Friday, September 14, 2012

Reports Say Passenger Prevented from Boarding Flight in Retaliation for Her Attitude? There’s More to the Story…



TSA officers screen millions of passengers every day to protect the traveling public and are held to the highest levels of professional and ethical standards.

You may have heard about a passenger in Houston last week who claimed that TSA officers prevented her from boarding her flight in “retaliation” for her “attitude.”

But what you may not have heard is that the passenger refused a random screening procedure. The passenger initially ignored officers and then became verbally abusive. When a traveler does not allow a TSA officer to complete screening, it’s standard procedure for a law enforcement officer to be called to the area. When the officer arrived and observed the behavior firsthand, he asked if TSA wanted to press charges. We declined.

To be clear -- airline employees, not TSA, made the call about whether to allow this passenger to board their flight.

We take these matters seriously, so we thoroughly reviewed the incident and have concluded that this passenger was screened in accordance with standard procedures.  We also viewed the video circulating on the internet (although only part of the video is actually available) and watched as the TSA officer began to explain that screening is designed to make passengers safer. The video abruptly ends before the officer is able to answer the questions fully.

Let’s set the record straight.  Our goal is to get passengers on their flights and safely to their destinations. 



If you have a travel related issue or question that needs an immediate answer, you can contact us by clicking here.

65 comments:

Sandra's Sister said...

Yet again, the TSA is calling the passenger a liar.

I heard your agent tell the woman that she was prevented from flying in retaliation for not allowing the screener to "test" her drink.

And that screener rubbing his nose with his hand while holding the test strip!

Sandra said...

She should have just dropped her drink on the screener's shoes instead of drinking it. That's what I'm going to do if ever approached. These "tests" are nothing but a demonstration of the TSA's impotency.

David Ridge said...

Good Job or Job well done!!!

TSORon said...

There is ALWAYS more to the story than is ever reported in the news.

Anonymous said...

As evidenced by the contortions in this post that are more complicated than usual, there indeed seems to be "more to the story."

True to form, he blames the passenger, who "ignored officers and then became verbally abusive." But he strangely notes that the "video circulating on the internet" doesn't show the passenger's misconduct.

Also true to form, he notes that the TSA "thoroughly reviewed the incident." But oddly, instead of the boilerplate wording that affirmatively vindicates the officers ("the officers acted properly"), there's a murkier statement that "this passenger was screened in accordance with standard procedures." Could the wording reflect the abrupt cutoff of the video, which makes the usual vindication less credible?

The conclusion about the "goal" of getting passengers on their flights and safely to their destinations doesn't shed any light on what happened. And strangely absent is the usual wording that vindicates or commends the officers, or that reiterates that the TSA is always right.

There is only a statement at the beginning of the post about how TSA officers "are held to the highest levels of professional and ethical standards." By using the passive voice, Bob raises more questions than he answers: What are those standards? Do they include "humbling" passengers, or resolving problems by bellowing "Do you want to fly today?" Who holds them to those standards? What are the consequences of violating those standards?

The reason for mentioning this is that too many of us have witnessed behavior from officers that is clearly not "the highest levels of professional and ethical standards." And every time TSA officers are accused of unprofessional conduct, the TSA's investigation always finds that "the officers acted properly." By all appearances, officers have free rein to do whatever they want, with understanding that the TSA will always stand behind them and blame the passenger for anything that goes wrong. That doesn't sound like any kind of accountability.

This all makes it quite plausible that the officer in question may have decided that this passenger had the wrong attitude, and needed to be "humbled" (as our friend Kellymae once put it). Since "humbling" passengers who deserve it is apparently within the "professional and ethical standards" for officers, the TSA may not have considered it improper. But it's not something they want to talk about.

This post is even more content-free than usual, which invites this kind of speculation. I have to assume that there is "more to the story" than the TSA is willing to admit. Bob was probably ordered to respond to it, and this was the best he could do to dispose of this incident.

Mike Wallette said...

Yet another, "We screened this passenger according to policy" blog entry. Why am I not surprised?

If you wanted to stick a swab in my drink, I'd tell you to shove it, too. You've screened me at the security checkpoint. The drink was purchased inside the "secure" area. What threat, exactly, are trying to "protect" the flying public from?

As far as "the highest professional and ethical standards," what a joke. Do you mean standards like the TSO who was just arrested on kiddie porn charges? Or perhaps you mean the TSOs who have been accused of racial profiling? Maybe you mean the TSO who was running a prostitution ring in his off-time, or the TSOs who were taking bribes to let drugs past the security checkpoints, or...or...or...?

Yeah, I'm not impressed by TSA's "professional and ethical standards." That's great that you are "protecting" America from the terrorists. I just want to know, who is going to protect us from *you*?

Anonymous said...

Supposedly, this woman refused to have her drink tested. But she finished her drink, therefore there was nothing to test. Which rule did she break?

Here's the transcript:

Woman: “Do you think that I am honestly a threat…?”

TSA agent: “No, no, no, but with your attitude…”

Woman: “Let me get this straight. This is retaliatory for my attitude. This is not making the airways safer. It’s retaliatory.”

TSA: “Pretty much…yes.”

Also, the passenger stated this in the video's description in youtube:

"I was able to get on the very next flight out of Houston-and even managed an upgrade! (thanks United) "

How was it that the airline employees made the call to keep her off the flight, then immediately rebooked her? If the airline honestly thought she was a threat, they would not be putting her on their aircraft. Even if somehow it is true that the airline made the final call, I suspect it was because of the TSA agents made some very "persuasive" (or demanding) statements to the airline employees.

Vinny Marinello said...

Some people think that they do not have to comply with the same rules as others do and I noticed that some have a few drinks then want to give all involved a hard time. They should be barred from the flight until they calm down..

Anonymous said...

Kudos to TSA for what you do to keep us safe. Keep up the great work under a fantastic leader, Mr. Pistole. And this blog is an excellent tool to set the record straight. Kudos!

RB said...

Bob, you seem to have left out a lot of information so lets try to sort out what really happened.

"But what you may not have heard is that the passenger refused a random screening procedure."

The lady claims that she consumed a beverage bought in the sterile area instead of submitting to a TSA Beverage test. Is that true?

"We also viewed the video circulating on the internet (although only part of the video is actually available) and watched as the TSA officer began to explain that screening is designed to make passengers safer."

The TSA employee clearly states that the action was retaliatory. To claim otherwise is nothing more than a bald face lie.

So tell us what happens if we should choose to consume a beverage rather than letting a TSA screener contaminate our property so it is no longer fit to consume?

Once again, as always, TSA is claiming that TSA did no wrong. Bob, that is a well worn broken record. We heard the words and it is clear that TSA took an illegal action against this person.

Own up to it!

susan said...

There is always more to a story, do not believe everything you read or hear, unless you were there in person.
woeking for the airline for 33 years, nothing surprises me. Once the airline is aware of the situation, we always advise the captain , he discusses with the inflight crew and make the call. for the safety of the other passenger 40thousand ft above the ground, you cannot take the chance on someone who is boarding the flight with a recent problem.

Nicholas Samson said...

Hell, if everyone were prevented from boarding based on their attitude, half of the morning commuters wouldn't be allowed to fly.

Nicholas Samson said...

Hell, if everyone with a bad attitude were prevented from flying, there'd only be half as many commuters on morning flights.

Chris Boyce said...

Just two words, Blogdad Bob and Assistant Administrator Pistole: PROVE IT.

There is evidence on YouTube clearly revealing that that the screening clerk retaliated. Convince me I'm wrong.

By the way, I really don't like being patronized and I have a long memory.

pathfinder58 said...

I read the story on Yahoo, and couldn't understand what really happened. She reported that she had gone through security and purchased the water afterward. Then she refused to let them test it. Was she at the gate?

Anonymous said...

Please set the record straight by posting a video, with sound, of the totality of the incident. I experienced an incident recently when a close relative was delayed by a TSA officer claiming my relative refused to submit to a random screening, when my relative was never told by any TSA officer that a random screening was required. If the TSA officer had told my relative that a random screening was required, my relative would have been happy to agree to it, and did agree to it as soon as the requirement for such a random screening was clearly explained. Having experienced that event first hand, I am not about to accept, without video proof, that the facts are as claimed by any TSA officials.
I am sure you have the authority to post videos of anyone who passes through TSA security areas, and have the right to obscure the identities of TSA officials in making that video, provided the audio is clear, even if the audio disguises the TSA officials' voices.

Anonymous said...

I notice you did not specify the "random security procedure" in question. Could you please explain what it was? Was it chemical testing of a beverage purchased INSIDE the sterile area?

If so, what exactly are a passenger's rights in such a situation? Are they REQUIRED to comply or be removed from the sterile area? What happens if they drink the beverage and hand the screener an empty cup? What if they throw away the beverage instead of allowing the screener to "test" it? Will the passenger be removed from the sterile area for such actions?

Patrick Mannion said...

Just gonna go ahead and do trolls the job for them and say "WHEREZ DA PROOF BOB!!!???!?!?!?!?!1/1/1oneone"

Anonymous said...

This post didn't answer any questions at all. it certainly didn't "set the record straight." You've provided no indication whatsoever that this woman presented any threat to security.

I don't care if she ignored your requests to test her water by drinking it. I don't care if she was "verbally abusive" to your employees. They deserved it.

oblivion2k said...

Yes Bob, this is more to this story. She choose to drink her beverage instead of having it tested. It was inside her stomach. It was no longer a threat to aviation security. The agents got upset and punished her for not complying with an absurd order.

If this was really about security, they would have tested the empty bottle, and left her alone. This is about retaliation, and domination. They want to prove a point: The TSA are in control, and no passenger, no senator, no court of law, can stop us. Stop fighting and give up your freedoms.

Is it really so much to ask for a federal agency we give billions to every year to exercise a little common sense? If the passenger drinks the beverage, get over it. You know it's an absurd procedure anyways.

Screenshot.

Anonymous said...

How dare she refuse to submit! Doesn't she know that this is for her own good and if she had nothing to hide she shouldn't worry! Next thing you know some nutcase will start talking about Constitutional rights to be allowed to be secured in her persons and effects. Submit, resistance is futile!

Mike Toreno said...

Clerk Bob, so what you're saying is that the clerk at IAH illegally detained the passenger and called the police. Because the passenger did nothing wrong, the clerk did not press charges, in order to avoid being prosecuted for filing a false police report.

Time passed while the passenger was being illegally detained by the clerk. By the time the clerk was forced to admit that the passenger had done nothing wrong, the time for boarding had expired, so that the "airline employees, not TSA, made the call about whether to allow this passenger to board their flight".

So the point you're trying to obfuscate is that your clerk detained the passenger for no reason, causing her to miss her flight.

Another point you're trying to obfuscate is that the TSA is useless. The screening of liquids at the checkpoint can't be relied on. Liquids are the only thing the stop with any kind of regularity, so if the checkpoint screening of liquids can't be relied on, the TSA provides no security. In fact, the laziness of the clerks causes inefficient screening and, thus, concentrations of passengers at the checkpoint. Therefore, the only vulnerability to terrorism in air travel (to an attack on the passengers at the checkpoint) is caused by the TSA.

Anonymous said...

I continually see incompetence laziness etc. With TSA employees. Through TSA we have given uneducated inferiority complexed people the right to be rude to have authority over us. Is this really a democracy? Why are we allowing this behavior and the system to take away our rights? I find it totally unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Assuming you are being honest about the online video distorting the facts - post the ENTIRE video as proof! Failure to do so causes readers to believe you are NOT being honest!

Anonymous said...

Bob, the truth is that she "voluntarily surrendered" her liquid into her stomach, thereby rendering moot your random screening. This thoroughly confused your screener, who then needlessly escalated the situation. TSA screwed up, just let it go.

Anonymous said...

Bob said: "...We also viewed the video circulating on the internet (although only part of the video is actually available) and watched as the TSA officer began to explain that screening is designed to make passengers safer. The video abruptly ends before the officer is able to answer the questions fully..."

Whoa!

You reviewed the SAME video I saw on the internet, concluded that the passenger was verbally abusive, and concluded that the passenger was not prevented from flying as an act of retaliation? How in the world did you come to those conclusions based on that video? Are you taking the word of the screener over the word of the passenger in spite of the video? Do you have access to another recording of the incident? If so, share it as evidence of your credibility!

Anonymous said...

The vagueness and obscurity of details in this post make it even less credible than Bob's usual responses to "incidents." I did some Googling, and found that Bob was right about one thing. There really is more to the story that what's visible behind Bob's smokescreen.

It appears that the "random screening procedure," to which Bob alludes with such masterful vagueness, was a swab test of a water bottle purchased inside the sterile area.

The passenger understandably did not want to drink water contaminated with whatever unknown chemicals are in the test swab. So rather than "voluntarily abandoning" the overpriced bottle, she drank it. Angered by the brazen disobedience, the TSO exercised his or her authority to humble the passenger. (That's presumably what Bob meant with his allusion to a speech "explain[ing] that screening is designed to make passengers safer.") When the passenger was not humbled, conduct ensued that required police intervention.

The police and the airline quickly determined that the passenger was not a threat. Not only did they allow her to board the flight, the offered her an upgrade. That can only suggest the airline employees, in their own investigation that's at least as credible as the TSA's, found the TSA employees failed to meet "the highest levels of professional and ethical standards."

I can only assume that Bob was ordered to respond to this incident. But he had a problem. The incident not only casts aspersions on the behavior of TSA "officers" but shows the indefensible absurdity of a "random screening procedure" that renders legitimate liquids unfit for consumption. The best he could do was to obscure the story with vagueness and selective omissions, and then spin it into the standard template of "The TSA acted properly. The passenger lied. TSA employees are ethical and professional."

I find the accounts Google turned up much more credible than Bob's inept obfuscation. Even if "proper procedures were followed" and the screeners met the TSA's "professional and ethical standards," what this incident really seems to show is a "random screening procedure" that makes no sense at all. The unknown and unaccountable TSA official who thought passengers would uncomplainingly accept the TSA "randomly" spoiling their overpriced drinks with chemical swabs is clearly divorced from reality.

But given that the TSA considers itself infallible and cannot even acknowledge that a problem like could exist, they obviously will never reconsider such a stupid "screening procedure." If it creates a problem, it's the passenger's fault.

Anonymous said...

I viewed the video and I firmly believe TSA retaliated against this woman because she consumed the drink. And the TSO did state his actions were retaliatory. Bob, you and your fellow TSA posters are always going to say TSA never makes a mistake and that air travelers are always treated with courtesy and respect. You can continue your support of the blue suited, self important, TSA employees until hell freezes over but my personal experience has more often than not been just the opposite. TSA personnel, in the majority of my trips through American airports, have shown rude, caustic, impersonal attitudes. I have been yelled at so often that I have forced my self to just ignore the rudeness and not even try to address the issue becasue I know nothing will be done other than retaliation toward me that could result in me missing my flight. There's an old saying, "you can't fight city hall", well I'm convinced you can't fight TSA. You people have the power and you know it and no TSA employee gives a second thought about the way air travelers are treated. Admit it, you guys know you are teflon and don't worry how you treat us. Like you said, TSA is held to the highest standards, too bad those are TSA standards and not the standards of the flying public.

Sandra said...

Where's my post from yesterday, Bob?

You didn't like that I might have given others an idea of what to do if they are approached by a screener for drink "testing?"

Not to worry, many people already have the same idea.

Or perhaps you didn't like that I said something to the effect of procedures such as these only demonstrate the impotency of the TSA.

Screen shot. And if this isn't posted I'll send that screen shot to the DHS OIG. (That is, when that webpage is accessible again. .)

Yasmin '14 said...

Bob, It was obviously an oversight on your part to forget to post the link to the YouTube video in which the screener admits that his actions were retaliatory. Given your tremendous workload, I can certainly understand how this oversight occurred.

Don't worry about it. I know you are very busy these days.

Here is the link: http://tinyurl.com/8cvhd8x

Thanks for all you do. I'm a journalism major at Faber University in PA and hope to land a job in a government public affairs office after graduation.

Anonymous said...

Who cares what he said or she said. What matters is the fact that the TSA employee harrassed (yes, harrassed) the passenger. Tell me that he (the TSA employee) followed policy, and I will tell you that the TSA's policy is to harrass passengers. Here's why....... If screeners were truly trying to find liquid explosives in the sterile area, then they wouldn't target passengers who are carrying drinks out in the open. Instead, they would be treating discarded items in garbage cans no differently than pieces of abandoned luggage, and testing the discarded liquids that were placed in there. If the TSA wasn't into playing these silly Security Theater games, then testing passenger liquids would be taking place at the checkpoints where we currently have no other option other than to discard our liquids before passing through. You know this, Bob (and the TSA). Don't talk down to the American people the way you just did in this blog post. That approach is a prime example of why your agency is so mistrusted by the public and in the crosshairs of Congress.

Anonymous said...

Let your readers judge for themselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEii7dQUpy8

RB said...

TSA has the manpower and resources to harass travelers at the gate but not the manpower or resources to inspect all cargo loaded on passenger aircraft and function that Congress mandated TSA to do several years ago.

TSA has the manpower and resources to harass travelers and test beverages purchased inside the sterile area but does not have the manpower or resources to comply with a courts order or the Administrative Procedures Act.

Why are taxpayers funding TSA, a criminal organization?

Anonymous said...

If the video link from the anonymous commenter on September 16, 2012 11:50 AM truly represents what happened in this "incident," then Bob is clearly wrong in claiming that (as always) the officer acted properly.

The video unambiguously shows the officer acknowledging that he was retaliating against the passenger's "attitude."

Bob has repeated numerous times that TSA procedures expressly prohibit retaliatory action by officers. The usual context for disclosing this information (about procedures that are otherwise secret) is to dismiss passengers' claims of retaliatory patdowns, searches or other "screening procedures." Since retaliation is against TSA procedures, it cannot happen. Therefore, any passenger who claims it did happen must be lying. And he can always back up that conclusion by citing the TSA's investigation of the incident in question, which finds 100% of the time that the officers acted properly.

But here the officer admitted that whatever happened (which wasn't on the video) was in retaliation for the passenger's "attitude." Because Bob has told us repeatedly that retaliation is prohibited, the video shows the officer admitting that he acted improperly. Yet the TSA's "thorough review" found just the opposite.

Maybe if Bob finally gives up his untenable insistence that officers are incapable of ever acting improperly, his posts (and his reviled agency) might gain some needed credibility. I'm not completely convinced that the video is an accurate record of this incident. But I find it more credible than Bob's contorted prevarication, which is even more dubious than his usual boilerplate dismissal of "incidents."

The TSA may have so much contempt for the public that they don't care whether their statements are credible. But if an increasing number of Americans see the TSA as a bloated arrogant bureaucracy of Keystone Kops obsessed with pointless "screening procedures" and weekly statistics, why wouldn't terrorists have the same perception? John Pistole apparently does not realize that credibility does matter.

Anonymous said...

While cleaning up my computer's desktop, I discovered a copy of an article by Kip Hawley, in the Wall Street Journal back in April. The title is "Why Airport Security Is Broken—And How To Fix It."

Hawley, who is in a unique position to offer insight into the secretive TSA, described an intransigent bureaucracy intent on erecting roadblocks to improvements that might make airport security effective rather than merely harassment:

"More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve."

But he has one critical observation that this post, along with too many others on this blog, particularly affirms: "The relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained."

Bob's numerous posts like this, whose only purpose is to condescendingly dismiss reported incidents of TSA misconduct as either lies or the passenger's fault, are doses of the arsenic or strychnine to which Hawley refers. If these posts represent the TSA's idea of "public relations," it only proves Hawley's assertion that the TSA is "hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect."

Anonymous said...

It's my understanding that this woman didn't want her drink tested and consumed it instead of allowing it to be tested. This drink was purchased on the secure side of the airport. I don't blame her for not wanting chemicals around her drink. You say that the test chemicals are non-toxic, so are you willing to tell us what the chemicals are?

You say she became verbally abusive and that is why she was thrown out. Let's say someone refused the testing in the same way, by consuming the liquid, but said nothing to the TSA worker. Would that person be thrown out too for refusing the test?

This testing drinks at the gate seems to be security theater at its finest. If someone managed to smuggle liquid explosives to the gate area, why would they have it out in the open and drinking it? Wouldn't they just keep it in their carryon?

Anonymous said...

It amazes me how some people can be so ignorant. What the powers that be at TSA allow is not any fault of the officers working day in and day out to keep people safe. The methods we use to screen the public are also handed down to the officers by people who make substantially more money. With this being said the public with the chips on their shoulders who think they are making a statement by harrassing an overworked, yet underpaid officer are directing their attitudes at the wrong people. There are people from all walks of life with tremendous talent and skills who happen to work for TSA, including some veterans and former law enforcement. Before you put all of TSA into a huge group, remember everyone is an individual.

Anonymous said...

Testing does not involve sticking ANYTHING into your drink.

Anonymous said...

The TSA officer ADMITTED that what he was doing was retaliatory. I don't think any TSA officer should be permitted to perform ANY action out of spite, which is what the officer was doing. If an officer can't be professional, they have no business being in that job.

And why are drinks purchased in the so-called "sterile" area being tested, anyway? Could it be that TSA is realizing its own personnel are largely incompetent and poorly trained? (After all, they recently missed an entire live cat!)

Anonymous said...

So if a passenger refuses a screening (groping), TSA can press charges? Please explain this.

Anonymous said...

"When the officer arrived and observed the behavior firsthand, he asked if TSA wanted to press charges. We declined. "

Really? The officer really asked "the TSA" if it wanted to press charges? Wow, the police officer was also a district attorney? And what, please tell us, would "the TSA" have preferred in the way of charges? Becoming verbally abusive? Not a crime. Disturbing the peace? Can't charge it unless the officer sees it (in most jurisdictions).

More likely, the officer decided there was nothing to it but a few raised voices. The passenger took the next flight.

It is likely that important points of what you've posted, Bob, are incorrect. Making things up doesn't help your effort to make the TSA look like an honest "law enforcement" agency.

Anonymous said...



Small world! Look at a quote from the Boston CBS station:

“I do get verbally assaulted quite constantly,” Patrick Mannion, a TSO union representative told WBZ-TV. “I’m just trying to do my job.”

Stay professional, Patrick!

http://boston.cbslocal.com/tag/tsa/feed/

Anonymous said...

Woman: “Let me get this straight. This is retaliatory for my attitude. This is not making the airways safer. It’s retaliatory.”

TSA: “Pretty much…yes.”



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

...so we thoroughly reviewed the incident and have concluded that this passenger was screened in accordance with standard procedures

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

Bob,

Thank you for admitting that retaliatory screenings are "standard procedure" for TSA personnel.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
It amazes me how some people can be so ignorant. What the powers that be at TSA allow is not any fault of the officers working day in and day out to keep people safe. The methods we use to screen the public are also handed down to the officers by people who make substantially more money. With this being said the public with the chips on their shoulders who think they are making a statement by harrassing an overworked, yet underpaid officer are directing their attitudes at the wrong people. There are people from all walks of life with tremendous talent and skills who happen to work for TSA, including some veterans and former law enforcement. Before you put all of TSA into a huge group, remember everyone is an individual.

September 17, 2012 9:06 AM
..................
If you take a TSA paycheck then you are just as wrong and guilty as the ones who make these policies.

Get an honest job.

Wintermute said...

"It amazes me how some people can be so ignorant. What the powers that be at TSA allow is not any fault of the officers working day in and day out to keep people safe."

"Just following orders" does not excuse one for breaking the law. TSAgent actions violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. "Just following orders" will not save them.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Testing does not involve sticking ANYTHING into your drink.

To test something, you need a sample of it. How, pray tell, does the sample amount to be tested get on the testing strip?

Anonymous said...

The incident not only casts aspersions on the behavior of TSA "officers" but shows the indefensible absurdity of a "random screening procedure" that renders legitimate liquids unfit for consumption.
------------------
Check your facts. Nothing is placed into or in any way comes in contact with the drink.

Anonymous said...

Since nothing is stuck in the drink, as two TSA employees anonymously post above (during work hours??) then the test strips, which need to have liquid applied to them to do what they are made to do, are not being used properly. The strips CANNOT test anything without being dunked in a liquid, therefore our tax dollars are wasted by TSA falsely claiming they are testing anything.

Security theater at it's worse!

Also, TSA employees, especially ones posting comments ON THE JOB, should be required to identify themselves, since they appear to be posting in an official capacity, i.e. toeing the company line.

Oh, and Bob? Lame, uninformative post. You wasted time writing nothing.

Anonymous said...

" There are people from all walks of life with tremendous talent and skills who happen to work for TSA"

No, there aren't.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and Bob? Lame, uninformative post. You wasted time writing nothing.

You seem to be making the assumption that the purpose of the post was to provide an unbiased authoritative account of the incident, so that we might know the objective truth about what has been widely reported. Under that criterion, the post is indeed uninformative and quite possibly "lame."

But that's not the purpose of the post. As with all of Bob's responses to incidents that make the TSA look bad, the purpose is to dismiss or minimize the incident, to denigrate the passenger who reported it, and then to remind us that the TSA is always right.

These posts follow a standard template that Bob can probably fill out in his sleep:

First, state that TSA employees are highly competent, highly trained professionals who are held to the highest standards of conduct. When appropriate, mention that the reported conduct is prohibited by TSA procedures. That merely reinforces a fact that should be beyond dispute: The reported conduct could not possibly have happened.

Second, report the results of the TSA's "thorough investigation" of the incident. Mirabile dictu, such investigations always find that that the TSA employees acted properly!

Given such compelling proof, the only possible conclusion is that the incident was a passenger's fanciful fabrication. Alternatively, if the incident wasn't a lie, Bob will tell us exactly what ignorance, disobedience, insubordination, or other misbehavior the guilty passenger committed to make them fully responsible for the incident. Since the passenger clearly wasn't humbled when the TSO properly administered a corrective admonition, Bob needs to humble them in public. But the humbled passenger can then serve as an example, from which we can all learn how to avoid causing similar incidents.

Under these criteria, this wasn't Bob's best work. He does clearly communicate that TSA officers are beyond reproach, and that the passenger disobeyed an order. But he's too fuzzy about the details of what the passenger did wrong to either humble her properly or to make an example of her. That could be because the video linked in an earlier comment reflects the facts of the incident. If the officer really did admit to retaliation, he was acting improperly. Since that's impossible, perhaps obfuscation was the best way to resolve the conundrum. Regardless, Bob wasn't quite up to his usual standard of leading us step by step to the inevitable conclusion that the TSA is always right.

Not to worry. We can be completely confident that Bob will have many more opportunities to dismiss reports of TSA misconduct, and to humble the passengers who either fabricated or caused the incidents.

TSORon said...

Wintermute said...
[["Just following orders" does not excuse one for breaking the law. TSAgent actions violate the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America. "Just following orders" will not save them.]]

Not according to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals: http://openjurist.org/482/f2d/893/united-states-v-davis
Not according to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=%22administrative%20search%22&url=/supct/html/99-1030.ZO.html
Not according to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: http://openjurist.org/482/f2d/893/united-states-v-davis
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1265662.html
Not according to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=airport&url=/supct/html/01-631.ZO.html
Not according to the Supreme Court of the United States: http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/520/520.US.305.96-126.html

Wintermute said...

TSORon said...

"Not according to the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals: http://openjurist.org/482/f2d/893/united-states-v-davis"

First, do you not know how to make links work in Blogger? Pretty easy...

Second, I never said no administrative searches were allowed, as long they are looking for actual threats and are not overly invasive. Walk-through metal detectors and luggage xray meets this criteria. Nude-o-scopes and part-downs that would be sexual assault in any other context do not. Besides, part of the court's decision in this case was "there was no governmental involvement." Nice try, though...

"Not according to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=%22administrative%20search%22&url=/supct/html/99-1030.ZO.html"

Another nice try, but police conducted open-view examination of the vehicles from the outside. This is not an unreasonable search. Had the police strip-searched each driver (which is what the node-o-scopes basically do), then I suspect the courts may have ruled differently.

"Not according to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: http://openjurist.org/482/f2d/893/united-states-v-davis
http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-9th-circuit/1265662.html"

Closest so far, but not a ruling on the nude-o-scopes, but this search was a result of a very specific set of circumstances. While I disagree with those circumstances, travelling with no ID should be allowed, this was not about that.

"Not according to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals: http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=airport&url=/supct/html/01-631.ZO.html"

Both bus passengers gave consent to be searched, so not even close.

"Not according to the Supreme Court of the United States: http://ftp.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/520/520.US.305.96-126.html"

" The prescription at issue, approved by the Georgia Legislature in 1990, orders that " [e]ach candidate seeking to qualify for nomination or election to a state office shall as a condition of such qualification be required to certify that such candidate has tested negative for illegal drugs.'" So, ummm... Not even remotely close.

Not try, though. While the government may present this case law as arguments in a court of law if they are sued over the virtual strip searches and overly-aggressive pat-downs, this has not occurred as of yet. Therefore it is unclear as to whether any of these cases will apply in that case. I contend that they will not, as presented above. Perhaps you'd like to expand your comments to state why you think each of these cases is relevant? Other than they cover very specific cases, limited in scope, which allowed searches without a warrant.

If I am correct in that the current searches (nude-o-scopes and overly-invasive pat-downs) violate the 4th amendment, then "just following orders" does not absolve those TSAgents who are "just doing their jobs" (paraphrased,) according to the comment I was replying to.

Nice try, though.

Anonymous said...

http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/search/display.html?terms=%22administrative%20search%22&url=/supct/html/99-1030.ZO.html

"Because the primary purpose of the Indianapolis checkpoint program is ultimately indistinguishable from the general interest in crime control, the checkpoints violate the Fourth Amendment. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is accordingly affirmed."

Michael said...

Please note. The beverage test does not contaminate the drink. The test strip is held over the top of the liquid testing the vapors only. As for the rest of the interaction, kinder customer service skills would have been best - if the passenger gets too verbal and out of hand...a supervisor and legal officer get to handle the situation. This passenger's actions were not personal...grow up everyone!

Anonymous said...

Michael said...
Please note. The beverage test does not contaminate the drink. The test strip is held over the top of the liquid testing the vapors only.


This is not a valid methodology. A slight breeze (from the AC vents, or a person walking by), and the test strip would never encounter any vapors from the container.

When the cops think you're DUI, they don't wave the Breathalyzer in the air where you exhale- they need to get an actual sample of your breath. To test a liquid properly, you need a sample of the liquid, not the air somewhere near the liquid.

And of course, the main point is that you don't need to test the liquids sold in the 'secure' area at all- after all, they were checked when they came into the 'secure' area... weren't they??

Wintermute said...

Michael said...
"It is standard procedure for the TSO to inform the passenger carrying a prohibited item that they have several options, including mailing it to themselves. Always the option is available for them to not have to dispose of their property -- unless of course there is an arrest."

Sometimes, because of time constraints, the only real option (if the answer to "Do you want to fly today?" is "Yes") is to voluntarily surrender it. Besides that, we already know that standard procedure is not always followed.

Anonymous said...

@ Michael (or should I say TSOMichael?)

Since you admit the strips never come in contact with the liquid (Coke or water purchased in the "sterile" area), then as Anonymous says, they won't work. Should be easy to read the directions on the box or on the MSDS and see how the strips must have liquid applied to them or possibly be sealed for a certain time in a bag with the "terror bottle" for the strips to react. Waving the "magic strip" over a Coke or water bottle won't do anything but waste test strips.

I suppose since our tax money has already been wasted on these useless strips, the TSA is trying to pretend to use them. So very, very pathetic.

I expect to see a couple of rabbits pulled out of a hat and maybe a couple of card tricks at the next "Terror Bottle Magic Test Strip Show."

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/checkpoints-borders-policy-debate/1364680-investigation-into-tsa-non-dipping-test-strips.html

Anonymous said...

A test strip doesn't have to be DUNKED into your drink in order to obtain a sample. Ever heard of vapors?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
A test strip doesn't have to be DUNKED into your drink in order to obtain a sample. Ever heard of vapors?

Ever heard of a breeze? Air Conditioning vents? It's trivial to see a scenario where a test strip that is waved near an open bottle (how far? 1 inch? Two inches?) would never even encounter any supposed vapors that the bottle might put out.

Again, when cops test you for DUI, they don't simply put the Breathalyzer near your mouth- they make you actually blow through it. Because they don't need a sample of air near your mouth- they need a sample of the air you are actually breathing. In the same way, a test strip can't just be waved in the air near a liquid- it needs to have an actual sample of the liquid.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"A test strip doesn't have to be DUNKED into your drink in order to obtain a sample. Ever heard of vapors?"

And that, fine citizens, is why our tax money is being wasted. TSA employees are not being trained on how to use their equipment and apparently are just taking the boss' word that "all you have to do is just wave the magic test strip near a bottle to test it."

Read the directions and stop wasting our time and money, TSAnonymous.

fossil said...

If you don't want to obey the TSA completely, get the (expletive deleted) out of the airport!
Wonder how foolish you'd feel on the way down after an explosion.
TSA is there to protect crew and passengers! Live happily with it or don't fly!

Wintermute said...

fossil said...
"If you don't want to obey the TSA completely, get the (expletive deleted) out of the airport!
Wonder how foolish you'd feel on the way down after an explosion.
TSA is there to protect crew and passengers! Live happily with it or don't fly!"

If you don't enjoy our freedoms, get the (expletive deleted) out of my country. Wonder how foolish you'd feel if you were transported back in time to WWII Germany or cold-war Soviet Russia? Live happily with your constitutionally-protected rights, or go somewhere that's less free than we're supposed to be!

Anonymous said...

I've never had any bad experiences with the TSA. In every case they have acted respectfully and professionally. I'm not saying that incidences don't happen from time to time, but I think most of the stuff we read about is probably made up.

Anonymous said...

I have half consumed the beverage purchased from the concessionair and the TSA wants to test for contaminants. My drink is ok, but what about any fine contaminants dropped from that little blue test strip they wave over my drink? Fine, test it. I will return my drink to the concessionair and request my money back.

Anonymous said...

I canot see the article .Why ?