Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Moment of Silence for Those Lost on United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa 10:06 AM 9/11/2001

American Flags
Photo by Jeff Kubina

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

The actions of the passengers on this flight is why there will never be another 9/11 style attack. These brave passenger sacrificed their lives so another building wasn't targeted and more lives were lost.

The TSA would not have prevented 9/11. Boxcutters were permitted items at the time and the hijackers had vaild boarding passes and ID's. Reinforced cockpit doors and changed passenger attitudes towards hijackings, as seen by the passengers on United 93, will prevent another 9/11.

There will be another post here on Friday detailing the prohibited items caught by the TSA. Reallistically, most of them will be not much of a threat to a plane anymore. Knives, stun guns, and possibly even real guns, are not going to take down a plane. The passengers won't allow it to happen. A few passengers may be killed if a gun got on board, but a guns should never be on board. If the TSA can't stop a gun from getting on board, how many more dangerous things could they have missed?

Anonymous said...

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

http://www.911familiesforamerica.org/?p=6141

For me, the sad reality is that the TSA has succeeded in accomplishing what Osama bin Laden couldn’t. I now dread the airport. I view the TSA as an inept government agency, which makes complicity in my own humiliation the price I must pay to fly.

Debra Burlingame
New York

Ms. Burlingame is a co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America and the sister of Capt. Charles F. Burlingame, III, pilot of American Airlines Flight 77.

Anonymous said...

Let us suspend our criticism of the TSA this day, and remember the victims and heroes of 9/11.

Let us also recall a time when, all too briefly, we truly were "one nation, indivisible." When we rallied around our Leaders, and gave them our unquestioning trust that they would do what was right.

Let the TSA commemorate their Founding Event by wrapping themselves in the Flag-- as long as they're aware that it doesn't take Advanced Imaging Technology to see what's underneath.

Anonymous said...

Bob, what would you be doing with your life if you were not a spokesman for the most reviled government agency?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Burlingame,

Thank you for your blog post.

Sunshine All Day Long said...

We were abused and murdered on 9/11 for being patriotic Americans who cared about our civil liberties. Unfortunately, the TSA uses 9/11 as an excuse to violate our civil liberties. The TSA civil rights violations insult the patriotic losses we suffered on 9/11. They never post my comments. They won't post this one either.

Anonymous said...

We have exactly the same approach to mass screening of airline passengers that we had on 9/11. The only difference is that it's now done by federal employees who call themselves "officers," and who are empowered to arbitrarily and inconsistently implement secret rules and restrictions with wildly varying degrees of competence and courtesy toward passengers. Screening has also been "enhanced" with numerous additional hassles, intrusions, and invasions of privacy, all added in reaction to failures beginning with 9/11 itself. And it's all based on the TSA's apparent mentality that every passenger is an enemy in the War the TSA are waging.

Screening is undeniably much costlier, in terms of dollars as well as convenience, liberty, privacy, and even bodily integrity. But beyond the TSA's own insistence that screening is better (a claim we're supposed to accept on faith), there's no objective evidence that what the TSA has cost us has bought anything useful.

9/11 was not a failure of airport screening. It was a failure of the very highest ranks of the Bush administration. New evidence suggests that they ignored clear intelligence pointing to the imminent attack, probably out of ideological blindness from their obsession with Iraq. That administration created the TSA as part of an enormous bureaucratic edifice shrouded in secrecy and exempt from the oversight and accountability that constrains normal government agencies.

The TSA met the demand for the administration to DO SOMETHING after the catastrophe of 9/11. But it set a pernicious pattern from the very beginning. It allowed (and continues to allow) the administration to deflect blame and accountability for what actually failed, while punishing everyone who chooses to fly. When there's a terrorist attack, successful or otherwise, we will never know who was responsible for failing to discover and prevent it. But we can be certain that the TSA will react after the fact with a new intrusive hassle. The terrorists will have moved on, but every passenger will henceforth be burdened with a reaction to yesterday's threats.

Worst of all, the TSA gives terrorists the certainty that even if their plot fails to create mass destruction, their plot will succeed at creating permanent mass disruption through whatever reactive hassles the TSA puts in place.

Airport screening did not prevent 9/11, because the terrorists used new tactics based on weapons that were not prohibited items. TSA screening will not prevent future attacks for the same reason. Hassling passengers with new "layers" reacting to past tactics and tools shows that the government is "doing something." But it provides no protection against new tactics and tools. It may even undermine whatever effectiveness mass screening may provide, since "officers" focused on an expanding checklist of prohibited items are likely to miss signs of tactics not on the checklist.

The reality is that mass airport screening cannot protect aviation from terrorists. Only intelligence and old-fashioned police work can do that, by stopping plots in their earliest stages. Once plotters get to the airport, it's too late. Arrogance and contempt for the public and the rule of law, in the name of pretending that they can protect aviation from terrorists, will not change this reality.

As we remember the victims and heroes of 9/11, it's time to demand accountability from the secretive and arrogant agency created in reaction to the tragedy. They need to be opened up to independent assessment of all their policies, practices, and layers to ensure that they're effective uses of our taxpayer dollars, as well as justifying the sacrifice of privacy, liberty, and convenience. There was a time when "trust us" was appropriate. That time is long gone.

Once today's moment of silence is over, it's time to write our members of Congress and demand the oversight and accountability that the TSA has evaded for 11 years.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely disgusting. For the last decade, the TSA has used the terrible tragedy of that day as an excuse to bully, harass and humiliate Americans, stripping us of our rights and our dignity in the process.

Do you have no shame left at all?

Anonymous said...



TSA caught on video detaining woman because they didn't like "attitude."

Anonymous said...

I'm simultaneously fascinated and baffled by the comments I'm reading here.

In past years, the censors would never have allowed any critical words to desecrate the Most Sacred Day on the TSA Calendar. But here's a whole bunch of comments critical of the direction the TSA and the country have taken in response to 9/11.

We can never know what goes on behind the locked doors of TSA headquarters, or what its hierarchy of bureaucrats are thinking. But I would guess that the decision to allow critical comments was taken at a level higher than Bob's. It may be to send one or more of these messages:

1. The TSA are now so powerful and arrogant that they're impervious to criticism. They answer only to themselves, and don't care what anyone thinks of them. They ignore court orders, just as they ignore the GAO and members of Congress. So they certainly can ignore ordinary citizens, who are considered the Enemy in the War they're waging. As long as they're properly obedient and deferential when they're requesting the privilege of flying, citizens can say whatever they want. It doesn't matter, because the TSA has no need to listen. (And if a passenger is not properly obedient and deferential at the airport, the TSOs are authorized to administer whatever humbling they deem appropriate.)

2. TSA leadership considers criticism a validation of their effectiveness. They are, after all, waging a War in which everyone who enters a checkpoint is the enemy. Effective security, then, should leave the enemy dazed and confused. Or at least angered and frustrated. And if the enemy feels intruded upon or violated, that's even better. If that's what the enemy's complaints indicate, it's proof that the TSA are doing their job effectively. In the TSA's view, the disparaging critical comments from enemies are a testament to how far the TSA has improved security since 9/11.

3. Allowing critical comments may be intended to motivate TSA employees. By showing that the enemy is so selfish and full of hatred that they dare to desecrate the Holiest Day of the Year, they truly need to be humbled and taught a lesson. And TSOs are in a unique position to teach that lesson. That will motivate them to bellow commands with greater authority, and make their snarled "Do you want to fly today?" even more effective at putting the enemy in their place.

Of course, there is one more possibility. Even though Bob represents an agency whose core belief is that civil liberties are inherently incompatible with security, he may have realized that freedom of speech is an essential American value that is not harmful to security. The unfortunate thing is that even if that's the real reason, it's so inconsistent with everything the TSA has done before that it has to be at the very bottom of the list. On the other hand, inconsistency is what the TSA is best known for. This may be just the latest attempt to keep the enemy off balance.

Regardless, I applaud whoever made the decision to allow critical comments on these posts. I hope it's a good sign.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
I'm simultaneously fascinated and baffled by the comments I'm reading here.

In past years, the censors would never have allowed any critical words to desecrate the Most Sacred Day on the TSA Calendar.

......snipped......

Regardless, I applaud whoever made the decision to allow critical comments on these posts. I hope it's a good sign.

September 12, 2012 5:35 PM
.................

I don't think you realize that TSA, in violation of the United States Constitution and the TSA employees Oath to Defend the Constitution, are illegally censoring over 1/3 of all comments submitted.

So let us not congratulate those people who cannot even honor their Oaths to the United States.

These people do not support freedom.

Anonymous said...

It's beyond shameful that the U.S. government has memorialized 9-11 by creating and sustaining an agency that violates Constitutional rights and human rights and won't even bother holding court-ordered public hearings about the naked body scanners. Failing to respect court orders (not to mention failure to obtain warrants for searches) is an override of checks and balances. Our entire government structure depends on checks and balances; ignore that, and I say that you are corrupt.

Anonymous said...

In past years, the censors would never have allowed any critical words to desecrate the Most Sacred Day on the TSA Calendar. But here's a whole bunch of comments critical of the direction the TSA and the country have taken in response to 9/11.

It's mysterious to me as well. My guess is that it's just part of their much-touted Security Strategy to keep the enemy (i.e., us and everyone who wants to fly today) off balance.

Today they've turned the censorship dial to "Low." Tomorrow they'll turn it to "Max." The next day, some random setting between "Low" and "Max." No pattern, no rhyme, no reason. Just capriciousness, which they tout as the most important of their 57 (43? 62? 197.53? I can't keep count...) Layers Of Security that keep aviation safe.

If innocent passengers are frustrated and confused by the TSA's maddening inconsistency, that must mean that terrorists are even more frustrated and confused. It may look like the Keystone Kops are staffing the checkpoints, but the highly proficient Officers are actually implementing a highly effective Security Strategy of Unpredictability!

I also suspect the blurry CAPTCHA images and fuzzy nonsense words that protect this comment page from robots are actually a pilot for their next Layer of Security. Terrorists, with their robotic minds, will surely not be able to solve these CAPTCHAs. Of course, there will be complaints that a lot of perfectly innocent passengers won't be able to decipher the CAPTCHA either. But as always, the TSA will ignore the complaints. When a TSA Security Measure creates problems for a passenger, it's invariably because the passenger is noncompliant or deficient. Anyone who can't prove they're not a robot shouldn't be flying anyway.

Anonymous said...

It's beyond shameful that the U.S. government has memorialized 9-11 by creating and sustaining an agency that violates Constitutional rights and human rights and won't even bother holding court-ordered public hearings about the naked body scanners. Failing to respect court orders (not to mention failure to obtain warrants for searches) is an override of checks and balances. Our entire government structure depends on checks and balances; ignore that, and I say that you are corrupt.

You don't understand. Checks and balances, along with civil liberties, privacy, and the rest of the constitution, are privileges appropriate for peacetime. On 9/11, terrorists declared war on the United States. We have been at war ever since, and will remain at war until the terrorist threat has been eliminated.

The TSA is is edicated to winning the war that started on 9/11. Along with the rest of the Homeland Security Department, the TSA is committed to Security. Particularly to keeping aviation secure from terrorist attacks like the ones on 9/11.

Security experts, like the ones who lead the TSA, recognize that civil liberties and privacy are incompatible with security. In wartime, they become a dangerous vulnerability that terrorists and criminals can too readily exploit. That's why it's necessary to suspend those privileges at airport checkpoints. Most Americans understand what 9/11 taught us, and are willing to trade the privileges they enjoyed in peacetime for the security the TSA provides. A few people don't understand that, but their numbers are decreasing as they come to recognize the seriousness of the war and determination of the enemy.

Similarly, checks and balances are an impediment to the ability of Homeland Security Agencies like the TSA to respond proactively to the latest robust intelligence. When people realize this fact, they quickly understand why it's necessary for the TSA to ignore court orders, or to follow requirements of warrants and probable cause that would be appropriate in peacetime. I think you'd agree that the TSA must be allowed to do whatever it decides is necessary to keep aviation secure, and ultimately to win the war!

When the efforts of the TSA and its allies are finally successful, and the scourge of terrorism is permanently eradicated from the face of the earth, it will then be appropriate to consider restoring peacetime privileges, as appropriate to the current threat environment. But until then, we must not impede the TSA and its allies from doing everything they can to secure aviation from an enemy determined to kill Americans!

Jim Huggins said...

RB: moderating a blog is not the same thing as censorship. You're still free to say and write whatever you want ... elsewhere.

The courts have ruled, for years, that governmental entities can regulate the time, place, and manner of "free speech", subject to certain conditions (much too long to elaborate on here). No constitutional right is absolute.

(The alternative, of course, is for the blog to be filled up with link spam ...)

Anonymous said...

"Freedom, rights, liberty, yada. yada, yada. The old beliefs died when America's security was shown to be worthless. Now the government has the teeth to protect itself from all enemies.

If we don't like it we can move. Can't find a country that hasn't the same rules? Welcome to the real world.

RB said...

Jim Huggins said...
RB: moderating a blog is not the same thing as censorship. You're still free to say and write whatever you want ... elsewhere.

The courts have ruled, for years, that governmental entities can regulate the time, place, and manner of "free speech", subject to certain conditions (much too long to elaborate on here). No constitutional right is absolute.

(The alternative, of course, is for the blog to be filled up with link spam ...)

September 13, 2012 4:32 PM
..........................

I know the items I have submitted that have not made it past the censor. That is censorship and I don't think it is what the courts had in mind when discussing regulating the time or place of free speech.

When material is not posted at all that exceeds moderating a blog and moves to the censorship role. Bob could create a thread to place all items not posted so we could see what government is keeping us from reading.

If this blog was paid with private monies and was not a government operation then I would have no beef but we all know that is not the case.

I stand by my comments that the TSA employees operating this blog have violated their Oaths to Defend the United States Constitution.

Anonymous said...

"I stand by my comments that the TSA employees operating this blog have violated their Oaths to Defend the United States Constitution."

They're TSA employees: why do you act surprised?

Anonymous said...

@RB: When material is not posted at all that exceeds moderating a blog and moves to the censorship role.

I think you really meant that moderation becomes censorship when material that clearly complies with the published guidelines is not posted at all. Unlike the secretive and inconsistently interpreted "guidelines" that apply to screening its airport checkpoints, the TSA's guidelines for comments on this blog are clear and visible. That's why it's so frustrating when the moderators reject your comments that comply with guidelines. Particularly when someone else's comment that expresses the same viewpoint is accepted. The only way to deal with that frustration is to remember that we're dealing with the TSA, which prides itself on its reputation for capricious inconsistency (which it has spun into a "Security Strategy of Unpredictability").

The one good thing about this blog is that the moderators generally do an excellent job of keeping it free from the spam that inevitably plagues forums open to the public.

TSORon said...

Jim Huggins said...
[[RB: moderating a blog is not the same thing as censorship. You're still free to say and write whatever you want ... elsewhere.

The courts have ruled, for years, that governmental entities can regulate the time, place, and manner of "free speech", subject to certain conditions (much too long to elaborate on here). No constitutional right is absolute.

(The alternative, of course, is for the blog to be filled up with link spam ...)]]

Well said sir!

Sandra said...

I am seriously hoping that the post by Anonymous on 9/13/12 at 3:09 p.m. was meant to be sarcastic.

"Security experts, like the ones who lead the TSA, recognize that civil liberties and privacy are incompatible with security."

Hopefully, there is no one out there who really believes that above and all the other blather in that post.

screen shot

P.S. So far 7 attempts at reading the Captcha....now I'm up to 10

Anonymous said...

In solemn recognition of this event, the TSA will be uselessly screening passenger drinks.

Anonymous said...

"You don't understand. Checks and balances, along with civil liberties, privacy, and the rest of the constitution, are privileges appropriate for peacetime. On 9/11, terrorists declared war on the United States. We have been at war ever since, and will remain at war until the terrorist threat has been eliminated."



I don't understand. At first I thought the comments were in jest but I think they're meant to be serious.

So, ok, when exactly did Congress declare war? The process for doing so is fairly well laid out in the Constitution and, even with google, I can't find when Congress passed such a resolution.

And, just for fun and bonus points to you, where do you find the Constitutional allowance for suspending civil liberties? I'll give you a hint: It's in there but anyone so incorrect about our current state of "war" is not likely to find it.

Anonymous said...

Jim Huggins said...
RB: moderating a blog is not the same thing as censorship. You're still free to say and write whatever you want ... elsewhere.

The courts have ruled, for years, that governmental entities can regulate the time, place, and manner of "free speech", subject to certain conditions


That's the point- If I'm only "free" to say what I want to say in a certain place, at a certain time, (after paying a certain fee?) and in a certain way... I'm not really Free, am I?

Standing on the street corner and saying what I want to say = Freedom Of Speech

Having to pay for a permit, be corralled into a "Free Speech Zone" far from my intended audience, having to schedule my "free" speech at an inconvenient time, and being restricted as to what words I may use =/= Freedom Of Speech

Or, to make it more pertinent to the present situation:

Posting on a government run blog and saying what I want to say = Freedom Of Speech

Posting on a government run blog (supposedly put in place specifically for public comments) and having a government employee censor me (when my post doesn't break any rules, even!) =/= Freedom Of Speech

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Unlike the secretive and inconsistently interpreted "guidelines" that apply to screening its airport checkpoints, the TSA's guidelines for comments on this blog are clear and visible. That's why it's so frustrating when the moderators reject your comments that comply with guidelines.

It also doesn't help when posts are not posted for days on end, then a huge bunch are posted all at once. Responses can be lost in the crowd, so to speak.

Funny thing, though- responses to those critical of the TSA are posted right away, even while the posts are being held. (ie: the pro-TSA posts are all from the blogging staff who have access to the unposted messages queued up.)

'Delay the posts of those critical, thus confusing them and their audience, but post pro-TSA propaganda right away' seems to be the TSA SOP.

Anonymous said...

RB said...
(The alternative, of course, is for the blog to be filled up with link spam ...)


Are you seriously saying that 1/3 of the posts submitted to this blog are "link spam"??

What then of the many, many posts I have submitted (with absolutely no links included, mind you!!) that have been censored, despite not violating any other rules????

Anonymous said...

It also doesn't help when posts are not posted for days on end, then a huge bunch are posted all at once. Responses can be lost in the crowd, so to speak.

It's possible that the delay is a TSA tactic to blunt whatever (minimal) impact comments might make while avoiding explicitly censoring them. The contempt the TSA regularly shows the public makes such a theory plausible.

But I think there's a simpler and much more likely explanation. The TSA employees who run this blog have other jobs that are a higher priority. So it can take a while for them to get around to "moderating" the comments. They're not malicious; they're merely busy. (I won't speculate on what keeps them so busy, except to note that it probably does nothing useful to keep avaiation safe from terrorists.)

Whatever the reason for delayed posting of comments, it's a problem that is minuscule in comparison to the many other failings the TSA refuses to even acknowledge, let alone correct.

Bob Burns (TSA Blog Team) said...

Good evening!

1) TSA has always accepted critical comments on this blog. The only exception is the first year we posted on 9/11, we chose not to allow critical comments. We have since changed our stance.

2) I hate captchas as much as the next person. But... the only options I have are captchas or no captchas. We get enough spam as it is even with the captchas, so I'm not turning them off. :) If you're frustrated with them, write to Google, but I'm fairly certain Google has made them difficult for good reason.

3) This is a moderated blog. Those of us who moderate (2 of us) eventually have sick days, vacation days, regularly scheduled days off, etc. There are times where it might take a little longer than normal to get your comments posted.

Thanks for reading and for commenting,

Bob
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

@Bob: TSA has always accepted critical comments on this blog.

That's good to know. But the real question is how often TSA has listened to critical comments on this blog. And more importantly, how often has TSA acted on critical comments on this blog to improve their processes and their interactions with the public?

Earlier this year, Kip Hawley made an important critical comment, though not in this blog. He noted that "[t]he relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained."

This blog could be a way to detoxify that relationship. Kip Hawley also notes that preventing terrorist attacks on air travel "demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve."

But I don't see anything like that happening. Many of the posts on this blog are the TSA's response to reported checkpoint "incidents," which occur with distressing regularity. But those responses merely seem to exacerbate the "poisonous" relationship with the public. They're not about solving the problems that caused the incident, or even admitting that there was a problem.

Instead, they follow the same toxic posterior-covering formula of blaming passengers as either liars or a perpetrators, while insisting that the TSA and its officers are incapable of doing anything wrong. Do you really think we believe that every "thorough investigation" finds that the officers acted properly?

Or is this just a matter of selective posting, responding only to "bogus" incidents while ignoring the real ones that demonstrate systemic failures? (I'm still waiting for your official comments about the two separate drug smuggling rings at LAX. Or about the racial profiling quotas in Boston that required Janet Napolitano to step in and decide that sending BDOs for "training" would be the appropriate non-response.)

The impression I get from this blog is that it's meant to reinforce the mutual animosity between the TSA and passengers. The posts are too often contemptuous and condescending rather than informative, much like the attitude of some of your officers we encounter at airports. Comments that aren't ignored too often receive condescending or contemptuous responses from TSA representatives.

I get the impression that John Pistole believes that the relationship between the public and the TSA should be toxic; and that if a security agency is doing a good job, the public should despise it. That may not be an accurate impression, but it's continually reinforced. I see it in this blog, in the reports of too many "incidents" at airports that don't merit a condescending response on this blog, and of course at airport checkpoints when I have no alternative to flying.

If TSA leadership really does believe that earning the hatred and distrust of the public is somehow essential to security (as they define it), then you should stop pretending otherwise. If that isn't what the TSA believes, it's time to start admitting to what Kip Hawley notes are flaws, and then correct them. If many of us can't believe your delusions of infallibility, do you really think terrorists believe it?

It's obvious to me that the TSA would be much more effective if it had the respect and support of the public. But it's not clear that the people who work in secret to make TSA rules and procedures can recognize that, or that they even care.

Anonymous said...

"2) I hate captchas as much as the next person. But... the only options I have are captchas or no captchas. We get enough spam as it is even with the captchas, so I'm not turning them off. :) If you're frustrated with them, write to Google, but I'm fairly certain Google has made them difficult for good reason. "

I've used lots of similar systems and I have NEVER come across one that is as consistently unreadable as the one that you are using.

Bay Nhe said...

We remember 11-9-2011 for the same reason that we remember Titanic. It is another of those events for which one simply has to ask: How can this have been allowed to happen?

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

"Security experts, like the ones who lead the TSA, recognize that civil liberties and privacy are incompatible with security. "

First, I'd be surprised if the TSA employed a single security expert. Second, actual security experts recognize no such thing.