Saturday, November 27, 2010

Moderation of the Blog, the TSA Delete-O-Meter, and Fake Twitter Accounts

Delete O Meter Screen Shot
The TSA Blog has been receiving quite a bit of attention this past month and I wanted to clarify a few things that have been popping up. It’s being falsely reported that I froze comments on the TSA Blog.

Comments were never frozen. Over 4,ooo comments were posted to  the blog in a very short period of time and we had to moderate them all prior to approving. When moderating, we work from oldest to newest comments. So, after posting several posts in a row, the newest post had zero comments for an extended period of time. In my dream world, I would have a command center with a moderation team. But the reality is that while TSA does have some folks who are able to assist; at times I am the only one moderating the blog, so your patience is greatly appreciated. 

We're not new to criticism here at TSA and we’re definitely not shy about posting negative comments as long as they’re not offensive or overly disrespectful and adhere to our comment policy. All you need to do is read what's been approved in the past 3 years and you’ll see that we’re pretty good at taking punches.

As far as the Delete-O-Meter, we created it to show that we’re not really deleting that many comments. Currently, the number is at 5,488. That might seem like a high number, but let’s do the math. Since January of 2008, we have received a total of 41,389 comments. So we’ve deleted a little over 10% and that number includes spam, double or multiple postings, and violations of our comment policy. The Delete-O-Meter is updated manually and is not a live counter.

We welcome your comments on postings at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) "Evolution of Security" blog. Comments submitted to the TSA blog will be reviewed before posting. This is a moderated blog, and TSA retains the discretion to determine which comments it will post and which it will not. We expect all contributors to be respectful. We will not post comments that contain personal attacks of any kind; refer to Federal Civil Service employees by name; contain offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups, or vulgar language. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly off topic or that promote services or products.

You can read our full comment policy here.

We are also aware of several fake Twitter accounts out there that appear to be actual TSA twitter accounts. Please be aware that @tsablogteam is the only verified TSA Twitter account. All others do not represent TSA.


TSA Twitter Screen ShotWe recieved nearly a million visits this month and thousands of comments have come in. Thanks for you patience and most of all, thanks for reading our blog.
Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

The lack of transparency about the delete-o-meter is very disappointing. It should be trivially easy to include stats for how many of the deleted posts were spam, how many were duplicate posts, etc. But you don't provide this information. It highlights how you don't understand the concerns, those of your readers or of US travelers.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you have posted many negative comments. That is to be praised. However, I would say that your own answers to some of the concerns shown in the negative comments are questionable at best, and hopelessly biased or simply false at worst.
One thing - why aren't TSA employees wearing radiation meter badges?

http://www.sciencefriday.com/blog/2010/09/airport-screeners-denied-radiation-badges/

stephen said...

GOD BLESS THE TSA!

Anonymous said...

I think you must have e-mailed this to yourself, because all of the links route through a TSA e-mail server, probably one the protects against phishing. However, non-TSA users can't follow them.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the three links on this story actually lead to TSA's outlook servers, not the actual online stories that were intended.

Pete said...

It seems to me that being "pretty good at taking punches" is inappropriate for a governmental organization. You would do the nation a far better service by being responsive rather than bullheaded. It's disappointing that you seem to be proud of this.

Blogger Bob said...

Thanks for the heads up on the links. Fixed!

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Tomas said...

Hi, Bob!

I understand and accept the delays in comments appearing - what I don't understand is why some do NOT appear, such as mine providing actual links to the 9th circuit court of appeals decision that supports the TSA's application of a fine should someone start screening and not finish.

What happened to it, Bob?

The other post I made at the same time in a different thread made it public, but that one didn't. :(

Take care,
Tom

Blogger Bob said...

Anon said: The lack of transparency about the delete-o-meter is very disappointing. It should be trivially easy to include stats for how many of the deleted posts were spam, how many were duplicate posts, etc. But you don't provide this information. It highlights how you don't understand the concerns, those of your readers or of US travelers.

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

Good suggestion. I'll take it into consideration.

However, as far as your disappointment, I have to ask what other blogs offer the number of rejected comments on their front page? I can't think of any. There are some blogs that don't even allow comments.

Thanks,

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Hi Tomas. Based on your description, there was nothing wrong with your comment. I remember approving your second attempt, but I don't recall the first.

It could have been a mistake on our end or a technical error? I honestly don't know. Sorry for the delay in getting your comment posted.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Great work Bob. Love the work you're doing. People do not realize how unique it is for a big gov agency to talk to the public.

Fan

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob: Please consider doing a AMA or Interview with the reddit community. I think this would help to combat a lot of concerns about transparency on this particular blog.

http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/


It doesn't have to be a real time dialog even, allow the community to generate and pic a preset number of questions to TSA.

Concerned Citizen said...

Personally, I respect the fact that the TSA blog allows negative comments through; I've never had the impression that they were being censored for their sentiment.

All the same, I too wish the blog were more responsive (and, at times, more professional; with all the criticism the TSA has been receiving, I thought offhand jokes about pilgrims and turkeys going through security gave an impression of blithe apathy about worried travelers).

Anonymous said...

My suggestion for the delete-o-meter would be to split it off into reasons for deletion:

Like: spam, duplicate, obscenity, SSI, etc...


Likewise it would be beneficial for transparency and public trust in the TSA's stated mission if you divided screening success metrics into different categories of contraband such as:

Firearms, Large Blades, Incendiaries, Narcotics, Excessive Cash, etc...

Or at the very least provide a breakdown of just how many "artfully concealed" objects were actual threats to the aircraft or it's passengers.


To help understand why the delete-o-meter may be perceived as a little creepy/censor happy in general I'd suggest reading 1984 by George Orwell.

not Stacey Armato said...

The "delete-o-meter" says "Click here to see what will get your comment deleted", but it just links to a .jpg of the "delete-o-meter".

Anonymous said...

So you didn't "Freeze" the comments, there was just a delay in posting.

Same result.

Is there a law that dictates this board be moderated, or is it a choice?

So we’ve deleted a little over 10% and that number includes spam, double or multiple postings, and violations of our comment policy.

which doesn't include the "mistakes"....

And of course the comment policy says

"TSA reserves the right to modify this policy at any time."

That and the "off topic" provision gives you wide discretion and cover.

Blogger Bob said...

not Stacey Armato said...
The "delete-o-meter" says "Click here to see what will get your comment deleted", but it just links to a .jpg of the "delete-o-meter".

November 27, 2010 5:19 PM

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

Not Stacey,

That's because it's a screenshot. Look over to the right and scroll down to get to the actual delete-o-meter.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Blogger Bob said...

Anon - Our lawyers have advised us to have a moderated blog, but even without their advisement, we would still moderate. Have you seen how bad comments get on unmoderated blogs? How about YouTube? You can't have a video up longer than 10 minutes before you start seeing racial slurs. We also have to moderate to ensure we see any threats or SSI content.

The bottom line is that there are a lot of eyes on this blog and we have to stick to the comment policy if we want to be able to keep allowing comments.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Keep up the great work Bob. The people who are criticizing this blog for not being transparent should take a look at the White House blog. They don't allow comments!!!!! The king of transparency doesn't allow comments. You are doing it right. Thank you.

AmericanSecurityTheater said...

There is no real problem with censorship on this blog that I can see, there are many withering, well sourced biting critiques of nearly everything the TSA does posted on this blog every day.

The bigger issue is a lack of response to the legitimate concerns posted.

While on the topic of lawyers:

Do your lawyers think the TSA has the legal authority to implement, or compel others to implement the same screening measures currently found in airports for other methods of transportation?

Fox news recently reported that an anonymous source claimed that DHS/TSA has no plans to install AIT machines outside of air travel

However I am more concerned about the authority to do so than any current or future plans, specially given TSA's reluctance to inform passengers of future plans, even when they include touching of genitalia or other sensitive areas as a pre-condition for flight.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

If you only responded in other threads, like you are doing in this one, you might have more credibility.

It appears you run and hide when the going gets a little difficult.

Which by the way seems to be against the Comment Policy as that says:


Comment Policy

"The purpose of this blog is to facilitate an ongoing dialogue "

All too often, it is you who ceases the dialogue

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob is STILL "cherry-picking" comments. Either that or Blogger Bob, et.al. are screw-ups who don't know how to properly moderate comments.

Plenty of people who've commented here, including myself, have noted your failure to post comments which are NOT in violation of your comment policy. So many people, in fact, you felt it necessary to address the issue; clearly, the "errors" and/or censorship are running rampant.

daniel said...

I don't understand how people can praise the TSA blog simply for allowing some comments! Shouldn't that be the minimum requirement for a government sponsored blog? To me, that is barely a passing grade.

Bubba said...

The truth is quite a few of my comments have disappeared in thin air, while others make it through.

And another thing that disappeared in thin air is an assessment on the detailed article in the top scientific journal Nature stating there is no science behind the SPOT program.

Ayn R. Key said...

It is true they don't do much in the way of deleting comments.

1. They almost never reply to comments, so why bother deleting any of them? And when they do, they never reply to the most substantive comments or reply with substance.

2. They do like to hold my comment up in the approval queue until I post about how they haven't approved my comment. Then they post both and say "see, we do post your comment, you must have missed it."

Ayn R. Key said...

By the way, Bob, I was looking at the stats to my blog. The most popular blog entry I've written and the fifth most popular entry are both about the TSA, and my third biggest source of referrals to my blog is your blog.

Thought you would like to know.

R.D. said...

I'd also like to join in thanking you, Blogger Bob, on doing what is, almost, a thankless job! You must feel that regadless of how deligent and open minded you try to be in moderating a "Blog", people are going to find something to criticize. My fellow committee members that represent the TSA Officers on the floor deal with the same constraints in trying to do the right thing while keeping an open mind. Keep up the good work in continuing to answer the questions, correcting the inaccuracies and addresing any issues brought to your attention.
You are a Morale Booster to the TSA Officer in the field!

Anonymous said...

AynRKey. You have my permission to go to the pantry and get a cookie.

Tomas said...

I'll try to get this one posted again, Bob, since it seems to have run afoul of the machinery somewhere in your blog.
________

The basis for TSA's non-consensual administrative searches and the subsequent permission to arrest and/or impose a fine on a passenger for refusing to continue compliance is based in a ninth circuit appeals court decision:
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1265662.html

"The Fourth Amendment requires the government to respect '[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons ․ and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.'  U.S. Const. amend. IV.

However, "where the risk to public safety is substantial and real, blanket suspicionless searches calibrated to the risk may rank as 'reasonable' - for example, searches now routine at airports and at entrances to courts and other official buildings."
"…the Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the constitutionality of so-called 'administrative searches.'"

"Our case law, however, has erroneously suggested that the reasonableness of airport screening searches is dependent upon consent, either ongoing consent 4 or irrevocable implied consent."

"Significantly, the Supreme Court has held that the constitutionality of administrative searches is not dependent upon consent."

"The constitutionality of an airport screening search, however, does not depend on consent, see Biswell, 406 U.S. at 315, 92 S.Ct. 1593, and requiring that a potential passenger be allowed to revoke consent to an ongoing airport security search makes little sense in a post-9/11 world."

"Although the constitutionality of airport screening searches is not dependent on consent, the scope of such searches is not limitless.   A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it 'is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [ ][and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.'"

HTH

Tom

RB said...

A particular airport security screening search is constitutionally reasonable provided that it 'is no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [ ][and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.'"

HTH

Tom

November 27, 2010 10:22 PM

....................
I would say that seeing me the same as naked or the invasive pat downs TSA started using the end of October are certainly more invasive and intensive than required. Especially when ETP technology does exist to detect explosives which are the real threat since cockpit doors are hardened.

WBI "Strip Search Machines" do not detect explosives and no claim can be made that they do.

ETD and ETP are the technologies that TSA should be developing but that would take former TSA cronies out of the profit game.

Anonymous said...

"We're not new to criticism here at TSA and we’re definitely not shy about posting negative comments as long as they’re not offensive or overly disrespectful and adhere to our comment policy."

Wow, not "overly disrespectful." I don't respect the TSA, believing it to be infringing on citizen's rights. Does that make this post, "overly disrespectful?"

This blog is paid for with taxpayer money. I demand third-party ombudsman or that it be shut down. I have sent a letter with this demand to the DHS IG and suggest that others do likewise.

A good dose of sunshine is needed here.

Anonymous said...

"GOD BLESS THE TSA!"

I agree! May the employees of the TSA actually read their oath, reject their unconstitional ways and embrace American freedom!

Anonymous said...

"I'd also like to join in thanking you, Blogger Bob, on doing what is, almost, a thankless job!
[...]My fellow committee members that represent the TSA Officers on the floor deal with the same constraints in trying to do the right thing while keeping an open mind. [...]You are a Morale Booster to the TSA Officer in the field!"

Maybe this is what the blog is intended to be; a morale boost to government unions and TSOs?

Write the DHS IG and demand independent moderation of this blog. The pro-TSA bias needs to be balanced.

Anonymous said...

The opening line of the Comment Policy sates:

The purpose of this blog is to facilitate an ongoing dialogue...

The definition of "dialogue":


di·a·logue
   /ˈdaɪəˌlɔg, -ˌlɒg/ Show Spelled [dahy-uh-lawg, -log]
noun, verb -logued, -logu·ing.

–noun
1. conversation between two or more persons.
2. the conversation between characters in a novel, drama, etc.
3. an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, esp. a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.
4. a literary work in the form of a conversation: a dialogue of Plato.

–verb (used without object)
5. to carry on a dialogue; converse.
6. to discuss areas of disagreement frankly in order to resolve them.

Do you really believe you are fulfilling the stated purpose of the blog?

Many of us do not believe you are and the proof is in the lack of dialogue in this blog.

You post and then hide. That is not dialogue.

If you expect us to follow the Comment Policy, shouldn't we expect you to also?

Anonymous said...

"When moderating, we work from oldest to newest comments"

And yet we have all seen you delay approval of some comments.

Why is that done?

Anonymous said...

Bob, I've read through all of the 2010 press releases and I can't find when the new body scanner/enhanced pat down information was first announced to the public.
I found two press releases in April which said there would be new security features for flights INTO the US, but nothing was mentioned about domestic flights.
I understand that when I buy an airline ticket, I am subject to be security measures, but if I had know about the new body scanners/enhanced pat downs, I would not have bought my ticket. The airline says I should have been aware of these new rules and won't refund my money.
But how could I have known about the changes? Am I overlooking that press release?

Anonymous said...

"Over 4,ooo comments were posted to the blog in a very short period of time and we had to moderate them all prior to approving"

Add up all the comments posted in that time, and it is nowhere near 4,000

The numbers just don't add up.

Anonymous said...

@BloggerBob: However, as far as your disappointment, I have to ask what other blogs offer the number of rejected comments on their front page?

Other blogs are not used as the only channel of communication from the public to a massive government department.

Anonymous said...

R.D said:
I'd also like to join in thanking you, Blogger Bob, on doing what is, almost, a thankless job!

how about you thank the 1000s of tsa people at your airports to for their thankless jobs...

Anonymous said...

It will take a very long time for public outrage over the new policies (especially concerning kids) to cool, so anyone having stock in airlines should probably consider selling...it'll be the airlines who will suffer in the end.

Anonymous said...

Sure, you have a very "generous" moderation policy. So that "hopefully" people post here and poof, they're safely ignored and quarrantined on the internet

Remember, everyone! After you vent here, make sure to write your airline, your airport, your Congressperson and both your senators! Make sure you get your voice heard by people who might actually do something constructive with it.

Dan S. said...

Blogger Bob wrote: However, as far as your disappointment, I have to ask what other blogs offer the number of rejected comments on their front page? I can't think of any. There are some blogs that don't even allow comments.

Bob,

This isn't someone's personal 'look how cute my cat is' blog or some corporation's 'we want you to buy our stuff, which we advertise through viral marketing' blog, this is an official public affairs action by an Executive Branch agency of the Government of the United States of America.

If anything, I'm a bit disappointed that it's hosted on a external, 3rd party, for-profit blog engine and I'm curious as to how that complicates record keeping and 1st Amendment concerns.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Blogger Bob. It's clear TSA is not afraid of criticism. It's even more clear that some of the people who post do not have much else to do than to obsess whether their comments were posted. Give TSA a break for putting itself out there and doing a blog!

AmericanSecurityTheater said...

Are the laws and court decisions that determine the legal authority of the TSA considered SSI now? I can think of no other reason why my last post should have been deleted as it did not violate any other part of the comment policy.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if TSA deletes accounts but I put one in a couple of days ago and it did not see the light of day. I didn't think it was a bad post.

One question kind of off topic. Why doesn't the TSA us software that distorts the picture of the naked person going through the scanner? There were two guys that worked on the scanner technology and they offered some software a couple of years ago because they knew this would be an issue.
I know you guys say you are working on it but why not test out what these guys have?

It should not take years to test a scanner. I am a six sigma black belt and I know that they could get a good sample size and come with in a very good tolerence to see if the software works or not. It doesn't need to be a million scans. Just need to make sure you get a good P value.

I think this would take away a lot of the fourth amendment arguements and other privacy issues. The way you have it set up right now is easily abused even if you don't think so. Plus what affect does it have on screeners seeing naked people all day long.

Anyway, I think it's a valid suggestion that could easily be implemented in short amount of time.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob,

I do not have a problem with the comments being moderated, as unmoderated comment sections become a disgusting pile of spam and porn.

Sometimes the length of time it takes for comments to be approved, and the selection process for approval, suggests censorship and lack of interest in feedback and dialogue, even if that is not the actual intent. Perhaps it is readers' expectations due to our "always updated/always live" world we are now living in, or perhaps it is an intentional slowdown on TSA's part. Or maybe it's neither, just how things work out with the volume of comments and your work schedule. I dunno.

I will say your Twitter account shows much less accuracy and is much more about "Looky! People love us!" than actually Tweeting about the TSA. Sure, links to positive articles about you is fine, but when TSA agents are commenting their love of you and you put an obviously fake pic on this blog, all of the good stuff is suspect.

I do understand you have a thankless job and end up with virtual poo dumped on you constantly from unhappy citizens, but that's the job, man. And it won't get better as long as the illegal and unconstitutional scanners and body searches are in effect.

After reading your "humorous" Thanksgiving post, and the outrage over that bit of treacle, may I suggest reading up on change management and dealing with unhappy people? Laughing at people feeling angry and victimized by a faceless government doesn't help the situation at all.

Anonymous said...

It isn't that the TSA isn't afraid of criticism; it is that they simply don't care about it. They don't have to. Who are they answerable to?

Wayne said...

Hey there Anonymous! If that is really your name...

You might have paid attention back in 2008 when TSA put this out -

http://www.tsa.gov/press/happenings/at_mmwave_purchase.shtm

I don't always agree with TSA, but they are the most transparent of any government agency I've ever dealt with.

And man up people... use a real name.

Anonymous said...
Bob, I've read through all of the 2010 press releases and I can't find when the new body scanner/enhanced pat down information was first announced to the public.
I found two press releases in April which said there would be new security features for flights INTO the US, but nothing was mentioned about domestic flights.
I understand that when I buy an airline ticket, I am subject to be security measures, but if I had know about the new body scanners/enhanced pat downs, I would not have bought my ticket. The airline says I should have been aware of these new rules and won't refund my money.
But how could I have known about the changes? Am I overlooking that press release?

November 28, 2010 11:54 AM

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the safety of the TSA officers (TSO) who will be operating these machines, and will be constant 'bystanders' with respect to the radiation exposure. The range of exposure estimates is a function of where an officer stands during their duty, what percentage of that duty is spent in the same location and how often the machine is running. A TSO could be exposed to as much as 86-1408 mrem per year (assuming 8 hours per day, 40 hours a week, 50 weeks per year and between 30-100% duty and 25-100% occupancy, as defined by the Johns Hopkins report), which is between 86%-1410% of the safe exposure of 100 mrem. At the high end, if for example a TSO is standing at the entrance of the scanner when it is running at maximum capacity, then that officer could hit their radiation exposure limit in as few as 20 working days (assuming an 8 hour shift). While we may not be very happy with our TSOs at the moment as the face of these policies, we need to keep in mind that they really should be wearing radiation badges in order to know their specific exposure (especially for those officers who may also have to receive radiation exposure for medical reasons).

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: "how about you thank the 1000s of tsa people at your airports to for their thankless jobs..."

I'll thank them when they actually start to do a GOOD job (those pesky GAO reports keep showing they're not). In the meantime, they're just sucking down tax dollars.

Earl

SSSS for some reason said...

"..Anon said: The lack of transparency about the delete-o-meter is very disappointing.
----------------------------

However, as far as your disappointment, I have to ask what other blogs offer the number of rejected comments on their front page? I can't think of any. There are some blogs that don't even allow comments."

How many other blogs are operated by a Governmental Agency?

You work for us, remember?

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XhnZlmLGK8

Any comment?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Thanks Blogger Bob. It's clear TSA is not afraid of criticism. It's even more clear that some of the people who post do not have much else to do than to obsess whether their comments were posted. Give TSA a break for putting itself out there and doing a blog!

November 29, 2010 9:26 AM

What you choose to characterize as obsession, others may choose to characterize as vigilance; vigilance about a government blog "accidentally on purpose" not posting comments, which flies in the face of not only the professed purpose of this government sponsored/taxpayer funded blog, but also has implications for the Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech.

The government entity responsible for this taxpayer funded blog, the TSA, has already proven themselves rather unconcerned with certain rights allegedly guaranteed by the Constitution.

The concern over missing comments and the free speech issues involved is merely another out-growth of the concern people have for how (dis)functional the TSA truly may be.

*this comment screen captured for posterity*

TrackerNeil said...

Bob, first let me recognize you for having to sort through comments that range from the reasonable to the deranged. No easy task, I am certain.

That being said, I must express my complete disaffection with the mission with which the TSA has been charged. We've gone well past commonsense security measures into the realm of fantasy, featuring chemicals that are 100% stable when carried separately but become 100% deadly when combined by a novice in an airplane lavatory.

I suspect that a time traveler from 1990 would be aghast at the level of suspicion and paranoia that has become standard procedure at airports. I live in 2010 and I am certainly aghast.

You know, the objective of terrorism is not to kill people but to disrupt a society and intimidate its citizens. Killing people is just a side-effect. By that criterion, terrorists certainly have won, and with every new pat-down or AIT, they score yet another victory, and with the full cooperation of the United States government and its people.

If all this security theater is aimed at keeping us safe...well, I liked it better when life was more dangerous.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to know how long it took a government graphic artist or government contracted graphic artist to create the Delete-O-Meter graphic.

The Delete-O-Meter doesn't really exist; it's just a PR-based graphic meant to illustrate a point. How long did it take the graphic artist to figure out how to make it look like the little dial is spinning, and how many times did it get sent to a supervisor for review and tweaking?

I'm sure creating it took at least a couple of hours. Was that little project worth government dollars? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Blogger Bob, can you tell me when the 4th Amendment was repealed? I don't remember that ever happening. Strange.

Looks like you're going to have trouble coming from multiple directions - the airline lobbyists on one hand who will eventually encourage politicians to get rid of your policies, the judicial department on another - who will eventually get around to declaring many of the things you do unconstitutional, and finally, just having to deal with generally angry people on a day to day basis.

Anonymous said...

TSA, someone can take explosives onto a plane inside their rectum in a container and these machines will not detect that. If it had not been for the prior head of Homeland Security, Chertoff, personally enriching himself while doing a massive series of interviews with different news agencies while unbeknown to the public, representing Rapiscan, pushing the purchase of the scanners, the public would not have had to shell out the cash for them.
We want our money back.

Mike said...

All the people that are whining about TSA on here are the ones that can't vent their anger at the checkpoints because they know that if they give TSA agents a hard time they will be surrounded by airport police officers WITHIN SECONDS.

Anonymous said...

first time I've looked at this blog due to all the talk on the recent policies and the holiday travel. It's a good way to get information and reactions. glad you are using existing web programming and saving my tax dollars since the information here is not private. There should be a program available to help scan posts for inappropriate content (ie language and spam) that would automatically remove(or redact) them & count them to reduce the workload- if anyone knows one, you should post it here. I didn't see any really stupid posts typical of other forums; in one sense I appreciate not having to read them, in another it seems like censorship. It would be really good to see where the TSA has acted upon the feedback you get here- when I take my time to post, it's good to know I've been heard. thank you for doing this to present the TSA side of issues directly to provide both perspectives for evaluation.

Anonymous said...

I really hate the post 9-11 securities in the airports, and I avoid air travel as much as possible. The first time I saw the armed guards at the airport, I couldn't believe we had to do this in America. I understand the need for security, but most of the current measures are ineffective - I've been forced to throw away a bottle of water but ended up at my destination finding I had a swiss army knife I forgot about in my carryon bag. Racial profiling IS appropriate in the case of airport security measures - if you are of the ethnic descent of the area of the threat be it Arab or Asian or Caucasian, than that group should be subject to more stringent screening than the general populace, and it would be a more effective use of our tax dollars.

concernedMom said...

There have to be better measures than public "pat downs". question- hasn't that procedure been in place a LONG time though? I remember my father, who wore a prosthetic leg, having to get manually scanned and patted because the joints in the leg set the walk-thru scanner off.
What has set me on edge is the idea of my preteen girls being subject to imaging and groping - that job is sure to attract pedophiles... we won't be flying anytime soon if I can help it.

Anonymous said...

So, you post a blog entry about how you really aren't censoring, and how you approve almost all comments...and then you haven't approved any comments to the post for more than 24 hours.

Ah, hypocrisy.

Anonymous said...

Bob, I don't mind the time it takes to have a moderated blog. I don't read unmoderated comments, there isn't a high enough signal-to-noise ratio. Even if you could talk the lawyers into it, which I doubt, please don't stop moderating.

What I would like to see is more facts in the blog. Sure, the cutesy turkey stuff was funny, but there are better humor blogs on the net. The folks who read this blog would like some of the wonky stuff that otherwise ends up on the cutting room floor in TSA Public Affairs.

Your best posts are the facts (or the videos) that support the TSA's side of stories. We're not confusing the TSA blog with "fair and honest", we expect it to advocate for the TSA's policy position. I would prefer you to advocate for that position with facts and data, rather than unsubstantiated platitudes. Some examples:

How many folks did you screen over the Thanksgiving long-weekend? How many went through AIS? You've mentioned how few requested pat-down, but those numbers are out of context without the others. How many folks "alarmed" the primary screening tool? How many were found to have something prohibited? How many were found to have something actually dangerous? (You can tell the difference between the last two because people with something really dangerous are turned over to local LEOs and have concealed weapons charges filed on them.)

I know your PR bosses will say these facts don't look good, that the effectiveness of TSA at catching actual wrong-doers isn't going to look like a good cop show. The blog readers are a little more intellectual than a 30 second news-bit, and we would accept facts better than just PR promises.

Anonymous said...

"However, as far as your disappointment, I have to ask what other blogs offer the number of rejected comments on their front page? I can't think of any. There are some blogs that don't even allow comments."

This isn't just any blog, this is run by the government, and should be transparent as possible. Hold yourself to a higher standard and never compare yourself to other blogs, other blogs aren't government funded. And on that note, how many government spokespeople get to hide behind a pseudonym like you (or more likely your team) do? Must be nice to not be held accountable by the public at all.

Anonymous said...

You sit on a throne of lies...

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, How about posting a nice flashy new article about the latest Zogby poll that states that an overwhelming percentage of the public is OPPOSED to the new TSA scanners and GROIN-SEARCHES?

Or is this really just more lies and propaganda?

Here is a chance for you to prove yourself and TSA to be trustworthy instead of deceitful.

Jason said...

Your delete o meter link simply links to the images base location not to the rules for what will get your comment deleted.

Anonymous said...

What does it mean that you haven't approved a single comment in over 38 hours?

Are you censoring us, or is this just a typical example of lazy government working conditions?

Nick said...

The TSA has turned out to be one of the most absurdly expensive and unnecessary agencies the government has created in decades. The TSA was a greatly exaggerated response to the nineteen terrorists that slipped a few box-cutters through a security checkpoint on 9/11. The mass hysteria that followed allowed this agency of 65,000+ government employees to take over security operations at a cost of billions per year to tax payers. The private security firms of yesteryear were performing the same duties more effectively, less intrusively, and at a tiny fraction of the cost as the TSA. The only failure of security that happened on 9/11 didn't even occur at a security checkpoint, but instead on board the planes in which the cockpits were not equipped to defend themselves properly (as per federal law). This entire agency is nothing more than a completely unnecessary monetary drain on the American taxpayers. Re-privatize airline security!

Anonymous said...

I think the TSA is turning into the stanford prison experiment writ large.
TSA needs much better training in pr skills and needs to realize the people they are screening are people who deserve dignity and respect.

Anonymous said...

"Racial profiling IS appropriate in the case of airport security measures - if you are of the ethnic descent of the area of the threat be it Arab or Asian or Caucasian, than that group should be subject to more stringent screening than the general populace, and it would be a more effective use of our tax dollars."
===============================

I am disgusted by this line of thinking. A few brief points:

1) In practical terms, the odds of any given individual of "the ethnic descent of the area of the threat" attempting an attack on commercial aviation are identical. There is an infinitesimally small risk of any given Arab male attacking an airliner and there is an infinitesimally small risk of a Norwegian grandmother attacking an airliner. Furthermore, if you believe (and I do not) that there are a substantial number of people attempting such an attack (i.e. "terrorists") then you would have to admit that profiling would open up an enormous hole-- they would just work on recruiting people who don't fit the profile.

2) Please explain to me how a government agent/employee is supposed to determine whether or not a person is of "the ethnic descent of the area of the threat." Are we going to be required to submit our family-trees or give a DNA sample before we fly?

3) Assuming that you were an advocate of profiling before the so-called "underwear bomber," can you honestly tell me that you imagined that black Africans should be profiled? If so, should African-Americans be profiled? Only dark-skinned African Americans?

Anonymous said...

I am hearing (for example USA Today) that TSA will change how they do pat downs. But there is no information on when this will be changed. After we saw on Youtube videos on how children are "patted down", my kids refused to go on vacation. As we were in early stages of planning - we still did not have airplane tickets this was not a big deal - no loss for us. But now as we know that there is a chance for "pat down" change, we would definatelly consider going on vacation to Florida (we are from Canada). So, please please - let us know when you will implement changes. If I would know that you'll do this before December 17th, I would buy airplane tickets right away. Please understand that there are people who had to change their plans because of all this.
Thank you in advance.

Anonymous said...

hahhahahhahahahah...you crack me up.

oh, wait a moment...you were being serious.

hahahahhahahahhahahahhahahah

yessss. i believe everything that you say. because beaurocrats are always looking out for the best interest of citizens. there is nothing in this at all for any government official. it is totally about traveler safety only. in fact, knowing that grandma gets groped if she refuses to get irradiated just makes me feel warm and safe all over. take that would-be terrorists. only the us government can terrorize us citizens--so nyah.

Anonymous said...

Bob,

Love the photos.

Interesting that one small blade as pictured in your photos is prohibited, but two, joined with a pin near the middle, are OK.

Just another example how how ridiculous the "official policy" is.

Anonymous said...

Why don't you have an automatic counter for the number of posts deleted?

Anonymous said...

"The Delete-O-Meter is updated manually and is not a live counter."

Because we don't trust computers? You can always keep a manual tally IRL to check against an automatic one.

If you're going to be in the business of a "transparent" censorship, then I'd think you would want to be reassuring and professional. Please explain.

Anonymous said...

"Bob,

Love the photos.

Interesting that one small blade as pictured in your photos is prohibited, but two, joined with a pin near the middle, are OK.

Just another example how how ridiculous the "official policy" is."

the national flight attendent union voted to allow scissors again and went to the tsa to say that they would be ok with scissors on the plane but not knoves of any length. so why condemn the tsa for actually allowing pax to take items? im sure that you were complaining when you had your scissors taken but not that you can you are moving on to knives. the tsa allowed something that was prohibited and now thats a bad thing. lets make it good again and just prohibit scissors and then we dont have to read over and over again why are scissors allowed and knives arent...

Anonymous said...

does a backpack count as a personal item?

Arctic Patriot said...

Unfortunately, TSA Agents do not seem to follow these basic rules of decency and respect.

What say you, Blogger Bob?

http://www.naturalnews.com/030860_TSA_Homeland_Security.html#ixzz19Ud7k73n

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/dhs-troll-attacks-anti-tsa-website/

Can you positively confirm or deny this? Was this verbal abuse directed against dissenting citizens bought and paid for with my tax money?

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082.

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082

and the TSA cover up of First Amendment violations continue.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, RB, for posting the amazingly unchanging totals on the Delete O Meter. I know for sure it's inaccurate, since my posts on TSO Ricky German, his criminal activity, and TSA's apparent failure to fire or at least suspend him from duty, have simply disappeared into the ether, apparently, without affecting the "Delete O Meter" at all...

Other disturbing problems with the moderation of this blog include the fact that the "Off-Topics" topic actually disappeared altogether for a few days, then got placed (hidden) back in the Archives. Meanwhile, the stupid piece of propaganda about the smooth running of airports over two months ago is still on the front page of the Blog. Does the TSA really think we're all that stupid? All they're doing is making everyone even more upset. They're acting like this is a police state...China comes to mind. I find it frightening, actually. I try not to be paranoid but it really does feel like that's where we're heading when the propaganda is so blatant and when I read about TSA showing up, now, in bus stations, subway stations, and so on...Where next?

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082
as of 01/30/2011, 7082

and the TSA cover up of First Amendment violations continue.

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082
as of 01/30/2011, 7082
as of 01/31/2011, 7082

and the TSA cover up of First Amendment violations continue.

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082
as of 01/30/2011, 7082
as of 02/01/2011, 8085

Censorship alive and well at TSA.

What is it your trying to hide from the public Bob?

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082
as of 01/30/2011, 7082
as of 02/01/2011, 8085
as of 02/03/2011, 8135

My, just how many posts does TSA really censor and why?

Censorship alive and well at TSA.

What is it your trying to hide from the public Bob?

RB said...

RB said...
Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082
as of 01/30/2011, 7082
as of 02/01/2011, 8085
as of 02/03/2011, 8135

My, just how many posts does TSA really censor and why?

Censorship alive and well at TSA.

What is it your trying to hide from the public Bob?

February 3, 2011 1:08 PM

........
edit to add:

Seems in the last few days that TSA is censoring more posts than those being accepted for the blog.

What in the world could TSA be working so hard in an attempt to hide information from the public that would require a government employee using taxpayers monies censoring citizens efforts to address their government?

Why are taxpayers required to pay an employee of the government a salary while the same government employee violates the same Constitution they took an oath to protect?

Waste Fraud Abuse

RB said...

Delete-O-Meter

as of 01/27/2011, 7082
as of 01/28/2011, 7082
as of 01/29/2011, 7082
as of 01/30/2011, 7082
as of 02/01/2011, 8085
as of 02/03/2011, 8135
....
as of 02/06/2011, 8135

My, just how many posts does TSA really censor and why?

Censorship alive and well at TSA.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Anonymous said...

Losers.