Monday, May 9, 2011

TSA Searching for Poop Bombs?: Headline Not Up to Snuff


I’ve changed enough diapers to know a thing or two about “poop bombs,” but something really stinks about the attention this photo is getting. The photo – taken by someone not traveling with the family  – has gone viral. The caption used with the photo is “TSA Looking for Poop Bombs?” We reviewed the screening of this family, and found that the child’s stroller alarmed during explosives screening. Our officers followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family after the alarm, who by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time. The child in the photo was simply receiving a modified pat-down which doesn’t even come close to what the headline implies.

I blogged about a similar situation recently, and just as I stated in that post, our Administrator is looking into ways to move past the cookie cutter approach to screening. Recognizing that terrorists are willing to manipulate societal norms to evade detection, TSA has been actively assessing less invasive screening methods for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers, while still maintaining a high level of security.

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

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126 comments:

Anonymous said...

Translation: We stop getting money if we anger *too* many people.

The three laws of the tsa, with apologies to Isaac Asimov:

1) The TSA must, under all circumstances, generate as much revenue for themselves and their contractors as possible
2) The TSA must prevent PR disasters, unless this risks violating the first law.
3) The TSA should create security of an illusion thereof, unless this risks violating the first or second laws.

Rusty said...

I think your second paragraph touches on the problem.

How the pat down of the baby is of no concern, it is the fact that you checked a baby for explosives that is the underlying problem.

Jim Huggins said...

You'll forgive me if I don't take much encouragement from TSA saying that they're "looking into ways" to improve screening.

I seem to recall former TSA Administrator Hawley saying that the 100ml limit on liquids would be lifted by the end of 2009.

Wake me up when you get there. In the meantime ... nothing new here.

Anonymous said...

The TSA has repeatedly stated that it is exploring options to refine airport security processes and procedures, yet you (TSA) never seem to take any meaningful action except to continue to harass law-abiding taxpaying American citizens. Americans have resorted to shaming the TSA with video and photos to try appeal for a small amount of reasonable change. TSA credibility stinks (pardon the pun with this story) because your repeated promises for change do not match your actions.

Anonymous said...

Not that it makes much difference, but technically the employees in the picture were not TSA--Kansas City International Airport is one of the airports with private contractors (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kansas_City_International_Airport#Security).

RB said...

TSA's excuse for the pat downs of children is just full of, well, Poop!

If it is so important that a child must have a full, invasive whole body pat down then why does TSA permit thousands of unscreened people entry to the sterile area daily?

Anonymous said...

That's just plain wrong. Now babies are guilty until proven innocent.

I sure hope the guys in the blue shirts changed their gloves after that exploration.

Did they use a new swab on the initial stroller check?

Anonymous said...

An infant shouldn't receive a pat down--"modified" or not--in the first place!

Anonymous said...

If the TSA agents really thought there was a threat posed by the infant or stroller, then why are they smiling in the photograph? Doesn't seem like a "serious" response.

mjc said...

"who by the way were very cooperative"

Well of course they were. If they dared complain or object they'd be profiled as terrorists and put on a do not fly list. And that'd be after TSA trumped up some ridiculous charge on the spot and had local police arrest and harass them first.

Anonymous said...

If you think that patting down an infant (not that anyone with a shred of common courtesy would take them on an airplane to begin with) makes us any safer, please check yourself into a mental hospital, since you obviously have major issues with paranoia.

Jeff said...

Not that it matters....but a serious comment on this story and the Blog.

1) If a stroller tests "positive", and no bomb is found on the stroller (was it x-rayed to look for PETN and ignitors in the metallic parts?), then the "false positive" shows the detection equipment is not a valid technique. As far as I have seen, the TSA has detected ZERO bombs and ZERO bomb-materials in the last decade, which is around 5 Billion passengers.

2) In the USA our Founders' envisioned, having strangers fondle babies in order to travel was not on their agenda and is not normal in our society.

Quoting your blog column " Recognizing that terrorists are willing to manipulate societal norms ......" where does that leave the TSA?

3) A clear lie. From your blog "... TSA has been actively assessing less invasive screening methods for low-risk populations, such as younger passengers, while still maintaining a high level of security."

The low-risk population is people getting on a plane in the US.

There have been ZERO airline passenger bombings in the last 43 YEARS. Your chance of getting killed going to a grocery story are higher - just look at the Arizona shooting. See www.aviation-safety.net for history.

The TSA has never changed anything. Not that you care, but did you know that the UK does NOT make one take off their shoes, yet Richard Reid - the miserable failure of a "shoe bomber" on the UK-originating flight - was a UK citizen?

Somehow, the global aviation industry is surviving with no successful airline passenger bombings.

Anonymous said...

Why shouldn't a baby have a pat down? don't you think a terrorist would stoop so low as to plant explosives or weapons in a nappy? I'd bet they would.

Anonymous said...

Bob, y'all don't provide a "high level of security" now. What makes you think you could do that in the future?

Anonymous said...

The "explosives screening" certainly seems to throw a lot of false positives.

How many "real" positives have been detected by the ETD swabs so far?

Alex Sterling said...

I'm a little confused. How were you able to identify which terminal it was within the airport, and which checkpoint within that terminal? Or when the screening took place?

And even assuming you were able to determine those pieces of information, did the TSO's keep a log of every time something alarms during the explosives screening? How else would you know this is what led to the "modified pat-down" of the infant?

Concerned Observer said...

This is one of the least necessary blog entries I've seen here, Bob. This picture wasn't worth commenting on because 1) the caption attached to the photo was in jest (I know, I read the stuff posted on TS/S at FlyerTalk) and 2) the people who believe the caption are unlikely to stumble upon this blog post.

I'd much rather see a blog post about TSOs pressing into areas that have been pointed out as "sensitive" (like surgical wounds) or something about "Take Your Kid to Work Day" within the TSA.

Sandra said...

If the stroller alarmed, then why not just ETD the baby and the parents and let it go at that?

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Anonymous said...

And yet, My 17 year old son has flown all over the country, with out EVER showing ANY id. He's a good kid. But still. What is safe about that? I'm SERIOUS. He picked up his ticket and boarding pass (flying as an unaccompanied minor) and walked right though security. Because his pass said he was a minor, he NEVER EVEN was ASKED for id. And he's flown 6 different times from 3 separate airports.

I kind of think a random 17 year old boy with out any identification is more of a threat than a baby....

SSSS for some reason said...

Anonymous said...
Why shouldn't a baby have a pat down? don't you think a terrorist would stoop so low as to plant explosives or weapons in a nappy? I'd bet they would.

~~~~~~~~~~~

It's possible.

And it is even more possible that if a terrorist *did* plant a Nappy-Bomb they would most likely detonate it as soon as they were pulled aside for additional screening.

One of the real problems with the system the TSA is working under is the assumption that the Aircraft is the prime target and all other possibilities are to be disregarded.

This idea of what the terrorist is after has already been proven wrong when the bomb was detonated inside the airport in Russia (sorry, no link, look it up yourself).

The TSA might be making the aircraft safer with their screening, and I stress the 'might,' they are actually making the airport itself more dangerous. Long lines at the security check points, at least at my local airport, would like like just as good a target for a terrorist to do something bad as any other possible target.

But what do I know. I'm just some guy who comments on blogs and points out the flaws in someone else's plan.

Ayn R. Key said...

Considering how intrusive the "modified pat down" has been shown to be, what screeners actually do in spite of us being told that the super secret SSI policy says otherwise, then I'm not heartened to learn that this infant was given a modified pat down.

Given that the 6 year old girl in the previous article about an actual event had fingers in her pants in her "modified pat down" what did you actually do to this infant?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't the USA airport security learn something from Israeli airport security? Israel's security is that of highly trained, skilled eyes who know how to 'profile'. The USA thinks they have to look at every bag, pat down or x-ray every person, etc. It's a bunch of hogwash!

Anonymous said...

An anonymous poster earlier noted that security KCIA is privately managed. While in though that may be true-to-the-letter, the "independent contractor [...] conforms to TSA's recruiting and training standards. TSA supervises these independent contractors, but they are not federal employees." In short, the TSA, though not performing screenings, keeps this private company in line with the TSA's procedures.

Nevermind, of course, that Blogger Bob has already claimed these officers as theirs.

Jenni said...

Really, guys? TSA is a mess.

Saul said...

Anonymous said ...

"And yet, My 17 year old son has flown all over the country, with out EVER showing ANY id. He's a good kid. But still. What is safe about that? I kind of think a random 17 year old boy with out any identification is more of a threat than a baby...."

Why? How in any way does showing a photo ID card ensure security? Or more pointedly, how does *not* showing said card make you less secure? Your son went through the checkpoint just like all other passengers. So what, if he didn't need to show ID?

Jim Swrathenhower said...

Time to ban the TSA. When more people die from bee stings than terrorism, then we need to get focused about what is really threatening to our freedoms. TSA on the terror watch list!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The "explosives screening" certainly seems to throw a lot of false positives.

How many "real" positives have been detected by the ETD swabs so far?

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

Easy, ZERO.

If the TSA had ever found explosives with the ETD swabs it would have been all over this blog.

Mike E said...

Saul said...

Why? How in any way does showing a photo ID card ensure security? Or more pointedly, how does *not* showing said card make you less secure? Your son went through the checkpoint just like all other passengers. So what, if he didn't need to show ID?

........

You're right of course. The ID thing is ridiculous. A few weeks ago I was flying home from MSP with some friends who were on another airline. I wanted to hang out with them so I just reprinted one of their boarding passes with my name on it. Worked like a charm. The TSA and the airlines have no idea who is really flying. Checking ID is silly and pointless.

Danger Boy said...

Bob, what is it that stinks about the attention the photo is getting? Could it be that it is stirring the masses to finally say "enough is enough?"
I applaud the thought of getting away from the "cookie cutter" as you aptly call it, but I hope that it involves less violation of our 4th amendment rights.

Anonymous said...

From what I understand, the TSA has never caught a terrorist with the pat downs. This perfect record must be preserved at all costs!

Meanwhile another terrorist somehow escaped TSA scrutiny and tried to take down another plane. Clearly the system worked.

Anonymous said...

sick, sick, SICK. Keep your hands off of our kids. There is NO logical reason to be doing this TO AN INFANT. How does the TSA blogger defend this? THAT IS A HUMAN BEING THAT THE AGENTS ARE TREATING LIKE A PIECE OF CARRY-ON LUGGAGE.

Bin Laden is DEAD. Didn't the TSA get the news? STOP TOUCHING KIDS, STOP TOUCHING WOMEN, AND GET NEW JOBS.

Laura said...

I just flew home back to Sacramento, CA from visiting family for two weeks in Seattle with my 2 year old. On our way to Seattle ~ passing through security was a piece of cake (yogurt for her and all) with my two year old and her stroller. On my way back home we totally got searched (not my daughter) but the stroller came up with some trace of something so I got searched ~ the same brand of yogurt we had going (and passed security) had to be thrown away on our way home because a metal was detected and same with the stroller. I explained this to the security and they said it just happens. Had my daughter had to be searched for concern of explosives we would of had a problem.

Anonymous said...

Simply put -

"Hands off our kids!"

Anonymous said...

I saw this on both Reddit and MSNBC.com, and neither of them had anything about a "Poop Bomb."

I have a baby about that age and I would be absolutely appalled if screeners wanted to inspect him.

TSA is getting out of hand with this stuff. They always hide behind "following proper protocol," but who writes to protocol? Someone is responsible for these unnecessary and unjustified actions.

David said...

Very troublesome.

David said...

Troubling!

Army_4_Christ_2Corin10;5 said...

How does a stroller test "positive" for explosives when there are no explosives? It's security theater people and that's all it is. You are being conditioned like dogs to submit to the whim of the govt. It's sad. As for me, I'll drive to meet our traveling needs. If TSA touched my daughters, then I would surely end up in jail. No one but no one touches my children. I'd rather teach my kids the value of standing up. Give me liberty or give me death said Patrick Henry many a moon ago. We agree

Anonymous said...

Regardless of what so many of these anti-security, negative people are saying, I say, great job, and keep up the great work! Yes, they did a security inspection of a baby, because equipment detected explosive traces. If explosives were detected on anything, I want them checked out thoroughly before I'm sitting next to them on the plane. Thank you for keeping us safe!!!!

Anonymous said...

No offense Bob, but "we investigated this and found we did nothing wrong" holds absolutely no weight.

That's the issue I have. Everything we're told here is "we investigated it". "We studied it". "We looked at it". Doesn't work. It's the old fox guarding the henhouse problem: Why should we trust you?

Anonymous said...

I just added this to my reader. It's great to watch such an exercise in futility and stupidity,

WakeUp! said...

First of all read the entire story folks. The stroller set off a sensor, so the child had to be checked. Yes, it would be rare for a baby to pick up a bomb at such a tender age, but who knows about the parents? Or who knows what could be placed in the stroller whem mom glanced away? In this photo you can see both the agents smiling and the mom cooperating. If someone took a picture of my kid and posted it on the internet for all to see without my permission, it would be you that had violated my child, not TSA. If you don't want to be searched, don't travel - it's that easy. Or take the train, bus, boat or your own car. What will you all say when a terrorist slips through because TSA did not follow their policies? Wake up Americans! They are protecting our homeland!

Anonymous said...

Yet another example of the ill-thought and poorly executed TSA passenger screening program. Almost weekly we hear another story about TSA abuse - babies, 6 year olds, grandparents, cancer patients, an Alaskan State legislature and even Miss America. What a mess! Hasn’t the TSA figured out that Americans do no like this new system of naked scanners or pat-downs that are contrary to our constitutional rights? When are we going to see these changes you are always talking about in your blog? When will the naked scanners convert to ATR stick figures? When will the pat-downs be revised? When????

Anonymous said...

Don't see any problems. For those that simply can't understand and just focuses about a child is not dangerous, hands off our kids and so on. Stop being stupid, of course its not the child, its the parents. Should they not check bags for bombs? A bag can't be dangerous can it?

Anonymous said...

Those who react to the TSA patting down this baby saying that this is too much, are too naive. What if the family was muslim and was wearing a turban and a hijab, would it be ok then? Thing is, that people are sick and I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are people willing to plant an explosive on a baby.All the TSA did was ensuring the passengers safety and the baby and family took no harm from it.

Chris Boyce said...

I can sympathize with Pistole's dilemma and understand why the TSA has such a hair trigger when there is an adverse (from the TSA's perspective) story/picture about infant or young child gropings.

In order for you to be successful and to social engineer an entire generation of Americans to accept this as normal, you have to beat the 20-something generation into compliance. You really don't have to worry about the Boomers or Gen-X, except for the occasional outrage over treatment of their parents or grandparents. But, you can deal with that.

The Boomers are getting old and Gen-X is in their high wage-earning years, so they will fly regardless of the hassle.

The real issue is whether or not you can train young American parents to begin to teach their young children that: "No stranger should touch you there except for the nice man at the wearing the blue uniform and tin badge."

If you can pull this off, you will be successful. You will have trained an entire generation to accept this stuff as "normal."

No Flighter said...

Hello TSA, don't you see how extreme this is?
The whole world look at you as something gone out of control in the name of controlling.

Regards from Norway

Anonymous said...

" our Administrator is looking into ways to move past the cookie cutter approach to screening "

Well, look HARDER! We are fed up to be treated as garbage. FED UP!

How come I'm not a professional profiler, but I can tell whi is more a security risk than the TSA? Stop appeasing the lawyers and CAIR, and use common sense. Because in 2 years we WILL take action if you don't.

Anonymous said...

Almost all the comments here are critical of the TSA, yet the TSA continues to think they are a law unto themselves. The American people need to demand that Congress fix this.

Anonymous said...

The problem with following protocols blindly is that you remove the need for independent thinking. Seems like the security lacks common sense, and treats everybody as a potential extremist. Maybe some common sense would be of use?

Anonymous said...

This entire TSA "enhanced patdown" agenda is about getting the American public to accept a biometric national ID card, or "internal passport". The TSA purposely creates the problem, then the government will offer the national ID card as the solution.

Soon, you will get a palm scan or retinal scan and be allowed to bypass the enhanced patdown and board your flight as long as your biometric scan matches your national ID. Later, your national ID card will be used for everything: getting healthcare, getting a job, purchasing anything. It will be tracked by the government, and the government will be able to turn off your access to work, travel, and shop whenever it wants to.

This "trusted traveler" concept is a false choice. The public needs to truly make a stand and say enough is enough.

d83d0598-7bda-11e0-9d62-000bcdcb2996 said...

Well all I can say is TSA is doing one hell of a job and are in a tough position to protect us all. How do I know this I have on occasion have been asked to test the system as a secret shopper? I have tried, simulated detonators, bomb materials also simulated. Metallic objects, fake guns, knives and a full size baby with fake bomb material in the baby's diaper.
Each time I did this the TSA person was polite, asked all the right questions and did the right thing. All the process was explained to me and I was asked if I wanted to be searched in a private setting. I have been patted down in both the old way and the modified way. I was told they would use the back of their hands and I was treated with dignity each time. I was also caught each time in the pat down search so, I only have praise for the guys and gals who have to do this each and every day. Thank you for your service.

Ross said...

While I abhor the TSA's idiotic approach to airport security, I have to wonder why they're responding in this way to an incident that involved a NON-TSA, PRIVATE SCREENER called Front Line.

Is it that TSA loves the headlines, or that they are too incompetent to even realize that this was not them.

Questions abound.

Anonymous said...

What a pathetic post: there is no excuse for what TSA is doing to our children!

As to the stroller alarming, then I presume it blew up? That's what explosives do. If it didn't blow up, why did the alarm go off? If the stroller was the problem, why search the kid?

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

I would like to better understand the service the TSA is providing. I read over and over again that the TSA is working to provide security against a constantly evolving terorist threat, but at no time has the TSA provided hard facts as to the benefit they provide. As such I will ask some simple questions that will allow me to understand your function.

How many lives per year are saved by the TSA?

How many lives per year are saved by the use of AIT and "enhanced patdowns"?

How many people would be killed if we did not screen this infant?

I look forward to an actual discussion of the risks that the TSA is in place to minimize.

Thanks,
Andrew

BillyC said...

WakeUp! said...

First of all read the entire story folks. The stroller set off a sensor, so the child had to be checked. Yes, it would be rare for a baby to pick up a bomb at such a tender age, but who knows about the parents? Or who knows what could be placed in the stroller whem mom glanced away? In this photo you can see both the agents smiling and the mom cooperating. If someone took a picture of my kid and posted it on the internet for all to see without my permission, it would be you that had violated my child, not TSA. If you don't want to be searched, don't travel - it's that easy. Or take the train, bus, boat or your own car. What will you all say when a terrorist slips through because TSA did not follow their policies? Wake up Americans! They are protecting our homeland!

___________________________________

For someone with the name Wakeup! you are still asleep. The don't fly argument is uninformed, TSA is moving to trains, we can only imagine that cars will be next. Are you ready to get your morning grope so you can go drive to work?

The TSA hasn't proven that AIT and their explosive recognitions swabs are effective. The same scanners were reported to have an over 70% failure rate by the German government. The swabs the TSA uses to test explosives have an even higher failure rate when you consider that many common things like grass, lotions etc set it off.

The scanners themselves have numerous studies contradicting their safety. In America, you are more likely to die of a bee sting than a terrorist attack. In 25 years, I can guarantee that more Americans will have died from cancer that these machines cause than from terrorists.

I hate to tell you this, but nobody is getting off this big blue marble alive. We engage in several activities daily that have a much higher risk of death than a terrorist attack. Yet we will spend 3.8 billion dollars on the TSA this year. An agency that doesn't make their procedures public and basically has no one but themselves monitoring their actions and enforcing punishments for misbehavior.

We have the scanners for two simple reasons.
1) Lobbyists have given thousands of dollars to congressmen to put them in place.
2) People like you are foolish enough to actually think they make us safer. Thus the illusion of security.

It is a sad day when the biggest threat to our liberty and way of life comes from within. Even sadder that millions of men and women have died for the "Land of the free"

Hans said...

"Our officers followed proper current screening procedures by screening the family after the alarm..."

Again with the "proper procedure" excuse. Your statement is in effect "we checked and we followed our procedure", which is self justified nonsense. The TSA just doesn't "get it", the issue that people have with these events is that its procedure is wrong.

"... [the family], by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time."

What is the point of this statement? Please explain.

RB said...

Ross said...
While I abhor the TSA's idiotic approach to airport security, I have to wonder why they're responding in this way to an incident that involved a NON-TSA, PRIVATE SCREENER called Front Line.

Is it that TSA loves the headlines, or that they are too incompetent to even realize that this was not them.

Questions abound.

May 11, 2011 10:29 AM

................
Contract screeners carry out TSA SOP exactly as if they were TSA.

It doesn't matter if was a government checkpoint or a contract checkpoint the same procedures apply.

Anonymous said...

Obviously these comments are never read because if they were then things would have changed by now.

If I was planning on blowing up a bomb I'd do it at the airport, just prior to screening... would make a much bigger spectacle shutting down JFK for a week and sending shockwaves through the populace who think that terrorists only blow themselves up on airplanes and that airport terminals are still safe.

Why is the US Government doing all the work for the terrorists? What happened to all that "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety" stuff from that Franklin bloke?

Papers please!

Chris Bray said...

Your administrator has been "looking into ways to move past the cookie cutter approach to screening" for a long time, now, and you've used that line more times than I can count. And yet here we are again.

Time to stop "looking into" ways to move past the cookie cutter approach to screening; time to actually move past the cookie cutter approach to screening.

A first step would be to abandon this mindless language about "following the protocols" and "conducting standard screening procedures" in ridiculous circumstances. Hire a workforce that can think and make common sense decisions.

You write that "the child’s stroller alarmed during explosives screening," but then write, a short time later, that the members of the family "were on the way to their gate in no time." That means that your explosives screening routinely produces false alarms, and your screeners are just going through the motions; someone with real explosives will get a desultory patdown and be on their way to the gate in no time, and an infant will get a desultory patdown and be on the way to the gate in no time.

Which leads me to ask again: how many terrorists have been caught in TSA checkpoints? Of course, we already know the answer.

Concerned Observer said...

To those who say "the stroller alarmed, so it was necessary," why not just ETD swab mom, dad, and kiddo and if there is no alarm, let 'em go? This seems not to be part of TSA procedure.

Then again, there is the fact that lotion will set off the ETD. Honestly, I can't see how the TSA can't find a more specifically calibrated ETD.

Also, don't fly if you don't like it? That's giving up our right of free movement. It may not be so clear in the continental USA, but if you look at Hawaii and Alaska, they're being denied their right to unhindered interstate travel.

Anonymous said...

I think the most important question is: Was the poop more than 3 ounces and did it fit in a one quart ziploc bag? LOL

Chris Boyce said...

Anonymous, on May 11, 2011, at 6:51 AM, partially said:

"Those who react to the TSA patting down this baby saying that this is too much, are too naive. What if the family was muslim and was wearing a turban and a hijab, would it be ok then?..."


No.

Anonymous said...

I have stopped using all public transport in the USA, and I fully expect the USA economy to die very soon from lack of business. TSA is destroying the US economy, period. No hotel stays, no air tickets, no bus rides, no train rides, NOTHING. Not even any gasoline. Hence, you at TSA will all be out of your federal criminal jobs soon. Goodbye TSA!

Anonymous said...

Quoted:
""... [the family], by the way were very cooperative and were on the way to their gate in no time."

What is the point of this statement? Please explain.

May 11, 2011 11:06 AM

--------------------------
The point is, the parents were there. They had no problem with the screening. Why should you?

Anonymous said...

ha the blog author wont approve - why not approve the thousands of comments you have received. Pat this!

John M said...

I am so ready for some TSA reform.

SSSS for some reason said...

Anonymous said...
What if the family was muslim and was wearing a turban and a hijab, would it be ok then?

~~~~~~~~~~~~

No. It would not.

If they were running through the airport screaming 'Allah Akbar' while trying to light their shoes on fire, then, and only then, would it be OK.

The whole argument against the TSA, well any Government Agency really, is the basic starting point of our (the USA) entire society is innocent until proven guilty. We start all interactions with others from the belief that they are the 'good guys' and we are all in it together so my best interests should be more or less in line with yours.

The TSA, and DHS too, starts all interactions with the Citizenry from the standpoint that we are all guilty and simply haven't been caught yet. We, the citizens, start off from the standpoint of being the bag guys to the TSA's good guys.

It's like Pistole and Napolatino (sp?) spent too much time as children watching Cowboy and Indians movies, the good guys in the white hats are gonna save the town from those evil bad guys and the town is going to greet them with a Sunday dinner every night of the week in gratitude.

Basically, the TSA and its leadership have bought into its own PR and has become arrogant. Arrogance leads to disdain for others who don't feed that arrogance, and before too long you have otherwise intelligent people saying things like "i was just following protocol."

It is time to end the TSA.

Write to your elected leaders. And I mean ink on paper in an envelope with a stamp and everything. Emails are all the rage these days, but a full inbox is not as impressive, or attention worthy, as looking at a huge stack of letters sitting on a desk.

Anonymous said...

To the person who claims to have gone through checkpoints as a "secret shopper": I don't believe you. TSA doesn't have a secret shopper program.

Saul said...

Anonymous said ...

"The point is, the parents were there. They had no problem with the screening. Why should you?"

How do you know, were you there? Perhaps the parents were told that if they protested or resisted, that they would not be flying that day. We know that "Do you want to fly today?" is the standard response to any passenger protest.

Anonymous said...

What doesn't make sense is that current procedure is for strollers to be folded up and sent through the xray ALONE. If something was found ni the xray, then inspect the stroller. It sounds like this situation was a baby left in a stroller and being pushed through a regular person security system which is NOT following protocol! I've travelled with children enough to know how it is supposed to happen and this isn't it. There was ZERO reason for this child to be patted down when it was his stroller that was the issue.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody at TSA ever use common sense? Do you people ever think about what you are doing? Instead of defending this absurdity and thereby generating even more ill-will for America's most despised public institution (congrats, IRS, you're no longer #1!), why don't you admit that this is stupid and that HQ will review guidance.

Of course, the chance of Pistole and company ever taking that route are slim to none.

Oh, and BTW - tell your guys to stop picking out only women for the nudie scanners. Both at DCA and JFK in February I saw TSA guys (all male) running all women 50 and under through the x-ray and everybody else through the mags. That's kinda sad.

Ben Franklin said...

I warned you this would happen.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that the post from the TSA Blog; They are nothing but liars The stroller did not set off anything explosive related if that was so they would have done more then a pat down. The Bomb squad would have been called in.

Just cover ups and Liars

Anonymous said...

Bob, my question is;

Was the baby getting on, or off of the plane?

The TSA seems to have a problem with that too...

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger Bob:

Does it MATTER that the people who object to this are not the family? If someone complained that a TSA agent beat the crap out of someone, would the beating be less objectionable, or the complaint less worthy because it was a bystander who objected or intervened?

I think what truly scares the heck out of you is that while the family may have been to concerned, confused, scared, or intimidated -- or yes, maybe THEY really just didn't care -- to complain, other members of the citizenry DO. This must scare you to death, because if the rest of us won't shut-up and sit-down (like you claim this family has), your jobs and power might be up for rejection.

I'm proud of the CITIZENS who objected to this, even if the family didn't; your sort, however, seem to be intent on proving to be the servile, boot-licking scum who embarrass and disappoint those who believe that citizens have rights...

P.S. Since this is a government blog, you are thus a government agent -- I'd suggest that since the government willingly provides the forum,censorship is a violation of the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

It is quite ridiculous to think that this type of screening of infants and children would ever make a difference in the security of our nation.

To an adult, it's just a screening. But to a child, it is emotionally disturbing to be felt up- something that has never happened to them before. My 8 yr. old was screened a couple of years ago and it has stuck with her emotionally all these years. Now she is paranoid and afraid she will get pulled away again every time we travel by plane.

We are silly to think that these screenings really do much in way of our security- its very similar to the 50s when people had bomb shelters that had vents pulling air from the outside into their "shelter". Radiation goes through walls and is in the air...

As far as terrorists go, if someone wants to truly do something, they will get around whatever security measures are in place. Have more security people in the actual planes- that makes a difference, but these screenings- ridiculous. It is so sad to see the feelings of security and freedom taken away from our children, especially in the US.

Anonymous said...

How can you even stand to work for such an awful organization?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Those who react to the TSA patting down this baby saying that this is too much, are too naive. What if the family was muslim and was wearing a turban and a hijab, would it be ok then? Thing is, that people are sick and I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are people willing to plant an explosive on a baby.All the TSA did was ensuring the passengers safety and the baby and family took no harm from it.

May 11, 2011 6:51 AM

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

Why are you people so willing to give up your Constitutional rights? Are you so paranoid that you feel it is justified? The last I heard the TSA failure rate was 70% or more. If your paranoia were justified 70% of planes would be falling from the sky. The fact is that most people that fly are just like YOU. They want to travel, for work, for pleasure, for family, whatever the reason is.

However, you are willing to trust the government (consisting of people who are seeking power and authority, or who feel they know how to live your life better than you do) over your neighbors, friends, family and other members of your community. This type of paranoia only leads to totalitarianism, if you don't know how that connection is made, read 1984.

P.S. If you don't trust your neighbors I suggest you introduce yourself to them, you may learn that they are people too.

Anonymous said...

Was any effort made to figure out why or how the stroller triggered an explosive detection? If it was the stroller that somehow inexplicably tripped an alarm, why would a baby need to be patted down? Was the cause of the alarm determined, or just used as an excuse for this incomprehensible and ludicrous behavior? I'm glad someone took this photo and got it out to again highlight the TSA's absurd practices that do nothing to keep us safe.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Why are you people so willing to give up your Constitutional rights? Are you so paranoid that you feel it is justified? The last I heard the TSA failure rate was 70% or more. If your paranoia were justified 70% of planes would be falling from the sky. The fact is that most people that fly are just like YOU. They want to travel, for work, for pleasure, for family, whatever the reason is.

However, you are willing to trust the government (consisting of people who are seeking power and authority, or who feel they know how to live your life better than you do) over your neighbors, friends, family and other members of your community. This type of paranoia only leads to totalitarianism, if you don't know how that connection is made, read 1984.

P.S. If you don't trust your neighbors I suggest you introduce yourself to them, you may learn that they are people too."

why do people that support the tsa get knocked around on here? it doesnt say anything about anti-tsa blog does it? the people supporting the tsa are expressing their Constitutional rights just as much as the negative ones so let everyone have their say.
looking into what obl wanted to accomplish in the material that was taken it showed that he was trying to turn the people of the us against its govt. i have been on here saying this for months. look at the big picture the people that have nothing good to say about what tsa is doing are doing exactly what obl wanted. hes using our norms and values against us to make the govt react and inturn cause public outrage. please take off you tinfoil hats and think outside of your little worlds.

laurent said...

If you don't like how the TSA treats you:
1- opt out
2- write your representant
3- let them know politely

Anonymous said...

The TSA should be dismantled and everyone layed off. We got Bin Laden, terrorism is over. We won.
I'm not scared anymore.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait until they find a bomb in a baby's diaper. Then everyone will shut up about stuff like this. Honestly, who cares? If i'm not trying to blow up a plane then I could care less if they pat down my kid. Big deal.

Anonymous said...

Actually, as far as I can see, the TSA has no need to continue being funded. I believe we should shutter that part of the DHS and save taxpayer dollars. Not one TSA agent has ever stopped a real terrorist from gettin gon board. Not ONE. Terrorists have gotten on board, therefore the TSA is ineffective and a waste of money.

What led to the 9/11 incidents was that for decades the USA government has been telling us citizens to behave like sheep and sit quietly and chances are the nice terrorist will let you live. On 9/11 that was proven false.

So today, the security we have that works the best on the airplanes is American Citizens who will stop the terrorists. This has happened several times, we Americans now know that security is OUR job as our government is impotent in the face of terrorists.

Go ahead, delete my comment TSA, I expect you shall.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

The lack of a response to my previous questions indicates to me that the TSA is not interested in the stated goals of this blog. "facilitate an ongoing dialogue"

If I am mistaken, please correct me. I will even simplify my questions to one.

How many lives per year are saved by the TSA?

Thanks,
Andrew

BillyC said...

I can't wait until they find a bomb in a baby's diaper. Then everyone will shut up about stuff like this. Honestly, who cares? If i'm not trying to blow up a plane then I could care less if they pat down my kid. Big deal.

___________________________________

Well based on red team data the odds of them actually finding the bomb assuming there ever is a bomb placed in a diaper is less than 30% In some airports 0%

As for the second part, I hope you realize how incredibly destructive that kind of thinking is. That way of thinking lead to the whole McCarthy era and has lead other governments into becoming a police state.

After all why should the police need warrants to search your home if you aren't doing anything wrong?

Heck why do we need jury trials after all if you didn't do anything wrong you shouldn't be in court.

I hope you can see where the I don't care what the government does to its citizens because I have nothing to hide line of thinking can take us.

Anonymous said...

To all the people that ask how many terriorists has the TSA stopped? Id ask you how many did the private industry stop before the TSA was made? The old system didnt work and now the new one hasnt had any terrorists crash any planes, which the old system allowed.
Perhaps the TSA ihelping the public to not get into a panic and tell would be fliers that things are safe and arent letting us know that they are catching them. Perhaps they are trying to keep the infrastructure going in the country by not scaring fliers. Of all the posts on here including the deleted ones there arent even enough people on here to count for a fraction of the travelers that fly on one day yet alone the years that the blog has been around. OBL's info from his house shows that airplanes are still a target of Al-Qaeda, therefore they arent going anywhere.

Anonymous said...

to all the people saying "where are the explosives", "how many false positives do you get" do you have any background in explosives? you realize that they are looking for trace amounts and that explovie residue is very easy to transfer right? just cause there is an alarm doesnt mean that there are explosives present or that its a false positive. it means that there is residue. so these agents do a qucik check to make sure that its just residue and not a bomb. people every day can poick up residue, fertilizer from your yard or even heart medication from someone with heart problems. do some research and stop complaining theyre just doing there jobs.

Anonymous said...

'How many "real" positives have been detected by the ETD swabs so far?'

The real question is how many "real" positives have not been detected. We used to often hear about the explosives used to test security slipping through and having to be chased down. The TSA suppresses those stories now. I am glad we can have this illusion of safety and feel good about it. Aren't you?

Anonymous said...

"If you don't like how the TSA treats you:
1- opt out
2- write your representant
3- let them know politely"

NEVER do 3 anymore! You will be flagged and they will hound you every time you go through security at most airports; especially LAX in my case. Check the news, complainers, even the polite ones, are considered suspect now.

Anonymous said...

Hah, I hope you found what you were looking for in that kids diaper. What a foolish waste of my tax money. I will be doing a happy dance when the TSA is finally disbanded for its gross incompetence.

LeeAnne said...

d83d0598 said...

Well all I can say is TSA is doing one hell of a job and are in a tough position to protect us all. How do I know this I have on occasion have been asked to test the system as a secret shopper? I have tried, simulated detonators, bomb materials also simulated. Metallic objects, fake guns, knives and a full size baby with fake bomb material in the baby's diaper.

***********

If this is actually true, then the person doing this should be arrested for child endangerment.

Did the BABY consent to being used in a secret test of terrorism-detection activities?

What does Child Protective Services think about putting "fake bomb materials" in a baby's diaper, and then attempting to sneak it past a TSA checkpoint?

What would happen if the TSO, upon seeing the "fake bomb materials" on the baby, freaked out and threw the baby 20 yards for fear of explosion? Or violently yanked the "poop bomb" off the baby, causing injury? Or in some other way behaved in such a manner as to put the baby in jeopardy? What do you think a low-paid government worker, hired off a pizza box, is going to do when suddenly faced with the prospect of being blown to bits?

If this is, in fact, true...and if the TSA supports this...that should be enough to get them shut down for blatant child endangerment.

And the parents who allowed their innocent infant to be used in dangerous war games should be stripped of their parental rights and sterilized.

Anonymous said...

In a real bomb threat situation an area would be cleared, activities ceased and emergency personnel notified. In the TSA "bomb threat" act nothing changes but that the person is further scrutinized.

What does that demonstrate about how "real" the TSA's mission is?

8675309 said...

Jeff said "There have been ZERO airline passenger bombings in the last 43 YEARS."

And the Earth is flat? And the moon missions were faked?

What about Cubana Flight 455? Pan Am Flight 103 ? Philippine Airlines Flight 434? The two Russian airliners blown up by the Cheynan's "Black Widow" bombers? Richard Reid, the underwear bomber...the bojinka plot...

I don't know why TSA allows this blog since it is used primarily for disinformation by those seeking to weaken our security measures. The TSA is bound by law to deploy countermeasures to every current aviation security threat. If you don't like it,only lawmakers can change TSAs direction.

Instead of quoting our founding fathers, try getting off the couch and using the legal tools they gave us to effect change.

Anonymous said...

The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either. Ben Franklin would be very sad to see what his (and others) dream has become.

We have been boiled long enough. It is time to jump out of the pot and take back out freedom. End this tyranny now.

TSORon said...

Jeff said...
1) If a stroller tests "positive", and no bomb is found on the stroller (was it x-rayed to look for PETN and ignitors in the metallic parts?), then the "false positive" shows the detection equipment is not a valid technique. As far as I have seen, the TSA has detected ZERO bombs and ZERO bomb-materials in the last decade, which is around 5 Billion passengers.
------------------------
Most explosives components are “sticky” can transfer from one object to the next very easily, so an alarm on something is an indicator that someone who has handled the item has recently handled an explosive component. The alarm means that further investigation is needed and our procedures were followed as a part of that investigation.

As for bomb components, we find them every hour of every day. It might be helpful if you understood what things can be used as a bomb component before making a statement that is so obviously false to anyone with knowledge on the subject.

As for the rest of Jeff’s post, I need to buy more stock in Reynolds Wrap.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said...
As for bomb components, we find them every hour of every day. It might be helpful if you understood what things can be used as a bomb component before making a statement that is so obviously false to anyone with knowledge on the subject.
I sure am glad to know that TSA has defused 10's of thousands of bombs. Jees - Planes would otherwise be exploding every day - NOT!

Bob said...

Are the terrorists we face today above using babies to hide bombs, bomb parts and weapons parts? Of course not.

Does even the suggestion of using an old woman, or a 6-year-old girl, offend them? Again, of course not.

Curtis said...

As a propaganda arm of the federal governments TSA=DHS, you certainly are not up to task.

http://tinyurl.com/5s9g6pd

http://tinyurl.com/65xw6qr

http://tinyurl.com/6jvmohf

Get a life. Produce something.

Ayn R. Key said...

TSO Ron wrote:
As for bomb components, we find them every hour of every day.

I believe that you find water bottles every hour of every day. But if you stop counting the highly explosive water then I no longer believe your claim.

van said...

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy. ...

James Madison

Anonymous said...

"TSORon said.........
Most explosives components are “sticky” can transfer from one object to the next very easily, so an alarm on something is an indicator that someone who has handled the item has recently handled an explosive component. The alarm means that further investigation is needed and our procedures were followed as a part of that investigation.

As for bomb components, we find them every hour of every day. It might be helpful if you understood what things can be used as a bomb component before making a statement that is so obviously false to anyone with knowledge on the subject.

As for the rest of Jeff’s post, I need to buy more stock in Reynolds Wrap.

May 14, 2011 2:21 PM"

It would be nice if you would take your own advice and educate yourself before making such disparaging remarks another post (where is the moderation when it's needed).

There are quite a number of things that can trigger the bomb sniffer that have nothing what so ever to do with explosives.

I seriously doubt that bomb components/parts are found every hour of everyday. I can only assume you are making this statement for effect and not through direct knowledge since if that were the case it would be all over the news and your own site in order to show the TSA's abilities.

I really would like to see more honesty and less half truths at best from representatives of the government.

John Smith said...

Let me guess... The sniffers were set off by Melamine thermoplastic used in the construction of the stroller for its flame retardant capabilities... It gives off enough nitrogen when burned to actually put out the fire. Bet that made the sniffer have a conniption. Wow that was hard. Lets search a baby instead.. Requires less intelligence...

Brent said...

TSORon said...
...Most explosives components are “sticky” can transfer from one object to the next very easily, so an alarm on something is an indicator that someone who has handled the item has recently handled an explosive component.

Ron, if I understand your post, you seem to be implying that it someone gets swabbed and sets on the alarm, then they must have handled an explosive component? Um, so explain to me what "explosive component" i must have handled when I work with my familes cattle and then toss my work boots and dirty jeans into my bag to travel back to Washington, DC. Hmm, the nitrates in the cattle manure sure so like to set off your fancy device.



As for bomb components, we find them every hour of every day. It might be helpful if you understood what things can be used as a bomb component before making a statement that is so obviously false to anyone with knowledge on the subject.

Hey Ron, um, you shouldn't count cell phones (since they can be used as a detnator) to make yourself feel more important.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:
"Most explosives components are “sticky” can transfer from one object to the next very easily, so an alarm on something is an indicator that someone who has handled the item has recently handled an explosive component."

Some are, some aren't. Your sweeping statement is factually useless.

The alarm means that further investigation is needed and our procedures were followed as a part of that investigation."

Since 99.999% of your "alarms" are unfounded, what they really mean is...nothing. To assume the alarms are warranted and then justify them is silly.

"As for bomb components, we find them every hour of every day. It might be helpful if you understood what things can be used as a bomb component before making a statement that is so obviously false to anyone with knowledge on the subject."

Want to compare knowledge of the subject, Ron? Go for it. A TSO vs a post-graduate degree and 20+ years experience in precisely this topic? Let's go, hotshot.

As for bomb components, you know you're either being silly - an alarm clock is a potential bomb component as is a lighter - or purposely misleading people. I think it's the latter and you're misleading people. But you knew that's what you're doing, didn't you?

Bob [not the blogger] said...

Well, bottom line: If you don't like pre-board security, take the train, a bus, a boat, or walk. Easy.

Bob [not the blogger] said...

The critics are saying that TSA should NOT reconcile every alarm, that agents should ignore some alarms. Beautiful.

Anonymous said...

If the stroller activated an alarm, why was the child patted down?

TSORon said...

Brent said …
Ron, if I understand your post, you seem to be implying that it someone gets swabbed and sets on the alarm, then they must have handled an explosive component? Um, so explain to me what "explosive component" i must have handled when I work with my familes cattle and then toss my work boots and dirty jeans into my bag to travel back to Washington, DC. Hmm, the nitrates in the cattle manure sure so like to set off your fancy device.
--------------------------
Why yes Brent, Nitrates are a bomb component (otherwise known as one part of many, just as are many other things). As are many other common use items. Batteries for one, and wire for another, but neither of those leave a trace for an ETD system to detect. Many other things do though, and at the checkpoint environment we do not have the laboratory facilities available to determine exactly what may have alarmed the ETD systems. I understand that there is such a laboratory in the basement of an airport in Israel, but only one.
So, since we don’t have those kinds of facilities available to us we use what we do have, and that includes pat-downs and detailed searches. Its either that or we refuse sterile area access to everyone who alarms any detection system, but that would be inane. Passengers have paid good money to board those aircraft, and we are going to do what we can to help them do that. Sometimes it’s not very tasteful, but that is a burden my fellow TSO’s and I are willing to bear.

Bob [not the blogger] said...

Anonymous asks:
If the stroller activated an alarm, why was the child patted down?

Bob [not the blogger] says:
The stroller alarms. They check the stroller. They don't know whether the kid has anything on him that also coulda alarmed. They check the kid. Simple.

Bob [not the blogger] said...

The stroller may have "masked" what may trigger the alarm. All alarms must be reconciled FULLY in order to make sure ALL possible sources of an alarm are found.

Bob [not the blogger] said...

So, just for fun, Anonymous is a TSA agent.

A stroller with a kid in it alarms. How do you know, by the sound of the alarm, it's only the stroller? What happens if the kid is sittin' on a gun? Do you make sure, or do you just let him go? Based on your comments, I'm gonna go out on-a limb and say you'd let him go.

Anonymous said...

The TSA Blog-Pravda meisters are still censoring comments about the Former Miss USA being sexually assaulted by one of their agents.

The TSA is an organization that would have been more fitting for the Former Soviet Union.

Bob [not the blogger] said...

How was she "sexually molested" in front of cameras and hundreds of passengers and airport visitors? How does that happen?

Did she immediately call police and have the "molesters" arrested? No, she didn't. So, whose fault is THAT?

Bob [not the blogger] said...

TSORon nails it!

Anonymous said...

Brent said:
"Hey Ron, um, you shouldn't count cell phones (since they can be used as a detnator) to make yourself feel more important."

actually NO a cell phone CANNOT be used as a detnator, it can be used as a timing switch. Id like you to take a block of c4 and stick a cell phone on it and blow it up, please do this and see what happens. NOTHING! A detnator is a form of initiator NOT a timing switch.
thanks brent for slamming someone with less knowledge than you.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Want to compare knowledge of the subject, Ron? Go for it. A TSO vs a post-graduate degree and 20+ years experience in precisely this topic? Let's go, hotshot.

As for bomb components, you know you're either being silly - an alarm clock is a potential bomb component as is a lighter - or purposely misleading people. I think it's the latter and you're misleading people. But you knew that's what you're doing, didn't you?"

ill take you on, please continue, im sure that the tsa man cant get into specifics due to his job but ill take on the challenge.

Anonymous said...

TSORon said:
"[some stuff intended to make him look serious but just showed his ignorance of bomb-making material/techniques]
Sometimes it’s not very tasteful, but that is a burden my fellow TSO’s and I are willing to bear."

So you're willing to violate American's rights to collect a paycheck.

How very noble of you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"ill take you on, please continue, im sure that the tsa man cant get into specifics due to his job but ill take on the challenge."

Who are you and why would I possibly waste my time on you?

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Who are you and why would I possibly waste my time on you?"

i rest my case

brent said...

Anonymous Said... Brent said: "Hey Ron, um, you shouldn't count cell phones (since they can be used as a detnator) to make yourself feel more important." actually NO a cell phone CANNOT be used as a detnator, it can be used as a timing switch. Id like you to take a block of c4 and stick a cell phone on it and blow it up, please do this and see what happens. NOTHING! A detnator is a form of initiator NOT a timing switch. thanks brent for slamming someone with less knowledge than you.
-------------------------
Actually we are both right. A cell phone can be used as both a detonation initiating device and a detonator.

Anonymous said...

brent said:
"Actually we are both right. A cell phone can be used as both a detonation initiating device and a detonator."

lol im sorry but NO a cell phone cannot be used as a detonator.

Anonymous said...

Drive or keep your @$$ at home. You chose to fly, I get an extra special pat down when ever i fly or go throu any kind of security. it may have to do with my 15 facial peircings. and yes that is called profilling. but many of the people i know who look like me are druged out looseres and up to no good. so if the didnt pat me down i would be very afraid to fly on the flight.

Anonymous said...

I guess poop bombs are contained to infants hey Bob? 95 year old cancer patients too.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Drive or keep your @$$ at home. You chose to fly, I get an extra special pat down when ever i fly or go throu any kind of security. it may have to do with my 15 facial peircings. and yes that is called profilling. but many of the people i know who look like me are druged out looseres and up to no good. so if the didnt pat me down i would be very afraid to fly on the flight."

Profiling? No, you just set off the metal detector, duh. If you are that afraid of flying with someone like yourself then by all means please stay at home.

We don't need anymore civic minded people like yourself helping out the governments cause.

Anonymous said...

I total agree with the comments being posted so far. I do think that a government that thinks it's protecting its citizens by taking away there rights is hogwash. The only two things TSA has done right is lock the cabin door and put guns in the pilots hands. They haven't even found a terrorist yet and they are once again asking for more money. They let at least two terrorists get onto planes already and their solution is to check diapers and pat down 6 year old girls. That's TSA security. How did we loose control of our government and common sense.