Saturday, December 26, 2009

DHS Statement on Northwest Airlines Flight 253

I understand there are a lot of questions regarding the incident yesterday that occurred on a Northwest flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

Due to an ongoing investigation, there is little I can say here on the blog, but you can go to TSA.gov to read the official DHS statement from Secretary Napolitano. I am also providing the statement below.

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DHS Secretary Napolitano Statement on Northwest Flight 253
December 26, 20091:00 p.m. EST

"I am grateful to the passengers and crew aboard Northwest Flight 253 who reacted quickly and heroically to an incident that could have had tragic results. The Department of Homeland Security immediately put additional screening measures into place- for all domestic and international flights- to ensure the continued safety of the traveling public. We are also working closely with federal, state and local law enforcement on additional security measures, as well as our international partners on enhanced security at airports and on flights.

The American people should continue their planned holiday travel and, as always, be observant and aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or activity to law enforcement officials.

Passengers flying from international locations to U.S. destinations may notice additional security measures in place. These measures are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere. Due to the busy holiday travel season, both domestic and international travelers should allot extra time for check-in."

Thanks,

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team
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***Update - 12/28/09***

Please visit TSA.gov for our current Q&As and any additional updates. The most recent Q&As are pasted below.

Q: What additional security measures is TSA taking domestically?

A: TSA has a layered approach to security that allows us to surge resources as needed on a daily basis. We have the ability to quickly implement additional screening measures including explosive detection canine teams, law enforcement officers, gate screening, behavior detection and other measures both seen and unseen. Passengers should not expect to see the same thing at every airport.

Q: What additional security measures are being taken for international flights to U.S. destinations?

A: TSA issued a directive for additional security measures to be implemented for last point of departure international flights to the United States. Passengers flying into the United States from abroad can expect to see additional security measures at international airports such as increased gate screening including pat-downs and bag searches. During flight, passengers may be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight.

Q: Do passengers need to do anything differently to prepare for checkpoint security procedures? Has anything changed in terms of what passengers can bring in their carry-on or checked bags?

A: At this time, security checkpoint requirements for passengers departing U.S. airports remain the same. Passengers do not need to do anything differently, but they may notice additional security measures at the airport.

Q: Should passengers plan to arrive at airports earlier than normal?

A: Passengers traveling within the United States should give themselves extra time to check in and proceed through the security checkpoint before their flight, especially during the busy holiday travel season. TSA advises that passengers traveling on international flights to U.S. destinations allow extra time for security and arrive an additional hour earlier.

Q: How long will these measures remain in place?

A: TSA will continuously review these measures to ensure the highest levels of security.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

528 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 400 of 528   Newer›   Newest»
RSaunders said...

It is a sad reflection on the TSA that ideas such as "stay in your seat with nothing on your lap" get traction in the news media and on the Internet. What we need is a clear statement that says "TSA knows that further restrictions on passenger behavior don't change anything. While it might be simple to attack some step in the NWA 253 terrorist's process, future terrorists would just use a different process. Effectively immediately: bans on liquids and other faux-security measures have been eliminated, the screening staff has been cut by 20% and told to speed up the process, and 20% of the budget previously allocated to screening has been transferred to accounts used to spy on potential terrorists." By being clear and getting in front of the story, all this media grousing could be prevented. Of course, the TSA would have to want to solve the problem instead of wanting the problem to seem more important. Alas, no Secretary of DHS wants this problem solved, and the "peace dividend" cuts that would follow.

I'd sorta like the problem solved, myself.

Larry Thomas said...

I am perplexed, why the Sit Down for the last 60 minutes policy? What difference does 60 minutes make? 61 minutes, 62 minutes.
The problem came from Yemen, not the USA. Why be punitive to 85% of the traveling public for 1 man's mission?
I would like to the reasons behind this so I can share with my fellow air travelers next week.
Thank you.

Thoughts said...

First we have to take off our shoes and now we can't go to the bathroom and have to sit there with nothing on our laps? What a joke.

djtleek said...

I have a question: Why do the American people trust the government to successfully run their health care when a government beaurocracy like the TSA can't even stop a Nigerian terrorist with explosives from boarding a plane headed for the US? The TSA is just another failed government run program just like the USPS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and everything else run by the government. If you think government run health care will be any different, you are a lost cause.

Anonymous said...

How much can we save by eliminating the TSA? About $10 billion?

Randy said...

OK OK OK.

What is LGA stand for? I know it's not Laguardia.

Here is some context: "no LGA at all in carry-on".

Google also didn't help me.

Sorry for being so thick,
Randy

Anonymous said...

Fire all the TSA bureaucrats!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm curious. If it's in the final hour of a flight, and a "terrorist" is attempting to doing something terroristy, and I am currently flying over a state with the so called "Good Samaritan Law", am I damned if I do, and damned if I don't? As has been proven since the its inception, the TSA is worthless, and can't be counted on to protect anyone, so that leaves defense in the hands of the passengers, and crew. Perhaps it's time we rid ourselves of the TSA, and use a fraction of the funding for it to arm the passengers with tazers, or some other non-craft threatening defense tool.

Anonymous said...

A few months ago I came home from a business trip and my wife asked me, "Honey, did you know you had bullets in your bag?" My carry-on had been used a few months earlier on a camping trip and in the bottom there were still seven .22LR rounds floating around that I never noticed! That bag was even HAND-CHECKED by TSA on the return flight.

I thank God TSA didn't find them. It would have sent their make-work aparatus into overdrive. I think they would have labelled me as one of those home-grown conservative "terrorists" that they swear exist.

Anonymous said...

I for one am sick of being lied to about "terror attacks" like the Christmas "jock strap bomber" and the "shoe bomber" of several years ago.

There are so many contradictions in the recent story, I'm not sure there really was a bomb, or if there was, that it wasn't set up by the CIA or some other US spook organization.

For all I know it was just an excuse to ramp up a war in Yemen, and to scare the pants off average Americans so the DHS/TSA can grab more power and further inconvenience Americans.

If the US government and the DHS/TSA want some respect and credibility, they need to stop lying to us all the time.

dev* said...

I can understand (though I don't like) the pat-downs. Annoying, and inconvenient, at least they are effective.

But everything else about this decision is completely ineffective and mindless. Disabling GPS and communications do not prevent terrorism - terrorists wouldn't rely on that stuff, they would know the flight times (or look out the window on a clear day) and certainly not make attempts to communicate from a small traceable environment (and for what gain?). Restricting use of anything in the cabin doesn't actually stop anyone from doing something when the attendants aren't looking, and it only takes a second to do something dangerous. Unless you do start chaining people down like prisoners, this does nothing.

But the saddest part of it all? Now the airlines will be asking the government for more money due to the continued decrease in passengers, and for the now largely useless wireless equipment they spent millions installing that the TSA had disabled. In addition to the increased security presence, this will be a huge taxpayer burden on top of the increased travel hassle, for a nominal security improvement.

It truly makes me ashamed to be an American that this is how you treat us and those trying to visit our country.

Anonymous said...

Wow, talk about theatre security!!! Does anyone remember when the TSA cheated on the test that it gave itself and still somehow managed to fail?

Every time the TSA somehow manages to display a new level of incompetence they are rewarded with more money and more power. If they were subject to the market, ie, if we had the freedom to stop funding the govt hijacking of airport security (no pun intended) then their failures would result in LESS money and LESS power, not more. This all makes absolutely no sense, and makes us all far less safe because we only have the illusion of security, not actual security. Actual security is only possible through free enterprise...private owners with diverse conceptions of how to provide the "best" security would compete, and those who profited the greatest would be sending signals to other market actors to model after their superior methods. Real world feedback tends to help determine these things, but the TSA is purely bureacratic, and is not nearly as disciplined by profit and loss than would otherwise be the case had the govt not decided to extort the populace and subsidize TSA paychecks and the TSA's forced monopolization of airport security through state granted legal monopolies.

Just another day in criminal-topia...

Anonymous said...

To all of those that want us to adopt Israeli security procedures: The company that ran security at Schiphol was an Israeli company. If we had a foreign policy that protected America first instead of defending Israel we wouldn't have these problems. We would also not be going bankrupt with outrageous and ineffective military expenditures. It doesn't appear that our "victories" in Iraq and Afghanistan have made us any safer. Maybe we'll have to attack Iran.

Anonymous said...

I am really confused by these comments. The very same people that say TSA failed (which is not the case since this flight originated outside the US) are the same people that moan and groan about the policies that TSA does have that would have caught this guy had it been a domestic flight. TSA has the equipment to catch these types of explosives hidden in sensitive body areas but all you "experts" cry that they are an electronic strip search and an invasion of privacy. Of course they could conduct pat downs like the one the gentleman with the pregnant wife experienced but still again that would be an invasion of privacy – oh boo hoo. Excuse me but from what I recall Timothy McVeigh looked like a clean cut all American kid too so don’t give me that crap.

What is really bothering me is that according to all the experts on this blog this type of attack couldn't really happen anyway. I mean after all isn't the TSA liquid policy and new powder policy just a joke to begin with. Oops, maybe not.

I see the problem as you all want top notch security as long as it doesn't conflict your precious sense of civil liberties. Problem is you can't have both.

348 said...

I will not ride in a commercial airliner until TSA is dismantled.

They fail to keep anybody any safer than they would be with private security and make things much more inconvenient.

The Federal government is incapable of running anything right, just look at the Postal Service, Medicare/Medicaid, the Border Patrol, and most of the armed forces.

The Feds were given strict instructions in 1791, telling them what they could and couldn't get involved in. They couldn't even follow that simple document, so why should we expect them to be capable of keeping airliners secure?

We have a worthless Federal government and they put their dirty hands in more things every year.

Anonymous said...

Really people, is sitting in your seat for 1 hour REALLY that horrible?! The last hour of an international flight is when the flight is now over the US. That is why they prefer to take the plane down then.

All the people complaining that they have to sit down are the same people that complain that they have to get screened at all. The people that think everyone should just be allowed to walk onto a plane carrying whatever they like.

Most of these complainers are actually people with interests in the private security companies that TSA replaced who want to discredit TSA so they can get back the lucrative contracts they had before Sept 11th. The TSA is 1,000 times better than those bumbling idiots were.

All the people saying TSA let this man on the plane with explosives are really proving their ignorance. The flight came from AMSTERDAM! TSA does not screen in Amsterdam!

These are also the same people that do not think they should have whole body imaging because it is "invasive". If you do not think anyone should be allowed to screen passengers, do not complain when they get explosives onto aircraft.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA:

I think you are absolutely nuts.

If you are going to make passengers sit still, not listen to their iPods, not look at their computers, not carry their personal GPSs, not go to the bathroom, not retrieve and replace things in their bags, and have their hands visible during the last hour of flight, you are going to make flying a more miserable experience than it already is.

This rule is arbitrary and capricious. Further, I can't see where it was properly adopted under the enabling legislation.

Finally, if its not unconstitutional for the TSA to exercise this much power without a separate Congressional directive, then it should be.

For fear of retaliation, by having my name place on the "no fly list" I will pass on identifying myself.

Anonymous said...

A few years ago, my flight back to the US was delayed by several hours. I found some random place at the airport to eat some food.

Unfortunately, what I ate gave me food poisoning. The last half of the flight was awful. I had a fever, I was vomiting and I had diarrhea. Things that had me going to the bathroom quite frequently until we landed.

I have no idea what I would do or what would happen if that flight would have taken place now as opposed to two years ago.

I do not know how you can treat your fellow human beings in this way, and still be able to sleep at night.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA,

Please, please tell me that you don't really think keeping passengers in their seats for the final hour of the flight is going to avert terrorist attacks like the one that was attempted on December 25th. (Seriously -- you don't really think this, do you?)

The bottom line is that it's time to privatize airline security. Allow different security companies to compete with one another and watch the best ones rise to the top. (The lack of competition, of course, is the very same reason that government agencies are always a failure).

The last thing on earth we need is the same government who runs the post office, Amtrak, social security and medicare to be in charge of the safety of passenger aircraft. No thank you!!!

Yes, I do realize that my suggestion will require those of you who work for the TSA to find a new job, but it's a minor inconvenience to ensure the safety of American citizens. (Which, of course, is your primary concern, right?)

Anonymous said...

Have people spontaneously stopped posting? Or is the TSA now screening the comments more efficiently? I posted a while ago but have noticed that not only has my comment not appeared, but no one has posted for an hour and a half. Strange...

Anonymous said...

When American citizens are forced to choose between soiling themselves or risking arrest by going to the bathroom, it would seem pretty clear that the terrorists have won.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what the answer to all of this (current situation, developing, or future threats), but I don't feel the answer lies in REACTIONARY policies disguised as preemptive actions. We now have to remove our shoes because of a previous incident; limited liquids because of a previous incident; and yet, someone used a new way which did not get caught ... terrorists are nothing if not inventive and, until we get our hands on a crystal ball, we will never be able to be one step ahead of any person(s) wishing to do us harm.

Frankieboy said...

It is the TSA, not terrorism, that keeps me from flying. As C.S Lewis once wrote:

"Of all the tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busy-bodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that if your goal was to set up a tyrannical system, preventing people from traveling would be a top priority. It wouldn't surprise me if the eventual goal of all the watch lists, onerous rules, and general harassment was to permanently end all air travel.

DJ said...

When will people realize that government providing security is nothing but the biggest fraud of all times.

Why in the world is the government in charge of security anyway? Is it not in the self interest of airline companies to secure their jets? At least then, airliners would be held accountable, where now, nobody is held accountable except, it seems, the passengers who will now bare the costs with more humiliation and more tax payers money.

Anonymous said...

Let's see if I've got this right. During the last hour of flight, I can't get medication or food out of my carryon, even if required to avoid a seizure. If I have the poor judgment to go ahead and have a seizure, I'll be deemed disruptive by the crew and handcuffed until I pass out or die. Just one question: will Janet notify my next of kin, or am I supposed to make arrangements before boarding?

kevo10 said...

where was the air marshall on this flight that carried the suspected terrorist?

Anonymous said...

News reports today state that Amsterdam has 15 of the backscatter imaging machines but is prohibited from using them on passengers flying to the US. Incredible, if true.

Official TSA comments, anyone?

Anonymous said...

I agree with Ron Paul. The TSA is a government agency that is harmful to our liberties + thus it should be abolished.

Anonymous said...

Well, since you all know so much about what you are talking about, I guess I do not need to comment. Wait, you all have NO idea what is going on. TSA HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS FLIGHT, last time I checked, it came from Amsterdam, which oh wait IS NOT IN THE US! Therefore TSA did not screen the flight. Second, how can you be complaining when we havent had a US originating flight since 9/11 go down from terrorism. Why not complain about the pilots who fall asleep during flights or use auto pilots so they can use their personal laptops. Nope, people like to point fingers for no reason. If you all could grow up for a minute and Thank the people who save your lives every day I'm sure they would appreciate it. Third, the TSA did not issue the ban on gettin up out of your seats during the last hour of your flight, the FAA did. Since none of you jump to conclusions, I can see how this mistake could be made. Wait did I say that? YOU ALL JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS. Seriously, take five minutes out of your day, watch the news, read the newspaper, or go online and research things before you begin to make fools of yourselfs. It paints a bad picture for America.

GOD BLESS,
BOSTON ANONYMOUS

Anonymous said...

TSA seems to be an easy target for everyone's frustrations. The flight originated in Amsterdam . . . why are their screening techniques not being criticized? (Weakest Link). The terrorist are seeing the new technologies being employed within TSA (Which is USA only) and may now be targeting international Airports? I believe TSA is becoming too good, so the Terrorist are now having to go elsewhere; the path of least resistance. Maybe, we can have everyone's hands tested for explosives. Would you tolerate this bloggers? How about patting down people crotches? Would you tolerate that? When TSA wanted to use puffer machines, it was a civil rights issue, although, I believe this would catch someone wanting to do just this same type of terror within the US. It seems TSA is damned if they do and damned if they don't? Besides, if the Terrorists (Who hate us very, very much) want to harm us, they will find a way. I shutter at the thought BUT it is just a matter of time before we see Airports, shopping malls and movie theaters being blown up, maybe then this sniveling will stop.

FYI ~ The explosive used was a liquid/gel, thence taking away toothpaste!

Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me? TSA did NOT screen this passenger. Being a screener I am confidant in saying that had this individual's flight been domestic he NEVER would have gained access to the aircraft. The Officers, YES OFFICERS, would have detected the concealed items and stopped it before it happened. Furthermore all these new restrictions are by the FAA. The FAA regulates air travel policies NOT TSA. TSA as everyone knows handles the screening of passengers and baggage.

marlae said...

The airline industry in general is a total nightmare, it needs to be completely revamped like the health care system in the U.S. Delays, sitting on tarmac for hours, gates that take 30 min to get to, lousy service (except JetBlue and Virgin) and now cannot go potty in the last hour.

What else do you need to know--- STOP FLYING like I did and stay home. Drive or take a boat, the heck with the airlines.

Anonymous said...

The TSA was created and staffed during the biggest economic boom in recent memory. A time when everyone who was even remotely qualified for a job already had one. How did you think this bureaucratic nightmare would turn out?

MadMax said...

First of all, I don't buy the official story regarding this latest indecent, and I'm sure many Americans who have the ability to exercise a modicum of critical thinking skills don't either.

Secondly, the government had clear warning and indications of the 9-11 terrorists attacks before they actually occurred and they chose to ignore those signs. Similarly, in this situation, the alleged terrorists own father communicated his concerns with the proper authorities regarding his sons behavior and it was ignored. Both of these situations either demonstrate a gross negligence of the government agencies that are tasked with these responsibilities or they demonstrate a level of complicity.

Why is it that because of the negligence of certain government agencies and officials that the American citizens once again are subjected to such draconian and ridiculous measures all in the name of security. If the official story is to be believed then why is it that my grandmother gets stopped with a small amount of hand lotion tucked in her sock at a TSA checkpoint and a guy with explosives is allowed to board? Something is certainly rotten in Denmark!

Whats next...Shackling passengers hands to the seat during flight and making them wear Depends to go to the bathroom?

When it gets to the point where it's that ridiculous you folks at the TSA wont have to worry about terrorism. You won't have jobs...no one will fly anymore.

Anonymous said...

The jock-strap bomber obviously should have been on the Don't Pee List. Now the air-wardens will tell people to hold it for up to an hour. What indignity will the TSA come up with next? That's going to be hard to top. Personally, I already quit flying except when I absolutely have to - not because of the dread terrorists, though. Every year, three times as many people die in US car accidents every week as were on that plane. I choose the far more dangerous automobile because groveling and cringing is no fun for me.

TSA, stay away from my car!

Anonymous said...

The headline should be: "Government Fails Again."
You are useless. Why don't you all stay home and save the taxpayers some money?
Do you really think airlines want their planes to crash and their customers to be killed?
Turn security over to them. Then, tell American politicians to mind their own business and stop trying to rule the world. That's what creates terrorists in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, folks, if someone has ill intent towards the US on a flight, do you honestly think they will get ready to ignite a bomb but then realize, "Oh darn, it's less than 1 hour before landing. I'm not allowed to set my crotch on fire?"

And, I still do not believe in strip search machines. First of all, why spend all that money when you can use a very low tech way that would solve numerous issues: dogs. You would be saving thousands of animals from euthanasia in the country's animal shelters, you would be creating a great job market for animal trainers for these bomb sniffers, a dog would be able to sniff in places the WBI would not be able to see (I've had dogs - they are obsessed with crotches and butts). Having a dog at the checkpoints to smell passengers and belongings would take all of 30 seconds or less, is much less invasive, and a whole lot cheaper. On top of this, dogs are considered "unclean" by radicals and that right there would be a good screening tool. Once they are "unclean" their dreams of Paradise and 72 virgins are gone.

I'll take my $5B consulting fee and move to a foreign country until you all get your heads out of your posteriers and get some common sense.

TPL said...

The TSA is the biggest bunch of cretins to ever walk the earth. Their policies not only have no impact on future incidents, but would not have stopped previous incidents. The whole system seems set up to maximize the annoyance generated for law-abiding travelers, while contributing little or nothing to real security.

I also had a $700 camera stolen at a TSA checkpoint in Roanoke, VA, and I am relatively sure that it was indeed TSA personnel who did it.

Anonymous said...

once again Americans have to endure more security "measures" in order to be kept safe from the "bad guys". and , we get to pay top dollar too for it as well as being massivly inconvienced.of course the TSA/DHS wont allow any sort of profiling to be done in order to garuntee this so-called "safety",no,just shut up , stay in line or else. thats why ive given up flying. let the airlines who wont tell the federal government to scratch theit asses go out of business !!! id rather drive

Anonymous said...

TSA = Thousands Standing Around.

Those defending TSA in this thread obvously work for TSA. No frequent traveler would defend the indefensible. I travel, domestically and internationally, for business. You make me check my laptop and my employer will come unglued. I've had items stolen from check baggage. I will make the determination as to what gets checked and what gets carried on. Not some idiot in Washington DC. When I worked for the Navy in the 1970s we referred to Washington DC as "Disneyland East" as it bore no resemblance to reality. Nothing has changed.

No going to the bathroom during the last hour of the flight? Sometimes you don't have a choice. Stick to what you know (and I'm still trying to figure out what that might be) and leave us alone. Seems we have a deficit in the federal budget. I know where we can cut some spending.

TSO From NY said...

I see this all the time..TSA being blamed for everything. I'm a human/ Regular Person, before a TSO and I see this every single day. Now the problem is this guy got through a NON U.S airport with fireworks or whatever it was strapped to his body...ok. When I work, I get nothing but attitudes when I ask passengers to please remove a article of clothing such as a Baggy Sweater..Hoody, Thin Sweater/Jacket type thing..ALWAYS get an atitude never fails atleast 10 times a day. Our policy to them at that point is "Stupid" because it happened to them and they feel singled out. So now say this guy flew out of the U.S ..and we didn't do those "Stupid" things..we would get the blame for it anyway. Do you see how "Stupid" the average joe is? We can't satisfy everyone but this is why we do what we do..Educate yourself as to why something is "Stupid" and then speak on it. To reach a level of security your asking for..it cost Billions upon BILLIONS to deliver that..and instead of doing so, we're worried about our tax dollars.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, the deeper issue is that a Federal Security force is determining who can and cannot access a private business' services in the name of safety. Events like these simply re-enforce what is true of all security services. They are better at responding and not preventing. I'll be telling my grandkids (hell, my kids) about how America used to be a free place.

Anonymous said...

So let me get this straight... you guys think that the TSA sent some officers over to Ansterdam to screen this guy, and missed his explosives? Really?

Anonymous said...

How about we get to the crux of the issue. This guy was on a "watch" list. Entrance to the US is not a right for non-citizens. Didn't Britian (or another country) prevent him from getting a Visa to enter their country. If you're on a watch list, you don't get to come to the U.S. - it shouldn't be that hard. If such a policy was in place, there would be no need for extra rules for the common (law abiding) citizen. Let's stop blaming TSA and put the blame where it belongs - on the government & the politics that continue to present the USA as an all-welcoming nation. We don't want to offend anyone so, come one, come all and we'll take away the freedoms granted to US Citizens in order to do so.

To me, "watch" translates to "red flag" and that should be sufficient cause to deny entrance to this country.

TSA isn't to blame here - they're just the poor schmucks who have been charged w/coming up with a rapid response to account for the blundering idiots from other agencies who were responsible for allowing this guy into the country in the first place.

Stop the insanity of these stuipd and ineffective rules imposed on average law abiding citizens and start re-thinking how to tackle the real threats. Appearance means nothing and effectiveness means everything.

Carbon Nootral said...

Please TSA:

Get rid of these silly security measures like body searches for every passenger at the gate.

It makes travel slow and painful. Just focus instead on screening for potential terrorists instead of hassling ordinary travelers.

I was at London Heathrow Terminal 5 yesterday. I was body searched. It was a bit of a joke, really. I had to wait in line forever, and then the search was carried out by someone who just rushed through it without any real training or knowledge.

So it was a useless security gesture that ruined my travel day and did nothing to improve security.

Justin D said...

That was quick: "Officials: In-Flight Restrictions Eased"

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/12/28/national/main6030609.shtml

Enjoy being a continuing joke and embarrassment, TSA. We all hang our heads in shame at the travesty that air travel has become. You continue to make us all sick to our stomachs.

Taking a moment to cite, yet again, Schneier (the competent security professional's bellwether) on security:

"Only two things have made flying safer [since 9/11]: the reinforcement of cockpit doors, and the fact that passengers know now to resist hijackers."

Researching taking Amtrak instead of a flight to NV in January. Much longer? Sure. Infinitely more comfortable and enjoyable? 100 percent.

Volition said...

OMG! You people aren't mortally terrified and clamoring for the protection of your heroic leaders? It is being made clear by the sarcasm so consistent through these comments that our benevolent rulers have been unable so far to convince the majority of the prols of the eminent danger that awaits those foolish enough to try to conduct their own lives and take care of themselves. More regulation will be required, along with more parasites and more taxes to fund them, all for the safety of the children. If you all don't stop thinking and simply obey the terrorists are sure to win!

Anonymous said...

Laughable. The TSA clowns will clamp down on the most ridiculous things as a way to mask their utter incompetence in letting this fool on the plane. Don't worry folks, you can be assured that no one with shampoo will get past TSA screeners. Explosives...well that's another thing. Big Brother is watching you.

TSA Watch Blogger said...

"The Transportation Security Administration did little to explain the rules. And that inconsistency might well have been deliberate: What's confusing to passengers is also confusing to potential terrorists."

This is what we calling "security"

http://tinyurl.com/y9ym7cm

mikeef said...

Okay, I've seen a number of references all over the internet to the last-hour rule, no IFE/map rule, no books on the lap rule, etc. But I haven't seen anything officially from the TSA, other than "you may face different security 'cause we like to mix it up." Is there any real policy out there, or is it simply airlines acting on their own. And if there isn't, why not? We're taking the kids out of the country in a few weeks. Are we going to be allowed to carry a diaper bag for them? And they're lap children; what do we do with them during the last hour?

Seriously, this wasn't a TSA mistake in AMS, but everything since has been the usual, well, I can't print it here.

Mike

Anonymous said...

If the airlines would stop allowing employees to steal from our luggage, and provide security for checked luggage, rather than just throwing it in a common area where anyone can pick it up, no one would need to take much of anything on board.

And then of course... Are we supposed to just PEE in our seats, right on the carpet during the last 1 hour of flight.

Anonymous said...

so Muslim terrorists won't board planes with explosive underpanties


What does a Muslim look like? Does he have to wear a head piece and a robe like all Muslims? Suppose he wore Abercrombie and Fitch? Glad you're not running the show Amy...

Anonymous said...

As a physician...

So being a Drug Salesman gives you knowledge on security huh? You just keep filling irresponsible prescriptions and let TSA keep you alive to complain another day...

I also liked that sandra was the second post on the blog. You must be sponsored by FT or something...

Anonymous said...

the TSA should be defunded and completely privatzed, they are a joke

Left Coast Kurt said...

The announced regulations are another example of the lack of critical thinking skills within the TSA. If someone is determined to 'disrupt' a flight, they can do so at any time. There is nothing special about the last hour. Why don't we install bedpans in each seat and shackle everyone for the duration of the flight? I'm sorry, that was the slave ships. It's a bad comparison, but seems to the model being followed here.

TSA may not have been responsible for this guy's screening, but they ARE responsible for their knee-jerk response and the rest of the sledgehammer-style approach to the problem.

We don't need more restrictive security regulations, we need intelligent security. Unfortunately, the people in charge don't seem to be capable of it.

Anonymous said...

As a tax-paying, law-abiding U.S. citizen, I'm fed up with being treated like a potential terrorist every time I take a flight. I'd rather eliminate TSA and the whole security charade than put up any longer with the indignity of air travel. And what makes air travel unique? (And don't invoke 9/11; 9/11 would not have happened if passengers could not have accessed the cockpit). At what point do we extend this level of scrutiny to all other aspects of life? Isn't there a potential for a terrorist incident everywhere (trains, buses, cars, malls)? Where does it end? And when will Americans stand up for their rights? I'm not generally a "big government" conspiracy theorist, but there's something wrong here.

Anonymous said...

boy does the TSA suck. when are you people going to learn that you have to get out in front of the problem rather than reacting once its too late. your restrictions make traveling a pain in the butt for the average american and do NOT stop our enemies. when you are people going to get your brain on?

Laura said...

Those who claim the Detroit incident has nothing to do with the TSA are wrong. Flights to the United States are tightly controlled and monitored by the TSA and FAA. Passengers are required to go through virtually identical (and in some cases, more extensive) screening for those flights only. At some European airports, U.S.-bound passengers are segregated into separate security checkpoints and face extra screening at the gate. All of this is required and designed by American authorities working in conjunction with their European/elsewhere counterparts. To claim that this incident is not a failure of the TSA is disingenuous and incorrect.

Becca said...

Yes, you have FAILED.

TSA: if something does not work then most divisions would try again.

Govt: Take some of our troops in Afghanistan and place them @ the airports.

How much longer and how much more will the American people have to pay for shoe bombers?

mrairplaneman777 (Terry) said...

This is aimed at the entire administration as a whole for the ENTIRE country.


SECURITY MEASURE? Bollocks.
Seriously? You guys can seriously harass an old man for a metal hip or a frustrated mother with too much liquid for a child or for having metal utensils, YET you also fail to pick out the most BASIC prohibited items.

The new implementation of security rules is a load of bull crap. Seriously? Not being able to leave the seat or have anything on the lap or be covered with a blanket ONE hour before the flight ends, is an UTTER flat out JOKE.

It will NOT protect anything or anyone, and will only cause more trouble as pregnant women and old men with prostate problems struggle to hold their business being unable to use the restroom, and make uncomfortable the people that like to be covered with blankets.

Additionally, this inhibits the hobby of many aviation fanatics that like to take photos of aircraft wing views or take videos of the landing.

The basic system is just utterly flawed and the new "security" implementations are even more flawed, and really, will NOT work. Danger will always exist at every turn, and even the strictest of measures will not prevent anything.

I apologize for my attitude in this submission, but please understand the frustration and irritation that common innocent passengers have to undergo for these so-called "security" measures. I hope you take these thoughts into consideration.

Have a Happy New Year.

Al Sledge said...

TSA is to air security as the Postal Service is to mail. hell yes the TSA failed miserably. The yokels that claim TSA is innocent because the flight originated in Nigera are WRONG! TSA can run people from inbound flight through security, as if that would help. Worse yet the terrorists skills will improve until they do knock down aircraft. Perhaps the solutions should be re-thought, like what effect will it have is we stop killing Muslims in their homeland maybe? Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

Lots of good comments. The TSA's security measures are little more than an affront to our dignity. My advice to everyone - contact the airlines and tell them that you won't travel if security gets any "tighter". And by tighter, I mean more humiliating and futile.

Anonymous said...

What does the future hold for us who wear underwear...

Eric said...

So the TSA "supporters" say that the TSA didn't fail because it was an inbound flight. Well, if you believe in the TSA (I do not) then doesn't this fact make their existence all the more absurd. They ruthlessly screen everyone except the substantial fraction of inbound planes. Seems like a pretty big loophole in their plans.

Seriously.

Anonymous said...

"Welcome to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. In order to expedite your movement through the screening area, please have your boarding pass and photo ID available for verification. Remove shoes, belts, underwear, overcoats, and laptop computers from their cases and place them on the X-ray belt. Thank you, and have a nice flight"

Karen said...

Here's an idea: if TSA is really serious about in flight sfety, let them mandate that seats be spaceD further apart. FAs and Pax would have better visibility and seatmate Herod will have and easier time stopping bad guys. ETFet to it TSA: enact a rule that makes life better for flyers instead of punishing us.

Anonymous said...


Proud TSO said "Its a shame however that the moron lived to stand trial, the passengers on that plane should have killed him and they would have been justified in doing so!"


Clearly, you don't understand your own business. The guy is more valuable alive than dead. He's talking and will be a huge intelligence asset for us. We may be able to get enough information out of him to save far more lives than he jeopardized. If lethal force was required to prevent his act of terrorism, then so be it. But kudos to everyone who were able to safely take him into custody so we can interrogate him.

Anonymous said...


The only way he would have been detected is through the new expensive scanning technology that strip searches passengers electronically (which many passengers objecr to as the screener sees you, in effect, naked)


Schiphol has the machines. The question is, why aren't they always used?

Anonymous said...

Here's an idea. Block off the business class cabin of each flight with nothing but TSOs. So, those 30-50 or so fully-reclining seats and free champaign up front are reserved for the TSA on every flight. Then, as soon as the plane takes off, they do nothing but "secondary searches" for the rest of the flight. I bet you could screen everybody 10-15 times on a 10 hour flight. You probably still won't catch the underwear bomber, but hey, we'd be more "secure" right?

....sounds about as ridiculus as your "one hour" rule.

Anonymous said...

Q: Should passengers plan to arrive at airports earlier than normal?

A: Passengers traveling within the United States should give themselves extra time to check in and proceed through the security checkpoint before their flight, especially during the busy holiday travel season. TSA advises that passengers traveling on international flights to U.S. destinations allow extra time for security and arrive an additional hour earlier.


So should we be planning on getting to the airport 3 hours ahead of our domestic flight?

Specifics Bob. Give us some numbers we can wrap our minds around instead go purposely vague answers.

Marvin K. said...

Haven't seen any responses from TSA Blog Officials explaining their rationale for upsetting their one-legged apple cart once again.
I suppose they are waiting for the sh*tstorm to die down before they poke their heads out. Millions of dollars down the toilet and these morons still can't decide on a consistent plan for detecting firecrackers. Can't wait til the Government gets their hands on my Health Insurance details.
Air travel used to be a pleasant experience; DHS & TSA have made me into a train-travel convert over having innocent citizens harassed while Jerusalem Joe waltzes on.

KathyMiner said...

Well, no reason for the terrorists to "hate us because we are free". They have won and we are no longer free!

MonkeyBoy said...

I hope Delta and United enjoy urine soaked seats because they are going to have a lot of them on their hands if TSA continues its descent into insanity.

Stephen Hultquist said...

As I review the comments, I see that they are universally in recognition of the complete futility of this most recent TSA "directive." Will you as the TSA "leadership" finally admit that your approach to "security" is completely worthless?

For every one of the directives, anyone with half a brain can provide multiple ways to accomplish the enemy's objective without violating the directive.

They are RIDICULOUS!

You are making life more and more difficult for law abiding citizens and travelers while doing absolutely NOTHING to address real security issues. It's like wallpapering over rotting wallboard.

It's worth than useless because it gives the appearance of change.

It's time to reverse all of this, fix the real security issues, and give their travel back to individuals.

Start with retracting this latest insanity. Sitting in your seat for the last hour of the flight with nothing in your lap? How is that going to help anything? It may keep people in their seats when they could be the hero again, of course. How is the last hour different from the last 2 hours or the last 20 minutes? It's not.

Stupid.

Eliminate GPS systems? Why? To what benefit? There isn't any. Maps are easily available. Personal GPS systems (including those that look just like a wrist watch). Besides, using any time-keeping device you can come pretty close to knowing where you are on a flight. I did it on many of my 80 flights this year.

Stop the insanity, please. Give me back my freedom. And do your job BEFORE the perpetrators get on the airplane.

And see what other writers have to say about it, too: Like the Economist.

CarolAnn said...

I see the problem as you all want top notch security as long as it doesn't conflict your precious sense of civil liberties. Problem is you can't have both.
December 28, 2009 3:42 PM


OK, we'll take our civil liberties back.
Now just go away, T.S.A., because as a government agency, you will never be able to provide top notch anything.

Anonymous said...

I've recently become a frequent flier for my business. I have missed international flight transfers because I had checked luggage (have to wait for it to offload so you can go through customs/immigrations before your transfer!). I have made flights because I had only carry-on luggage. I cannot check a 3000usd laptop in an unlocked suitcase. No IFE would drive anyone batty on a 19hr flight where you can't use electronics.

My company and I will be severely curtailing all air travel, if not ceasing it if this madness continues. Terrorists have already won.

We don't have to put up with this. Encourage your elected officials to invest in our train system. Trains in Europe are extremely nice and run ON TIME. There is no reason we can't do that here.

(How about disallowing all lighters? And having a way for stewards to unlock bathrooms in case of emergency? Wouldn't that be much more reasonable?)

Anonymous said...

In a previous post it stated the following;

"TSA has many layers of security in place to keep the traveling public safe, and we are confident that the screening procedures we currently have put in place remain strong."

So where did you drop the ball on the NW253 flight? What about your "20 Layers of Security".

Why don't you stop going after the wrong people just so you can play your Politically Correct games? Why punish us for your screw-up?

Anonymous said...

Again, folks have neglected to read the fine print. Or in this case, you all seem to ignore the fact that this guys didn't get on a flight that utilized TSA screeners. Nigeria doesn't have TSA and he caught a connecting flight in Amsterdam. Wake up people, this had nothing to do with the TSA, go yell at Nigeria! And if your on a watch list, I might want to go ahead and give a call to the State Dept, or you can sit around and complain some more. If you want how 'bout we go ahead and ban all carry on baggage and submit to full body cavity searches, cause that will solve the problem. Of course I am no fan of the latter, but it is the only way to be absolutely sure. Or better yet, how 'bout we just take the example of El Al Airlines and start profiling, they seem to be doing pretty well with that technique. Of course in this PC world you all have created, that wouldn't be acceptable either. Let me go ahead and address the no fly list while I am at it. Today I am going to start calling each of you on the phone and offering bodily harm. At no time do actually present a "credible threat". At what point or after how long will you eventually ignore me. 1 time or 1,000 times? Now imagine you are the government and you get 1000's of these claims a day, anyone getting the point yet?

Anonymous said...

Can you TSA folks please just stop? I mean, I'm driving long distance now just avoid the TSA crap at the airports. Making it worse won't help.

Hopefully someone like Ron Paul will come to power and help abolish the TSA, but for now can you please stop making things harder.

It'd also be cool if you couldn't see my wife naked with those new xray machines. Kinda offends me, and her.

Anonymous said...

I saw comment from someone with Crohn's Disease and totally agree with them. I also have Crohn's Disease and because of the policy of not being allowed to get out of your seat to go to the bathroom the last hour of a flight, I can no longer fly. How can you tell someone with a disease that makes them have to literally RUN to get to the bathroom that they can not go when they need to?

Anonymous said...

The TSA approved the screening practices applicable for this flight from Amsterdam to Detroit.

The TSA even mandated additional "security" measures for this flight because this Amsterdam to Detroit flight is operated by a US airline and has approved those additional "security" measures.

The TSA has been fighting the last battles repeatedly and doing so in a stupid way. Now the story is breaking that the TSA may have even had a ban against babies being held in the laps of parents during the last hour of a flight into the US. When will the TSA foolishness end? Not a day too soon.

.... and strip searching passengers physically or electronically is not a solution. The effective way to detect explosives and stop such incidents is with trained dogs, explosive trace detection swabs or explosive trace portals.

Anonymous said...

As is the case in most bureaucratic failures, if it does not work, try it on a bigger scale!

Adding more insane "security measures" is not the answer, especially one's like this which reek of ineptitude and knee jerk reaction.

A look at airport security checkpoint is all one needs to see what an absolute joke the TSA. You have under qualified employees hassling a 80 year old man because he cant find what is beeping; throwing out shampoos, soaps, creams and whatever ever else they deem "suspicious", that is if they are working, as it is common place to see 3/4 chatting or just having a laugh. I believe money could be better spent on screening machines and possibly bomb sniffing dogs. Instead of having an army or inept worker harassing fliers.

How about more effective pre screening, i mean the passenger in this particular flight bought a one way ticker with cash!
The suspect's own father had gone to the US embassy ONE MONTH before to report him and nothing was done. The bloated "fly risk" list is completely useless as it's full of names that shouldn't be there preventing real threats to slip through.

Adding silly flight rules right after an incidence like this only discredit the TSA more, worst of all is the only place on can really complain is here, as the TSA has 0 accountability.
Maybe the tax money designated to airport security should be given to the airlines and the airlines and aiports should be in charge of security and the TSA could be dissolved? at least in that scenario airlines could be held accountable.

avxp said...

Jannis spoke again, inflicting the following upon an unsuspecting world: "I looked up the story. The guy was not arrested!You need to check your facts before you make wildly irresponsible statements."

He was detained, not arrested. But I agree with the sentiment that people need to stop sensationalizing and sticking to facts though.

"Problem is, the security experts that I have seen interviewed are saying that if the guy with the bomb in his pants had been patted down, or screened using a WBI, or given extra screening, he would not have been able to smuggle the bomb onto the plane. This is why I don’t mind when TSA does extra screening on me. If they do it to me I know they are doing it to"

You should mind, because all that extra screening translates to very little actual security -- just security theater: a bunch of people going through motions.


How can you have real security when the homeland security apparatus as a whole does such a piss-poor job?

The automatons with the loupes that check your ID may make you feel safer, but do they really make you safer?

They don't know valid, legitimate credentials (such as NEXUS cards) and accept credentials in someone else's name (http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2009/10/dakota-to-chicago-via-virginia.html)

But why even bother to have them check ID when getting a fake ID issued by the government is so easy that a GAO investigator easily got 4 passports using documents he printed on an inkjet printer, as documented at http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/03/14/passport.security/index.html

Be that at it may, you could feel safe knowing that all those shoe screenings and confiscated bottles and random gropings meant no contraband would make it on the plane. Except when they do, as documented at http://www.usatoday.com/travel/news/2007-10-17-airport-security_N.htm

Anonymous said...

You've got to love it when even when TSA had nothing to do with this incident occuring - they get crucified over it anyway. They can't win. This guy went through security at an international airport with a device that is obviously undetectable with the techonology that was in place. He was NOT screened by TSA personnel or any U.S. persons - yet TSA is being blamed by some on this blog.
In regard to some of the "measures" in place as a result, yes, they are a bit knee jerk, but if TSA did nothing then you would complain that they are not responding. Again - they can't win. And if you watch the news, you will see that the 1 hour rule has been left to the discretion of the pilot - if he/she is comfortbale with people going to the bathroom, they can go.
TSA has been trying to implement the use of the Whole Body Imager - probably the only technology that might have caught this device not requiring an invasive patdown and still, people continue to fight that, too.
The reality is painful - terrorism is alive and fighting and the U.S. IS and will continue to be a targer. It sucks, it's inconvenient, but acting like it's not real does not make it go away.
I do think that, in addition to use of more advanced technology like the WBI, the best weapon we have is passenger awareness. Had passengers around this guy not taken action and moved quickly, even though the explosive did not detonate properly, the fire from the attempt could have been much worse.
Give TSA a break on this one for once - when they screw up, take them to task, but this was not their fault.

Anonymous said...

To all of those who think that removing clothing items or going through whole body imagers would be the solution, remember that these measures can be overcome by using body cavities, folds or even fake skin (liquid latex). What really catches the bad guys, and is not intrusive to the honest public, is chemical detection of explosives (sniffers, puffers, etc).

Anonymous said...

I saw on the Air Canada site that they will no longer allow books, glasses, or toiletries (among a number of other items) on board. Can you please verify this, and explain why they decided to do so? The call center from Air Canada states these are limitations recommended by the US TSA.

Anonymous said...

Everyone needs to wake up. It was just a matter of time before someone tried to put something in their underpants. No matter what screening measures you have in place there is nothing to stop the intent. When someone really wants to do something they will. Umar should wake up TSA yes,but the public should hear that alarm too.

Anonymous said...

The Lagos Leg Bomber was seated during the last hour of flight. How is requiring this going to improve safety?

So I should be inconvenienced and not allowed to go to the bathroom (!) for the LAST 60 MINUTES OF A FLIGHT??? Are you guys POSITIVELY NUTS? I'm convinced of it.

NONE of this does ANYTHING with regard to security.

Are you going to provide catheters to all passengers?

Here is what you need to do:

Get rid of the stupid 3 ounce liquid rule. It is STUPID.

Stop instituting new STUPID regulations.

Stop making passengers' lives hell.

Start figuring out REAL ways to keep terrorists off our flights. None of the above work.

And I WANT MY TWO CARRY-ONS.

RB said...

Why are there no statements from Gale Rossides?

Anonymous said...

Just came in to add my voice to those calling for the disbanding of the TSA. Ineffective, leeching government at its worst.

Obsurity isn't Security said...

Quote - Why are people blaming TSA for this "oversight"? It's not like TSA is responsible for screening passengers at Schiphol Airport.

So..if the TSA had nothing to do with this, then obviously their procedures would have been effective so we don't need to change anything.

If TSA doesn't control international flights, then the TSA changing their rules again isn't going to help because their rules don't apply to foreign airports right?

Security through obscurity isn't secure people

Good luck getting me to have my ADHD, autistic son sit in his seat for an hour with no toys...you force that issue and the little bastard is going in the cockpit with the pilots and they can f'n deal with him...because I am pretty sure no one else on the plan including me wants to try and control him.

What I love is the randomness of checks. My wife is lebenese who travels 2 weeks out of every month...funny enough she gets checked "randomly" every other airport..someone's random number generator is broken...maybe they should use the mexican system where its a computer doing the random selecting :o)

Anonymous said...

"Its a shame however that the moron lived to stand trial, the passengers on that plane should have killed him"

...and lost the chance to interrogate the suspect, possibly gaining valuable intelligence.

Anonymous said...

When I drive, I'm assuming the risk of something bad happening. No amount of human action can prevent it.

To think flawed humans can invent a system that will prevent any unwelcome event seems incredibly ridiculous and arrogant.

TSA seems to function as a very expensive, burdensome placebo. It appears designed to calm the public instead of educating them. It is pandering.

The government dances like a puppet in reaction to inexpensive attacks. Every new policy costs vast multiples more than the attempted attack. The enemies of the US must love poking us and see all the chaos we impose on ourselves. Our over-reactions do more harm than the attacks themselves!

Oh, and I have been a pilot since the early 80's!

Anonymous said...

If all you here follow thru with your threats to stop flying, we should have a very nice smooth new year.

The checkpoint lines will be moving much nicer (since you are not there to slow things down and gripe at us). Security will be better because we can use the imaging technology w/o you complaining that we 'see you nekkid' (And BTW the imaging machines would have caught this latest crotch bomb.)

Yes indeed, without you complainers, I am looking forward to a nice new year.

Tom said...

Michael said...
For all those who commented about the TSA not screening the passenger because they originated in Amsterdam, ex-Nigeria, let point out two things:
1. The DHS/FBI approved the fly list for Flight 253 before it left Amsterdam, knowing all passengers on board.
2. The US Govt gave Nigeria 4 body scanners for use at the passengers departing airport, of which they were not used in this case.

The rules that the TSA have put in place are again reactionary. The TSA should enforce the use of full body scanners at security checkpoints for flights entering into the US. If a PAX does not want to be scanned electronically, then they get a physical check. Any person on any watch-list should get extra screening regardless of the level of credible information the DHS/FBI has. Basically Flight 253 should not have left Amsterdam with the terrorist on board.
***********************************
This is one of several comments I've seen regarding whole body imagers...am I to believe that the "virtual strip search" is now being accepted by the public? WOW! I thought that day would never come! What I'm seeing here is a bunch of hypocrites and cry babies. "Wah! they took my liquids" Wah! they make me take my shoes off" "Wah! Wah! Wah!" Americans are cry babies plain and simple and the more we cry and complain and wine and scream and hollar and kick and scratch about the rules that are in place, the more lax those rules will become. Here's the thing, once the rules get lax, and something happens.....WAH! WAH! WAH! We cry all over again. Shut up and deal with it! I DARE the blog team to tell the public like it is by posting this comment.

Mark said...

Dear TSA,

Your latest set of limitations on passengers on international flights is ridiculous. It does nothing to make aircraft safer. The only way to make air travel safer is to STOP THE TERRORISTS FROM BOARDING.

Until ground screening technology evolves beyond metal detection to explosive detection, we are all at risk. Once the explosive is on the plane, it is merely a matter of luck that it doesn't go off. Sooner or later, one of the terrorists is going to be successful. And the fault will land at the boarding gate, just like on 9/11, and NOT with any in-flight procedure you designed or failed to design.

Put your efforts into keeping the "bad guys" off the planes. And immediately retract all the GOOFY rules like no moving in the hour, no blankets, magazines, no IFE, etc. That's just dumb, inconvenient and makes us look ridiculous.

Oh, and come clean and answer the real question: Why was someone on a Watch List allowed to board and international flight?

KDT said...

Bob, we as passengers are really tired of knee-jerk, after-the-fact, and frankly stupid reactions by the TSA to incidents like this. When are you going to be honest with passengers and strike a reasonable compromise between security and common sense? When are you going to tell people the truth: that there is no fool-proof way to 100 percent guarantee their safety in flight? That the odds are hugely against anything bad happening, but that sometimes bad things will still happen? That the TSA can't and won't and frankly shouldn't strive to GUARANTEE a safe flight?

The level of lockdown and intrusive searches that the TSA would have to introduce in order to guarantee a flight safe from terrorist-type incidents is simply incompatible with what a free society is willing to tolerate.

Freedom is not achieved without risk. And removing risk reduces freedom. Go visit your local zoo if you have any problems understanding that point.

If the TSA keeps introducing stupid regulations like this, passengers are going to begin to rebel. Count on it.

Anonymous said...

More Security Theater from the TSA.

I have a lot of business miles under my belt and am currently in the Bahamas with my family enjoying a vacation. Not looking forward to the trip back.

The new rules are ridiculous. Whatever super-secret decoder ring you have that says terrorists will use the on-board GPS to detonate themselves over a specific spot only in the last 60 minutes is dumb, dumb, dumb.

Be honest with us: you screwed up and are trying to provide cover through theater to make it 'feel' like you are working hard on our behalf.

Stop the games. Use the technology behind the scenes to do the work we have paid you to do. Strip searching my 18-month old won't help.

HSD/TSA has dominion over all incoming US flights. Here in Nassau there is a large US HSD presence to provide coverage. Is there not a similar system in the Netherlands?

YOU let a bomb on a place. Fine...we passengers can handle that when faced with the problem.

The answer is HSD using the tools you have. NOT making us go through more absurd contortions that your shrinks think will make us feel safer.

Jack said...

Is Secretary Napolitano still worried about "right wing, extremists and war veterans"? She is a joke. The office is a joke and the performance of the TSA is a joke. If one was truly interested in security they would look to other countries and take a cue. To the argument that you can't have those levels of security while preserving American liberties....You can - but it has to be completely free from the poisonous political arena where Dems are more concerned with making Repubs look bad, and vice versa.

sal said...

I do not trust that the employees are trained well enough to treat passengers with dignity and respect, and should full body scans be de rigueur, I imagine the airlines industry will take a huge financial hit. I do not trust the staff will not laugh or mock passengers once they've gone through security, take photos and show them around, tell stories, or even request full body searches just to see for themselves. I believe that this will happen more often to my friends and loved ones who are pre-operative and non-operative transgenders. Same for those of us who carry a few extra pounds. We already know that this happens -- it's human nature. I'd rather stay home and not spend the money than subject myself to finger pointing and ridicule.

Anonymous said...

The TSA does not get it, everything you do is reactive in nature to an attack, rather than proactive. Take a look at the type of people who have attacked and attempted attacks on airlines the past few years, I think you will find they all share a similar ethnic background. Why not give them extra scrutiny, instead of the old lady who flies once a year. Shouldn't someone flying one way, paying cash, and no identification set off any alarm bell? What do you guys actually do, besides acting as another bloated, inefficient government program?

Anonymous said...

Bob, can you please tell me why you didn't post my comment? I didn't use curse words, and by calling the TSA parasites and lazy incompetent leeches I said no more or different than anyone else on this blog. I merely suggested that a private company with the failure record of the TSA would be out of business long ago as no one would continue to fund their growth or purchase their services. For crying out loud, you've got people (rightly)calling the head of DHS a terrorist. - The you post my comment about the lag in comments (a few hours)! Strange...

Anonymous said...

Secure Flight will conduct uniform prescreening of passenger information against federal government watch lists for domestic and international flights. TSA will take over this responsibility from aircraft operators who, up until now, have been responsible for checking passengers against government watch lists. Secure Flight passenger watch list matching will apply to all domestic and international passengers traveling on covered aircraft operator flights into, out of, within or over the United States. Secure Flight will also apply to point-to-point international flights operated by U.S.-based aircraft operators.

This is why TSA is at fault and why passengers hate TSA more during this month than ever. DEC. 6, TSA posted SOP. DEC. 25, Terrorist stopped by PAX not screeners.

Anonymous said...

Question, Is the whole TSA at fault or are those running the TSA at fault? Put this agency in a new direction and get rid of the jokers creating joke rules that make no sense. Screeners didn't put the SOP on line their management did.

Michael B. said...

WOW, after reading the overwhelming disgust that the American taxpayer has for the "efforts" of the TSA, it is amazing that BloggerBob and the Security "Officers" can even get out of bed each morning.
It seems to be unanimous that DHS has (a) infringed on everyone's civil liberties, (b) is unable to use common sense in determining who is a terrorist, and (c) has not made us a whit safer since this whole fiasco began.
Well, I guess Congress has only one option: ignore the public's desires and ram through another useless, money draining security funding bill.

Marco_CA said...

After yesterday's flight under the new regulations, I can only describe them as the most ridiculous and useless self-inflicted damage to date.

You have one idiot who fails to blow up a plane, and instead of enacting rules that actually help, you make the lives of millions of passengers miserable with laughable security theater (who in the world dreamed the 60 minute restrictions?).

Not a bad result for the terrorists.

By train next time...

Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that none of the questions have been answered.

Anonymous said...

I have Crohn's Disease (digestive disorder) that can cause unpredictable symptoms of the lower GI tract. I will not go into detail of these symptoms. I am concerned with the restriction to one's seat for the last hour of a flight, as sometimes people NEED to use the bathroom, and can't wait until deplaning. One would think that the American Disabilities Act would come into play here as Crohn's Disease (and similar conditions) is a disability.

Anonymous said...

Easy fix:

Ban ALL flights coming into the U.S. from foreign countries. They can fly into Canada or Mexico, and then take a bus to their destination.

Problems solved, and now I can read a book or use the lavatory without being hassled while flying.

Ranger11 said...

If passengers are going to remain in their seats during the last hour of flight, it will be at the discretion of the Captain of that flight and will not be a mandate from TSA.

Q: What additional security measures are being taken for international flights to U.S. destinations?

During flight, passengers may be asked to follow flight crew instructions, such as stowing personal items, turning off electronic equipment and remaining seated during certain portions of the flight.


These rules are currently put into affect for flights that land in the Washington DC Metro Area on a random, and sometimes continual basis.

Let me repeat, TSA is informing you, but it is a decision that only the Captain of the aircraft can make.

Furthermore, there are no new rules that are being put into effect at any airports as far as domestic travel is concerned. TSA may be doing more of what they already do, but nothing NEW has been added. Air travel is in a state of Heightened Security. The same as when the threat level is raised. Nothing else.

Aside from that, please understand that this passenger did not board a flight anywhere in the United States and therefore was not subject to screening by the TSA.

Let me repeat, This passenger did not board a flight anywhere in the United States and was not subjected to screening by the TSA...At All. He was screened originally in Nigeria, and then again in Amsterdam. Not The US!! Please send any complaints as they regard to the fact that this passenger got on-board a flight to the security professionals in Algeria and Amsterdam..

Thank You

Ranger11 said...

Nigeria....sorry.. He got on a plane in Nigeria. At the end of my statement I said Algeria.

I apologize.

Anonymous said...

I was on NW 249 Dec 25,09 after i cleared security into the E20 holding area in Amsterdam I watched a KLM dressed Smurf-et walk a womeen in black through the metal detector settting off the alarm, there was no search of the womene in black to find what set off the metal detector.

Do the Smurf-ets have security authority.

Lanz said...

I love the TSA blog. Better than Comedy Central, Saturday Night Live, and SCTV all rolled in to one!

Anonymous said...

Since Obama's admitted the failure was intel rather than simply airport security, make sure you punish those foolish enough to fly.

I went from monthly flights to zero since 2001. The more horror stories I hear about airports, the longer it'll be before I stop driving everywhere.

Anonymous said...

"Terrorist stopped by PAX not screeners."

No, the terrorist was stopped because his divice was faulty. Just like the shoe bomber. The amount of explosive was enough to take the plane down. The devices didn't work.

But we should probably not screen shoes or use that nakid-image scanner. The bad guys would never try it again...

Nate said...

This guy did NOT come through TSA...he originated from somewhere across the Atlantic...Those airports and country's security measures failed...if he went to London, TSA would not even be mentioned...

Anonymous said...

Having read the comments it is clear that most people are not thankful for the new rules but are angry because they do not seem to be the right rules to stop terrorism.

Removing blankets, books, ipods, and bathroom visits will not stop someone intent on doing harm but is incredibly punitive on the 99.9999999etc.% of passengers who are no threat whatsoever. Moreover, it would have done nothing to stop what the Nigerian did.

It is a pity that there is no way to view passengers as allies against terrorism, united against the potential passenger(s) who wants martyrdom. Passengers have shown that they will unhesitatingly attack anyone doing anything strange, they are TSA allies in fact.

I presume the fear now is a follow-up copy-cat attack. Unfortunately, the security paradigm requires that each passenger be equally viewed as a potential terrorist. The trouble is, this is nothing like the real threat level and requires such a phenomenal use of resources that it boggles the mind.

We all know that present-day plane terrorists tend to fit a certain pattern (male, extremist misanthropic views, usually Muslim, etc.), and Grandma Edna from Minnesota, shaking with palsy in her wheelchair, is never going to be one of them.

There are several good points to emerge from the posts:

1. Employ dogs as sniffers on people and bags, before people got on the plane, in line at check-in, in line for security, anywhere, anytime.

2. The TSA watch-list needs to function a lot better, obviously. The Nigerian should never have been allowed on the plane. He may have gotten a visa because of his very wealthy background but when a father takes the trouble to go to the US Embassay to report on his son, it should have been taken very, very seriously.

3. There should be more fire extinguishers on planes. According to the essay written by a passenger on the Huffington Post, a flight attendant had to run the length of economy class to get one.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is not worth having. We all have had our freedoms and liberties removed by them and yet they have not once stopped an act of terrorism. What a waste of tax-payer dollars.

Anonymous said...

The rest of my list:

4. Passengers should be encouraged to move about the plane, stretch, use the bathroom - and stay vigilant for any strange behaviour. Forcing people to stay in their seats means that there are fewer people about to see someone doing something unusual, especially if that person is surrounded by sedated people sleeping.

5. The full body scanners are a necessary next step, I guess, far more effective than the metal scanners now employed which require all that undressing. No one likes the idea but it would be faster and more effective than the pat-down and people would get used to it over time as another absurdity of life in the 21st century. (I would rather have the xray and get to have my blanket, books, and ipod). I had one in London and it was no big deal. But what about body cavities - can the machine detect explosives inside a body? If not, then we are still one step behind. It is ridiculous that we have come to naked x-rays but with plastic explosives available it makes better sense to have everyone going through those than through the outdated metal machines designed to thwart highjackers from the 1960s. I feel pretty safe anyway, because the chance of a terrorist blowing up a plane I am on is incredibly small, not impossible, but very, very low. I get more scared by heavy turbulence.

6. Security has to become unpredictable. There are lessons to be learned from the Dutch screening of the Nigerian - he must have been very quiet and well-spoken so they figured he was affluent and unlikely to do harm?

7. With all the security passengers must go through, I would like to know that all baggage handlers, airport janitors, and airport staff and routinely and unpredictably interviewed and searched. Sorry, this is no fun for them but this is a very weak link.

We need clever and sophisticated thinking and plenty of resources poured into monitoring groups and individuals with extremist views before they even get to the airport.

I hope the TSA is able to resolve the PR problem and find some very smart solutions to the problem, especially behind the scenes, that do not make flying more unpleasant than it already is.

Anonymous said...

The TSA (and the entire DHS) should be abolished immediately. The level of laziness and incompetence exhibited by the TSA and DHS is staggering, even by government standards.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Question, Is the whole TSA at fault or are those running the TSA at fault? Put this agency in a new direction and get rid of the jokers creating joke rules that make no sense. Screeners didn't put the SOP on line their management did.

December 29, 2009 1:38 PM
........................
The Secretary of DHS has made several statements that clearly indicate she is not up to speed on much of anything.

TSA has had no real leader since Obama took office.

Substandard performance by DHS and TSA is typical of a leadership vacum and is directly why stupid rules like no babies on laps or no access to restrooms during the last hour of flight get made.

Just think, this is TSA doing its best!

Anonymous said...

I'm done flying. I'm done with being treated like cattle, by self-important boobs.

Anonymous said...

no ones sweeping anything under the rugg plzz ughhh

Anonymous said...

As many people have pointed out the TSA did not fail this time. So if they did not why are they instituting additional security measures? This is little more evidence for the "security theater' theory.

Anonymous said...

To all of you who do nothing but complain,

What are you doing to improve the situation? Get off your high horses and make a difference in your community and country.

Anonymous said...

Michael wrote:
"For all those who commented about the TSA not screening the passenger because they originated in Amsterdam, ex-Nigeria, let point out two things:
1. The DHS/FBI approved the fly list for Flight 253 before it left Amsterdam, knowing all passengers on board.
2. The US Govt gave Nigeria 4 body scanners for use at the passengers departing airport, of which they were not used in this case."

A simple Google search on bribing Nigerian airport officials confirms that corruption is widespread. U.S. anti-bribery laws while doing business in Nigeria cannot be enforced. Such laws aren't respected and bribery is rampant. So although proper screening equipment has been made available to the Lagos airport, who knows when and if it is ever utilized.

MarkVII said...

Whether the TSA actually had a hand in searching this individual or not, the ridiculous knee-jerk rules that resulted are positively laughable.

Unfortunately, we're talking about the agency that felt it necessary to give a five year old the third degree because his name appeared on one of the infamous lists. http://consumerist.com/2008/01/tsa-detains-5-year-old-as-national-security-risk.html#comments-content (I don't want to hear about how Secure Flight will prevent this in the future. Anyone with a modicum of common sense would figure out that this sort of treatment of a child is uncalled for.)

We're also talking about an agency where various ones of its employees:

-- Have claimed a "requirement" that 3-1-1 bottles have a factory label, never mind that a factory labeled bottle can be rinsed out and refilled with something else.

-- Prohibited an empty bottle of over 3oz capacity, never mind that a passenger can buy a bottle of water/soda/whatever after clearing security, pour the contents down the sink, and voila, they have a bottle of over 3oz capacity once again.

-- Yell at obviously confused or mobility challenged passengers to hurry.

-- Yell at passengers in incomprehensible, heavily accented English.

Thanks to the "do you want to fly today" mentality, I have avoided flying for the past few years. I'm especially glad I drove home for Christmas.

It's inevitable at this point for WBI machines to become more prevalent. The question that's not been answered effectively in the context of WBI searches is -- how will the TSA address the inevitable problems created by separating a passenger from their "papers", money and ID.

Mark

Sam B. said...

As a person who travels with small children, I want to point out that the stow-all-personal-items rule is a horrible idea. Unless you want my one-year-old to scream the entire time that everything is stowed. Otherwise, I need to be able to pull out books and toys and other distractions in order to keep her happy.

I'd like to point out, in any event, that such measures wouldn't have helped on the flight in question anyway. But even if they would, if I can't have access to my personal items throughout the flight, I simply will be unable to fly with my family.

Trainwreck said...

As a traveller with young kids, I will SEVERELY limit my air travel this year. I would rather drive cross country than subject my kids to the TSA imbeciles who will treat them like terrorists, but let a known Muslim jihadist waltz aboard a plane. Even the terrorscum's OWN FATHER could not prevent him from flying. Last time I flew, my baby's bottle and my older kids' juice boxes was confiscated. I told them it was because Muslims tried to blow a plane out of England with baby formula and water bottles that you can't bring those onboard. Now that we have a Muslim crotchbomber try to bring down an airplane, my kids will get extra scrutiny and patdowns at the gate. Plus they won't be allowed to go use to the toilet for an hour. Do you realize the size of kids bladders? Should I have them pee on the seat? Or buy diapers? Try telling a 10-year old to wear diapers, but you people are more concerned with the feelings of a Muslim terrorist than with the self-esteem of a 10 year old kid.

This incident proves that you dolts at the TSA could care less about our safety. You guys failed. Now we the people of America have to suffer and have our flights made miserable.

When the next bomb is hidden in a Muslim terrorist's rectum, what then? Will you subject granny and little kids to cavity searches?

The TSA and DHS should be disbanded. You are worse than useless. After your stupid, reactive "enhanced security" measures to the crotchbomber, I'd rathet visit the dentist to get my teeth drilled without anesthesia than to fly.

For those of you who have to fly, be sure to keep an eye out for Muslim men and emergency exits. DHS/TSA is run by the 3 stooges, and cannot be trusted with your safety.

Anonymous said...

Scene:
Newark Liberty International Airport, December 27, 2009, 7:30 a.m., Terminal A, security checkpoint to gates 10-19, 30 people in the screening line.

While I am waiting in line and getting screened:
One TSA employee is comparing IDs to boarding passes.
Four TSA employees are attending to the metal detector, X-ray machine and the belts.
Two TSA employees are standing around.
One TSA employee has confiscated some Christmas tree lights, tests them, and tries to hang them up in two different places.

After my screening is complete, I walk down the vertical stack of screening stations, past the two others. Christmas light man is still hanging lights. The third screening station has a complement of TSA staff, and two people are being screened.

Questions for TSA:
1. Why are three TSA employees standing around with nothing to do?
2. Why is a TSA employee spending work time hanging Christmas lights two days after Christmas?
3. Why doesn't it occur to any of the TSA employees to distribute the queue?
4. Does anyone supervise the EWR TSA staff?

RickD said...

Why not address the problem at hand? The people who are causing the whole problem in the first place are...dare I stereotype...MUSLIMS! These are the people you need to search more thoroughly.

Earlier this month when I was flying out of Seattle, I didn't take off my windbreaker fast enough and the TSA lady nearly bit my head off. All the while, 2 women and a man in Arab attire strolled through without so much as a second glance. None were required to take off their head gear...but the guy behind me was told to take off his ball cap...nor were they given extra screening as stated on the TSA website.

This makes absolutely no sense to me.

Let's quit the PC crap and start protecting the flying public!

Laura said...

Why are five-year-olds on U.S.-bound flights being given full-body patdowns?

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/29/us/29passenger.html

RR said...

TSA defenders here who point out that this terrorist was not screened by TSA are completely missing the point - the real problem is yet another numb-skulled reactionary set of rules that layers yet more "costs" on 100% of travelers and offers no meaningful increase in safety to any of them. This stuff literally belongs in a Kurt Vonnegut novel...

I can see the marketing campaign now: "Your TSA: Solving Yesterday's Problems Today"

Anonymous said...

I heard from an acquaintance who flew United into Miami overnight from Sao Paulo, Brazil. They were not allowed to get up or to have anything at all (books, mp3 players, blankets, pillows) during the last hour (actually more like an hour and a half, she said). My friend was rudely awakened when the flight attendant removed her pillow from under her head. People traveling with children could not give them food or bottles, and they were crying because of ear discomfort.

Ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

In response to those who think full body imaging (aka, virtual strip searches) should be implemented: Setting aside the constitutional implications of such a practice and the indignity it entails, consider: Millions of people travel. One guy brings on what is purported to be explosive materials. So the millions of people who do not attempt to blow up planes should be stripped searched?

Roy Goldfarb said...

i agree with previous posts. Many of these "new" restrictions are merely appearance of security, not the reality. Travelling in Europe one does not have to remove and scan your shoes. They even laugh at us for that one.
The reality is that secruity is multi-layered, with the final layer the passengers, as illustrated by the 12/26 flight.
And, finally, we must recognize that as much as we do, they will finally win, bringing down a plane. we have to grow up and accept that reality. If we are at war, we must accept the reality that there will be casualties.
JB Lifeguard

Anonymous said...

Ranger11 - The TSA received a passenger manifest 24 hours ahead of time with information on every person scheduled to fly. This man was in a watch list and there was intelligence saying that he was up to no good. He should have not been allowed to board.

Also, the TSA still suggests that people sit during the last hour of the flight, without using the bathroom, nothing on their laps, and their hands in plain sight. They have just changed their tune and leave it up to the captain to decide whether to follow those rules.

The only reason why they did this is to safe some face at the obviously reactionary and ineffective new rules and if something was to happen, they can go "see? we warned you but you didn't listen to us!" An easy out.

Instead the TSA should focus on providing real security as opposed to security theater. ID checks, war on liquids, shoe checks, yelling at passengers in line, etc don't do anything.

Anonymous said...

It scares me that we have so many stupid people flying every day in this country. Most every complaint about the last hour rule says there is "nothing special about the last hour" (Left Coast Kurt). Are you all really that stupid? The last hour of an international flight is when the flight is over the US. THAT is why the terrorist waited until then to try to take the plane down. They want to do so over the US, not out over the open sea. Is that really so hard for you idiots to comprehend?

So many of you also think that you should not be screened because you are a "law abiding citezen", like someone can tell that by looking at you. Have you seen pictures of the guy from Christmas? He looks like any young African American. If you really think we can identify all terrorists just by looking at them you are insane.

But most of all the majority of ignorance in these posts is blaming TSA for what is happening. The TSA did not screen this man. He came from another country and was screened by that country's security agency. TSA does not make airline regulations specifying what people can and can't do during the last hour of a flight.

Most of these posts contradict each other, while others contradict themselves, saying that TSA is not doing enough while at the same time saying they are doing too much.

I think the real issue was made evident in several posts calling for the privatization of airline security. These posts are being made by people who own those private companies who lost their contracts because of their total incompetance and now are trying to get them back by discrediting the TSA.

The TSA is far better than those private companies were and hopefully no amount of lying and political trickery will put those incompetant morons back in charge of our safety.

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that people want to be safe, and have complete freedom. It would be nice if everyone could have both. It is a shame that there are so many restrictions on passengers, but that is nothing compared to the number of terrorists who wish to do Americans harm. Perhaps we should eliminate airport security entirely. Then everyone could bring as much shampoo and toothpaste as they desire on their flight. People think TSA's rules are only in place to make them miserable. Let's see what happens when it all disappears. I wonder if any of you would be willing to board a plane then. I've never had a problem with TSA security. I have had a problem with the private airport security before 9/11. I almost missed my flight because they couldn't decide if my fiber optic lamp was dangerous or not. TSA officers do an outstanding job in spite of the abuse they take from passengers. People complain that the screening process is too slow. I don't want to get on a plane with passengers who have been "rushed" through security. I'm not even sure what "too slow" means to people. I've never had to stand in a line for more than 5 minutes at the most. I spend a longer time in line at the supermarket. Seriously, this board is full of anti-government people who just want to complain.

Anonymous said...

Frankly, scan away.
I'm not nuts about having anyone see what's under my clothes, but I'd much prefer that to having a bomb on my airplane. I grew up on Fort Lauderdale beach, and the images from the scanners don't hold a candle to spring break. I'm not dismissing the privacy issue; it's just that I think we all paid a very big price for that privacy and convenience on 9/11. I for one am willing to submit to the new scans to reduce the possibiity of danger.

Anonymous said...

TSA is missing the mark on air safety by ceasing carry on luggage ... it's what is carried on the body! All carry on luggage goes through the detector along with a second screening by hand if anything is in question. So why the ban? TSA needs to employ the right management to get to the height of airport security rather than reacting senselessly.

Anonymous said...

We need to profile. It's math. Focus time and resources on higher probability risks.

TSO Jacob said...

Do you actually think TSA should profile?

Maybe we should just screen Muslims, but Muslim is a religion and not an ethnicity, so that won’t work. Maybe we should screen Arabs, but then we would miss all the terrorists like the Jose Padilla, Dhiren Barot (Indian), Kevin James, Gregory Patterson, and Michael Reynolds. foxnews.com/story/0,2933,335500,00.html Maybe we should screen all the men, but then we would miss all the female terrorists like Black Widows or the female members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB408.pdf Maybe we should just be screening everyone under 45, of course then we would miss the terrorist who are older including the man who bombed the Algerian capital. adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.1665340094

Perhaps we could be focusing on who we should NOT be screening like anyone in a wheelchair, except terrorists have used people with disabilities to bypass security. http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/meast/02/25/iraq.main/index.html Perhaps we should stop screening children all together, because if a terrorist is willing to kill himself/herself in the name of some random cause he or she certainly won’t kill their own child to achieve the desired results. Of course we would also miss the child terrorist such as Khyadali Sana, 16, who drove a truck in to a defense force convoy, killing two soldiers. strategicstudiesinstitute.army.mil/pdffiles/PUB408.pdf

The real point of this post is – if you don’t know what a terrorist looks like you cannot profile. You cannot tell if someone is up to no good just by looking at them. This is why profiling is wrong, unethical, and ineffective.

Anonymous said...

President Obama now appears to acknowledge that the NWA 253 incident is the result of a systematic failure of our security apparatus. We'll know that he's serious when we start seeing some firings (perhaps thinly disguised as resignations).

Let's start with Janet "The System Worked" Napolitano. I don't see any chance that anyone will ever believe anything she says (well, "I quit" might be credible).

TSOWilliamReed said...

Here is how I see it. This terrorist could not get on an airplane in the US. He had to go to a different country where screening procedures are much more slack in order to get on board the plane and then fly into the US. 2+2=4, what I am getting at is TSA is obviously doing its job well if terrorists have to board flights in countries that don't have TSA in order to attempt anything.

TSOWilliamReed said...

As for this new rule on airplanes, has anyone heard the airlines complain about it? I heard an airline agent comment about how he/she doesn't enjoy informing people they can't get up out of their seats but I believe the actual companies are behind this rule 100% and the plane is their property. You the passengers are along for the ride, the airline can make up any rules they want. Its a simple case of people abusing their privelages and getting those privelages taken away for everyone else. This isn't elementary school though, and its a legitimate response given the past.

TSOWilliamReed said...

As for pat downs and WBI machines, watch this video below. This video was made to be shown to a school board for increasing security at high schools. This teenager walked into the meeting as an example to show the board how easy it was to conceal weapons. Yes these weapons would set off a metal detector but that isn't the point. Think of all the non metallic bulky things that someone could hide under their clothing. This is why we do pat downs and why we need the WBI machines.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwAI8HWh9io

Ayn R. Key said...

Come on Bobbo. You have a huge stack of angry comments telling you how absurd this new policy is.

Address them.

Ameesh Shah said...

To me a very easy solution - to BAN ALL LIGHTERS AND MATCHES on board!!! Seriously all this body scanning aside, the TSA is a bunch of fools to think that lighters do not pose a risk to passengers. If lighters and matches were banned from being brought on board this last incident would have NEVER HAPPENED. Sometimes the easiest solution is the least expensive and most obvious. I hope the TSA enforces this regulation as opposed to banning pillows and blankets to protect passenger.

I have posted the TSA's August 4, 2007 press release lifting the ban on lighters below. Please remind us why we are safer to have matches and lighters on board!

As of August 4, 2007, in an effort to concentrate resources on detecting explosive threats, TSA will no longer ban common lighters in carry-on luggage. Torch lighters remain banned in carry-ons.

Lifting the lighter ban is consistent with TSA's risk-based approach to aviation security. First and foremost, lighters no longer pose a significant threat. Freeing security officers up from fishing for 22,000 lighters every day (the current number surrendered daily across the country) enables them to focus more on finding explosives, using behavior recognition, conducting random screening procedures and other measures that increase complexity in the system, deterring terrorists. The U.S. is the only country in the world to ban lighters – all other nations, including Israel and the U.K., do not.

Matches

You may not bring matches in your checked baggage because of safety regulations. You may, however, bring one book of safety (non-strike anywhere) matches in your carry-on baggage or on your person.

For safety reasons, you may not bring "strike anywhere" matches at all.

Read the full permitted and prohibited items list here.

barry said...

I guess like many I gladly adopted a false sense of security and was okay with the increased screening. But now I have little confidence in this system. It was a passenger that stopped the bombing and not all the waiting and screening.

Anonymous said...

Why didn’t they connect the dots on who this guy was? I’ll tell you why, because the TSA blows everyone off with their attitude. Here is another example of people not being heard by the TSA in Milwaukee! Lady tries to tell TSA that by mistake she was able to get a weapon past security, and they blow her off. http://www.jsonline.com/multimedia/video/?bcpid=13960334001&bcplid=1815828274&bctid=56119418001#BCtop

samtheyamiam said...

All this is going to do is give support to those who support the body imaging machines. I have seen several pictures of the body scan on different sites and they all show the entire body in detail. This is a huge invasion of privacy even if you block the face. And I don't believe for a second that those scans aren't stored for a set amount of time. How else are you going to check if there is a security breach.

Anonymous said...

No alarms? A one way passenger from Lagos with only carry on luggage? A child would have known to send him to secondary and AMS/DL security had more info about this fella. We don't need more regulations and restrictions or body scans, we just need security people who are alert and doing their jobs.

Anonymous said...

People are really quick to point fingers at TSA over the 12/25 incident... The fact is the security in the netherlands failed to detect the IED. THe TSA never screened abdulmutullab.

That being said, if TSA was smart, instead of making stupid moves like "last hour seated" rule, they would instead stop messing around with body scanners and instead go back to using ETP puffer machines. Body scanners and metal detectors are good at finding knives and guns. But the largest threat remains explosives concealed on the body. ETP puffers and K-9's are the greated assets that TSA can deploy to mitigate that threat, and at half the cost of the backscatter machines.

Anonymous said...

Everyone must understand there is no individual right to fly... If you are allowed the privilege of flying then you must adhere to the rules that TSA and the Airlines sets down. Personally, I feel more needs to be done in prescreening individuals for flying. If you choose to fly, then you should be required to submit a DNA sample & Current photo, and documents proving who you are. Now on check in they should bounce the check-in information and against the information collected by TSA previously. That plus any input from other federal agencies would highlight those who need to be detained. Along with body scanners would go a long way in preventing incidents, plus catch allot criminals that are using fake documents.

Anonymous said...

TSA: Travel Stopping Agency

Anonymous said...

I bet thousands of TSA guys are rapidly applying to be the one guy in the back room looking at all the naked women in the "naked scanner".

Anonymous said...

Correction: TSA not to blame!

by CNN

Posted on December 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM

Updated yesterday at 4:08 PM

******
Related:
Obama: 'Systemic failure' allowed airliner attack

The father of suspected terrorist Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab talked about his son's extremist views with someone from the CIA and a report was prepared, but the report was not circulated outside the agency, a reliable source told CNN's Jeanne Meserve on Tuesday.

The information was sent to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, but sat there for five weeks and was not disseminated, the source said.

Had that critical information been shared, the 23-year-old Nigerian man alleged to have bungled an attempt to blow up a jetliner as it was landing in Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day might have been denied passage on the Northwest Airlines flight, the source said.

The source's comments came shortly after President Barack Obama blamed "a mix of human and systemic failures" for the incident and directed that preliminary findings into the matter be delivered to the White House by Thursday.

An administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the federal government had information that could have and should have been assessed and meshed with other information "that would have allowed us to disrupt the attempted terrorist attack" before the suspect boarded the jet.

"What we have here is a situation in which the failings were individual, organizational, systemic and technological," the official said. "We ended up in a situation where a single point of failure in the system put our security at risk, where human error was compounded by systemic deficiencies in a way that we cannot allow to continue."

Anonymous said...

We wouldn't be in this situation if the "bomber" had not been allowed to board the plane because he didn't have a passport.

Anonymous said...

So Bob, is there anything you can tell us about the increased screening procedures for domestic flights coming soon to an airport near you?

How are we the traveling public supposed to know the rules when you keep the rules secret?

Anonymous said...

How is stopping passengers from standing up going to prevent a terrorist attack? What are you going to do to stop them? Shoot first, ask questions later? The terrorist is planning to die anyway so this is just a stupid rule and only benefits the airlines.

Kathy said...

I am traveling the end of January. I hope I won't have to sit idle for the last hour of the flight. I would like to read a book.

Anonymous said...

anonymous wrote:
"I would rather put my trust in fellow passengers (they are 2-0 against onboard bombers) and the infinitesimal risk of a terror incident than the certainty of the joy-killing and ineffective response of the TSA."

In both of those situations it was the stupidity of the bomber that failed to detonate those devices. The fellow passengers were only able to subdue the individuals due to device failures. If they had detonated initially as intended, end of story. Also in both of those instances the TSA was not the group doing the screening, it was the French and the Dutch, not US entities.

Brendan O'Kane said...

Why is the TSA attempting to intimidate the bloggers who published the TSA security directive recently issued internationally? Surely these bloggers and the taxpayers who read them have the right to expect accountability from the thugs -- sorry, government agents -- whose salaries they pay?

Anonymous said...

A few months ago a supposedly "repentant" suicide bomber was permitted to meet with a Saudi Prince to be pardoned. He had hidden a bomb in his body using surgery, and detonated it (but did not harm the Prince).

I question how any of these security measures will prevent a person from doing the same thing with organic bomb materials and either a detonator disguised as a pacemaker or other medical implant, or a chemical mixture in the stomach released in the same manner that a gelatin pill is dissolved in stomach acid.

We need mass-spectrometer sniffer technology that can sense chemical trances on anyone with parts-per-billion/trillion resolution, combined with standard metal detectors.

Everything else is a waste.

I prefer small (minute) chance of death by terrorist attack to absolute certainty of a ever more restrictive police state responding to every real or imaginary security threat with more sanctions against the people. Think of it as being willing to die at any time for your country's freedom, just like all the brave men and women in our military.

Anonymous said...

P.S. If TSA thinks I'm going to start checking all my luggage, they'd better get their employees to stop stealing things from it first. Oh, and replacing the TSA approved locks that I bought especially so that they wouldn't cut the locks off my bags when they inspected them.

Anonymous said...

*NOW* the officials have to admit a second man was detained.
Where is the Amsterdam footage? Please pray for the safety of those who were there, including attorney Kurt Haskell and his wife!
Before you click any links on the moo tubes about the underwear bomber please note that ewe tube is freezing the counter on the number of views of these, *especially* if you watch Alex Jones' interviews with Kurt Haskell...

RB said...

So it seems TSA has sent to TSI Stazi agents to visit and threaten two travel blog writers.

Real nice TSA!

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/dhs-threatens-blogger

Paul S said...

A five year old could have figured out that this 23 year old was a security risk. Stop looking for bad things and start looking for bad people. Not every muslim is a terrorist but every terrorist is a muslim so how about secondary screening on all those individuals who meet the 18-40 yr old males that have Islamic names. Perhaps the muslim community will then get tired of being seen as risks and weed out the bad people from within their midst. ENOUGH with POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!!

avxo said...

What's the DHS statement on the allegations by Steve Frischling that TSA agents "forced [him] to hand over" his laptop and that "the agents threatened to interfere with his contract to write a blog for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines if he didn't cooperate and provide the name of the person who leaked the memo."

Did these agents have a warrant to confiscate the laptop, and did they really threaten to interfere with his contract?

The full story is at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,581547,00.html

Anonymous said...

Many people have correctly pointed out that in this latest incident, the would-be terrorist started his journey OUTSIDE the US in airports not under TSA jurisdiction/control.

They feel that TSA should not be held to task because of this fact.

Yet it is also a fact that the would-be terrorist was on the list of potential people that at the very least should have required extra screening at some point in the journey. If the passenger manifest ever made it to TSA, how is it that this man wasn't flagged long before he took off from Amsterdam? Is that not part of TSA's responsibilities?

The anger that TSA is implementing--or attempting to implement--measures that simply do nothing to prevent a recurrence of what happened is justified IMO. The measures DO inconvenience a large number of innocent travelers who must now bear the brunt of these ineffective measures. It's a repeat of the shoe bomber reaction--now everyone must take off their shoes. Forever.

Jannis said...

I read through the comments on this site from time to time and I am constantly reading statements from people who don’t like TSA screening, don’t like TSA to touch them, and don’t like TSA WBI machines. Problem is, the security experts that I have seen interviewed are saying that if the guy with the bomb in his pants had been patted down, or screened using a WBI, or given extra screening, he would not have been able to smuggle the bomb onto the plane. This is why I don’t mind when TSA does extra screening on me. If they do it to me I know they are doing it to other passengers and my flight WILL BE SAFER.

Debbie said...

The bomber boarded this plane in another country. It's great to ask for money for additional equipment to scan people (full body or metal) and cause more delays, but the US can't install these devices in every airport in the world. What CAN be done (cost effectively compared to the cost of said equipment) is to use K9s. The K9s can be trained to sniff for explosive and other substances hidden on persons. The K9s would be more efficient and cost less to train in comparison to the purchase of said equipment (for example, K9s could be adopted from shelters since any breed can be trained). K9s would be faster than the alternative of people standing in line and waiting their turn to walk into a machine where failure by the machine or failure by the technician is a reality. In foreign airports, K9s are an alternative as well. Additionally, K9s could become standard personnel on any US airline that is boarding passengers abroad. As passenegers are boarding, passengers could be sniffed such that anyone who may have escaped other checkpoints employed in foreign airports, they may be discovered by the K9 stationed at the door of the plane bound for the USA. Bottom line: machines are expensive and will cause further delays, break down, and have to be taken out of service, whereas, K9s are plentiful, portable, less likely to fail, cost effective, and quicker than machines. Forget machines! Bring on the dogs! Debbie B.

Anonymous said...

Could the TSA please explain to us how there could possibly be such a draconian response such as :

http://boardingarea.com/blogs/flyingwithfish/2009/12/30/the-fallout-from-sd-1544-09-06-the-feds-at-my-door/

For publishing the document outlining the new security procedures that where disseminated by the thousands to all airlines and personnel.

Anonymous said...

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/12/31/dhs-subpoenas-journalists-published-leaked-airline-security-changes/

So not only is TSA admitting the rules were a complete joke, but they are also bullying the people who leaked said rules? Wow, just wow. TSA is a total failure at every level. It would almost be funny if it wasn't so sad.

Ayn R. Key said...

Ok, Bob.

Explain THIS!

Scott G. Lewis said...

Too much... way too much. Look, get your screening done right so we can read a book on board. Or stop screening and don't let us bring anything on board. This current mix of ineffective screening and making people essentially sit on their hands for a few hours is just absurd.

Regarding foreign airports, if you cannot trust their screening, don't let them fly planes into our country.

But stop with these absurdly ineffective measures.

Anonymous said...

Watch what you say...

Dan S. said...

Bob,

Could you please elaborate on the TSA's subpoena powers and specific statues that empower TSA Special Agents, such as Robert Flaherty and John Enright to seize the computers and cell phones and monitor the private correspondence of reporters Christopher Elliott and Steven Frischling, respectively, whilst investigating the disclosure of government directives?

Furthermore if the agency is concerned with determining the source of the December 25th Screening Directive, why is the TSA’s Office of Inspection, and not the FBI investigating the leak? Isn't that the FBI's role? How can a purely internal investigation ensure that neither Agent Flaherty or Enright are the original source of the leak?

Is blackmail a viable tool of the all TSA agents, or solely agents of TSA Office of Inspection:

"Frischling, a freelance travel writer and photographer in Connecticut who writes a blog for the KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, said the two agents who visited him arrived around 7 p.m. Tuesday, were armed and threatened him with a criminal search warrant if he didn’t provide the name of his source. They also threatened to get him fired from his KLM job and indicated they could get him designated a security risk, which would make it difficult for him to travel and do his job."

If the TSA Office of Inspection is expected to routinely seize electronic data from computers, in the course of an investigation, why did agents need to leave the subjects' homes, allowing them time to destroy any pertinent data, in order to purchase hard drives at Wal-Mart?

Are agents of the TSA Office of Inspection so well-versed in Microsoft Windows, that simply using MacOS X (and/or Linux) is a sufficient deterrent to the agents' ability to retrieve data?

Do data retrieval attempts by agents of the Office of Inspection routinely involve functionally damaging the target computer?

Thanks. I await your reply.

Dan S. said...

As for the efficacy of the Christmas Day attempt to down NWA 253:

If a passenger and/or would-be terrorist were to refuse a MMW body scan, will the ensuing pat-down screening include a 'hernia exam'?

If not, please explain why, given the location of the PETN pouch on Umar Abdulmutallab's underwear?

If so, please explain at what age, does it become appropriate for an adult stranger, with a minimum high school equivalency and a clean felony record, to publicly manipulate a young boy's crotch? (I have a young son and would like to have "the talk" with him before a TSO feels him up.)

Why haven't the airlines changed their computerized ticketing systems to eliminate the possibility that a human error, such as the one that happened in Umar Abdulmutallab's favor, allowing an international traveler to receive their U.S.-segment boarding pass prior to arrival at their airport of U.S embarkation?

Why hasn't the TSA set a deadline for the implementation of such a system?

What are the potential penalties for airlines that fail to adhere to TSA guidelines for handling travelers bound for U.S. destinations?

Has any U.S. agency (TSA, FBI, ATF, NTSB, etc) field tested exactly how much unfocused explosive is needed to rupture the fuselage of a conventional (non-composite) airliner, with a representative, modern interior? (Shaped charges and bare aluminum don't count.) If so, have they disseminated that information to the appropriate personnel (i.e. TSO's and TSA Agents?)

Have any TSA personnel/staff contacted Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) regarding the three-month long hold he has placed on the nomination of Erroll Southers as the head of the TSA? If not, why not? If so, how has Sen. DeMint and/or his staff responded?

Thanks. I await your reply.

Anonymous said...

Geez, Bob, how many hundred more posts are going to be submitted before you post something else?

Just went through TSA security at SAT; I must say I haven't seen a shorter line to clear security since pre-9/11. And they weren't even checking boarding passes as you walk through the metal detectors. How were they supposed to know if I was a selectee or not?

Anonymous said...

There are two viewpoints:

1. If this was the fault of the security staff at Schiphol airport, then the TSA need do no more than yell at foreign airports to lift their game. There is no need to implement the pointless policies concocted as a reaction to this incident.

2. If this was the fault of the TSA (failure to screen the flight-list properly), then these new policies do nothing to combat this particular scenario. The explosive(?) substances were sewn into the man's underwear. He did not require the use of the lavatory to ignite them, nor blankets, nor wireless internet access, nor, it would seem, any personal items at all. So why the hysterical new policies?

Further food for thought:

1. It should be elementary to enhance the full-body ("naked") scanners to obviate the need to have a human sit there oggling everyone's physique. We have systems capable of performing facial recognition -- just have the computer process the images and flag anyone who comes up "unusual". (I'm a computer scientist: I'm telling you, this is possible).

2. I am going to feel extremely litigious if someone next to me suffers food poisoning on a plane, is denied access to the bathrooms, and is forced to sit next to me in a puddle of their own faeces for the last hour of the flight. Or throws up all over themselves and me. I. Will. Sue.

antiideology said...

It's true that TSA didn't board this guy, the folks at the Amsterdam airport did. However, the question here remains: How, exactly, does inconveniencing law-abiding travelers with asinine rules, make us safe, if we just keep letting people onto planes, who ought not be allowed on them?

Another way of putting it is this: Stupid rules like this would be unnecessary, if airports and immigration authorities simply did a better job of vetting passengers.

It's time to stop wasting time finessing stupid rules which will only aggravate passengers who are not going to bomb planes, and start doing things that will actually SECURE our planes. The optimal way to do that is to keep the bombers OFF of them in the first place.

In short, don't torture passengers. Instead, figure out how to make a "no fly list" that actually works.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you right now I will not let myself be subject to those new body scanners. They haven't been thoroughly tested for safety and were rolled out thanks to a crooked inside deal. Nope pat me down all you want but I'll have no more extra radiation blasted onto me.

The TSA should spend their money more wisely and actually train the people they hire to be something other than unthinking goons.

ddare said...

I FLEW ON THE AMESTERDAM TO DETROIT FLIGHT NW 249 DECEMBER 25, 2009. I HAD ALREADY CLEARED SECURITY SCREENING AT APROX. 12:30 IN GATE E20, I HAD A LOUNGE SEAT JUST KILLING TIME, I WATCHED AS A KLM BLUE DRESSED SMERF-ET ESCORTED A WOMEN DRESSED IN BLACK THROUGH SECURITY, THE WOMAN IN BLACK SET OFF THE METAL DETECTOR ALARM, BUT WAS NOT INSPECTED OR CHECKED OUT RATHER THE SMURF-ET SIMPLY TOOK HER TO A LOUNGE SEAT. THIS HAPPENED AT APPROX 1:30.

MY QUESTION IS DO THE KLM SMERF-ETS HAVE SECURITY AUTHORITY AT AMESTERDAM.

We are watching said...

I'd really love to hear why TSA tried to intimidate two travel bloggers while investigating who leaked the memo on the updated security procedures.

The procedures were hardly secret, since they were recounted by countless travelers all over the Internet. I thought those kinds of things--armed investigators going to a reporter's home and pressuring them for hours, with their children present--only happened in places like China and Zimbabwe.

It's really hard for me to believe someone at TSA or DHS approved administrative subpoenas for the bloggers.

It's not surprising, though, that TSA backed off when one of the bloggers enlisted the help of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and their attorney asked for a hearing in federal court. I hardly think it's a coincidence that TSA suddenly no longer needed to talk with them.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE UNDERSTAND I RESPECT THE COMPLEXITY OF BEING IN CHARGE OF TSA. IT MUST BE A VERY DAUNTING RESPONDSIBILITY.
BUT WHEN YOU GO ON TV AND PRAISE A TOTAL FAILURE OF BILLIONS OF SPENT DOLLARS ON HOMELAND SECURITY A REASONABLE PERSON CAN CONCLUDE YOUR PART OF THE PROBLEM!
IF THIS WERE CHINA THAT THE PERSON THAT CLAIMS SUCCESS OF A FAILED BOMBIMG BY A TERROEST WOULD BE ELLIGABLE FOR A TRAIL AS A CO-CONSPIRATOR TO THE ATTEMPTED BOMBING OF AN AIRLINER. SHIFTING ATTENTION FROM THE FAILURE OF THE SYSTEM. WELL, TREASON COMES TO MIND.
WHO WOULD BELIEVE YOU IF YOU ACCUSSED A MAJOR AT FORT HOOD OF TERRORISTICS ACTS, THEN KILLING FELLOW SOLDERS AND BASE PERSONEL?
SOMEBODY NEEDS TO ASK THE QUESTION IF THE HEAD OF THE TSA HAS MEET THE CRITIRIA OF BEING A BENIDICT ARNOLD FOR DEFENDING A FAIL SYSTEM? THEN PUNISHING CHILDREN AND OLD PEOPLE WITHIN THE AMERICAN BOARDERS WHEN THE FAILURE WAS WITH THE AGENCY ASSIGNED TO PROTECT US.
IF YOUR AT THE TOP, BEING SUBJECT TO EXICUTION MAY JUST TIE A KNOT IN SOMEBODY BUTT FOR THIS COLLAPSE OF THE "SYSTEM". CLAIMING SUCCESS BECAUSE NOBODY DIED IS AT VERY LEAST STUPID..............
RUNNING INLINE WITH DISINFORMATION AND CLOSER TO AN OUT RIGHT BALL FACE LIE.................
TEARSON IS MORE LIKE IT, IF IT WERE SAID BY A GENERAL IN THE MILITARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ian said...

Please send your agents to CDG in France to see how security can be done. The process was predictably lengthy, but the most surprising difference was the courtesy with which everyone was treated. The agents were unfaltering, and bilingually, polite to everyone. There was no shouting! No Hindi-speaking grannies being yelled at for not understanding they need to take off the scarf! No tantrums that someone didn't have their blue Customs form out in time (as happened when I came back through IAD).

All the security checkpoints were opening and functioning. Staff carefully distributed the queue amongst the checkpoints. At the additional checks for US bound flights there was more courtesy and good humour.

It was a refreshing change from the attitude (admittedly, improved) one gets at the TSA checkpoints here in the US.

Anonymous said...

Question: I am going to be flying domestically every week for the next couple of months and would like to know if I will have any hassles traveling with my protein and creatine powders. I will be taking my vitamins with me. In the past this wasn't a problem with labeled ziploc bags. Will this be a problem now? Does TSA have any documentation on their site?

Thanks!

M

Jeff said...

I read this in a news article and it reflects how the TSA reacts to things: "The real problem here is that, tomorrow, if someone tried to detonate a bomb on a plane and, right before he detonated it, he sang, 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) would issue a rule tomorrow saying, 'No singing on a plane.' It is a very bad camouflage attempt of not dealing with the real issue of how did this guy clear security in Nigeria and twice in Amsterdam, and still get on the plane?"

These are ridiculous knee jerk reactions that the government makes without dealing with the real problem.

I am sorry but I thinbk TSA needs to make security quick and simple - full body scanners are one way and if you have a problem with privcay then simply don't fly. Obviously TSA is not going to pat down genital areas so obviously this is the place anyone is going to hide anything that they are attempting to smuggle on board.

Sorry, but if you CHOOSE to fly then this is what is going to be needed - there is no privacy issue as you do not need to CHOOSE to fly.

Anonymous said...

As someone else said ... please don't tell me you think these ridiculous rules are going to do anything at all from stopping a terrorist on an airplane from doing harm ... really - it is an embarassment to our whole system and the TSA in whole to think that these ridiculous rules would stop anyone - all they serve to do is make it even more miserable for the 99.99% of the flying public that isn't planning on doing any harm. Who really came up with these rules anyhow? Do they seriously think that they will stop anything at all?? Someone should be fired for allowing things like this to even be discussed.

Anonymous said...

One of the areas that needs to be addressed with this situation is the training of airline personnel. Airline agents needs to be trained in observation techniques to help vet out suspicious behaviors to identify passengers who, while perhaps not on any "list", may need additional scrutiny at security. When this guy showed up with no luggage for an international flight and bought a one-way ticket in cash, the agent should have seen this as a red flag. Is this a reason to deny boarding? Not necessarily, but it would be a good reason to elevate this person to a higher level of screening as this is not "normal". Just today, I saw an airline agent check in a passenger and not ask for their ID - unless the requirement has changed, I have never flown anywhere, checked a bag, and not been asked to confirm who I was and where I was going.
There needs to be security training at every level of the process. Airport workers need to be alert for suspicious behaviors, security needs to be thorough and efficient, flight crew members need to be alert, air marshalls need to be on more flights, and passengers need to be aware of their surroundings during flight. It is the sum of these components that will help deter terrorist acts.

Anonymous said...

Obviously TSA is not going to pat down genital areas so obviously this is the place anyone is going to hide anything that they are attempting to smuggle on board.

*****************

I've had my genitals searched by TSA in the past. Really angered me that they would do that in the name of security.

Rocco said...

"and if you have a problem with privcay then simply don't fly."

Jeff, wow, what an awesome facist worldview you have. How many more things do you feel the government can do to us as long as we have a choice to not do it?

Right now in NYC, you see subways with the sign "we reserve the right to search you with no cause - if you don't like it, don't ride the subway". Same sort of BS.

Let me ask you this: if the government posted full body scans at every major toll, bridge, tunnel, freeway entrance and shopping mall, and said "if you don't like it you don't have to enter" would you be ok with that?

Jay said...

Two years ago TSA began a Registered Traveler program intended to sort out the suspects from the grandmothers from Dubuque. Its not available in all markets and it has not caught on as well as expected. But I think that may due more to its anemic launch than a lack of market. I, for one, would be willing to pay a substantial fee to be pre-screened in a verifiable and reliable manner so that I could board an airplane with less pre-flight frustration and humiliation and be treated with respect and not suspicion in the process. I don’t expect a return to the good old days. But I think a more effective implementation of a Registered Traveler program could allow security personnel to focus their attention on the 1 or 2% that could pose an actual threat while allowing the vast majority of us to travel in relative ease, comfort and safety.

OK, I recognize that some TSA screeners seem more like Barney Fife than Jack Bowers. And some of the agency's efforts have been failures. But you get what you pay for. Whether its done by TSA or some other agency, we ought to be able to develop a more effective system.

Its more than a matter of traveler convience, too. This actually is an important piece of the "war on terror" when you think of it. The more that we undermine our own economy and our personal freedoms, the more we play into the hands of the extremists.

Dan S. said...

Bob,

It seems quite obvious that the leaderless/rudderless TSA is solely focused on stopping the 'last' terrorist attack, much as it was under Kip Hawley.

Will the TSA subject travelers to X-Ray or other invasive and potentially harmful detection methodologies when (not if) someone attempts an attack on an airliner utilizing surgically-implanted explosives, which would be otherwise invisible to the MMW body imagining systems?

Al-Qeada in the Arabian Peninsula has already employed a surgically-implanted suicide explosive device. It's only a matter of time before these morons try it on an airliner.

Is the TSA prepared to expose the traveling public to potentially lethal levels of radiation, or is it finally time to radically shift our security paradigm so that we're working smarter, rather than harder?

Thanks, I await your reply.

Ayn R. Key said...

Ok, Bobby, here's your big chance.

I'm flying out of Atlanta soon.

I read that Atlanta has the Child Porn Machines (WBI). Unlike LAX where I normally fly, if I recall correctly it's one big gaggle instead of seven separate gaggles.

I'm traveling with my 4 1/2 year old son.

We're going to find out how long it takes the police to respond when I report your goons for production and viewing of Child Pornography!

Earl Pitts said...

@Dan S: "Have any TSA personnel/staff contacted Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) regarding the three-month long hold he has placed on the nomination of Erroll Southers as the head of the TSA? If not, why not? If so, how has Sen. DeMint and/or his staff responded?"

DeMint's right that if Southers' priority at TSA is to allow them to unionize vs. cleaning up the agency and actually implement real security, then he's right to block the nomination.

TSA unionization should be far down the list if it's a priority at all. IMO, it shouldn't be a priority as TSA's already a largely unaccountable agency. Why make it harder to hold them accountable than it already is by adding unions into the mix?

Earl

Anonymous said...

North West Airlines DOES NOT EXIST anymore. We all saw that the airplane has Delta written on it. SO call it the way it should be. Air Control stopped using NorthWest callsigns long time ago. Smear action by Delta Airlines.

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