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 to read the official DHS statement from Secretary Napolitano. I am also providing the statement below.


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."


Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team

***Update - 12/28/09***

Please visit 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.


Blogger Bob

TSA Blog Team


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Redmond_BP said...

It's hardly "unpredictable" when airlines announce lockdowns during the last hour of flight into the US. If this is truly the TSA/DHS recommendation as claimed, then whats the difference between the last 30, 60, or 90 minutes of a flight? Does it matter, or is this another knee-jerk reaction to some idiot to show that "something" is being done, just like the whole shoe fiasco...?

Sandra said...

ALL your layers of security failed yet again.

So what is the response of the TSA - to add even more confusion to the process with the hope that with any kind of plain dumb luck, you'll be able to flummox another idiot terrorist wannabe?

How much is this going to cost the U. S. taxpayer and anyone else who chooses to fly?

Jim.Davis said...

I am an American Citizen with absolutely no crime history or affiliation with anything illegal. I've been traveling world wide for over 40 years. *I* am on a watch list. Where is Umar's name on this list? What's wrong with this picture?

Jeremy said...

So we can sum it up as follows:

(1) TSA was too busy taking shampoo and toothpaste away from kids & little old ladies to notice a guy with explosives.

(2) The passengers on the plane did exactly the right thing.

(3) So TSA is instituting even more silly rules that will do nothing useful, since they're continuing to fight the last battle. "Nothing on laps" - does that mean I can't read a book for the last hour of my flight? Gimme a break...

Will TSA be encouraging airlines to sell diapers to passengers, now that passengers can't go to the bathroom for the last hour of a flight?

Someday we'll look back and realize that TSA was put into being as a full employment act for comedians - because it sure ain't doing anything to stop bad guys.

Anonymous said...

How does forcing pax to stay in their seats during the last hour of flight prevent some bumbling moron from lighting something in his pants?

Does TSA really think it is rational to prohibit passengers from accessing personal items for the last hour of flight? Does that include books? What's next; handcuffing passengers to their seats?

The idiots at TSA are "encouraging" pax to put their coats in checked baggage. Will TSA be accountable/responsible when the passengers get stranded in a cold location without their checked baggage and thus coats? Will TSA buy them new coats? will TSA be accountable for hypothermia, shock, or other illness of passengers who follow this suggestion?

TSA should take this opportunity to show that it is operating differently now than under the last administration. It would be nice if TSA would show that it has matured and does not need to engage in knee-jerk, irrational, and useless overreactions due to a failed plot by one or a few bumbling idiots.

What happened on the AMS-DTW flight was a success--passengers took care of the situation and the bumbling moron was neutralized. There's no need to ban objects or strip away the freedom and dignity of millions of travelers as a result of this.

Marshall's SO said...

I would advise the powers-that-be at DHS/TSA (as well as those at the airlines) to begin reading comments by readers of various newspaper articles on the subject of the most recent happening.

People are getting fed up with the TSA's knee-jerk reactions every time something happens. When, not if but when, people have had their fill of the antics of the TSA, they will stop all but the most necessary trips by air and both the TSA and the airlines will be out of business.

Anonymous said...

That's an awfully non-helpful statement. When flying to the US in the following days, are there, or are there not, any further restrictions. There is talk of limits to carry on. There is talk of total LGA ban. These are things the passenger has to know about before packing.

My Friend said...

So the TSA is saying methods are different from airport to airport and agent to agent and pilot to pilot because they're "designed to be unpredictable"?

Why not identify the most effective methods and use them everywhere? Maybe because the security is all for show and will only capture idiots who bring hand grenades and machetes? (And, of course, water, cottage cheese, Gatorade, lotion, shampoo, contact lens solution, hummus. . .) Hmm.

Wondering whether or not an agent will make a passenger take their bulky sweater off or confiscate their peanut butter or be seated certain minutes of a flight isn't going to thwart the sophisticated terrorist.

Designed to be unpredictable! It's always been chaos. Way to own it, TSA.

The Inevitable Backlash said...

How are you defining 'nothing on laps' in this new plan? I am, to be honest, a fat guy - does my belly count as a problem? If I'm reading a book, does that count? What if I have to go to the lavatory, do I have to get a warrant or an escort?

What do people with small children do in these situations, when they can't get the sippy-cups for the kids, or perhaps a binkie or a toy for the child to hold, or even with a smaller child who needs burping or comfort from their mother?

This is absolute foolishness and security theatre instead of actual work. Please undo the hair-trigger and find a proper rule that is not designed as a complete inconvenience.

Anonymous said...

"Due to an ongoing investigation, there is little I can say here on the blog..."

what a poignant statement on the worthlessness of the TSA and this blog.

Anonymous said...

To sandra...
all our layers failed again??? did u not read the article??? that flight didnt originate in the united states so technically TSA didnt fail...
To jeremy....

u said
What happened on the AMS-DTW flight was a success--passengers took care of the situation and the bumbling moron was neutralized. There's no need to ban objects or strip away the freedom and dignity of millions of travelers as a result of this.
i do agree with you that the passengers on that flight did the right thing absolutely but so what?? should we just let everything go thru the checkpoint and hope that the passengers notice and take care of it if another situation occurs on an airplane??? because maybe next time the passangers wont notice or maybe the next set of passangers wont be so straightforward or have the gumption to jump in and neutralize the passenger..then what??? didnt think that one thru did ya???? lol


Anonymous said...

TSA is running in circles with absolutely no clue as to what to do. My suggestion is to do nothing, but to be aware that other attempts might be made and to be watchful for those attempts. In the meantime relax the restrictions on LGA so as to allow TSOs to concentrate on WEI.

Now is not the time to panic, but to have cooler heads prevail.

what ever said...

Ummm... TSA did NOT do the screening on this passenger - the flight was coming INTO the US from Amsterdam. I would hope that most people would be more understanding now of why TSA does what they do instead of finding yet more reasons to bash them. Listen to the WHOLE news story before running to this blog to insult the men and women who work diligently everyday and give up their holidays to assure the traveling public is safe - yes, even all of the hateful people on this blog!!! They have a job to do - just like each of you do. Adding unpredictability to the screening process may be an inconvenience, but it's a small one considering that there are people who wish to do harm to the US and doing the same procedures identically every time just aids the bad guy to know what to expect - now THAT would be DUMB!!! Seriously, how horrible is it to have to take off your shoes - I am happy to do it! Glad to see you all have nothing better to do than to waste your lives away worried that you might have to spend an extra 1 or 2 minutes being screened. It takes a lot more time to post to this blog than it does to put your shoes back on!!!

James Phillips said...

I came to the TSA website because I did not believe the rules as stated by a random Slashdot commenter:

- Not allowed to have any items or anything on your lap for the last 1 hour of flight
- Not allowed to go to toilet during that time either
- Crew doesn't tell about cities or landmarks so passengers don't know where they are flying (it's so hard to time that on clock)

I was surprised to learn the the "official" rules are even worse:
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. -bolding mine.

The Montreal Gazette
backs up the Slashdot poster's assessment.

The rules, as stated, are stupid and contradictory. Passengers will know when they are close to their destination because they will be asked to put their things away! I suspect the "real" rules are secret because you can get an exemption if you say you have to got to the toilet. Otherwise, you may have a passenger revolt.

We have seen how fast passengers can turn on would-be terrorists: imagine a dozen passengers (and their immediate companions) after they are told they can't go pee (or no. 2) for an hour, even if they really have to go. Now imagine they were not told about this restriction ahead of time for "security reasons."

Anonymous said...

You do realize that literally no one trusts you or takes you seriously, yes?

Mike4Fun said...

Unpredictable?? How about the sss on a boarding pass? Could anything be more obvious?

Anonymous said...

The new rules are the most inane, idiotic guidelines. What does being strapped down the last hour do? Okay, so terrorists will detonate their bombs over the ocean, when they're allowed to get up.

Doesn't it make more sense to do an extra ten layers of search to those who are on a watch list? Doesn't it make sense to pat those people down instead of installing more stupid rules? TSA - you need to do your job smarter. The reason why fellow passengers are taking their lives into their own hands is because the government isn't able to.

Anonymous said...

My favorite part of this are the witch-hunters in this post declaring TSA has failed yet again, though they seem to not be intelligent enough themselves to read the news and see that this was NOT a flight from inside the US, and that this man was flying in from AMSTERDAM. Last I was in Amsterdam, there was not TSA there. You did not hear of this happening on a domestic flight. HMMM I wonder why?

Anonymous said...

I think in failing this individual will have a greater impact on air travel than he would have had he succeeded.

Also re: the new "1 hour before landing, now sit quietly in your seats children" rule. Why does this only aply to international flights? If this is not just more theater it should apply to domestic flights also. Care to comment on that?

O Bloody Hell said...

This event is a clear precursor to separating passengers by sex, then utilizing the previously-objected to ultraviolet scan which essentially renders the individual naked, viewed (supposedly) only by same-sex TSA employees.

Take that as positive or negative. It's a strip-search without the strip, basically.

Bill said...


How did "ALL" of TSA's layers of security fail "yet again"?

This passenger was coming in on a flight from overseas, Amsterdam to be exact. TSA doesn't screen passengers in the Netherlands.


Anonymous said...

Jeremy, TSA didn't screen this guy. TSA is a US Federal agency; not international. How is it TSA's "fault" this guy got through Amsterdam's security? And, TSA has no control over the plane once it's in the air and don't make rules aboard aircraft.
Jim Davis, are you really on a watch list? what list? And if you were a criminal, you'd tell us, right? Also, Umar was on a list.
Think about it, folks. The bad guys aren't going to come out a declare they are bad guys. That's why there are security measures.
Clearly, the only thing that would satisfy some of you is if we had no security at all. You gripe about TSA but come up with no solutions. Whining gets you no where.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the TSA will ban underwear and books. Makes about as much sense as their newest rules.

What happened to patting down passengers traveling from known terrorist cities, and not allowing ANYONE on a watch list on a plane?

Maybe it makes too much sense?

Anonymous said...

Sandra, you said "ALL your layers of security failed yet again." Hard to claim that considering that the individual that did this got on the plane in Amsterdam, where TSA does not operate. This person got on a plane in Nigeria, notoriously bad at security, and according to multiple news reports, was not rescreened in Amsterdam.

Anonymous said...

With as annoying as it is getting to fly, soon the only passengers will be terrorists.

I really can't wait for high speed trains.

melissa said...

The most incomprehensibly stupid move by the TSA to date. You had warning six months in advance that this guy was potentially a threat, did NOTHING, and now are subjecting all of the other passengers to yet more stupid restrictions (which, by the way, do absolutely nothing but anger law-abiding citizens) to make it look like you're doing something. Why not fix your broken system instead of making it worse? And I agree with Anonymous that this is going to hurt the airlines as well, and they're already struggling.

Then again, not taking responsibility for your actions IS the American way.

Anonymous said...

TSA = america's shame

Rob Pugh said...

Reports coming in of these "additional measures" - via BoingBoing - "I took an early morning flight on Delta from Latin America to the US, among the first international flights subject to a TSA security directive issued this morning.

As we boarded, the flight attendants announced that all passengers would be prohibited from getting out of their seats (for instance, to go to the toilet) or from using any electronic devices (phones, laptops, games) or having anything on their laps (even a book or a blanket) during the last hour of the flight. I tweeted about it from the plane. Bottom line, the new rules make your fellow passengers farty and crosslegged (ever try not going to the bathroom during the last part of a really long-haul international flight?), the flight attendants seemed to be just as annoyed about the meritless new rules as the passengers, and we were none the safer. The worst part? None of this would have stopped the pantsbomber."

Good to see the TSA is continuing with its overreacting full retard security theater responses. Because what would have prevented a bomber attempting to light a crude incendiary in his seat is banning bathroom visits, books and electronics. Honestly, the cluelessness is astounding.

SashaJo said...

Now there's talk of no electronics being allowed on international flights? Really, TSA? Where shall I put my $3000 laptop when I have to travel with it? Perhaps it will end up in your break rooms like the OTC meds one of you morons confiscated from my checked luggage? The theater of security that you all practice is absurd. I am the person who turns off my cell phone when I'm supposed to, stays in my seat with a seat belt when I'm not running off to the potty and am respectful of the crew. Now you'd just as soon treat me like a criminal or a terrorist due to the incompetency of security "experts" that get us through the gate and onto our flights? Wake up, nimrods. Do your job and let me get where I'm going. But, I'm curious... What are you going to do when people start to soil the seats?

Carla Anderson said...

Dear TSA:

Here's a new idea for you: instead of burdening passengers with all manner of idiotic rules which do ***NOTHING*** to increase safety you just institute a new rule which says all passengers must be sedated during flight? Knock us out when we take off, wake us up when we land and everyone's happy. Sure make my flight a lot more bearable since I'd not have to hear the squalling infant two rows back or have the jerk in front of me put his seat back and squash me.

Honestly, all these asinine and utterly useless rules do is make people angry and provide us with the illusion of security. Why not just admit that all of your rules haven't made ONE WHIT of a difference? Oh, that's right, because the Government™ can never admit that it's wrong about anything. So instead of real security we get security theater.

The terrorists have apparently won, and you are their willing dupes.

From now on when I need to travel in the country I'll be taking the bus or driving. They might not be as fast, but they'll require far fewer of my rights to be violated to employ them.

avxo said...

Jeremy wrote: "(1) TSA was too busy taking shampoo and toothpaste away from kids & little old ladies to notice a guy with explosives."

The flight originated from Schiphol -- an airport in the Netherlands. Now, I hate to break this to you, but the Netherlands is a sovereign country. In other words, it is not under the jurisdiction of the TSA, and TSA officers are not responsible for the physical screening of passengers at Schiphol.

Let me restate this: no TSA officers were involved in the physical screening of those boarding this flight.

There are legitimate questions to ask of TSA, including why did they approve the manifest of passengers if, as reported, this guy is on a no-fly list?

But to suggest that TSA officers ought to have noticed a guy with explosives half-way around the world, at an airport where they don't have jurisdiction is the crux of stupidity.

Randy said...

I encourage everyone, including TSA and DHS personnel, to read this posting by Bruce Schneier:

After a few more incidents the passengers will be anesthetized and naked.

I really wonder *who* actually believes that these reactions increase safety.

Big Sigh,

Jonmark said...

Your chances of being killed in a vending machine accident are higher than your chances of being killed by terrorists.

The DHS/TSA is out of control -an ineffective, incompetent joke. Who profits from this enormous expense? Certainly not passengers and crew. You want to stop terrorism? Stop terrorizing innocent people.

Anonymous said...

As an American I am embarrassed that a government agency is such a reactive agency and not a proactive one. Seriously, restricting passengers from getting up during the last hour of flight is not going to stop someone from committing an act of violence. All TSA is doing is hurting innocent people by forbidding them to use their ipods, read a book, stay warm and cozy with a pillow and blanket.

Is this a conspiracy to make the airlines more money? They charge us for checking bags, food, drinks, etc. Now TSA wants us to check bags to limit carry-on baggage. $$$ in the airlines pocket. It's pure profit.

Nothing in TSA's latest measures add security for the passengers. It just adds frustration and makes people miserable. Welcome to America.

ninidee said...

So what are we all going to do during that last hour on the flight besides twiddle our thumbs? Passenger singalongs perhaps? That should get a policy reversal in short order.

njhp said...

I think we need to step back - readers and travelers and TSA management - and think about some key issues.

The screeners who failed to find the explosives were in non-U.S. airports. Clearly, we're not all on the same page. Not good.

Randomized and non-published screening procedures were established world-wide, which is a known and accepted way to deal with terrorist threats. Good.

On the other hand, taking our paperback books and Sudoku magazines away for an hour makes no sense. I've seen flight attendants miss rule-breaking passengers over and over on recent flights (cell phone users, for example) and I think part of the long-term solution is integrating flight attendants more fully into the enforcement/compliance model. They look so hard at who puts which carryons where and totally miss the guy who's talking on the phone during taxi time.

Having said that, I also don't think terrorists (or the traveling public) are stupid enough to fail to recognize initial descent when it begins, whether or not it's announced. They can also figure out, at least generally, where the airplane is based on average ground speed, topographical features, Internet data and maps - it's not like landing time (or location) is going to be some big surprise. We need staff training (airline, airport, TSA, etc.), better screening (sorry, whole-body imaging opponents), and public vigilance. We don't need to put all our toys away an hour before landing.

Anonymous said...

Since this latest idiot apparetly packed his underwear with something flammable/explosive, how long will it be until we're taking our pants off for screening?

Laura said...

Blogger Bob, I know you can't say much right now, but it would be helpful to those of us who fly frequently to have very clear and specific guidelines about what to expect ASAP.

Also, I'm very curious as to how this rumored "last hour" policy will be enforced. Are flight attendants really expected to prevent a child or an elderly adult who need to use the restroom from doing so for over an hour (and, given taxi and unloading times, we're probably talking closer to 90-100 minutes)? How are parents supposed to keep their infants and small children calm without having items in their lap? And what is so special about the last hour of a flight? Surely the TSA is not basing an entire policy off of this one attempt. Clarification would be greatly appreciated.

Anonymous said...

Serious question for Bob: Would you feel safe flying on an international flight tomorrow?

Michael Leonard said...

Dear TSA when I traveled a few months ago between Las Vegas and Oakland you confiscated a jar of cactus salsa from my female companion, which she had purchased to use in a dinner for her mother upon returning from her trip to a national park, and this really upset her as she could not understand why your agency would spoil things for a loyal American and why your agents can not tell the difference between cactus salsa and dangerous substances.

Needless to say I was also disturbed by the apparent incompetence of your security agents and your indiscriminate policies and so I intend to travel by train on my trip next week and I will not fly again unless there is no other viable option or until your agency comes to it's senses.

Anonymous said...

Quit treating American citizens as criminals. Quit enacting ridiculous procedures to make it look like you are doing something. Your war on fluids isn't working, it's a joke.

Get sniffers at the entry points. If you can't afford electronic sniffers, get bomb sniffing dogs out there. Let people bring non-dangerious liquids again. Let people wear shoes again. Stop the THEATRE, and act smart.

Anonymous said...

Why are all of you so strong against TSA? They are here to protect us. Would you rather they do nothing and let the terrorists do whatever they want? If security wasn't as strict as it already is Abdul Mutallab would have been able to bring even more dangerous materials on the plane and the plot would have been successful. TSA would have alot easier time defending us from terrorists without people like you guys that attack them for every single thing they do.

quantumslip said...

TSA, i really hope you take a closer look at what you've done. i understand the 100% secondary screening part, but everything else related to the 1-hour rule is IMO stupid and does nothing to prevent terrorists from trying to blow up a plane. for once, they could just do it sooner, or look out the window (or even estimate) to know where they are approximately. instead we have babies unable to play with toys, magazines taken up, IFE turned off, and all other sorts of ridiculous actions that only serve to hurt the passengers and the reputation of the United States. Come to your senses, and implement measures that actually do something!

Anonymous said...

The TSA has outlived its usefulness and now needs to be disbanded. They do nothing to enhance the security of the flying public and have only earned the scorn and ridicule of the American public. It now exhibits the behavior and qualities of a bloated bureaucracy and does not understand operational risk assessment and the usefulness of self reflection and modification to better is operational capability. If I were to meet a TSA employee at a party I would be amazed if they could hold an intelligent conversation about any matter of weight and not just spout party lines. It seems like too many of then have drunk the koolaid.

Trollkiller said...

Blogger Bob, where is the statement from Gale? Isn't she running the show anymore? Oh wait I know she is spending all her time creating a new SOP to give to Rep. Dent.

Sorry to sound so snarky Blogger Bob, but this time you guys screwed up big time and it was only by the Grace of God and a Dutchman that Abulwhatever failed.

I hope you at least get overtime for all these weekends you have been putting in.

To Sandra:
Not all layers failed, remember we the passengers are a layer.

Anonymous said...

Are you freaking kidding me?! Fare-paying, law-abiding citizens aren't allowed to have ANYTHING on our laps, even a book, when the perpetrator entered in Nigeria, not the US? And now, apparently, we're going to have to wear Depends during the final part of the flight?

You. Have got. To be kidding me.

Anonymous said...

First of all the terrorist came from Nigeria through Amsterdam. TSA officers were not responsible for this tragic event. Maybe if you all would quit whining and actually listen to the facts, you would know what really happend.

LivingWithCrohns said...

Yet more knee jerk reactions from TSA and you had absolutely nothing to do with the situation. Some of the recommendations must be a sick joke. Are you trying to kill the airline industry and tourism in america because thats what your doing with the whole LGA and other TSA lunacy.

TSA is so poorly run and there are so many holes (cargo, background checks, failed red team tests, baggage theft,etc) its not even funny. you cant even do the job you were originally chartered to do let alone any of the mission creep you have slithered into. Speaking of baggage theft has more then quadrupled since TSA has taken over. I have had more items stolen since TSA took over then I ever did before TSA. The only reason I got compensated for my losses is because I took all sides involved (including Airline, FSD, AFSD, DFSD, all individuals that touched my property - thanks to a photographic memory) to small claims court to seek damages and replacement of said property.

I already dont trust TSA as far as i can accurately shoot. This just adds to it the distrust.

DHS/TSA admins need to think long and hard because if they take a hard stance on the time issue, they will be facing the wrath of ADA rights groups. The Americans with Disabilities Act was put into place to protect americans who have various disabilities, and ADA has very stiff penalties for violators. You may think that you cant sue the government but thats not true and even under ADA government entities are not exempt and can be sued.

In my case i have crohns, which means when i have to go your not gonna stop me or your gonna have a mess all over the place, cause i will be going one way or the other.

I really dare you to stop me if i have to go to the bathroom cause the moment you threaten me its assault, touch me its battery, and i will defend myself and then file charges. you would be amazed at how quickly people change there tune when the real threat of arrest and a lawsuit isnt a threat but a promise.

Furthermore if you have me arrested under this proposed rule that violates ADA you can guarantee a ADA lawsuit will be filed on my behalf by anyone of the Crohns support/foundations or advocacy groups.

ibneko said...

It's a pity there's no alternative to flying with the "protection" of the TSA... if I had the option to fly with a privately own airport-airline and could sign a waiver stating that, "no, I understand the risks that I'm taking by flying, and I agree that my plane may be blown up at any time by missiles should it stray from the designated flight path or be hijacked," I would probably sign that and fly using that method in a heartbeat. And I'd pay extra, especially if it saves me time and trouble. I'd bet they'd be safer too.

Just imagine that: an airline, airport, flight routes, security (or lack thereof)... everything completely owned by a private company! Less Knee-jerk reactions to situations, especially ones that may make customers leave and fly using a different service.

Too bad we don't have a high speed rail service across the USA... although I guess that may also fall under the control of "TSA". Pity.

Aindyin said...

So once again in order to appear to be doing something the TSA will make use sit in our seats with nothing to do for the last hour while at the same time increasing airline revenue by forcing us to pay to check all our stuff. Why dont you try profiling these peeps oh wait that aint PC.

John said...

As an aerospace engineer very familiar with airline travel over 40 years, I've felt for some time that TSA security measures have been ineffective, far off target of addressing the problem and late knee-jerk reactions. I've felt they were more in line with trying to convince the flying public that it was "safe" to fly and putting on the charade of security checks than reality. I know TSA touts weekly successes in confiscating disallowed items, detaining some "suspicious" person, etc. but it all seems ineffective and more of an harassment of the traveler. I travel frequently and have never felt those measures made my flying safer. The shoe bomber Reid used the same explosive technique back in 2001 and after 8 years all we did in reaction was to have people take off their shoes - off the mark of addressing the real problem as this latest incident showed. Terrorist study the current efforts, find ways around them and get through anyway. Passengers themselves have been the only real deterrent in my mind and that won't change. Strapping people in their seats an hour or even two before landing won't do it or any other hack-eyed suggestions I've heard in trying to come up with really smart answers to these issues. Known for two years as a security watch list risk but got on the flights anyway - NOT reassuring TSA/DHS has the right answers on better airline security to this time.

Anonymous said...

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

Anonymous said...

So, if something like this happens again during the last hour of the flight, does it mean the TSA/DHS do not want the passengers to intervene since it will mean having to get out of their seats?

International Airline Employee said...

TSA agents were not involved in screening this passenger and I believe the failure lies within the intelligence community, given the suspect's valid visa, presence on a watch list, and the concerns raised by his (apparently highly respected) father well before Christmas.

What disappoints me most about the TSA's involvement is its appalling lack of communication of policy changes directly to the traveling public, however nonsensical they may be. You have proven incontrovertibly your social media presence pointless and rendered your declared goal of an "ongoing dialogue" an utter farce.

A blog, a Twitterstream, and an official (!!) government website all fail to provide new information essential to travelers returning from the busiest travel season of the year. Airlines' websites and media outlets contain conflicting or no guidelines. The biggest insult is learning about new regulations from Air Canada, which is neither American nor government. Even worse, the rumored new regulations do not address the problem and would not have prevented this incident; they merely serve the appearance of vigilance and further the downward spiral of making air travel less leisurely (and more expensive) than ever.

We understand you can't comment on active investigations, and frankly, we don't care - media outlets will tell us how the suspect is punished and the heroes lauded. What we demand of you is - minimally - direct communication of changes that affect us. What we deserve from you is a coordinated effort with intelligence agencies to prevent incidents like this in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the other people who commented here about this ridiculous new "stay in seats for the last hour" policy. This is NOT going to deter any terrorist and will just further inconvenience travelers.

How about we start by checking the watch lists? If this guy was truly on a watch list as I have read, then someone failed to do his/her job properly. My 5 year old should not have to suffer in her seat for an hour because she suddenly has to use the toilet.

Plus if someone has something strapped to him/herself and plans to detonate it, I fail to see how making people sit in their seats is going to stop that from happening. It just means fewer people will be up and ready to jump on the person.

Let's start by keeping these lunatics off the planes before we start instituting stupid new policies that make no sense and will not make any sort of difference.

I am really looking forward to traveling back home on my 8+ hour flight with all my child's (liquid) medications. I wish I could speak directly with the idiot(s) who let the guy on the plane to begin with. Thanks a lot.

Amy Alkon said...

All over Twitter and blogs, everyone is wondering what TSA policy is. But, hey, why bother answering all those questions?

Here's a suggestion: Hire Bruce Schneier and the Israelis to help the TSA learn to separate the wheat from the chaff -- so Muslim terrorists won't board planes with explosive underpanties and a 70-something nun in a full habit won't get felt up at Detroit Metro.

Anonymous said...

What is everyone freaking out about? They'll get it all settled out like the case of the deadly shoe bomber. You'll want to wear pants to the screening so you can easily take them off. Personally I can't wait for the bra bomber...

Anthony Black said...

I'd like to know why what exactly happened on the plane isn't released to the public. I'm about to be on a plane the 28th and I feel like its my right to know. Why is it that there is always some grand secret. I would feel better about the security breakdown if it was explained in full, and exactly the process to make sure it wont happen again. Am I just supposed to hop on another flight and feel A.O.K?

In other news, hello long holidayish lines -_-

Anthony Black said...

May I also add that this blog is a great way for the common folk to voice opinions openly. Not many government organizations ,or organizations in general,give such an open floor for discussion. So I applaud TSA for that!

Brandon said...

Clearly stealing my toothpaste and x-raying my shoes has been a huge success the past 9 years and created a safer flying experience.

Anonymous said...

So is the TSA going to replace all the seats drenched with pee and crap from the passengers that just can't hold it for the last hour of the flight? Have you guys ever heard of PROFILING? It works for El-AL. It's just too bad that this idiotic political correctness trumps all common sense. And how about body scanners? So what if someone is offended because the outlines of their body is observed? From what I've seen of the images they are not that explicit and they are not visible to the other travelers. If someone is offended they can stay home. I would rather have that than all this stupidity of not having anything on one's lap or not being able to use the lavs. How about using some common sense. We are not a herd of cattle. Maybe I should buy some stock in "Depends"

Anonymous said...

Searching passengers at the gate serves absolutely no puprose. If the screeners do their job properly, there would be no need for gate screening. If a passenger has to go to the bathroom during the last hour of a flight, let them go. Will the additional screening at the checkpoints, will the TSA be liable for expenses if they miss a flight because of them?

Matt said...

TSA is in a difficult position and is limited in what it can do to ensure security on incoming flights.

As a British police officer who has experienced (as a passenger) airport security in the US, UK and elsewhere in Europe, I feel much safer having been screened by the TSA than by the private security companies used at UK airports.

The answer to the problem of non-metalic items concealed on the person would seem to be mm wave-type scanners. The problem then becomes what to do in the interim
while such technology is rolled out. If the short-term solution is pat downs then this is where the TSA has the advantage over private security, since pat downs are only effective if done systematically and thoroughly. Hopefully TSA's training and lower staff turnover make sure things get done properly - it has certainly been my experience that it does.

Anonymous said...

Why should this policy be applied only during the last hour of a flight? How is the last hour different from all the other hours?

Anonymous said...

Anyone who is giving an intelligent response in a constructive argument; Its hard to take your post seriously when you don't use proper grammar, punctuation or spelling. Take the extra second to type out YOU! Sorry, pet peeve.

TSA employees work really hard, its just that I'd like to see the policies be fine tuned. I feel like someone says, "Here do this" and no other thought is given and nothing is adaptive. I wouldn't feel bad at all waiting in line for the same amount of time if i felt like everything being done was constructive!

I think if i sat down and really thought about it for a few hours i could come up with a ton of ways to make things easier and safer! As a government organization put in place for our safety, i feel like we can do better.

I'd also like to know why what happened on the plane isn't released to the public? I'm about to be on a plane and I feel like its my right to know. Why is it that there is always some grand secret when an incident happens? I would feel better about the security breakdown if it was explained in full, and exactly the process to make sure it wont happen again. Am I just supposed to hop on another flight and feel A.O.K?

In other news, hello long holidayish lines -_-

Anonymous said...

so all the planes are going to blow up at the beginning of flights now? The only good that can come of this is a lot less people will fly and fewer of the jack boot TSA morons will be collecting their welfare paychecks from the American people. Down with TSA!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote:

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

The answer is that foreign airports/airlines must follow TSA protocols for screening passengers on flights to the US. If an airline refuses those protocols, it faces losing its landing rights in the US.

IOW, the TSA has everyone by the short hairs.

Sandra said...

For those who are trying to tell me that TSA had nothing to do with the security in Amsterdam, etc., etc., etc., please read this:

"The Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) efforts to evaluate the security of foreign airports and air carriers that service the United States are of great importance, particularly considering that flights bound for the United States from foreign countries continue to be targets of coordinated terrorist activity....."

"Of the 128 foreign airports that TSA assessed during fiscal year 2005, TSA found that about 36 percent complied with all applicable security standards, while about 64 percent did not comply with at least one standard. The security deficiencies identified by TSA at two foreign airports were such that the Secretary of Homeland Security notified the public that the overall security at these airports was ineffective. Of the 529 overseas air carrier inspections conducted during fiscal year 2005, for about 71 percent, TSA did not identify any security violations, and for about 29 percent, TSA identified at least one security violation. TSA took enforcement action--warning letters, correction letters, or monetary fines--for about 18 percent of the air carrier security violations. TSA addressed most of the remaining 82 percent of security violations through on-site consultation. TSA assisted foreign officials and air carrier representatives in addressing identified deficiencies through on-site consultation, recommendations for security improvements, and referrals for training and technical assistance. However, TSA's oversight of the foreign airport assessment and air carrier inspection programs could be strengthened."

Now, tell me again about the TSA not being involved in security at foreign airports.

Anonymous said...

I'm borderline hyperactive. If I can't read, listen to music, or go to the bathroom during my flight I will turn into a wholly terror. Can I get a doctor's prescription to ensure me the right to a book, or going to the bathroom if necessary?

What next? Strip us naked and anesthetize us?

Anonymous said...

I have irritable bowel syndrome. This means that at random times, I have an urgent need to use the bathroom. And I mean, I use it NOW or an accident happens.

I am flying overseas and back in a month. Will TSA provide me with diapers? Will TSA apologize to the passengers around me when I defecate in my pants? Will TSA have a new clean pair of underwear and pants waiting for me when we land?

It may sound "haha funny" to you, but this is a very serious issue for thousands of people every day.

You are once again having a knee-jerk reaction, coming up with unreasonable and useless rules after your own security failings.

T.Alex said...

Consider that it takes 15-20 minutes to reach cruising altitude and most domestic flights are less than 90 minutes long anyway, unless your flying cross-country, expect to be strapped in the whole flight.

Also, anyone who tried to get any work done on a flight is also SOL.

I completely agree with Jeremy - A focus on the important things, like keeping explosives off the planes" might be a better strategy than driving all the passengers insane!

Mord said...

Umar's plan worked perfectly. All he had to do was light his pants on fire and now we will be terrorized by our own government during air travel for years to come. Merry Xmas.

Anonymous said...

What's up with the magical last hour of flight that makes it more dangerous? How does any of this help?

Anonymous said...

We are truly seeing the death of common sense with all of this irrational knee jerking by the TSA. The same folks that cut off my TSA-approved baggage locks and then throw them away!

Anonymous said...

This is another knee jerk response on the part of TSA to make the flying public feel safer. It does absolutely nothing to improve safety. It does much to make passengers miserable.

Bob, motion does not equal work. Cooler minds didn't prevail and onerous restrictions were thrown into place with no regard to the 'threat' posed by this incident.

Anonymous said...

Now, this wouldn't be just another government setup to grease the extension of the Patriot Act, which expires at the end of the year - is it?

Anonymous said...

This is a complete joke. If someone wants to blow up a plane, they don't care if the rules tell them to stay seated. The rules also tell you not to set your pants or shoes on fire.

Even a more conscientious terrorist, can just do it outside of the last hour of the flight.

What I want to know is why a guy whose father contacted the US embassy was allowed to fly in the first place? Don't we have any kind of profiling in place?


We Need To Put Either Dogs,Cats ,Or Birds On Our International Flights These Type Of Animals Can Detect Smells With The Help Of Good trainers But We Should Definately Use Our Smarts And Cleverness To Stop These Idiots Lets Use Aminals On International Flights Before They Leave The Ground Trained And Handled By Us My Name Is Jack H From Yonkers NY And Thats My Comment

Anonymous said...

Hmm, a security system that is so ineffective that it takes only one incompetent nut job to completely disrupt it. Who are the real idiots in this case?

Anonymous said...

Are there restrictions on what passengers can do during the last hour of the flight or not? If the TSA has issued security procedures to the airlines why haven't they been posted on the TSA website?

Either these new restrictions exists or the airlines are trying to get the TSA take the blame for their bad decisions. Which is it Bob?

Jersey Bob said...

The airport in Lagos where Umar boarded has lax security that is not being improved. But passengers boarding from airports that are already secure are practically being bound and gagged.

TSA is cluelessly flailing about. Making people miserable is a smoke screen designed to make it look capable.

Marc said...

I am in line with the rest of the feedback/comments posted in response to the seemingly rediculous and non-effective restrictions dreamed up by TSA. When is someone going to put some thought behind any of the processes or actions of this agency? TSA will single handidly stop people from flying due to cost, excessive travel time, and restriction of activities (business work) or force the US government to take over the entire industry in order to subsize the cost and provide an unquestionable reason for why you have to wear a provided yellow jumpsuit and ship your bag via ground transportation one week before flying!

TSOJoe said...

"I were to meet a TSA employee at a party I would be amazed if they could hold an intelligent conversation about any matter of weight and not just spout party lines."

Name the time and the place. I'll buy the first round.

Anonymous said...

I personally would like to know what the new TSA regulations are, and if this new stuff is true or just some elaborate joke. Why? So I can cancel all my upcoming flights. There's no way I'd even consider flying with my 13 month old if this stuff is true.

And yes, we know TSA had nothing to do with this guy getting on the plane, so why is TSA making this sweeping changes which everyone knows will do absolutely nothing except piss everyone off?

Who do we write to complaining about this stuff? Our congressperson?

Anonymous said...

"but this time you guys screwed up big time"

While I'm not impressed with TSA's response, how did they "screw up"? TSA didn't screen this idiot. This guy went through screening in Amsterdam; last I checked TSA doesn't run screening there. If anything, this shows that a metal detector doesn't work at detecting explosives. This barndoor has been opened for years, even before TSA was formed. The only answer seems to be that whole body imaging detector. But I guess people would rather be blow up that be seem naked...

what ever said...

It seems that half of the people here haven't realized STILL, after many postings, that TSA did not physically screen this guy!!! Also, there are so many different complaints here - some are that TSA is not proactive, but yet when they try to be proactive, there is enought public griping that it can't happen. They take measures to prevent similar incidents and the public screams that it's an invasion of privacy or security theater... It's clear that nothing the TSA does will make everyone happy - (they are doing too much, they are not doing enough) however ridiculous the rules may seem they are in place for YOUR and my protection! If you take the time to read t his whole blog, it will leave you totally confused! Do I think that some of the measures are extreme and unnecessary - of course I do - but it's one more way to keep me safe, so I will deal with it and do so contentedly!!! I have always just folowed the rules and have NEVER had a bad encounter with a TSA officer!

Anonymous said...

"I really can't wait for high speed trains."

You can be sure to see TSA with their hands in high-speed rail too....

"Will the additional screening at the checkpoints, will the TSA be liable for expenses if they miss a flight because of them?

You're kidding, right?

rosemary Blair said...

There is room for corrections where mistakes were made.
Let them review and communicate.
Communications I feel may of been the error.

Anonymous said...

Certainly TSA can't be blamed for a lapse on this. Anyone that goes through security at foreign airports knows the level ranges from ultra-tight to none. This doesn't mean that TSA, its Homeland Security parent and the Administration won't use the event to their advantage.

The first reports were of fireworks or an exploded battery. Now it's a bomb.

Whatever the truth is, we expect it to be filtered to government advantage. The administration seeks extension of the Patriot Act and various security agency leaders have been warning of an upcoming incident. The incident is perfect for display of how much our Constitutional rights need be curtailed and what perfect seers the government appointees are. "Never let a crisis go to waste."

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that the problem was that this guy smuggled some contraband onto the plane.

Question: How would this policy have prevented this guy from getting the contraband onto the plane?

Answer: It wouldn't.

While you can't really fault the TSA directly for this mishap since they weren't the ones doing the screening, they are responsible for this ridiculous policy. The problem with TSA sympathizers is that all of this stuff happens in small steps and people unfortunately just get used to it. First it's your shoes, then it's your liquids, then you can't leave your seat. Next thing you know you have to arrive 8 hours ahead of schedule so you have enough time for your anal probe and sedation procedures.

Really, the usefulness of the TSA can be summed up as follows:

How many planes did terrorists bring down pre-9/11?
How many planes have terrorists brought down post-9/11?
Is all the time, money, and hassle spent on the TSA worth the difference?

arturner said...

Someone please explain how not allowing passengers to have anything on their laps would have or will prevent anything.

This new directive is pure theatre, an edict to create the appearance of doing something.

There's a limit to the nonsense rules that passengers will tolerate, and I think you've reached it. Who wants to sit in an already uncomfortable seat doing absolutely nothing for an hour? People are not going to fly unless absolutely necessary under this policy.

It's ironic: the TSA's reaction to this bungling wannabe terrorist may bring down entire airlines, not just a single airliner. In that sense, you are helping him achieve far more than he ever imagined.

Josh S said...

The response to this incident further proves that TSA is run by a bunch of morons.

The new rules regarding the final hour of flight and carry-on bags are like a parody of air safety. Why does TSA allow one nutcase and his whims to dictate the nation's safety policy? If he had lit up in the middle of the flight, would TSA have banned movement for the whole flight? Doesn't this mean that if I want to blow up a plane I should try with 1:01 hours before landing? Come on, morons: the timing of his attempt had nothing to do with anything.

If the screeners at Shciphol had screened him properly in the first place, none of this would have happened. Or, or maybe TSA should pay attention to its own WATCH LIST.

It's amazing that TSA is willing to inconvenience the 100 million of us who are peaceful and law-abiding and yet aren't willing to lift a finger to stop the one nutcase who should be setting off bells the moment he books a (one-way) ticket. Is anyone doing a cost-benefit analysis of TSA's tactics? For the amount of money that will be wasted in security lines i think you could buy some pretty fancy technology or, better yet, do some really good spying.

These measures don't make me feel safer. They make me terrified about the strategy TSA is using and the simple minds who are in charge.

Finally, this incident proved yet again a crucial point: we should put our faith in the bravery and common sense of everyday people, not in a bureaucracy hell-bent on making the world a more difficult place.

Anonymous said...

You now mandate a lockdown for the last hour of flight? OK, now the future bomber knows to detonate during the first hour of flight.What a silly and ineffectual reaction to YOUR failure to intercept a person with known terrorist ties who, by the way, meets the (forbidden to use) profile of "young African Muslim extremist" Does this case remind you in any way of the Ft. Hood Muslim extremist shootings? Does the administration yet acknowledge that that incident was a terrorist act, or is someone dithering again?

Howard R. said...

Restricting passengers during the last hour of flight because this idiot chose that specific time to try to detonate his explosives demonstrates once and for all how useless this whole process has become. Perhaps the TSA will next suggest that passengers be sedated and flown in straight-jackets to prevent future incidents? At least then we could dismiss all the useless staff now conducting "screenings".

Anonymous said...

Not a TSA failure? Acording to news reports I have read, the bomber, with a very Muslim-sounding name, was on a suspected terrorist list, his own father had notified authorities of his son's
recent radicalizatio and Amsterdam forwarded the flight's passenger list to TSA before it departed AMS or entered US airspace.The buck stops with TSA.

RB said...

Where is the statements from TSA's Acting Secretary about this incidence?

Surely the head of TSA must have something to say or has someone been ordered to clean out their desk?

BeckyJ said...

Everybody needs to write to their Congressional rep and Senators. Congress has oversight of all Federal bureaucracies. Tell them to force TSA to back off of these silly, useless restrictions.

My Friend said...

Anthony Black--The reason the TSA allows this blog is because they are unable to find it. They are too busy screening pre-schooler and knitting club blogs. It's a matter of unpredictable policy that is designed to keep us safer.

Anonymous said...

As many have said this "terrorist" didn't go through TSA check. Did the shoe bomber? No.

The original 9/11 hijackers did originate in the US. Next attack probably won't. Fighting yesterdays battles....

US needs to build high speed rail coast to coast because no one will fly with insane TSA rules in place.

Anonymous said...

I find it fascinating that the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB) has limited use for preventing people who are on the Watch List from boarding an airplane. The FBI website states, "Can I find out if I am in the TSDB?

The TSC cannot reveal whether a particular person is in the TSDB. The TSDB remains an effective tool in the government’s counterterrorism efforts because its contents are not disclosed. If TSC revealed who was in the TSDB, terrorist organizations would be able to circumvent the purpose of the terrorist watchlist by determining in advance which of their members are likely to be questioned or detained."

TSA is attempting to implement Secure Flight, but this program only limits the person from obtaining a boarding pass. Why not expand the program that integrates gate screening with a scanning process of boarding passes with an interface with the TSDB? If someone is on the Watch List, then gate screeners could actually receive an alert to screen and search the person.

Anonymous said...

All US citizens complaining on this site should instead take the time to write to their Senators and House members asking that they take a break from health care debate to pass a resolution dissolving the TSA.

Anonymous said...

Didnt that flight originate from Amsterdam? How is that TSA's fault haha. Oh right they run every airport in the world! duh

Jennifer said...

Since going to the bathroom will now be illegal during the last hour of a flight (and that last hour can easily be extended to two or three hours, with delays), I have a serious question: what criminal charges do you airline guys plan to file against the first non-octogenarian adult who wets her pants on an airline flight?

I do have a kidney problem which requires me to drink more water than normal for a person my size. I will NOT generate another kidney stone in the name of "security." Nor will I do what Tycho Brahe did: hold it in until my bladder bursts and I die. So all I can do is keep drinking, and let it out when nature calls.

Are you kidding me said...

Saw this post on another site and felt I could not pen anything better than this....

Although yesterday’s incident aboard Northwest/Delta was unfortunate, it was an isolated instance which involved airline and security employee errors.

The man who did the crazy act obviously should not have been on the plane because his name was on a government “watch list.”

If the airline employees were doing their jobs correctly, the terrorist would not have been issued a U.S. segment boarding pass when he checked in for his trip.

If ones’ name is on a watch list, they are taken to a secondary screening area which requires a further search of the individual. Unless the person “passes” the secondary screening, the person is not issued a boarding pass.

However, the terrorist was not taken to secondary screening because of the error related to his inappropriately being issued a boarding pass for the U.S. segment of his trip. This was an employee error.

AMS is the ONLY other airport in the world that has reciprocity with the United States GOES (Trusted Travel Program). In other words, at AMS the security is as strict as it is in the U.S.

If the initial airline had not issued the boarding pass for the U.S. segment, the terrorist would have been screened at AMS and the device would (in theory) have been found and the incident would not have happened.

Because of this one isolated instance of a terrorist gaining access to an aircraft combined with the failure of airline employees at the initial check in of the passenger, we the general travel community will be “punished” on future flights by making us give up devices and/or normal activities that we use to pass time while onboard an aircraft.

Rather than punish all future passengers over this incident, rules governing the “watch list” should be followed and employees should receive periodic or better security training.

To punish passengers because of security and airline employees errors is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

Well it looks like I will be driving more and flying much less. Every time some fool tries to bomb a plane the TSA and the airlines predictably make it more burdensome on law abiding citizens to fly and it costs the American taxpayer more money. Why are my kids going to have to pay off an ever-growing deficit because of these Muslim zealots?

Phanatic said...

Every one of you saying "The TSA doesn't screen passengers at foreign airports" is a friggin' idiot.

When flights are borded, there is a list of the passengers that is compiled, a 'passenger manifest,' if you illiterates can handle words with more than one syllable in them. These manifests are provided to the TSA, so that the TSA can look at them and decide whether or not any bad people are on board the aircraft. The TSA looked at this list, and said 'oh, no bad people, the flight can continue.'

No, the TSA/DHS aren't responsible for screening at Schipol. They *are* responsible for looking at the names of fliers and making sure that suspected terrorists don't get on the planes. That's the whole point of the no-fly list which this guy wasn't on. That's the whole point of the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment, which this guy *was* on. The fact that the guy's father *warned the US six months ago* that he was about to go jihad on us is *perfect evidence* of the failures in our security apparatus. He had a *valid visa* to enter the US, fer Chrissakes.

You're making *excuses* for this abject incompetence, and helping to make it impossible to achieve any real improvements. I hope you're proud of yourself, you frigging morons.

Anonymous said...

I am flying on Wednesday. Should I plan on being able to take two carry-ons or not? Maybe this blog could, oh, I don't know--- maybe serve as a useful conduit for information? You folks are totally inept.

Anonymous said...

Can you please tell me how I should keep my ADHD five-year-old son entertained in his seat for an hour without access to books, things to write or color on, food, toys, or anything else?

Anonymous said...

"The system worked."
The Jihadi System she meant.

Anonymous said...

Dear TSA, please post a link where we can buy TSA-approved speedos because that will clearly be the only acceptable garment for getting onto a U.S-bound flight! On the other hand, how about we all forget about flying to the US (at least those of us who would usually consider going there for holidays) and fly somewhere else where we do not have to check our freedom into the hold with no guarantee to see it again at the other end???

Mike.C said...

I am flying tomorrow morning and I need to know what sort of additional security considerations we will face at the air, such as extended check-in deadlines, carry-on limitations, etc. It is nearly impossible to find this information on your website and the information floating around in the press and spread by internet trolls and idiots is confusing. You guys need to do a better job to manage information released to travelers before they get to the airport to streamline the process.

Flying is already a ridiculous headache, without having to worry about whether I need to be at the airport two hours earlier than my usual time, or wondering whether I can take that extra carryon with my computer.

Anonymous said...

TSA didn't necessarily fail on the front end of this, BUT they are failing along with the other Federal bureaucrats by continuing to let the terrorists win by supplanting freedom in the name of security and allowing our own citizens' lives to become more and more miserable.

If you keep using every mishap in life to legislate and policy-make then we'll all be criminals eventually.

Leave security to the professionals, the everyday American who has their life endangered. They will fight with more zeal than you can imagine.

We'll take care of ourselves, but after the elitist policymakers have messed everything we stand for up. Such is the way of the world.

Anonymous said...

since the flight didn't even originate in the united states, one can hardly fault tsa for "failing."

Anonymous said...

1) TSA is overreacting to a problem that originated at an insecure airport

2) the EU and Amsterdam airport security should have required a rescreening of all baggage and passengers for any flights continuing on to the USA from any where in Africa (or any place that has a questionable airport). Not doing this shows an extreme level of incompetence in Europe but not the USA.

3) not allowing people to visit the bathroom 1 hr before landing is just plain stupid. if someone is going to blow up a plane they can just do it during the other X number of hours the plane is in the air.

4) restricting carry-ons again is not going to solve the problem. the person had the explosives ON HIS PERSON not in a carryon. this is a failure of detection of explosives on a person. perhaps better screening - maybe dogs or full body scans - like some of the US airports now have would work better.

5) first person who soils themselves on a plane because they couldn't go to the bathroom is going to sue TSA and airlines and this whole thing is going to go away.

Anonymous said...

Once again, it is blatantly apparent that TSA has dismally failed in their job. Good grief! How easy could it have been to put that guy on the no-fly list or to have him stopped for extra screening at the very least.
Now because of the ineptness of the TSA idiot/morons, we will be subjected to additional ridiculous rules that are nothing but smoke and mirrors. Guess what? No one is fooled into thinking these new steps actually improve safety -- they just create more reasons for many of us to stop flying. If I didn't have nonrefundable res for this next trip, I'd cancel everything. I'm tired of having the government chipping away at my individual liberties.
Stop this stupid political correctness and start some serious profiling.
TSA is a very bad joke.

Anonymous said...

People are so quick to go against TSA. They are here to protect us and they are doing a good job at it. This incident was one in which the passenger was screened overseas, not by the TSA. The TSA will take steps to improve security after a security threat. Would you rather the TSA just let terrorists do whatever they want? Yes innocent passengers will have slight inconveniences, but it is absolutely neccesary in order to protect these innocent passengers. If you give the innocent passengers freedom you are also giving the terrorists freedom. We need to make some small sacrifices in order to protect ourselves from devastating terrorist attacks.

Rhiannon said...

Limiting access to bathrooms in the last hour of the flight will do nothing to prevent terrorism, but will create a lot of unhappy, unhealthy people (children, pregnant women, people with bladder problems.) Removing blankets and books from our laps will also do next to nothing to prevent terrorism. What it will do is discourage travel and hurt our economy even more. Please reconsider.

Jordan said...

Making it illegal for people to do nothing for the last hour of their flight -not even read a book or go to the bathroom- is ridiculous.

Are you people at the TSA for real? It's the stupidest idea to "fight terror" that I've ever heard.

So let's go people: soil yourselves and marinate in it for your final hour of will save a life! Rigggght.

Anonymous said...

So, how is that SecureFlight working out for ya? Mutabbaljadmajihad, or whatever the latest clown's name is, was allegedly being watched by several international authorities, his father alerted US authorities, and was on "law enforcement" lists. So, tell me again TSA was not involved? It's just that it happened way above the drones' pay grade.

Anonymous said...

I do not mind extra security measures that might be quite inconvenient, but could actually prevent an attack. But how in the world will keeping passengers (including my four and six year old boys) in their seats for an hour before landing actually save anyone? I will probably go crazy myself trying to entertain them for that last hour on our flight from Rome with no books, crayons, ipods, leapsters, nintendo ds, or anything else for that matter, that I will be more dangerous than any terrorist would be! In all seriousness, if this new rule actually made us safer, I would sulk silently. But how does this stop someone from mixing the necessary ingredients of a bomb with an hour and a half left of the flight, and then adding the final touch while sitting in his seat during the last hour? This seems like a rule that will be extremely hard on passengers, especially children and those traveling with them, and won't have any positive impact on security. Please let me know if I am wrong....

Travel Security Truth said...

Jeremy and The Inevitable Backlash have it absolutely correct! Has anyone seen the story about the poor guy arrested today for being sick on the same plane at the same airport?

What a waste of taxpayer money, manpower, and resources! TST thinks it's time for some REAL Security and Threat Risk Assessment Training that isn't based on hair-trigger responses.

Anonymous said...

Bob, it look as though you have a PR nightmare on your hands.

We, the traveling public demand some answers now. Your agency can attempt to hide behind SSI all it wants to, but this issue has become much bigger than SSI can hide behind.

Anonymous said...

Another point: because the Nigerian fellow decided to light his packet during the last hour of the flight, if is somehow assumed that all future pantbombers would do the same. Therefore, the final hour forced sitdown.

But what if he had tried it during hour 4 of the flight? Would there now be a forced sitdown for hour 4 of all flights and then back to normal? The last hour of the flight is no different, security-wise, from any other hour.

Anonymous said...

were to meet a TSA employee at a party I would be amazed if they could hold an intelligent conversation about any matter of weight and not just spout party lines."

Name the time and the place. I'll buy the first round.

I'll buy the second!!!!!


Anonymous said...

tsa screeners did not fail in this attempt. the flight came into the u.s. from amsterdam. please learn the facts.

Ross said...

Couple of more security items not previously announced:

Planes will not be allowed to deploy flaps, as as the "whiney sound" would alert terrorists to the impending landing.

Planes will not be allowed to deploy landing gear, as the "thumpy-wooshy" sound would also alert terrorists to the impending landing.

All windows must be shut so that no one can see whether or not they are flying over a high-value target. In the event of window shade failure, passengers must keep their eyes shut "really, really" tight.

Planes must make at least a 200 mile direct approach, as turning base and final might alert terrorists to a potential landing

Anonymous said...

TSA, the backlash is coming. People are going to start wetting their seats. That is the biggest humiliation an adult can have: to wet himself in public. Especially when seated next to people and having nowhere to go. People are going to get angry. People are already angry at the TSA because the TSA treats passengers like animals. Soon enough there will be incidents of people wetting themselves on flights, and suing the TSA, or demanding to go to the bathroom and getting arrested upon arrival.

Also, do you really think a first class passenger, who has just paid $5,000 or more for a flight, is going to be thrilled to be told he has to wet himself? How do you think that's going to work out, with a flight attendant getting into a yelling match with a first class passenger? Who is the winner there? The terrorists. Who is the loser? Everyone, especially the TSA when the backlash starts.

TSA, there will be a backlash against you. You can't treat us this way. We're not animals. We are free Americans.

From a security point of view, you will get better results if people cooperate with you. When you treat people like animals, they will not help you.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gentlemen,
As suggested in a previous comment, please refrain from leaving your comments here. Send them to your Senator and Congressional representative where they will be heard. Leaving comments on the TSA Blog is wasting time.

It is time to dissolve the TSA. They are single-handedly destroying the aviation industry whether it be general or commercial aviation.

donnie said...

Sadly, the best method for preventing smuggled items similar to what was brought on this NW flight is the WBI. Prior to this terrorist attempt, the most common complaints on this blog were about the use of WBIs.

No matter what the TSA does, you all will still complain. When they're proactive in using technology, you scream about your rights being violated. When they're reactive to events like this recent one, you scream that TSA should have been more proactive in their screening methods.

When airports had the puffers, everyone complained about how much of a hassle and how invasive and embarrassing they were.

When airports used to monitor the "selectee" list and were doing lots of additional screening on passengers who were on or matched the name of someone on the list, everyone complained about secondary screening.

There's no winning with the American public any more. The true shame is how whiny and self-entitled modern day Americans have become.

Anonymous said...

If airline travel has come to this utter nonsense, and we feel that we must take these idiotic procedures to make us feel safer, then the time has come to abolish the entire airline industry. It is just too unsafe to travel, and the government would be derelict if it did not declare all air travel as just too perilous to continue. One can NEVER be too safe, and in an abundance of caution, if it saves just one life, then it is all worth it.
We let one nut job that gamed the entire security apparatus dictate to millions of travelers how we must now obey some knee jerk reaction rules so that TSA and DHS can say that they know what is NOW required. If these new rules are SO great, why were they not implemented years ago?

Anonymous said...

The TSA is crossing the line into the ridiculous with the new rules that apparently forbid passengers from any activity other than breathing during the final HOUR of a flight.
Are TSA GS-15s similarly sentenced while traveling to staring at their seatbacks and doing nothing for 60 long minutes PLUS any landing pattern wait time PLUS taxi time? No?
Can I even read a book? a magazine? Use an iPod? Take off my jacket (and put it where?) Twiddle my thumbs? Will I be arrested by an Air Marshall if I have to use my Airsick bag 59 minutes before landing?
Will all pillows and blankets be confiscated 61 minutes before landing? Why not just confiscate explosives from dodgy terrorists with long Arabic names and no passports instead?
How does this silliness make us safer? You're just telling potential shoe-bombers to make sure to get ready 61 minutes before landing.
But more importantly, you're telling passengers that you're NOT taking effective security steps, and just enjoy knee-jerk reactions that give you authority to arrest and detain more innocent, harmless people who dare question your insanity for your own amusement and sense of power.
Repeal this stupid rule before you have a revolt, a TEA party in the sky.

Sentry said...

I'm glad no one was killed in this incident. We were just talking last week how TSA let's certain items through that probably shouldn't be let through.

I hope this is an eye opener for security standards around the world.

TSA Watch Blogger said...

I, for one, will be contacting my Congressional Representative and Senators first thing tomorrow in order to voice my outrage with these (potential) new polices.

I say "potential" because we don't even know if they are real polices or not because apparently it's "super double classified level 10 above top secret" but yet we'll tell every flight attendant in the world. Surely they won't tell anyone.

It is time that we STOP giving up the liberty that brave souls have spilled blood to earn us, in the name of "security" when as it turns out isn't all that secure.

For the people who continually post "TSA has nothing to do with international airports" please make sure you know what your talking about before you post. TSA inspected and approved security measures at the airport in Amsterdam, and it is the airport that was ultimately responsible for screening the passenger before he departed to the United States.

Anonymous said...

Are blood glucometers and similar medical equipment exempt from the requirement that all electronics be checked? I'm confident a few dead diabetics are a small price to pay for the illusion of security.

me said...

I second the comments that say to bring in Bruce Schneier and the Israelis as security consultants. Just announcing that will make people feel safer and scare some terrorists.

To other comments: Schipol screened me twice the last time I went through there. And I was asked useful questions. That this guy got through their security is disturbing.

WolfSkunk RedWolf said...

Can we get a clear statement on TSA policies now? We need one for separate flights -- domestic and international. What I want to know is:

What are the changes to domestic flights in terms of procedures (including electronics usage)?

Seperately, what are the changes to procedures involving international flights, first from the US to overseas, then from overseas to the US?

From what I can gather, how the bomb was snuck aboard a Delta/Northwest flight is still being figured out. He could have found the rest of the bomb that was planted there from the previous flight of NW 253.

There's too many variables right now to account for, and I doubt TSA's actions now will help until those details are located. Even then, there's little reason why TSA's taking those actions beyond the general scope of this guy tried to blow up a plane. Yeah, I know that. He failed. Dutch security failed to catch him. We had nothing to do about it until it happened. Why tighten up our security for something a foreign country failed to do?

Jeremy said...

A bunch of folks have pointed out that the last screening was in Amsterdam, and hence wasn't TSA. But the foreign airports are following TSA's rules. The problem isn't that the screeners didn't do a good job of looking for things (and in fact, TSA does a reasonably good job of finding the things that they're supposed to find) - the problem is that they're looking for the wrong things. Nobody told them to look for explosives and syringes taped to the passenger's body. That's the real problem - TSA's *rules* are reactive, not the screeners themselves, who are reasonably competent at enforcing the useless rules.

Anonymous said...

Well these people reallly don't know what is going on in the world as by such comments by Jim Davis and Sandra here. The TSA was not to blame for this. The passenger got on in another country on in America. Also if you don't like how things are run in this country then contact your Congressmen and women. Also if you don't get a strait answer out of them which I know you won't. Then contact our so called President aka citizen of the world. If that doesn't work then move to another country. I'm sure it will be better for you.

Anonymous said...

Armed officers on Sunday rushed aboard the same Detroit-bound flight that was attacked on Christmas Day....a businessman who was sick and posed no security threat....the perceived threat wasn't much of a danger — just an ill traveler who spent too much time in the bathroom.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the TSA will next suggest that passengers be sedated and flown in straight-jackets to prevent future incidents?

Perfect idea! Free booze for everyone in sufficient quantities to render everyone unconscious!

Anonymous said...

Yet another policy that serves only to inconvenience law-abiding passengers. The TSA is playing right into the hands of terrorists; every time they do something, the TSA/government takes away some of our freedoms. That freedom is what the terrorists despise. "Give me Liberty, or give me Death!" - Patrick Henry, 1775.

Anonymous said...

"The man who did the crazy act obviously should not have been on the plane because his name was on a government “watch list.”"

That's the problem with "watch lists", "name vetting", "secure flight", and the requirement to possess a photo ID to fly. Surely this guy had a valid passport/ID. Terrorists recruit young people at a much faster rate than we can discover them and place them on a watch list. So the whole idea is a false sense of security. So the fact he possessed a valid ID proved nothing, as it continues to prove nothing with everyone else whose ID you match to the boarding pass. TSA should focus it's efforts on more effective screening methods to detect explosives; if the "strip search" machine happens to be that solution, then suck it up and deal with the machine. Metal detectors alone may have been effective in the 1950s, they're a false sense of security in 2009.

Anonymous said...

I am a very nervous flier. I can keep myself occupied during take-off and landing by reading a book and it helps.

If you take this away from me, I don't know what I am going to do.

I am seriously considering going to see my doctor before my flight overseas in February and asking for Xanax. I had never considered this option, but now these new rules are basically forcing me to sedate myself. This will also now force me to find someone to drive me home from the airport since I couldn't, or shouldn't, drive under the influence of Xanax. Or, God forbid, if there was an emergency during landing and I had to react quickly.

I realize it is my choice, I could choose not to take anything, but its not realistic in my case.

I'm truly scared of this new development.

Anonymous said...

To everyone who is advocating profiling as an obvious solution: We've heard this case before, but it always referred to profiling people of middle eastern or arabic descent. So now we also profile African people? (African-americans as well? just dark-skinned african americans?) Or is it just people with "muslim-sounding names"? I can't wait to hear the complaints "My name's McDonald! How does your computer think that is a muslim name?!?!?!" Good luck stopping Richard Reid or Tim McVeigh that way. Something tells me that very, very few of those advocating such clearly un-American and unnecessary measures belong to the ethnic groups that they would like to see profiled.

what never said...

what ever said:
that TSA did not physically screen this guy!!!

You do know that TSA does not exist within Germany?

Anonymous said...

I commute to Canada for business almost weekly. I have a few questions:

1). What exactly does limiting us to one carryon accomplish from a security point of view?

2). How does limiting movement one hour before landing heighten security? If someone has a bomb or device they simply fetch them one our and one minute before landing.

3). How does having nothing on our laps help us from a security point of view? What keeps someone from storing an IED under their laps, besides their leg, in the magazine pocket in front of them, in their shirt, in their pants, etc. etc.

4). If screening will be so thorough including manual searches and invasive pat-downs why are the one hour and no items on laps rules even necessary?

5). What do mothers with infant children do when they can no longer have their child on their lap.

6). If items on laps are such a risk as to warrant the entire flying public besides mothers with babies to go item-less will terrorists merely need to bring a baby to circumvent the whole measure. (relevance of this question subject to answer to previous question)

7). Will they check our rectal and vaginal cavities during pat down? If not, how is a pat dow even effective?

Anonymous said...

Anon said:
While you can't really fault the TSA directly for this mishap since they weren't the ones doing the screening, they are responsible for this ridiculous policy.

So basically when 9/11 happened I can't blame you directly but I can blame you for the fact that you didn't do anything in anyway to help those in the towers.
Good job buddy.

Michael said...

TST - But that's the big problem... enough idiots in congress don't want to hire federal employees and instead farm this out to people who contribute to their campaigns. Those people then higher people who are barely competent for this job at cheap rates. Until we federalize this job, just like an FBI agent, CIA, NSA, etc.. have them qualify for security clearance, pay them well and keep them trained, we'll have these issues and the stupid knee jerk reactions of TSA. I guess a change in the White House didn't remove the knee jerk reactionists in TSA. All of them need to be fired and replaced with competent people.

Michael said...

Last Hour Rule - Where is this listed on the TSA site? I can't find these guidelines. Is this really the TSA or is this the airlines being reactionaries or a combo of both. No wonder the airline industry is damaged... all the people in charge aren't qualified to run a fast food restaurant.

Anonymous said...

The new regulations imposed have been completely ignorant and only exist to give travelers an 'impression' of safety, while not preventing anything.

These new regulations only inconvenience and hurt customers while not preventing terrorism.

I find the lack of intelligence in the new regulations rather surprising. A guy makes a bomb in his lap and now you ban people from putting things in their lap?

How about properly screening people so that only LEGIT THINGS are being used on their lap during flights?

If someone makes a bomb from sugar, are you going to ban all snack foods? I mean, come the hell on.

More government ignorance, I'm not surprised.

Anonymous said...

I find it a bit ironic that I can't access my carry-on or have anything in my lap during the last hour of my flight despite having had my bag X-ray and possibly searched, as well as myself having gone through the metal detector and been wanded/patted down. Afraid you missed something or afraid you weren't thorough enough.

Anonymous said...

Additionally, I understand that the flight was coming in from Amsterdam and that the TSA wasn't involved.

If it wasn't OUR SECURITY's fault, why are we making things MORE inconvenient and changing the regulations and rules?

If you're going to blame it on Amsterdam's airport security - then there is absolutely no justification for any new rules on this side of the ocean.

Anonymous said...

Part of what makes me so miserable about this is that the TSA, being a government agency, can't just backtrack on the stuff they're putting in place no matter how insane it is. If they put a policy in place, no matter how ridiculous, then realize it's ridiculous, the backlash from every politician looking to make political hay will be like a typhoon.

Count me as another non-flier as a result of these restrictions. I was already on the verge of quitting until the insanity of the TSA settles down, but this really does clinch it. What was an unpleasant experience already became a miserable one, and is now all the way to my wanting to make sure I never buy a plane ticket if I can avoid it.

The TSA didn't have to do this. They don't always have to panic every time some wanna-be terrorist tries something dumb. But this pattern is established now, and I'd say it could be taken to ridiculous extremes, except we're already there.

Anonymous said...

I work in the airplanes and these new rules are dumb. I'm sure I'll make the announcements telling people that I'm so sorry to treat them all like criminal, terrorists but that they have to since the TSA says so. I'll just tell everyone to email their congress people and the TSA and let them know how stupid they are. My job is to make sure people are safe on the plane, but we aren't police officers. We certainly aren't given police officer salaries either. If any real rule should come from this it would be that no carry on items should be allowed in the lavatories at any time during flight. That might be the only rule that would actually make sense. The guy was already in his seat anyway when he tried to do what he did. Nothing makes sense and the American people sit and take it. I hope they don't sit and take it this time.

Anonymous said...

while the TSA web-site provides absolutely no useful information, media and airline reports of the new "security measures" shows that TSA is run by a bunch of baffoons. Gee, I guess we will just lock everyone down for the last hour of flight, great idea? A bunch of kids and old people will piss in their pants, but old Osama, man he will never figure it out.

Oh yes,and turn off the locator maps so the bad guys can't figure out where they are... thats the ticket. Guess we has better not let the airline tell you you arrival (or departure) time either. Would not want the bad guys to figure out when they might land do we.

my god, what a bunch of idiots... I am definately writing my congresswoman, madam speaker, and will button hole her next reception i see her.

You guys ought to starting thinking, rather than assuming the bad guys are as dumb as the person at TSA who makes up these silly rules.

motorbikematt said...

Dear TSA,

Please remember Ramsi Yousef's Operation Bojinka, which called for blowing up the planes while they flew over the ocean.

This last hour of flight rule preventing passengers from having anything in their laps or going to the lavatory is useless.

Please reconsider.

Anonymous said...

I thought things would change with the new administration. Again, we are reacting instead of being proactive. The new inflight procedures solves nothing and only adds more confusion to flying. The TSA needs to step back and look at the big picture. This guy was on the list. I was on the list by mistake and it took me months to get off of it. I won't go into the details of the stupid documentation that I had to provide to the TSA-documents issued by the federal government. Giving copies of government documents back to the government made no sense but I did it. The root of the latest problem is the guy was not stopped. Inflight changes will not fix this problem. IDIOTS!

Ward said...

Why does the no standing rule only apply to international incoming flights? Are those already in the air domestically somehow immune to anything happening?

What about those people with medical conditions that may require them needing to use the bathroom during the no standing time, or children that need to go and can't hang on like most adults can? Are they expected just to suffer the embarassment of soiling themselves because they can't go to the bathroom? What about the passengers around them that then suffer when the toileting accident occurs? Is it even legal to deprive people of their basic human rights?

What a complete load of kneejerk crap these new rules are.

BareHanded said...

Uh, isn't the TSA part of the DHS, who are part of the organization set up to keep ne'er do wells out of the country. It seems the UK figured out they needed to keep this guy out of their country a while back, Apparently the DHS was too worried about not having enough information to do the same. Even the guy's own father tried to get the message across. What a circus, with way too many clowns.

Anonymous said...

I was on a flight from smf to India a couple years ago and when I arrived in India I was asked for my VISA card. I pulled out my bank VISA card thinking I owed something. Don't laugh until you hear me out.
Immediately a swarm of men huddled me into a corner. I was scared to death and crying all the way. I asked "what have I done wrong"? All they said is I was going to be deported as soon as they find my luggage. I asked WHY? They said because I didn't have a VISA.
So,,,I got through SMF, MINN, and Amsterdam check points without a VISA and no one questioned it.
So much for security. I could have been the bad guy and look at all the good guys that let me though. So,it doesn't matter what you look like, dress like or carry on board. Its what you don't have that is scary and any foreigner can get through if I can.
I must also say that the airlines never accepted responsibility for their negligence, and did not reimburse me for their neglect. I will never get over this and it haunts me everyday to think WE are lucky it was ME and not a terrorist.

Jason Reuschlein said...

In the meantime, please feel free to bring on your lighters and matches! Gee, maybe banning these items might prevent someone from lighting themselves on fire.

Anonymous said...

My idea is to COMPLETELY scrap the current TSA SOP, and go to some of the more hardcore nothing-goes no arguments, law enforcement at the end of each screening area, no LGA at all in carry-on, ALL medical items thoroughly screened, etc that many foreign international airports employ.

Then let the American Public whine and complain about having their "rights" REALLY violated.

Anonymous said...

A better piece of scanning equipment might've detected it. When my friend and I were away on business a year ago, she had to cut out some stuff for a presentation she put a large pair of sissors in her purse, forgot about them and had no trouble getting on the plane at a major airport. When we got back home we went to our local courthouse and had to go through a detector that showed them right away. We live in a community of about 250,000 people. The courthouse and our local airport have the same equipment. Our security at our airport is more thorough then some of the major ones.
As for these new rules, just wait til some of the food they feed passengers on International flights doesn't agree with them and everyone gets the trots, or some 2 year old can't get his stuffed animal out of his carry-on and the child screams for over an hour, and a bunch of regular decent passengers become irritated and all H*** breaks loose.

Anonymous said...

To those who are defending the TSA and its recent spate of new rules by reminding readers that the flight originated in Amsterdam where the TSA does not operate, note that your defense is rather flawed. While it is true that outside the USA the TSA has no legal authority (and of course it does not conduct security at foreign airports), it does issue security directives (SDs) which all airlines, foreign or domestic, must implement if they want to continue flying into the USA or over US airspace. So foreign airlines and airports must implement these rules whether they like it or not. European and other countries can also impose rules which American carriers and airports would have to implement if they wish to fly to those countries.

That said, I am not defending the recent new directives. In fact, I agree that they are a form of security theater that will cause massive resentment and inconvenience and will not prevent or dissuade a terrorist from attempting another attack. What is interesting is how things have changed among the flying public: after 9/11, many people defended the now cancelled directives that required passengers to remain seated for the first 30 minutes after take off or before landing at Washington Reagan National Airport (obvious question: why not Dulles and Baltimore too?). Another cancelled directive was banning metal cutlery (metal steak knives in first class, etc) and replacing them with plastic (question: why is a plastic steak knife less lethal? If it can cut steak, it can certainly be used as a weapon.). I knew these rules were also theater - and they were later withdrawn. (yes, TSA defenders, I know these rules were not issued by TSA as it did not yet exist - but that isnt the point.)

It seems that that the American flying public now know and accept a few things:

1. There is no such thing as total security and that a truly sophisticated terrorist can get passed our defenses.
2. People will respond to threats and will subdue a terrorist in the air in any way they can. The days when people would act like sheep are over.
3. A certain level of risk is acceptable if it preserves personal liberty and a halfway decent flying experience. The new rules will not add to security in a meaningful way and are thus being rejected by the public.

The questions we must ask now are these:

1. how did this man get and keep his two year US Visa?
2. how could our intelligence services miss him when his own father reported him to the US Embassy?
3. where were the air marshalls on this flight?

Anonymous said...

By the way, I fly internationally all the time and I fly through Amsterdam often. They DO re-screen all connecting passengers (carry on baggage is re-scanned, passengers go through an x-ray machine, etc) and if you are going to the USA, they sometimes do yet another check at the gate (another carry on check, another x-ray, and sometimes a manual check with a "pat down"). None of this would have prevented the man in question from getting on the plane - he had no metal parts on him. 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); an actual strip search or a pat-down that literally felt the man up in a way that would be legally questionable. Don't blame the Dutch, the EU, etc. Until the technology improves, there is no real way to prevent this sort of person getting on board - unless we all fly naked, as one person suggested.

Anonymous said...

To all the people who say "It was not TSA's fault, they don't run every airport of the world": Half-truth, they do enforce TSA guidelines on them, if they do not comply (and they are audited), they are fined.

To the ones that say "Hell, I'll just use the train, drive or hope for a speed train soon": These new measures apply to international travel only, so good luck driving across the sea. BTW, driving across the border and expecting to get an I-94 (permit to go further into the US) is a real PITA, and 6 bucks.

So we are really screwed. I have to fly through the US to get better connections about 30 times a year, and it has really been hell: Missed connections to another continent because of "secondary inspection" and they make me wait two hours in a room and then they say: "You are free to go". When I ask them for the reason or what the problem was, I've received even a "Do you want to make a problem out of this?. Go."

So there you have it. TSA is grossly ineffective, rude, a waste of resources and definitely the cause of why tourism in the US is going down the way it is. I really hope this theater of security gets reviewed by a team of actual thinking people and stop making travelers life MISERABLE.

Anonymous said...

Warning to all terrorists - fly domestic. No limits to moving around, no patting everyone down.

The truth is the TSA is afraid to try these silly rules on "Americans" flying locally, and decided to go for "foreigners" on international flights.

2millionmiler said...

Ha! Ironic how this blog is called the "Evolution of Security" - "Regression of Security" may be more appropriate. Just as pre 9/11 security provided nothing more than a false feeling of security so too do the childish, knee-jerk "additional measures" like banning electronics, anything an the lap and any movement one hour prior to landing.

How about actually enforcing the protocols already in place. These are perfectly sufficient to prevent attacks - this has been demonstrated for the past eight years! The fact is this most recent moron (would be terrorist) was not subject to additional screening at AMS. The failure was there - not in an ipod or a book or laptop.

It was other law abiding passengers that saved the flight. Its tough to defend moronic measures like those discussed here when they strike fear into the first responders that actually stop these idiots (Reid & Abdulmutallab) - the passengers!

TSA/DHS don't make a mockery of the role for which you were created by regressing to pre 9/11 farcical "security". Learn lessons and hold those who failed responsible!

James said...

Far from "the system worked", several key components failed completely.

First, the State Department granted the terrorist a visa despite prior knowledge of his terrorist connections - why?

Second, TSA/DHS allowed him to book and check in for a flight to the US, despite that same knowledge. Even without a no-fly, he should have been marked for extra scrutiny and covered flights only.

Third, Schiphol security, for all the "no liquids, no toothpaste" nonsense, failed to enforce the crucial rule of "no bombs on the aircraft"; it seems they may even have failed to screen this passenger entirely, meaning that US flight's security relied entirely on that of Lagos airport.

Fourth, TSA failed to detect and correct Schiphol's faulty screening which let an actual bomb on board an aircraft.

Given this list of failings, what gets changed? In-flight entertainment, carry-on baggage and access to bathrooms - during the final hour of flight, when of course we all know that any terrorist actually wanting to achieve maximum damage would detonate during climb-out anyway. This is beyond parody - having failed to enforce rules which were in place even before the Lockerbie bombing, let alone 9/11, the response is to introduce yet more restrictions which aren't even remotely relevant to the actual threat.

I'll just stick to non-US destinations until someone fixes the real problem here, instead of wasting effort inconveniencing people for the sake of it, taking shampoo while ignoring actual bombs.

gatornavy2367 said...

Air travel "security" is a joke. As a US military member, I am forced to travel far more than I want to. Despite my obvious clean-cut "GI" appearance, military ID, military travel orders and courteous demeanor, I am treated as "suspect" at every gate, no matter what part of the world I happen to be in. Just last week, I took leave with my wife and 20 month old daughter. NOT from a US location but from a Japanese airport that I will not name. The local "Japanese" version of TSA made me drink from my baby daughter's "sippy cup", presumably to make sure she wasn't carrying liquid explosives, acid or some other terror cocktail. My PREGNANT wife was wanded with a metal detector and physically patted down because her belt buckle set off the alarm. She offered to take her belt off and walk back through but the "security pros" insisted on feeling her up just to make sure she wasn't packing a submachine gun in her jeans. For the love of all things holly, WHAT IS GOING ON??? This nut job on the flight bound for Detroit who was ON A WATCH LIST, who purchased his tickets WITH CASH and DIDN'T CHECK ANY LUGGAGE, managed to walk right through security with an IED stuffed down in his pants!!! Is it JUST ME, or does anyone else see a problem with the way air travel security is being handled??? Not just in the good old US of A, but WORLDWIDE!!! When are the free thinking, democracy loving peoples of the world going to wake up??? Once again, we, THE LAW ABIDING, PEACE LOVING, citizens are SUFFERING MORE NEEDLESS BUREACRATIC RED TAPE AND MUMBO-JUMBO while the ACTUAL TERRORISTS and CRIMINALS continue to outsmart "the cops". I feel so much safer today than I did before 911...........NOT!!! What's more, and this is a subject for another blog, but I fail to see how this "war on terror", of which I am immersed, is doing ANY GOOD for the security of Americans at home or traveling abroad.

Anonymous said...

I can't figure out why you are griping about staying in your seats in the first place. Cant you sit down and just relax for a couple hours?

I fly cross country maybe once a year. (I realize thats not much compared to you 'professional' fliers) But nothing bugs me more than when I have the misfortune of getting the aisle seat and the two people in the other seats have to crawl over me two or three times each to 'move around', pee, poo or socialize with their buddies three rows back!

I am looking forward to an hour of peace on my next flight!

Tips: pee/poo at the airport
don't drink like a fish on the plane since you gripe about airlines charging for stuff anyway
ask to be reseated with your buddies before you get on the plane
relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.

Jeff said...

How inconvenient is the TSA going to make travel with foolish rules that do nothing but add additional inconvenience to everyone and resolve nothing. So if we have to sit for 1-hour doing nothing but staring straight forward, why not do this for 90 minutes or the whole flight? It accomplishes nothing but make the flight more uncomfortable for everyone. It is ridiculous, you can't even have a blanket - why don't we all just remove all of our clothes??

Anonymous said...

The best I can tell, the new TSA policy is to annoy the hell out of the rest of the passengers (withholding the bathroom, not allowing anything in the lap for the final hour, and turning off the passenger entertainment system for fear that someone might need the map to figure out that they are getting near their destination, should the bathroom ban NOT make that clear) such that if any real or would be terrorist acts up that we unleash our wrath upon them.

Otherwise, I am lost as to how keeping terrorists in their seat for an hour or denying them a map stops them from detonating the explosive or doing whatever else they planned on doing over the course of a 7 hour flight? Stopping them from getting to the plane with the explosives is the real challenge and need. Stop wasting our time, tax payer dollars, and patience in the interim with these utterly useless countermeasures.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, TSA has become a terrorist organization in its own right. As a physician, I think what you are doing with the "last hour" rule is reprehensible and places your organization in the ranks of the world's leading terror groups.

In the name of this farce you call "security," you now implement policies that the U.S. Courts have ruled are unconstitutional when used against criminal suspects who are being interrogated, namely, not letting them use a toilet when they need to. Aside from humiliating passengers and soiling airliner seats with urine and feces, what do you hope to accomplish by this?

Your rules have gone far beyond being ridiculous. You have become a terrorist organization in your own right. Your intrusive procedures and Keystone-Kops antics already are more stressful than the experience of flying itself ever was. Passengers dread the security procedures at airports more than they ever worried about hijackings or terrorist attacks.

But that apparently wasn't enough for TSA. Now you want to elevate the anxiety level a bit more, and in doing so discourage even more passengers from air travel -- especially those like myself who travel with my children, along with adults who suffer from bowel or bladder problems, diabetes (which causes frequent urination), enlarged prostates, and so forth.

What exactly do you hope to accomplish by this? Is it your goal to terrorize passengers to the point that they simply decide to stop flying? If so, you have partially succeeded. It will be a very long time before this writer flies into your country again.

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.

Russ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nancy said...

Not being able to get up during the last hour of flight is the dumbest thing you all have ever done. Have you no common sense?

Jodi said...

These new restrictions aren't just ineffective and reactionary, they are anti-family. It is totally unreasonable to expect children to sit still for an hour with nothing to do. And who expects a little kid to be able to hold it if he has to go to the bathroom? What if a baby needs a diaper change?

I won't be taking my children on a plane until the rules change. I won't expose them to such inhumane conditions. Any caring parent will make the same decision. (I'm willing to bet any lawmaker with kids won't put up with the rules for long. Imagine if Sasha and Malia Obama had to fly commercial!)

Anonymous said...

I am curious, what if I have to go to the bathroom during the last hour? What if I do all that business on the floor outside of the bathroom just because I am not allowed to go to the bathroom last hour? What about the people with a physical need to go to bathroom exactly when they feel a need? What about the people with disabilities? No blankets for them last hour, right?
Something is wrong here... It sounds like that if terrorists wanted to bring more tension to the society, or at least on the flight, they have achieved this... with the help of TSA. :-(

Anonymous said...

Thanks for making me want to fly even less than I already do.

That's one way to make air travel safer - make it so nobody wants to fly.

Anonymous said...

You realize that if anybody wanted to blow up the plane, they would do it while they were still allowed to be up, right? Isn't it enough that the passengers and crew took the guy down before anything happened?

Captcha is "bully". Oddly appropriate.

78goldwing said...

Why aren't the REAL problems being addressed instead of telling me I can't read the final hour of flight or that I can only have one carry-on? RIDICULOUS!!!!

wolves.dogs said...

I can't take a jar of jelly onto a plane to eat with crackers as a snack on the flight - but the terrorists manage to get on planes with bomb materials????????

What's wrong with that picture????

Benjamin said...

1. Having to be seated the last hour of a flight does NOTHING to enchance security... what stops someone from blowing up a plane at the 90 minute mark???

2. Not having the IFE maps showing where you are at that current time does nothing as well, how hard is it to look out the window, or simply time the flight to figure out where you are at?

3. Nothing in your lap the last hour of a flight will be quite hard to police unless the flight attendants are going to walk up and down the aisles constantly and does NOTHING for security, could set it off at the 90 minute mark as well...

None of the new changes will increase security a bit, just will cause more frustration and revolt from passengers, and the first time someone pees their pants, there will be a nice little lawsuit and this whole mess discarded...

Proud TSO said...

It was inevitable that at some point, someone would attempt to blow up another plane. It was also inevitable that the passengers would react the way they did. 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! With that said, let's not lose focus on the reality here....the Sec of Homeland security says that "our systems failed". How so? This flight originated in Amsterdam, and we are well aware that security procedures in other countries often times do not match up with security procedures elsewhere. Furthermore, had the flight originated in the states, the likliehood that this idiot would have been flagged for additional screening would have increased. How many on this blog have undergone pat downs at the Walk through metal detector? Well duh, there IS a reason for that! As a TSO, I don't feel that TSA failed, and I disagee with Sec Napolitano that our systems failed....I believe the systems in place in AMSTERDAM failed! Lets not be so quick to damn the hard working people at TSA who take pride in our job and do it diligently day in and day out! Let's not forget that this plane was on its way to the States, not departing from the States.

Anonymous said...

To everyone who blames TSA: This was a flight originating from abroad. TSA does not screen flights leaving from Amsterdam. The US is not responsible for screening passengers on flights originating in other countries. There was no security failure on the part of TSA. Please get your facts straight. Also, please direct your anger towards those who wish to harm you rather than those who are trying to keep you safe.

Anonymous said...

These new rules are a joke, they are knee-jerk reaction which will cause more suffering to passengers and do nothing to stop acts of terrorism. Why not just shackle all passengers into their seats, let them soil themselves, and oh btw lets not bother really checking out the checked baggage in detail or patting everyone down or doing a chemical scan on everyone, we'll just choose to racial profile a few folks, cause suffering to all the law abiding ones, and let the next trick go right by us. The TSA needs an IQ check, and I hope President Obama reads this blog to see how well his agencies are doing.

tim said...

Does the one hour restriction apply just to international flights or to domestic flights as well?

Anonymous said...

The 'stay in seat' and 'no pillow or blanket in the lap' policies in the last hour are just silly.

And so what do we do about security in the lavatories? How are these concealed little cubbies supposed to be safely screened and monitored without a significant degree of privacy invasion? This is a tricky issue, but one that really needs to be explored.

Schot said...

Lack of comprehensive checkpoint security in Amsterdam does not necessitate that human beings cannot move, read, or satisfy their own personal needs during the last hour of a flight. The new rules are an inhumane violation of human rights. I will be contacting my elected representatives about this, and I will be boycotting US airlines until this egregious policy is terminated.

TSO Jacob said...

I think you have all missed a very important fact in this case. TSA did NOT screen this guy. TSA did NOT miss anything. Many of you seem to have trouble understanding that TSA is NOT a worldwide organization. The suspect in this case was screened in Amsterdam. Surprise! TSA does NOT operate their security.

Jannis said...

Travel Security Truth said… “Has anyone seen the story about the poor guy arrested today for being sick on the same plane at the same airport?”

I looked up the story. The guy was not arrested! The guy spent an hour in the bathroom, sick or not that’s unusual, and the flight crew wanted him checked out. I am not surprised that the flight crew was jumpy, two days earlier the same route was nearly taken down by a bomb. You need to check your facts before you make wildly irresponsible statements.

On another note, I agree that it is time for better threat assessment. I read through the comments on this site from time to time and I am constantly reading about people who don’t like TSA screening, don’t like to be touched, 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.

Bill said...

Sandra wrote:

"Now, tell me again about the TSA not being involved in security at foreign airports."

If you actually read the report, it does nothing to prove your initial point that "ALL [TSA's] layers of security failed yet again."

TSA has very little enforcement action that can be taken against a foreign airport. These actions are basically limited to a warning letter, a public notification that the airport is not safe, and suspension of service to or from the airport and the US.

The standards and procedures in the airports surveyed did not have to meet TSA requirements. Actions are only taken against airports that grossly ignore international standards for aviation security set forth by the International Civil Aviation Organization. That being said the report found that about half of those airports surveyed in 2005 failed to adhere to at least one of these standards, and TSA/DHS took action against them.

These international standards are not as high as the standards for screening in the US.

Benzai said...

TSA = Biggest Joke Evar

Seriously though, these measures are patently absurd. Nothing matters until they start screening cargo and profiling passengers. TSA personnel are rude and unprofessional and this just gives them more of an excuse to be evil to us. Really, nothing in your lap? ABSURD!

Anonymous said...

More stupid knee jerk TSA rules. I am a flight attendant, are you kidding me I am supposed to tell grown people they can not go to the bathroom????? What about little kids who can not hold it? What in the world does going to the bathroom have to do with security?? So One hour and 10 minutes before landing it is safe to go but 10 minutes later it's not??? For heaven's sake WHO is making up these rules??? By the way folks there is STILL no man dates inhanced saftey training for the flight attendants who are supposed to protect you and the cockpit!

Anonymous said...

I certainly understand and appreciate the additional security measures taken. However, we had a very unpleasant experience at the Nassau International Airport.

My son was separately searched without the presence of an adult. In the end, his Christmas present, an iPod touch and a camera zoom len were missplaced and not put back into his backpack. First of all, I do not believe it is legal to search a minor without the presence of a parent. I called and no one seemed to be helpful at all.

How was it fair to an eleven-year old child? We obviously are very upset. I think before rushing into a procedure; officials need to take into consideration how innocents are being affected.

Ayn R. Key said...

Now that everyone here has told the TSA how stupid their 1 hour idea is, it is guaranteed to become policy. The more we point out how numb-skulled a policy is, such as the child-porn machines, the more they push forward with it.

We cannot go to the bathroom for the last hour? Also we cannot bring any large bottles through the checkpoint, even if empty, to assist us if we need to go to the bathroom during the last hour.

So it is indeed policy that everyone is to pee in their seats.

Brilliant Janet the Terrorist Napolitano. Janet, your terrorist tactics are working to destroy air travel in the United States.

Bobbo, you seem to have some contact with TSA administration. Use it to talk to them instead of merely take what they say and post it. Tell them that this is just plain stupid.

Jonmark said...

Over the past ten years (9/11 included), odds of an air departure being subject to terrorist incident is 1 in 10,408,947.

Odds of being struck by lightning 1 in 500,000. More at

The TSA is inept, useless and should have no decision-making authority whatever to make pointless these rules.

Anonymous said...

The TSA needs to adhere to the Hippocratic oath: first do no harm. The inane response to the latest event violates this.

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.

Anonymous said...

Bob, it looks as though you've got a PR nightmare on your hands with this latest incident. Might be nice if TSA professionally handled this one instead of trying to sweep it under the rug and hope it goes away.

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