Friday, January 15, 2010

There Are No Children on the No Fly or Selectee Lists

It’s inevitable that every several months or so, some cute kid gets their mug posted on a major news publication with a headline reading something like: “Does this look like a terrorist to you?” Anything involving kids or cats gets tons of mileage and everybody starts tweeting and retweeting that there’s an 8 year old on the no fly list.

There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists.

What happens is the child’s name is a match or similar match to an actual individual on the No Fly or Selectee Watch List.

From TSA.gov: Airlines can and should automatically de-select any 8-year-olds out there that appear to be on a watch list. Whether you're eight or 80, the most common occurrence is name confusion and individuals are told they are on the no fly list when in fact, they are not. If you get a boarding pass, you’re not on the no fly list.

The no fly list is reserved for individuals that pose a known threat to aviation. The list is an important tool in our multi-layered approach to aviation security and is used daily to keep individuals that pose a threat to aviation off airplanes.

For more information on the list and to learn about the redress process for individuals that believe they may be on a watch list erroneously, click here.

Secure Flight will fix most of these problems in the future. Secure Flight matches passenger information provided by the airlines with data contained in government-maintained watch list records and verifies any potential matches.

Airlines are beginning to ask for name, date of birth, and gender as it appears on the government ID you plan to use when traveling. This is a part of the Secure Flight program requirements. The program will be in full effect for domestic airlines by mid-year and the rest of the airlines are scheduled to be on board by the end of 2010. Initial estimates indicate that under Secure Flight, in excess of 99 percent of passengers who provided the additional data elements will be able to use Internet check-in, kiosks and experience no delays in obtaining their boarding passes.

In the short term, individuals who have been misidentified as a match or possible match for a Watch List can work through the DHS Redress process to resolve the issue.

Secure Flight Related Posts on the TSA Blog

***Update 1/19/2010 - 4:45 PM***

First and foremost, I want to clarify that my post wasn’t directed at this or any family who have been inconvenienced in situations such as this, but more at the perpetual reporting that there are children on the No Fly list. As a father of two young children, I sympathize with any parent’s frustration at being told their child is on a terrorist watch list, and empathize with any parent going through that situation. It’s terrible.

We’ve said it before, there are no 8 year olds – or other children – on the No Fly or Selectee lists. We may not own the lists (the Terrorist Screening Center does), but we know that kids aren’t on them for sure. The ticketing agent, sky cap or other airline employees at the airport do not know who is on or not on a watch list, and they have no business telling a parent that their kid is on one because it’s simply not true. Airlines can and should automatically de-select any child that appears to be on a watch list when they see them at the check-in counter. You can also check this out for other debunked myths about watch lists.

Anyone who can’t print a boarding pass from home or at a kiosk because they are currently misidentified with someone who is actually on the list should apply for redress to fix the problem. And as I’ve said before, TSA is working to implement the Secure Flight program, which brings watch list matching back to TSA from the airlines. When people provide their date of birth and gender when booking their flight under Secure Flight, it will eliminate about 99% of misidentifications once its fully implemented.

For anybody who is new to the TSA Blog, please know that I’m a blogger and not an official TSA media spokesperson.

The way I write and address issues is different than a spokesperson would address issues with traditional media, and I certainly didn’t mean to belittle the experience of any families who have been through this.

Sincerely,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

267 comments:

1 – 200 of 267   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

So why can't TSO's use their discretion and not subject this kid to extra screening?

Anonymous said...

This is a new low for TSA-blog absurdity.

carp said...

There is an even easier fix: Do away with your useless lists.

Stop playing this ridiculous game of gong around guessing what your amorphous bogeyman enemy is going to do "next time" and stop trying to guess who the next bogeyman is going to be.

By your logic, every workplace in the country should have a security checkpoint because 1 or 2 wingnuts a year decides to shoot up their workplace. (which is more than the number of terrorists who manage to do it. I would tell you the percentage but...I keep getting this pesky divide by zero error... gee why could that be)

-Steve
Who is more worried about ham handed administration than terrorists, its ruined far more lives.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, no children are on the selectee list, but you'll still stop them and subject them to extra scrutiny won't you?

Confirming someone's identity DOES NOT MAKE FLYING SAFER.

TSA should stick to its mandate - weapons and explosives. You guys are suffering from serious mission creep, and it doesn't help that your leadership is a bunch of clowns who refuse to have an honest realistic dialog about security without falling back on that old "I can't talk about our secret reasons for doing things that are clearly stupid"

This blog was supposed to be a dialog and all it is is spin. There are hardly any posts except when someone criticizes the TSA in the media, and then, lo-and-behold, Bob comes back to tell us all why even though the TSA has cocked it all up again, things really aren't so bad, and there's a REALLY GOOD REASON Joe TSO violated someone's civil rights... you just can't tell us that reason 'cause it's SSI.

You know what Bob? Next time just don't bother okay? We'll play your part for you, we all know your lines by heart at this point.

RB said...

Maybe not on a list, but according to the report the kid still got special screening from TSA employees.

Why can't TSA employees see its an 8 year old and dispense with the full body pat down? They do have discretion to exercise good judgement don't they?

bob said...

Checking a child at random: Sensible.

Checking a child every time he flies because his name matches one on a watch list that, stupidly, does not include age information: A waste of time and resources better spent on other things.

Doing so while failing to use those resources to check an adult with the same name: Criminally negligent.

The boy's father, whose namesake he is, was never checked until a few months ago while the boy received extra screening every trip for six years due to being on the "selectee" list. I presume the gentleman is a good father and a fine human being, like his child an innocent person caught up because of not particularly rare name. But at least he is an adult. If the excuse is that the boy's name matches the list, then why did the man escape extra scrutiny every time till a few months ago?

Anonymous said...

There are no 8 yr olds on the list.

There are also no terrorists on the list.

If a terrorist was on the list you could just drop a big cage over the terrorist while they are on the list and capture the terrorist.

Anonymous said...

Yeah the names are just text, and you don't let children sit on your secret list books. So?

There are names of children on the no fly or selectee lists. These children have been frisked.

Trollkiller said...

If that is the case, why do these kids get the full selectee treatment. Can't you train your TSOs so they will understand that an 8 year old is NOT on the list and does not need the full grab and grope?

Isaac Newton said...

Bob said:
There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists.

What happens is the child’s name is a match or similar match to an actual individual on the No Fly or Selectee Watch List.

___________
You're playing word games here, Bob. There are no people of any age on the No Fly or Selectee lists. There are only names on the No Fly and Selectee lists. Names which may be used by people who are 2, or 8, or 16, or 35, or 85 years old. Any idiot could see that the same name may be used by a large number of people of different ages.

I'm also surprised that your watch list database is good enough to have the bad guys birthdates but not their addresses. If you knew where they were, you could just go arrest them and give them a chance to either clear their name or receive the punishment you think they deserve.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob, you write:

Airlines are beginning to ask for name, date of birth, and gender as it appears on the government ID you plan to use when traveling.

Since most eight year old children don't have government ID cards, how would Secure Flight help this child avoid been treated as a selectee or no-fly-er?

Anonymous said...

Data on how long and how effective the DHS redress process is, please.

Groovymarlin said...

It's cute how you post things like this that directly contradict the actual experiences of so many members of the flying public. I have no doubt that you believe what you post, but tell it to the family of the 8-year-old who is pulled out for special screening and aggressively patted down every time he travels. I suspect the problem is one of communication, or lack of it - between TSA, its officers around the country, the airlines, etc. When can you all get on the same page, do you think?

Just another U.S. Citizen said...

So we have to give up more of our privacy because the TSA can't comprehend common sense. Proof that the TSA can't even catch a cold but has no problem harassing everyone to make up for it.

Tomas said...

Hi, Bob, haven't posted in a while, but this one got me going a little bit.

While I understand that "There Are No Children on the No Fly or Selectee Lists," the effect of having someone else with the same name actually on the list is in many cases essentially the same as one's name being on the list.

Until the handling of name matches (or near-matches) is handled rationally and intelligently by those responsible for acting on matches, if "Joe Smith" is on a selectee list and you are a different "Joe Smith," totally unrelated to the "Joe Smith" on the list, the net effect on you will be the same as if you were the right "Joe Smith."

Saying that "Joe Smith" is not on the list, but "Joe Smith" is, is no different than saying the Odyssey wasn't actually written by Homer, but by another ancient Greek with the same name.

Ya gotta fix the system, Bob, not just wave the arms and say that no kids are on any of the lists.

So long as there is someone else with the same name actually on the list, with the current "zero thought" system that is in effect in too many places at too many levels, the effect is the same as the kid being on the list.

Take care,
Tom

Anonymous said...

Okay, I might be willing to accept that except we continue to hear of children (who just so happen to have the same name as an adult who is on the no fly list) delayed given the SSSS treatment. Bob, why can't a TSO just do the standard procedure on children who fall into this hole instead of resorting to a full body search?

Anonymous said...

There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists.

What happens is the child’s name is a match or similar match to an actual individual on the No Fly or Selectee Watch List.
----------------------

When someone's name causes them to be flagged for additional, invasive security measures, Bob, then they are "on the list." By your logic, Osama bin Laden is not "on the No Fly or Selectee lists." The lists are made up of names. There are no corporeal entities "on the lists."

Anonymous said...

Can you comment on the New York Times report that Secure Flight doesn't support punctuation, so that many people with hyphenated or Irish names won't be allowed to fly?

Anonymous said...

The redress process is a joke and obviously hasn't fixed this kid's problem. You people should be ashamed of yourselves. You think he and his family are lying about their problems?

Anonymous said...

The whole watch list matching program wouldn't keep a single terrorist off a plane. All they have to do is create a fake boarding pass with the name that matches their ID to pass security and then use a real boarding pass with a fake name to board the plane. Do you really think it's that hard to make one of those "print-at-home" boarding passes and make it look perfectly genuine? What you need is method for ensuring each boarding pass submitted at the checkpoint matches a valid airline reservation by using a barcode reader.

By the way, would someone be willing to explain to me why the TSA document checker always scribbles something on the boarding pass. What does that do for me, TSA, or anyone else? For whatever reason, we no longer have to carry our boarding pass in hand at the metal detector, and it's not like the gate agents ever look for the scribble scatch. On several occasions, my travel plans have changed once inside security. I simpy make a new reservation and check-in using a kiosk in the secure area. I use my own name because I'm an honest person, but really I could use any name I wanted at that point and board the flight assuming I don't get tagged for the maybe 1% of the time TSA is there doing gate checks. I could also use one of those kiosks to change seat assignments, etc, and get a boarding pass that lacks the scribble scratch. So, what does the TSA marking on someone's boarding pass prove?

Anonymous said...

Sorry but you just don't get it do you? There may be a "Tom Smith" on the list - fair enough. But to then pat down and search an 2 or 4 or 6 year old Tom Smith is just plain stupid. It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to work out that the small child standing in front of you at the TSA Checkpoint is unlikely to be the "terrorist" you are looking for!

But then, the TSA is woefully short of rocket scientists...

Michael McGraw-Herdeg said...

Bob, why is it so hard for you guys to say "we know we're doing something wrong right now, and we're trying to fix it?"

There's no need to try to put a positive PR spin on this. You have a problem when the Times reports that a kid named Michael Hicks has been patted down since he was two year old, and when they report that more than 30 percent of the 82,000 requests to be removed from the selectee list filed through the Department of Homeland Security in the past 3 years are still pending.

It's not productive to repeat the facts that no one disputes -- "there are no children on our lists; but we do treat children with certain as though they were on our lists" and "if you really care you should file a formal request for us to fix it" when the real problem here is that you haven't communicated how to get off the list.

In private industry, this is "service recovery" -- acknowledging that you've messed things up for a passenger and trying to keep their repeat business by making it right ASAP.

A more productive blog post would have been "How To Make Us Stop Patting Down Your 8-Year Old Son", with an easy step-by-step set of instructions for the DHS redress process, explaining how parents can fill out the form, how long they should expect the process to take, and providing your e-mail address and work phone number so they can personally contact you with any questions about how to fix the problem for their child.

It's a simple formula: acknowledge the problem, fix it, move on. It works OK for the airlines; why not try it at the TSA?

Anonymous said...

"There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists.

What happens is the child’s name is a match or similar match to an actual individual on the No Fly or Selectee Watch List."

Is the person being treated like he was on the list? If so, then you're explanation is just semantics.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed in the powers of the TSA in this regard.
1) if airlines "can and should automatically de-select" 8 year olds, why not actually make it mandatory and fine airlines that do not deselect 8 year olds?
2) I take it the frisk searching or whatever extra security these selectees go through is conducted by TSA employees. Can't they figure out that an 8 year old is too young? Or are they not allowed to think for themselves, but only follow strict procedures?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

The public doesn't care about your word-smithing; they care about observable results. They don't care that it's really wannabe terrorist David Nelson that's on the secret un-American blacklist and not their 2-year old son. They do care that their kid get stopped, delayed, and harassed as a result of the DHS/TSA blacklist.

They also don't care that you call having to give up an expensive bottle of liquid cosmetics, or custom-battery pack, or leather bookmark, when there's no time to check a bag (or bag to check) and no realistic place to leave the item "voluntarily surrender." From the public's point of view, it's confiscation.

These posts are getting tiring. Repeating yourself over and over does not change the fact that innocent Americans, including toddlers, are delayed, hassled, and harassed by DHS/TSA policies. And the privacy-invading "Secure Flight" is not the answer; it might reduce false positives. But it might make it worse for the remaining false positives unlucky enough to have a DOB similar to one of the half-million people on DHS's blacklist. And it might increase false positives if, in reaction to the crotch bomber, you start looking for "near" matches across name, gender, and DOB, just like you currently look for "near matches" on names.

Jerome Howard said...

I'm tired of you parsing words.

There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists.

By their actions, there are plenty of screeners, airline personnel, and cops who believe there are children on the lists. It doesn't matter how you split hairs, Bob.

We know from proper authority on the famous 60 minutes episode that there are no terrorists on the lists, either.

And, there are dead 9/11 terrorists on the list who were added after they were vaporized along with four airplanes full of people and jet fuel.

So, it's simple, right? All we have to do is to spill our guts, provide all sorts of private information to you and, perhaps, we might not be strip-searched for the criminal act of buying an airline ticket.

Don't even try, Bob.

Sandra said...

The NY area radio/TV stations jumped on interviews with Mikey and his mom. A thread here is not going to undo the further damage that has been done to the TSA by those interviews.

Keep those TSA blunders coming!

Anonymous said...

So if an airline fails to deselect a passenger based on age, does that mean that TSA agents should still perform body patdowns on a traveller who is clearly 8 years old or younger?

abelard said...

Secure Flight will fix most of these problems in the future.

In the meantime, we still get to touch your children... all in the name of safety.

Anonymous said...

If there are people such as Mikey Hicks parents who are still fighting for their child to get off the list, there is a problem.

Anonymous said...

"There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists."

Yet children run them... *SIGH*

Sorry, but at one time a US Senator (Ted Kennedy) was on the selectee list, and in the absence of public access to the list, it's really non-credible to say anything about the lists except that they are Orwellian. And then you wonder why the public doesn't like you or your ineffective procedures? When someone can breach security as easily as has been done in Denver and Newark y'all ain't getting the job done. Perhaps you ought to employ the method used at KCI pre-9/11 where people are checked at the gate--makes a lot more sense.

If my name is on the list then I not only have the due process right to know why, but also to get it rectified. That's my right as an American Citizen, and TSA has NO authority to block that. See also 18 USC 242, and the right to confront accusers.

Fact is, TSA is still fighting the last threat and not the next threat, and all your amazing cattle lines sans cowbells and tazers (when are THOSE coming, BTW?) are good for is annoying passengers and making a lot of money for vendors behind the checkpoints selling water for $5 a bottle because YOU wouldn't let them through security--nice scam you got going there.

Not to mention the fact that the Nigerian guy got through security overseas and not here, so measures here won't prevent that from happening again...the real threat in in the GA arena, not the concourses.

But what do I know? I've just been flying for 34 years!

Anonymous said...

My cute kid has also been on a "list". He is now a teenager, with a redress #. To complicate matters, he has an apostrophe in his last name. The Illinois DMV doesn't recognize apostrophe's, so his eventual driver's license will never match his birth certificate, or social security card. His passport is due for renewal this year, - apostrophe or no apostrophe? How will this affect secure flight?

Najlah said...

Dear Mr. Burns,

I am Mikey Hicks's mother, the little boy featured in the news media reports this past week. The one the TSA states in "not on a list".

Instead of reaching out to our family, you chose to belittle the process by stating:

"It’s inevitable that every several months or so, some cute kid gets their mug posted on a major news publication with a headline reading something like: “Does this look like a terrorist to you?” Anything involving kids or cats gets tons of mileage and everybody starts tweeting and retweeting that there’s an 8 year old on the no fly list." Would it have made a difference if we had an ugly kid compared to a "cute kid"?

It would have been far more helpful had he reached out to our family and help us formulate a solution than belittle the effort.

I am insulted and appalled that a representative from the TSA would chose to make such a juvenile and insulting statement. You could have easily left the above quote off and just shared the Redress process with everyone.

It has been made quite clear to our family from both Continental and US Airlines that our son is clearly on a TSA list and they have absolutely no power in which to remove him.

If you think it's far more helpful to belittle the process rather than just giving people the information they need, then I think the TSA has far more serious issues than any of us imagine.

I look forward to getting our son off a list he's supposedly not on.

Sincerely,

Najlah Hicks


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Get-Mikey-OFF-The-List/297171996040

Rosemary Blair-Chester CT said...

I think In my own opinion maybe we should check on Children and Infants.
Don't get me wrong I love Children.
I know many people do.
I saw a clip on CNN a few years back where Children and Infants are carring out Terrorist Activities.
Not only on Airplanes but over the borders.
I would look in to this issue some more.
As CNN said "Who would suspect a baby or a Child?"

wfbauerle said...

You people really need to get your stuff together and stop harassing people that are obviously not terrorists. You also need to start PROFILING people who appear to be of the "Religion of peace" who ACTUALLY are the people that should be on the terrorist lists. I am tired of seeing Grandma and Grandpa and Little billy and little susan getting frisked in the name of Political Correctness.. Start using common sense and logic instead of trying to pander to the people of the religion that promotes terrorism!!

The fact that you lie openly about TSA not targetting little kids and old people instead of working to fix your broken system is treasonous and you should be ashamed.. but instead you cover up your faults and try to make the people who you transgress upon look like fools.. Shame on you!!

wfbauerle said...

Interesting that you have no comments... umm.. maybe because you are not approving any cause they are all negative!!

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

This is outrageous! You could have taken the topic at hand a bit more seriously, Mr.Burns. From the Facebook page that the parents have created regarding this error it seems they are continually harassed by the airlines when they tried to travel.

Instead of mocking their situation you could have tried to solve the problem. They have been trying to find a solution for some time and only took it public because no one was willing to do something.

Be prepared for more public appeal to happen and in the future I would suggest not mocking a family who is in an uncomfortable situation.

DonnieLee said...

Yeah, right. Blame the airlines now for your own incompetence. It's their fault...they don't pay attention to your bulletins. What a crock. Try screening your own people better...like the clown at EWR that walked off his post, allowing an amorous boyfriend to violate a secure area. Now you know why I don't fly...because I don't have a modicum of confidence in your ability to protect me.

Anonymous said...

Bob, it looks like TSA is up to around 1E8 RPM on this and several other issues and the public isn't buying it for a second. Get TSA fixed and you won't have people body slamming you and the agency you work for.

Anonymous said...

TSA screens children because the bad guys they are fighting believe strapping a bomb to their 8 year old and letting him blow up 15 marines is the greatest thing that child can ever do in his life.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mikey's mom: That was a great post.

My suggestion to you is not to book him any more under his real name. Use another first name, preferably a strange one so it doesn't match any other name on the list. Because you son is a minor, they can't ask for ID at the TSA checkpoint, so they can't know what his real name is.

Good luck.

Sandra said...

Excellent post, Najlah. Thank you for stating your position so eloquently.

joels999 said...

So why is a 8 year old searched like that? what other reason could it be? if no eight year olds are on the list, which I do believe then your computer system does not take age, sex, height,etc into account when the person checks in. That in itself is a fault with TSA.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I would like to file a formal complaint with your suprevisor regarding your continued lack of professionalism in running this blog. Please post your supervisor's name and contact information in this thread.

Tjonesy said...

I cant believe that this is a government website where some anonymous blogger can defend the TSA.
The TSA is nothing more than a bunch of Paul Blarts moved to the airport.
If there are no kids on the no fly list then why does Mikey keep getting patted down?

Anonymous said...

Anything involving kids or cats gets tons of mileage...
---------------------------------

Bob, you forgot puppies. It will be interesting to see if and how you respond to Mrs. Hicks' post.

M said...

and did your Boss Janet Napolitano tell you to make these belittling comments, and assure us how well the system is working.

If you have the time to make these blanket statements of abject denial, then you should have the time to do something about the reality of your inferior "watch lists".

You are a failure sir.

Anonymous said...

The first paragraph of this TSA post is very disrespectful to the Hicks family who is going through this harrasment! Instead of berating them, why not HELP them Get Mikey Off The List??

Anonymous said...

"the real threat in in the GA arena, not the concourses."

I couldn't disagree with this comment more. Care to back up this claim?

RB said...

Bob, do you really work in the Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs.

Really???

Looks like your post to Najlah Hicks was right up there with Strategic "Egg On Your Face" Communications and TSA's Public Affairs quotent certainly has been lowered.

Good job Bob.

Anonymous said...

So, you're telling us the Hicks are lying? Well, next time they fly, give them the "Rep. Jason Chaffetz" or "Michael Yon" treatment?

Anonymous said...

I like how the TSA blog has a link to "Aviation News of the Weird." Seems kind of redundant to me.

Ayn R. Key said...

Technically Bob is telling the truth - technically.

There are no children on the lists because there are no PEOPLE on the lists. There's only names of people.

Some of those names belong to children.

Anonymous said...

Well, I already knew the TSA was full of it. Last June at PHL, a TSO called out that those of us wearing sneakers were going to have to be screened at a different terminal - "Just kidding!" I should have reported the doofus.

Mikey Hicks's quandary ranks right up there with the FBI telling us to be on the lookout for terrorists carrying almanacs (and maybe maps) six years ago.

John said...

How would a name list work with Arabic names anyway? Arabic doesn't have vowels, so in our alphabet such names might get spelled several different ways.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Your official title at TSA should be "damage control officer"

Anonymous said...

Last time I flew into the US, I was going through immigration and told that I had already been processed from my flight.

Apparently there was another "Michael Williams" on my flight. Hardly surprising, it's nearly as common as "John Smith".

However that person would have had a different passport ID to me so I fail to see how he got processed as me.

Anyway the immigration guys seemed to think this was ALL MY FAULT and I was immediately surrounded by security staff. At least I was let off with a lecture rather than being hauled off to Guantanamo...

All this "security theater" at US airports does little but allow bullies on staff to wear a badge and pretend that every little bigoted idiotic thought in their heard is government policy.

John Doe said...

Hey Bob are you Freaking serious ? Because a name matches that of a known or suspected bad guy means you flag everyone who shares that name ? Wow you all are onto something brilliant better keep running with that ideal since it makes so much sense ! My hat is off to you guys for being morons !

Anonymous said...

I was briefly delayed because I was on the list. I am 35 and the airline agent at the gate typed on his computer, made a phone call, and I was issued my boarding pass: no pat down, no additional searches. Why in the world would they do all this to an 8 year old boy? The TSA fails in my opinion and will continue to do so. The best way to fix the TSA? Do away with it all together.

William Bryant said...

you guys are a real piece of work. Hurray for the police state.

Wintermute said...

Bob- Been awhile since I've been a thorn in the side of the TSA by posting here, but your word-play concerns me.

In order to *prove* that there are no children on the list, then produce the list, please. Also remember that a match is a match, whether the actual subject that it is intended to cover is that a child or not. The fact of the matter is that there's a child who was treated as if they WERE the subject that your secret list targets.

Final though - this is the USA, not Soviet Russia. Is it too much to ask our government to NOT treat us as if it were the latter?

Wintermute

Anonymous said...

What a joke. I believe in random checks but when a little kid walks up and is detained then we would think tsa would be looking for a way to be more intrested in getting the worry free people off the list to focus on the remaining. Leave the kid alone or get a system thats professional and accurate. Like I said what a joke

Anonymous said...

There comes a point in time when you have to stop pointing the finger at other people and DO something!!! If there are NO children on the list, why does this keep happening? Simply pull the list and remove his name. End of story. This is an innocent child that should not be subjected to this treatment! Just fix it! Stop shouting out about policies and procedures, facts and myths, or protocol. Man up!!!

Anonymous said...

Bob, thanks for the post, I'm glad to hear that there is no problem then...

Except maybe that there is? I mean how can it be that the boy is not on a list but treated as if he was on the list? Also, as a point of reflection - what happens if this boy get 9, 10 or 18 one day? And what happens to all the poor people that are adults and who match the names?

Right, secure fly will fix that. But isn't it even more problematic to get rid of false positives under the secure fly scheme? So what will be doing then?

I think that the whole list business is fundamentally flawed and takes valuable resources away from keeping all of us safe.

And Bob, just as a matter of style: adding insult to injury by ridiculing the issue is neither fair nor helpful. It will add to the negative emotions around the TSA and not help your cause.

Anonymous said...

TSA is TOTALLY USELESS! - like cops who supposedly protect and serve but only hand out tickets or come after they are needed, they don't stop or prevent anything, just make us wait in line while they frisk old ladies and children. Just spend ALL the wasted TSA employee money on higher tech screening equipment which exists.

freedomfromtyrants said...

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." As Americans we are not required to join any kind of civil service. Our only responsibility we have to remain free and if that means dying in a terrorist attack then so be it, anyone who dies in such a manner dies a hero. As long as we remain free then we win. Right now the TSA and DHS are aiding the terrorists which makes them enemys of the state and as such traitors to the constitution and the American people.

Isaac Newton said...

Mrs Najlah Hicks wrote - well, she told the truth as it needed to be told:
If you think it's far more helpful to belittle the process rather than just giving people the information they need, then I think the TSA has far more serious issues than any of us imagine.

Mrs Hicks, I applaud you for your words. Thank you for coming here to share your story and to confront the lies and juvenile humor that TSA persists in dishing out. I sincerely hope that the situation is resolved very soon.

Anonymous said...

I really think most of you are very unexperienced when it comes to actually flying. I think you spend to much time watching the news which most is exadurated and hear stories from a person who heard it from a person who heard it from fifteen other individuals where the story is not the same from when it was first told. You spend way to much time blaming our TSA screeners when they are only doing there jobs, wanting to protect this nation, they obviously know way more about the issues at hand then you ever will. TSA can not control what the airline staff desides to do. They can deselect someone, it is there choice to and maybe they just do not feel like it. So why blame TSA for that.

I am glad you can sit there on your computer blaming blogger Bob for TSA and the things you think are so stupid. Yet i would really be interested in how often you fly, how often your grandmother flies, what you do for a living that gives you the right to make the statements you do. Have you ever thought of our brothers and sisters that have been killed and injured by children because there family planted it on them and told that they need to walk up to the soldiers. Or the mentally handicap whos family straps the bomb to them and sends them to the check points. There is a reason these people use children and even the handicap. They use them because we, people of morals, feelings and love would never expect it.

Seriously guys, get off your couches, find a few soldiers and have a conversation. You could even talk to your parents or grand parents who will tell you that even back in vietnam they were using children then to harm our soldiers. These people do not care who dies they only care on how they can hurt others. Do you think they care when they took those planes down on 9/11. Do you think they felt sorry for the people even kids on board. NO guys these people do not care. You know as well as i do that the US government is doing everything they possible can to prevent another 9/11. There are numorous departments who are working on it not just TSA. No one wants to see over 5000 lives lost and many family hurt by it. Stop judging the government for the policies, practises and for petes sack stop blaming the screeners. Maybe find out how many screeners are retired law enforcement, ex military who have served in war or who have lost family from 9/11.

Seriously guys if you have no clue on the practises or details of a situation or have no experience of flying or dealing with the TSA staff then please do some honest research. The screeners do not want to pat down an 8 year old. There is no frisking involved and they do not do full body pat downs. But your right about that children should have to go under extra screening proceedures if needed.

So take all of this as you will. I simply feel a few of you have to much time on your hands. You really should spend more time researching, or realizing the news will never state the full honest facts. They will only say the key words to get your attention. Spend some time with someone who knows first hand what all of this is about. I would hope none of you want a repeat of 9/11. No more devistation for our beautiful country. I think i would rather be cavity checked then hop on a plane not knowing i was safe, not knowing if i was going to die and never see my children again. Screen away TSA cause you never know.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the "Part we can play" is to point out how moronic polices undermine the faith and cooperation of the public.

SereneCalm said...

If there are NO CHILDREN on your "NO FLY LOST" PROVE IT TO THE REST OF US!!!

Anonymous said...

START PROFILING!, get rid of the ACLU!

Andy said...

i think Osama Bin Laden should change his name to Barack Obama. Just imagine the chaos...

Anonymous said...

Blogger, you totally miss the problem. It is not the media or the parents of 8 year-old kids who -- because they are treated as though they are on the "no fly" list -- think they are on the "no fly" list.

The problem is not a misconception on their part. The problem is the clear impression that has been imparted to them by people in the field with authority to use the lists and who don't understand the rules that you quote from the calm of your cubicle.

TSA needs to spend more time training airline personnel and its own employees about the lists and how to use them and how not abuse them and it needs to spend less time scolding parents for not understanding that their kid isn't on the "no fly" list (especially since TSA and others with access to the list are treating them as if they are).

The sarcasm and snarky tone should be directed at the people who create the problem...not those who alert TSA to it, have their warning klaxon fall on deaf ears and then turn to the media to call attention to TSA's problem.

If your blog is an actual, official TSA-approved message, and it reflects TSA's position on its repeating "8 year-old terrorist" problem, then commercial air travel in America is in peril. Failing to grasp that the lists are being misused and misconstrued by TSA personnel and airline counter agents...and instead blaming parents for shining light on that problem...means we are not made safer by these lists.

More training, more empathy, less snark please.

TSA needs to recognize that the problem lies within. I don't care whether you lose face by admitting it...but, by gosh, fix this already!

Anonymous said...

So why not simply put on the top of the list:

"No child under (say 11 - you choose the age) should be searched"

Problem solved.

It's so bloody obvious that it beggars belief they have not said that yet

Anonymous said...

Mikey's mom disagrees with you Bob.

MarkVII said...

If the airlines don't have enough sense to "automatically de-select" these individuals (gotta love the bureaucratese), then the TSA should. Why is the TSA giving them the third degree? Knock off the PR speak and do the right thing.

No wonder the TSA has such a credibility problem. Think about it -- the TSA doesn't seem to understand the concerns about how TSA personnel will handle seeing passengers essentially naked, yet these stories of children getting the third degree continue to pop up. Maybe if the TSA showed a smidgen of common sense, we wouldn't have these issues.

Mark
qui custodiet ipsos custodes

Anonymous said...

The NYTimes really cooked your goose. Or crow, rather, because that's what the TSA blogger should be eating.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/nyregion/14watchlist.html

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, Bob, TSA should actually help this family resolve the issue of the inclusion of their son's name on the list. You have hit a new low with your smarmy arrogance.

Kristin said...

Mr. Burns, if it is true that "There are no children on the No Fly List or the Selectee List," then why not instruct the TSOs not to "pat down" children who have names similar to those actually on the list? I know they are not required to be high school graduates, but every TSO I have come across in my travels has been able to tell the difference between a child and an adult.

And why would a TSA employee with a particularly public face such as yourself stoop to make fun of a family that has gotten tired of subjecting their child to a "pat down" that in any other circumstance would be termed "child molestation"?

I am ashamed that my government, and its employees, behaves like this - making fun of an 8 year old customer. Why can't you just help the family with the redress process in a timely fashion, if you are not able or willing to train the TSOs to recognize children?

Anonymous said...

Wow Bob - way to really step in it this time. A puppy post shouldn't try to attack the puppy!
Have you ever realized that your job was working for the American people - not against them? Quit blaming your employer (the taxpaying American citizen in case you forgot) for problems in your agency. Ms Hicks exposed a large problem in your system and instead of admitting to it and trying to solve it, you deny it and make fun of the very people who pay your salary.
You should apologize to her publically and quickly.

Dorothy Kernaghan-Baez said...

"In the meantime, we still get to touch your children... all in the name of safety." - abelard


This is what I find most disturbing about the mistakes being made as to the "special" screenings of children.


As parents, we take pains to remind our children that they have the right to bodily integrity and control. "You don't have to let anyone touch you in 'places.'" (That's what we called it when my children were, well, children.)


Small children have a need to see their parents as "all powerful." They need this to feel safe in a world much bigger than they are. This is crucial to a child's psycho-social development. A young child needs to feel that her parents can outfight any "bad guy" who tries to bother or hurt her.


I cannot imagine standing for either of my boys being frisked by a stranger while crying with terror. Those who know me probably can't imagine it either. I tend to be aggressive when it comes to my children. Seriously aggressive.


I have to say I'm surprised that no child has fought back, or that no parents have stepped in to physically defend their children. It's only a matter of time.


Y'all need to shape up before somebody gets hurt.

Ernie said...

This has to top my list of the worst tsa blog postings. "There are no children on the list, just names that match the children's names?" Are you serious?

I work for a company that utilizes a blog for customer service, and work with the people about running such a blog, so I have some knowledge of how these things are supposed to be done, and I can safely say that if I was your boss and was responsible for the content of the blog, there would be a firin' happening.

This post is the best example of why people hate the TSA and the dealing with the government in general. Congradudlations on creating an historic document to show the world examples of bureaucratic snark, double-speak, ans insanity.

Please, Bob: explain how a child is "not on the list" if they get stopped because their name is on the list. Explain it. Please.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Burns needs to sit down, shut up and do his job. He realized he messed up and is too embarrassed to admit it. Mr. Burns, you need to stand up and act like a man. Do the right thing. Computers don't make mistakes, just the humans that enter in the data. You sir, are human. You make mistakes. Now own up to it.

Anonymous said...

If you were really trying to catch terrorists, if someone on the no-fly list attempts to book a ticket, they'd be issued a non-functioning boarding pass to lure them to the airport so they'd be arrested. Why do you simply deny them a boarding pass? You won't catch them that way!

Anonymous said...

A child should not be repeatedly subjected to pat downs, crotch searches, or even being pulled out of line. For the child in this instance, this has become abusive, and I worry about how this is affecting him. The parents have tried for years to make this stop, so why is the TSA not responding to this family, and why does the TSA seemingly mock their plight? These are real people, a family who must experience signifcant stress and anxiety from the moment they begin planning a trip until it is over. The TSA MUST do something to help this boy and his family.

Anonymous said...

"If that is the case, why do these kids get the full selectee treatment. Can't you train your TSOs so they will understand that an 8 year old is NOT on the list and does not need the full grab and grope?"

If the child is labeled a selectee, and the parents are not, the child should be de-selected by the officers at the checkpoint. If the parents are labeled a selectee, then the entire family must go through the process.
If a child is wearing bulky clothing, then the child needs to be pat down, just like anyone else does. If the child is wearing a cast, or sling, or is a person with disability, the child should be screened with the parent present, and never seperated from the parent.
These are the only times a child should need to be screened, so I don't understand how they are screening this families child all the time.

Anonymous said...

Fine. If your child is patted down at everybody's sight every time he goes through a screening point, go through the DHS Redress process ! It may be fixed when he'll pass 18.
Thanks TSA, for this wonderful (and soooo efficient) advice.

And what is this stupidity : the kid is not on the list, but his name is !
If you're unable to make the difference between two people with the same name, that means the kid's name is on the list. That also means the kid IS on the list.

Anonymous said...

Hope the TSA can post some proven, common sense ways of screening...NOTE my husband flies a lot. He is not impressed with the intelligence level of the persons who do the screening. This is not namecalling---it is his observation.

Hope you can find some former military, retired cops, etc. to head up some of these groups.

Dunstan said...

TSA should hire some Psychologists to study the short and long term effects of the TSO interactions with children. In light of this most recent mistake,and your assertion that no children are on the list, perhaps you should stop the intrusive searches of children, unless they can be done by specially trained TSOs, in a way that does not undermine their relationship with their parents.

Al said...

Why is it that no one at the security checkpoints is willing/able/allowed to exercise any common sense whatever and decide that frisking the 8-year-old in ill-advised and unnecessary.

Rosemary Blair said...

Let's focus on Improving the system.
I do think this is what the TSA Blog is about.
To keep us updated on Information.
Let's think things through.
Lets see some Ideas not type fights.
Common Sense with Ideas makes progress.

Anonymous said...

These full-body scans are an unconstitutional, unacceptable intrusion into the privacy of American passengers nationwide. Your misinformation on the graphic nature of the images and ability of TSA personnel to copy, photo, and save the images is a bold faced lie and I object to it.
Your system failed, not the American people. You are once again attempting to grab power, you should immediately:

1. restore the Second Amendment
2. hand airline security back to the private sector
3. end our government’s policy of foreign interventionism.

Julius Ray Hoffman said...

You clearly wrote this post in response to the NY Times article. That piece discusses an 8-year-old who has been patted down and subject to intense, uncomfortable scrutiny by TSA ever since he was a baby. Are you so detached from humanity that you don't even see that as a problem? You didn't even respond to the issue, and instead you used a form of mindless doublespeak to avoid it!

Furthermore, when are you going to post about the TSA's threatening to put bloggers on the "no-fly" list for blogging about your policies? Remember what happened the week after Christmas with those two bloggers-- the TSA agent(s) investigating a leaked security directive threatened to make sure they couldn't fly ever again and also threatened to get them fired if they didn't comply with a possibly illegal subpoena. When are you going to address that issue? If I leave a critical comment here on this blog, like I am doing now, should I also be concerned about being added to a "no-fly" list?

You seem to have no comprehension of how many people are now more afraid of the TSA than they are of any potential terrorist!

Danielle said...

This is just crazy! The restrictions need to be realistic!

Anonymous said...

Its nice to know that my tax dollars are being used for something productive: lists that successfully screen out children but allow a terrorist almost blow up an airliner over the US even though he was on the lists. Congratulations.

Anonymous said...

In any large government agency there will be mistakes.What government agency out there that you know actually does everything perfect all of the time? We are all subject to laws that might not make any sense but we have to follow them anyway because that is part of the job.
In the federal government you follow the orders you were given or face disciplinary actions.The average T.S.A Officer are just doing what they are told to do by their government.

Anonymous said...

I am realitivly sure that small children are not being singled out as midget terrorists. What I do belive however is that the policies in place right now are not working. In what normal way of thinking do you feel it is right to basicly feel up a child in their underwear? One look at the kid says there is some kind of screwup. Do you believe that "frisking" a two year old is a good thing! What if it was your two year old. These kids are taught that this is the best country in the world to live in. Why are you as the representives of this country trying to prove them wrong!

Anonymous said...

I think that some of these laws and policies were thrown together too quick, just to give the illusion of safety and security. We need to carefully and slowly implement new policies that will work well for our citizen,s , while at the same time , targeting the real threat.
Using common sense policies would go a long way to achieving that goal.

Anonymous said...

You had a long weekend to think over this post, Mr. Burns, and it is absolutely shocking that we didn't wake up to find an apology on the blog. Do you understand what it means to work in PR? Do you understand how it looks when you blithely insult your "customers"? Do you understand the effect it has when you mock a parent whose child is subjected to groping by your "highly trained" staff every time that he flies?

You wrote: "Anything involving kids or cats gets tons of mileage and everybody starts tweeting and retweeting..." One could just as easily substitute "aviation" for "kids or cats." This is the only reason why your bloated, ineffective, absurd, and sometimes downright tyrannical organization exists. No cost-benefit analysis would ever justify the resources that we pour into the TSA.

Just remember that flying is an incredibly safe way to travel. By making it a miserable experience, you are indirectly causing more people to drive and more people to lose their lives. I hope that you are happy.

Anonymous said...

you guys are completely incompetent. you get warned by underware bombers dad and do nothing. but pat down the genitals of an 8 yr old. grow some brains.

staceyjda said...

Ahhh, the TSA--protecting us from grandmothers, kittens and now--8 yr old boy scouts! Gosh, that makes me feel SAFE...Thanks for continuing Security Theater TSA--it's so much fun and so helpful.

Like someone else posted before--when flying, Mikey's parents need to use his middle name instead of his first name (or pick a different first name altogether). That should clear up his "security threat" and keep him from being fondled/molested by the TSA agents. Gosh, do you think terrorists could do the same thing? See why so many people call it SECURITY THEATER???

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Everyone here, unanimously, agrees that Mickey´s situation has to be resolved. Isn´t this a good indication you should do something about it?

Anonymous said...

I've known for many years that the number one requirement to work for the government, local, state or federal, is complete lack of common sense. But your comments are down right scary considering the government agency whom has employed you and the fact that you are responsible for the safety of millions of citizens annually. You should be thanking Mikey for his story. It took the spot light off the fact that you let suspected terrorist onto air planes with bombs in their underwear. If I were your boss, you wouldn't be working for TSA any more and I suggest every reader contact their congressman, governor, even local mayor to see that you are no longer employed at any agency, especially one of safety.

Anonymous said...

Logic dictates that the child is on some sort of list if he is being singled out for additional screening.

Oh right, logic is anathema to this blog.

Your flippant remarks and careful lies of omission without the slightest hint of remorse are truly reprehensible.

Anonymous said...

I think I finally figured it out. Remember that episode of Seinfeld where George wants to get fired from the Yankees so he wears Lou Gehrig's uniform and dribbles strawberry juice on it? That must be what Bob is doing, because nothing else could explain such an egregious post.

I'd like to second the earlier commenters request for the name and contact information of your supervisor. This is inexcusable.

Anonymous said...

Had this been your child would you have written the same article?

Anonymous said...

How about this: Train TSA employees that there are no kids on the terrorism watch list, that they should not, under ANY circumstances frisk or question or interrogate children, and then these complaints will stop.

My 78 year old dad has a name similar to terrorist's name. He gets hassled too. That makes sense because he's an adult and adults are on the list. Kids by your admission aren't on the list, so your employees should say, "Oh look, here's a kid with the same name as a bad guy" and let him through without another thought or word.

To do otherwise is to make the entire TSA look stupid.

Anonymous said...

Bob
If you say that NO child is on the list, then isn't it just common sense that when a child just happens to have the same name as the adult that is on the list, that they should pass through security with NO problem.
Is it that hard for the TSA to recognize a child from an adult?
The TSA continually fails, so I guess this is just another to add to the long list.
Also, I do feel you owe the Hicks's family a public apology. They are seeking a way out of their mess, and you somehow think it is funny. Shame on you, shame on the TSA. But I guess with the attitude so prevalent around the TSA towards the flying public, this is just another day at the office.

Dorothy Kernaghan-Baez said...

"TSA should hire some Psychologists to study the short and long term effects of the TSO interactions with children."

Dunstan, I can say that in my experience as a Family Advocate, even a short negative experience such as what we are discussing can be extremely traumatic to a small child.


"In light of this most recent mistake,and your assertion that no children are on the list, perhaps you should stop the intrusive searches of children, unless they can be done by specially trained TSOs, in a way that does not undermine their relationship with their parents."

A big part of the problem is that agents of the government oftentimes refuse to admit that their actions could potentially cause distress or harm to people the government agents have, or think they have, power over.

I have no hopes for improvement until TSA employees (as well as other government agents, undergo an attitude adjustment.

Glad not to be an American said...

How quickly americans have allowed their country to descent into totalitarianism, controlled, like communist Russia was, by a bunch of small minded, useless beaurocrats that will do anything to maintain their sense of power.

Bob said...

First and foremost, I want clarify that my post wasn’t directed at this or any family who have been inconvenienced in situations such as this, but more at the perpetual reporting that there are children on the No Fly list. As a father of two young children, I sympathize with any parent’s frustration at being told their child is on a terrorist watch list, and empathize with any parent going through that situation. It’s terrible.

We’ve said it before, there are no 8 year olds – or other children – on the No Fly or Selectee lists. We may not own the lists (the Terrorist Screening Center does), but we know that kids aren’t on them for sure. The ticketing agent, sky cap or other airline employees at the airport do not know who is on or not on a watch list, and they have no business telling a parent that their kid is on one because it’s simply not true. Airlines can and should automatically de-select any child that appears to be on a watch list when they see them at the check-in counter. You can also check this out for other debunked myths about watch lists.

Anyone who can’t print a boarding pass from home or at a kiosk because they are currently misidentified with someone who is actually on the list should apply for redress to fix the problem. And as I’ve said before, TSA is working to implement the Secure Flight program, which brings watch list matching back to TSA from the airlines. When people provide their date of birth and gender when booking their flight under Secure Flight, it will eliminate about 99% of misidentifications once its fully implemented.

For anybody who is new to the TSA Blog, please know that I’m a blogger and not an official TSA media spokesperson.

The way I write and address issues is different than a spokesperson would address issues with traditional media, and I certainly didn’t mean to belittle the experience of any families who have been through this.

Sincerely,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Ayn R. Key said...

Yes, Bob, we know. There are no 8 year olds on the list. We know it is true because THERE ARE NO PEOPLE ON THE LIST, ONLY NAMES! So you are right that there are no children on the list because children are people. There are names, and some of those names belong to children.

Now, as to your role of TSA spokesperson ... BULL. You are the chief blogger on the official blog of the TSA. This may not be your primary duty, but you are definitely a spokesperson, otherwise the web address of this blog would not be "tsa.gov".

You speak on behalf of the TSA, with your posts cleared by the TSA. Don't give us any nonsense about how you aren't a spokesperson.

RB said...

For anybody who is new to the TSA Blog, please know that I’m a blogger and not an official TSA media spokesperson.

The way I write and address issues is different than a spokesperson would address issues with traditional media, and I certainly didn’t mean to belittle the experience of any families who have been through this.

Sincerely,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

January 19, 2010 4:45 PM
...................
Bob saying your not a spokesperson for TSA almost made laugh.

This blog has been used for TSA propaganda and spin since day one with your name attached.

You may not be in the Public Affairs office, oh wait but your are according to the "Meet our Bloggers" post. Promoted to the Management Analyst with the Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs.

Sounds like Public Affairs to me.

Now, how about that policy statement that says ICE is allowed through the checkpoint for everyone. Care to give us a pointer to that on the TSA web page?

Anonymous said...

Not enough, Bob. What's the name and contact information of your supervisor so I can file a formal complaint about your lack of professionalism?

Najlah said...

Hi Bob,

We're still waiting for an apology which you didn't give in this posting. Please let me know when that will be forthcoming.

Just because you identify yourself as a blogger, doesn't give you the leeway to be obnoxious. I know many blogger's who are very intelligent people and quite frankly would never agree with your quote below.

"The way I write and address issues is different than a spokesperson would address issues with traditional media."


As for your "myth buster", just because you put up a posting on the TSA site and say it's a myth buster doesn't make it true. We do not blindly follow Bob. That's what makes America so great.

We've contacted the airlines and they've told us they have no recourse in taking our son off the list.

We've filled out the redress information, sent in the forms and copies of our passports. We have dutifully filled out everything we've been asked to fill out and the TSA did not respond until the article hit the front page of the New York Times.

You're dealing with intelligent people Bob. People who believe in freedom, justice and the American way. Our family lives 12 miles from where the World Trade Center towers use to stand.

I was there Bob when the towers came crumbling down. I photographed funerals for weeks after 9/11 and I saw the anguish and despair. I know people who died on 9/11 Bob.

We all want the same thing. We want terrorist caught and innocent people left also. We also want an intelligent government who respects their people. Maybe it's something you ought to ponder Bob.

Sincerely,
The Hicks Family

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Why no comment on why TSO's can't use their discretion and not make the kid go through the additional screening?

Without addressing this issue, your apology is hollow.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight.

An airline ticket agent can deselect someone from having to give someone extra screening, but a TSO can't

Boy, that makes me feel safer.....

Anonymous said...

"For anybody who is new to the TSA Blog, please know that I’m a blogger and not an official TSA media spokesperson."
--------------------------

A "blogger" who is paid to represent a branch of the federal government is an official spokesperson. Mikey Hicks may only be eight years old, but I would imagine that he, unlike you, knows how to say he is sorry when he has done something wrong.

If it should be so easy for the airlines to deselect children, then why is it so difficult for you to instruct your employees to do the same?

Jim Huggins said...

Bob,

Your updated statement is missing two little words, that would make a world of difference.

"I'm sorry."

abelard said...

First and foremost, I want clarify that my post wasn’t directed at this or any family who have been inconvenienced in situations such as this, but more at the perpetual reporting that there are children on the No Fly list.

Then why did you choose to address your angst about the perpetual reporting instead of offering publicly to help Mikey's Mom so the situation was resolved?

Sorry, Bob, but your frustration over the perpetual reporting is nothing compared to parents having their children touched by strangers.

Anonymous said...

Yikes Mrs. Hicks, I think I heard the national anthem. All we need are some apple pies and sparklers.

I think somebody is playing this for all it is worth.

Please....

Mark Jensen said...

Blogger Bob wrote:
Anyone who can’t print a boarding pass from home or at a kiosk because they are currently misidentified with someone who is actually on the list should apply for redress to fix the problem.

What a Joke!
The TSA can't get their act together and continue to assume people are guilty and because they share the same name as someone a computer has identified as "bad".

Are you going to base your selection process on identification (name, address, driver's license #) or not based on identification (still flags on same name only), TSA?

The sad part of the whole affair is America was founded on the belief that people are innocent UNTIL proven guilty, not the other way around. People bring their ID to the airport as directed, and the TSA still shakes them down.
Now, if they can't wade through the Terabytes of data, it is up to the traveler to prove himself worthy of flying.

Air travel used to be a pleasant experience, until some bureaucrat saw it as a power grab. The TSA had better set their sights on screwing up the train and highway systems next, because many people I know refuse to fly anymore.

P.S. We all know no 8 year olds are on the "Naughty" list (I hope), but that doesn't stop the TSA from harassing them anyway.

Anonymous said...

If there are no children on the no fly or selectee list, then why is this child being hassled? He's obviously not the person on the list because he's a child AND THERE ARE NO CHILDREN ON THE NO FLY OR SELECTEE LISTS. Duhhhhhh... THIS IS WHY WE SHOULD NOT HAVE THE GOVERNMENT DOING ANYTHING FOR US THAT WE ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY CANNOT DO WITHOUT. They're too stupid to be wasting our air. Go ahead, point the finger at the airlines and make yourself look even more stupid.

Anonymous said...

Paid TSA Blogger Bob,

Your insensitivity is shocking even to me, who is long since used to our supposed public servants' ill-treatment of the public.

Please keep the following in mind:
The TSA is a jobs program, not a serious security service. It has failed miserably at protecting the United States - since 9-11 every serious terrorist attack has been foiled by passengers. The TSA has missed every single one - the crotch bomber being only the most recent to slip through TSA's supposed 'security'. The TSA's distinguishing characteristics are its incompetence and its arrogance. And you are a fraud for attempting to cover for them. You are a paid advertiser, not an honest voice and deserve naught but contempt.

I for one would like to see the TSA disbanded and its clearly unconstitutional powers of search ended. There are far better ways of defending our country from our cowardly Islamic enemies than the jacks-in-office who staff the TSA. Most of these methods involve the muscular use of our Armed Forces - people who are worth a thousand of you and your employers in the TSA.

The TSA owes every American an apology - an apology they are both too cowardly and too full of themselves to give. And you owe Mrs. Hicks and her family an apology for your arrogant and dismissive attitude. One of these days, the TSA will be tested again. And of course it will fail again. And then what excuse will you give to the families of the casualties? I'm sure you will have one, you glib shill. You disgust me.

摩那 said...

There is an even easier fix: Do away with your useless lists.

RedWrites said...

Blogger Bob - why aren't you commenting on the comments left behind? Do any of the names on the No Fly List have ages attached to them? Explain to us how this family is harassed every time their child flies yet the "underwear bomber" - who was added to the government's terrorist list less than 1 month before nearly blowing up a plane - wasn't?

Anonymous said...

your update was lame, lamer then your post. But I am not surprise My tax dollars pay you to do such a pitiful job. Scott Brown's election shows that the Revolution is coming, and you will be out of a job soon.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

Bob, if this wasn't in response to 8-year-old Mikey's case, just why did you choose to post this now?

Anonymous said...

Bob, how tough is it for you and the TSA to simply apologize for the original post and help the Hicks family get this resolved? As a father I would think that you would understand what their child is being subjected to. Ask yourself how long you would tolerate this situation if this was your own child.

Anonymous said...

Bob, If your comments were not directed to the Hicks family, then why did you FAN THEIR PAGE AND COMMENT ON FACEBOOK? Isn't that PERSONAL? You are a paid representative of the TSA and the blog is a PR channel, whether the tone is informal or not. In an age where people can get sued over what they tweet, it is irresponsbile for you to claim that your tone is not important. And we KNOW there are technically no children on the list, just NAMES. But when a child is patted down AND CANNOT GET THE REDRESS NUMBER THEN WE HAVE A MAJOR ISSUE. So now that we know you know about the Hicks family, how about addressing that, and stop pretending that you are just a clueless blogger.

Perhaps Mrs. Hicks should take over as a representative, because she is the one that has inspired ME to stand up and fight for the American freedom and protection, all at the same time. You, Blogger Bob, are the people we need to be protected from. Because you have a public platform that you are carelessly using, and instead of spending time stopping the real problems, you keep causing more problems. And any person that stands in the way of finding the terrorists is assisting them.

confused said...

I thought the TSA guy said that anyone on the list would not get a ticket at all and this is controlled by the airline and the ticketing systems they use. If this is the case then NO ONE crossing through security should have to endure that humiliation because if this statement is in fact the truth then the terrorist wouldn't even make it to the screening line. Help please a little confused as to where this imaginary line really is.....

Headmistress, zookeeper said...

Hey, Bob. We put our own child on the 'no fly list,' when we realized that being utterly incompetent and totally rude and insensitive was apparently a prerequisite for working for airport security and screening passengers.

Our daughter is profoundly retarded, does not speak, wears diapers, weighs 80 pounds and is barely four feet tall. She wears a leg brace, and at airports we request a wheelchair because she has trouble with the long distances.

Two years ago, the last time we ever flew or ever will again, I was getting my children through the airport security- they refused to allow my then 9 and 11 year olds to go through with me and the child in the wheelchair (who was chronologically over 18, but developmentally is barely two). So as they took my handicapped daughter and I through one part of the airport and sent my children through a different part, I turned my back on my handicapped child for five seconds to look back at teh other children to see if they were okay (they were not, one of the airport security jerks was making my daughter cry because she forgot to put a birthday present of a small tube of lotion in a ziplock bag), security suddenly WHISKED MY WHEELCHAIR BOUND CHILD AWAY FROM ME AND STUCK HER IN THAT STUPID GLASS ENCLOSED BOOTH AND WALKED AWAY.

The idiots would not let me in with her, and although I explained repeatedly, "yes, I know she is over 18 chronologically, but developmentally she is only two and you cannot take her away from me like that, she cannot talk and she doesn't understand you," they refused to let me in with her, and kept saying "But she's over 18."

I honestly do not think the idiots knew what the words chronologically and developmentally meant.

Thank GOD this child was sick and didn't feel good, otherwise she just would have gotten up and stumbled out of the booth, and who knows what idiotic things could have happened then.

I won't go into the rest of the sorry details about the idiotic, stupid, and totally lacking in common sense and compassion way security behaved after that, but finally I did get somebody who understood that I wasn't even objecting to screening my child, I objected to IDIOTICALLY whisking a handicapped child away from her mother without notice- I told them, "You cannot do anything to her you would not do with a two year old. That means I HAVE to stay with her."

And still they wouldn't let my minor children with me, while they rummaged through her back pack, patted her down, etc, etc.

You know what really smells here? I complained to other mothers of disabled children, and many of those who fly have had exactly the same problem- disabled kids and young adults get extra screening.

Anonymous said...

I have never seen so many people get so worked up about nothing.
I came here expecting to read a really bad blog post. Are people really upset about this post? Mr. Burns has shown more class than the lynch mob here who are chastising him.

Anonymous said...

Two questions:

1. Why aren't there children on the terrorist watch list? Al Qaeda begins training terrorists at a very young age when they're most vulnerable. There are real terrorists who are children--some of them have been captured by the U.S. and released back into the fight and are extremely dangerous people. Why not admit that there's a need to have children on the watch list and stop with the PC mumbo jumbo?

2. Why does this blog still exist? I mean, really? Probably 95% or more of what's posted here paints TSA in a negative light (to say nothing about what doesn't get posted). I know the original purpose of the blog was to foster a civil exchange (and distribute propaganda), but that's not what we have here. So what's the point? Why not just accept that the TSA has surpassed the IRS as the most hated agency in the federal government?

HappyToHelp said...

RB said…
“Now, how about that policy statement that says ICE is allowed through the checkpoint for everyone. Care to give us a pointer to that on the TSA web page?”

Hey RB… :)

Ice is allowed through for everyone. The webpage update that displays the non SSI version of the rule is located in the Learn more about packing your liquids and gels page located on the 311 rule page under the resource list. (That’s a mouth full)

It states “Frozen gels/liquids are permitted if required to cool medical and infant/child exemptions. Ice is permitted as long as there is no melted liquid present.” It’s not very descriptive I do have to admit. However, Bob did a good job in his blog post explaining the what, why, and how ice is for everyone. Bob also gave resolution if you had any problems (use Got Feedback).

As a TSO working the checkpoint, I can confirm the Standard Operator Procedure (SOP) does allow solid ice through for everyone. If any TSO tells you different, you need to speak to the checkpoint supervisor.

Just a FYI on how this rule is working at the checkpoint. The ice needs to be solid when a TSO inspects the liquid. If the liquid is slushy, it is not permitted unless the ice is used to cool down medical items such as, but not limited to, insulin, breast milk…. est. It may take a few minutes or worse case scenario 10 to 15 minutes to inspect your ice. If your ice becomes slushy before a TSO inspects it, it will be prohibited.

Helpful tips to get through with your ice.
-Do not leave your ice in your carryon bag (unless it is cooling medical items or food). This can trigger a bag check and may leave your ice melted by the time a TSO inspects it visually.
-Make it easy for a TSO to check to see if your ice is slushy.
-Give the X-ray operator a heads up about your ice. The X-ray operator can clear it for you quickly after it rolls out the X-ray machine.
-Be patient.
-Don’t be afraid to talk to a supervisor.
-Send us suggestions to make this process better.

Let me know if you have any specific questions about the ice rule. I will do my best to track down some answers.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Bob, it says here: "This blog is sponsored by the Transportation Security Administration to facilitate an ongoing dialogue on innovations in security, technology and the checkpoint screening process."

Did making fun of the trials this 8-year-old is going through (and passing the buck to the airlines when your screeners stupidly, repeatedly subject a child to these depredations for what you concede is a coincidence and not a true security issue) "facilitate an on-going dialogue...on the checkpoint screening process"?

Not really.

HappyToHelp said...

RB said… January 14, 2010 11:29 AM -"Advanced Imaging Technology: Storing, Exporting and Printing of Images"-


“First example Tim.

A person is on a watch list. This list restricts their freedom of movement but no charges have been brought, nor is confirmation available that the person is actually on a list.

Government in the above example has stolen this persons rights without legal steps being taken.”

Airline passengers who find their names on the government's "no-fly list" have the right to ask a judge and jury to decide whether their inclusion on the list violates their civil or constitutional rights, a federal appeals court ruled.

Ibrahim v. Department of Homeland Security et al., No. 06-16727, 2008 WL 3823029 (9th Cir. Aug. 18, 2008)

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Irish said...

[I]1. First and foremost, I want clarify that my post wasn't directed at this or any family who have been inconvenienced in situations such as this, but more at the perpetual reporting that there are children on the No Fly list. As a father of two young children, I sympathize with any parent's frustration at being told their child is on a terrorist watch list, and empathize with any parent going through that situation. It's terrible.

The way I write and address issues is different than a spokesperson would address issues with traditional media, and I certainly didn't mean to belittle the experience of any families who have been through this. [/I]

No pass, Bob. If you had one shred of sympathy or empathy for those parents (or any parents), you’d not have made such a smarmy, disrespectful, belittling and dismissive post to begin with. Try to follow this:

There are no actual, physical people on that (or any) list.
There are only names on a list.
Eight-year-old Michael Hicks’ name is a match (or near match) for a name on the list.
Therefore, eight-year-old Michael Hicks is on the list. Q.E.D.

Man up on behalf of your feckless employer, Bob, and stop pointing fingers at the airlines – the airlines haven’t conducted one single secondary screening or one single enhanced patdown of one single small child. That feat is repeatedly performed by a multitude of TSA’s high-school dropout TSO’s, whose much-touted “independent judgment” apparently extends to everything except tiny children and Cub Scouts. I suspect that if Mr. and Mrs. Hicks could be assured their child wouldn’t be subject to this intrusive and abhorrent treatment and that they could resolve the entire problem by simply picking up a boarding pass at the counter, they’d be deliriously happy. But even we accept your argument that multiple airlines ALL somehow screwed up, the airlines don’t control the actions of TSO’s. TSA does that.

Layering smarminess on smarminess, pointing fingers at the airlines, and attempting to blame the Hicks family for lack of action doesn’t accomplish a thing. Read this carefully: “Mrs. Hicks, I realize in retrospect that the wording of my post gives the impression I don’t take your son’s situation seriously. I didn’t mean it that way and I’m really very sorry. Here’s what I want to do to help your family resolve this situation (list real action steps YOU will take here).”

Professionally, we call that an apology. Less formally, we call it damage control. Would it be so difficult? Apparently.

It’s TSA, after all.

~~ Irish

Anonymous said...

Bob said,

"please know that I’m a blogger and not an official TSA media spokesperson. "


So why should anyone ever believe a single word you write?

Anonymous said...

What Mr. Burns says is directly contradicted by the experiences of some people (that's the nice way of saying he doesn't have much of a clue). Given his mocking attitude in the original post, people have every right to be upset.

Anonymous said...

Why is the TSA wasting our tax money on a blog? Shouldn't that money be used to make transportation safe?

Anonymous said...

So, is it true that nobody thought about the consequences of having a list of just names for the no-fly list? Because the minute I heard of it, my first thought was definitely "What happens if you share a name with a terrorist?"
Was everyone involved in the decision making process too stupid to figure it out, or were you all too arrogant to think people would care?
Also, great job on making the TSA look even worse than it already did. When you're hated more than the terrorists you're supposed to protect us from, and cause us more inconvenience, you've failed pretty spectacularly.

Anonymous said...

It is now 1:30 EST. I wouldn't think that it would take so long to finally issue the apology that is so obviously called for. Oh wait, I forgot that we are not expected to expect even a minimal level of professionalism from you because you are a hip, modern "blogger," not one of those stuffy PR men.

NoClu said...

Annon posted:

I have never seen so many people get so worked up about nothing.
I came here expecting to read a really bad blog post. Are people really upset about this post? Mr. Burns has shown more class than the lynch mob here who are chastising him.

January 20, 2010 12:01 AM

Mr. Burns and Annon.

Are you truely so egocentric that you can't see how others would take your comments as rude, dismissive or offensive. Not a smidgen? Wow.

TSOWilliamReed said...

confused said...
I thought the TSA guy said that anyone on the list would not get a ticket at all and this is controlled by the airline and the ticketing systems they use. If this is the case then NO ONE crossing through security should have to endure that humiliation because if this statement is in fact the truth then the terrorist wouldn't even make it to the screening line. Help please a little confused as to where this imaginary line really is.....
--------

I can help, the system where people on the no fly list are not allowed tickets at all is the new system that will be released later this year called secure flight. In that system your name gender and birthdate will be compared to the people on the no fly list. So when John Smith the 25 year old terrorist is put on the no fly list and John Smith the 90 year old veteran from new york tries to buy a ticket, john smith the veteran will be able to buy a ticket. Before the system was just name matching which made many people be subject to additional screening. This system should reduce the amount of misidentifications greatly and no fly list people will not be allowed to purchase tickets. The system has not been implimented yet but will be soon.

Kris said...

Good to hear! It is embarrassing travelling the world as a proud American and trying to defend the TSA's policy to the world.

Anonymous said...

""There are no children on the No Fly or Selectee lists.""

Then what you are saying is that ground-level TSA employees are so blatantly ignorant of this that they routinely conduct unnecessary and wasteful searches that detract from their core responsibilities?

You defense is no defense; its admission of incompetence.

Anonymous said...

""Secure Flight will fix most of these problems in the future.""

Right.

Took you 8+ years to start to realize you were doing a job *very badly*, so now, 'sometime in the future' you will finally do things with discretion and professionalism and efficiency.

No one is holding their breath. How about, "privatize the TSA"?

Anonymous said...

""In the short term, individuals who have been misidentified as a match or possible match for a Watch List can work through the DHS Redress process to resolve the issue.""

As a final comment, I was misidentified myself on a Watch list; I applied via the redress system mentioned ("TRIP"; irony?) to 'resolve the issue'.

3 years later, I got a form letter.

I also got letters saying TSA/DHS would neither confirm or deny whether or not I was ever on any list.

TSA has well-deserved bad reputation, and it seems almost comical that their best effort to ameliorate these concerns is to... get a 'blogger' on it. A $0.10 solution to a multibillion dollar boondoggle. Typical

Anonymous said...

Name and number of your supervisor, Bob. Or are you too much of a coward?

NoClu said...

TSO WilliamReed Said...
I can help, the system where people on the no fly list are not allowed tickets at all is the new system that will be released later this year called secure flight. In that system your name gender and birthdate will be compared to the people on the no fly list. So when John Smith the 25 year old terrorist is put on the no fly list and John Smith the 90 year old veteran from new york tries to buy a ticket, john smith the veteran will be able to buy a ticket.

Actually, John Smith the 25 year old terrorist will buy a ticket using the name Johan Smyth and state his birth date as 1984 to cirumnavigate the rediculous program called Secure Flight.

Anonymous said...

Try telling that to Continental Airlines.

Sandra said...

@Headmistress, zookeeper

As another person with familiarity with people with developmental disabilities, both adults and children, I can confirm that many families/groups have discontinued air travel because of the total lack of understanding of the TSA.

Bob said...

My post has obviously upset the Hicks family and many others, and for that I apologize. I assure you, my post was not directed at any families. Mikey Hicks is the most recent child to make the headlines which is what initiated my post, but the post was not directed at the Hicks family. If you look at our myth buster page, you’ll see that the 8 year old referenced there was from 2007. There have been other instances such as this one. In fact, I wrote a direct response to a father of a child with the same issue last year.

I understand that Mrs. Hicks’ truly believes her child is on a watch list based on what she is being told by airlines. All we can say is that we have spoken with the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center (who owns and maintains the list) and have been assured there are no children on the lists.

Our best recommendation for anybody in this situation is to use the Redress process. As previously mentioned airlines are beginning to roll out Secure Flight – which once fully implemented will all but eliminate situations where passengers are mismatched.

Some airlines have announced their implementation of Secure Flight. Check in with your airline to see when they will be onboard with Secure Flight.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Bob said...

Tom - I wanted to let you know that I couldn't approve your comment, and that I wouldn't do that to myself even if I could.

Thanks for the warm and fuzzies.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Use another first name, preferably a strange one so it doesn't match any other name on the list.

umm... how is she gonna know who is on the list? Did that get released as well? DIRP! Why dont you come up with something more helpful...

Bob, how come TSO's are not receiving better training for these situations?

RB said...

HappyToHelp said...
RB said…
“Now, how about that policy statement that says ICE is allowed through the checkpoint for everyone. Care to give us a pointer to that on the TSA web page?”

Hey RB… :)

Ice is allowed through for everyone. The webpage update that displays the non SSI version of the rule is located in the Learn more about packing your liquids and gels page located on the 311 rule page under the resource list. (That’s a mouth full)

It states “Frozen gels/liquids are permitted if required to cool medical and infant/child exemptions. Ice is permitted as long as there is no melted liquid present.” It’s not very descriptive I do have to admit. However, Bob did a good job in his blog post explaining the what, why, and how ice is for everyone. Bob also gave resolution if you had any problems (use Got Feedback).

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

H2H, sorry the information you linked to just does not say ice is permitted for everyone. Here is the whole passage:

" To ensure the health and welfare of certain air travelers , in the absence of suspicious activity or items, greater than 3.4 ounce (100ml) of the following liquids, gels and aerosols are permitted through the security checkpoint in reasonable quantities for the duration of your itinerary (all exceptions must be presented to the security officer in front of the checkpoint):

Baby formula, breast milk, and juice if a baby or small child is traveling;

All prescription and over-the-counter medications (liquids, gels, and aerosols) including petroleum jelly, eye drops, and saline solution for medical purposes;

Liquids including water, juice, or liquid nutrition or gels for passengers with a disability or medical condition;

Life-support and life-sustaining liquids such as bone marrow, blood products, and transplant organs;
Items used to augment the body for medical or cosmetic reasons such as mastectomy products, prosthetic breasts, bras or shells containing gels, saline solution, or other liquids; and,

Frozen gels/liquids are permitted if required to cool medical and infant/child exemptions. Ice is permitted as long as there is no melted liquid present.

Now the section your referencing is clearly written for "certain travelers" with special needs. There is no other way to interpet that section. Otherwise a statement would be found in a different passage addressing all passengers.

Why is it that TSA can't write easy policy statements for public consumption?

Anonymous said...

Bob, quit lying to us. You're expecting us to believe that you just happened to make a post referencing "everybody tweeting and retweeting that there's an 8 year old on the no fly list" directly after multiple news organizations report on an 8 year old that's on the no fly list... but that your post isn't in response to those stories. Really? The public isn't quite as dumb as the government seems to think we are.

RB said...

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

January 20, 2010 9:16 PM
............
Still unanswered.

Why can't TSA employees at the checkpoint make a decison to not frisk a young child if they are included on a watch list, even if in name only.

Don't the screeners have the authority to make minor decisions?

Tomas said...

Just a quick note to everyone telling the parents to get their child's ticket under a false name: Note this most recent trip was international and that Mikey had his passport with him as his official government picture ID. Getting a ticket under a false name would not have worked, either.

In any case, there is absolutely no logical, rational reason that an eight year old child should have to fly under an assumed name just to avoid unwarranted groping by US Government employees.

If there are "No Children on the No Fly or Selectee Lists" the TSA's TSOs should be cognizant of that simple fact and when presented with a young child, ignore the SSSS mark on the ticket/boarding pass instead of just automatically groping him or her with no thought of the insanity of what they are doing.

If nothing else, the on-site supervisor should put a stop to their employees feeling up children.

Bob, the airlines may be the ones who (by your current rules) must put SSSS on the boarding pass/ticket, but it is the TSOs who do the groping, and have the responsibility to use their training and alleged intelligence to recognize that "No Children on the No Fly or Selectee Lists"...

(Thanks for finally stepping up and apologizing for your post, Bob, it should never have been made in the tone it was, no matter WHO you claim you were referring to. Please keep in mind you are paid by the government to represent the TSA on this blog, so no matter how much you protest, you ARE speaking as an official representative of the US Government when you blog on this site. Act like it.)

Take care,
Tom

Mom in the MIddle Seat said...

My husband a naturalized American citizen, originally from the Middle East. He has stated many times that if the security of our country - or a flight - is at stake, then he's willing to be profiled. Not abused or disrespected, but subjected to heightened scrutiny. As it stands, our young son - he was 9 at the time - holds the record for the most thorough pre-flight search.

Isaac Newton said...

Bob,

You're still playing word games to try to avoid saying that TSA just completely messed this one up. You're still insisting that there are no children on the lists.

It may be true that there was no intention to identify children and add their names to the list. But when a child has the same (or close enough) name as someone who was put on the list, and when that child gets treated in the same way as someone would if they were meant to be on the list, then for all intents and purposes, that child is on the list. How can you not understand that?

Furthermore, if your screeners have been properly informed (I guess there's a first time for everything) that there are no children on the list, then when a child comes to the checkpoint with the "selectee" flag on their boarding pass, the screeners should say "there's no children on the list so this must be another of those stupid mistakes" and let the child through with the usual inspection (WTMD, x-ray bags) instead of the whole patdown invasion. How can you not understand that? How can your screeners not get that?

You need to say "Our screeners were wrong to treat Mikey and every other child in this situation as if they were on the list. Starting tomorrow it will not happen again. If it does happen, here is the phone number of Gale Rossides for you to call and tell us about it." Just admit that the TSA screeners were wrong in the way they treated Mikey, and that you were wrong in belittling the situation.

Instead you keep parsing words about the lists and the Redress and Secure Flight programs. If your checkpoint staff can't tell the difference between a child and an adult, how can you expect us to believe that you can run these programs to fix the problem?

HappyToHelp said...

RB said…
“Now the section your referencing is clearly written for "certain travelers" with special needs. There is no other way to interpet that section. Otherwise a statement would be found in a different passage addressing all passengers.”

Okay. I got yeah. I’ve typed up some suggestions on how to fix the page. Including fixing this section “We have also taken steps to ensure the security boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints.” I will send it out Monday(25th). If you want me to add anything specific to my suggestion, just let me know before then.

Of course, all I can do is send a suggestion for change. I have no idea if the page will be changed. I will keep you updated.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Of course we all know children are completely harmless...just like the one in this picture:

http://www.israel-wat.com/show12.jpg

RB said...

HappyToHelp said...
RB said…
“Now the section your referencing is clearly written for "certain travelers" with special needs. There is no other way to interpet that section. Otherwise a statement would be found in a different passage addressing all passengers.”

Okay. I got yeah. I’ve typed up some suggestions on how to fix the page. Including fixing this section “We have also taken steps to ensure the security boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints.” I will send it out Monday(25th). If you want me to add anything specific to my suggestion, just let me know before then.

Of course, all I can do is send a suggestion for change. I have no idea if the page will be changed. I will keep you updated.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

January 21, 2010 1:40 AM
......................
Thanks.

What is needed is a complete, concise list of rules travelers have to comply with to traverse a TSA checkpoint. Not rules or laws enforced elsewhere just those rules peculiar to the TSA Checkpoint.

You guys do want travelers to be able to clear screening quickly don't you?

Anonymous said...

"Our best recommendation for anybody in this situation is to use the Redress process. "

Again, Why can't you instruct your TSO's that there are no children on the watch list and not to conduct the extra screening?

Sandra said...

Tim wrote:

“We have also taken steps to ensure the security boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints.”

A tacit admission that TSA can't do security right at the checkpoints so they have to keep on trying beyond said checkpoints.

John J. O'Sullivan™ said...

Bob, you seem to be unable to answer a simple question without parsing it into 100 pieces. We understand your legalistic distinction—the list itself does not contain children, but names and names alone.

So, here it is again: "If there are no children on the list, why are TSOs putting children through the extra screening?"

The way it appears, If some kid is unfortunate to have the same name as a "terrorist," he gets groped by your well-trained staff.

Can you assure the Hicks' that their son will no longer be touched inappropriately by your employees?

zach said...

Sounds like a crappy job to me. I'm glad I don't have to do it.

Ranger11 said...

To RB,

I can state for a fact that the list of permitted items that are allowed to pass through the checkpoint includes:

•Liquids or gels that are frozen solid"

I can also state that the list of items permitted through the checkpoint separately states that:

•Gels or frozen liquids required to cool medical and infant/toddler exemptions are also allowed through the checkpoint.

I understand that in most cases these items are not being allowed to pass through the checkpoint. I am just stating that the rules that govern what the TSA Screening Workforce must adhere to allows for gels and liquids that are completely frozen solid to pass through the checkpoint after screening.

Again, I am speaking as an expert of these very rules. What Tim of the Blog team is telling you is true, You should be allowed to take you frozen solid liquids and gels through the checkpoint after screening as long as they remain frozen solid.

Any of the TSO's that frequent this site should be able to find this information and confirm it.

TSOWilliamReed said...

NoClu said...
TSO WilliamReed Said...
I can help, the system where people on the no fly list are not allowed tickets at all is the new system that will be released later this year called secure flight. In that system your name gender and birthdate will be compared to the people on the no fly list. So when John Smith the 25 year old terrorist is put on the no fly list and John Smith the 90 year old veteran from new york tries to buy a ticket, john smith the veteran will be able to buy a ticket.

Actually, John Smith the 25 year old terrorist will buy a ticket using the name Johan Smyth and state his birth date as 1984 to cirumnavigate the rediculous program called Secure Flight.

January 20, 2010 6:04 PM
-------------

Then the TDC would catch him with a fake ID or one that does not match his boarding pass. He would be questioned and his real identity would be confirmed.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Ranger11 said...
To RB,

I can state for a fact that the list of permitted items that are allowed to pass through the checkpoint includes:

•Liquids or gels that are frozen solid"

I can also state that the list of items permitted through the checkpoint separately states that:

•Gels or frozen liquids required to cool medical and infant/toddler exemptions are also allowed through the checkpoint.

I understand that in most cases these items are not being allowed to pass through the checkpoint. I am just stating that the rules that govern what the TSA Screening Workforce must adhere to allows for gels and liquids that are completely frozen solid to pass through the checkpoint after screening.

Again, I am speaking as an expert of these very rules. What Tim of the Blog team is telling you is true, You should be allowed to take you frozen solid liquids and gels through the checkpoint after screening as long as they remain frozen solid.

Any of the TSO's that frequent this site should be able to find this information and confirm it.

January 21, 2010 10:59 AM
------------

He is right, frozen solid liquid and gels are allowed through the checkpoint.

RB said...

Ranger11 said...
To RB,

I can state for a fact that the list of permitted items that are allowed to pass through the checkpoint includes:
...........
Ranger, I appreciate what your saying but it still does not resolve the issue that the official TSA Web Site does not list ice as an accepted item for all travelers.

Even if it did a TSA employee can exclude an item for any reason and the traveler has no recourse.

What TSA refuses to acknowledge is a simple fact; there is not a complete set of rules travelers can refer to in order to transit a TSA Dragnet Checkpoint.

Explain how anyone can be expected to comply with secret rules.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Quit blaming the airlines. Seriously. It is not plausible that a private (theoretically) for-profit airline would want to deny travel to a paying customer. The airlines only play the blacklist game because DHS/TSA makes them and threatens the airline companies and their employees with stiff penalties for giving a BP to a blacklist match.

It is your employer, DHS/TSA, that forces the airlines to use a blacklist. It is your employer, DHS/TSA, that is responsible for Mikey, other children, and thousands of other innocent Americans, being delayed, harassed, and humiliated by the disgusting un-American blacklist.

Mr. Gel-pack said...

If the redress process isn't fixing Mikey's problem, maybe it is something else.

What is it about all these 'cute kids' that makes it so TSA can't resist giving them all a pat-down?

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB said...
HappyToHelp said...
RB said…
“Now the section your referencing is clearly written for "certain travelers" with special needs. There is no other way to interpet that section. Otherwise a statement would be found in a different passage addressing all passengers.”

Okay. I got yeah. I’ve typed up some suggestions on how to fix the page. Including fixing this section “We have also taken steps to ensure the security boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints.” I will send it out Monday(25th). If you want me to add anything specific to my suggestion, just let me know before then.

Of course, all I can do is send a suggestion for change. I have no idea if the page will be changed. I will keep you updated.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

January 21, 2010 1:40 AM
......................
Thanks.

What is needed is a complete, concise list of rules travelers have to comply with to traverse a TSA checkpoint. Not rules or laws enforced elsewhere just those rules peculiar to the TSA Checkpoint.

You guys do want travelers to be able to clear screening quickly don't you?

January 21, 2010 6:58 AM
----------

All the information and rules are posted on the TSA.gov website and on the signage and television sets at the checkpoints. Once again RB you are asking for a guide on how to not be searched at a checkpoint. Even if we posted a guide for you and you did it all and you still got searched at a checkpoint you would claim we kept hidden secret rules away from you and you would demand a new guide.

Anonymous said...

My husband a naturalized American citizen, originally from the Middle East. He has stated many times that if the security of our country - or a flight - is at stake, then he's willing to be profiled. Not abused or disrespected, but subjected to heightened scrutiny. As it stands, our young son - he was 9 at the time - holds the record for the most thorough pre-flight search.

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

Fortunately, your husband isn't in a position to make the decision to blithely abandon the rights of millions of others who would also be profiled.

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB said...
HappyToHelp said...
RB said…
“Now the section your referencing is clearly written for "certain travelers" with special needs. There is no other way to interpet that section. Otherwise a statement would be found in a different passage addressing all passengers.”

Okay. I got yeah. I’ve typed up some suggestions on how to fix the page. Including fixing this section “We have also taken steps to ensure the security boarding areas after you pass through our security checkpoints.” I will send it out Monday(25th). If you want me to add anything specific to my suggestion, just let me know before then.

Of course, all I can do is send a suggestion for change. I have no idea if the page will be changed. I will keep you updated.

Tim
TSA Blog Team

January 21, 2010 1:40 AM
......................
Thanks.

What is needed is a complete, concise list of rules travelers have to comply with to traverse a TSA checkpoint. Not rules or laws enforced elsewhere just those rules peculiar to the TSA Checkpoint.

You guys do want travelers to be able to clear screening quickly don't you?

January 21, 2010 6:58 AM
--------------

Here are some travel tips for you RB. Pack your bag in layers. Start with clothes, then books, then electronics. Make sure your electronics are spaced apart and are not on top of eachother. Any electrical devices the size of a portable dvd player should probably be ran in its own tub outside of your bag. Pack your 3-1-1 bag in a place that is easily accesible so you can just pull it out and place it in a bin. Don't place things on top or your laptop or shoes, especially your jacket. Jackets have cellphones and things in their pockets that could block the view of your shoes or laptop. "When in doubt take it out", if you question yourself wether they would need to search something run it in a bin by itself. Finally, think about how x-ray machines work. Thick metal objects like lead or lots of metal coins can be taken out and ran seperately from your bag. If an officer tells you to do something like put your shoes on the belt, why argue? It takes a second and honestly is it worth your time to argue about it?

Follow these tips and you will go through faster. You will still get patted down or have your bag searched no matter what, thats just how checkpoints work. But cooperating and packing your bag well can make the officers job easier and faster therefore speeding up your trip through security.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Anonymous said...
Bob,

Quit blaming the airlines. Seriously. It is not plausible that a private (theoretically) for-profit airline would want to deny travel to a paying customer. The airlines only play the blacklist game because DHS/TSA makes them and threatens the airline companies and their employees with stiff penalties for giving a BP to a blacklist match.

It is your employer, DHS/TSA, that forces the airlines to use a blacklist. It is your employer, DHS/TSA, that is responsible for Mikey, other children, and thousands of other innocent Americans, being delayed, harassed, and humiliated by the disgusting un-American blacklist.

January 21, 2010 11:29 AM
---------------

Actually if the airline believes a passenger to be a threat they have every reason in the world to keep that person off their plane. 9/11 Hurt the airline industry so bad that they are still trying to recover their losses financially. Planes are very very expensive and passengers are worth 10x more. You really think the airline wouldn't deny 1 $500 ticket in order to protect themselves from that kind of catastrophe? The airline will do anything it can to make sure their flights stay in the air, their clients stay safe, and their business keeps making money. Thats just good business, which in itself is perfectly american since we are a capitalist nation.

Najlah said...

Just wondering if Blogger Bob and the TSA cares to comment on another story about Mikey in today's NY Times titled, Mikey, You're Not Alone. Link below:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/mikey-youre-not-alone/

Anonymous said...

TSOWilliamReed, what is up? Why do you and so many other TSA people try to ignore the fact that all someone has to do is modify and print a pass to get through screening. Regardless of who bough the pass. Once through they can use the unaltered pass.

This is the same doggedly repeated nonsense as there are no kids on the list.

It only hurts your credibility more.

If possible.

Anonymous said...

William Reed,

Did you ever consider that putting heavy books and electronics on top of clothes creases them, and not all of us have the time and patience to iron when on the go? Have you ever considered that rolling luggage gets tipsy when you pack the heavy stuff on top? We can´t live exclusively with TSA-friendly packing recommendations - we have a life outside the checkpoint!

Anonymous said...

"Here are some travel tips for you..."

I have one. Take alternate transportation when you can. I have done that since 9/11. Less stress. Less fear of theft from bags left vulnerable due to TSA policies.

I also wonder how long before we will see TSA controlling access to trains and other transportation.

An national agency has been created to control travel across internal borders.

It has just not been fully deployed. Yet.

RB said...

TSOWilliamReed said...

......Snipped s whole bunch......

Follow these tips and you will go through faster. You will still get patted down or have your bag searched no matter what, thats just how checkpoints work. But cooperating and packing your bag well can make the officers job easier and faster therefore speeding up your trip through security.

January 21, 2010 12:01 PM

....................
Not asking for tips.

Why can't TSA just publish a set of rules for travelers?

Anonymous said...

TSOWilliamReed:

How is it that the shoes that come off our feet have to be sent through x-ray alone so that your view of those oh-so-dangerous shoes isn't blocked but shoes that are in carry-ons can be stuffed full of small items? Why are those shoes not also considered dangerous?

Does TSA ever think when they devise rules?

And remember this, Bob and all you other TSAers:

"Pride goeth before the fall."

TSA is in the process of collapsing under the weight of its own arrogance and few people are going to be sad to see it gone.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Anonymous said...
William Reed,

Did you ever consider that putting heavy books and electronics on top of clothes creases them, and not all of us have the time and patience to iron when on the go? Have you ever considered that rolling luggage gets tipsy when you pack the heavy stuff on top? We can´t live exclusively with TSA-friendly packing recommendations - we have a life outside the checkpoint!

January 21, 2010 12:25 PM
----------------

Then pack upside down, electronics first then books then clothes. The book will crush your electronics? How about books then electronics then clothes. Common sense is your friend.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Anonymous said...
TSOWilliamReed:

How is it that the shoes that come off our feet have to be sent through x-ray alone so that your view of those oh-so-dangerous shoes isn't blocked but shoes that are in carry-ons can be stuffed full of small items? Why are those shoes not also considered dangerous?

Does TSA ever think when they devise rules?

And remember this, Bob and all you other TSAers:

"Pride goeth before the fall."

TSA is in the process of collapsing under the weight of its own arrogance and few people are going to be sad to see it gone.

January 21, 2010 2:23 PM
-----------------

Once again common sense will prevail! If you are going to hide something in a pair of shoes it will more than likely be the pair of shoes on your feet. If you were going to hide something in your luggage you probably wouldn't bother hiding it in a pair of shoes since there are 1000's of other interesting things to hide stuff in. Then at the same time who ever said TSA doesn't call bag checks because officers can't see whats in the shoes in your bag. For that matter, I am pretty sure bag checks are called for bags for all sorts of containers and items other than shoes in your luggage that can't be seen through or has the view obstructed by things.

RB said...

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/lo...rity_gate.html

Daniel Rubin: It was no joke at security gate
.................
I have to think you TSA types meet up each week and have a contest on who can be the biggest screw-up of the week.

Now come on, admit it, you guys really just trying to out do the next guy, right?

Is there a bonus or something for being the "Gomer" of the Year?

TSOWilliam said...

Anonymous said...
TSOWilliamReed, what is up? Why do you and so many other TSA people try to ignore the fact that all someone has to do is modify and print a pass to get through screening. Regardless of who bough the pass. Once through they can use the unaltered pass.

This is the same doggedly repeated nonsense as there are no kids on the list.

It only hurts your credibility more.

If possible.

January 21, 2010 12:21 PM
-----------

Yes he can create a boarding pass with a fancy new name on it. However he also has to create a valid un tampered with identification with his fancy new boarding passes name on it. The TDC checks all ID's for tampering and falsification. Even then if he gets past that he still has 100 other hurdles to jump before getting on that plane. Hence LAYERED security.

Anonymous_water_bag said...

This comment, posted by a self-declared TSO, says it all about the TSA - "If your ice becomes slushy before a TSO inspects it, it will be prohibited."

Really? No one in the government read that and just shook their head at the idiocy of it all?

TSOWilliamReed said...

RB said...
TSOWilliamReed said...

......Snipped s whole bunch......

Follow these tips and you will go through faster. You will still get patted down or have your bag searched no matter what, thats just how checkpoints work. But cooperating and packing your bag well can make the officers job easier and faster therefore speeding up your trip through security.

January 21, 2010 12:01 PM

....................
Not asking for tips.

Why can't TSA just publish a set of rules for travelers?

January 21, 2010 1:20 PM
--------------

The rules are posted on the website www.TSA.gov and on the signage and television sets at the airports. You still want more even though I just gave perfectly good travel tips. Therefore the only thing that apparently will make you happy RB is a set of guidlines on how to get through security without being searched stopped or talked to. There is no other reason for you to continually ask for this set of rules that already exists and is posted. You wan't help for passengers then follow the screening tips I gave you (almost the same tips from the simplifly add) and you may get through faster. You will still get patted down and your bag will still be checked and you will still have to interact with the officers at the checkpoints. That's just how the screening process works.

Gunner said...

How can we take your agency serious when these things continue to happen:

Daniel Rubin: It was no joke at security gate

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20100121_Daniel_Rubin__It_was_no_joke_at_security_gate.html

Really now, TSA'ers who stuff baggies full of white powder into passenger bags as a "joke".

Granted, the person is no longer in your employ, but who prescreens your employment candidates?

Anonymous said...

So when are you going to issue a directive to your screeners that eight-year olds shouldn't be subjected to groping? It really is that simple, or am I missing something here?

RB said...

TSOWilliam said...
Anonymous said...
TSOWilliamReed, what is up? Why do you and so many other TSA people try to ignore the fact that all someone has to do is modify and print a pass to get through screening. Regardless of who bough the pass. Once through they can use the unaltered pass.

This is the same doggedly repeated nonsense as there are no kids on the list.

It only hurts your credibility more.

If possible.

January 21, 2010 12:21 PM
-----------

Yes he can create a boarding pass with a fancy new name on it. However he also has to create a valid un tampered with identification with his fancy new boarding passes name on it. The TDC checks all ID's for tampering and falsification. Even then if he gets past that he still has 100 other hurdles to jump before getting on that plane. Hence LAYERED security.

January 21, 2010 2:33 PM
................
Since when did an 8 year old require ID?

RB said...

TSOWilliamReed said...
RB said...
TSOWilliamReed said...

......Snipped s whole bunch......

Follow these tips and you will go through faster. You will still get patted down or have your bag searched no matter what, thats just how checkpoints work. But cooperating and packing your bag well can make the officers job easier and faster therefore speeding up your trip through security.

January 21, 2010 12:01 PM

....................
Not asking for tips.

Why can't TSA just publish a set of rules for travelers?

January 21, 2010 1:20 PM
--------------

The rules are posted on the website www.TSA.gov and on the signage and television sets at the airports. You still want more even though I just gave perfectly good travel tips. Therefore the only thing that apparently will make you happy RB is a set of guidlines on how to get through security without being searched stopped or talked to. There is no other reason for you to continually ask for this set of rules that already exists and is posted. You wan't help for passengers then follow the screening tips I gave you (almost the same tips from the simplifly add) and you may get through faster. You will still get patted down and your bag will still be checked and you will still have to interact with the officers at the checkpoints. That's just how the screening process works.

January 21, 2010 2:39 PM

.....................
William, I never said I don't want to be stopped, searched or talked to. Not my words at all.

I do object to having to guess what rules are in effect at any given airport on any given day since TSA refuses to require its employees to act responsibly.

And yes I do want a set of rules. They can be in paper, on the net or any other way TSA wants to publish them.

Your reference the TSA web site. That is one of the biggest messes ever devised. Information scattered from on area to the other. Information that is wrong. Information that simple does not state what you guys are telling us the rules allow for.

I will keep asking for a complete set of rules since we are still in a (supposedly) free country where compliance with law requires knowing what the law is.

Perhaps TSA opposes freedom.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Gunner said...
How can we take your agency serious when these things continue to happen:

Daniel Rubin: It was no joke at security gate

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20100121_Daniel_Rubin__It_was_no_joke_at_security_gate.html

Really now, TSA'ers who stuff baggies full of white powder into passenger bags as a "joke".

Granted, the person is no longer in your employ, but who prescreens your employment candidates?

January 21, 2010 2:41 PM
-------------

Yeah that guy was an idiot, sorry bob I have great respect for my job, my agency, and my teammates out their on the checkpoints but that guy was an idiot. Hopefully he doesn't work for us anymore. Rebecca Solomon stated she was happy with the disciplinary actions that happened (even though we can't know what those were) so thats a good sign.

TSOWilliamReed said...

Gunner said...
How can we take your agency serious when these things continue to happen:

Daniel Rubin: It was no joke at security gate

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20100121_Daniel_Rubin__It_was_no_joke_at_security_gate.html

Really now, TSA'ers who stuff baggies full of white powder into passenger bags as a "joke".

Granted, the person is no longer in your employ, but who prescreens your employment candidates?

January 21, 2010 2:41 PM
-------------

Thanks for the article by the way, gonna print it up and hope it makes for good briefing material.

Anonymous said...

Gunner said...
"How can we take your agency serious (sic)when these things continue to happen:..."


Wow! Did you see how fast TSA circled their wagons on this? First they act as though it was some sort of training, then they invoke the privacy considerations. I wonder how many TSOs were in on the "joke" or how many victims have been threatened to keep silent.

Notice how there is no shame. I bet they'll harass this poor young American if she flies again.

People pay good money to fly on airplanes for this harassment paid for with tax money? What's wrong here? Small wonder there is so little respect for government people.

Anonymous said...

Clearly whoever wrote this blog post has not read 1984. It is pure doublespeak. How very sad for our country.

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