Friday, March 20, 2009

Gate Screening

Many travelers have noticed that strange things are afoot at departure gates across the nation. Should you pack your tinfoil hats? Nope… Save them for December 21, 2012 when the Martians attack.

Anybody who keeps up with TSA knows that static security is not our cup of 3.4 oz. tea. We’re constantly evolving in an effort to make things more difficult and unpredictable for those wishing to do us harm. And that’s the case here. Over 2 years ago, we started an employee screening program that included unpredictable gate screening. Just recently, we strengthened our layers of security by increasing the frequency of gate screening. Travelers haven’t seen this much gate activity since TSA rolled out in 2002, so people are taking notice.

In some cases, travelers have become concerned about the safety of their flight after being selected for gate screening. There’s no reason to worry. It’s not being screened due to any specific threats.

Gate screening allows us to screen anybody who has access to the aircraft. Oh yeah, and there are signs at the checkpoint or at the gates informing passengers they may be subjected to gate screening.

Blogger Bob

EoS Blog Team

148 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great, now we get to go past you guys twice.

grahamstravelblog said...

Random gate screenings I can deal with. Please don't start with the mandatory gate screenings that strip you of all liquids like they have in Amsterdam.

Alan said...

This additional gate screening is a pointless and needless harassment of passengers. Please stop it.

HappyToHelp said...

Blogger Bob said...
“Should you pack your tinfoil hats? Nope… Save them for December 21, 2012 when the Martians attack.”

If we do decide to pack tinfoil hats, will they set off the walk through metal detector?

If you have infants, it is recommended to use the tinfoil water-cooled hat for protecting your baby from government mind control.

Sorry guys. A friend of mine sent me that picture a while ago and I couldn't resist using it.

Carry on.

-H2H

Anonymous said...

At the checkpoint, there are security cameras/footage which can be reviewed in the event of wrongdoing (theft from a bag, inappropriate behavior/patdown, etc.) by a TSA screener.

Not so at the gate! What happens if/when a screener steals something from a passenger, acts inappropriately, or whatever, at the gate? There's no video documentation, so what recourse does a passenger have, it's just one word against the other!

And then you risk missing your flight if you have to go back to the checkpoint to get a supervisor!

I, for one, don't care for any sort of screening away from an official checkpoint, where a passenger has at least *some* safeguards (e.g., video surveillance) against being wrongfully treated!

(Yes, I know a passenger can also behave badly, but my concern is more for theft by a TSA screener, which has a higher potential of happening than the other way around)

Gate screening is wrong in any number of ways, it is pointless, and is in place to ensure that the TSA workforce is always busy, thus minimizing chances of funding/hiring reductions.

It basically also implies that they can't trust themselves to do the job right the first time at the checkpoint!

Anonymous said...

A) "Gate screening allows us to screen anybody who has access to the aircraft." - when was the last time you gate screened a pilot or those people with ear protection that seem to always be running up and down the gangway?

B) With what frequency have you found dangerous articles during gate screening, and how did you fix your main security screening process to ensure these articles don't make it through in the future?

I am being somewhat snide with (A), but I would really like you to address (B).

Beth said...

If you can't locate something at the checkpoint with the help of a metal detectors and x-ray machines, why would we believe that you could catch it at the gate?

If you're worried about an employee sneaking in something to a passenger, why aren't you screening all employees?

Chris Boyce said...

OK, here are some basic questions. Folks, let's keep track of how many of them actually get answered fully and truthfully.

1. Will you confiscate dangerous 16 ounce bottles of Coke that we bought after the checkpoint? Will we have to produce a receipt?

2. What is our recourse if your gate screening causes us to miss our flight?

3. How are you going to fulfill your obligations to change gloves and provide a private screening when a passenger selected for this harassment requires one or both?

4. How will you gate-screen a handicapped passenger?

5. What legal reviews has this undergone? Since this is an initiation of a separate second screening, we can refuse to be screened and be escorted from the secure area, right?

6. How are you maintaining your obligations to keep the required number of checkpoints open when a large number of screeners are required for this latest harassment?

7. Who, by name and position, authorized this?

8. Who, by name and position, decided that this harassment was more important to national security than 100% screening of air cargo?

Eric said...

This is one of the more useless blog posts in a while. Would you care to offer some justification for screening people twice?

(and on a Friday afternoon too I see)

Anonymous said...

@Bob Nice display of disdain for citizens there.

1 of 500

DCA TSO M said...

No this isn't exactly like the checkpoint. Atleast not from my personal experiences. When I do Gate Screening, the team sent out assumes that everyone has already been put through. . . . I mean patted down & had their belongings checked. I believe we we're told this is just a Pilot Program.

However, we still do the pat down & rarely do a wanding on the person.

IMO, I like it & I don't like it. I don't like it b/c it's in front of everybody or other passengers & to me that's too invasive or bothersome, I can't explain in words. It invades their privacy.

I like it b/c it makes people I guess feel anxious or bad b/c we're doing it again. While 99% of us aren't terrorists there will be that 1% that will stick out. And I can see how Gate Screening would actually come in handy.

Anonymous said...

Funny post. I had no idea the Martians were attacking in 2012.

RB said...

Anybody who keeps up with TSA knows that static security is not our cup of 3.4 oz. tea.
....................


Demitasse tea cups for the same measure of security.

Anonymous said...

(OP)
>>Save them for December
>>21, 2012 when the >>Martians attack.

You guys are officially nuts.

(OP)
>>We’re constantly >>evolving in an effort to >>make things more >>difficult

No doubting you there.

(DCA TSO M)
>>I like it b/c it makes >>people I guess feel >>anxious or bad b/c we're >>doing it again.

Where's the "bang head" smilie when you need it?


>>Not so at the gate! What >>happens if/when a >>screener steals >>something from a >>passenger, acts >>inappropriately, or >>whatever, at the gate? >>There's no video >>documentation, so what >>recourse does a >>passenger have, it's >>just one word against >>the other!

I think it's safe to assume the sterile areas are covered by video surveillance, as are most places out in public these days.

Anonymous said...

I saw these random screenings going on in SEA one time. The screeners used some gadget on someone's coffee, was kind of amuzing to watch. Not wanting to participate, I simply walked across to an adjacent gate until they left just prior to boarding. It would have been interesting talking to them though if they had pulled me aside and checked my "papers". I had a one-day itinerary from SAT-IAH-SEA-IAH-SAT with no bags checked or carried on. I'm sure I would have been flagged as "suspicious" even though what I was doing was perfectly legal (a 4000+ mileage run for elite status). That's what I hate about this "let's bust everyone who looks 'out of the ordinary'" police state we're becoming.

Where does it end, TSA? Risk is part of life. At what point do we say security is "good enough" and live with it without having to put up with new pointless procedures all the time every time we fly (or soon use any form of transportation)?

RB said...

DCA TSO M said...
No this isn't exactly like the checkpoint. Atleast not from my personal experiences. When I do Gate Screening, the team sent out assumes that everyone has already been put through. . . . I mean patted down & had their belongings checked. I believe we we're told this is just a Pilot Program.

However, we still do the pat down & rarely do a wanding on the person.

IMO, I like it & I don't like it. I don't like it b/c it's in front of everybody or other passengers & to me that's too invasive or bothersome, I can't explain in words. It invades their privacy.

I like it b/c it makes people I guess feel anxious or bad b/c we're doing it again. While 99% of us aren't terrorists there will be that 1% that will stick out. And I can see how Gate Screening would actually come in handy.

March 20, 2009 8:27 PM

....................
So it actually is a pilot program even though Bob said it was not.

You like making people feel bad? Is that a security objective now?

1% of us are not terrorist. The number is so much smaller that all of what TSA does is useless.

Screen those who go unscreened! TSA employees, all airline employees, and all other airport workers. You know, the ones with the greatest opportunity to introduce contraband to an airplane.

While your at it, how about screening the cargo that is loaded on almost all passenger airplanes by those loaders who are not screened.

Just Pathetic!

RB said...

I really didn't think anyone could best Kip Hawley at security mismanagement.

Gosh, was I wrong!

TSORon said...

TSA personnel are screened every day. Airline employee's are screened every day. Neither are getting on aircraft and flying somewhere.

Both TSA employees and Airline employee's undergo extensive background checks prior to employment, whereas passengers do not.

The additional screening Bob discusses in his post has been going on for quite some time, but has been stepped up significantly in the last month or so, and not just for passengers.

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

What legal reviews has this undergone?
All searches including gate screening is legally authorized under the following sections of the United States Code:

*6 USC §112
*49 USC §114
*49 USC §44901
*49 USC §44903
*49 USC §44917

And again...
Good ole'...
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter XII

Anonymous said...

Bob - face reality. Its budget season in DC. This one's going to be a tough one. So TSA have increased the "security theatre" to both scare the public into supporting a larger TSA, and justify your current existence. If the checkpoints are working ( as claimed) and there's no new threat (as you stated) then this money would be better spent closing the open gaps - not duplicating effort just for the sake of being visible.

Anonymous said...

DCA TSO M said...
...
I like it b/c it makes people I guess feel anxious or bad b/c we're doing it again. While 99% of us aren't terrorists there will be that 1% that will stick out. And I can see how Gate Screening would actually come in handy.
-----------------------
Considering you have never found a terrorist, it would be interesting to know how you can tell the anxious 99% from the anxious 1%. (I know it is SSI). I am hoping that you are not using the basis that anyone who is anxious is suspicious.

But if you have never caught a terrorist, maybe your model is wrong.

GSOLTSO said...

Oohhh Ohhhh Chris Boyce! Pick me for some of the answers, pick me!!! Here are some of the answers for you, the others will have to come from someone at a higher pay grade.

1. Not unless it has been modified into something dangerous.

2. The only reason a passenger should miss their flight during gate screening is if there is a prohibited item that requires a Supervisory notification (like a gun, a large knife or other dangerous object like explosives).

3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pockets. The private screening requirement would be handled on a case by case basis and could be handled in the immediate area if an office or similiar area out of public view is readily available. I am not saying that there would never be a situation where it would not cause a passenger to be late, but if the TSO's on the scene are on the ball, they can have the resolution in a matter of minutes.

4. The same way I would at the checkpoint, with care, courtesy and following the rules. A handicapped person is not a real challenge, they are just someone that is flying that needs to be cleared, and in some situations you just need to be more aware of the persons specific needs.

5. Patrick beat me to this one, so I will refer you to his post.

6. I can only speak for my airport on this one, we have not suffered any problems for staffing as a result of the gate screening. It is merely an integral part of the system and has been incorporated into our daily staffing.

7. This is one of those questions to be answered by a higher pay grade.

8. Refer to answer number 7.

I do love the tinfoil water cooled hat, that kid is stylin'. Hope these answers helped resolve some of the questions you had Chris, and if I can be of any more help just let me know.

Jim Huggins said...

TSORon writes:

TSA personnel are screened every day. Airline employee's are screened every day. Neither are getting on aircraft and flying somewhere.

Only some airline employees are screened:


"The Star-Ledger has reported that airline employees at Newark Liberty International Airport have been implicated in drug smuggling and theft cases, and detailed how workers' bags are given only cursory checks at one Terminal C access point before the employees are waved into secure areas.

"'The fact that pilots and flight attendants undergo security every time they fly, but those who handle cargo, luggage and have access to planes on the tarmac face little or no screening seems to simply defy common sense,' [U.S. Senator Robert] Menendez wrote.

"Security experts and some public officials have demanded airport workers undergo the same type of security screenings as passengers. TSA officials have said passenger lines would increase if all workers had to pass through regular security checkpoints.


It doesn't appear that nearly as many airline employees are screened as you might think.

Both TSA employees and Airline employee's undergo extensive background checks prior to employment, whereas passengers do not.

How do you know your passengers haven't had background checks? TSA doesn't allow them to present their credentials at a checkpoint to avoid screening.

Furthermore, TSA doesn't even trust its own background checks ... because if a TSA employee or airline employee approaches a checkpoint while off-duty, they have to be screened just like everyone else. Of course, the next morning, when they report to work, they'll be trusted again.

Anonymous said...

What the two screenings? Are you saying that the security check point doesn't catch all the bad stuff? If yes, then fix that and not have us, the travels, jump through more hoops.

If one gets pulled aside for additional screen and then there is no room on the plane for our carry on and causes us to have to check a bag, who is going to pay the baggage fee?

Are you going the additional screening because employees at the airport are not always screen and therefore cause pass items the the traveler? If so fix that area!!

Oh, that is right, at PHX during the night they let any airport employee / vendor walk right through the security checkpoint because there wasn't enough staff, so we the travelers have to pay the price for it.

What is the real reason behind this? It is budget time and TSA / homeland security is calling for higher "TAX" on each ticket, oh that's right, it is called a security fee.

Do the job right the first time, it cost less in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Quote:
"and is in place to ensure that the TSA workforce is always busy, thus minimizing chances of funding/hiring reductions."

Uh, 1st you complain that TSOs are standing around, now you complain when they do additional screening.

Quote: "Since this is an initiation of a separate second screening, we can refuse to be screened and be escorted from the secure area, right?"

Correct. Since signs (which by the way, HAVE undergone legal review) are posted at the gates or gate entrances, if you refuse screening, you will NOT be allowed to fly.

TSM

TSO Jacob said...

Anonymous said...”Yes, I know a passenger can also behave badly, but my concern is more for theft by a TSA screener, which has a higher potential of happening than the other way around)”

I have been with TSA for 5 years. In all that time my coworkers and I have only been accused of stealing twice. The first time the police (yes, we call the police when you accuse us of this kind of thing) found the woman’s missing ring in her own shoe. She didn’t realize that she put it in her own shoe so naturally she wanted accuse TSA of theft. The second time the police found the man’s Rolex in his own pocket.

Jannis said...

Anonymous said...”Where does it end, TSA? Risk is part of life. At what point do we say security is "good enough" and live with it without having to put up with new pointless procedures all the time every time we fly?”

It sounds to me like you hit it on the head. Most of the posts I have read on this blog are sent in by people who are only angry with TSA because security is stricter than it was before September 11, 2001. The reality of life in the 21st century is that the United States government has exactly two choices, 1) To make it citizens safer by increasing security (regardless of skeptical whining this is what TSA has done) or 2) To allow its citizens to die at the hands of radicals.

The choice is ours. Risk is a part of life and if we as Americans fully accept this fact then TSA can ease off their security measures. As I recall, in the days and weeks following 9-11 the American people rose up and demanded that the government protect them. This is why TSA was created. If you really want to get rid of TSA then you need to convince your fellow Americans that you and they should be willing to give your lives so that you can wear your shoes through the checkpoint and take your own water bottle on the plane.

Sandra said...

"3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pockets."

Not satisfactory. The new gloves MUST come out of a box of guaranteed fresh gloves and not from your pocket. Otherwise, how can we be certain they are new and have not been used before? Besides the fact that heaven only knows what's been in your pocket before the gloves.

Anonymous said...

"While 99% of us aren't terrorists there will be that 1% that will stick out."

A) You are saying 1% of us ARE terrorists? That is 1 out of a hundred, that means at least one on average on [almost] every commercial flight!

B) Terrorists stick out? Only an incompetent terrorist sticks out before they do their thing. The must functional get appointed to UPPER LEVEL positions at TSA in order to indoctrinate people in fear and terror over things that don't exist in order to further their poltiical goals. (Look up the definition of terrorist sometime)

Anonymous said...

Today, in response to repeated requests oven the past month for a description of policies regarding patting down or strip-searching children, Bob wrote:

"You can opt out for WTMD screening and when necessary you may get a pat-down."

Bob, your answer is extremely misleading. Previously, you said that people would be presented with two alternatives: 1) pat-down, 2) electronic strip search. There was no "may" about it.

Is it or is it not the case that at the 19 aforementioned airports, everyone, including children, who wishes to pass through TSA's checkpoint will be subject either to a pat-down or to electronic imaging that allows operators to see through that person's clothing?

Forget_the_drama_Give_me_the_traua said...

GSOLTSO


3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pockets. The private screening requirement would be handled on a case by case basis and could be handled in the immediate area if an office or similiar area out of public view is readily available. I am not saying that there would never be a situation where it would not cause a passenger to be late, but if the TSO's on the scene are on the ball, they can have the resolution in a matter of minutes.


Thats just plain disgusting and most certainly not acceptable BSI procedures as set forth my the CDC for usage of gloves for protection. Reasoning being is that there bacteria count in your pockets is about the same as your mouth or arm pit. That and them being in your pocket causes them to break down from the friction from your movement. That breakdown causes the gloves to be less effective and leads to them picking up even more bacteria that can be transmitted to other persons or surfaces.

That is also the same complaint i have with TSA employees who dont change there gloves after each person because all there actions are doing is spreading disease and bacteria to the rest of the traveling public. I cant tell you how many TSOs get bent out of shape when I ask them to change there gloves. When they throw the attitude I just call for there supe and pull out the photo of what happened to my hands after a trip through LAX T4where I picked up some weird organism that caused the skin on my hands to blister up and peel off. That normally gets them to change there gloves. That and its about time for me to do another round of swab tests CP to see if the sanitation standards of CP has improved or gotten worse in the last year.


You should really think about getting a glove pouch like EMS professionals use because the liner to those pouches is lined with antimicrobial material as well isn't in a area that is going to get a lot of friction that will damage/destroy the gloves. They fit on your belt.

Food for thought

Gunner said...

The Patriot Act and TSA: Turning citizens into suspects since 2001

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said "@Bob Nice display of disdain for citizens there.

1 of 500"

That wasn;t even close to disdain, this is disdain - http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&defl=en&q=define:disdain&ei=uYjFScYO4MuZB_2-3dwL&sa=X&oi=glossary_definition&ct=title.

It is REALLY nice to see someone can count past the "1 of 5 or 6".

RB said...

GSOLTSO said... in part...

3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pockets.
.......................
Those gloves are soiled if they come out of your pockets and before handling my stuff you will be expected to obtain a clean, from the orginal container, pair.

Who knows what filth inhabits your pockets!

NACSAR Shop Scott said...

I, for one, am tired of hearing people whine about their "invasion of privacy" and complain about the "hassel" of "needless" screening.

I fly very frequently in my business and am more than happy to comply with any additional screening measures.

I feel a whole lot safer knowing that airport authorities are doing everything they can to keep my flights as safe as possible and think switching things up on an ongoing basis is the wise thing to do.

If you don't like it, don't fly!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:

"Yes, I know a passenger can also behave badly, but my concern is more for theft by a TSA screener, which has a higher potential of happening than the other way around."

Actually, in my experience it is more than likely that a passenger will act "badly", than a TSO will steal from someone - that I am aware of. Of course, this is just my opinion, as what you stated was yours, and I doubt that either of us could change the other's mind.

Anonymous wrote:

"With what frequency have you found dangerous articles during gate screening, and how did you fix your main security screening process to ensure these articles don't make it through in the future."

I can't tell you what frequency prohibited items have been found - but I know when we have done it from time to time we have found things such as knives, etc. Why? Whether you (or anyone else for that matter)likes it or not, nothing is perfect. Can you name one person, one organization, one group that is 100% all the time? I can not. On average 2 million people fly each day. If everyone at TSA were on their game 99% of the time, that still alot of potential for harmful items to get through the checkpoint.

You ask what has been done to make sure these items won't get through in the future? There are many options: gate screening is one. It recognizes the fact that no system/person/organization is perfect, that things might get missed. It is what TSA has talked about alot - the layers of security. Think about it, if the checkpoint was perfect, we really wouldn't need flight marshals, would we? It is just a fact, not opinion, that no system is perfect. It is an opinion that this type of gate screen is a less invasive way to try to ensure (notice I wrote "try") harmful items don't make it on the plane, than other possible ways, such as mandatory full body pat-downs and property "dumps" at the check point, which would most like be more effective at preventing prohibited items from passing through. But doing that isn't really that practical, is it?

Another means is to get better technology. People don't talk about it much, but many of the X-Ray machines TSA uses are very old technology. They were not designed to help detect IED and their components. They were designed to help find knives, guns, etc. There are the new AT (Advanced Technology) X-Rays that are specifically designed to help find IED's. But these are very expensive. Not all airports have them, and those that do, they only have a few. For the most part TSA is stuck using older technology untill Congress authorizes TSA to upgrade all their X-Rays. But there is still the human factor; they will run the X-Rays; will they be 100% all the time? Of course not. No one is.


In answer to what Chris Boyce wrote:

1. Thats just a silly question.
2. In all the gate screening I have done I have not seen anyone miss their flight. But if they do it is because they have a prohibited item. It should be obvious by now to everyone not to bring knives, guns, etc., through a checkpoint. I am not trying to be callous, but think what you want. And it should be noted that we are just not forcing this on the airlines. They have some say in it too. The airlines were consulted before this began, and we are actually under guidelines as to how to conduct gate screening that the airlines approved.
3. New gloves. Really? Its not hard to carry a box of new gloves down there with you. And there are always private rooms/offices there that the airlines let us use for private screening.

4. Why would screening "handicapped" individuals be any different there or at the gate? Obviously we can't bring an X-Ray or ETD machine with us, but besides that they are screened the same. And I would like to note, that in my experience, "handicapped" passengers are usually very pleasant people to screen. Please don't project your fears onto others...

5. The court system (up to the Supreme Court) has ruled for nearly 30 years that government agents can screen anyone inside an airport, who is past the checkpoint, I believe (its late, I'm not going to look it up, you can). But yes, you can refuse screening. TSA policy is to accept that, contact a supervisor, who will contact a LEO, and hand you off to them (however, often times when someone refuses screen, so as not to get a LEO involved, I have seen STSO escort the individual out past the checkpoint).

6. Annual enplanement determines the number of TSO's at an airport, and then the "budget" has to be authorized each year by congress. But gate screening is a more random thing, time of the day, heavy trafic, other factors are taken into account when it is done. I can say in my airport it has not caused a problem with staffing.

7. Actually couldn't tell you, but that like you asking me who decided TSA should use any particular procedure. I am sure, as with everything, it was a 'group' effort, and decided pretty high up (doesn't mean they made the correct decision).

8. "Harassment"...hmmm. Letting your personal bias out, are we? Well to answer your question, all screening is important. But are you implying that because TSA didn't start in 2002 fully up and running, that that is... unusual? Each year TSA has grown. We had no BAO's, no BDO's, STI's, ATI's, etc., for many years. I do know and can tell you TSA is pushing for fully screening cargo. I know for a fact our Hub would like to hire more cargo screeners. As of yet congress has not authorized a budget for both the personal or the equipment needed (and the expense for training those people). Believe it or not TSA would like to add thousand of cargo inspectors onto its payrolls; I find it odd that I see in the news particular members of congress complaining about TSA not screening cargo fully when that memnber of congress won't authorize the money for it.

Oops, sorry this was so long. I'll stop here!

Kate said...

Airport Security is the most important function at any airport.
While being screened at
checkpoints is not fun, we do it, it's a necessity in this crazy world.

However, gate screening is wrong. If a passenger has contraband at the gate, he/she got it from someone on the inside, i.e. airport, TSA, concession, maintenance,etc. employee. If a passenger got through TSA checkpoint the first time with contraband, then the TSA needs to reevaluate the people and procedures they use to screen passengers.

TSA should not waste precious time and manpower gate checking passengers, but instead, use that time to check airport workers.

The people who frightened me the most are the maintenance crews, cleaning crews and concessions employees. They have unprecedented access in most airport terminals with no one paying attention to them.

And one more thing (before I get off my soap box), nobody is screening people walking into the terminals before the checkpoints. A terrorist or a psychopath could just waltz in and start gunning people down, like what happened at LAX in 2002 when Hesham Hadayet walked into TBIT and killed 2 people at the ElAl ticket counter with a .45

If TSA is unable to check and double check airport employees (meaning anyone who works in the terminals beyond checkpoint and ground crews)then there will always be a threat of contraband in the sterile area.

Just recently a maintenance worker at LAX was arrested for smuggling illegals into the USA. Taking them to a restricted access area after they arrived so they wouldnt have to go through US customs. And to think this worker has unlimited access to secured areas.

Eric said...

So, what you're admitting by instituting this policy is that every single other policy you've instituted thus far is USELESS, and the line that passengers have to wait in, walk on the filthy floor in bare feet at, and get screamed at by screeners who can't be bothered to abide by TSA's own published rules, is a COMPLETE WASTE OF EVERYONE'S TIME, which can't be trusted to actually catch bad guys trying to bring stuff on the plane.

Gotcha.

Does anyone at your agency actually THINK about these things before instituting them? I mean, seriously - you're admitting that your so-called "security" policies don't work (if they did, then why would you need to re-screen people who are in the "sterile" area, who've cleared the checkpoint where you have your WTMD, X-ray, and privacy-invading strip-search kiddie-porn MMW machine), and rather than either making those policies and procedures better or scrapping them and starting over from scratch, your choice is to make things even MORE inconvenient for those who are paying your salaries.

Every time you guys open your mouths, you give everyone concerned with both liberty and REAL safety and security another reason to oppose you.

TSOReed said...

You people really hate TSA don't you? What did we ever do to you people other then the jobs your government gave us? 9-11 happened okay, and it can happen again and again. We change our rules so much because we have to, you think the bad guys aren't going to wise up to the same old tricks? You people need to realize that we aren't making up boogey men stories to get a paycheck. Some of the SSI material that TSO's learn gives them nightmares, its really bad stuff and it happens daily. We do random gate screening because if you really are a bad guy planning horrible things and suddenly TSA is screening you after you thought you got away clean, your gonna get nervous and twitchy. Normal passengers are gonna be iritated and grouchy but that one guy is gonna be freaking out because he doesn't believe hes going to get away. And then we are going to catch him because of that.

Anonymous said...

TSA personnel are screened every day. Airline employee's are screened every day. Neither are getting on aircraft and flying somewhere.

Both TSA employees and Airline employee's undergo extensive background checks prior to employment, whereas passengers do not.

The additional screening Bob discusses in his post has been going on for quite some time, but has been stepped up significantly in the last month or so, and not just for passengers.


Going to have to call you a bender of the truth, a fabricator of reality, more in touch with fiction and a not very good one at that.

Anonymous said...

Gate checks? Went through them 3x in one day, kept from getting to my seat with the first wave of borders. No overhead storage space left. FA wanted to pack my laptop bag in the belly cargo. Not a happy camper over this at all.

Was wanded after a surgery and they found 30+ staples and the TSO wanted to remove the translucent bandage (you could make out each and every staple through the bandage). Had the front of my jeans pulled down so they could examine it better, so I helped them out by unfastening my jeans so they could get a better look. That TSO was not a happy camper. At that point I was more than willing to fly in my BVDs, shirt and shoes so as to drive the point home that TSA does nothing to make the flight safer for any of us, and in fact does things counter productive to that safety.

Anonymous said...

How many terrorists have any TSA employee discovered as part of any screening process?

Ans: ZERO.

Billions spent for an ineffective smoke and mirrors program.

Anonymous said...

In the what ever happened to category FORMER TSO Pythias Brown pleaded guilty to stealing from luggage:

.....In the meantime, an HBO employee reported that his camera and lenses -- worth $47,900 -- were stolen from a bag he checked at Newark en route to London. Those items showed up on eBay, too.

But instead of bidding, investigators obtained a warrant and searched Brown's house in October.

They found the camera and lenses -- plus 66 other cameras, 31 laptops, 20 cell phones, 17 sets of electronic games, 13 pieces of jewelry, 12 GPS systems, 11 MP3 players, eight camera lenses, six video cameras and two DVD players, authorities said.

Since Brown's arrest, the TSA has enacted several new policies, Uselding said.

Screeners are no longer allowed to bring their own bags into luggage areas. They must store all personal items in lockers outside the screening area. And roving patrols of inspectors now randomly search airport employees, she said.

Brown pleaded guilty to theft from a commercial interstate carrier and faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

U.S. District Judge Peter G. Sheridan also ordered Brown to repay his victims.

Sheridan scheduled sentencing for June 22.

This would have been a good article to post about. Seems that someone with TSA is using their heads. Too bad it came after the fact.

Eric said...

I'd like to try an experiment. next time I'm on a flight with gate screening, I will wait until the last second to board. Then, if selected, I will ask for a supervisor. My understanding is that one must be provided immediately, but presumably this will take a while at some large airports. Then one the supervisor arrives, I will take a few minutes to complain about the process, then demand a private screening. I figure that the whole process will take around 15-20 minutes.

The problem is that the gate agent will want to close the door to leave on time. If they leave without me, then they'll need to pay me involuntary denial of boarding compensation.

So who will win?

Cory said...

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...
What legal reviews has this undergone?
All searches including gate screening is legally authorized under the following sections of the United States Code:

*6 USC §112
*49 USC §114
*49 USC §44901
*49 USC §44903
*49 USC §44917

And again...
Good ole'...
Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter XII

March 21, 2009 12:54 AM


WAY TO GO PATRICK

Anonymous said...

I haven't been on a plane since the mid-80's and am prepraring to fly round trip from Northwest Arkansas to Phoenix, AZ. I am trying to get as much info as possible related to airport screenings and the like. I don't know what to expect.

Anonymous said...

Increasing gate screening is just "doubling down on stupid."

T-the-B at Flyertalk

Homer said...

Yeah, we can trust TSA officers because they are background checked. Sure. Then they go steal out of our luggage.

Wake up and stop forcing this stupid stuff upon us. We are tired of it.

Anonymous said...

Do we have to plan for wasting additional time if we want to fly that day?

TSA already makes a 40 minute hop near-useless with the 2-hour security tax. Now with this new procedure, will TSA need us to add another 20-30 minutes and kill off all the hour-long flights?

RB said...

NACSAR Shop Scott said...
I, for one, am tired of hearing people whine about their "invasion of privacy" and complain about the "hassel" of "needless" screening.

I fly very frequently in my business and am more than happy to comply with any additional screening measures.

I feel a whole lot safer knowing that airport authorities are doing everything they can to keep my flights as safe as possible and think switching things up on an ongoing basis is the wise thing to do.

If you don't like it, don't fly!

March 21, 2009 10:48 PM

.....................
Are the airport authorities really doint every thing they can to ensure your safety?

TSA does not screen airport workers, including TSA employees, 100% of the time.

TSA does not screen 100% of the cargo and mail loaded on passenger aircraft.

It's just theater to make you feel safe.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Increasing gate screening is just "doubling down on stupid."

T-the-B at Flyertalk

March 22, 2009 11:05 PM

...................
Brilliant!!

Anonymous said...

There are nearly 35,000 NYPD officers, and if one of them gets arrested for theft/corruption/whatever, I don't see a mob calling for the Department to be disbanded. Too often people on here cloud real issues by pulling an instance that fits their argument rather than seeing the larger picture. There ARE always exceptions those types of things, and with a workforce near 48,000 of course some are going to turn out bad. It's nothing new, get over it.

Jim Huggins said...

TSOReed writes:

You people really hate TSA don't you? What did we ever do to you people other then the jobs your government gave us?

There's a difference between TSA (the agency) and TSA (the people who work for the agency). Criticism of the policies of the agency is not the same as criticism of those who are employed to enforce those policies.

Which would be good for all of us (critics, defenders, and neutrals) to keep in mind as we discuss these ideas here.

Anonymous said...

"What did we ever do to you people other then the jobs your government gave us?"

You have instituted a wide range of policies that are ineffectual, scientifically indefensible, do nothing to make anyone safer and much to make us less safe, and waste everyone's time and money for absolutely no increase in safety.

"Some of the SSI material that TSO's learn gives them nightmares, its really bad stuff and it happens daily."

Prove it.

"We do random gate screening because if you really are a bad guy planning horrible things and suddenly TSA is screening you after you thought you got away clean, your gonna get nervous and twitchy."

How many "really bad guys" has gate screening found? If these "really bad guys" are so bad, why aren't you catching them at the main screening, and what is wrong with the main screening that is so inept that you miss these "really bad guys" then?

Anonymous said...

Sandra said...
"3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pockets."

Not satisfactory. The new gloves MUST come out of a box of guaranteed fresh gloves and not from your pocket. Otherwise, how can we be certain they are new and have not been used before? Besides the fact that heaven only knows what's been in your pocket before the gloves.
___________________________________
Really, you people would complain no matter what little issue is brought up. Who cares first of all. Second, we carry the boxes with us at my airport. And maybe someone could take off their gloves and shove them back in the box. Then what. There are so many what if's. We could make them up all day long with every single post. Lets do that.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "There are nearly 35,000 NYPD officers, and if one of them gets arrested for theft/corruption/whatever, I don't see a mob calling for the Department to be disbanded. Too often people on here cloud real issues by pulling an instance that fits their argument rather than seeing the larger picture. There ARE always exceptions those types of things, and with a workforce near 48,000 of course some are going to turn out bad. It's nothing new, get over it."


Uhh. I know this one! Cops solve real problems. TSA casually takes trash-cans full of water bottles and tells people it is catching terrorists.

If the only things the cops did was pat down pedestrians and take their sodas, they would be as disliked as TSA.

Tomas said...

Sorry, I have seen this quoted so many times here that I finally had to respond to it...

"TSA personnel are screened every day. Airline employee's are screened every day. Neither are getting on aircraft and flying somewhere.

Both TSA employees and Airline employee's undergo extensive background checks prior to employment, whereas passengers do not."


Screening TSA Personnel, airline employees, and vendor employees every day is not at all effective at doing ANYTHING unless they are screened every time they enter a secured area.

Allowing anyone to repeatedly leave and re-enter a secured area without additional passes through screening at each re-entry simply allows them to bring in whatever they wish.

The "extensive background checks" only shows what could be determined of their past behavior, it allows blocking some of those whom it is obvious should not be allowed entry, but it says little about future behavior.

TSA itself has repeatedly stated that it does not matter in the least bit whether a potential passenger has a security clearance or background checks, they WILL be screened. That same argument MUST be applied to airline, vendor, and TSA employees, EVERY time. Anything less is a breach of sound security practice.

Anonymous said...

"The Patriot Act and TSA: Turning citizens into suspects since 2001"

Actually, airport screeneing has always been this way. You're guilty until proven innocent.

Anonymous said...

Sandra wrote:
3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pocket.
Not satisfactory. The new gloves MUST come out of a box of guaranteed fresh gloves and not from your pocket. Otherwise, how can we be certain they are new and have not been used before? Besides the fact that heaven only knows what's been in your pocket before the gloves.
***********************************
Whats to say that someone hasn't stuffed old gloves in a box? Should they crack open a new box everytime and use one pair of gloves and then ditch the remainder everytime to ensure that such heinous glove stuffing has not occurred?

Anonymous said...

[QUOTE]Airport Security is the most important function at any airport. [/QUOTE]

No, not really. Security is but one of many issues impacting the safety of your flight. The problem is that it's the only thing TSA cares about, and they will jeopardize every other aspect of the aviation safety system so that one Joe Blow doesn't get on an airplane with toothpaste. Aviation security to be returned to the jurisdiction of the FAA so that it may kept in it's proper perspective in relation to the whole, before everyone is required to be strip searched and produce 10 forms of ID before being allowed on a plane.

KathleenS said...

TSOReed said...
You people really hate TSA don't you? What did we ever do to you people other then the jobs your government gave us?


Speaking for myself, I don't hate the TSA or anyone that works for the TSA. I am in the aviation biz so I understand the concept of random screenings (layers of security) and the threats that loom among our country's airports.


However, being in the business I also have seen things most people haven't. Such as airport employees not being screened and boxed concession goods loaded airside that are not screened. These are the places that a would-be terrorist could focus on.


While I totally "get" that extremists with a cause will do and try anything to get weapons on an airplane or in an airport, they are clever enough to know where the security leaks are located. They network with insiders who support their cause or can be easily paid off. For this reason I also understand that airport security and TSA use "random" as a layer of their security procedures.


But, if you can't get weapons into the building or have "people" who work at the airport give you access, then you eliminate much of the threat. It seems reasonable to me that these areas would be of special interest to the TSA.


It's also counter-productive (in the realm of security) for airports to hire non-US citizens to work in areas that have restricted area access. I'm not against foreigners by any means, I'm just saying that most gateways into the USA (prime targets) have more foriegners than citizens working "behind the scenes" in highly restricted areas that are not monitored closely. For the most part (generally speaking) a US citizen will tend to be more dedicated to the security of their (homeland) than someone for which the US is not their native land (again, I'm not implying that foreigners don't love the US, this is just generally speaking. Some foreigners in this country have an ax to grind with the US and that's just a fact.)


So that is why I think secondary random gate screening is not as productive as watching the airport workers closer and screening the boxes and cargo being loaded airside into the terminal. And, let's be honest, there are enough people (just enough to be dangerous) working in airports all over the country that would sell their soul for the right price (citizen or non-citizen).


By the way - I was the moderator of a symposium on Airport Security at UCLA last week and the TSA panel guest called in sick! Luckily, I was prepared.

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that the gate agent will want to close the door to leave on time. If they leave without me, then they'll need to pay me involuntary denial of boarding compensation."

Good luck, but I'm afraid you'll probably lose not only the appeal for denied boarding compensation, but the value of your original ticket too. The airline isn't denying you boarding, you're choosing to not cooperate with security procedures. Right or wrong, you will lose. Let us know if it turns out differently for you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said... "There are nearly 35,000 NYPD officers, and if one of them gets arrested for theft/corruption/whatever, I don't see a mob calling for the Department to be disbanded. Too often people on here cloud real issues by pulling an instance that fits their argument rather than seeing the larger picture. There ARE always exceptions those types of things, and with a workforce near 48,000 of course some are going to turn out bad. It's nothing new, get over it."

There is an additional difference between the police and TSO’s breaking the law. The police have a system in place where police officers caught violating laws can be subject investigations by internal affairs, a police review board, independent civilian review boards, and the mayors office with the results being made public. However in many of the instances where TSO’s have abused their authority we often read statements by the TSA congratulating them for their vigilance. Or if action is taken we never know what it is because the TSA claims its SSI or they cannot discuss it publicly.

Eric
One of the 5 or 6

Anonymous said...

GSOLTSO said...
Anon said "@Bob Nice display of disdain for citizens there.

1 of 500"
It is REALLY nice to see someone can count past the "1 of 5 or 6".


If you had been here several months ago you would understand that the signature line “one of the 5 or 6”. There was a troll who claimed that all of the comments that were perceived as complaining were written by the same five or six people. Hence the signature line that you see some people using.

Eric
One of the 5 or 6

Dunstan said...

" Anonymous said...

"The Patriot Act and TSA: Turning citizens into suspects since 2001"

Actually, airport screeneing has always been this way. You're guilty until proven innocent.

March 23, 2009 4:49 PM"

If you have flown using General Aviation, you will realize that there are other safe ways to fly. GA has a kind of networked security. Civilized, innocent until proven guilty, really...

TSA is about insecurity, probably rushed into service by the same shallow thinking that had school children hiding under their desks during the fifties.

Anonymous said...

Is this post the TSA's official admission that pawing through passengers' belongings with dirty gloves, confiscating their unlabeled shampoo bottles, and now (electronically) strip searching them at checkpoints does not adequately protect aircraft from prohibited items-- so you now have to delay (some) passengers to grope them and paw through their belongings again at the gate?

So tell us, Bob: How many ineffective, intrusive, humiliating, time-consuming, and costly "layers" of airport security does the TSA believe are necessary to add up to something that might, some day, eventually, perhaps, by dumb luck, happen to stumble upon an actual threat to aviation?

Never mind. That's SSI. But you'll surely let us know the next time your family-friendly strip search machine protects an airplane from the horrible threat of an oversized bottle of overpriced lotion. Or even better, when a particularly heroic TSO leads local police to a big drug bust.

Omar said...

So doesn't this lend lie to TSA's whole "everything past the security checkpoints is secure"?

Ayn R. Key said...

Thus spake TSOreed:
You people really hate TSA don't you? What did we ever do to you people other then the jobs your government gave us?

Actually, it is the doing of your jobs that inspires the hatred. We do not care if you are "just following orders" when you tell us we have no constitutional rights and are all suspected criminals who are fit to be abused. We care when you tell us we have no constitutional rights and are all suspected criminals who are fit to be absued. The "just following orders" bit doesn't enter into it, it's the orders that are followed.

It is time to research the Nuremberg defense. It didn't work.

You people need to realize that we aren't making up boogey men stories to get a paycheck.

So you really have discovered a liquid explosive that is:
Undetectable to sniffers
Can be transported safely OR can be safely mixed on the other side of security

The problem is, you haven't. The gate screeners aren't making up boogey men stories, true. The administrators are. Your paycheck does come from their boogey men stories, and by enforcing their rules against boogey men you are tacitly agreeing with their boogey men stories.

And as long as you give that tacit agreement, the fact that you are "just following orders" doesn't matter to those you are violating the constitutional rights of.

Some of the SSI material that TSO's learn gives them nightmares, its really bad stuff and it happens daily.

As always, any potential evidence that abuse of passengers is done for more than the appearance of security, any potential evidence that it actually supplies real security, is hidden behind SSI.

Given how the TSA brags when it actually catches someone on something unrelated to show that their screening actually works, it is the educated opinion of most detractors that the file with SSI marked on the cover contains a memo confessing that you have nothing but don't want the public to know that.

Normal passengers are gonna be iritated and grouchy but that one guy is gonna be freaking out because he doesn't believe hes going to get away. And then we are going to catch him because of that.

Have you caught him yet? Not a one real terrorist?

Have you done a cost benefit analysis of the costs to our civil liberties to the security? Or do you not consider our civil liberties at all?

Ayn R. Key said...

NACSAR Shot Scott wrote:
I, for one, am tired of hearing people whine about their "invasion of privacy" and complain about the "hassel" of "needless" screening.

I fly very frequently in my business and am more than happy to comply with any additional screening measures.

I feel a whole lot safer knowing that airport authorities are doing everything they can to keep my flights as safe as possible and think switching things up on an ongoing basis is the wise thing to do.

If you don't like it, don't fly!


You are content to trade vital liberty for the illusion of security. Therefore anyone who actually values vital liberty is a whiner.

I, on the other hand, support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America and especially the Bill of Rights.

Eric said...

Anonymous said...

"The problem is that the gate agent will want to close the door to leave on time. If they leave without me, then they'll need to pay me involuntary denial of boarding compensation."

Good luck, but I'm afraid you'll probably lose not only the appeal for denied boarding compensation, but the value of your original ticket too. The airline isn't denying you boarding, you're choosing to not cooperate with security procedures. Right or wrong, you will lose. Let us know if it turns out differently for you.

March 23, 2009 8:25 PM

-------

Uh... which security procedures would that be?

George said...

@Anonymous, March 23, 2009 8:21 PM: No, not really. Security is but one of many issues impacting the safety of your flight. The problem is that it's the only thing TSA cares about, and they will jeopardize every other aspect of the aviation safety system so that one Joe Blow doesn't get on an airplane with toothpaste.

I think it's time to discuss terminology. The TSA is actually concerned only with preventing passengers from bringing items they have designated as "prohibited" onto airplanes. Their procedures and practices, including all the divesting, shoe removal, Freedom Baggies, metal detectors, and now MMW strip searching, are entirely to interdict those items. (Whether the items actually pose any threat is another discussion entirely.)

That's how the TSA specifically defines "security," and that's all they care about. It's an approach that failed to prevent 9/11, failed to prevent Richard Reid's attempted shoe bombing, and would have failed to prevent the London liquid bombing plot had old-fashioned police intelligence not stopped it (whether that plot was real or viable is, again, another discussion entirely). And it will fail to prevent any new schemes terrorists might devise, since it's entirely reactive. Once a new threat, tactic, or failure comes to light, the experts at the TSA go into their classified cubicles and translate it into a new rule or restriction. When it's "interpreted" and implemented by individual TSOs in their typical arbitrary, inconsistent, often erroneous, and frequently infuriating fashion, it succeeds only in causing additional cost and inconvenience (or worse) to millions of passengers. But its "security" benefit is dubious, since it amounts to adding another lock to the barn door after the horse has escaped. The TSA seems to operate under the belief that if you add enough patches to a system that has consistently failed, and create an obstacle course that imposes sufficient hassles on every passenger, you'll eventually have something that will add security-- if it doesn't collapse under its own weight.

But I digress. The real point here is that the TSA isn't concerned with "security," but with one very specific, very narrow part of the whole security picture. It's surely beneficial to have an agency working so hard to protect us from a spectacular, devastating, and extremely rare threat. (Whether that agency is effective at doing that is, again, another discussion entirely.) But there's a lot more to security than that. And unfortunately, the TSA completely neglects the rest of the much larger picture. If their efforts to interdict "dangerous" items increases the much more common mundane threats of theft, loss, or damage to passengers' property, they're not providing "security" at all. So if their MMW strip search is 100% successful at keeping oversized bottles of overpriced lotion off of airplanes, at the cost of identity theft because passengers had to divest their wallets for the strip search, that can only be called a security failure. If the Obama administration ever allows an impartial cost-benefit analysis of the TSA, these are factors that really need to be considered in evaluating the "security" the TSA provides.

HappyToHelp said...

George said...
“That's how the TSA specifically defines "security," and that's all they care about.”

Just two years ago, this statement would be absolutely right. TSA is currently migrating from objects to persons. This doesn't mean we don't have to follow the ATSA and not screen for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries. So in reality you will have a system that is a hybrid of both.

George said...
It's an approach that failed to prevent 9/11, failed to prevent Richard Reid's attempted shoe bombing, and would have failed to prevent the London liquid bombing plot had old-fashioned police intelligence not stopped it (whether that plot was real or viable is, again, another discussion entirely).

This is the entire premise for security evolution. Your actually in line with the TSA think tank. Don't be alarmed :)

George said...
Once a new threat, tactic, or failure comes to light, the experts at the TSA go into their classified cubicles and translate it into a new rule or restriction.

This statement is very ambiguous. A example is needed.

Here is the a look at the most common examples TSA critics use for reactionary TSA rules or restrictions.

311
The 311 is considered as a reactionary restriction by TSA critics(Bruce).

“... liquids remain a real threat to aviation security. We know this through our intelligence sources around the world. We remain at aviation sector level Orange for good reason, and the liquid ban remains in effect for good reason. TSA has already begun deploying promising liquid explosives detection technology for pilot testing at airports, and we anticipate having more than 200 of these hand-held devices in place by Fall 2007.”

The restriction has never been sold as a reaction. The liquids ban is a reaction. You will get no argument from me on that. The liquid restriction, however, is proactive. Why? It is still believed to be a active plot against the United States. How does TSA know this? Through intelligence partners. No one is asking you to suddenly trust TSA but consider where TSA receives its intelligence from. Were not a intelligence agency but a intelligence driven agency.

Shoe Removal
Shoe removal started when the the threat level moved from yellow to orange. Most people believe that the move happened right after Richard's shoe bomb. Current TSA data shows that shoes are a current method of smugglers. Smuggling techniques are very important because people who wish to get explosives into the sterile area will use smuggling techniques that are tested and believed to be a low risk endeavor.

Myth Buster: Shoes are the number one threat to aviation.

False: TSA has never said shoes are the number one threat to aviation. The confusion on this blog and other websites started from the Ad Council video “Why Shoes.”

The offending and misunderstood line from the video
“WHY DO YOU HAVE TO TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES? IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICES ARE THE NUMBER ONE THREAT TO AIRCRAFT.”

When this is heard on the video, some people mistake it as “Shoes improvised explosive devices are the number one threat to aircraft.” I hope this clears this up once and for all.

Why are shoes not reactive? Nationally, TSA finds smuggled contraband and prohibited items in shoes every week using existing checkpoint X-rays.

Not trying to pick on your George. I just haven't had time to post this week on the blog, so I just responded to the best post closest to the bottom.

-H2H

RB said...

Given that the Air Transportation industry is at Threat Level Orange should we really be flying any commercial aircraft at all.

This is the text of Threat Condition Orange;

High Condition (Orange). A High Condition is declared when there is a high risk of terrorist attacks. In addition to the Protective Measures taken in the previous Threat Conditions, Federal departments and agencies should consider the following general measures in addition to the agency-specific Protective Measures that they will develop and implement:

1. Coordinating necessary security efforts with Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies or any National Guard or other appropriate armed forces organizations;


2. Taking additional precautions at public events and possibly considering alternative venues or even cancellation;


3. Preparing to execute contingency procedures, such as moving to an alternate site or dispersing their workforce; and


4. Restricting threatened facility access to essential personnel only.


So if we are truly at Threat Condition Orange only essential personnel should have access to airports. That would be like Law Enforcement, Fire Crews and possibly some other really needed employees.

Passengers are certainly not essential personnel and without passengers vendors are not needed, nor Airline counter staff, or TSA people for that matter.

Perhaps it is time for DHS to review the Threat Level as mandated by Homeland Security Presidential Directive 3: Homeland Security Advisory System.

We have been at Threat Level Orange for years, yet no known or suspected terrorist threats are known.

But we do have Gate Checks!!

Anonymous said...

First you should hire only people who know what security is or at least train them. I don't understand the attenion to IDs and boarding pass. It would be nice to check to insure that the person holding the ID matches the ID. That happens about 33% of the time. The level of training and knowledge dispalyed by your empolyees is less than a first semester ROTC cadet. I don't know what you are trying to stop, but I've watch you wand a person who was holding a great weapon.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon said

"GSOLTSO said...
Anon said "@Bob Nice display of disdain for citizens there.

1 of 500"
It is REALLY nice to see someone can count past the "1 of 5 or 6".

If you had been here several months ago you would understand that the signature line “one of the 5 or 6”. There was a troll who claimed that all of the comments that were perceived as complaining were written by the same five or six people. Hence the signature line that you see some people using.

Eric
One of the 5 or 6"

Ummm yeah, thanks for pointing that out like the 4th time, I was merely using humor (something you are obviously unfamiliar with) to drive the point home again... Man, I go on a 3 day cruise and all Hades breaks out.. Let's see...

Sandra said ""3. Changing gloves is fairly simple when I gate screen I carry about 10-12 pairs in my pockets."

Not satisfactory. The new gloves MUST come out of a box of guaranteed fresh gloves and not from your pocket. Otherwise, how can we be certain they are new and have not been used before? Besides the fact that heaven only knows what's been in your pocket before the gloves"

Nice to see the personal insults are still flowing freely. You win, from now on when I gate screen I will take a box of gloves with me instead of putting them in my pockets.

Ummmm Oh yeah " Forget_the_drama_Give_me_the" see above note.


Ahhh, RB said "Those gloves are soiled if they come out of your pockets and before handling my stuff you will be expected to obtain a clean, from the orginal container, pair.

Who knows what filth inhabits your pockets!"

Nice to see RB can still sling personal insults with the rest of em! Nice job, see above note.


I think that might just catch us up. I still can't believe no challenges on the Persons with Handicaps explanation. You guys are falling down on the job, I usually get slammed over something like that. Take care!

Anonymous said...

"If you have flown using General Aviation, you will realize that there are other safe ways to fly. GA has a kind of networked security. Civilized, innocent until proven guilty, really..."


Appreciate it while it lasts. Now that the TSA is working to stick their noses in GA (Large Aircraft Security Program/LASP, random FBO/ID checks, etc), soon you'll need Uncle Sam's permission to carry passengers in your privately owned vechicle prior to EVERY flight. Yes, appreciate the freedom we take for granted in general aviation. It won't last too much longer.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...

Ahhh, RB said "Those gloves are soiled if they come out of your pockets and before handling my stuff you will be expected to obtain a clean, from the orginal container, pair.

Who knows what filth inhabits your pockets!"

Nice to see RB can still sling personal insults with the rest of em! Nice job, see above note.

........................
You claim that I'm slinging personal insults while I base my remarks on observed situations.

I observed a TSO using the restroom and leaving without washing hands.

How am I to determine which TSO's have good hygiene and which ones do not?

What are the chances that this same TSO put his hands in his pockets at some point?

What condition would gloves stashed in these same pockets be in?

Do you as a TSO have so little regard for my property and safety that you give no concern to how I percieved your actions?

Let's assume I have some snacks or a Blood Glucose Test kit in my carry-on. Should I not have the absolute right to know that your hands are clean or at least covered with clean gloves before touching these items?

Your disdain for travelers is really telling!

That last line was an insult!!

George said...

@HappyToHelp: TSA is currently migrating from objects to persons. This doesn't mean we don't have to follow the ATSA and not screen for weapons, explosives, and incendiaries. So in reality you will have a system that is a hybrid of both.

Are you referring to the BDOs, whose Full Week Of Training enables them to pick out the terrorist in a crowded checkpoint full of people who are stressed and nervous about flying, being strip searched, and possibly losing their property to a TSO "interpreting" an unknown rule?

Ultimately, that's still about objects. The "persons" clearly need dangerous objects to wreak their destruction, and the TSA's job is to prevent such objects from getting on airplanes. A toothbrush and incantations wouldn't work (though if a BDO ever caught someone planning to blow up a plane using a toothbrush, I'm sure the TSA would issue a triumphant press release announcing their new "8-1-7" rules about toothbrushes).

No one is asking you to suddenly trust TSA but consider where TSA receives its intelligence from. Were not a intelligence agency but a intelligence driven agency.

I'm sorry, but my trust in "intelligence" (and in "intelligence driven" agencies) disappeared when the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that were a sufficient immediate threat to the United States to justify a war turned out to be a fabrication.

I can't speak for anyone else, but the TSA will need to show evidence of a culture change that includes transparency and accountability before I can believe anything they say. I don't see any sign of that happening, particularly based on this blog.

Nationally, TSA finds smuggled contraband and prohibited items in shoes every week using existing checkpoint X-rays.

And how many of those are actual threats to aviation rather than drugs, cash, lip gloss, and things unrelated to the TSA's mandate to protect aviation?

George said...

Happy, I forgot the most important point. Even with the "evolution" from objects to persons, how is the TSA addressing us with the rest of the security picture, the common, unglamorous threats to passengers that aren't related to terrorism? Screening procedures narrowly focused on terrorism that increase the risk of theft or loss are nothing more than a security failure.

GSOLTSO said...

RB said "You claim that I'm slinging personal insults while I base my remarks on observed situations.

I observed a TSO using the restroom and leaving without washing hands.

How am I to determine which TSO's have good hygiene and which ones do not?

What are the chances that this same TSO put his hands in his pockets at some point?

What condition would gloves stashed in these same pockets be in?

Do you as a TSO have so little regard for my property and safety that you give no concern to how I percieved your actions?

Let's assume I have some snacks or a Blood Glucose Test kit in my carry-on. Should I not have the absolute right to know that your hands are clean or at least covered with clean gloves before touching these items?

Your disdain for travelers is really telling!

That last line was an insult!!"

I claim that you are slinging insults because of the way YOU phrased your statements. You did not indicate "hey those gloves are contaminated", you said "Who knows what filth inhabits YOUR pockets!".

That is a direct shot at ME, you try and explain it away by generalizing behavior you have seen on certain people onto the entire workforce and it is not an apt comparison. Just because you have seen A TSO not wash after using the facilities, it does not mean that I do not. I admitted and informed that I would carry a box with me from now on. (just to let you know, I always wash!)

Now, as for disdain for the "travellers", do not mistake my disdain for YOUR responses to be a disdain in general. I love my passengers and I go way out of my way to help passengers that need it (whether it is a person with special needs or a kid that has never flown before that just takes a couple of extra minutes to learn the process), as for the last line being an insult, it was not. I was merely reminding the usual set of snark snipers that they were sleeping on the job and missed something they would usually one line me with.

HappyToHelp said...

George said...
Are you referring to the BDOs, whose Full Week Of Training enables them to pick out the terrorist in a crowded checkpoint full of people who are stressed and nervous about flying, being strip searched, and possibly losing their property to a TSO "interpreting" an unknown rule?

Wow. This paragraph is all over the place. From the surface, this seems like your just venting but I will still tackle a few things here.

A Behavioral Detection Officer is more then just a week of training. That person has been on a airport checkpoint for a long time. They know whats normal at a checkpoint. BDO's are hired from Transportation Security Officers pool and not just anyone off the street or hired outside of the agency. If you have ever been in a emergency situation or in combat, “I'm nervous about the screening process” is much different then “I'm nervous about dieing”(someone caring a explosive). Obviously, the program has a lot more to it then that but there isn't much public data on that program so there isn't much for me to link to or discuss publicly.

You don't have to be scanned with the Millimeter Wave Machine. What is your argument on this? I'm not sure why you added it to the pot.


George said...
“possibly losing their property to a TSO "interpreting" an unknown rule?”

Ambiguity seems to be a theme on the blog. I'm going to need a specific incident and you must understand that I would only be making a backseat comment as I was not there or have read a report on the incident.

George said...
Ultimately, that's still about objects. The "persons" clearly need dangerous objects to wreak their destruction, and the TSA's job is to prevent such objects from getting on airplanes.

You make a claim that the current system is about objects with emphasis on that type of system is bad but hurt your argument by saying someone who wishes to do us harm needs dangerous objects and it is TSA's job to prevent these objects from getting on the plane.

George said...
...I'm sure the TSA would issue a triumphant press release announcing their new "8-1-7" rules about toothbrushes).

Pure speculative and flawed reasoning. Here is a example why. Back in 2007, TSA received creditable intelligence from TSA partners about a threat posed from Remote Control Vehicles. TSA has not prohibited any Remote Control Vehicle or related toys or placed any restrictions on the passengers when flying with such items. TSA instead shared the intelligence with front line officers, included additional training aids, and informed officers to give extra effort to identify threats posed from modified Remote Control Vehicles. In your example, you mentioned toothbrushes. Historically, prisoners have fashioned toothbrushes into knives and have killed with them. TSA does not prohibit toothbrushes. If ban and restriction is so rampant with TSA policy, I'm sure you could find a current reactive policy or restriction and I would be happy to comment on it. :)

George said...
Happy, I forgot the most important point. Even with the "evolution" from objects to persons, how is the TSA addressing us with the rest of the security picture, the common, unglamorous threats to passengers that aren't related to terrorism?

I hope this isn't your most important point as your question doesn't ask anything specific or make reference to anything specific. I would love to help but I need something to go off of.

All I can say is counter terrorism has been added to the checkpoint but is not the only concern of TSA. The administrator, secretary, and congress look at the big picture. They just have different big pictures. The TSA administrator looks at the big picture of TSA as a whole. The secretary looks at the big picture of DHS. Congress looks at the big picture of the national security plan.

-H2H

RB said...

GSOLTSO said... a whole bunch of stuff not needing reposting....

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

I did not take a shot at you GSOLTSO.

In responding to your post the pocket remark would apply to any one who stashed unprotected gloves in their pocket.

Face it, would you want my hands on your stuff if they were not clean?

If you took it personally that was not my intent.

As I said my remarks are based on personal observations.

Given that, I have to use the most stringent standards for my protection, much as you do when treating each and every passenger to the same screening standards. I think you would agree that using lesser screening standards for one group of people, say teenage girls, and a stricter set of standards for another group, say middle age men, would be poor procedure.

I have no way of knowing which TSO's have excellent hygiene, however I do know that some do not. It would be foolish of me ignore my observations and risk my health on the assumption that one observed case was just an oddity.

In this situation I must apply the worst case to the whole group.

I appreciate that you have adjusted your procedure to take the boxed gloves with you to the checkpoint. I applaud you for that.

What I don't understand is why that is not required by TSA policy.

Doesn't anyone at TSA think these things through before implementing new procedures?

It seems not!

Anonymous said...

"“I'm nervous about the screening process” is much different then “I'm nervous about dieing”(someone caring a explosive)."

Tell me, how many people carrying explosives has TSA's BDOs found? (Here's a hint: The answer is ZERO.)

HappyToHelp said...

Anonymous said...
Tell me, how many people carrying explosives has TSA's BDOs found? (Here's a hint: The answer is ZERO.)


FBI: Man tried to board plane with bomb materials


“Transportation Safety Administration officials said Brown caught the eye of a "behavior identification officer" about noon Tuesday as Brown approached a ticket counter for his planned flight to Jamaica.”

Not sure where your getting your information from.

-H2H

Jim Huggins said...

Anonymous wrote:

Tell me, how many people carrying explosives has TSA's BDOs found? (Here's a hint: The answer is ZERO.)

HappyToHelp responded with a link to a CNN article:


FBI: Man tried to board plane with bomb materials


Unfortunately, the article is contradictory. Quoting from the article:

Lee Kair, the TSA's federal security director in Orlando, said the materials in his bags posed no danger to other travelers.

If the materials in his bags posed no danger, why was he arrested?

Phil said...

In response to someone writing:

"Tell me, how many people carrying explosives has TSA's BDOs found? (Here's a hint: The answer is ZERO.)"

TSA apologist HappyToHelp wrote:

"FBI: Man tried to board plane with bomb materials

"`Transportation Safety Administration officials said Brown caught the eye of a "behavior identification officer" about noon Tuesday as Brown approached a ticket counter for his planned flight to Jamaica.'"


Happy, you're being very misleading.

U.S. Army veteran Kevin Brown was not found carrying any explosives. In his checked luggage were parts to make a crude pipe bomb: a pipe, end caps, BBs, race car fuel, and a model-rocket igniter. He later said he wanted to show his friends in Jamaica the type of bomb he'd seen while serving in Iraq.

Quoting the CNN article you referenced:

"Lee Kair, the TSA's federal security director in Orlando, said the materials in [Mr. Brown's] bags posed no danger to other travelers."

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

George said...

@HappyToHelp: I hope this isn't your most important point as your question doesn't ask anything specific or make reference to anything specific. I would love to help but I need something to go off of.

I actually have been quite specific in many previous posts, but it seems you haven't read them. I didn't feel like repeating yet again my accounts of a TSO confiscating the one-ounce bottle of sunscreen in my Freedom Baggie because it wasn't in a manufacturer's labeled bottle; and another TSO confiscating my crystal solid deodorant because his "interpretation" of the War On Liquids classified all deodorant as "liquid" that needs to be in a Freedom Baggie. And in both cases, the TSO responded to my protests with "do you want to fly today?"

I once had some respect for the TSA and the difficult job they were trying to do. But these "incidents" convinced me that the TSA is an utterly inept bureaucracy that makes a mockery of both security and the American values it is supposedly protecting. My opinion might change if I see evidence that the TSA's culture is changing to become more accountable, but I don't see any such evidence. And I'm not holding my breath.

As for my "most important point," I also didn't feel like repeating my concern about having to remove my wallet from my pocket before undergoing an MMW strip search. I currently remove everything metal from my wallet, and walk through the metal detector without any problem. I am willing to divest and be separated from all my other valuables, since they can all be replaced, though not always easily or cheaply (and I might eventually even persuade my insurance company to issue a check for their depreciated value). But the loss of my wallet would be devastating even if it doesn't result in identity theft. I posted that concern twice, and nobody from the TSA bothered to respond. That might be because they refuse to acknowledge any flaws in their system, but it's mostly likely because they don't care.

Thus my concern that the TSA's myopic focus on terrorism ignores-- and possibly increases-- the risk to passengers from mundane, unglamorous, but much more common threats of theft, loss, or damage to their property. While I'm neither a security expert nor privy to the super-secret stuff that would make me a Believer if I only were able to see it, to me "security" means protecting people from common mundane threats as well as the spectacular threats that make headlines. The TSA seems to be failing at the latter, if not exacerbating it. Have I made myself clear enough?

A Behavioral Detection Officer is more then just a week of training.... Obviously, the program has a lot more to it then that but there isn't much public data on that program so there isn't much for me to link to or discuss publicly.

Ah yes... it's SSI, so we'll just have to trust your assertions that BDOs can reliably distinguish the subtle varieties of stress at a checkpoint where the stress levels are off the scale. Unfortunately, the TSA lost my trust some time ago. So whenever someone from the TSA answers a question with "that's secret," it makes the Bandini detector alarm at full blast.

However, earlier blog posts touted the full week of training BDOs receive, without revealing much else. There have also been blog posts touting BDO false positives (e.g., they caught someone wearing a fake military jacket) as "successes." In the absence of real information (which, of course, is SSI), we can only go by what we see and what we've been told. So the natural conclusion is that BDOs are no more competent and effective than the TSOs who confiscate our property for violating unpublished rules or unknowable "interpretations," and respond to our questions with "do you want to fly today?"

So what is the false positive rate for BDOs? I'm sure it's SSI, but that won't stop me from asking a question that needs to be asked.

You don't have to be scanned with the Millimeter Wave Machine. What is your argument on this? I'm not sure why you added it to the pot.

I got the impression from Bob's post on this subject that at airports where the MMW strip search is operating, passengers have a choice of being MMW strip searched or groped by a TSO. I suppose that's a choice, but is the new administrator perhaps named Hobson?

All I can say is counter terrorism has been added to the checkpoint but is not the only concern of TSA. The administrator, secretary, and congress look at the big picture. They just have different big pictures. The TSA administrator looks at the big picture of TSA as a whole. The secretary looks at the big picture of DHS. Congress looks at the big picture of the national security plan.

Wow! I'm very impressed. I'm shocked and awed. But which one of them is responsible for protecting our belongings from theft, loss, or damage when we're necessarily separated from them during TSA screening?

Ambiguity seems to be a theme on the blog.

Of course it is. Ambiguity, and its relative Unpredictability, is the cornerstone of TSA security. Or at least it was under Kip.

HappyToHelp said...

Phil said...
Happy, you're being very misleading.

Not at all Phil. Look at the original statement to which I replied. Your only assuming the poster meant “how many terrorist with bombs has the Behavioral Detection Program found?”. I'm not sure how you came to that premise from Anonymous post.

I was expecting that response however.

Look, the BDO found someone who was acting within the bounds of the Behavioral Detection Program. Sadly, Mr. Brown made the poor judgment to bring bomb materials. Not assembled into a bomb by any means and I have no belief he was going to assemble it past the checkpoint. IED components are a huge threat. A person who wishes to do us harm is not going to be nice enough to show up with a complete easy to catch fully assembled Improvised Explosive Device(IED).

I am a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, “Rock of The Marne!”, and that certainly does not give me the right to transport bomb materials via commercial air the same way Mr. Brown attempted. It may sound like I'm being harsh on Mr. Brown, a comrade in arms, but you have to at least agree that Mr. Brown made a extremely poor judgment call.

I have to admit that this response was not meant for you Phil but thanks for facilitating.


George said...
I actually have been quite specific in many previous posts, but it seems you haven't read them.

I have read them but I did not connect them with your post George. I or anyone else can not be responsible for knowing everything that you have ever posted. If your making a reference to a previous post, just hyper link to it or place the date stamp and blog post. If you can't be bothered to do so, then why would you expect me or others to do so?

I didn't respond to your original posts because my time is very limited here on the blog. I only respond to about 6 to 7 post a week.


George said...
And in both cases, the TSO responded to my protests with "do you want to fly today?"

Without knowing the specific incident, my professional opinion is those officers need better training. Could be a training issue with that specific airport or airports that you refer to. How long ago did these incidents happen? They may have already been corrected.

George said...
My opinion might change if I see evidence that the TSA's culture is changing to become more accountable, but I don't see any such evidence.

I've heard good things about GotFeadBack. You should try it the next time you have a problem. Maybe, that will be the evidence you need.

George said...
...having to remove my wallet from my pocket before undergoing an MMW strip search.

Place the wallet in your carryon bag. Make sure the carryon is the last thing to go into the X-ray and watch the bag enter the tunnel. Once the bag has entered the tunnel, inform the Transportation Security Officer who is leading you through the MMW process that your carryon bag has something valuable in it. The officer will inform you what he/she can do to help ensure its safety. What the officer can do is different from airport to airport so I can't give you any specific advice on what to expect.

George said...
Ah yes... it's SSI, so we'll just have to trust your assertions that BDOs can reliably distinguish the subtle varieties of stress at a checkpoint where the stress levels are off the scale.

I hope you can respect that it is against the law to release SSI and classified material. Your disdain for TSA is obscuring the reality of the situation.

George said...
But which one of them is responsible for protecting our belongings from theft, loss, or damage when we're necessarily separated from them during TSA screening?

Short answer: You.

Long answer: Depends on the specific incident to which you refer. This is why TSA has claim forms. Each incident needs to be investigated in order to find out who is at fault.

Have a good weekend everyone,

-H2H

RB said...

I've heard good things about GotFeadBack. You should try it the next time you have a problem. Maybe, that will be the evidence you need.

Have a good weekend everyone,

-H2H
......................
H2H, I truly believe that the vast majority of TSO's are well intentioned, hard working people.

However, recently after passing through an East Coast airport two things caused me concern.

One was a procedural matter and the other was what I believe was an attempted theft by a TSO at the checkpoint. I think the effort failed because I was observant and the TSO knew I was watching closely. Since the action was not completed I saw no reason to alert police.

As a side note, I saw a report of a claimed theft of an expensive necklace from carry-on at this same airport near the same time frame.

I did use the "Got FeedBack" process to report my concerns and I did get a response.

The response was standard boiler plate language that did nothing to mitigate my concerns.

I replied to the response and have waited over a month but TSA has not even had the courtesy to reply.

If my experience is typical the "Got Feedback" is just another way for TSA to have something to point to and still do nothing of substance.

Anonymous said...

"A person who wishes to do us harm is not going to be nice enough to show up with a complete easy to catch fully assembled Improvised Explosive Device(IED)."

How many IEDs has TSA ever discovered, either through BDOs or other, less ridiculous measures? (Hint: The answer is zero.)

"The officer will inform you what he/she can do to help ensure its safety. What the officer can do is different from airport to airport so I can't give you any specific advice on what to expect."

Then your advice is worse than useless, since your entire recommendation depends on a TSO being honest (unlikely) and willing to go out of her way to help a citizen (profoundly unlikely). And you also fail to realize that the virtual strip search is a ridiculous and pointless invasion of privacy that offers no increase in security, unless you actually think 0.6 ounces of lotion poses any threat to anyone.

Anonymous #542 said...

Anonymous said...
Then your advice is worse than useless, since your entire recommendation depends on a TSO being honest (unlikely) and willing to go out of her way to help a citizen (profoundly unlikely). And you also fail to realize that the virtual strip search is a ridiculous and pointless invasion of privacy that offers no increase in security, unless you actually think 0.6 ounces of lotion poses any threat to anyone.


You Anonymous are close minded.

Chris said...

At any airport there are a large number of people who have the level of access required to enter the secure area of the airport without being screened at all. These people range from Airport Administrators on down to janitors and cashiers. Across the country the existence/level of background checks done on these individuals is not consistent or even required as far as I know. One good justification for the gate screening is to ensure that these individuals who can bypass screening have not done so with a prohibited item and passed it along to a passenger so that it can then make it on board an aircraft. Another solution: 100% screening of employees, which would require much more personnel and money to implement, since even a small airport has five to six thousand employees. A federal mandate requiring COMPLETE background checks of airport employees would also help. I capitalize complete because there are tons of airport employees around the country who have only been in the USA for a few years if that long. How do you complete a background investigation on an individual who is 30 years old and arrived in the USA 2 years ago and lived in Somalia before that? Access Somali criminal records?...haha. I will settle for and be happy with the gate screening for now. Thanks TSA for doing this.

Chris said...

Anonymous said...
DCA TSO M said...
...
I like it b/c it makes people I guess feel anxious or bad b/c we're doing it again. While 99% of us aren't terrorists there will be that 1% that will stick out. And I can see how Gate Screening would actually come in handy.
-----------------------
Considering you have never found a terrorist, it would be interesting to know how you can tell the anxious 99% from the anxious 1%. (I know it is SSI). I am hoping that you are not using the basis that anyone who is anxious is suspicious.

But if you have never caught a terrorist, maybe your model is wrong.

___________________________________

The screening force of TSA does not really exist to "catch" terrorists, since they are not law enforecement. They exist to prevent a terrorist act. So your standard of "catching" a terrorist is unrealistic. There is no way to measure prevention other than to say that another terrorist act on US aviation has not occured.
That said...There have been incidents too numerous to count where TSA has prevented weapons from being taken aboard an aircraft. 26 last week I think, according to their website. That is a measuable success in my book.

Anonymous said...

the gate screening is problematic because traveler's who have earned elite status, and can generally board the plane early (and find room for their luggage), essentially lose this privilege if they are pulled out of the queue.

Jim Huggins said...

Chris writes:

One good justification for the gate screening is to ensure that these individuals who can bypass screening have not done so with a prohibited item and passed it along to a passenger so that it can then make it on board an aircraft.

Gate screening doesn't accomplish this goal ... because not all flights are gate screened. In fact, I would suspect that only a very small percentage of flights are gate screened. Furthermore, only a small percentage of passengers on gate-screened flights are actually screened, still leaving other opportunities for contraband to get aboard an aircraft.

If you're trying to argue that gate screening makes employee screening unnecessary, I don't think the arguments hold up. Either you have to screen every employee, or you have to screen every passenger at every gate. Given the choice, screening every employee seems to be far less expensive.

kellymae81 said...

Okay Chris, I will do my best to answer to your satisfaction.

1. Will you confiscate dangerous 16 ounce bottles of Coke that we bought after the checkpoint? Will we have to produce a receipt?
1st of all, a 16oz liquid anything should NEVER get past a screener b/c you cant miss it on x-ray. At the gate, screening may require TSO's to do a liquids check with test strips, but other than that, we (should) not take liquids but I can't speak for the TSO on a power trip.

2. What is our recourse if your gate screening causes us to miss our flight? Gate screening cannot interrupt the actual flight unless we find something of suitable question to keep you off the flight....which would have to be something major and rarely happens.

3. How are you going to fulfill your obligations to change gloves and provide a private screening when a passenger selected for this harassment requires one or both? Gate screeners are required to have multiple pairs of gloves for that purpose and most gates have a little private section out of site of other passengers.

4. How will you gate-screen a handicapped passenger? The same way they would be screened at checkpoint. If they can't stand for the hand held metal detector, then they get the pat down in their chair.

5. What legal reviews has this undergone? Since this is an initiation of a separate second screening, we can refuse to be screened and be escorted from the secure area, right? I personally cant tell you the legalities, but to my understanding, once you subject yourself to checkpoint screening, you give that implied consent that you understand your items must be screened to enter the secure area...so that goes for gate screening too b/c there are (suppose)to be signs at checkpoint stating this. So, yes, if you refuse, you will be escorted out.

6. How are you maintaining your obligations to keep the required number of checkpoints open when a large number of screeners are required for this latest harassment? Okay, #1, we are not trying to harrass you and #2, we maintain adequate staffing at the checkpoint most of the time. There may fewer lanes than normal and some traffic, but this additional screening at gates is not optional for us.

7. Who, by name and position, authorized this? Sorry, I can't answer this one.

8. Who, by name and position, decided that this harassment was more important to national security than 100% screening of air cargo? I have to agree with you on this one. For a while when I started here, I did not know that and I don't understand how this is allowed. But I still agree, however, with additional/unpredictable screening when possible.

Hope I helped you out.

SDF TSO

kellymae81 said...

Sandra said:Not satisfactory. The new gloves MUST come out of a box of guaranteed fresh gloves and not from your pocket. Otherwise, how can we be certain they are new and have not been used before? Besides the fact that heaven only knows what's been in your pocket before the gloves.

1st of all, you can tell when our gloves have been worn and when they are new, and 2nd, if we are touching something that requires gloves, why would we want to wear them again?!! Also, I cant imagine what you think we put in our pockets that is so disgusting.

In response to "Forget the drama's" comments on the gloves and bacteria. I agree on the fact that there is 'some' bacteria in the pockets but seriously, its not any thing more than probably 95% of the stuff you touch throughout your entire day. You probably touched more bacteria on the x-ray bins and your own shoes than what's in my pocket. And really, I could understand the issue if I was a doctor, but for heavens sake, we are patting down clothes and checking baggage, we're not doing open heart surgery here.
Also, I don't really want to know what disease you got on your hand, but I do want to know how you just "know" you got it from LAX unless your skin just started pealing on contact at that moment. But I agree on clean gloves at all times and we are told to honor all requests to change gloves, no attitude. That's just common sense.

To Eric....take a deep breath, close your eyes and count to 10. It's okay. It's not really worth all that anger. We ARE here to help you, regardless of what some of you think, so ask questions constructively and we will do our best to answer.

Anon said:How many terrorists have any TSA employee discovered as part of any screening process?
ZERO.

When are you guys going to understand that we are a deterrent primarily and then catch the bad guys if found?


Here to help
SDF TSO

Patrick (BOS TSO) said...

Anonymous said...
How many IEDs has TSA ever discovered, either through BDOs or other, less ridiculous measures? (Hint: The answer is zero.)


I beg to differ...
Remember this?

To quote the article:
"They say his luggage had everything needed to build a pipe bomb — glass bottles with nitromethane, a model rocket ignitor, batteries, galvanized pipes with caps drilled to fit a fuse and even instructions."

"Behavior detection officers Frank Skowronski and Jose Zengotita, who were called to watch Brown, wouldn't specify what he did that looked suspicious, saying it would undermine TSA's strategy. But they generally study facial expressions and body posture for fear, stress and deception."

Therefore... the answer is one. Possibly more, but we just don't know it.

Chris said...
The screening force of TSA does not really exist to "catch" terrorists, since they are not law enforecement. They exist to prevent a terrorist act.


Bingo, Chris right on the money.

We stop terrorists... not catch them.

Phil said...

KellyMae81: What is "so disgusting" about the used gloves (and possibly your pockets) is that they have been in contact with hundreds of other people's belongings, in an airport, where people with diseases from far-away places exchange their diseases with the rest of us.

Patrick: The man in Florida, U.S. Army veteran Kevin Brown, was not found carrying any explosives. In his checked luggage were parts to make a crude pipe bomb: a pipe, end caps, BBs, race car fuel, and a model-rocket igniter. He later said he wanted to show his friends in Jamaica the type of bomb he'd seen while serving in Iraq.

CNN reported:

"Lee Kair, the TSA's federal security director in Orlando, said the materials in [Mr. Brown's] bags posed no danger to other travelers."

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Marshall's SO said...

"Anonymous said...
How many IEDs has TSA ever discovered, either through BDOs or other, less ridiculous measures? (Hint: The answer is zero.)"

Patrick(BOS TSO) there is a difference between an IED and COMPONENTS which were found in Brown's suitcase which was being checked.

Your quote even states that:

""They say his luggage had everything needed to build a pipe bomb — glass bottles with nitromethane, a model rocket ignitor, batteries, galvanized pipes with caps drilled to fit a fuse and even instructions."

So, the answer is still ZERO.

Phil said...

HappyToHelp wrote:

"Sadly, Mr. Brown made the poor judgment to bring bomb materials. Not assembled into a bomb by any means and I have no belief he was going to assemble it past the checkpoint."

Happy, I think you still don't understand. The man had parts that could be assembled into a crude bomb in his checked luggage. Of course he was not going to assemble it past the checkpoint at the airport.

CNN reported:

"Lee Kair, the TSA's federal security director in Orlando, said the materials in [Mr. Brown's] bags posed no danger to other travelers."

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

George said...

@HappyToHelp: Place the wallet in your carryon bag. Make sure the carryon is the last thing to go into the X-ray and watch the bag enter the tunnel. Once the bag has entered the tunnel, inform the Transportation Security Officer who is leading you through the MMW process that your carryon bag has something valuable in it.

So now you're asking me to trust not only the TSO, but also every passenger in the vicinity who can hear me specifically tell the TSO that I have something valuable in my carry-on. Wouldn't it be more effective to put a large sign with red letters that says "VALUABLES INSIDE: PLEASE STEAL!" on the carry-on? That way the thieves could get to it quickly and efficiently, without getting in the way of the TSOs or other passengers.

All kidding aside, you're just (officially?) proving my point that the TSA's screening procedures focus exclusively on rare threats to aircraft while neglecting (and even encouraging) common threats to passengers' property (and identity if it's a wallet that gets stolen). That's not "security" at all, but a dangerous failure.

The officer will inform you what he/she can do to help ensure its safety. What the officer can do is different from airport to airport so I can't give you any specific advice on what to expect.

In other words, the TSA's (SSI?) procedures make no provision for protecting passengers' property during screening. It's up to individual TSOs, who may or may not care-- and who may or may not be trustworthy. Again, this is evidence of a severe failure in the TSA's "security."

I hope you can respect that it is against the law to release SSI and classified material. Your disdain for TSA is obscuring the reality of the situation.

Yes, I can respect the law. But I also know that secrecy is too often a smokescreen for incompetence and abuse, even if it's wrapped in the flag. Since so much of the TSA is shrouded in secrecy, I have to assume that it is obscuring incompetence and abuse. I certainly see (and have experienced) incompetence and abuse at checkpoints, so why should I assume that what's behind the black curtain is any different from what's openly on display to the public?

The secrecy also makes any sort of dialogue with TSA representatives like you impossible. At any point you can cut us short with "You're wrong. I can't tell you why you're wrong because it's SSI, so you'll have to trust me when I say you haven't a clue what you're talking about." How very very convenient.

George said...
But which one of them is responsible for protecting our belongings from theft, loss, or damage when we're necessarily separated from them during TSA screening?

Short answer: You.


Again you miss the point completely (and not because it's SSI). How can I be responsible for protecting my belongings when I'm separated from them so I can be strip searched? That seems to be a significant flaw in your "security" system that you apparently prefer to ignore because it's not important, and/or it's outside your narrowly-focused "mission" of keeping oversized lotion bottles off airplanes.

Long answer: Depends on the specific incident to which you refer. This is why TSA has claim forms. Each incident needs to be investigated in order to find out who is at fault.

Another point missed. I don't want an "incident." You may consider this unacceptably selfish because I'm interested in my own property rather than with the terrorist threat from which you're so valiantly protecting us. But I only want to walk out of the checkpoint with everything with which I walked into it. (And, by the way, that also includes items like one-ounce bottles of sunscreen in my Freedom Baggie and solid deodorant, which comply with publicly-available rules but not the ones known only to TSOs.) I'm trying to avoid anything to do with claim forms, and particularly with the unknown (and most likely unreliable and unconcerned) bureaucracy that does unknown things with said claim form once I hand it to them.

Again, if your screening procedures do not adequately protect my belongings from theft or damage, and do not allow me to maintain continuous control over them during screening, TSA "security" is ignoring an important aspect of security. By the time a claim form is needed, it's too late-- security has failed.

You may be happy to help, but I'm afraid you're not helping very much.

GSOLTSO said...

RB said "Given that, I have to use the most stringent standards for my protection, much as you do when treating each and every passenger to the same screening standards. I think you would agree that using lesser screening standards for one group of people, say teenage girls, and a stricter set of standards for another group, say middle age men, would be poor procedure."

I am 100% in agreement with you on that. We should screen every single individual the exact same way, we should respond to each situation the exact same way, however that is an unrealistic expectation. The screening should be standard with equal scrutiny and standardized things that happen based on things found/noticed during said process and for the most part I believe that is true. We all recieve the same basic training classes and OJT requirements, etc. MOST persons on the checkpoints and in baggage will have the same basic set of rules that are applied, we will always have some situations that crop up that are treated differently and that is due to the innumerable differences between the people wearing the uniforms and the people travelling. I admit that one area that we as an organization have trouble with, is admitting problems or failings that we have. Now, that is something that happens everywhere, and it is something that the organization has been working on steadily (this blog alone is a monumental step in the right direction).

RB said "I have no way of knowing which TSO's have excellent hygiene, however I do know that some do not. It would be foolish of me ignore my observations and risk my health on the assumption that one observed case was just an oddity.

In this situation I must apply the worst case to the whole group."

Point taken. I do several things to protect myself in the course of work, so I understand that.

RB said "If you took it personally that was not my intent."

It was merely the way the comment was worded. I don't take ANY of this personally, most of the pointed comments here are the result of frustration, misdirected anger or lack of understanding. I actually like the heated debates on here and I like the way there are some TSO's that come on here and mix it up. The more we debate the items posted on here, the more we can find out about what the public thinks, and work towards organizational resolutions or education of the public.

P.S. I do really wash my hands!

kellymae81 said...

Phil, I don't know what you read, but to clarify, we are not to wear the same pair of gloves for multiple bag checks or anything. So I don't put on a pair, do a bag check and then take them off and put in my pocket to use again. That is disgusting. I can't say others don't do it, but they shouldn't, it's against procedure. You can ask at anytime for a TSO to change their gloves when handling your items, they must comply.

SDF TSO

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...

P.S. I do really wash my hands!

March 30, 2009 3:03 PM

.............
As do I, so I think we can safely shake on this one.

RB

HappyToHelp said...

George
So now you're asking me to trust not only the TSO, but also every passenger in the vicinity who can hear me specifically tell the TSO that I have something valuable in my carry-on.

This is common practice. You can find this advice on frequent traveler websites. Personally, I place all the items in my pockets into my carryon prior to entering the Walk Through Metal Detector.

George
Wouldn't it be more effective to put a large sign with red letters that says "VALUABLES INSIDE: PLEASE STEAL!" on the carry-on? That way the thieves could get to it quickly and efficiently, without getting in the way of the TSOs or other passengers.

If you can't discreetly tell someone you want a item to have special care, thats all on you George. If you don't provide information to personnel at the checkpoint, you can't expect any help because I don't know of any mind reading that takes place at any TSA checkpoints. :) Joking of course.

Basically, TSA needs to screen you and your items. Transportation Security Officers don't inventory your possessions. TSO's rely on you to let them know if something is missing or if you see someone pilfering your items. This process is team work. Most cases of theft happen when one side is left out of the loop. In most cases, from my experience, it is the Transportation Security Officer left out of the loop.

If you don't wish to be a active participant for the safety of your items, you are the one facilitating theft. TSA takes responsible measures to ensure your items make it back to you.


George
...you're just (officially?) proving my point that the TSA's screening procedures focus exclusively on rare threats to aircraft while neglecting (and even encouraging) common threats to passengers' property (and identity if it's a wallet that gets stolen).

I'm not saying that at all. Don't jump to conclusions. That doesn't help anyone.

George
In other words, the TSA's (SSI?) procedures make no provision for protecting passengers' property during screening.

Not at all. It just depends on checkpoint set up, staffing, peak times, situation, equipment available, and local and national policy.

If you need help with a specific airport terminal, you should post on a traveler website and ask for advice concerning that terminal. You can even post here and it is possible to receive a response from a Transportation Security Officer who works there. Not likely but possible.


George
Yes, I can respect the law.

Good. We are on the same page.

George
The secrecy also makes any sort of dialogue with TSA representatives like you impossible.

Yes and no. Broad topics are perfect for dialogue. Specifics, Not so much. Typically, all liquid threat discussions filibuster in this way.

Don't worry. TSA will continue to be as transparent as possible. Secretary Janet Napolitano won't except anything less.

Don't confuse transparency with revealing SSI or classified material.(just a clarification statement)


George
How can I be responsible for protecting my belongings when I'm separated from them so I can be strip searched?

By working with checkpoint personnel. Make the system work for you. Its setup that way. A lot of action at the checkpoint is based off of the information provided to Transportation Security Officers.

George
Another point missed. I don't want an "incident."

Do you think anyone wants a incident?

George
Again, if your screening procedures do not adequately protect my belongings from theft or damage, and do not allow me to maintain continuous control over them during screening, TSA "security" is ignoring an important aspect of security. By the time a claim form is needed, it's too late-- security has failed.


[start pep talk]
Be part of the team and you will find that the system is more then adequate. I believe in you George.
[end pep talk]

Take necessary precautions, get advice, ask for help, and be proactive. You will dramatically reduce your chances of being a victim.

Thanks George. This discussion rapped up pretty nicely.(well at least on my part)

Enjoy your travels George. I have covered everything I could on the subject.

-H2H

HappyToHelp said...

Phil
Happy, I think you still don't understand. The man had parts that could be assembled into a crude bomb in his checked luggage. Of course he was not going to assemble it past the checkpoint at the airport.

I never said he was going to assemble a bomb past the checkpoint. What point are you trying to make Phil? Are you still referring to Anonymous post? I need clarification.

Thanks Phil,

-H2H

George said...

@ kellymae81 (SDF TSO): Phil, I don't know what you read, but to clarify, we are not to wear the same pair of gloves for multiple bag checks or anything. So I don't put on a pair, do a bag check and then take them off and put in my pocket to use again. That is disgusting. I can't say others don't do it, but they shouldn't, it's against procedure. You can ask at anytime for a TSO to change their gloves when handling your items, they must comply.

Interesting. The last time a TSO took my toiletry kit out of my carry-on and pawed through it (he didn't say what he was looking for, nor did he confiscate anything), he was wearing the same gloves he had worn since I entered the checkpoint. I was watching him rifle through several bags, and I never saw him change his gloves. Yes, I was disgusted; but I assumed that TSOs wore gloves only to protect themselves from any nasty stuff in the belongings they rifle, without regard to whether that spreads nasty stuff to other passengers. (Their job, after all, is to keep items off of airplanes. As "HappyToHelp" says, it's up to us to protect ourselves from theft, germs, and everything else outside that narrow scope.) Fortunately I was headed home, so I dumped everything that was in the kit into a first trashcan I found in the sterile area.

I wanted to ask him to change his gloves, but I was afraid that he would respond by contaminating even more of my belongings (or worse). Since the procedure he was apparently violating is not available to the public, I had no idea he was either required to change his gloves between passengers or that he had to comply with my request.

This seems to be yet another disconnect between what TSOs are supposed to do and what they actually do. And since passengers don't know most of the procedures TSOs are supposed to be following, we obviously can't call them on violations. That's surely one of the most important benefits of keeping everything SSI, at least for TSOs!

I would suspect that the requirement to change gloves is violated very frequently, since it's an inconvenient and time-consuming process that slows down screening. Since passengers don't know they're required to change gloves, they can easily get away with not doing it. Indeed, I suspect that the majority of abuses and violations are not done maliciously, but simply as cutting corners out of a desire to keep the herd flowing through the gate into the paddock.

But I'll print your post and bring it along with me next time I fly. If a TSO with filthy gloves decides to rifle my belongings, I'll ask him or her to put on new gloves because they're required to do so. Then I'll show your post. It will be interesting to see whether that works-- and how the TSO exercises his authority to punish me for it.

P.S. The IRS has a "taxpayer bill of rights" that is very clearly written and is easily available to the public. If the IRS can do that-- and they're another agency that people famously love to hate-- why can't the TSA?

Tomas said...

kellymae81 wrote...
Phil, I don't know what you read, but to clarify, we are not to wear the same pair of gloves for multiple bag checks or anything. So I don't put on a pair, do a bag check and then take them off and put in my pocket to use again. That is disgusting. I can't say others don't do it, but they shouldn't, it's against procedure. You can ask at anytime for a TSO to change their gloves when handling your items, they must comply.
________________

KellyMae, does the TSA really budget for over 1.5 trillion rubber gloves a year so that a new pair of rubber gloves is used when handling each passenger's carry-on and checked luggage? (2 million passengers a day, 365 days a year, carry-on and checked.)

I don't think so. I really don't.

I also do not recall seeing ANY TSO changing gloves on a regular basis while passing through TSA chokepoints.

Just a quick related question for you, KellyMae - can you think of any way to protect my personal belongings (laptop, cellphone, pocket items, etc.) from the filthy grey bins we are forced to put everything into?

Any bin I touch/use has probably had many things in it/on it that I DO NOT want my personal items sharing (up to an including dog-poo covered shoes, shoes that just came out of the restroom and are still soggy, and medical wastes).

I doubt seriously that TSA would want me to whip out a can of Lysol Spray, heavily spray the trays I'm going to use, then toss the can in the garbage.

What IS done to clean those trays? How often? <=== Serious question. :o)

Tom

Phil said...

Someone anonymously wrote

"Tell me, how many people carrying explosives has TSA's BDOs found? (Here's a hint: The answer is ZERO.)"

HappyToHelp responded:

"FBI: Man tried to board plane with bomb materials

"`Transportation Safety Administration officials said Brown caught the eye of a "behavior identification officer" about noon Tuesday as Brown approached a ticket counter for his planned flight to Jamaica.'"


I responded:

"Happy, you're being very misleading.

"U.S. Army veteran Kevin Brown was not found carrying any explosives.
In his checked luggage were parts to make a crude pipe bomb: a pipe, end caps, BBs, race car fuel, and a model-rocket igniter. He later said he wanted to show his friends in Jamaica the type of bomb he'd seen while serving in Iraq."

I quoted the CNN article Happy referenced:

"Lee Kair, the TSA's federal security director in Orlando, said the materials in [Mr. Brown's] bags posed no danger to other travelers."

HappyToHelp responded:

"Sadly, Mr. Brown made the poor judgment to bring bomb materials. Not assembled into a bomb by any means and I have no belief he was going to assemble it past the checkpoint."

I responded:

"Happy, I think you still don't understand. The man had parts that could be assembled into a crude bomb in his checked luggage. Of course he was not going to assemble it past the checkpoint at the airport."

HappyToHelp responded:

"I never said he was going to assemble a bomb past the checkpoint. What point are you trying to make Phil? Are you still referring to Anonymous post? I need clarification."

Happy, that's a straw man argument. I didn't accuse you of having said that the man was going to assemble a bomb past the checkpoint. When someone asserted that TSA BDOs have not found people carrying explosives, you refuted this claim by citing an example of a U.S. Army veteran who had in his checked luggage items that could have been assembled into a bomb but that TSA's federal security director in Orlanda said were of no danger to other travelers. In your quotation of the CNN article, you conveniently left out the facts that Mr Brown was not found carrying the items and the fact that your staff said they were of no danger, and you used the misleading headline. After I pointed this out, you wrote that you had no belief that the man was going to assemble a bomb past the checkpoint, implying that was been possible but in your opinion unlikely. I again pointed out that it would not have been possible.

Bob, on November 12, 2008, in the "Family/Special Needs Lanes Coming to All Airports in Time for Thanksgiving Travel" post, Paul at TSA wrote, "Still working on the comprehensive list of regulations both definite and situational," but that despite repeated requests for an update on his progress, we've heard nothing more about it. What is the current status of this project Paul stated over four months ago that he had begun?

--
Phil
Add your own questions at TSAFAQ.net

Anonymous said...

"By working with checkpoint personnel. Make the system work for you. Its setup that way."

No system that forces people to be separated from their valuables is in any way designed to "work for" those people -- particularly when those checkpoint personnel are empowered to disregard official policy and make up their own on a whim with no risk of reversal by their superiors.

Jim Huggins said...

George writes:

Since passengers don't know they [TSOs] are required to change gloves, they can easily get away with not doing it.

This actually brought up an interesting question for me ... how widespread is the knowledge among passengers that they can request TSOs to change gloves?

I only found two references to this policy on the main TSA website: one on a page dealing with passengers with disabilities and medical conditions, and one dealing with the more specific case of CPAP screening. But one doesn't need to have a diagnosed medical condition to be concerned about gloves being changed before one's own items are examined by a TSO.

Disclaimer: I can't remember the last time my personal effects were searched, and I'm not particularly sensitive to germ transmission, so my interest in the topic is purely theoretical ...

Chris Boyce said...

There's been lots of comments about gloves and valuables and the requirement to not be separated from your belongings.

ValuablesBased on decades of flying, I'd like to offer a few suggestions for my fellow passengers --

1. Approach the checkpoint with the same attitude that screeners have towards us -- guilty until proven innocent. If you prepare yourself and your belongings assuming that a screener or another passenger will try to steal something, you're 90% of the way towards protecting yourself and your belongings. The bigger threat is from screeners, who do this day in & day out. A screener or a group of screeners intent on stealing will have honed this to a science. A passenger stealing from another passenger would be either in the "honest mistake" or "amateur" category.

2. NEVER put valuables in those little round trays -- even car keys. It's so easy for a screener to pick & choose prizes from those little trays because everything is right there in the open.

3. I'm not one to keep my non-metallic wallet in my pocket. You're just inviting them to notice it and conduct an "inspection" of your wallet and/or take it from you to run through the X-ray. Maintain awareness of the amount of cash you have in your wallet and which credit cards you carry. If they take it from you to run through the X-ray, tell them you know exactly how much cash and which credit cards are in the wallet. When (If) they give you your wallet back, count your cash and check all your credit cards in their presence.

4. I am a firm believer of putting your valuables inside a carry-on. If you have to make a trip to the bathroom to do this before heading to the checkpoint, the time investment is worth the peace of mind. Make sure you're well past the checkpoint before you take everything out again.

None of this stuff is new. I've been doing this since the 1970s. Simply assume that there is at least one screener at your chosen checkpoint who is a thief and you will make the right decisions.

You have to be extra careful during a gate rape/grope because you have probably already reconfigured your valuables. Gates are much more vulnerable than the already-vulnerable checkpoints. There are only a couple of screeners present. They will want to rush through the grope for your "convenience." That means they will probably try to grope you and rifle through your carryons simultaneously. Don't allow them to do that! Make sure you require them to keep your belongings in front of you at all times and that they do not search them until you can watch them like a hawk. Definitely inventory your wallet in front of them before you leave.

Gloves

I'm a big proponent of making them change gloves. Someone on Flyertalk proposed that passengers require ID checkers to change gloves. I think this is a great idea. Even if you don't care one iota about germs, make screeners who touch you or your stuff to change gloves because you can.

Here are some excuses for not changing gloves I have heard from actual screeners:

- "I just changed them. They're clean."
- More than one screener has pulled another pair from their pocket. I tell them that this is not acceptable and that they are to take a pair out of the box. I also tell them I want to see them take the pair from the box.
- "I'm not going inside your carryon. I'm just going to look inside your coat pocket."
- "We're out of them."

My responses to these comebacks vary by situation and screener attitude. A couple of my typical responses are:

- "What are you trying to pull? Change your gloves from the box or you can call your supervisor over here and explain your actions to him."

- "What part of 'Change your gloves.' don't you understand?"

RB said...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-03-27-threat-gate-screening_N.htm
......................
Real information about Gate Screening.

"Oakland International Airoprt director Steve Grossman said that many airport officials believe the TSA started gate screening because the sharp decline in air travel has left them with few passengers to scrutinize.

"I do have screeners standing around," Grossman said."

TSA has damaged its already poor acceptance with this harrassment.

If unscreened airport workers are the problem then screen the airport workers!

TSA putting the airlines out of business, one passenger at a time!!

Anonymous said...

Quote;
"I doubt seriously that TSA would want me to whip out a can of Lysol Spray, heavily spray the trays I'm going to use, then toss the can in the garbage."

Are you kidding? We would love it! We have to handle those filthy bins also. You should see some of the stuff we see going into those bins! Do you know that when it's raining outside, we tell people to put thier shoes directly on the belt so they don't get wet crud all over the inside of the bins where people's clothes go? And then they refuse to do it!

There is absolutely NO reason to put shoes in a bin. As long as they are sole down, flat on the belt they go through screening just fine.

And sorry, but it's not my job as a TSO to clean bins. We routinely pull wet/dirty bins out of service until we can get em cleaned but we usually end up doing this ourselves or just waiting till they air dry and putting em back. TSA makes NO provision for the cleaning of bins, the airport cleaning staff won't do it, etc. Half the time we're lucky to have spares so we can throw away damaged ones so people don't get cut on the broken edges.

Think about that next time you toss your shoes in a bin.

kellymae81 said...

Thomas, I don't know what to tell you other than, you think it's not "reality" that they supply us with the trillion or so pairs of gloves needed to change them as our procedures state, but that IS the procedure, whether all follow or not.
I think it is terrible that we must use bins despite what's been put in them, but the "reality" is that there is no way to clean them every time they are used. We can barely keep up just collecting them and piling them back up for you to use again. If there is something visibly showing like mud for example, we will quickly clean it.
So many of you complain about us b/c you can, but what kills me is that most of you don't think where else you put your items outside of security that has just as much questionable germs (i.e. the floor). Also, people put their computers in the bins and then set their shoes right on top of it....but thats okay, go figure!!!!
My conclusion is that TSA is an easy target for complaint. What you all need to realize is half the stuff you complain about, happens elsewhere too.

SDF TSO

George said...

@HappyToHelp: Be part of the team and you will find that the system is more then adequate. I believe in you George.

It's interesting how you and others in the TSA continually talk about "teamwork," as if you and we were team members working together. Yet in practice, if there are any teams involved it's the TSA Team versus the passengers. It can't be any other way with a system based on mass screening.

A passenger who walks into a checkpoint is presumed to be guilty, if not of terrorist intent then of violating some rule du jour about prohibited items. That's why TSOs put us through a MMW strip search, paw through our belongings with filthy gloves, or do whatever other intrusive or humiliating things they are empowered to do to us. If that doesn't uncover anything the TSO decides is prohibited, we're proved innocent and are free to go (but always with the possibility of yet another round at the gate).

That's not "teamwork." That's adversarial. A good TSO can treat the "presumed enemy" with as much courtesy and respect as practical under the circumstances, but it's still "guilty until proven innocent." Indeed, if mass screening is to be effective at all at keeping aviation safe, we wouldn't want it any other way.

A large part of the TSA's problem is their insistence on spin. So they never admit that an MMW scan is a strip search, but insist that it's "innocuous" and even "family-friendly." They tout false positives as successes. And they continue to insist that TSOs "team" with us, even though it's their job to treat us as suspected threats until they prove we're not.

Make the system work for you. Its setup that way. A lot of action at the checkpoint is based off of the information provided to Transportation Security Officers.

More sweet spin. From everything I've seen, the system is "setup" to work against me. It's (understandably) designed around making the TSO's job easier so they can quickly and efficiently screen large herds of "suspected enemies." That's also the (understandable) explanation for many of the TSA's rules. But a system designed by and for TSOs to facilitate and expedite screening is certain to make it difficult for passengers ensure the safety of their belongings.

A passenger undergoing screening is under a high level of stress, and easily distracted with obeying whatever orders the TSOs bark at them. Distraction invites theft. And if the TSO decides to "dump search" through belongings, it's easy to lose something when stuffing everything back into the bag under the pressures of time and other people waiting for that table. Yes, it's the passenger's fault if they succumb to that pressure and forget something. But the TSA creates that pressure at the checkpoints.

I fortunately have not had the privilege of being "dump searched," but the accounts I've read from people who have suggest that the TSOs aren't helpful at all. If anything, they add pressure to get out of the checkpoint quickly. I do have experience with TSOs scowling at me as I balance on one foot trying to put my shoes back on when there is either no "recomposure area" or the few chairs are all occupied.

Take necessary precautions, get advice, ask for help, and be proactive. You will dramatically reduce your chances of being a victim.

I am trying to take the necessary precautions, but the TSA makes that difficult if not impossible! I try to maintain eye contact with my belongings when I'm separated from them, but the screening process too often makes that impossible. I remove all metal from my wallet and keep it in my pocket as I go through the metal detector, but the new MMW strip search makes this precaution impossible. I do my best to avoid announcing the presence of valuables, but now you're telling me that I should do just the opposite so that the TSOs can know about it and "help" me (assuming they care, and that they're not too busy confiscating lotion bottles to do me the favor of looking after my valuables).

You might call it paranoia, but I honestly believe the TSA fails to protect the security of passengers' property. I'm actually more afraid of the TSA confiscating or facilitating the theft of my belongings than I am of terrorists. And worse, you insist on belittling me for it and showing that you really don't care about an important aspect of "security."

George said...

@Jim Huggins: This actually brought up an interesting question for me ... how widespread is the knowledge among passengers that they can request TSOs to change gloves?

For that matter, how widespread is the knowledge among passengers that they have a right to request anything (particularly escalation to supervisors) from a TSO? How many passengers believe that they are obligated to unquestioningly accept and obey everything a TSO does or says if they want to fly today?

As I've said earlier, the IRS has a "taxpayer bill of rights" that's clear, explicit, and very widely published in the tax form instructions everyone receives. The IRS is another federal agency that people love to hate because it's doing a difficult and unpleasant job. But they have nonetheless made the effort to improve their image. If the TSA did the same thing it would be a significant improvement.

But before that can happen, the TSA would have to change its culture. They would have to stop ignoring their flaws and deficiencies or hiding them behind the veil of secrecy. That would be a difficult undertaking, since the TSA was created by an administration that considered itself above the law and infallible, and that gave itself broad unaccountable power to do whatever it wanted (and largely in secret) in connection with fighting an ill-defined, open-ended "Global War On Terror." That administration is now gone, but its values remain embedded in the fundamental structure of the TSA.

I can't remember the last time my personal effects were searched, and I'm not particularly sensitive to germ transmission, so my interest in the topic is purely theoretical ...

The risk is most likely theoretical. But it's a risk nonetheless, and one of several threats to the safety of passengers and their belongings that the TSA's procedures either cause or encourage.

GSOLTSO said...

Wow! Who gave George a cup of Aged Sumatra this week? He is wound up like a clock spring!

George said "For that matter, how widespread is the knowledge among passengers that they have a right to request anything (particularly escalation to supervisors) from a TSO? How many passengers believe that they are obligated to unquestioningly accept and obey everything a TSO does or says if they want to fly today?"

I agree that it seems the public is uninformed about some of the procedures available to them. I think a posted "Bill of Rights" is a bit extreme and would be limited in what could be placed in it. I can tell you that the organization is currently working to consolidate and centralize a lot of information on what you can bring/can't bring - basic rules for flying and some other info neede for the masses. Now, take into consideration that when you are dealing with a government entity like DHS/TSA, that a turn around time of 6 months is almost like speedy as the "Flash". I wish more people were aware of what they can request, like the private screening - there are several people that travel with very valuable items (coins, jewelry, gold and silver, etc) that are always going to require further screening because of the image they generate (these people could request private screening so other passengers don't see what they are carrying).

George said...

@GSOLTSO: Wow! Who gave George a cup of Aged Sumatra this week? He is wound up like a clock spring!

Coffee doesn't get me wound up. But condescending remarks from people who represent the TSA do it every time!

I think a posted "Bill of Rights" is a bit extreme and would be limited in what could be placed in it.

If the much-maligned IRS can do it, so can the even-more-maligned TSA.

What you can put in it might be limited, but the "official" comments from TSA representatives posted here are good candidates. Specifically, inform passengers of their right to request escalation if they believe a TSO is improperly confiscating something. Passengers have a right to private screening to protect valuables. And also that TSOs are required to change their gloves before pawing through belongings, and passengers have the right to request that the TSO change gloves. And most importantly, inform passengers that punitive retribution for invoking those rights is against TSA policy. Even with limits and SSI, I think the very act of expressly acknowledging that passengers do have rights would be an easy, inexpensive, and effective way to improve the TSA's tattered public image.

Of course the TSA is free to ignore that suggestion, just as they do with anything that doesn't come from headquarters. It's in the best interest of the TSA to keep passengers in the dark and fearful, since passengers who know and assert their rights will invariably slow down the screening process and create more difficulty for TSOs. Orwell's motto, "Ignorance Is Strength," seems to be the the TSA's operating principle.

So ignore or dismiss my suggestion. You know best, and you also know that we have to accept whatever you decide to do to us if we want to fly today.

TSORon said...

George said:
“Specifically, inform passengers of their right to request escalation if they believe a TSO is improperly confiscating something.”

First George, can we get the facts out there? TSO’s confiscate nothing. The items are either abandoned by the owner or are removed from the sterile area. LEO’s might confiscate something, but TSA has nothing to do with that.

George said:
“Passengers have a right to private screening to protect valuables.”
Passengers have the right to a private screening for any reason at all, or no reason. All they need do is ask. The signage in the checkpoint area says this clearly.

George said:
“And also that TSOs are required to change their gloves before pawing through belongings, and passengers have the right to request that the TSO change gloves.”

No George, TSO’s are not required to “change gloves before pawing through belongings” unless requested to do so by the passenger. As a TSO I tend to change mine quite often anyway, since I’d rather not touch my face or uniform with a contaminated glove.

George said:
“Even with limits and SSI, I think the very act of expressly acknowledging that passengers do have rights would be an easy, inexpensive, and effective way to improve the TSA's tattered public image.”

SSI has nothing to do with the passengers rights there George. Sorry to pop your balloon on this one, but SSI is about containing information, not rights.

One point though for you to think about George, no can stand up for your rights for you, as an individual you must do that for yourself.

George said:
“So ignore or dismiss my suggestion. You know best, and you also know that we have to accept whatever you decide to do to us if we want to fly today.”

We like suggestions George. Honestly, we do. Its usually helpful to know a bit about the subject first, but we will take a suggestion even from a 6 year old. On the other hand, a suggestion coated in contempt is unlikely to get a fair hearing.

HappyToHelp said...

GSOLTSO
“Wow! Who gave George a cup of Aged Sumatra this week? He is wound up like a clock spring!”

:)

George said...
Coffee doesn't get me wound up. But condescending remarks from people who represent the TSA do it every time!

You need to get out of the mindset that it's “TSA vs. George and thats how it needs to be”. No one is trying to attack you personally. I may not agree with you on your conclusions but it isn't necessary to take anything to heart or increase your blood pressure. Maybe some time away from the computer would help.

George said...
“Even with limits and SSI, I think the very act of expressly acknowledging that passengers do have rights would be an easy, inexpensive, and effective way to improve the TSA's tattered public image.”

I don't think that this idea will be the catalyst in changing TSA's public image but it's a good idea none the less. Unfortunately, I fear it will turn into the many dusty webpages that currently reside on TSA.gov. I would have liked to see glove changing and supervisor request added to the TSA flash movie(which is also played at checkpoints not just TSA.gov).

-H2H

George said...

@TSORon: TSO’s confiscate nothing. The items are either abandoned by the owner or are removed from the sterile area.

That's a technically accurate statement. But the niceties of the distinction between "confiscation" and "abandonment" are irrelevant from the perspective of the passenger at the checkpoint. When the TSO orders me to take the one-ounce unlabeled bottle of sunscreen out of my Freedom Baggie and put it in the "dangerous items" recepticle-- if I want to fly today, that may technically be an invitation to "abandon" that item. But in practice, how is it really different from the TSO confiscating the item?

Yes, the TSO is graciously offering me the alternative of choosing not to fly today. I'm in full control, as I retain the option of turning around, forfeiting everything I've paid for my trip, and going home for a nice staycation. But few passengers would consider that a practical option, even though the TSA (theoretically) allows passengers the complete freedom of personal choice to do that.

The TSO might offer the helpful suggestion that I put the item in my checked baggage. But that is rather difficult to do if I've already checked my bag, which is usually the case by the time a passenger gets to a checkpoint. Or they could suggest that I turn around and put it in my car, which is less than feasible if my car happens to be in the garage at home. Or if I happened to have gotten to the airport early enough, I can get a taxi to the nearest UPS store, mail the item to myself, and get another taxi back to the airport. Or I could call a friend and wait for them to come and pick it up. Those are all choices that the TSO might graciously suggest as alternatives to "voluntary abandonment."

But since few if any of those choices are truly practical (or even possible) when I'm at the checkpoint and have to catch a flight (and it is, after all, a stupid bottle of sunscreen that could be easily replaced by taking a few minutes to visit a drugstore at my destination), the only real choice is to "abandon" the item. That's not "voluntary." And it's indistinguishable from "confiscation" despite what your (SSI?) procedures call it. And when it's an item that, as best as I can determine, fully complies with the TSA's published guidelines for permitted items, it's inexcusable and infuriating.

Splitting hairs is not just for TSOs!

SSI has nothing to do with the passengers rights there George. Sorry to pop your balloon on this one, but SSI is about containing information, not rights.

Yes, but the sort of pervasive secrecy the TSA practices is invariably harmful to rights, even when that's not the intent.

@HappyToHelp: ...it isn't necessary to take anything to heart or increase your blood pressure. Maybe some time away from the computer would help.

Actually, I'm looking forward to some time away from the computer when I take a wonderful road trip next month. Yes, I'm at greater risk to life and limb because I'm driving on dangerous highways instead of statistically safer flying. But unless that happens, I can have an enjoyable and carefee vacation without enduring the indignity of air travel, in which the TSA's strip searches and arbitrary imposition of rules is merely one of many hassles.

And it's not "TSA vs. George" as much as "TSA vs. the traveling public."

I don't think that [the "TSA bill of rights"] will be the catalyst in changing TSA's public image but it's a good idea none the less. Unfortunately, I fear it will turn into the many dusty webpages that currently reside on TSA.gov.

It could be genuinely helpful if it's posted at airports, and promoted along with the PSAs about shoes and liquids. But if it's hidden away where nobody knows about it (intentionally or otherwise), it definitely won't accomplish anything.

Until passengers know they have rights, effectively they have no rights. And I'm sure some people in the TSA wouldn't have it any other way.

Tomas said...

kellymae81 wrote...
...to clarify, we are not to wear the same pair of gloves for multiple bag checks or anything. So I don't put on a pair, do a bag check and then take them off and put in my pocket to use again. That is disgusting. I can't say others don't do it, but they shouldn't, it's against procedure. You can ask at anytime for a TSO to change their gloves when handling your items, they must comply.
________________

Not long afterward,

TSORon wrote...
TSO’s are not required to “change gloves before pawing through belongings” unless requested to do so by the passenger. As a TSO I tend to change mine quite often anyway, since I’d rather not touch my face or uniform with a contaminated glove.
________________

We appear to have a problem here.

Best Practices require that gloves be changed after handling one traveler's personal effects and before handling another's to prevent transfer of pathogens and other detritus.

The gloves are NOT just to protect the TSO, but to protect the traveling public.

I have personally observed TSOs pawing through the personal belongings of multiple travelers without changing gloves at four airports.

Blogger Bob, Poster Paul, which of the above statements by TSOs is correct? Why are they different? Where can a member of the public find the official TSA requirement?

Tom (1 of 5-6)

Jim Huggins said...

George wrote:

Specifically, inform passengers of their right to request escalation if they believe a TSO is improperly confiscating something.

TSORon responded:

First George, can we get the facts out there? TSOs confiscate nothing.

TSORon, I think you missed the point.

(a) I understand that TSA policy is not to confiscate any item. Consequently, if a TSO did actually confiscate something, that confiscation would be improper, right? Therefore, George's original statement is still valid; passengers could be informed that any attempt by a TSO to confiscate something is improper.

(b) We've heard numerous reports on this blog of rogue TSOs who have used terms like "confiscate" while separating passengers from their personal items. The the difference between "confiscate" and "surrender" is important, but if TSOs do not consistently use the proper terms, how can everyone else be expected to get it right as well? Again, George's suggestion would be useful in this context, to remind everyone that a TSO cannot "confiscate" anything.

jake said...

Im not quite sure what gate screening is. Inst it when they pass you through some device that can detect certain items.

HappyToHelp said...

jake said...
“I'm not quite sure what gate screening is. Inst it when they pass you through some device that can detect certain items.”

Good question Jake. Gate screening is when checkpoint procedures and screening methods are used at the gate.

Here is a example Jake so you can better understand whats going on. The gate agent will announce any special instructions(if possible) just before boarding if you need anything out such as your drivers license. In this example TSA personnel are checking boarding passes and ID's, Transportation Security Officers will select you at random as you board to check your ID and boarding pass.

This isn't the only type of gate screening, but I hope this gives you a better understanding. Your chances of being gate screened are still low.

-H2H

Jim Huggins said...

HappyToHelp:

I'm not sure "Jake" was serious about his question. "Jake" posted in every blog on the front page about the same time, in order to get his link about "natural male enhancement" into the blog. :(

Anonymous said...

Goodbye, America. Hello, Police State. I'm fed up with TSA. I'm fed up with the intrusive patdowns, shoe removals, coat removals, bottled water confiscations. I'm fed up with the little TSA pop-ups who show up periodically at subway stations. I'm fed up with being interrogated by the TSA behavior police. I'm fed up with being presumed suspicious until proven otherwise. I'm fed up with TSA. For ONE EVENT (9/11/2001), MILLIONS have now been needlessy harassed. And for that ONE EVENT, it was a failure of the INTELLIGENCE and LAW ENFORCEMENT communities to put two plus two together. QUIT blaming the traveling public, TSA. There can be no known threat to warrant the level of intrusion with which TSA has saddled the citizen of this country. I'm fed up with TSA. I'm fed up with immature screeners who are rude and confrontational and totally incapable of de-escalating a customer service issue without summong law enforcement officers (who are probably also fed up with TSA.) And now to heap this screening at the gate upon us when we're happy to be clear of the checkpoint thugs. I'm fed up with TSA.

KathleenS said...

Anonymous said...
Goodbye, America. Hello, Police State. I'm fed up with TSA. I'm fed up with the intrusive patdowns, shoe removals, coat removals, bottled water confiscations. I'm fed up with the little TSA pop-ups who show up periodically at subway stations. I'm fed up with being interrogated by the TSA behavior police. I'm fed up with being presumed suspicious until proven otherwise. I'm fed up with TSA. For ONE EVENT (9/11/2001), MILLIONS have now been needlessy harassed. And for that ONE EVENT, it was a failure of the INTELLIGENCE and LAW ENFORCEMENT communities to put two plus two together. QUIT blaming the traveling public, TSA. There can be no known threat to warrant the level of intrusion with which TSA has saddled the citizen of this country. I'm fed up with TSA. I'm fed up with immature screeners who are rude and confrontational and totally incapable of de-escalating a customer service issue without summong law enforcement officers (who are probably also fed up with TSA.) And now to heap this screening at the gate upon us when we're happy to be clear of the checkpoint thugs. I'm fed up with TSA.

______________________________

Feel better now Anonymous? LOL, that sounded theraputic.

HappyToHelp said...

Jim Huggins said...
I'm not sure "Jake" was serious about his question. "Jake" posted in every blog on the front page about the same time, in order to get his link about "natural male enhancement" into the blog. :(


Yuck. Your absolutely right. Thanks for the heads up Jim. What a waste. I could have commented on someone else's post.

-H2H

RB said...

Feel better now Anonymous? LOL, that sounded theraputic.

April 3, 2009 4:08 PM

...................
But the point was solid!

RB said...

So, if I get Gate Screened and just happen to have $4,700 dollars in by carry-on will I be removed from my place in line awaiting aircraft boarding?

Will I be interrogated and compelled to answer questions asked by a TSO?

And if I do not answer the questions to the satisfaction of said TSO will I have my right of movement restricted even though I have already cleared the normal screening process that TSA uses to control access to the sterile area?

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience as others'. They did a gate screening at my airport, but I just sat and watched everybody pout their arms out and happily open their bags when asked. After the line was finished the officials went away leaving me to get on the plain with no additional inspection. It made me feel like the extra "security" was really pointless if it could be foiled by the act of sitting down.

And also, m motivation for posting this is to not have gate screenings rather than to strengthen them.

Elle said...

The screenings are annoying and I don't think anyone would disagree, but I think it's something that sometimes needs to be done. When there are people looking to do hijackings, it just has to be done.

Anonymous said...

I travel frequently for work and the military. Gate screenings send a very mixed message.

Recently, I had my first experience with one...following a pat down at the x-ray machine (the first in over three years of 50K per year flying), and a check of my boarding pass in the boarding area. So after the initial check, a patdown at the screening area, a second boarding pass check and a second patdown at the gate, do I feel safer? Absolutely not.

If the justification for the secondary screening is to ensure safety I would suggest that the existance of a secondary system of checks reinforces the idea that the TSA's security system is flawed, or at least has holes, why else rescreen people.

I think that the level of intrusion goes beyond the level I would consider resonable (especially following a primary screening). If the TSA is going to continue gate screenings, it is fair to require some metrics as justification.

The airport was LAN.

BTW, good interview on Airplane Geeks.

Herman RH said...

to get visa from u.s. embassy is difficult. at u.s. airport got a difficulty again. u.s. is not a land of FREE

Anonymous said...

The only purpose TSA serves...and the real purpose...is to teach us to comply and be 'good little citizens'. Frankly, I am sick of it.

google@kenkipnes.com said...

I was 'randomly' checked today at the gate of a Southwest flight from San Francisco. I knew he was going to pull me out of line because he was staring at me the whole time we were lined up waiting. He didn't really check anything, though; he just pushed a couple of things around and zipped the bag up. Didn't look where all the wires were coming from, or the bags of 'stuff'.


Anyway, the fake checking didn't bother me. What bothered me is that unlike other airlines where you get a pre-chosen seat assignment, at Southwest you pay for a good spot in line, which is now screwed up by this fake checking BS at TSA.


TSA should for once do something smart. As long as you obviously pre-pick your victims, pull them out of the waiting line, rather than causing them incredible inconvenience by waiting to pull them aside right before entering the gate door.

Nurse Nancy said...

Every TSA agent must demand fresh gloves for each and every new person they pat down along with sinks for washing between and hand sanitizer because not only is it dangerous for the passengers to be touched with used gloves, it is also dangerous for the agent who is touching people then touching themselves.
This is why doctors cover their exam tables with fresh paper between patients. The skin itself can harbor germs, bugs, you name it.
Agents are being subjected to a lot of stuff.
Demand fresh sterile gloves for every single person you have to touch. Demand hand sanitizers too.
Your health is at risk.

Anonymous said...

"Tinfoil hats..." In other words you're saying anybody that doesn't want a nude photo taken of themself or objects to having their genitals groped is a paranoid nut?

Also, you TSA agents have now entered the medical world of sanitary requirements. Those gloves have to changed with each groping, they must be removed each time from a sanitary container, and disposed of in a medical waste Sharps container. For crying out loud, even the kid working at Subway does that.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,
This blog is pretty worthless if all you do is post things and then not reply to valid questions from commenters.

Here's a question I'm sure all of us would like to know the answer to. So, if I have been fully screened at the checkpoint via a "enhanced' pat-down, are you saying I may have to endure yet another pat-down at the gate??

Anonymous said...

Land of the Free.. Home of the Brave..

Now what is unreasonable search and seizure

Anonymous said...

To the TSA: What if a terrorist blew people up BEFORE they got to the illegal body scanner/pat down?

Anonymous said...

Now terrorists don't even have to get on the plane. Just cover themselves in a bio-agent and get checked. Thanks TSA.

Anonymous said...

I refused a gate search the other day. Sure, I got kicked out of the airport, but I just got on another flight, without getting my bag searched. Thank you for the opportunity to exercise my rights.

Anonymous said...

It appears it is only SWA flights getting gate screened. I pay extra for up front boarding and this is an insult. Why don't they just do a better job at the security lanes. Better yet, have you screened the TSA employees lately??? I saw one the other day that I happen to know has a felony conviction.

M said...

I've been gate screened 3 times this past year, twice at the DF airport Mexico City and now at the Bogota airport. All three are with American Airlines and all flights I was traveling first classans I was returning home from tourist and business trips. Perhaps I am on a list? Are their remedies for those of us who are already TSA pre-check certified? I feel as though I am being harassed for no reason. Is there anyone to contact? Customs has a list that should you be on, you can appeal. Thx.