Friday, July 1, 2011

JFK - LAX Stowaway Was Screened By TSA

Many of you are asking about the news involving an individual who made it through two different checkpoints, apparently using another passenger's outdated boarding pass. First, it’s important to point out that our approach is designed so we don’t depend on any single layer of security. Together, the 21 different layers provide a strong, formidable system that gives us the best chance to detect and prevent attacks before they occur. Every day we screen nearly 2 million passengers and utilize many layers of security to keep our nation's transportation systems secure. 

Additionally, TSA has begun lab testing of technology systems that will verify passenger boarding passes and IDs in order to make travel safer for all passengers, and we anticipate purchasing a limited number of systems for deployment beginning this fall. More to come on that in the coming months…

With regards to this incident, due to the ongoing FBI investigation, we're extremely limited in what we can say – but I can tell you that every passenger that passes through security checkpoints is subject to many layers of security including thorough physical screening.

In this case, TSA did not properly authenticate the passenger’s documentation. That said, it’s important to note that this individual received the same thorough physical screening as other passengers, including being screened by advanced imaging technology (body scanner). As we continue to review this particular matter, disciplinary action is being considered for the security officers involved and all appropriate actions will be taken. 

Blogger Bob
TSA Blog Team

If you’d like to comment on an unrelated topic you can do so in our Off Topic Comments post. You can also view our blog post archives or search our blog to find a related topic to comment in. If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact a Customer Support Manager at the airport you traveled, or will be traveling through by using Talk to TSA.

88 comments:

Anonymous said...

That was fairly pointless.

*Security breach*
TSA: We have security!

Brian Wohlgemuth said...

Feel free to discipline the crap out of them....we need more incentives for whistleblowers in the TSA to start showing how inept and cruel it can be.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob said..."First, it’s important to point out that our approach is designed so we don’t depend on any single layer of security. Together, the 21 different layers provide a strong, formidable system that gives us the best chance to detect and prevent attacks before they occur."

So you didn't screw up once, you had 21 different levels of fail in this situation.

This is so much spin. All three articles I have read about this story paint you, the TSA, in the most unflattering manner possible.

You screwed up and if the smelly guy skipping tickets was a real threat and not just a thief who got the idea from that movie we would be reading a much different story in the papers.

Anonymous said...

Your multiple layers that don't exist and don't WORK! Your "layers" are CHAOS! Good god, do any of you actually ever go through the checkpoints? Have you seen that no one knows what to do? Have you seen that people are confused and ANGRY? Your guys are playing at Freeze Tag drills that are ridiculous!

We do not want your layers, they clearly do not WORK. We feel LESS SAFE than we EVERY have at the airport. Your layers, process, focus, training, employees and everything about your organization is just flat BROKEN!

You guys have a BIG problem. Fix it or GET OUT. More of your psycho "tech" and more training isn't going to repair the damage you've done.

George said...

Wow! 21 different layers, each of which inflicts "unpredictable" arbitrary hassles on millions of innocent passengers. Yet this guy somehow slipped through all 21 of those layers with false documents. We should be grateful (though not to the TSA) that he is merely a deranged stowaway, who (apparently) posed no actual threat to aviation. It doesn't give us much confidence that the "infallible" TSA and its "strong formidable system" of 21 layers can protect us from someone carrying a weapon.

Between the "diaper grandma" and the stowaway, Bob and his Blog Team must be working some very late nights this week in crisis mode to find the right defensive reaction to all this embarrassment. This was posted at 10:44 PM, on the Friday before a holiday weekend no less. Whatever we think of the TSA, we must admire these individuals for their dedication.

So what does this evasive post tell us? "Mistakes were made," which is about as close as the "infallible" TSA can ever get to admitting an obvious error that they can't deny, defend, or spin away. And they'll be spending unspecified millions of dollars on the latest piece of technology whose effectiveness has never been proved. (But we'll have to wait for the GAO to get around to confirming this, and to tell us exactly how much of our money has been squandered this time.)

And of course, "disciplinary action is being considered for the security officers involved and all appropriate actions will be taken." I particularly congratulate Bob and his staff on this masterful piece of content-free bureaucratese. They must have spent hours honing this to passive-voice perfection! What it actually means is that the TSA will continue to pretend its numerous systemic failures do not exist. And they'll do everything possible to ensure that nobody is ever held accountable for any of those failures. Great job, guys!

Anonymous said...

So, person with fake documentation can go thru security....and Bob (TSA) tells me there was no real danger, because he passed the screenening...but after passign security, it's just a matter of going to the nearest duty-free shop and you can procure a bottle, made of dangerous glass material, and get it onboard a plane (carry-on)....

If only this person with fake credentials would have been wearing adult diapers....TSA would have been able to stop him....

Anonymous said...

"As we continue to review this particular matter, disciplinary action is being considered for the security officers involved and all appropriate actions will be taken. "

Really, Bob? Are you going to tell us what the disciplinary action is? Retraining, like all the rest? Or will you finally fire someone for gross incompetence?

Frank Hagan said...

Its not very comforting to read that even with 27 layers of security, reading the date and verifying the name on the boarding pass was missed.

I guess the point is that the intruder did not have weapons or other dangerous materials. But still, verifying the name and the date on the boarding pass is pretty basic. Was it a non-TSA security agent checking the ID as I see so often?

Wintermute said...

So, you're admitting that even though you didn't know WHO this person was, the plane was still safe. Therefore, why the ID requirement? According to your own admission with this post, it's not needed.

Anonymous said...

Given that the baggage screeners have at best a 30% record of finding test contraband, is it any surprise that this guy got past the TSA?

Another reason that the TSA needs to be dismantled.s

RB said...

If thorough physical screening is done just why is ID even an issue?

The TSA does not compare those document to any reference source so this function is a waste of time and manpower.

How come TSA can never answer even simple quesitons such as this one?

weaklyflyer said...

If we were supposedly just as safe without this guy's ID being checked then how about giving up completely on this ID farce and skipping it for all of US? As we saw with Bulger it's possible for people to get IDs that are good enough to fool the CBP so they will definitely get past the much vaunted TDCs.

Just stop with the pretense that our ID has anything to do with security and let's skip this "layer" altogether.

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing he was screened. Since he blew right past your Behavior Detection Officers and Document Checkers, I'm sure the physical screening and technology used were effective. How do we know he didn't have forbidden items in his possession. I was told he had Drew Mandy's 6 inch plastic hammer.

Jim Huggins said...

Bob, forgive the snarkiness, but I just can't help myself ...

"TSA has begun lab testing of technology systems that will verify passenger boarding passes and IDs."

Seriously? You need a complicated piece of technology to read the name and date on a boarding pass and match it to today's date and the ID presented by the passenger? You couldn't employ a fifth-grader to do that instead?

Oh, and while we're talking about testing of new technology systems ... how's that new system coming along that will eliminate the 100ml restriction on liquids? Last I heard, TSA said this was supposed to be in place by Fall 2009. Given TSA's track record on delivering technology, you'll forgive me if I doubt that this fancy boarding pass verification system will be available anytime soon.

One would think that you might want to find ways to improve the situation for your all-important twenty-first layer. Alas, it seems like the importance of this layer is merely rhetoric ...

Geo said...

This guy was screened in 2 different airports, both times without proper ID, both times without a Valid boarding pass.

This is NOT a matter of individual TSO's making a mistake, it's a systemic problem.

Was the fact that he's of Nigerian descent aid him in illegally cruising through the same lines that I get harassed in every week?

Anonymous said...

The bottom line is that the TSA failed to identify an obvious error. Week after week our country is subjected to a disturbing story and incident from the TSA which defies reason and common sense. Your excuses and explanations just make your inept and often disgraceful behaviors even worse.

Anonymous said...

If this wasn't a big deal, why check IDs at all? Just get rid of the step and steamline the security process. What's the point of no-fly lists as well? This only works with proper ID. Did you just admit the no-fly lists are pointless as well?

Every week we get more and more evidence that our hard earned tax dollars are being squandered. Please disband the TSA, as it is too costly for almost no increase in security. You guys have NO clue what you're doing, and haven't ever stopped an attack. I feel sorry for the blogger who has to defend this.

Anonymous said...

So, if I am to believe you that it was not an issue of safety since he was screened, then why do we need to have our boarding passes and IDs checked? After all, we'll be screened too, and not be a threat either, right?

Anonymous said...

Just admit you screwed up. That's what we do in private sector.

Randy said...

So are you saying we're safer when the wrong *stuff* doesn't get onto the plane than when the wrong *person* actually does get on?

How do you reconcile this with programs like Trusted Traveler?

If I can *pay* to have less screening then *stuff* will be easier to get on the plane.

Maybe I'm confused?

Randy

Anonymous said...

What a joke! Let's take common sense approach to security instead of WASTING millions of taxpayers $$$.

f2000 said...

The same rigorous physical screening that let Mythbuster's Adam Savage through security with several 12 inch long razor blades, and in generous estimates results in the TSA missing 70% of "dangerous" items?

Professionals.

f2000 said...

So you didn't screw up once, you had 21 different levels of fail in this situation.


+5

f2000 said...

Really, Bob? Are you going to tell us what the disciplinary action is? Retraining.

Well, they'll have to get the union to sign off on allowing the retraining, now. And the people involved will have to be paid time-and-a-half while they are being "disciplined".

Unless the union grievance is substantiated, then we'll probably have to just pay them for having been inappropriately harassed for improperly doing their job.

Adrian said...

It's trivial to get through with fake documents, and always will be. (There is evidence to suggest that this particular passenger has done this multiple times.)

The real story here is that "Secure Flight" is pointless security theatre. Identity does not matter for security. The TSA made sure the passenger didn't have weapons and thus wasn't a threat to air safety. That should be the end of it. And the end of Secure Flight.

We need to dismantle Secure Flight which does nothing for security, and, in fact, makes us all less secure from identity and credit fraud by forcing us to reveal too much personal information to the airlines, who have repeatedly shown an inability and unwillingness to protect this information.

The passenger shows up at the checkpoint with the lock and the key, and TSA just makes sure the key fits in the lock. In the software world, this type of design flaw would be classified as "reliance on untrusted inputs for a security decision." If you were designing an actual layer of security (and we assume the identity does matter--which is doesn't), you would have the passenger bring the key and check it against the TSA's lock. This approach has additional benefits in that it can be arranged to protect the passenger's privacy, unlike the absolutely worthless and pointless Secure Flight program.

Anonymous said...

Isn't that proof that ID does not matter?

Then why are you wasting our time checking it?

Anonymous said...

OK. So he was screened by TSA. What does that say about the effectiveness of TSA screening?

avxo said...

Fancy uniform? Check!
Fancy blacklight flashlight? Check!
Fancy eye loupe? Check!
Able to read and compare two things? ... oops!

This reminds me of the epic fail of the traffic warden in the UK as detailed in http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/Traffic-warden-couldn-t-tell-time/story-12679566-detail/story.html

Anonymous said...

If TSO's can't handle and ID and boarding pass match, why should we have any confidence in the other 20 layers of security?

Anonymous said...

Something isnt right about this story.Something simple like making sure names and dates on a boarding pass match, should not have been missed.Even the airline allowed this guy to get on the flight and take off.Im not an expert on security, but it almost seems like the people responsible did not even care enough about the job, to do it correctly.You all know how it is. Just keep the lines moving.No time for training or care for anything else.To much time causes the airlines money.

Anonymous said...

"TSA did not properly authenticate the passenger’s documentation." What a fancy way of saying the inept screener didn't both to even look to check both ID and ticket.

And as many have touched on in their comments, what good are 21 LAYERS of security when not ONE caught this guy? "Formidable" my butt.

By the way, I work in the public relations field, and it chaps my rear to no end the flowery language used by damage control PR men like yourself when it comes time to explain how you screwed up. Drop the arrogant attitude, and admit your agency messed up! This is why America is laughing at you!!

Anonymous said...

The TSA folks are boiled in their own stew? The agency that spends billions of dollars making mountains out of molehills, is now in the position of defending itself from some guy that got caught in a stowaway scam. He did not hurt or attempt to hurt anyone and the crime cost the airline and passengers nothing. We rest assured that had he been a child, elderly or handicapped he would have faced the full fury of regulation as it is made up by TSA employees.

My favorite TSA show was a few years ago when I went to take a flight and the path to the inspection area forked. Travelers paused to figure out whether to go right or left as a wall blocked the view. A TSA agent about 30 feet away started screaming, "Take a right! Right! I tell you this every flight! What is wrong with you - you never learn!"

Of course, it probably never occurred to the agent that the people each flight were probably different people.

Laughter is the best medicine.

Tomas said...

Seems he skated past at least three different, independent checks that should have caught the discrepancy before the plane left the gate, first, the ID check by TSA, second the boarding pass check by TSA, third the boarding pass check by the gate attendants.

Flight crew should have done a passenger count before take-off, too, which should have caught the discrepancy that somehow a NON-TICKETED PASSENGER who had NOT PAID FOR PASSAGE was on the flight.

Guess it shows just how "tight" the "security" REALLY is, even if TSA is checking the Depends of 95 year old ladies...

*shakes head*

Chip and Andy said...

Write to your elected officials and tell them to end the TSA. Ink on paper with a stamp. Enough letters sitting on their desks and maybe they will start paying attention to US, the tax payers, who vote for them.

Anonymous said...

"Disciplinary action is being considered...." Seriously, you're only "considering?"

Dear TSA: This is a huge deal. If you don't get that and then fire the people who simply can't check a name and date on a boarding pass against valid ID, then you don't deserve our support or our respect.

Wake up, TSA. Your agency has issues with personnel. Don't "consider." Fire. Terminate. Our lives depend on you doing your job -- with courtesy and common sense.

The taxpayers pay your salary. We deserve better. And you aren't delivering.

Congress really needs to step in.

RB said...

Really, Bob? Are you going to tell us what the disciplinary action is? Retraining, like all the rest? Or will you finally fire someone for gross incompetence?

July 2, 2011 12:27 AM
..................

If TSA fired people for incompetence there would be no TSA workers left.

RB said...

There are reports from around the country of TSA's Expert Document Checkers requiring people to say their names.

Perhaps these TSA employees can't read as evidenced by this incident.

Bob, is that why TSA is making us say our names at the TDC stations?

Molon Labe said...

First note the 911 coward pigs and sons of dogs went through screening and still had weapons available.

Second I attempted to use State issued pictured ID that needed a FBI background check at an airport. TSA agent refused to accept, they demanded a state drivers license. Again note the the 911 sons of dogs, all had at least one if not more state issued drivers licenses. I would think that TSA would train there staff on acceptable ID's.

Also note this did not happen once but twice. i.e. he got though TSA at two different airports he was not arrested until caught by airline staff second time he attempted to board.

When I asked TSA they sent me their rules. These rules did not include a ID from the University of Michigan. Yet this yahoo got on past TSA twice and nothing happened to him at all. Nothing, I have been put through more than him even though I have followed all the rules.

So TSA you got some explaining to do. To state he went through security thus everything is fine is not an answer.

This looks to me like a test run. and it worked.

Anonymous said...

Ladies and gentlemen, this is what has been bought with the freedoms and liberties the TSA is robbing us of. They strip us of our dignity and our property, and there's no security coming from it.

The only security the TSA cares about is their own financial security.

Bill K said...

Question what is the penalty for using fake or improper ID to pass TSA check point?

Answer, nothing, this person was questioned and released in LA.

Question what is the penalty for using fake or improper ID to pass TSA check points a second time?

Answer nothing, person was arrested for attempting to stowaway on a plane not for using fake ID.

Question does all the groping, molesting, and harassment of US citizens add much to air line security?

Answer, not much.

We need a better way.

Anonymous said...

chip and andy said:
"Write to your elected officials and tell them to end the TSA. Ink on paper with a stamp. Enough letters sitting on their desks and maybe they will start paying attention to US, the tax payers, who vote for them."

im thinking that their lobbyists are more important than the tax payers, but keep thinking that the govt is just like in storyland!

Anonymous said...

as pointed out numerous times by anti-tsa bloggers, your identity DOES NOT matter for security purposes. they guy passed through the tsa area as far as not having any weapons so why does his identity matter??? its an airline issue not a tsa issue. cut the tsa out of id checks! give it back to the airlines, where they NEVER made any mistakes... or at least it never made it to the media when they did.
this is a non-issue it doesnt matter who you are, your identity doesnt matter. you passed though the metal detector and xray and nothing was found, give over it.
so heres a simple way to save mony, give it back to the airlines!

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Have you seen that no one knows what to do? Have you seen that people are confused and ANGRY? Your guys are playing at Freeze Tag drills that are ridiculous!"

there are 1000s of us seasoned travelers that know exactly what to do, please stay out of our way and making longer lines.

Anonymous said...

The reason why the TSA is checking ID is so they can deny you the "privilege" of travel if you have any unpaid fines, unpaid taxes, etc. They're not doing it now, but they will.

Soon there will be a fourth bullet point TSA week at a glance for the number of people with unpaid tickets or expired vehicle registrations. The bullet point will say something like "suspected criminals" or something...

SciMjr2 said...

Yikes! Does anyone else here like the fact that regardless of what happens the T.S.A. is never wrong ... there is always justification for EVERYTHING!?!

Sure, this guys name doesn't match his boarding pass, and the boarding pass is for a flight that left yesterday, and he has no valid I.D. on him but we did a "thorough" screening!

All the T.S.A. agents I've read from here and seen in real life have some sort of power trip going. They act like they are the President who gets a daily briefing every morning ... they act like they have inside information on terror plots that us little people don't! Come on!

Let's call a spade a spade here! All these people running around wearing the little blue shirts, blue gloves, and fake badges are all making a little better than minimum wage ... JUST LIKE THE REST OF US normal people!

I am willing to bet my life that there is NOTHING any of those people could tell me that isn't public information and readily available!

Tomas said...

I was just thinking, and came to the conclusion that even without weeks and weeks of intense training that the TSOs allegedly get, I'll bet that I would be able to match the name on a person's ID with the name on a boarding pass, and make sure the boarding pass was for a flight later the same day without error - especially if I were being paid to do just exactly that...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"there are 1000s of us seasoned travelers that know exactly what to do, please stay out of our way and making longer lines."

...because being delayed is far worse than losing our Constitutional freedoms. Arbeit mach Frei!

Anonymous said...

""there are 1000s of us seasoned travelers that know exactly what to do, please stay out of our way and making longer lines""

I'm a seasoned traveler. Seasoned enough to have been "randomly" selected, along with my wife, four times since they've added the AIT scanners last year. I've counted and timed the number of people who can walk through a metal detector vs an AIT scanner (at JFK). The metal detectors are, on average, five times faster than the AIT scanners. On average, it took 25 seconds for a person to pass through the AIT where a person is guided through the metal detector every 5 seconds.

Even the least seasoned travelers going through the metal detectors will outpace the most seasoned travelers going through the AIT scanners.

It's not unseasoned travelers causing long TSA lines, it's the TSA and their freedom hating technologies and policies.

Anonymous said...

You have "Passengers" listed in your 21 layers of security!!! Are you freaking kidding me!

Molon Labe said...

Molon Labe notes that the TSA did not post my comments, interesting as I made some interesting points about their incompetence.

They probably are investigating to improve their performance, i.e. investigating me so they can shut me up permanently.

Earl Pitts said...

@Anon: Doesn't matter how many of us seasoned travelers know what to do when TSA doesn't. The lines aren't long because of clueless people. They're long because of TSA.

Clueless people existed before 9/11, yet we never had to wait more than 5 minutes to get thru the line - even with non pax going thru.

Something changed alright - and that was the addition of a clueless TSA.

Earl

Anonymous said...

there are 1000s of us seasoned travelers that know exactly what to do, please stay out of our way and making longer lines.

Don't blame unseasoned travelers, or even those that only travel a few times a year. Blame the SOURCE of the problem. That source, in case you missed it, is the TSA.

Don't be obtuse, people of all traveling experience need to get places; the checkpoints are utter chaos and FUD. You are now less safe than you ever have been.

Anonymous said...

Ummm....
If he was screened the same as other passengers, including AIT as you say, and therefore there was no danger, what exactly is the point of having an ID check at all? (And don't just state "Identity Matters"- that doesn't answer the question of WHY.

Instead of throwing more millions of dollars at new technologies to scan boarding passes and ID's, why not just eliminate that function altogether and free up screeners? Oh, wait, that would require admitting that the whole ID check thing is irrelevant for security.

Anonymous said...

Adrian said...
The real story here is that "Secure Flight" is pointless security theatre.

No, I've been thinking about it, and I I believe that "security theater" is *exactly* what the TSA is going for. Their goal isn't to catch terrorists, it's to get them to go someplace else.

What would they do if they actually found a terrorist with a bomb in their scanner? Ask them to please put their bomb in a bin and wait while they call a police officer? The likely result would be that the terrorist setting the bomb off at the checkpoint killing everyone. They don't want that.

When a terrorist blows up a school rather than an airplane the TSA can give themselves a big pat on the back for a job well done.

Anonymous said...

Oh hey, the national police aren't very good at there job.

Anonymous said...

perhaps if he had been an elderly incontinent woman or a six year old boy your people would have been more enthusiastic about pursuing him.

Anonymous said...

Bob, just admit that the TSA failed.

TJ said...

It is not the TSA's job to protect the revenue of airlines.

Indeed, if there is anything the TSA does well, it is harm the revenue of airlines.

Anonymous said...

It would be so much easier if you just admitted that your organization screwed up.

Anonymous said...

Interesting. The TSA is sure that this guy went through the "naked scanner", yet separately insists that there is no possible way to link individuals with scanner images.

kimm said...

The point is, this idiot STILL GOT THROUGH while I have to do everything but take the plate out of my leg to prove it's a plate....which will probably be next, right? (And the plate sets NOTHING off......)

I really can't drive long distances any longer due to my leg, however I'm starting to wonder which is worse. The intense pain after a day of driving, or the insult and double standards at the airport. I'm seriously looking at stocking up on pain meds and driving........

Anonymous said...

[[You have "Passengers" listed in your 21 layers of security!!! Are you freaking kidding me!]]

Nope.

Passengers and flight crew stopped Ried; passengers and flight crew stopped Abdulmutallab. TSA figured in neither.

Virgin flight crew found Noibi and turned him in to LA police and TSA ... neither did anything and released him. Delta gate personnel found Noibi the second time, and only this time was anything done about it.

The rest of the 21 layers - to the degree that they involve TSA policy and procedures - are to fill boxes with shampoo and toothpaste and compel various states of undress, physical or electromagnetical.

So, yes: do your part. TSA will protect everyone from in-flight oral hygiene; you protect everyone from the ne'er-do-wells.

TSM, been here.... said...

Quoted:
" Tomas said...
I was just thinking, and came to the conclusion that even without weeks and weeks of intense training that the TSOs allegedly get, I'll bet that I would be able to match the name on a person's ID with the name on a boarding pass, and make sure the boarding pass was for a flight later the same day without error - especially if I were being paid to do just exactly that...

July 3, 2011 8:32 PM"
-----------------------------
Uh huh, Like to see you try it when there is a line of passengers in front of you who absolutely MUST get on that flight.
In addition, The airline provided boarding passes to certain people about 10 minutes before the flight boards so their rep is in front of you saying "I have to get these people thru now, check their ID quick!"

While your checkpoint must process over 500 people an hour thru 2 metal detectors. And those are just the parameters of a normal day/shift. Add to that the wheel chairs who come to a dead stop in front of TDC while they fish for their documents and the folks who don't speak English or who don't have a boarding pass, just an itinerary and don't understand the difference, plus the folks who have forgotten to drop off their checked luggage at baggage before coming over and must be given directions to the airline counter.

Again, all this occurs at TDC before we have even looked at a ticket/ID.

Now, a TDC person must look at:
1. Name - does it match the boarding pass?
2. Date of flight - is it today?
3. Flight number - Has that flight been canceled which invalidates that boarding pass?
4. Time of flight - has that time passed? - flight missed/boarding pass invalid
5. Are they a selectee? - require notifications to the other TSOs
6. Are they traveling with children - where's their boarding passes?
7. Is one person holding all the IDs/passes for a family - gotta sort that out and match everyone up


NOW you have to look at the ID!
1. Does the photo match the person physically
2. Is the ID expired?
3. Is the ID even in English or do you need to figure out where the dates are? (passport) - do you even recognize the ID or do you have to look it up in the ID book?
4. Are there any signs of tampering? (way too many checks to go into to verify this)
5. Gotta check it with the tools (UV, magnifier, etc)
6. Do they even have ID? - more checks required

And this is occurring WHILE the stuff I first mentioned is going on...

Oh, and I forget to mention, you have an average of about 30-45 seconds to do all of the above or the crowd starts yelling that they are missing their flight, the airline reps start bringing you more people because the line is now backed up, etc.
And be sure you do all this at 100% accuracy for every second that you are at the position.

Still think you can do this job with 0 errors every day, consistantly?

Oh, but crucify the guy that let one slip through.

Ayn R. Key said...

Your philosophy of layers is much like trying to build a helium balloon out of sufficient layers of cheesecloth.

Anonymous said...

i have on 2 distinct occasions gotten through security checkpoints after unknowingly handing the tsa agent the wrong boarding pass (always cases where i have a return flight on the same day and therefore have 2 printed boarding passes). each time the agent stared at the pass, wrote on it, and sent me on my way even though it was for a return flight at a different airport hours later. both times i remember thinking "how on earth..." after that same incorrect pass did not work at the gate. this would seem very basic but perhaps the repetitive nature of the job makes your eyes play tricks on you.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"Nope.

Passengers and flight crew stopped Ried; passengers and flight crew stopped Abdulmutallab. TSA figured in neither."

and they didnt figure in screening them either as they were on inbound us flights that were flying into the states. they were not screened by the tsa, they were screened by european security.

Earl Pitts said...

@TSM, been here: "Oh, but crucify the guy that let one slip through."

Why not? TSA punishes all of us for the sins of one person.

Double standard?

Earl

Jim Huggins said...

TSM writes:
Oh, but crucify the guy that let one slip through.


Why not? Y'all seem to crucify the passenger who remembers to clear their bag of LGAs all the time, but forgets just once and gets caught at the x-ray machine ...

Anonymous said...

Yikes! Does anyone else here like the fact that regardless of what happens the T.S.A. is never wrong ... there is always justification for EVERYTHING!?!

Sure, this guys name doesn't match his boarding pass, and the boarding pass is for a flight that left yesterday, and he has no valid I.D. on him but we did a "thorough" screening!

All the T.S.A. agents I've read from here and seen in real life have some sort of power trip going. They act like they are the President who gets a daily briefing every morning ... they act like they have inside information on terror plots that us little people don't! Come on!

Let's call a spade a spade here! All these people running around wearing the little blue shirts, blue gloves, and fake badges are all making a little better than minimum wage ... JUST LIKE THE REST OF US normal people!

I am willing to bet my life that there is NOTHING any of those people could tell me that isn't public information and readily available!

Anonymous said...

[[...but crucify the guy that let one slip through]]

Okay, if you think we should. I would just have thought to abolish the whole process as it is and replace it with something that has, in other parts of the world, shown itself to be successful. But if you want crucifixion ... hey! why not!

What you're describing, Mr Martyr, is a manifestation of the inherent ineptitude of the "security" "design" that TSA has enacted. That's no one's doing but your own. You were the ones who said you could do it this way; those who know something about security [which includes me, by the way] said, "uhhh, dudes ... no you can't."

Guess what? We were right, and you're now making excuses. Grow up, admit that the path we embarked upon for air travel security is hopelessly enshambled, and do something that actually, like, y'know, WORKS.

And stop whining about it. Geez. You're like a 67,000-child kindergarten.

Anonymous said...

Everyone seems to bypass the fact that the TSA DID NOT ALLOW THIS GUY ON A PLANE!!!

TSA only allowed him past TDC - TO BE SCREENED. Period. THE AIRLINE ALLOWED HIM ON THE PLANE.

The AIRLINE is responsible for who they let on THIER planes. Yes, TSA screwed up. But TSA's screwup only allowed the guy to get screened.

The airline allowed a passenger with no boarding pass to not only get on the plane, but allowed it to take off with an incorrect number of passengers aboard.

Put the blame where it belongs people!

Anonymous said...

Two things:

1. This rather clearly exposes the reality that the ID checking process is a farce. That "API OK" notation on boarding passes assumes that pass holder is the person using the pass. Matching the ID is obviously fundamental to this process. Indeed if one doesn't have ID, you engage in a lengthy process of attempting to verify identification and then carry out all manner of additional screening.

Since he didn't get all that additional screening, either he posed a potential unknown risk that you failed to deal with, or all that ID and secondary screening is nonsense.
2. Disciplinary action is being considered because TSA is a government entity. Were you a private secotr contractor, disiplinary action would be complete by now.

TrackerNeil said...

This incident makes me wonder why the TSA bothers asking for ID at all. The 9/11 hijackers, I believe, all had picture ID that would today be accepted at security checkpoints, so clearly the presence of a driver's license doesn't make flying safer. It seems to me that as long as none of the passengers have guns or bombs it doesn't matter who they are.

TrackerNeil said...

This incident makes me wonder why the TSA bothers asking for ID at all. The 9/11 hijackers, I believe, all had picture ID that would today be accepted at security checkpoints, so clearly the presence of a driver's license doesn't make flying safer. It seems to me that as long as none of the passengers have guns or bombs it doesn't matter who they are.

Anonymous said...

TSM, been here.... said...

Oh, and I forget to mention, you have an average of about 30-45 seconds to do all of the above or the crowd starts yelling that they are missing their flight, the airline reps start bringing you more people because the line is now backed up, etc.
And be sure you do all this at 100% accuracy for every second that you are at the position.

Still think you can do this job with 0 errors every day, consistantly?
---------------------------------------

I'm not sure you realize how unintentionally hilarious your post was. In answer to your question, yes I could do that very, very easily.

I think that there is a clear disconnect between a large portion of the TSA's minimally educated, minimally trained workforce and the highly educated, highly experienced professionals and businesspeople who are disproportionately represented among airline passengers. For people whose jobs require an enormous base of practical and theoretical knowledge along with many years of experience, it's laughable when a person with a GED and a few weeks of training in a job that actively discourages critical thinking and problem solving sets out to give lectures on how difficult it is to compare two names and make sure that the date listed is correct.

kimm said...

Why is it that every time TSA or security screws up, you make the passengers pay the price?

Maybe you SHOULD depend on a single layer of security. DOGS!!!

I'm personally sick and tired of the humiliation because of my brace.

You say you don't profile? BS! I'm pulled out EVERY TIME due to my brace, even though I set nothing off. That is what I would call profiling.

I have no problems with profiling when it is done SENSIBLY. But pulling out every handicapped person in line is humiliation, not sensibility!

Anonymous said...

give the checking of ids and boarding passes to the airlines where it was up until 3-4 years ago. let them deal with the problems associated with mismatched ids and boarding passes. this guy passed through security without any weapons, which is what the tsa should be concerned about. how many people got through with mismatched ids and boarding passes when the tsa didnt check? was it reported by the news?

Anonymous said...

[[...but crucify the guy that let one slip through]]

Okay, if you think we should. I would just have thought to abolish the whole process as it is and replace it with something that has, in other parts of the world, shown itself to be successful. But if you want crucifixion ... hey! why not!

What you're describing, Mr Martyr, is a manifestation of the inherent ineptitude of the "security" "design" that TSA has enacted. That's no one's doing but your own. You were the ones who said you could do it this way; those who know something about security [which includes me, by the way] said, "uhhh, dudes ... no you can't."

Guess what? We were right, and you're now making excuses. Grow up, admit that the path we embarked upon for air travel security is hopelessly enshambled, and do something that actually, like, y'know, WORKS.

And stop whining about it. Geez. You're like a 67,000-child kindergarten.

Anonymous said...

[[they didnt figure in screening them either as they were on inbound us flights that were flying into the states.]]

As I have to tell people frequently: you don't get points for being right. You get points for being pertinent. Explain how this is pertinent.

[[they were not screened by the tsa, they were screened by european security.]]

I hope this isn't your explanation of pertinence, because it's a lousy job of it.

European pre-flight screening for passengers coming into the US must use TSA procedures.

TSA itself says that.

The criticism of TSA is not simply based on their being a top-heavy group of mindless bureaucrats, but a top-heavy group of mindless bureaucrats using essentially inept "security" procedures that are designed to inconvenience passengers more than determine a meaningful difference between a passenger simply attempting to get from Point A to Point B, and one intent on air sabotage or piracy.

TSA only knows how to look for pre-defined "things". Those pre-defined "things" are not the danger. The danger is PEOPLE who have NONpre-defined "things" and who are intent on air sabotage or piracy.

...hence the criticism of TSA and their reflexive, reactive procedures virtually guaranteed to stop nothing.

Get with the program.

Anonymous said...

You know I am so sick of people calling the TSA Officers, ignorant, mindless morons. It is time to stop this as I know that many of these people are normal SMART people that are trying to a job to the best of their ability, support, their families, and pay their bills, JUST LIKE YOU! Many of these people are people who joined TSA back 10 years ago after feeling like this is the way to serve their country. Many are people who were professionals just like YOU!!!!! And the most IMPORTANT thing is that many are former MILITARY that served our country overseas, THAT YOU PEOPLE SUPPOSEDLY SUPPORT, but now that they work for TSA you spit in their face and called them ignorant morons! Maybe before you call people names you should talk to these people and discover they are people with the same goals as you, and many have the same ideals as you! DON'T THROW MUD AROUND UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED IN THEIR SHOES!!!! YOU ONLY MAKE YOURSELVES LOOK LIKE MORONS!!!!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
You know I am so sick of people calling the TSA Officers, ignorant, mindless morons. It is time to stop this as I know that many of these people are normal SMART people that are trying to a job to the best of their ability, support, their families, and pay their bills, JUST LIKE YOU! Many of these people are people who joined TSA back 10 years ago after feeling like this is the way to serve their country. Many are people who were professionals just like YOU!!!!! And the most IMPORTANT thing is that many are former MILITARY that served our country overseas, THAT YOU PEOPLE SUPPOSEDLY SUPPORT, but now that they work for TSA you spit in their face and called them ignorant morons! Maybe before you call people names you should talk to these people and discover they are people with the same goals as you, and many have the same ideals as you! DON'T THROW MUD AROUND UNTIL YOU HAVE WALKED IN THEIR SHOES!!!! YOU ONLY MAKE YOURSELVES LOOK LIKE MORONS!!!!
---------------------------------------PART 1

1) TSOs are not "just like me." If my boss demanded that I behave in a way that was both senseless and unconscionable (e.g. required that I stroke someone's hair or demand that an elderly cancer patient remove her diaper in order to get on her flight) then I would refuse. If my circumstances were such that I absolutely could not resign and support my family at the same time then I would have the decency to apologize to the people that I was abusing. I certainly wouldn't leap to the conclusion that whatever my boss was asking me was inherently reasonable because it was based on vague "intelligence" reports.

Respect is a two-way street. TSOs recently brought both my wife and my sister to tears in separate instances on the same weekend. If the worst thing that happens to them is that someone calls them a nasty name, I don't particularly care.

Anonymous said...

PART II

2) I highly doubt that there are "many" TSOs who were successful, highly educated professionals before joining the agency. If you have any information about any doctors, lawyers, accountants, college professors, etc. who left their profession in order to scold people for not putting their mouthwash in a plastic baggy, I'd be very interested in hearing it.

Actually, it wouldn't surprise me if there were a handful of such individuals working as TSOs. I remember reading an article a few years ago about an African prince who was quite happily employed as a beat cop in NYC. But these instances are undoubtedly the exception, not the rule.

I also have no doubt that there are many highly intelligent people who have GEDs. But again, they are the exception. For the most part, people fail to graduate from high school because they lack the cognitive abilities to deal with abstract reasoning or the emotional intelligence and/or maturity to avoid getting pregnant, getting someone pregnant, or getting arrested. I'm the last person who would say that this makes them bad people or that they are unworthy of common courtesy. After all, there have been many, many evil geniuses and many, many good-hearted dull people. But please don't try to convince me that the average TSO chose this line of work over something much more demanding.

There is a reason that TSOs are only required to have a GED: their jobs require them to mindlessly follow procedures without letting the pesky habit of critical thinking get in the way. A highly educated, highly intelligent person would have a very difficult time in this kind of environment. Some of us need a little more intellectual stimulation than the incredibly difficult challenge of comparing names on IDs and boarding passes and verifying that the date that is listed is correct.

If you find any of this offensive, please keep in mind that that Mr. Pistole said more or less the same thing in a recent interview. Explaining why the TSA has not adopted Israeli-style security (which, incidentally, I think is a horrible idea), he said, "We would require a different workforce. So I wouldn't want to do it the way we're presently configured or employed." Now what do you think he might mean by that? Do you think that he meant that TSA's minimally educated, minimally trained officers are just too darn smart to do anything besides blindly follow orders?

3) I couldn't care less about the fact that a given TSO may have served in the armed forces. Contrary to popular belief, we do not all "support the troops." I do not believe that the armed forces play any role whatsoever in "defending our country," at least not since WWII. I'm constantly amazed at the percentage of the population that buys into this tripe. All that the military has done in my lifetime is kill an enormous number of foreigners, cripple our economy, and further provoke the tiny minority of extremists who would seek to do us harm. I'll be sure to thank them as soon as they do anything that is remotely connected to protecting my life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness..

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:
"There is a reason that TSOs are only required to have a GED: "

TSOs are NOT required to have a GED; one year of experience in the "security industry, aviation screening, or as an X-ray technician" (cut from usajobs.com) may be substituted for a high school diploma or GED.

Earl said...

Mistakes happen, even 21 layers' worth of mistakes. But it's not a great sign that the proposed solution to ensure that this doesn't happen again involves high-tech equipment. A simple calendar ought to do.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that you never bothered to comment about the teenage boy that had stowed away in the wheel well of a 737 in November of last year.

How many "layers of security" did Delvonte Tisdale make it through? No clever commentary or self-serving Q & A about how we were still protected from the teenage boy who could just have easily been a bomb-carrying terrorist?

How about it, Blogger Bob? Just say, "Hey, we goofed up, that one got through." That's all you have to do. Just own up to it. Just once.

Ball's in your court.

Anonymous said...

anon said:
"I noticed that you never bothered to comment about the teenage boy that had stowed away in the wheel well of a 737 in November of last year."

can you please post this story? did the teenager go through a checkpoint? did he jump a fence and sneak on the plane? you do realize that the tsa can only secure cetain areas of the airport and its up to the airport's port authority to control the rest of the area. Im not sure if this is one of the 21 layers or not but outside agencies need to do their jobs as well. again, please provide any facts you have on this inncident as to how the teenager got on board.

Katy said...

I had no idea that 2 million people were screened per day! That's a lot.

Gerard said...

Secuei\rity needs to be as tight as ever, especially in this day and age of terrorism and opportunistic attacks in the name of a personal or relligious cause.