to 3.4oz. We also decided to keep our signage the same to maintain consistency. (Besides, 3.4-1-1 just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
..............
So it is consistent to have a policy state one thing (3.4oz/100ml) and signage/messages (3.0 oz/88.7ml) state another?

My Funk & Wagnalls must be totally out of date.

Olivia said...

Oh for crying out loud! Some of you just need to put on your big-boy/girl pants and get over yourselves. Drive, take the bus or train to wherever it is you are going to and quit holding up the line. Some of us have a plane to catch.

I can't tell you how frustrating it is to stand in line waiting for you people to have your stuff looked thru because you want to stand and argue over the size of your lotion bottle.

There should be a line just for folks like you who want to gripe...let the rest of us be on our way with our little bottles so we can make our flights.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

"And that you for confirming that liquids and shoes are not weapons."

====

I don't think TSA classifies liquids as weapons; I do not think they have ever been classified as any thing but prohibited items.

However, what about Bojinka and Ramzi Yousef? He managed to build a bomb on a plane in the lavatory, using a contact solution bottle (much larger than 3.4 ounces) to hold the liquid explosive, and used a light bulb as a detonator, with a cheap digital watch as a timer. Though the explosive was not able to bring down the plane (the bottle was only about 16 fluid ounces), it did kill a passenger. It is important to note this bombing was a test run. The bombs he was building for Bojinka were to be about 10 times more powerful. He conducted the test run to see if a bomb comprised of liquid explosive could be compiled on a plane. As it turned out, he could build it on the plane.

And just to let you know there is
disagreement about liquids in TSA. Many (BAO's specifically) would like to ban most LGA's as carry on items, simply because of what many have pointed out - they can be combined into larger containers. Others at TSA have decided otherwise, saying some risk is acceptable for the convenience of passengers.


And I do not think TSA has classifed shoes as weapons either, just property that must undergo additional screening.

Richard Reid, the "Shoe Bomber", was able to wear his shoes and not set off the walk through metal detector (WTMD). Nothing in the bomb in his shoes was detected by the WTMD. IED's often have nothing metalic in them.

Mr. Reid was unable to light his bomb because of poor planning. He slept the night before in his shoes, sweated into them, and the fuse was still damp when he tried to light it. Flight crew members saw what he was trying to do, and with the help of passengers, stopped him. If the fuse hadn't been wet he would have most likely succeeded

Again, many bombs and bomb components will not set off a WTMD. Mr. Reid had a fully built bomb in his shoes and it cleared a WTMD. I would not expect TSA policy on shoes to change any time soon.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

GSLTSO @ "Mr Gel-pack, I really hate to point his out, but MOST of us that read this blog have your story memorized. It was unfortunate, wrong and it has been addressed, now move on."

#######

The fact that passengers have no effective recourse when the secret rules are inconsistently applied has not been addressed. Nor has the fact that the TSA training system lets TSO supervisors use spurious rules. Those are far more serious items that have not been addressed.


I think my tiresome refrain is an excellent counterexample to the TSA boosters that think that confiscating liquids has an insignificant cost, that an error on the part of a TSO is a small price to pay for "safety", that think it is easy to follow the secret rules, or that think that passengers who do follow the rules will flow through like booze on Bourbon street.

I gave y'all the benefit of the doubt back when I trusted that the STL TSO supervisor confiscating my gel pack knew the rules, but that was proven wrong. Now, at least for me, the burden of proof is on the other side: How does TSA ensure it actually applies its own rules? How can anyone, including TSA management, possibly tell?

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said "No, there isn't. TSA has failed to provide a single shred of independent research that supports its current liquids policies. If such research existed, TSA would trumpet is like they would a harmless pipe found in a show. Since TSA has not done so, we know that no such research exists, and no such research exists because no such threat exists. I dare anyone at TSA to prove me wrong, but I won't hold my breath."

I can't speak for TSA, they may have not done the independent testing that you are asking for, but from my time in the military and some classes and live demo with EOD I can speak to my own understanding of the threat. I know for a fact that there is a VIABLE threat from liquids, there is a viable threat from shoes. We can debate all day as to whether there would be enough contained in a certain sized bottle or shoe to take an airliner out of the sky. The problem with making any assumptions (other than the old saying from around here) is that you run the risk of being wrong in those assumptions. I would rather have the organization be overcautious and cause some minor discomfort for the public, than be wrong and lose 300 passengers and crew because we were not cautios enough. The liquid and shoe threats are a REAL threat whether they take an airliner down or not, the damage can result in a smaller situation such as 3-4 passengers being injured by a small item. I don't want to have that happen because you were willing to bet YOUR life on YOUR theories. If you were wrong, someone could die or be injured. I understand someone being willing to take a chance with themselves, but if we do it your way, we take a chance on EVERYONEs lives and that is just not acceptable.

Jennifer said...

While I find it unfair to the public to stick to the 3-1-1 principle even though the actual amount allowed is 3.4oz, I understand why it would be easier to keep the slogan. My guess would be that most of the American public wouldn't even bother to take advantage of the extra 0.4oz they are allowed. Most people just choose to not bring liquids on board at all in order to avoid the hassle of measuring them out.

However, TSA is an agency that is supposed to be protecting the American public. I have to agree with the previous comment that the reason for this 3-1-1 principle has not been thoroughly explained to the public, except for the one scare that was experienced in the summer of 2006. Instead, the public remains uninformed and experiences yet another added burden to their travel experience. To be honest, I have often times seen passengers pass through the security with liquids larger than 3 (or 3.4)oz. I believe the best course of action would not only be to disclose the 3.4oz, but also to explain the importance and necessity of this rule to the safety of all passengers.

ebontrager said...

The TSA entry for liquid rules starts by criticizing metric. The author actually suggested that we learned metric in school and then never use it. I request TSA to catch up and promote the use of metric. Science is nearly all metric. Engineering is largely metric. The world uses metric except for US consumer product labeling. Much of our US government agencies are metric yet this statement by our TSA shows how out of step they are. This view is holding back the US from our true potential.

I found this TSA statement particularly ironic as the very next blog entry on the same TSA website was bragging about new millimeter wave technolgy.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

GSOLTSO: There are two orders of magnitude more explosive solids than liquids. Please explain why liquids are special, when there are so many more solids that will explode. Shall we start limiting solids too?

Liquids are NOT a credible threat.

Anonymous said...

So why can't 1 terrorist bring in 3.4 oz of liquid explosives and detonate them on the plane? It may not be enough to take down a plane but it is enough to prove that they can get a device through and detonate it to scare the public. So the liquids policy really doesn't make everything better. It may limit the destruction but it will not stop it.

-James

Anonymous said...

Gussie – Read Kip’s interview with Jon Stokes from Ars Technica> on liquids. Click HERE to read the interview.


Bob the link doesn't work. I would like to review the interview could we get a correct link please? Thanks in advance.

-James

Joey said...

The pilot has a weapon. The airplane. Lol very good post!

Anonymous said...

I am a female frequent flyer (appx.50,000 miles per year), and I find the 3-1-1 rule particularly vexing for longer (e.g. 3 week)trips, when one must send through one's luggage (inconvenient and for an extra charge on some airlines)in order to carry sufficient cosmetics, toiletries, etc. Particularly annoying are (a) toothpaste, since no one seems to make a 3.4 oz/100 ml tube, and (b) small tubes of make-up, hand cream, lip balm, hair gel,and even toothpaste, which aren't even liquid and collectively quickly fill up a one quart bag before one even adds actual liquids like shampoo and conditioner.

Questions:
1. Why can't the TSA allow half-empty toothpaste (and other)tubes that clearly contain less than the 3.4 maximum?
2. Why can't there be a de minimus exception for tiny tubes that couldn't possibly be used for malicious purposes yet collectively can't fit into a quart bag?
3. What is so magic about 1 quart anyway? Why not a 1 gallon zip-lock bag? This would allow us to carry multiple tubes of small toothpaste and sufficient make-up/cosmetic capacity for women.

Abelard said...

You must write bumper stickers for a living. GIVE ME BREAST MILK OT GIVE ME DEATH!! LET MY (wife's) BREAST MILK FLY!! FREE ALL GEL COOLING BREATS MILK!!

And you must be a Vichy citizen.

Anonymous said...

Proof positive that "3-1-1" (or 3.4-1-1 or whatever) is nothing but an arbitrary number picked out of thin air, just like the LASP picks on all airplanes with weight above 12,500 pounds. Abolish the DHS and TSA and return control of aviation security to the FAA, and the FBI, etc, to their previous departments, or watch this country lose every last thread of freedom generations have fought for in the name of baseless threats.

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

To have the slightest chance of effectively limiting explosives (ignoring the stupidity of multiple containers or multiple actors with little kip baggies) when measuring items by volume, you NEED those density charts to have any idea how much material you are examining.

Actually ... not really.

Technically, you're correct. But you can also take the approach of setting the maximum volume small enough so that, no matter what commonly-available substances come through, even if they're the most dense liquids available, the maximum mass that can pass through the checkpoint is still limited to ineffective levels.

So ... you can still end up enforcing a maximum mass restriction, even though you're doing it by a volume measurement. This certainly makes the process simpler to execute. (N.B.: "simpler", not "simple".)

Anonymous said...

GOLTSO: You provide no facts of any sort. If you want us to believe your and TSA's claims, you must provide facts. When we say that TSA has never provided a single, independent, peer-reviewed piece of evidence or research that supports its liquid policies, that is a FACT. Facts trump assertions.

Anonymous said...

Irish said...
I would love a system where passengers and TSO’s worked together. Unfortunately, TSA’s shroud of secrecy and stealth, and their reliance on security theater instead of security operations make that impossible.

So when TSA starts something that benefits security everyone complains that it is too invasive? I don't get it. What are we fighting for here. Are we fighting for good security or are we fighting for no TSA? The MMW machine is good security. People want good security but are not willing to pay the price for it. This brings truth to my thoughts of the people will never be ready or want "real" security at airports. You can't have constitutional security in my opinion. I will give up a little bit of the freedom I have for 5 minutes so TSA can do their job. I know that sounds bad but I do not think they infringe on my rights too much like most people are under the impression that they do.

-James

Anonymous said...

Jennifer said...
I believe the best course of action would not only be to disclose the 3.4oz, but also to explain the importance and necessity of this rule to the safety of all passengers.

There is no necessity to the rule because someone could just take 3.4 oz of liquid explosive onboard and detonate it. They didn't bring the plane down more than likely BUT they did detonate a device on board. They proved they could do it. They beat TSA. The terrorists win.

-James

Dunstan said...

"Anonymous said...

Mr Gel-Pack...
It's breast milk for gosh sake, not the holy grail. Get over it. My wife travels, had to toss her milk and make some more. Get a life. No harm, no foul."

Mr Gel-Pack has admitted that his personal experience is just indicative of broader problems that TSA needs to address in its staff. TSA needs to "get over" its arrogance and indifference to the problems in its own ranks, and address them. We can agree that both aviation and passenger safety are important. Equally important is treating people with common courtesy and respect.

George said...

Let me succinctly summarize what I, Mr. Gel-pak, and various other people are looking for from the TSA:

1. Verified, accountable assurance that systemic processes are in place to train all TSOs in the rules and procedures. Clear, correct, published rules would help, but a process for training TSOs in SSI rules and decision-making would be acceptable if the availability of clear published rules truly would endanger National Security.

2. Verified assurance that the process makes TSOs accountable for following the rules and procedures.

3. A clearly documented, accountable recourse process for passengers when TSOs fail to follow the rules. The process would report the specific corrective action the TSA took back to the passenger (including dismissing frivolous use of the process), as well as to TSA/DHS leadership. It would be subject to verification through audits.

Verification and accountability would be through independent audits, done by the GAO and/or by someone outside the TSA/DHS. The audits would keep classified and SSI details secret, but would publicly report on compliance with training and accountability processes, recommendations for process improvements, and extent of implementation of recommendations from previous audits.

Systemic processes that correct the problems we've identified, verified through independent audits reported to the public, are the only solution to the public relations problems the TSA has. This type of accountability would deter abusive TSOs, while avoiding unnecessary confiscation caused by TSOs not knowing the rules. The audit process and reporting would make the TSA accountable to the public and increase public acceptance and cooperation, while maintaining secrecy necessary to the TSA's operation. The result could only improve the effectiveness of airport screening and make the process easier for everyone.

I know that Chertoff, Kip, and the Bush administration would have rejected all of these suggestions because they believed that openness and accountability is completely incompatible with their vision of security. But we have a new administration that might be more receptive to this suggestion.

RB said...

Jennifer said in part....

"I believe the best course of action would not only be to disclose the 3.4oz, but also to explain the importance and necessity of this rule to the safety of all passengers."

March 1, 2009 10:47 AM

.........................
TSA cannot disclose something that does not exist!

RB said...

For some reason my comments regarding procedures at FLL were not accepted. Surely Bob and Krewe could let me know why! I didn't realize that TSA was tasked with limiting "Free Speech".
.................................

Much like was discussed in the Hooray for Bloggers thread

http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/02/hooray-bloggers.html

TSA still has individual airports making local policy that differs from that posted here and on the "Official" TSA Website.

http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/02/hooray-bloggers.html

I transitted Fort Lauderdale airport on the 26th of Feb and a TSA Barker was instructing those of us in the single TSA line that all Camcorders had to be removed from carry-ons. Regardless of type of camera.

I questioned the barker and he clearly stated again that all camcorders had to be removed. We discussed his information and that no such requirement is on the "Official" TSA website and I was basically told that FLL does not care what the "Official" information that TSA publishes states.

So much for the need of the TSA.Gov website. TSA employees across the country could care less what has been published and treat that information as so much hearsay.

I followed the directions but did stop and talk to the checkpoint supervisor after clearing the gauntlet.

I asked the same questions and answers were provided by the 3 striper. He confirmed that FLL requires removal of all Camcorders. I discussed the difference of what I understand of the need to remove full size electronics but was basically dismissed by the supervisor. I attempted to explain to him that my camera uses a mini dvd disc and that the whole camera fits the palm of the average hand. I felt that my query was met with indifference and that I was just an annoyance to be ignored.

Bottom line, how can TSA have any expectation of people having any confidence in these procedures when the public gets such conflicting treatment at various airports?

Example, TSA signs state the need to show ID and Boarding Pass to the TDC. (Shoulder high signs by the way, obscured from reasonable sight by anyone standing in line.)

I keep my ID in an ID wallet, DFW TDC required removal of the ID from the ID holder, FLL TDC did not. Again, note that the "Offical" TSA signage just says to show the ID. It does not indicate a need to remove the ID from its holder.

So what is the policy? What hinderance to secruity would occur if travelers knew this policy?

How can policy at one airport differ from others so vastly?

It must be a person with great authority that implements these local rules. Would this person of authority be the FSD at each airport?

Do they have authority to override TSA HQ direction?

It seems that this must be the case since TSA cannot act as a coherent agency!

Anonymous said...

"Are we fighting for good security or are we fighting for no TSA?"

The two are not mutually exclusive, given how thoroughly TSA has botched airport security.

"The MMW machine is good security."

Facts, please.

"People want good security but are not willing to pay the price for it."

On the contrary: Nothing TSA is doing is good security, and yet we are paying an enormous price for it. More to the point, security - good or otherwise -- is not worth giving up our freedom.

"This brings truth to my thoughts of the people will never be ready or want "real" security at airports. You can't have constitutional security in my opinion."

Your opinion, then, is foolish.

"I will give up a little bit of the freedom I have for 5 minutes so TSA can do their job."

I, on the other hand, am a patriot, and gladly defend my freedom from the lawless TSA's domestic tyranny.

Dunstan said...

"The MMW machine is good security."

If it is really, really good, it should have its own security layer named after it.

RB said...

The MMW machine is good security. People want good security but are not willing to pay the price for it. This brings truth to my thoughts of the people will never be ready or want "real" security at airports. You can't have constitutional security in my opinion. I will give up a little bit of the freedom I have for 5 minutes so TSA can do their job. I know that sounds bad but I do not think they infringe on my rights too much like most people are under the impression that they do.

-James

March 2, 2009 11:25 AM

James, I guess you would be willing to just do a traditional strip search and dawn a paper gown in order to fly since you are willing to pay for "real" security, right?

Surely you won't need to carry any personal items on the airplane, right James?

Heck, who needs that dusty old Constitution anyhow?

Sandra said...

Anonymous James wrote:

"This brings truth to my thoughts of the people will never be ready or want "real" security at airports."

If the people are not ready for or, more important, don't want "real" security then why force it upon us?

And why do you label your posts as "Anonymous" and then sign your name?

RB said...

There is no necessity to the rule because someone could just take 3.4 oz of liquid explosive onboard and detonate it. They didn't bring the plane down more than likely BUT they did detonate a device on board. They proved they could do it. They beat TSA. The terrorists win.

-James

March 2, 2009 11:32 AM
.........................

TSA ensures the terrorist win everyday by continuing the fear mongering for all who fly.

Example, the Threat Level for Aviation is "Orange" yet on the DHS webpage the following information is stated,

"We continue to monitor ongoing intelligence; however, there is no credible information warning of an imminent, specific threat to the homeland."

No known threats yet the warning is next to the highest level possible.

TSA is doing the job of the terrorist very well. The bad guys can sit back and reap benefits of actions taken in 2001.

Anonymous said...

If TSA set a weight limit on the freedom & safety containers instead of the stupid volume limit, it would be much easier to test and enforce. It would even work on 1/2 full toothpaste tubes.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
GOLTSO: You provide no facts of any sort. If you want us to believe your and TSA's claims, you must provide facts. When we say that TSA has never provided a single, independent, peer-reviewed piece of evidence or research that supports its liquid policies, that is a FACT. Facts trump assertions.


I think the fact that the London plot liquids scheme terrorists were convicted is enough evidence that this stuff is real. They wouldn't convict them if the plot wasn't able to be executed.

-James

HappyToHelp said...

RB said...
It must be a person with great authority that implements these local rules. Would this person of authority be the FSD at each airport?

Yes and no. The person to ask about the camcorders being a FSD decision would be the FSD. If you want to get in contact with someone from that airport, you could use the gotfeedback.

George said...
2. Verified assurance that the process makes TSOs accountable for following the rules and procedures.

This is what gotfeedback should be doing. Has anyone had much success with this campaign? If not why? How can it be improved? Has anyone noticed the gotfeedback stickers placed in key places at the checkpoint? If you did, were they in good shape and readable?

If you want beefer accountability, we need to get gotfeedback refined, well tested, and improved by its users. As far as making administrative actions public, I am against that. Just seems some of you(not talking about George) want a “public hanging” instead of retribution that will fix the system or offending personnel. I understand where your coming from but I think that would do more harm then good.

I really liked your list George. Thanks for putting the time into it.

-H2H

Anonymous said...

TSA says it allows liquids, including water, in quantities exceeding the 3.4 oz limit, for medical reasons, but just try to explain that to a TSO.

And though TSA says "3-1-1 is for short trips" they apply it to long trips as well.

Sandra said...

Ponter wrote:

"The research is extensive. The results are unambiguous. The conclusion is compelling and unspeakably frightening. Any competent chemist who reviewed the research would immediately reach the same conclusion, and be unspeakably afraid.

Unfortunately, all this research is highly classified for very good reasons. So you'll just have to accept what we're allowed to tell you, and understand that our rules provide passengers with the best possible balance between practical convenience and effective protection from a very real, very grave, and unspeakably terrifying threat.

You may, of course, choose not to believe the reality and extent of the threat. But that doesn't change the facts. I wish we could reveal the classified research, since I'm certain that would convince even the most skeptical among you and (best of all) put an end to all the tiresome ignorant whining. But the other undeniable fact is that secrecy is the most powerful and effective defense we have against an enemy that is determined to destroy us! The sooner the public accepts that reality-- and in particular learns to trust and have faith in what the government does to protect the Homeland instead of wasting so much time and energy criticizing and challenging everything, the sooner we will have Victory in the Global War On Terror!"

God help us if others in the TSA think this way.

And by the way, Ponter, do you realize that the new administration and your new boss are no longer focusing on the "Global War On Terror" type of fear-mongering rhetoric in favor of less inciting language?

LTSO with Answers said...

I transitted Fort Lauderdale airport on the 26th of Feb and a TSA Barker was instructing those of us in the single TSA line that all Camcorders had to be removed from carry-ons. Regardless of type of camera.

I questioned the barker and he clearly stated again that all camcorders had to be removed. We discussed his information and that no such requirement is on the "Official" TSA website and I was basically told that FLL does not care what the "Official" information that TSA publishes states.

So much for the need of the TSA.Gov website. TSA employees across the country could care less what has been published and treat that information as so much hearsay.

I followed the directions but did stop and talk to the checkpoint supervisor after clearing the gauntlet.

I asked the same questions and answers were provided by the 3 striper. He confirmed that FLL requires removal of all Camcorders. I discussed the difference of what I understand of the need to remove full size electronics but was basically dismissed by the supervisor. I attempted to explain to him that my camera uses a mini dvd disc and that the whole camera fits the palm of the average hand. I felt that my query was met with indifference and that I was just an annoyance to be ignored.

Bottom line, how can TSA have any expectation of people having any confidence in these procedures when the public gets such conflicting treatment at various airports?


RB,

Camcorders do need to be removed from the bags and seperate for x-ray inspection. The specific camcorder that needs to be removed are ones that use a video casette to record video. It is possible that the airport it just saying all camcorder devices. Or if you bag went through the x-ray and they deemed it too much of a clutter they may of seperated your camcorder out for that reason. Your dvd camcorder should be able to stay in the bag before it goes into the x-ray though. Unless you want to try to help us out and remove as many electronics from you bag as you can (will help to clear your carry-on bags). You need to follow through with the Got Feedback? and process your issue. I do not want to tell you that it was wrong but you could take it a step further and make a formal complaint.

www.tsa.gov/gotfeedback

Example, TSA signs state the need to show ID and Boarding Pass to the TDC. (Shoulder high signs by the way, obscured from reasonable sight by anyone standing in line.)

I keep my ID in an ID wallet, DFW TDC required removal of the ID from the ID holder, FLL TDC did not. Again, note that the "Offical" TSA signage just says to show the ID. It does not indicate a need to remove the ID from its holder.

So what is the policy? What hinderance to secruity would occur if travelers knew this policy?


The signs at my airport I believe say "Have your boarding pass and ID out and ready" I will double check if you want me to and tell you specifically what it says. The policy is for ID to be out of any plastic casing or covering that may hinder seeing hidden security features on the ID.

How can policy at one airport differ from others so vastly?

FLL TDC needs to be corrected in the way they carried out the procedure if the ID was concealed behind plastic in your wallet. Policy such as this should not differ vastly from airport to airport.

Anonymous said...

Some cranky Anonymous said...

The two are not mutually exclusive, given how thoroughly TSA has botched airport security.

They increased security than what it once was. It may not be perfect but it is better than it was.

"The MMW machine is good security."

Facts, please.


Being able to see underneath clothing and what could be smuggled through where the eye can't see is good technology. Which means the MMW is good security. Seems people with metal replacements will like the technology. It makes security faster for them. If there is a bomb device underneath someone's clothing you will catch it better with a MMW than with the human eye. FACT!

On the contrary: Nothing TSA is doing is good security, and yet we are paying an enormous price for it. More to the point, security - good or otherwise -- is not worth giving up our freedom.

I don't mean price wise. I mean people do not want to submit to the process. What you say is your opinion.

"This brings truth to my thoughts of the people will never be ready or want "real" security at airports. You can't have constitutional security in my opinion."

Your opinion, then, is foolish.


Your very mean. My opinion is my own you don't have to criticize the person stating the opinion. You just called me foolish. If everyone feels it is a breach of the constitution for TSA to search you going through an airport than you can not have constitutional security. You cranky anonymous obviously don't want any airport security at all.

I, on the other hand, am a patriot, and gladly defend my freedom from the lawless TSA's domestic tyranny.

I live in the USA as well. I say I want the TSA. You imply you don't want the TSA. After 9/11 if the government didn't step in to do something for air travel the nation's airports would still be hurting. It was a big economic crisis as well. The public lost trust in the airlines and if the government didn't step in who knows how it would be today. Commercial airtravel is a big part of the US economy and I am sure that if TSA didn't come along there would be many less fliers even today. Just my view. To you it is probably "foolish".

-James

HappyToHelp said...

Here is a general comment some what related to the topic.

There are a few people still holding out about the threat of the “liquids explosives plot”. Don't be confused with the threat(chances) of a terrorist attack on board a airplane. Those are two different subjects. The threat from the “liquids explosives plot” is the particular explosive cocktail from that plot.

Most people who find the threat unbelievable, point to the paper Mass murder in the skies: was the plot feasible? from the Register but then decide to ignore a updated more recent paper by the Register Yes, there was a viable liquid bomb plot. Both papers are independent journalism.

Neither paper has access to or provides the explosive cocktail. Why are people willing to believe the first paper but not the second when the same proof is provided?

I believe the problem seems to be creditability here. Is it the creditability of the government? Maybe. I read the same comments even after a change in the executive branch and congressional branch. So maybe its not the credibility of the government but instead its the credibility of TSA. Then again, the TSA didn't do any direct research. DOD contractors do. So now maybe its a credibility issue with DOD contractors.

I do believe a independent researcher open to pear review would solve the problem above.

Just a general comment.

-H2H

Brian said...

The Ars Technica interview with Kip Hawley can be found here:

http://tinyurl.com/dhojru

Brian said...

Whoops...the link I posted isn't the interview with Kip Hawley; I'm trying to locate that one.

Oh well, it's still worth a read IMO.

George said...

@LTSO With Answers: Unless you want to try to help us out and remove as many electronics from you bag as you can (will help to clear your carry-on bags).

Removing electronic devices from bags and arraying them neatly in the plastic bin may indeed help the TSA clear them. But that also needlessly exposes the belongings to the risk of theft. Also, the more items we "separate" to help you out, the more likely they will be lost, forgotten, or damaged in the scramble to exit the checkpoint.

We already have to quickly gather up our belongings and then put them down as we balance on one foot to put our shoes back on-- in my experience, the "recomposure benches" are invariably fully occupied or nonexistent. Accounting for and securely repacking "separated" items is just another pressure as the TSOs bark and other passengers scowl because we're blocking their exit. So the smaller the number of items we carry, the more likely we will have everything with which we entered the checkpoint. That may perhaps explain the lack of eagerness to help you out by pulling apart our carry-ons.

It seems that your procedures give us yet another Hobson's choice. Either separate our belongings and assume the risk of loss or damage, or fail to separate whatever the local supervisor decides shall be separated and risk being barked at or worse. But of course, the TSA's job is to react after the fact to 9/11 and to any subsequent plots. Ensuring the safety and security of passengers' belongings during the screening process is not part of the TSA's mission, so it is of no concern.

The specific camcorder that needs to be removed are ones that use a video cassette to record video. It is possible that the airport it just saying all camcorder devices.

"Interpreting" the rule as applying to all camcorder devices certainly makes the TSO's job much easier. They don't have to spend the time to determine whether it's a dangerous camcorder that uses a cassette or an innocuous one that uses a disk or a flash memory. (This distinction is utterly incomprehensible to me, so there surely must be a valid reason for it that's either classified or SSI.) I suppose it's the same concept as requiring all stick deodorant to be in a Freedom Baggie, and allowing the TSO to confiscate my container of crystal deodorant because I made the mistake of assuming that a solid was not subject to the rules, even though in the TSA's through-the-looking-glass world it's actually a prohibited "liquid." My head hurts. Now could someone perhaps explain how any of this improves security?

Policy such as this should not differ vastly from airport to airport.

A lot of things that should not happen at airports or checkpoints do happen, and with distressing frequency. That's a lot of what we're continually complaining about. However, Kip has told us that this inconsistency is actually the TSA's Security Strategy of making the screening process unpredictable so it keeps terrorists off balance. It's just one of the layers upon layers upon layers in the TSA's obstacle course that provides highly effective protection for aviation. Or at least that's what we're supposed to believe.

RB said...

LTSO with Answers said...

Camcorders do need to be removed from the bags and seperate for x-ray inspection. The specific camcorder that needs to be removed are ones that use a video casette to record video.

The TSA Barker stated ALL CAMCORDERS as did the Supervisor.

No mention of type was made even after questioning the information supplied but both the Barker and the Supervisor.

Remember, FLL doesn't care what is stated elsewhere, their local rules trump all others!



The policy is for ID to be out of any plastic casing or covering that may hinder seeing hidden security features on the ID.

The signs I saw and read stated only to "Show ID and Boarding Pass".

This must be another of the secret TSA rules that we cannot know about.

No reason exist to have to remove ID from a document holder. When the TDC only compares the name on the Boarding Pass to the ID then what other security function could occur without having the NO Fly List available?

TSA is not interested in safe aviation but control of the population.

RB said...

I think the fact that the London plot liquids scheme terrorists were convicted is enough evidence that this stuff is real. They wouldn't convict them if the plot wasn't able to be executed.

-James

March 2, 2009 3:18 PM

James, I suggest that you do a little reading.

How about this?

"No One Convicted of Terror Plot to Bomb Planes"


http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/09/world/europe/09london.html

Bob said...

Having bad luck with links lately...

Ars Technica Interview W/ Kip

Clicky

Bob

EoS Blog Team

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp writes:

I believe the problem seems to be creditability here. Is it the creditability of the government? Maybe.

That certainly is a big part of it. Coincidentally, I'm reading in today's news about the government's public statements regarding tapes made of interrogations of terrorist suspects:

"In the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, prosecutors initially claimed no such recordings existed, then acknowledged after the trial was over that two videotapes and one audiotape had been made."

Yes, this didn't involve the TSA. But you can see how it informs a general point: there have been numerous instances of the federal government speaking falsely to the public (whether maliciously or accidentally is a matter for others to decide). So when an agent of the government says "I can't show you the evidence, please trust me", a reaction of mistrust and skepticism is not unnatural.

Sandra said...

Anonymous James wrote:

"I think the fact that the London plot liquids scheme terrorists were convicted is enough evidence that this stuff is real. They wouldn't convict them if the plot wasn't able to be executed.

-James"

Get your facts straight, James:

Three men were convicted today of conspiracy to commit murder with homemade bombs, the BBC reports, but neither they nor five others were found guilty of plotting to blow up transatlantic flights in 2006.

from www.newser.com

Dunstan said...

"I live in the USA as well. I say I want the TSA. You imply you don't want the TSA. After 9/11 if the government didn't step in to do something for air travel the nation's airports would still be hurting. It was a big economic crisis as well. The public lost trust in the airlines and if the government didn't step in who knows how it would be today. Commercial airtravel is a big part of the US economy and I am sure that if TSA didn't come along there would be many less fliers even today. Just my view. To you it is probably "foolish".

-James"

Unfortunately, James your defense makes very little sense. You are engaging in arbitrary speculation, with no possible way to find proof. There have been many changes in the commercial aviation industry since 9-11, many of them have nothing to do with TSA. I find no support for the loose statement that "The public lost trust in the airlines and if the government didn't step in who knows how it would be today."
No one really knows the future, James, who knew that oil would go from record prices to less than 30% in less than 6 months, for example. Fuel is a major expense for airlines, and buying fuel futures and making the wrong bet is an expensive mistake.

Many of us would like to see TSOs do their job in the most professional, respectful, and least intrusive way possible.

Anonymous said...

@RB: "No One Convicted of Terror Plot to Bomb Planes" http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/09/world/europe/09london.html

Here is the most interesting, relevant, and frightening passage from that article: At the trial, Mr. Ali, the self-described plot leader, said the plan had been to stir public alarm by setting off minor blasts at the check-in areas of Heathrow’s Terminal 3 to protest British and American policies in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East and that there had been no intention to kill anybody. He said that the original target was the British Parliament, but that they had shifted to Heathrow after security at Westminster proved too tight.

It has always been obvious to me that the TSA, in its attempt to prevent a repeat of the 9/11 scenario, has made passengers more vulnerable to terrorist attacks. Rather than attempting the difficult task of blowing up airplanes, terrorists can much more easily attack the crowd waiting in a queue with their shoes off for screening at the TSA checkpoint. Or, as in this case, the crowd waiting at the understaffed check-in area, well away from TSA scrutiny. A suicide bomber can just walk in and detonate before any BDOs have a chance to react.

There's rather little the TSA can do to protect these peripheral areas, especially when TSA operations are so focused on reacting to past tactics. I worry about this possibility whenever I fly, since it seems far more likely and feasible than anything the TSA is attempting to prevent with its checkpoint hassles. On the other hand, it's far easier to declare a War on Liquids and Shoes than to prevent an attack outside the sterile area.

Anonymous said...

Oh, so the reason we have the liquids restriction is because of what Kip said in the Ars Technica interview: "Yes, there was a very serious plot to blow up planes using liquid explosives in bombs that would have worked to bring down aircraft."

Is the liquid restriction really aimed at any actual liquid explosives? Or just at dangerous solids which happen to be mixed with non-dangerous liquids?

Where's the magic volume restriction on solids, crystals, or powders?

Anonymous said...

"terrorists can much more easily attack the crowd waiting in a queue with their shoes off for screening at the TSA checkpoint."

I don't think TSA gets ALL the blame for long lines. The airlines like to bunch their flights in banks, so everyone shows up to the airport at the same time. Just yesterday, a storm messed up the east coast, causing lines and delays. NOT the TSA'a fault.

Or is it.....?

Anonymous said...

"Many of us would like to see TSOs do their job in the most professional, respectful, and least intrusive way possible."

Dustin, could you elaborate on the last part? What do you think would be "least intrusive", yet still provide security?

Anonymous said...

"And why do you label your posts as "Anonymous" and then sign your name?"

For me, I don't want or need a Google account. But if it adds credibility to my posts, I may do it for here. TSO-Joe

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous writes:

Dustin, could you elaborate on the last part? What do you think would be "least intrusive", yet still provide security?

For what my two cents is worth ...

I'm not going to get into the debates regarding shoes on or off, liquid threats, IDs, and so on. Frankly, we can't have an informed debate on any of those issues, because the information TSA uses to justify its positions is not publicly available. (And I grow weary of debates that amount to little more than spitting into the wind.) Unfortunately, most of the answer to your question lies in that unanswerable domain.

But what I can comment on is this: "intrusiveness" is as much measured in attitudes as actions. Questions such as "why do you need to take X", "why can't you just check your bag", "why can't you remove your shoes", and so on, are unnecessarily intrusive --- whether offered at the checkpoint, off-duty, or here on this blog. While the answers to those questions might be interesting, and perhaps even innocuous, there are enough people for whom those answers are an invasion of personal privacy. TSA needs to develop an attitude in which such questions are scrupulously avoided.

Eric said...

Several TSOs on FT have indicated that SSSS is now gone. Comment please?

On a related note, gate screenings have apparently increased. Did you do it wrong the first time?

Dunstan said...

"Dustin, could you elaborate on the last part? What do you think would be "least intrusive", yet still provide security?"

First of all, it is Dunstan.

By least intrusive, I was referring to demeanor and attitude, though physical intrusiveness was also implied. Handling yourself in a calm manner and explaining what and why you are doing it can go a long way to preventing difficult situations.

Phil said...

TSO-Joe: You don't need a Google account. When you post a comment, you can choose from: anonymous, Google/Blogger ID, OpenID, or "name/URL". The last option allows you to fill in a name and optionally the location of an associated Web page.

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

LTSO with Answers said...

No reason exist to have to remove ID from a document holder. When the TDC only compares the name on the Boarding Pass to the ID then what other security function could occur without having the NO Fly List available?

RB, The officer is not just checking the ID to the boarding pass but is also making sure the ID is real. Having an ID out of any plastic covering will help to determine the integrity of the ID and the officer will be able to see more details. IDs not out will be able to conceal un genuine details more easily.

Anonymous said...

Dunstan said...
Unfortunately, James your defense makes very little sense.

That is why it is my opinion.

Oh and I think I sign my name and still post Anonymously because it may be a bit faster? I don't know. No one can seek out my posts this way either and bash me. They are more hidden.

-James

Anonymous said...

"OK, here’s the scoop. If the U.S. would have switched to the metrics system in the 70s, this wouldn’t be an issue."

Yeah, the metric system. Or we could ditch this ridiculous rule.

Down with DHS and the TSA. What a waste of time ("Papers please!") and tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

"IDs not out will be able to conceal un genuine details more easily."

So? ID checks do nothing to enhance security. We know this is so because when asked how ID checks enhance security, TSA is unable to come up with an answer.

RB said...

LTSO with Answers said...
No reason exist to have to remove ID from a document holder. When the TDC only compares the name on the Boarding Pass to the ID then what other security function could occur without having the NO Fly List available?

RB, The officer is not just checking the ID to the boarding pass but is also making sure the ID is real. .....

/////////////////////////
Since a TSO is not a LEO checking a Federal or State issued ID to be real should be of no concern to TSA.

ID cannot hurt an airplane!

Why don't you guys go check cargo placed on passenger aircraft, there you will find a real chance of something bad getting onto the airplanes.

Or start screening the airport workers, yourselves included. You know, the ones who steal from checked luggage, steal expensive network video cameras, computers and all manner of other things or smuggle weapons onto an airplane.

Or just get behind the scenes and observe what is going on, instead of wasting time looking at ID's that can cause no harm.

Passengers are being abused daily all the while many other avenues of security problems are left open to be exploited by thousands of people.

I have to wonder just who at TSA came up with this grand plan!

HappyToHelp said...

Eric said...
Several TSOs on FT have indicated that SSSS is now gone. Comment please?

It's not that enhanced screening is gone but secure flight has been affective since January 01, 2009.

“Secure Flight will conduct uniform prescreening of passenger information against federal government watch lists for domestic and international flights. TSA will take over this responsibility from aircraft operators who, up until now, have been responsible for checking passengers against government watch lists.”

Secure flight is expected to clear up 95% of the false positives of name matching. The rest need to be cleared up through TSA TRIP. A redress system has been written right into the secure flight final rule.

Hope this helps.

-H2H

Dunstan said...

"Dunstan said...
Unfortunately, James your defense makes very little sense.

That is why it is my opinion.

Oh and I think I sign my name and still post Anonymously because it may be a bit faster? I don't know. No one can seek out my posts this way either and bash me. They are more hidden.

-James"

I'm not bashing you James, just challenging you to bring more substance and reasoned thought to your posts.

George said...

@LTSO With Answers: The officer is not just checking the ID to the boarding pass but is also making sure the ID is real. Having an ID out of any plastic covering will help to determine the integrity of the ID and the officer will be able to see more details. IDs not out will be able to conceal un genuine details more easily.

OK. Since you're the one with Answers, could you please explain how "making sure the ID is real" provides any sort of security? After all, Mohammed Atta and his Thugs had real IDs and boarding passes. You don't even do anything with the ID, such as checking your computer to see if the name on the ID matches one of the million names of Verified Terrorists on the government's highly accurate watch lists.

From this passenger's perspective, it seems to be nothing more than a pointless hassle, or the prologue to the main Security Theater at the checkpoint. Or perhaps it's like the "metered" traffic signals at the entrance to freeway on-ramps in Los Angeles, which supposedly smooth traffic congestion? It makes no sense at all, which means it must have a valid rationale that's SSI and/or based on classified robust intelligence.

Ryan62 said...

Its amusing to hear the constant refrain that there is "no threat" from liquid explosives, and we need "peer reviewed research" to "Prove" there is. Hopefully you can all accept the simple fact that liquid explosives exist. If you doubt that they do I would ask that you google PLX (Picatinny Liquid Explosive which was one of the explosives responsible for downing Korean Air 858) or try MEKP, or if you are feeling old school Nitroglycerine. Now some of you are going to respond about how Nitroglycerine is highly sensitive, and you would be correct but it has been transported for years, it can be safely done. If you are planning to blow yourself up anyway the risk likely looks less substantial. But bottom line is there are liquid explosives some of them quite powerful.
Now that we have established with a little basic research that there are viable liquid explosives, why is it so difficult to believe that they could be used to down an airliner?
If someone can show me some evidence that these explosives are somehow incapable of damaging an aircraft I would love to see it.
The canned response is to twist it into a discussion of the there being more solid explosives. That is certainly true, and its one of the reasons that the technology for detecting solid explosives is more advanced. Hopefully the technology for liquids will catch up.

Anonymous said...

Ryan,

What is so complicated about the fact that there is nothing more dangerous about liquids than solids, and there is equally effective technology to detect both (actually, liquids may be easier due to more release of detectable particles)? Ergo, there should be no limitation on the quantity of liquids, although obviously certain types of liquids (and solids) should not be accepted.

TSARon said...

I find it amazing that so few take up such a large amount of space complaining of things they obviously know so little about.
Let say that we provide you with all that you ask for, we make it public info. Terrorists are also members of the public. They have access to the internet, even in the desert. I can think of several ways that they can use that information to bypass our security procedures and sneak weapons or explosives onto aircraft, and I don’t have the time to give it that much thought, as most terrorists do.
Demanding “peer reviewed” materials serves no purpose. Who is to say that the “peers” know any more about the subject than the individuals that have provided the information we have. Add to that the small likely-hood that the “peers” have access to the controlled / classified information that the TSA uses to base its policies on, indicates to me that I’d much rather trust the information I have now rather than the information that I may get from the “peers”.

Anonymous said...

Ron,

You obviously have no grasp of what Science is. Science relies on peer review as a manner to ensure the quality of work presented. Anyone can publish a text. A peer reviewed text, on the other hand, has been scrutinized by selected specialists and is a much more reliable source of information.

Sandra said...

"Oh and I think I sign my name and still post Anonymously because it may be a bit faster? I don't know. No one can seek out my posts this way either and bash me. They are more hidden.

-James"

Control + F = find

Find: James

Not at all difficult. Took me less than 10 seconds to find all your posts in this thread.

Ryan62 said...

Well, once again we have great technical advice from "Anon."
Simple statements such as liquids "should be" easier to detect is all well and good, but has been mentioned before the technology isn't as advanced in the realm of detecting liquid explosives.
No one is claiming that liquids are "more dangerous" than solids, what is being said is the DETECTION of liquids is more problematic. There is not a problem with solids because there is adequate detection technology, there is a problem with liquids because there isn't adequate technology at the moment. However as the frequent readers of this blog are aware that is a problem that is being addressed and hopefully this problem goes away entirely.

Also, this insistence that if there is no peer reviewed research then it doesn't count is ludicrous. You can bash Ron for "not knowing what science is" but you are creating an unrealistic standard. We aren't searching for scientific truths with repeatable experiments. As I mentioned before a commercial aircraft has been brought down with liquid explosives, why precisely is more proof needed? Do we need a peer reviewed study to prove truck bombs are a possible threat in this country or will a picture of the remains of the Murrah Building suffice?
I am reminded of the words of Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet who commented that, "we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong."

Jim Huggins said...

TSARon writes:

Let say that we provide you with all that you ask for, we make it public info. Terrorists are also members of the public. They have access to the internet, even in the desert. I can think of several ways that they can use that information to bypass our security procedures and sneak weapons or explosives onto aircraft, and I don’t have the time to give it that much thought, as most terrorists do.

What makes you think they don't have this information already? They could already be trying to sneak those items aboard aircraft --- and perhaps even succeeding. They don't need to know what your rules are in order to test the system. But if you are relying on the secrecy of your procedures to ensure their effectiveness, you'll never know whether or not that secrecy has been lost.

There is an alternative. There's a simple principle that cryptographers use, called Kerckhoff's principle: "the system should not depend on secrecy, and it should be able to fall into the enemy's hands without disadvantage." Many feel like this principle ought to apply to all security systems.

If your security system is strong enough to hold up, even when your opponents know your techniques, you'll have an incredibly strong system. And, in the event that your system actually has faults in it, the examination of that system by thousands (or millions?) of other people will help find those problems far faster than relying on just the few people who know the secrets.

Not everyone agrees with this approach, of course. But I find the argument compelling.

LTSO with Answers said...

OK. Since you're the one with Answers, could you please explain how "making sure the ID is real" provides any sort of security? After all, Mohammed Atta and his Thugs had real IDs and boarding passes. You don't even do anything with the ID, such as checking your computer to see if the name on the ID matches one of the million names of Verified Terrorists on the government's highly accurate watch lists.

From this passenger's perspective, it seems to be nothing more than a pointless hassle, or the prologue to the main Security Theater at the checkpoint. Or perhaps it's like the "metered" traffic signals at the entrance to freeway on-ramps in Los Angeles, which supposedly smooth traffic congestion? It makes no sense at all, which means it must have a valid rationale that's SSI and/or based on classified robust intelligence.


George I can give you some information to help you understand why checking for fradulent IDs is a part of security. If you have any more questions or you are still confused or not understanding let me know I will try to give as much information as I can.

The matching against the watchlist is done before the passenger even gets to the security checkpoint. It is done when the passengers are receiving their boarding pass from the airlines. The matching is done by TSA now under Secure Flight to eliminate most of those false positives that have caused great inconvience to passengers for many years now. After receiving their boarding pass they proceed to the TDC. The TDC makes sure information from the ID matches their boarding pass and that it is not fraudulent. We have to make sure that the documentation is authentic because lets face it there are fraudulent IDs out there. The airlines are not trained to look for false IDs. If everything checks out then the passenger is not on a watch list because he/she was able to obtain a valid boarding pass and has correct documentation to verify his/her identity to the boarding pass. So here is a scenario...

A passenger has a fraudulent ID and checks in at the ticket counter. The ID has a false name and the airline agent is not able to tell if the ID is fraudulent or not. They give the passenger a real boarding pass with the name that matches the ID on it. The passenger will go to TDC and get caught with the fraudulent ID and will not board the aircraft. We can not be sure if he was on a watch list or not... it is in my view an attempt that could circumvent the watchlist and therefore breach security. So checking if the ID is fraudulent or not matters. I know I have read somewhere on here about an opposite scenario about a passenger creating a boarding pass to circumvent the watchlist/TDC matching. While this is a "what if" our officers see many boarding passes and could recognize a fake boarding pass. The process is getting better though. To eliminate some human error electronic encrypted boarding passes are being piloted now. Any other thoughts other than the reverse "created boarding pass" scheme post them on here.

Anonymous said...

Now that we have established with a little basic research that there are viable liquid explosives, why is it so difficult to believe that they could be used to down an airliner?

So I don't think we disagree that liquids can bring down an aircraft. I think we disagree that the policy does anything to prevent such from happening. See the difference? The policy is not a good security measure.


Sandra maybe I just want to do it the way I'm doing it because it is annoying people. Does it really make a difference how I post my posts?

-James

Irish said...

TSARon said...

“I find it amazing that so few take up such a large amount of space complaining of things they obviously know so little about.”

Beginning with several TSA frequent-posters.


“Let say that we provide you with all that you ask for, we make it public info. Terrorists are also members of the public. They have access to the internet, even in the desert. I can think of several ways that they can use that information to bypass our security procedures and sneak weapons or explosives onto aircraft, and I don’t have the time to give it that much thought, as most terrorists do.”

For the umteenth time, Ron, I don’t want to know all of your detailed procedures. No one here wants to know all of your detailed procedures. I just want to know The Rules that cover what I may bring and what I must check (or, in my case, leave behind) so that I can navigate the security carnival without activating your detailed secret procedures. Not only that, but I also want all of the TSO’s – 100% of them – to know The Rules and apply them appropriately.


“Demanding ‘peer reviewed’ materials serves no purpose.”

If it serves no other purpose, it would go a long way to boost TSA’s credibility. That, of and unto itself, would make your job easier.


“ Who is to say that the ‘peers’ know any more about the subject than the individuals that have provided the information we have.”

Because they’re “peers”, and you aren’t. A “peer” is someone with similar training, knowledge, skills, and expertise. Watching a video of a world-class neurosurgeon perform brain surgery doesn’t make me into his peer, and watching a training film doesn’t transform you into the peer of a chemist. The peer-review process has its problems, but lack of expertise isn’t one of them.


“Add to that the small likely-hood that the ‘peers’have access to the controlled / classified information that the TSA uses to base its policies on . . . .”

It’s CHEMISTRY. I understand that you believe TSA has some super-secret information no one else has, but they don’t; it’s just chemistry – the London guys didn’t come up with some hither-to-unknown magickal substances nor did they dream up some hither-to-unheard-of combination of those magickal substances. They came up with an impractical way to attempt to apply known principles. Despite your devoutly held beliefs, those substances and their properties are well-known in the chemistry world and probably known by many outside the chemistry world.


“ . . . . indicates to me that I’d much rather trust the information I have now rather than the information that I may get from the ‘peers’.”

That’s because you don’t understand what “a peer” is. That’s also because you’ve fallen into the “they say” trap. Whether I trust what “they say” depends on who and how trustworthy “they” are, and what independent corroboration exists for their assertions. Personally, I don’t know much beyond the basic chemistry involved in explosives, except that they’re very loud and very dirty. However, I have had direct (not filtered-through-a-training-film-produced-by-non-experts) access to some of the U.S. Army’s top explosive specialists. They rate the likelihood of success of the London plot “highly improbable”. Frankly, Ron, given TSA’s track record for honesty and credibility, I just tend to trust the opinions of actual military explosives experts rather than any third-hand information I get from TSA.

In fact, given TSA’s track record for honesty and credibility, I wouldn’t believe them without independent corroboration if they told me the sun came up this morning.

Irish

Irish said...

Ryan62 said...

“Well, once again we have great technical advice from "Anon."
Simple statements such as liquids "should be" easier to detect is all well and good, but has been mentioned before the technology isn't as advanced in the realm of detecting liquid explosives.”

The technology exists, and liquids ARE easier to detect. The major drawback to the existing swab technology is that it relies on trace particle detection, which is fairly easy to circumvent. Vapor detector technology (used in puffers) and laser detector technology (used in Japan) cannot detect explosives in sealed containers or opaque containers, respectively. Here’s a thought: suppose I agree to OPEN my bottle of Deer Park for you?


“No one is claiming that liquids are ‘more dangerous’ than solids, what is being said is the DETECTION of liquids is more problematic. There is not a problem with solids because there is adequate detection technology, there is a problem with liquids because there isn't adequate technology at the moment. However as the frequent readers of this blog are aware that is a problem that is being addressed and hopefully this problem goes away entirely.”

This is simply misinformation. The technology exists, albeit with some shortcomings. The problem can go away entirely NOW if TSA weren’t more interested in security theater than security operations. If you’re waiting for some hypothetical 100% effective means of detection– some infallible tricorder – then I agree with you. The technology doesn’t exist now (for liquids OR solids) and it won’t exist ever. That’s just TSA smoke and mirrors.


“Also, this insistence that if there is no peer reviewed research then it doesn't count is ludicrous. You can bash Ron for 'not knowing what science is' but you are creating an unrealistic standard. We aren't searching for scientific truths with repeatable experiments.”

The science about the liquids proposed for the London plot is clear and long-established. Linking TSA into the same context as “scientific truth” is an oxymoron (squared). TSA can claim all the super-secret-decoder-ring-special information they want but TSA’s credibility is highly questionable, at best.


“As I mentioned before a commercial aircraft has been brought down with liquid explosives, why precisely is more proof needed?”

No one asked for any proof that liquid explosives can bring down an aircraft. We all know that. (Incidentally, that aircraft was primarily brought down by the nitroglycerine component of the device. TSA’s equipment is perfectly adequate to detect nitro.) In any case, it’s established science that liquid explosives exist. What hasn’t been established is whether there is any shred of evidence that, as a practical matter, the London plot had any reasonable chance of success, as proposed. If so, then is TSA’s current security procedure appropriate to protect against that threat? And the answer to that question is, no.


“Do we need a peer reviewed study to prove truck bombs are a possible threat in this country or will a picture of the remains of the Murrah Building suffice?”

Poor analogy. Like the existence of liquid explosives, the explosive potential of ammonium nitrate is well-known throughout science. The science convinces me, not the fact that you have a picture of a bombed building.


“I am reminded of the words of Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet who commented that, ‘we know that the system of peer review is biased, unjust, unaccountable, incomplete, easily fixed, often insulting, usually ignorant, occasionally foolish, and frequently wrong.’ ”

This is what comes of cherry-picking quotes. The REST of that quote is: “A recent editorial in Nature was right to conclude that an over-reliance on peer-reviewed publication ‘has disadvantages that should be countered by adequate provision of time and resources for independent assessment and, in the midst of controversies, publicly funded agencies providing comprehensive, reliable and prompt complementary information’.” The key concepts here are “over-reliance” and “countered by ... independent assessment”.

You see, Ryan62, the demand for a peer-reviewed study is really a trick question. If there's no information, that's one thing. On the other hand, if (for example) there’s only one article in all of the literature, and if that article is not supported by the already-established scientific background and if the results in that article cannot be independently duplicated, then the results of that article are highly suspect.

Oh . . . . wait . . . . . that sounds like . . . . ummm . . . TSA.

Irish

Jim Huggins said...

LTSO With Answers writes:

I know I have read somewhere on here about an opposite scenario about a passenger creating a boarding pass to circumvent the watchlist/TDC matching. While this is a "what if" our officers see many boarding passes and could recognize a fake boarding pass.

With all respect ... this isn't a "what-if" scenario. It's an easily-exploited hole in the system -- as Bruce Schneier demonstrated in November 2008. I suspect it's really not that hard to turn a legitimate boarding pass into a fake one that would pass muster.

Yes, TSA is moving towards electronic authentication of boarding passes, and that would close the loophole. But until that happens, the ID check at security doesn't accomplish anything. It attempts to match a genuine ID against a piece of paper claiming to be a boarding pass. But while there are plenty of ways to attempt to verify the validity of the ID, there isn't any way to verify the validity of the boarding pass.

Anonymous #542 said...

Irish said...
However, I have had direct (not filtered-through-a-training-film-produced-by-non-experts) access to some of the U.S. Army’s top explosive specialists. They rate the likelihood of success of the London plot “highly improbable”.

That is odd because I know someone in the Airforce EOD (Explosives Ordinance Disposal) and they said the plot was possible. They never said unlikely however but I guess I didn't ask for specifics. So if the procedures TSA put in place were not initiated then someone could just try again without liquids ever being checked. I also know that any liquid explosives are easier to clean and conceal from detection from explosives equipment. So for TSA to swab every liquid or something is unrealistic and would create chaos trying to get through security. Under current procedure you can't take in a soda bottle (which could be explosives). So to me the liquids procedure works.

Dunstan said...

"Sandra maybe I just want to do it the way I'm doing it because it is annoying people. Does it really make a difference how I post my posts?

-James"

James;
Troll is the widely used term for people who post just to annoy or antagonize others. Blogs are like a pot-luck supper- everyone brings a different flavor to the table.

GSOLTSO said...

Gussie said "GSOLTSO: There are two orders of magnitude more explosive solids than liquids. Please explain why liquids are special, when there are so many more solids that will explode. Shall we start limiting solids too?

Liquids are NOT a credible threat.
"
You can beat your head on that wall all you want, it is just not true, you are mistaken, just plain wrong or making statements to incite responses (which I tend to think is the case). I have seen what binary, liquids, peroxide based and several other forms of explosive generate enough energy to damage (at a minimum) an airplane in small amounts. I hate to say you do not know what you are talking about, but you don't know what you are talking about.

GSOLTSO said...

Evidently that vast majority of the "Chem majors" we have on this page are book learned or something, the actual application of chemistry is much less theoretical than the actual application of chemistry. I speak from personal experiance and advise you that there is a viable threat from liquids. I have NEVER stated that liquid is better than molded, or formed explosives, only that there is a viable threat. The chair of chemistry at MIT could tell me there is no threat, and I would be able to tell him he was wrong because I have SEEN what liquids (and solid) explosives can do. I don't know where you are getting your information from, don't know what you have done to prove your point, and don't care. I have seen things done with small amounts of explosives that would astound you. Now, I can not speak for the TSA peer review stuff you keep asking about, but I CAN tell you there is a viable threat from liquids and solids. Yes our testing procedures might be a bit archaic compared to some other countries, but they are what we have right now. As the tech capabilities and cost ratios improve, we will be better prepared to mitigate the threat from a tech standpoint. That being said, thereis a credible threat and we are taking steps to check for that threat.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

LTSO with answers said "I know I have read somewhere on here about an opposite scenario about a passenger creating a boarding pass to circumvent the watchlist/TDC matching. While this is a "what if" our officers see many boarding passes and could recognize a fake boarding pass."

It isn't just a "what if"--Chris Soghoian actually built an automated boarding pass generator years ago.

The glaring error in your two-layer id-checking system is that the layers are separate: the airlines check the name against the database and a matching ID, and your folks check the ID against a boarding pass. That it is two separate layers is, in TSA-speak, a feature of the system, not a bug. You can get through the first layer using anyone who is able to buy a ticket (any of 2,000,000 people per day). You can get through the fake ID check by only using real ID, like the 9/11 terrorists did. The validity of either ID layer depends on the TSA document screener's ability to detect a photoshopped boarding pass. If your document checkers can read code 3-of-9, you might have half a chance, but there aren't many other security features you can include in a document that potential terrorists could print out on their own printers.

You haven't actually fixed the problem for the several years that it has been known to exist, which shows that TSA doesn't actually perceive ID as a significant threat.

The airlines, however, do have a real financial interest in making it harder to re-sell unused tickets. That $50 change fee is worth big money to the airlines, which is the only sensical reason that TSA is peeking at boarding passes.

RB said...

TSARON said in part...Demanding “peer reviewed” materials serves no purpose. Who is to say that the “peers” know any more about the subject than the individuals that have provided the information we have."
....................
It's funny Ron that you discount the Peer Review process.

Even as you do so, TSA is initiating a "Peer Review" process as a TSA Workplace Initiative.

http://www.tsa.gov/approach/people/workforce_initiatives.shtm

See the third item from the top on the list.

Seems strange that you would think a process that your Agency supports is worthless.

Is that how you view all things your senior leadership does?

Just wondering Ron!

RB said...

Bob, since the liquids standard is 3.4oz why does TSA continue to lie to the public with its signage at all airports?

Is being truthful to hard for TSA?

Ayn R. Key said...

GSOLTSO wrote:
This argument is a non starter, there is a credible threat by using liquids. There is a gap in technology where testing liquids is concerned (and where there is no tech gap, there is a funding gap!).

Only if you graduated from Hogwarts. The liquid explosive threat is a non-threat.

Either it is an assembled bomb, which is too dangerous to transport to the airport, or it is a binary liquid which is impossible to mix on the other side of security. Now that I've listed both options you cannot say you were talking about the other, by the way.

Mr Gel-pack, I really hate to point his out, but MOST of us that read this blog have your story memorized. It was unfortunate, wrong and it has been addressed, now move on.

Really? The personnel involved in that incident were fired and made an example of so the rest of the TSOs know that insisting a passenger is wrong even when the rules say he isn't is a good way to get fired?

News to me.

I know for a fact that there is a VIABLE threat from liquids, there is a viable threat from shoes.

A transportable liquid that doesn't explode when jostled in a car or walking but explodes at altitude? Submit your evidence to the Nobel Prize committee.

We can debate all day as to whether there would be enough contained in a certain sized bottle or shoe to take an airliner out of the sky.

Sorry, but that's not the debate. When debating whether or not unicorns exist, pointing out that you think they are blue instead of white is not relevant.

The debate is whether or not these liquids can be made by anyone less skilled at potions than Professor Snape.

The chair of chemistry at MIT could tell me there is no threat, and I would be able to tell him he was wrong because I have SEEN what liquids (and solid) explosives can do.

A liquid explosive that is safe to transport and undetectable by bomb sniffers, or a binary liquid that is safe to mix once beyond security and undetectable by bomb sniffers, does not exist.

I do not deny that there are indeed liquid explosives. I deny the ones the TSA allegedly protects us from exist. I deny that the ones that are the basis of the 3-1-1 rule exist.

TSORon said...

RB: There is a significant difference between the type of "peer review" you suggest for TSA policies and that which we are doing for our discplinary process. Intimating otherwise is dishonest.

HappyToHelp said...

Just a quick chime in on the discussion about VID validation and boarding pass validation.

I have read many “Why's” on this subject. Why do we check VIDs and why do we use the selectee and no-fly lists?

The purpose of this post is to help you guys understand where TSA is coming from when it comes to these issues.

Here is the scoop on the no-fly and selectee list.

Pursuant to a TSA Security Directive and Statute, airlines use a prescreening system to check passenger names against government watch lists developed by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to see if such names appear on the “No Fly” or “Selectee” lists. 49 USC § 114(h).

Effective 01 January 2009 TSA took over the matching process.

Congress enacted into law the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that the government assume from airlines the function of comparing passenger identifying information against the watch lists. IRTPA, P.L. 108-458, 49 USC § 44903(j)(2)(c)(i).

TSA does not have any leeway in using the no-fly or selectee list. I hope you guys can understand but it does not end there.

The 9/11 Commission Act requires specialized training for Transportation Security Officers in behavior observation, explosives detection, document verification. 9/11 Commission Act § 1611.

Document verification enhancements should not be a surprise.

I hope this post gives some good insight into whats currently going on at the checkpoint and might squash some the airline revenue protection conspiracy theories. :)

Just a reminder, TSA does not place anyone on the no-fly or selectee list. Law enforcement and intelligence agencies nominate individuals to watch list. The no-fly and selectee list are both maintained by the TSC.

-H2H

Anonymous said...

"Is being truthful to hard for TSA?"

Yes. Lying to the public is standard operating procedure.

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp writes:

Congress enacted into law the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission that the government assume from airlines the function of comparing passenger identifying information against the watch lists. IRTPA, P.L. 108-458, 49 USC § 44903(j)(2)(c)(i).

Except that this is not what TSA is doing.

TSA does not compare passenger identifying information against the watch lists. TSA compares passenger identifying information against boarding passes; boarding passes are compared against watch lists at the time they are issued.

It's a subtle difference, but an important one. When a passenger approaches a checkpoint, (s)he presents two things to the TSO: an identity document, and a piece of paper claiming to be a boarding pass. Standard procedure these days calls for the TSO to examine the identity document for security features in order to validate the document. Boarding passes are not examined with the same scrutiny, which means that it's trivial to create a forged boarding pass that hasn't been compared against the watch list (as Bruce Schneier demonstrated as recently as November 2008).

I don't have a problem understanding what TSA is trying to do. But this rather obvious hole in the security procedure means that the procedure is, in all likelihood, ineffective.

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Said...
Except that this is not what TSA is doing.

The reference was to Secure flight brother(IRTPA, P.L. 108-458, 49 USC § 44903(j)(2)(c)(i)). Don't confuse the two. TSA has taken over that function.

-H2H

RB said...

TSORon said...
RB: There is a significant difference between the type of "peer review" you suggest for TSA policies and that which we are doing for our discplinary process. Intimating otherwise is dishonest.

March 11, 2009 2:14 PM

TSORon before you call a citizen a dishonest person I suggest you consider the implications of that action!

Your comment is offensive and was directed to only myself.

I will not allow you to disparge me.

If you wish to retract your statement I will let this matter die quietly, otherwise I will be forced to take other action.

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp writes:

The reference was to Secure flight brother(IRTPA, P.L. 108-458, 49 USC § 44903(j)(2)(c)(i)). Don't confuse the two. TSA has taken over that function.

But the overall point stands. Under SecureFlight, as I understand it, TSA is responsible for checking passenger manifests against the no-fly lists, and for only allowing people not on the lists to be able to print a boarding pass. But no matter how effectively or efficiently TSA performs that function, it's rendered ineffective by the fact that the TSO examining a passenger's presented documents has no way of knowing whether or not the boarding pass is forged. Boarding passes aren't authenticated at the time of screening.

Irish said...

Anonymous #542 said...

“Irish said...
'However, I have had direct (not filtered-through-a-training-film-produced-by-non-experts) access to some of the U.S. Army’s top explosive specialists. They rate the likelihood of success of the London plot “highly improbable”.'

“That is odd because I know someone in the Airforce EOD (Explosives Ordinance Disposal) and they said the plot was possible. They never said unlikely however but I guess I didn't ask for specifics. So if the procedures TSA put in place were not initiated then someone could just try again without liquids ever being checked. I also know that any liquid explosives are easier to clean and conceal from detection from explosives equipment. So for TSA to swab every liquid or something is unrealistic and would create chaos trying to get through security. Under current procedure you can't take in a soda bottle (which could be explosives). So to me the liquids procedure works.”


It’s possible that the sun didn’t come up this cloudy morning, too – someone might have been providing artificial illumination above the cloud cover. But it’s highly improbable.

TSA doesn’t have to swab every liquid, I just have to take the top off so it can be sniffed. Or decant it into a clear non-opaque bottle so it can be lasered. Shouldn’t cause too much chaos – they do it in Japan pretty successfully.

Either of those technologies would be far more effective than limiting liquids by volume. I hate to burst your bubble about the “liquids procedure” but, there’s nothing at all effective about it. As has been repeatedly pointed out, there’s nothing to prevent 10 conspirators from packing five or ten 3oz bottles of liquid each into a Kippie bag and breezing through the checkpoint to meet again within the sterile area and have up to 300 oz of stuff to combine any way they want. This idea that limiting quantities will limit risk is just one more demonstration of the security theater vs security operations snafu they’ve sold to a fearful and uncritical public.

It’s just a waste of time, money and resources to find a four or five or six ounce bottle of lotion and then – KNOWING that it’s completely harmless – confiscate it and do whatever it is they do with it. There’s ZERO preservation of security in this process and, as has been acknowledged by a TSO poster, it’s not any sort of security procedure at all. It’s simply punishment for Breaking A Rule. Bad PAX. Shame on you. Broke a rule. Bad, bad, bad, and now you must be punished.

It’ll take more than some nebulous “feeling safer” or even Blogger Bob’s best spin to convince me that there’s any purpose to this process other than simply demeaning and infantizing the taxpayers who pay for this mockery of civil liberty.

Irish

Ryan62 said...

Irish -
I am certainly not claiming that there isn't detection technology. But your two procedures -open all the bottles or make sure everything is in a transparent container simply creates a new problem. Do you honestly beleive that we wouldn't hear howls of outrage from the usual suspects around here about having to open their bottles etc?
The liquid ban was a stop gag measure enacted after the London plot was uncovered, has it dragged on too long? Certainly, but not because it was "theatre" as so many have proposed but because it has taken longer than it should have to implement the technology to replace the ban with something more workable

My point in all this has been one consistent thing. Liquid explosives are a viable threat. The argument that "they couldn't be mixed on the other side or would be too unsafe to transport" has no real foundation in science.
Nitroglycerine was transported for commerical purposes for decades. Yes, one has to take care in transporting it, but the notion that taking a bottle of it in a car is suicidal is ludicrous. As I mentioned before other liquid explosives like MEKP and PLX exist and are insensitive enough to transport.
Ayn R Key makes the statement that "A liquid explosive that is safe to transport and undetectable by bomb sniffers, or a binary liquid that is safe to mix once beyond security and undetectable by bomb sniffers, does not exist."
I would love to see where I make the claim that such an explosive exists. Of course your claim of "bomb sniffers" is rather vague, are we talking about any bomb sniffer made or the ones currently employed at the nation's airports? Because there is a machine that can detect darn near anything, the question is to what extent they are practical, cost effective and efficient when used in the check point environment. Based on the technology in place at the checkpoints when the London plot came to light there was a hole. It amuses me greatly that you desperately want to point at holes in TSA's security but when they acknowledge one you deny it exists.

Anonymous said...

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Said...
Except that this is not what TSA is doing.

The reference was to Secure flight brother(IRTPA, P.L. 108-458, 49 USC § 44903(j)(2)(c)(i)). Don't confuse the two. TSA has taken over that function.

-H2H

##########


TSA's secure flight checks the ticket-buyer's identifying information as supplied to the airlines against their database. The big security hole is that the only connection between the identity information provided to the airlines and the identity information provided to the TSA document checker is the easily forged boarding pass.

Sure, 99.9%+ of the time, the passenger doesn't forge a boarding pass, but the tiny group of people on your no-fly-list can use this method 100% and completely bypass these two layers that are intended to apply to them.

TSA would like to hold passengers to a 100% standard, but when it comes to applying a standard to TSA, not so much.

Anonymous said...

"Liquid explosives are a viable threat. The argument that "they couldn't be mixed on the other side or would be too unsafe to transport" has no real foundation in science."

That's pretty rich, coming from someone who presents zero facts to support either of these claims. Evidence, please, or go away.

Irish said...

Ryan62 said...
“Irish -
I am certainly not claiming that there isn't detection technology. But your two procedures -open all the bottles or make sure everything is in a transparent container simply creates a new problem. Do you honestly beleive that we wouldn't hear howls of outrage from the usual suspects around here about having to open their bottles etc?”


Ryan, BWI (my home airport) was one of the first to have puffers deployed. I’d be perfectly happy to unscrew the cap of my metaphorical Deer Park before passing through the puffer. The puffer doesn’t know whether it’s sniffing the liquid explosive in my bottle or the plastique in my pocket, and it doesn’t matter. TSA reaction would be the same, and appropriately so. No time lost whatsoever. Laser-based technology (the one that needs clear bottles) not only exists, but has been in use at the Tokyo airport for several years, without any noticeable chaos or difficulties. So, I don’t want to hear about the technical challenges. They’ve been met. Moreover, both methods are substantially less expensive and hugely less intrusive than the “voluntary” MMWM’s, or the “alternative” magnetometer-plus-pat-down.

The reason those of us “usual suspects” around here -- at least those who have any sort of security background (including me), or those of us who think critically – are howling at the process TSA now uses to clear liquids is not because “it’s inconvenient”. We’re howling because the process TSA now uses is 100% INEFFECTIVE as a security element. Every one of us knows, and acknowledges, that liquid explosives exist. If liquid explosives exist, then they can (in sufficient strength and amount, and subject to a few stability considerations) blow up or at least seriously damage an aircraft. That isn’t in question.

The POINT is, if TSA cannot identify the difference between a harmful substance and a harmless substance, then allowing that unknown substance into the sterile area in any amount is a security hole big enough to fly an Airbus through. On the other hand, if they know a substance to be harmless, then restricting the passenger to some arbitrarily tiny amount of harmless substance, or indulging in retaliatory confiscation of the harmless substance, is NOT security. It’s not only not security, it is counterproductive to security. That makes it nothing more than theater (and pretty sophomoric theater, at that).

Unless the actual purpose is -- and I’m quoting directly from yet another “Anonymous” TSA employee, today, on the “Smooth” thread: “Why would we use the sniffer if the person was not following the rules. Just like when a child is bad, you punish them, otherwise they do not learn. Well an adult is trying to hide something that they know they can't have. I don't care if we have the sniffer or not. The fact that the rules were not followed is enough of a reason to throw away the product. (March 13, 2009 1:24 PM)

So the purpose of this particular component of the Security Theater is to punish the passenger – not to engender safety, not to harden security, not to deter terrorism, not even to lower risk – there’s absolutely no actual operational security purpose at all. The purpose is to punish the naughty, naughty little pax for attempting to Break A Rule, thereby (they hope) encouraging all of the other little paxes to march meekly in lockstep to the TSA drumbeat. Please, Ryan, tell me how it could possibly get much more melodramatically and sophomorically theatrical than that?

You know, I believe there are a lot of earnestly hardworking and conscientious TOS’s out there. I believe they do a difficult job under intense pressure and scrutiny, and I believe they deserve my gratitude and respect. But every single time I’m forced by circumstance to go through one of those checkpoints, I look at every single TSO and wonder whether this is the one who looks disdainfully down upon the traveling public as nothing more than naughty, nuisance children to be spanked for their misdeeds. I would like to respect every one of them, as I respect a select few (very few) of those who post on this blog, but it is simply impossible for me to feel other than derision, suspicion and mistrust. THAT, Ryan, is counterproductive to security. Hugely, enormously, counterproductive to security.

And that is what the whole tempest over the War on Liquids is really about.


Finally, and for ten bonus points, tell me exactly how I’m supposed respect and rely upon the unsupported “it’s goood for you” assertions of any governmental agency having so little integrity that it allows and, tacitly or overtly, encourages this sort of attitude and behavior on the part of its employees toward the taxpaying citizens who fund its very existence?

Irish

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Huggins said...
But the overall point stands.

This isn't a new issue my friend. Even Bruce blogged about it in 2003. TSA currently has procedures, measures, layers, and partnerships to mitigate this risk. Is it 100%. No. Security can never be 100%. All TSA can do is reduce the risk and that is the business TSA is in. I really think your point is that the current risk associated with that vulnerability is to high.

Seems like a really watered down response. I'm afraid I am not allowed to outline the specifics of what is used to mitigate that risk or provide a risk assessment. I hope you understand Jim.

The least watered down response I have seen on this issue, even better then former administrator Kip Hawley's response to Bruce, has been from Blogger Bob in the top ten questions blog post.


Jim Huggins said...
Under SecureFlight, as I understand it, TSA is responsible for checking passenger manifests against the no-fly lists, and for only allowing people not on the lists to be able to print a boarding pass.

You are correct Jim. For anyone just entering the discussion or is unfamiliar with SecureFlight you can learn more here.

Jim Huggins said...
Boarding passes aren't authenticated at the time of screening.

Bar-Coded Boarding Passes are going to be the next step. Not a whole lot to discuss there, but this a good opportunity to make another point.

The boarding pass issue has been brought up a lot on this blog. I am very pleased to see that you guys(Jim, Keys, RB, TK, Phil, and others) happily and respectfully discuss, educate other posters, and keep this security issue in the forefront. Thanks guys.

Just to highlight one more thing. If you ever find or believe you have found a security vulnerability, please use the TSA Contact Us: Security Issues. You can mark it Urgent/Time Sensitive or All Other Security Issues.


Anonymous said...
TSA would like to hold passengers to a 100% standard, but when it comes to applying a standard to TSA, not so much.

In my opinion, I think government employees should be held to a higher standard then anyone. On a side not, your link doesn't support your argument. Seems to be some confusion running around this blog about the purpose of Red Team test.

“Many people think the purpose of covert testing is to catch an officer missing an object. While this makes surprising headlines in newspapers and scares the public, the reality is that covert testing is a tool to identify vulnerabilities in the system and uncover weaknesses of training, procedures or technology. It is not designed to test an individual officer or airport but to act as a measure of system-wide effectiveness and drive improvement through training.”

This TSA report card, from the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association, does a better job of furthering your argument :)

Enjoy your weekend guys.

-H2H

jerry said...

I was looking for the liquid limitations. I think the public will adapt no problem. May be some confusion at first, but it will settle in soon enough. Thanks for posting.

Jim Huggins said...

I wrote:

Boarding passes aren't authenticated at the time of screening.

HappyToHelp responded:

Bar-Coded Boarding Passes are going to be the next step.

Which means that, right now, the ID check doesn't provide any added assurance of security. Rolling out the mandatory ID check without the authentication for boarding passes still leaves the security hole in place.

Which you and I both understand. I just want TSA to tone down the rhetoric about how the mandatory ID check makes flying safer that before the mandatory ID check.

RB said...

ATTENTION TSORON;

I want to give you ample opportunity to respond. Just in case you missed this the first time around I am posting again.

I would rather settle this now but will escalate this if needed!

Would you please acknowledge this post.

RB

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

"RB said...
TSORon said...
RB: There is a significant difference between the type of "peer review" you suggest for TSA policies and that which we are doing for our discplinary process. Intimating otherwise is dishonest.

March 11, 2009 2:14 PM

TSORon before you call a citizen a dishonest person I suggest you consider the implications of that action!

Your comment is offensive and was directed to only myself.

I will not allow you to disparage me.

If you wish to retract your statement I will let this matter die quietly, otherwise I will be forced to take other action.

March 12, 2009 9:13 PM

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Happy To Help wrote: "This isn't a new issue my friend. Even Bruce blogged about it in 2003. TSA currently has procedures, measures, layers, and partnerships to mitigate this risk. Is it 100%. No. Security can never be 100%. All TSA can do is reduce the risk and that is the business TSA is in. I really think your point is that the current risk associated with that vulnerability is to high."

###

No reasonable person can expect 100% security from TSA. But TSA operatives seem to use it as a justification when they use "better safe than sorry" to take passenger's non-dangerous items.

I think I agree with you, if you mean the cost associated with the vulnerability is too high. TSA is in the business of security theatre--if they can portray a risk as plausible, then they can spend some millions of dollars reducing it.

You say you are not allowed to "provide a risk assessment", but from the outside, it seems that TSA doesn't do analysis of risks and costs.

Do you or anyone at TSA actually have some numbers on how much TSA reduces the risk? Rough costs of TSA are easy to get : 2,000,000 passengers per day times a 1 hour earlier arrival time means that TSA spends an equivalent of 3 70-year lifespans per day, or the entire productive lifetimes of 25 people every day.

How many lives is TSA saving, and how does that compare to how many you are spending? Given that we already armored the cockpit doors, and stopped letting hijackers fly the planes long before TSA, how much risk is left for TSA to reduce?

From the outside, it looks like TSA is wasting more lives than it saves. If you care about lives, the time and budget spent on TSA would be better spent on first-aid training or even aerobics training for 2,000,000 people per day.

Anonymous said...

"How many lives is TSA saving,"

Zero.

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Huggins said...
Which you and I both understand. I just want TSA to tone down the rhetoric about how the mandatory ID check makes flying safer that before the mandatory ID check.

I understand your position completely Jim. I disagree with you about the mandatory ID check not increasing security. One of the main reasons being that passengers who lost their VID or who never had a VID or any kind of identifying paperwork are now reasonably identified. I hope you can see a increase in security there. It really just boils down to your opinion on the effectiveness of the current watchlist.

Mr. Gel-pack said...
No reasonable person can expect 100% security from TSA. But TSA operatives seem to use it as a justification when they use "better safe than sorry" to take passenger's non-dangerous items.

To be able to comment on this part of your post, I need to know about the specific incident that you are referring to. Last time I made a reasonable assumption about one of your post, I got a tongue lashing from another TSA poster when I thought you and your wife were planning to fly from Canada back to the United States.

Mr. Gel-pack said...
I think I agree with you, if you mean the cost associated with the vulnerability is too high.

A lot of things are factored in. Not just cost.

Mr. Gel-pack said...
From the outside, it looks like TSA is wasting more lives than it saves. If you care about lives, the time and budget spent on TSA would be better spent on first-aid training or even aerobics training for 2,000,000 people per day.

I flat out disagree with you on this point. By law TSA is responsible for day-to-day screening operations for passenger air transportation 49 USC § 114(e).

The discussion needs to stay in that scope. If you want money for aerobics and first-aid training, you need to talk to Congress. Personally, I would start with your local city counsel. :)

If you want to learn more about TSA risk management, here is the site.

-H2H

Mr. Gel-pack said...

HTH @"I flat out disagree with you on this point. By law TSA is responsible for day-to-day screening operations for passenger air transportation 49 USC § 114(e)

The discussion needs to stay in that scope. If you want money for aerobics and first-aid training, you need to talk to Congress. Personally, I would start with your local city counsel. :)

If you want to learn more about TSA risk management, here is the site."

#########

I've used TRAVEL-like assessments (FMEA) on the engineering of automotive safety components, but we didn't have such cute acronyms. Where's the cost side of TSA's analysis?

The discussion needs to stay within that scope within TSA. But if you are going to say that TSA is worthwhile, you need to compare its costs and benefits to alternatives. 6B$/year, 100,000 employees and 2,000,000 passenger-hours per day is a significant cost to society. What does America get for that? Is it just 100,000 employees worth of financial stimulus? Could we divert that same effort to law enforcement and emergency response and save at least as many lives from terrorism outside of your checkpoints?

One part of the discussion that does belong here is "how good is the TSA"? Without all the nebulous handwaving, what are the benefits of the TSA?

If it is SSI that TSA is reducing the risk of a 9/11-scale disaster from once in 20 years to once in 18 years, how can we take the discussion to Congress?

How well you TSOs follow your own misdocumented procedures is a separate question from whether or not your procedures are worth doing in the first place.

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp writes:

I disagree with you about the mandatory ID check not increasing security. One of the main reasons being that passengers who lost their VID or who never had a VID or any kind of identifying paperwork are now reasonably identified. I hope you can see a increase in security there. It really just boils down to your opinion on the effectiveness of the current watchlist.

We're really far from the original topic, but since you bring it up:

1) As I've pointed out frequently, IDs are not being matched against the watchlist. IDs are being matched against unauthenticated pieces of paper, which may or may not have been matched against the watchlist. Yes, perhaps sometime in the future, there will be authentication of boarding passes. But right now, the watchlist is ineffective because anyone on the watchlist can easily circumvent it.

2) Even if I concede that point, why should it matter if someone is on the watchlist? If a known terrorist is sitting on an airplane, but TSA has made sure that they're not carrying anything that could be used as a weapon, what's the harm?

3) And even if I concede that point, what about terrorists who aren't on the watchlist? The watchlist contains names of people who have done something bad in the past; security is supposed to be looking at what people are going to do in the future.

I just get the feeling that the mandatory ID checks only catch stupid terrorists. And, ok, that's probably useful. But considering how easy it still is to get a passport with fake documents, I don't think that the current system would be difficult at all for someone with malicious intent to circumvent.

TSORon said...

Jim, I hope that all terrorists out there think just the same way that you do. That sure would make preventing the next attack that much easier.

Names are matched against watch lists. Not where or when you think, but it does take place. Not everything done for public safety in the air is done by the TSA, we are only the lead agency. Lots of people and orginizations are involved in someone getting a flight, and the TSA is only one.

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Huggins said...
“We're really far from the original topic, but since you bring it up:”

I tried my best to limit the discussion but so many things are connected it's almost impossible. LOL

1)I don't agree with you on this point. I don't think its easily circumvented. Using a stolen credit card to purchase a ticket or purchasing fake documents is a high risk terrorist activity in my opinion. This issue was pushed in heavy by the FBI in 2003. Here is a link to JOHN S. PISTOLE BEFORE THE
HOUSE SELECT COMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY
October 1, 2003. When the path of least resistants is a high risk undertaking, I don't see a bad thing there. The smart terrorist are going to be defeated before they reach the checkpoint. Every body else is fair game for TSA.

2) I'm not asking you to concede your point. I think you will find that our discussion has narrowed your point and has made it more specific. Thus, making it more productive for all parties concerned.
Instead of going into the “whys” of the US government using watchlist, lets go over why TSA uses watchlist. Under the Aviation Transportation Security Act, TSA was established and assumed the administrative responsibility for ensuring passengers are checked against information from government agencies Public 107-71, Nov. 19,2001, 115 Stat. 597.
In short, you need to amend the law in order for this to change. This is obviously the short answer. A entire book could be written on this subject and I have no doubt that many have.

3)Well thats why we have security. This is the last defense in such a case. The controversy is how much security do we need? There is no easy answer here. The President and Congress would have taken that route a long time ago.

I believe this has covered your main concerns. I know the system can look chaotic at times, but a lot of hard work and analysis has gone into it.

To: Mr. Gel-pack

From what I've discerned from your last post Mr. Gel-pack, you want me to justify the very existence of TSA in one comment under a blog post section. Then, you find a vague connection between the very existence of TSA and the particular situation you had with a Gel-pack.

When the discussion goes that far up, you are really discussing security theory(Theory of Security). Here is a lecture by Dr. Tom O'Connor Program Manager of CJ and Homeland Security Director , Institute for Global Security Studies Austin Peay State University Ctr. At Fort Campbell.

Other then learning about security theory and United States national security plan, there is nothing worth wild to discuss about the subject. I'll be honest. I find the stuff boring and way out of the scope of this blog. Hope you understand Mr. Gel-pack.

Just a warning to people following this topic. I only post on the front topics. When this blog goes into the archives, I will no longer respond.

-H2H

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

HappyToHelp writes:

I don't agree with you on this point. I don't think its easily circumvented.

Then you need to read about how easy it was for
Jeffrey Goldberg and Bruce Schneier
to use forged boarding passes to get through a checkpoint in November 2008.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

H2H, I don't need you to justify the whole of TSA in a blog comment, I want to see that somewhere, someone is justifying the existence of TSA better than the standard TSA booster refrains of "It's SSI" or "Because we think it matters", "we work hard", "we're nice people", "trust us", "if it only saves one life, its worth it".

Respectable security people point out defects with TSA, (here) and TSA responds with a data-free press release.

Kip said "Thanks for not taking a shot at me on my risk management point that even if we are just stopping dumb terrorists, we are reducing risk. You didn’t go for a clever rhetorical gimme, but instead raised the good point about transferring risk to outside the airport environment. That is a worthy discussion for another time."

Where has TSA taken up this "worthy discussion"?

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Huggins said...
“Then you need to read about how easy it was for
Jeffrey Goldberg and Bruce Schneier to use forged boarding passes to get through a checkpoint in November 2008.”


I have read it Jim and my previous response shows that I did(mentioned stolen credit cards). Is there anything specific you want to talk about in the article? Mr. Gel-pack has provided a link to the blog post that directly responds to “The Things He Carried” by Jeffery Goldberg. Thanks Mr. Gel-pack.

Mr. Gel-pack said...
“H2H, I don't need you to justify the whole of TSA in a blog comment,...”

Ohh, thank goodness. :) I was getting worried about you for a second.

Mr. Gel-pack said...
“I want to see that somewhere, someone is justifying the existence of TSA better than the standard TSA booster refrains of "It's SSI" or "Because we think it matters", "we work hard", "we're nice people", "trust us", "if it only saves one life, its worth it".”

Just depends on the subject. Jim and me had a pretty good discussion while I had to kabuki dance around SSI and classified material. If you or Jim asked direct questions about the “No-fly” list, thats classified material and nothing could be said about it. If Jim asked me about exact Ticket Document Checker procedures, I would say that it's SSI and move on. I try to link to as much information in the public domain as possible to push my points and arguments. If thats not good enough for you Mr. Gel-pack, your in the wrong place. If you don't understand the limits of discussion in this blog comment section, you can never have any productive dialogue here.

What was productive about the discussion with Jim? Well it showed that people out there think the risk of “No-fly” list circumvention is to high and the solution of boarding pass scanners isn't coming soon enough. Thats useful information.

Just my 2 cents,

-H2H

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp:

I'm sorry if my point wasn't clear.

You wrote some time ago, regarding the possibility of circumventing the ID check:

I don't think its easily circumvented. Using a stolen credit card to purchase a ticket or purchasing fake documents is a high risk terrorist activity in my opinion.

And that's why I brought up the Schneier article. Schneier didn't use a stolen credit card to purchase a ticket or purchase fake ID in order to get past security. He used his own, lawfully obtained, genuine ID card, along with a fake boarding pass, presumably generated in the privacy of his own home. And he wasn't challenged in the least.

Your statement that "I don't think it [the ID check] is easily circumvented" seems to be in direct contradiction with the ease with which Schneier avoided the ID check. That's my point.

TSA's official response implicitly concedes this vulnerability, while meekly offering that "Boarding pass scanners and encryption are being tested in eight airports now and more will be coming." Surely it's not SSI to say "yes, this is a weakness in our system, and someone is working on it."?

HappyToHelp said...

HappyToHelp said...
"I don't think its easily circumvented."

I misunderstood your comment about this statement and I want to clarify my original statement. I don't think that people who are on the “No-fly” list can easily circumvent the system in order to fly.

”The Things He Carried” by Jeff Goldberg
“To slip through the only check against the no-fly list, the terrorist uses a stolen credit card to buy a ticket under a fake name. “Then you print a fake boarding pass with your real name on it and go to the airport. You give your real ID, and the fake boarding pass with your real name on it, to security.”

HappyToHelp said...
"Using a stolen credit card to purchase a ticket or purchasing fake documents is a high risk terrorist activity in my opinion."

This is a direct response to the statement by Bruce.

Jim Huggins
Surely it's not SSI to say "yes, this is a weakness in our system, and someone is working on it."?

I hope you didn't believe that I meant that boarding passes are verified at the checkpoint. Boarding passes are not verified(in general) at the checkpoint. This is all the article proved. You are right. Jeff and Bruce did not use stolen credit cards or fake documents to purchase the ticket. That fact does not further their argument and actually hurts it. Did they defeat the “ID triangle”? Are Bruce and Jeff on the “No-fly” list? Did splashing water on Jeff's face beat the Behavioral Detection Program? Bruce has been a very vocal TSA critic. He wants more money for TSA's partners(Law Enforcement, FBI, CIA, ect....) but cuts TSA's partners out of the picture in his test.

Trust me, I am very glad they didn't find someone on the “No-fly” list, steal credit cards, and try to get that person through security without being hassled. The test didn't prove the premise. From what I got from the article, the premise is “a person on the “No-fly” list can still fly easily using Bruce's method”.

In short, vulnerability? Yes. High risk. No. Is that heel and toe with official TSA responses. I don't know. I believe this strongly and I wouldn't comment on this issue unless I did. I hope my track record backs me up on this.

Ohhh... and... Yes, this is a weakness in our system, and someone is working on it.

I mentioned that in my post March 15, 2009 10:03 AM


March 15, 2009 10:03 AM HappyToHelp said...
“I really think your point is that the current risk associated with that vulnerability is to high.”
“Bar-Coded Boarding Passes are going to be the next step.”


If you still have concerns about anything the Atlantic article brought up, just let me know.

Thanks,

-H2H

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp writes:

I don't think that people who are on the “No-fly” list can easily circumvent the system in order to fly.

I don't see how you can draw that conclusion. The method that Schneier et. al. used could just as easily be used by someone on the no-fly list.

Did they defeat the “ID triangle”? Are Bruce and Jeff on the “No-fly” list?

How would you or I know if Bruce or Jeff is on the no-fly list? Neither of us has access to that list. And, more importantly, the ID checker at the checkpoint doesn't have access to the list, either, so when Bruce and Jeff produce their valid IDs, there's no means for the ID checker to know whether or not they were on the list.

Ohhh... and... Yes, this is a weakness in our system, and someone is working on it.

Thanks for conceding the point. :)

Mr. Gel-pack said...

HappyToHelp said...
"Using a stolen credit card to purchase a ticket or purchasing fake documents is a high risk terrorist activity in my opinion."

This was a direct response to the statement by Bruce.

###

And Brude said:
The closest thing to a real response from Hawley is that the terrorists might get caught stealing credit cards.

"Using stolen credit cards and false documents as a way to get around watch-lists makes the point that forcing terrorists to use increasingly risky tactics has its own security value."

He's right about that. And, truth be told, that was my sloppiest answer during the original interview. Thinking about it afterwards, it's far more likely is that someone with a clean record and a legal credit card will buy the various plane tickets. (end Bruce)

####

For a $60 short-hop ticket, a No-Fly-List person can check if an accomplice can buy a ticket for him.

The scenario in "Trust me, I am very glad they didn't find someone on the “No-fly” list, steal credit cards, and try to get that person through security without being hassled. The test didn't prove the premise. From what I got from the article, the premise is “a person on the “No-fly” list can still fly easily using Bruce's method” is one Bruce discarded as unlikely, since it is much cheaper and easier to use someone with a clean record to buy the tickets.


And you said: "If thats not good enough for you Mr. Gel-pack, your in the wrong place. If you don't understand the limits of discussion in this blog comment section, you can never have any productive dialogue here."

Is the right place to discuss the merits of TSA to join the DHS or congress and work up to the level where the vaunted experts discuss that? If this blog is limited to repackaging TSA PR, what use is it?

What do you see as the limits of discussion in this blog?

Anonymous said...

SO, is 0.4oz of liquid a deadly threat, or a non-issue? Or is it somehow possible that 0.4oz of deadly liquid can remain harmless until triggered by passing into US airspace. I find this quite intriguing.

Ryan62 said...

Irish,
I must take exception to your statement that,
"Every one of us knows, and acknowledges, that liquid explosives exist."

As someone who reads this blog you surely know there are continous howls that "there is no threat from liquid explosives." My comments have been directed at those who are in a state of denial that liquid explosives are a threat of any sort.
Yes, the laser technology is in use in Japan and elsewhere, but as has been mentioned it requires clear bottles. That is a limitation.
You might not mind cracking the top of your bottle of Deer Park, but that doesn't make it a universal truth that no one will mind. Moving to a system as you envision will create new problems and ultimately would be a stop gap measure (much as the current system is) my hope, and I of course could be wrong is that TSA is working more towards a end solution. As has been mentioned here and else where on TSA's website they are hoping to lift the liquid ban.

To address one of the Anons that challenged me to provide some proof that liquid explosives are viable I would point to KAL 858, where the party in question managed to transport 700ml of PLX (a liquid explosive) safely and place it on board an airliner. I can't think of any more proof that its possible than the simple fact it has been done.

And for MR Gel-pack with regards to your desired cost benefit analysis. The problem is not as simple as you seem to want to make it. Even if TSA didn't exist there would still be security of some sort, just like there was before TSA. Costs, time, efficiency would all still be in play, its not an all or nothing game. People would still be arriving at the Airport an hour or so early like they did before (or at least were encouraged to) and its not fair to hold that entire time before a flight as chargeable to TSA for "wasted time" I typically arrive 1 1/2 to 2 hours before my flight, after I clear security which as been taking me 20 minutes or usually much less my time on the sterile side is spent productively, I plan accordingly so it wouldn't be fair to hold TSA accountable for the supposed "wasted time" because I didn't waste it. If you choose to waste your time once you clear security thats more your fault than TSAs.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Ryan62@"And for MR Gel-pack with regards to your desired cost benefit analysis. The problem is not as simple as you seem to want to make it. Even if TSA didn't exist there would still be security of some sort, just like there was before TSA. Costs, time, efficiency would all still be in play, its not an all or nothing game. People would still be arriving at the Airport an hour or so early like they did before (or at least were encouraged to) and its not fair to hold that entire time before a flight as chargeable to TSA for "wasted time" I typically arrive 1 1/2 to 2 hours before my flight, after I clear security which as been taking me 20 minutes or usually much less my time on the sterile side is spent productively, I plan accordingly so it wouldn't be fair to hold TSA accountable for the supposed "wasted time" because I didn't waste it. If you choose to waste your time once you clear security thats more your fault than TSAs."

Economists do do these analyses, and have found effects like TSA's additional security procedures have cost society on the order of 100 lives, just in making it easier to drive rather than fly. I got to the 2,000,000 passenger hours because TSA's requirements added an additional hour to the pre-TSA recommendation of 1 hour.

How much better is TSA security and how much more does it cost us than what the airlines were doing before?

From the outside, it looks like TSA isn't adding any actual extra safety, and it is costing us lots. Real costs and statistics are all TSA SSI. From the TSA, we get hand-waving justifications like Bob saying "When it comes to security, identity matters".

As for my particular job, TSA has made in-and-out 1-travel day meetings impossible, and a simple meeting cost twice as much: it is doubled to two travel days. You want TSA to take responsibility for things like that? Or only what the TSA asks for: 1 extra hour early?

James said...

I am thinking to bring a hand sanitizer with me when I board an international flight next time. I looked all places, such as CVS, K-mart, for hand sanitizer gels. Only 4 fl oz gel can be found. Does hand sanitizer be considered as for persional medical use, which can be exampted by the 3 fl oz rule? Please help!

Jon L. said...

Hello Bob,

I was wondering how the TSA makes regulatory changes. For example, for this change, can it simply issue its equivalent of a decision letter, like the DoJ or the FTC? Or does it need to promulgate a new Federal Regulation?

I'm asking because I can't find any reference in the CFR to either the 3oz or 3.4oz limit, and I would like to think that it needs to publish these changes officially, somewhere. A direct citation would be much appreciated.

Thank you!

-Jon

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