Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Here We Go Again... Amy Alkon



*** Update - 12/6/2012  ***


Many of our readers have  asked if our officers are required to give their full name when asked by a passenger. Hopefully I can provide some clarification.


If asked, our officers are only required to provide their last name and rank. This information is printed on the nameplate on every officer’s uniform. Furthermore, supervisors, managers, and customer support managers are not required to provide the officer’s full name.

As far as the photo ID badge on the officer’s uniform, this is a badge that all airport employees must wear. It’s called a Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge. Basically, it’s a badge that allows employees access to non-public areas. One side of the badge has the employee’s full name on it. Many officers choose to wear their SIDA badges so their full name is not visible. vs. a name badge. This is permissible.

If at any time you need to file a kudos or complaint regarding one of our officers, the only information you need for us to be able to recognize an employee or resolve an issue is:

Last Name/Rank/Date/Time/Location

Our officers have a right to privacy, and TSA has the responsibility of protecting our officers from the harassment that could result from revealing their full names.  


**********


Here we go again…  TSA seems to be a frequent and a convenient subject on Amy Alkon's blog. The writer’s language characterization towards TSA and our employees is offensive to say the least. Name calling, insults, the whole gamut...

In her latest screening incident, she’s angry because a supervisor wouldn’t give her the name of an officer who had just screened her. An officer who – by the way -  by all accounts other than Ms. Alkon’s, did her job by the book. It is more likely that she wanted this information so she could post the officer’s name on her blog as she’s done before with other incidents. In fact, she named and publicly accused one of our officers of rape after a routine pat-down in an earlier allegation.

Ms. Alkon says all sorts of things in this post, but what Ms. Alkon doesn’t tell you is that from the moment she entered our checkpoint, she began making statements such as “TSA gets paid to molest passengers and touch their private areas.” Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly? No, it sounds like somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them.

Also missing in the details, Ms. Alkon wasn’t selected for a pat-down as she states in this post. She opted out of advanced imaging technology (body scanner). It’s acceptable to opt out, but the standard protocol when a passenger opts out is that they receive a pat-down  not a free pass through security. If you read Amy’s comments, she knows this. As Ms. Alkon continued to make a scene, the checkpoint supervisor stated he would have to call airport police if she did not cooperate with the screening process.

We understand that not everybody likes or agrees with TSA’s policies and procedures. Part of what makes this country great is that we can openly complain on blogs such as this one, but I think it’s only fair that the blogger in question should be fair and accurate about what they write about and also consider the privacy of the individuals involved. After all, these individuals are doing the job the way they’ve been trained to do it. They show up to work daily with the intent of protecting our Nation’s transportation network.

I can assure you of one thing, an infinitesimal number of our employees know of Ms. Alkon. I can also assure you that reoccurring allegations like hers seem to be more self perpetuated rather than based upon reality and do nothing but detract from the mission at hand. 




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192 comments:

Anonymous said...

How can the TSA have so much information about this incident, yet fail to have any video, audio, etc. on so many other incidents? Would it be possible to post the video and/or audio from this incident?

It seems like there are lots of incidents where the TSA is accused of acting improperly. The first thing that happens is the TSA says proper procedures were followed. There never seems to be any evidence presented to show the TSA didn't behave properly. Sometimes the video is missing or inconclusive. I find that hard to beliee with the number of cameras at a checkpoint. You should require all checkpoints to have video and audio recording capabilities from multiple angles. You should also release this video and audio when there is an incident. The checkpoint is a public area than can be filmed by passengers, so it's unlikely that any sensitive information would be divulged.

Danichi said...

Bob, I just read your TSA blog post and partial discussions in the form of comment messages with Amy Alkon on her blog page. I am not sure why your dispute is becoming a public debate, it is clear that you both can resolve this in private, in a rational and mature way, but that is just my opinion. I have never seen a valid argument like this between a government employee and a US civilian before, I hope you can sort it out with Amy soon.

Take care.

David L. Burkhead said...

"By the book" you said.

Which book would that be? Mein Kampf or Mao's Little Red Book?

Here's a "book" I'd refer you to:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Subversive, I know, but it remains the supreme law of the land.

"By the Book."
"According to Procedure."
"I Was Just Following Orders."

Excuses for tyrants, petty and otherwise, and they sycophants since time immemorial.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Alkon,
You may not realize it but we are in fact looking for one or more terrorists. If you happen to know that they all decided to stay home today...then by all means please continue disrupting our checkpoint. If you have no idea who they are or what thier plans are for today , then please stop making thier possible plans that much easier by causing disruptions and distractions which may keep us from saving people's lives today. You are not boarding your own aircraft, you are sharing it with hundreds of others and I am sure the hundreds of others want our attention focused where it belongs, not on you. - Name withheld because Ms. Alkon doesn't undestand how to be respectful.

RB said...

The question that you evaded is pretty simple, do TSA have to identify themselves or not?

I know of no other government service employee who are not required to show ID when requested.

Are TSA employees required or not required to ID themselves when asked who they are?

Can TSA employees wear their ID cards (SIDA) upside down so it is difficult to see their name?

If TSA employees are exempt from providing ID to the public please cite a CFR stating such.

Anonymous said...

Rude or polite, opt-out or randomly selected, upset or happy - is there really a reason why a TSA employee should refuse to identify themselve?

Anonymous said...

There's a word for "somebody who makes a living by writing about situations": journalist.

Flynne Bondolini said...

I will not fly again unless and until the TSA is disbanded. And I'm not alone. The entire TSA workforce makes a living out of violating innocent Americans' 4th Amendment rights and there is no way in hell you can convince me otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps TSA should start treating travelers with a bit of respect and these things would resolve themselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey Bob, two words for you "Michelle Dunaj". Since you seem to deam it appropriate to comment on Ms Alkon's claims of abuse at the hands of TSA why not comment on Ms Dunaj's claims of TSA abuse? I have repeatedly asked for your side of the story without receiving any response from you or any other TSA rep. Your silence reaks of guilt. Come on Bob fess up or at least tell TSA's side of the story. I would think TSA would want to quickly dispel or at least justify the claimed abuse of a terminally ill cancer patient. I've always heard silence was golden but in this case I think silence is nothing less that an admitance of a shameful act by TSA.

Phil said...

So you're offended by Ms. Alkon's comments and language, eh Bob?

Well, I'm offended too. I am offended that an agency of my government is so rife with pedophiles, petty criminals, waste and corruption.

I'm offended that you seem to think your job is to make the TSA look useful by mocking Americans anytime they take something on an airplane that you think is unusual.

I'm offended by your insistence that stripping American's of their privacy is essential to keep them free.

And by the way, I too would like an answer to the underlying question: why shouldn't TSO's give their full name anytime they are asked?

Anonymous said...

Wow, Bob, this response hardly sounds like a professional reply. It sounds personal. It sounds as if Amy Alkon got under your skin. What did she do? Refuse to run the happy-talk news bits you churn out about how many throwing stars you confiscated this week or how to pack your wedding dress?

We get the point, people often try to carry things onto a plane that you think are silly. And we understand that part of your job is to make the TSA seem valuable, by mocking the American people who pay your salary anytime one of them tries to carry a chainsaw onto an aircraft.

That having been said, I wonder if you get Ms. Alkon's point -- and the point made already by several previous posters -- TSA agents (I have seen them myself) frequently wear badges upside down or take other steps to conceal their identities. What is being done about it?

Mac' Chandler said...

I object to characterizing TSA employees as officers. If they are officers my check out clerk at the supermarket is an officer. They have NO police powers for a good reason. They have no police training. You keep trying to characterize them as police - and giving them a badge is criminal misrepresentation. I have not flown since the TSA theater started and will not give the cowardly airlines my money as long as it exists.

Chip and Andy said...

A small, but very important thing first.... They are TSA*AGENTS*. You do not have Officers, you have Agents. You are an Agency, that means you are Agents.

Then, Mrs. Alkon's claims are what they are and for whatever her reasons there is a serious question which you are evading.... are your Agents required to identify themselves upon request?

Actual real Law Enforcement Officers are required to identify themselves upon request. Last Name and Badge Number and most L.E.O.'s carry business cards with the same.

Federal Agents in the FBI and CIA are required to identify themselves upon request. Unless they are undercover, but then you wouldn't know and shouldn't suspect them of being FBI or CIA and therefore asking them to identify themselves.

So.... do your Agents have to identify upon request?

If not, why not?

Anonymous said...

A few things to consider:

1) Most airports DON'T have state of the art video equipment. The views are sometimes horrible and they hardly ever have audio capability. Maybe that's something TSA wants to look into for the future. I don't know.

2) Airports require people who work there to have their airport ID visible at all times. However, NO ONE is required to give you the name of another Airport worker.

3) I am struck by the absolutely amazing number of Constitutional Law Experts there are that read this blog.

4) Bob with some of these folks you are fighting a losing battle. They will never come around.

I too prefer to remain anonymous because too many people get wayy too volatile when you disagree with them.

Anonymous said...

First of all Bob, quit trying to normalize this kind of invasive and unconstitutional security by saying that "they're only doing their job" and that we're free to complain on a blog (lol). That rationale is despicable and the "I was just following orders" is not a valid legal argument, as seen in the Nuremberg Trials. Second of all, TSA screeners are not officers, have no arrest powers, and don't have the schooling or training real peace officers have. That said, I know those of you at the TSA aren't too well versed on the Constitution (specifically the 4th Amendment to be secure from unreasonable searches and seizures unless probable cause or a warrant exist), but venting on a blog like a child will not remedy any conflict at hand and only shows your true unprofessionalism and lack of regard towards the citizenry, who happen to be your employer. Private security is much more effective, and legal, than your bloated and ineffective fear-mongering bureaucracy. Good luck with the National Opt-Out Week.

Anonymous said...

As Benjamin Franklin stated, "those who give up essential liberty (referring to the 4th Amendment to be secure from searches unless probable cause or a warrant exist) to purchase temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Anonymous said...

funny how you say these TSA agents should be respected as well for going to do their jobs on a daily basis... um.... so did concentration camp guards - should we have given them respect for also doing what they were told no matter what personal freedoms and rights they were violating? hmmmm.... interesting.... more interesting is whether you are going to moderate this comment into limbo - we'll see if you can face the truth in the same breath as supposing you are doling it out

Anonymous said...

Bob, it's called "Freedom of speech" and you best respect it since you work for the government.

Free speech should NEVER be grounds for retaliation, as you hint at by asking, "Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly?" I'm sure in your mind it's a rhetorical question, but for those of us who stand up for our Constitutional rights, it certainly sounds like a threat.

Anonymous said...

@David L. Burkhead
So if you knew a known terrorist was flying the same day you are, would you expect TSA to allow the terrorist to be secure in his/her papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures?.

This is the problem with travelers' like yourself; consumed with your rights, you do not see the bigger picture. You do not know if a terrorist or someone who wants to disrupt our transportation systems' is flying the same day you are. By the way, if you pay attention to the signs posted before you enter a screening checkpoint, they state you will undergo screening before you enter it. When you enter the checkpoint, you are consenting to undergo screening. So if you do not want to be screened, do not enter the checkpoint.

If you feel so violated then don't fly, take a train...oh by the way, security checks passengers’ on trains too so you might feel violated there also. Maybe you should complain to the private screening departments that check you on cruise ships, trains, entering federal buildings, entering court houses, shopping malls, sports games, I guess they all refer to Mein Kampf and Mao's Little Red Book too correct?

Cynthia said...

I read Amy's account of her experience. She was spoiling for a fight, but even she couldn't come up with much blog fodder until she made it hostile and personal with the officer. I can easily read, as well as write upside down, and Amy can too. She did. 'Officer Moore' is sufficient identification. Understandably, the Officer, who was doing her job and doing it thoroughly by all accounts, withheld her first name to avoid a public attack - and one that if misrepresented, might cost her job.

Laura Monteros said...

Whether or not Alkon's actions were inappropriate, and even if she was looking to create a stir, every person who goes through a checkpoint is entitled to an employee's name. Period. We pay their salaries and benefits, which many of us do not have ourselves.

If she posts it on her blog and it is inaccurate or defamatory, there are legal remedies. But there is no excuse for not telling your employer--the American public--your name.

Anonymous said...

Yes Bob, please tell us why a TSA agent, a public employee conducting public duties in a public space, should not be required to identify themselves? What do they have to hide?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it interesting that Bob and his fellow employees become so much more incompetent and prone to "accidents" when pretty young women are involved ?

Anonymous said...

“TSA gets paid to molest passengers and touch their private areas.”

I guess Bob is suggesting they do it for free.

Anonymous said...

Pathetic - a taxpayer funded mouthpiece attacking a citizen for exercising here First Amendment rights.

We expect all contributors to be respectful. "

How about you, Bob?

Anonymous said...

I don't care why a TSA "officer" thinks I want their name.

If asked, they should give it.

It is what any professional would do.

------------------------------
No, it sounds like somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them.

And the difference between her post and yours is?

Susan Richart said...

You post is very childish, Bob, and has the ring of sour grapes and "got you last" to it.

screen shot

Anonymous said...

Bob Burns said:

An officer who – by the way - by all accounts other than Ms. Alkon’s, did her job by the book.

What other accounts?

I also find it interesting that Bob can't seem to find time to answer questions on this blog, but can find time to post comments on other blogs.



Anonymous said...

“TSA gets paid to molest passengers and touch their private areas.” Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly? No, it sounds like somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them."

There's this thing called the United States Constitution which protects our 1st Amendment rights of free speech. Not popular speech, but UNPOPULAR speech.

Then there's the saying that goes "If a thing someone says isn't true, then it shouldn't be a problem". In other words, if person A, calls person B a dummy, person B shouldn't care because it's not true. However if person B DOES get upset, then it must be true. Get it?

Then there's the 4th Amendment that reminds us that unlawful search and seizure without a warrant is a crime.

Fact is, the people who do the honest reporting, seem like they are upsetting the real terrorists.

Anonymous said...

"I think it’s only fair that the blogger in question should be fair and accurate about what they write..."

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

We ask the same from you Bob. I would suggest you correct your own problems in that regards before you ask others to do the same.

I'm sure you believe you are "fair and accurate".

But just because you believe something doesn't make it true.



Anonymous said...

Bob, how about the disrobing of a 17 year old by TSA? Is that by the book?

Anonymous said...

'TSA seems to be a frequent and convenient subject...'. Good. Your agency SHOULD be a frequent subject of thousands, MILLIONS of blogs. It should be the subject of every news outlet in the country. The agency is an abhorrent, disgusting stain on the Constitution and our nation's character. These invasive searches are violating thousands of people every day just like Amy. Violating their rights and personal dignity. If you really WERE looking for terrorists (and you are NOT), you won't find them down grandma's pants.

Anonymous said...

"No, it sounds like somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them."

No, it sounds like someone who's familiar with what the TSA actually does. Stuff like exposing the breasts of a 17-year-old girl:

http://twitchy.com/2012/11/20/tsa-reportedly-exposed-breasts-of-rep-ralph-halls-teen-grandniece-called-it-accidental/

Anonymous said...

And why wouldn't the supervisor identify the screener in question, Curtis?

Sandra said...

Totally unprofessional, Bob, just like your boss's retort in the Washington Post over the weekend.

Anonymous said...

Well, Bob, DO your screeners molest people's genitalia and other private areas?

Anonymous said...

So you're saying that if I opt out and get patted down, I don't have to worry about your screeners touching my genitals or sticking their hands inside my clothing?

Anonymous said...

Bob,

With all due respect, your post is why many don't trust the TSA.

A passenger has a complaint. TSA refuses to identify the officer in charge and you make unsupported statements regarding what the passenger said and did at the checkpoint.

You were not there.

The passenger's complaint was summarily dismissed and the TSO's version backed 100% with no evidence being presented to the public.







Bill Witten said...

I went to the Denver airport recently to fly to a business meeting. I fly often and I am subjected to the normal humiliating treatment each time. This time, however, there was a "man" speaking to the passengers waiting to be screened like he was an impatient and abrasive kindergarten teacher.

The TSA is not getting better, it is getting worse. I, for one, am glad that it is getting worse because as I looked around I saw a look of suprise and many looks of annoyance and distaste on the faces of the passengers around me. This is a good sign; it means that the time of the TSA is soon to be over.

Just keep being abrasive, annoying, condescending and rude. You're doing a great job of eliminating your own jobs!

Anonymous said...

From the TSA website

To file a complaint:

...
Detailed Description – location, date and approximate time of the experience; name of the Airline you were flying with; a description of the experience; the names or descriptions of the TSA personnel involved or witnesses; an explanation as to how you believe this experience was discriminatory.

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

TSO's willfully not providing their name is an attempt to subvert the complaints process and under no circumstances be tolerated by the TSA.

Anonymous said...

In this entire post, I do not find any information as to whether or not a TSA employee is to identify themselves.

I agree with Amy to the point that I do want to be able to accurately identify the person who searches my person and who searches my hand luggage. Frankly, I want to know who opened my check bag too. But in your diatribe against Amy, you failed to address the basic question of her blog: Are TSA employees required to identify themselves upon request (especially since the badge was upside down).

If you are going to post this stuff on TSA time (i.e., you are being paid to do this), could you at least address the important part of her blog and tell us if you TSA folks are required or not to identify yourself upon request?

Additionally, how are the screeners supposed to wear their badges? I wouldn't have to ask if the employees would stop trying to obscure the view to their badge.

Anonymous said...

Your idea of damage control is to insult those who are criticizing you and not respond to their allegations whatsoever, except to say "Nu-uh" like you're a four year old? You also failed to mention that the agent, when she tried to sue over the blog post, was shut down completely by Alkon's lawyer. Perhaps that's because Alkon was right?

Do you ever wonder why so many people dislike your organization? It's because you openly display contempt for the public - the people you are supposed to be working for.

Anonymous said...

Too bad we have to have a TSA in the first place but since 911 our lives are forever changed and not BECAUSE of TSA but those who are trying to kill us----------wake up people and smell the roses and be glad someone is trying to protect you--no matter how inconvinent or intrusive it may be--it is for OUR safety----certainly the TSA agent is not going to be the one blown up on a plane------it will be YOU
RM

Anonymous said...

I notice you did not address the crux of the matter -

ARE TSA EMPLOYEES REQUIRED TO IDENTIFY THEMSELVES OR HAVE THEIR ID'S VISIBLE AND READABLE TO THE PUBLIC?

Instead, you chose to attack the blogger on unrelated issues. On an official government website, no less.

Anonymous said...

Airing dirty laundry and personal grievances in public... wow, Bob, you're just like a real blogger, now! Going to start posting your Instagram pics?

Anonymous said...

advicegoddess.com/ archives/2012/11/20/ tsa_thuggery_su.html

Anonymous said...

"wake up people and smell the roses and be glad someone is trying to protect you"

Absolutely no one at TSA is trying to protect anyone, save Blogger Bob, who's trying to protect his gropers-in-arms from the public shaming they so richly deserve.

Anonymous said...

"Part of what makes this country great is that we can openly complain on blogs such as this one," Hahaha, yup. That is what makes our country so great. We can put up with all the tyrannical crap our government keeps implementing and we have the ability to complain about it on the internet. Such a great country we live in. If only the oppressed people under the rule of Nazi Germany could have complained about it on the internet, then they would have been so much better off. Thanks for making this country so great Bob.

Anonymous said...

You might now have liked the comment about TSA getting paid to sexual abuse people, but they do indeed get paid to pull the dress down of a 17 year old girl exposing her breasts to the flying public. Shame on you.

RB said...

Bob, it's called "Freedom of speech" and you best respect it since you work for the government.

Free speech should NEVER be grounds for retaliation, as you hint at by asking, "Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly?" I'm sure in your mind it's a rhetorical question, but for those of us who stand up for our Constitutional rights, it certainly sounds like a threat.

November 20, 2012 1:09 PM
Anonymous said...
@David L. Burkhead
So if you knew a known terrorist was flying the same day you are, would you expect TSA to allow the terrorist to be secure in his/her papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures?.

This is the problem with travelers' like yourself; consumed with your rights, you do not see the bigger picture.


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

There is no bigger picture than our rights.

RB said...

Want some Cheese with your Whine bobby?

Your little retalitory post didn't work out so well did it bobby boy?

Typical display of just how unprofessional TSA is.

Bob, you owe the country an apology for posting this junk.

Wintermute said...

Bob, I have read the post in question. It is professionally written and the main issue is, as she posts, is that the screener wore her name tag upside down to obscure her name. Is this, or is this not, a violation of TSA policy? Her reason for wanting the TSAgent's name is irrelevant.

Also, when she calls the pat down rape, she is accurately describing the experience. If it happened in any other context, the pat down would be considered sexual assault. In other words, rape.

Finally, despite being in an airport, the first amendment right of free speech allows her to make statements such as “TSA gets paid to molest passengers and touch their private areas.” It's not even an inaccurate statement as, again, in any other context, it would be considered sexual assault. In other words, molestation.

And funny thing, you are accusing her of leaving out parts of the story that don't suit her version of things. Something you do every time you post.

Archimedes said...

I don't care what she plans to do with the name, that AGENT is acting in public capacity and is REQUIRED to give their name upon request, PERIOD! This is one reason why the TSA can not be trusted. You know drug dealers don't give our names either *smh*

Anonymous said...

You people do realize that screeners wear a nameplate with their last name, right? In what scenario would you need their full name? The badge people are talking about being backwards is the airport ID. This does have the screener's full name on it but why would u need it???

Anonymous said...

Way to stay classy Wintermute and RB. People like you and Amy actually make the TSA look good.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
You people do realize that screeners wear a nameplate with their last name, right? In what scenario would you need their full name? The badge people are talking about being backwards is the airport ID. This does have the screener's full name on it but why would u need it???

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

The complaint form from TSA asks for the name and badge number. I would guess that is why Amy wanted it.

The E said...

None of the content of your post has anything to do with addressing Ms. Alkon's actual complaints.

To wit:

1) she was inappropriately "patted down" when they sexually harassed her.

2) Neither the TSA employee or her supervisor provided names as required.

3) She was threatened with arrest for questioning authority.

Nice deflection of the charges though. I believe this is what we call a "strawman"

Anonymous said...

Just another example of TSA's "Deny, lie, and deflect" culture

Deny information to a passenger that allows them to make an effective compliant

Lie about what actually transpired at the checkpoint

Deflect and don't answer if TSO's are required to give their names

Anonymous said...

When did it become acceptable to touch breasts and genitals without probable cause? That is what the TSA is doing. There are many travellers who cannot use the body scanners due to various reasons (insulin pumps, can't hold the position, etc.). That almost always results in a highly invasive patdown.

Anonymous said...

I don't always agree with Amy Alkon, but I have great respect for her. On this issue, I consider her a true patriot. She speaks for me and millions like me.

I don't care if your clerks do things by the book, the book is wrong, and they themselves are a disgrace for continuing to do something that is so clearly offensive and ineffectual.

Mike Wallette said...

Uhhh...no. I am a lot more afraid of a government that ignores it's own rulebook (the Constitution) than I am afraid of a handful of idiots halfway around the globe. You would do well to read some history. The Stalins, Hitlers, and Neros of the world are far, far more dangerous than all of the Osama bin Ladens will ever be. Just because you pee yourself every time someone mentions "al Qaeda" doesn't mean the rest of us should have to give up our liberties to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Mike Wallette said...

There *is* no way to make an abomination like the TSA look good. RB was a bit childish, perhaps, but Wintermute was pretty much on the mark. What TSA does would be considered sexual assault in any other context, and it needs to stop *immediately*! The fact that it has been allowed to continue for two years speaks volumes about the so-called "Land of the free and home of the brave." This is no longer the country I grew up believing in.

Anonymous said...

In repsonse to: Anonymous said...
You people do realize that screeners wear a nameplate with their last name, right? In what scenario would you need their full name? The badge people are talking about being backwards is the airport ID. This does have the screener's full name on it but why would u need it???

The TSA complaint form asks for the badge number and name to file a complaint. That is what Amy was attempting to do.

Wintermute said...

Way to stay classy Wintermute and RB. People like you and Amy actually make the TSA look good.

This, coming from an "Anonymous." ;)

Is touching someone's private areas without their permission not sexual assault? Forget that it's a TSA pat down and is ANY other context? The only excepting is if the person has already been arrested on probable cause. Travelling via plane (or any other mode where TSA may appear) is NOT probably cause.

Besides, I'm a lowly commenter here, not an employee of our federal government. My first amendment rights do not require me to stay classy ;)

Wintermute said...

Also, Anonymous, the question remains (good deflection, BTW): is it against policy for TSAgents to wear their name tag upside down or not? Is it against policy for TSAgents to provide their first name when asked? Classy or no (I would argue that I was no less classy than Blogger Bob), this question remains.

Anonymous said...

Amen well said!! Fellow Tso here

Anonymous said...

Guess what TSA a person can refuse the whole body scanner and refused the pat down too as you are a governmental employees and therefore have to provide and articulate probable cause under the 4th Amendment to justify a search or you need a warrant. An passenger and public safety is not probable cause sorry. Has to be probable cause of a crime being committed or about to be committed. Just ask a real cop what probable cause is if you are confused.

Garbo said...

Ridiculous. The TSA doesn't have a blog, this website is a scam. I'm reporting it and then I'm sueing the TSA for using the Acronym "TSA" which infringes on my company's name. "True Stats Application" founded in 1990. YOU HEAR ME? I'M SUING!!!

Anonymous said...

How come no one points out that you have a better chance of being crushed by your own tv or dying from a bee sting than you do of being killed in a terrorist related attack. To put this in perspective, 2,977 people died in the attack on 9/11. Roughly 1,500 people die each day from cancer, 1,200 people die each day from tobacco, and 200 people die each day from alcohol.

But everyone is willing to give up there freedom and liberties for the ruse of being safe. We can't live our lives in fear of what might happen, especially not to the extent of us losing our own freedom.

We say that we are fighting them because they threaten our freedom, but if you sit and think for a minute who is really taking those freedoms from us?

Anonymous said...

REALLY?? WHAT TERRORISTS????? Real terrorists fly in their private planes. Grow up people the boogey man does not exist and your easily manipulated fear is to blame for our current problems.

Anonymous said...

I would love to see all of you with such contempt for the TSA put on a plane with someone who announced the intention of blowing it up (not real but you wouldn't know that).

I bet after you all peed your pants,and said your prayers, you would all have a better appreciation of the TSA

Anonymous said...

I would love to see all of you with such contempt for the TSA put on a plane with someone who announced the intention of blowing it up (not real but you wouldn't know that).

I bet after you all peed your pants,and said your prayers, you would all have a better appreciation of the TSA

Mark Bennett said...

"please stop making thier possible plans that much easier by causing disruptions and distractions which may keep us from saving people's lives today."

Fact is, the TSA is killing us today—and that's just by causing more of us to choose much more dangerous driving over flying. Just wait till some terrorist decides to shoot up a line of passengers waiting for TSA's effete screening—a much softer target than an airplane. What then?

Anonymous said...

"Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly?" - Curtis Burns, TSA

It's nice to see you admit that TSA engages in retaliatory screening.

screen shot

Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Russell said...

You just acknowledged a troll?
On the internet?
You just acknowledged a troll on the internet?
You just gave her a much bigger voice in an environment where the majority of your readers already disagree with the TSA's practices.

You just proved once again that you have no idea what you are doing. I'm shocked at the level of TSA's incompetence. Wait, no I'm not.

Anonymous said...

Why does the TSA even HAVE a blog site? What drives the need to massage public opinion with a blog site, paid for with taxpayer money, if there's no wrong doing?

LogicalBible said...

Please address the grievance as to why the TSA member's badge was upside down.

Your deflection that this country is great because we can discuss this "disagreement" on a blog is insufficient.

An insurmountable number of posts here are completely against your grandstanding. That makes it more than a disagreement to be discussed on a blog.

LogicalBible said...

Please address the grievance as to why the TSA member's badge was upside down.

Your deflection that this country is great because we can discuss this "disagreement" on a blog is insufficient.

An insurmountable number of posts here are completely against your grandstanding. That makes it more than a disagreement to be discussed on a blog.

Anonymous said...

I honestly don't see the utility in addressing Alkon's complaints. Engaging trolls only encourages them; she's best ignored.

Anonymous said...

Has the TSA ever actually stopped a potential terrorist? They are too busy checking for what has been done before. The shoe bomber got us taking our shoes off. The underwear bomber triggered the pat downs. Everything is a reaction to what HAS happened, not what could happen in the future with creative thinking.

I don't feel safer with the TSA. I'd feel better with trained security watching over us in the terminals which may be already present at some airports. I already dislike flying - small seats, little leg room. TSA just adds to the annoyance of flying.

Now waiting for a staged terrorist bust so you can claim you caught one. I will refuse to believe it. Other passengers have been better at catching terrorists. Who caught the shoe bomber or underwear bomber? People on the plane observed someone acting strange, not TSA.

Anonymous said...

A government employee's name is public information. In fact, not just a government employee's name, but his or her and base salary is also public information. I am a law enforcement officer, and whenever any citizen asks for our name, we give it to them even though we wear name tags (with last name only). We even take it a step further and offer them our business cards with our full name and agency contact information on it.

But one thing we don't do is publicly challenge or attack individual citizens who are expressing themselves critically towards our department. In fact, I don't know of any other law enforcement agency that does that kind of thing to it's citizens, especially on a department internet blog. That type of behavior is considered unbecoming and violates department standards of conduct policies and would result in that officer or employee receiving a reprimand. That type of public challenging is reserved for the department's Chief or Public Information Officer, and it's usually only done towards groups or organizations who are publicly challenging the department/agency, or an individual (such as an attorney) who is involved in a publicized legal case against the department/agency.

I know the TSA is not a law enforcement agency, but considering the job they do and the fact that they are government employees, when I saw this blog posting, it astonished me. Despite all of the negative attacks by the public against the TSA, I’ve always tried to stay close to the middle with my own judgments. But when I saw this posting, it actually embarrassed me as a public employee, and I don’t even work for the TSA or the DHS.

Unknown said...

I guess I'm wondering why the employee refused to identify themselves if they did nothing wrong.

Actually, if you're reading this, I'd like to make a complaint. This summer I flew out of Chicago, and I was selected for some extra screening. The TSA worker was very abrupt, and told me to wipe my hands and he just whipped out a tissue and swabbed me.

I was a bit shocked at having my body fluids taken with no warning, and left the area a bit stunned. A very kind TSA lady asked me what was wrong, and I said "He just took my DNA, it's creepy" at which point a bald TSA man snapped, "What? What's creepy?" and I said, "This..." and he started yelling, clearly trying to escalate the situation. So I left the area. I considered filing a formal complaint but to be honest I didn't want to go back to get his name because he seemed very volatile and I was worried he'd get violent or something.

I can get past the guy swabbing me being abrupt, he was probably in a hurry what with all the people to screen, but I do NOT understand why the bald man was trying to provoke me and escalate the situation.

Anonymous said...

You can read Ms Alkon's full response here: http://amyalkon.mensnewsdaily.com/2012/11/20/tsa-thuggery-supporter-bob-burns-comments-on-my-post/

Garwin Redman said...

Where is the entelechy in physically patting down an 86 year old blind woman?

You don't profile? Then you have no intel of any value. You become an inpediment to people who are paying for the whole thing on their dime.

Whom do your laws serve? If not the individual, then I understand why you have fallen under the swoon of a title as a reality.

How about a little respect, not for laws, but who the laws serve. You can't ever make people more secure,by invading their rights.

If the TSA can prove its assertions, then educate your employers, the people who use the airport for travel. Engage with pleasantness, try to act like a service.

Common sense shouldn't be perceived as a super power because of its rarity. Titles and positions are of no benefit or value, if they have no responsibility towards "Service"

Anything less than Honesty, Reality and Sanity, isn't worth the money spent for it.

As a Marine, if you like titles, to appear that you don't profile, but searching me, is laughable in the extreme, and proof that weaklings need to be important.

Questions?

G. Redman

GSOLTSO said...

Unknown sez - "Actually, if you're reading this, I'd like to make a complaint. This summer I flew out of Chicago, and I was selected for some extra screening. The TSA worker was very abrupt, and told me to wipe my hands and he just whipped out a tissue and swabbed me.

I was a bit shocked at having my body fluids taken with no warning, and left the area a bit stunned. A very kind TSA lady asked me what was wrong, and I said "He just took my DNA, it's creepy" "

Unknown, this is not the proper forum to make this type of specific complaint, you can use Talk To TSA here to file an official complaint on your experience: https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/talktotsa/

As for the swabbing process, it is not taking DNA samples, it is looking for explosives residue. I hope that this will help explain a bit of the process for you. Thanks for commenting!

West
TSA Blog Team

Candace said...

Let her respond.
While I find this game rather lame and childish of a person speaking for an agency that everyone dislikes as stand, my dislike only grew stronger. You cannot justify groping us for opting out of a cancer box. The beauty of this country is that weeren't built on ultimatums. TSa is an agency that has been mishandled and it abuses power.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing how many people are willing to give up their rights (to an agency that hasn't stopped a terrorist yet) for a feeling of security. Security is an illusion (you could die any moment) freedom is not. Once you give your freedoms away you can not get them back. Austria found this out when they voted by 98% to elect Hitler and annex themselves to Germany for SECURITY and FINANCIAL STABILITY.

Anonymous said...

Now we have two TSA blog employees ignoring the question.

Bob and West.

Why won't the TSA provide a clear answer regarding requirements for TSO's to identify themselves?


Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

Instead of blaming and threatening Amy Alkon via this government website, why don't you address the problem of not one, but TWO public employees (screener Moore and supervisor Roger Grant) who refused to provide Moore's first name.

All of this could have been handled locally and professionally, and those two public employees should be trained on how to deal with people, even irate ones.

None of your complaining about how Amy Alkon is a 'big meany' means a thing if your staff can't do something as simple as providing a name.

As has been stated by a commenter above, we have the right to know public employees' names, and according the TSA's own complaint form, flyers who wish to register a complaint need to provide the employee's name and badge number.

This is especially important when people have common last names, such as Moore.

Again, all screener Moore and supervisor Grant had to do was provide Moore's first name. Such a very simple thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Here is one half of Amy's response. See it athttp://www.infowars.com/journalist-threatened-by-tsa-pens-scathing-response/ “TSA gets paid to molest passengers and touch their private areas.” Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly?No, it sounds like someone who wants to defend our constitutional rights.
You, Bob Burns, are terrible person. You take money in order to support the violation of our rights. Being a prostitute would be a far more noble profession. In that case, consenting adults remove their clothes in a consenting exchange.
Tell me why in the world there is a reason to search me?
I NEVER make the metal detector buzz, but often I don’t even get to go through it.
And yes, I was selected for a SEARCH. I am selected just about every time I fly. Random? I doubt it. The fact that I choose not to go through scanners — scanners that professors at UC have written papers about the dubious safety of — does not mean I opt for the grope-down.
Furthermore, the thugs taking money for violating our rights that work for the TSA do a little intimidation number on me every time that I forgot to mention in the post. They tell me that they “don’t have personnel” to watch my computer, iPad and other items that are out on the conveyer.
You are part of a framework that is not about catching terrorists — Thedala Magee, Tiffany Applewhite…Moore, whose name I was denied in the most Orwellian manner…a woman allowed to grope my body sans probable cause…are these people highly trained intelligence officers? No, they are not. They’re people who would be working other unskilled jobs if they weren’t hired to provide security theater at the airport.
Any single commenter here smart enough to make it in the debating fray on my blog could smuggle contraband onto a plane. No, not through the cartoon security Jonathan Corbett and others have shown is a joke. (There was a TSA tester in Dallas who smuggled a gun through FIVE times without any of the hamburger clerks you have manning security noticing.)
This is not security — it’s obedience training for the American public so we will give up our rights like blinking sheep. It is odious that you earn a living supporting it. The TSA has not caught a single terrorist, and in fact, is unnecessary, now that our cockpit doors are reinforced and that we know that there’s an Islamic game-changer: That terrorists are now willing and even eager to die.
There is no inaccuracy to what I write.

Anonymous said...

Here is the 2nd half of Amy's comments Furthermore, because I need to get on my flight, I cooperate with the thuggery at the airport — the entirely unnecessary groping of my body when I’m probably recognized by the agents. (One woman at the Delta LAX terminal a few flights ago said so.) This is punitive, this groping of me and the groping of other Americans, and has nothing to do with finding terrorists.
And while you’re crowing about free speech, let’s note that Thedala Magee tried to yank $500,000 out of me for exercising mine. My lawyer, the wonderful Marc Randazza, showed that when somebody you do not want to have touching your body touches your sex parts in any other arena we call this rape. What do you call it?
You are helping people like Michael Chertoff get rich and you are helping erode our rights. You are doing an extremely shameful thing and I just wish you could not go to sleep nights for taking money for this, but it seems you have all the conscience of cement.
Caught one single terrorist, Bob?
Where’s your comment on the post about Geoff McGann, the advertising creative guy who was JAILED for wearing a watch that didn’t look to the hamburger clerks manning “security” like it was bought at JC Penney?
Oh, and regarding this from Bob:
No, it sounds like somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them.
I don’t “make a living” from my blog. I earn a little money from ads and from when blog commenters buy stuff from my Amazon links. But, my living is earned as a syndicated newspaper columnist and author working on her third book which just sold at auction, meaning more than one company bid on it.
My blogging about the TSA — and my speaking up at the airport — is something I do for the same reason I blog about campus civil liberties defenders theFIRE.org and ask people to donate to them and to Institute for Justice: I am extremely grateful for the civil liberties we have and do my part to defend them.
You, Bob Burns, on the other hand, proudly take money to support the daily violation of Americans’ rights at airports, and in turn, the erosion of civil liberties in this country.
Vile

See the post at http://www.infowars.com/journalist-threatened-by-tsa-pens-scathing-response/

Anonymous said...

Has anyone thought about how ridiculous it is that a government agency has its own blog to defend itself against civilians who pay for their funding? 1984 is not without the sardonically bizarre it seems

Anonymous said...

Once again, the TSA displays more by what it doesn't say than what it does.

Two TSA blog team members steadfastly ignoring legitimate questions about requirements for TSA personnel to identify themselves to passengers wishing to make a complaint.

No wonder people don't trust the TSA.

Anonymous said...

If TSA employees have sworn an oath to support the Constitution, why are they exempt from the 4th Amendment requirement for search warrants, support by oath or affirmation?

Anonymous said...

This term "officer" as used to describe tsa screeners is a fraud. These people are not sworn law enforcement despite the badge and uniform. Enough of this bloated charade. The public is not buying this and thus the lack of respect.

Anonymous said...

All those places you mention do NOT have TSA workers putting their hands down your pants, they have PRIVATE security firms that conduct a professional security check which usually involves a metal detector, not a "enhanced patdown" which leaves people with a feeling of being violated.

Anonymous said...

The TSA is not the police, or rulers over the people, just power flunkies who work for the government. You are to provide security to the people, not molest them. I will not fly if I have to go through any thing like this. I am disgusted with the TSA, and the way the government allows this type of behavior from the TSA.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Unknown sez - "Actually, if you're reading this, I'd like to make a complaint. This summer I flew out of Chicago, and I was selected for some extra screening. The TSA worker was very abrupt, and told me to wipe my hands and he just whipped out a tissue and swabbed me.

I was a bit shocked at having my body fluids taken with no warning, and left the area a bit stunned. A very kind TSA lady asked me what was wrong, and I said "He just took my DNA, it's creepy" "

Unknown, this is not the proper forum to make this type of specific complaint, you can use Talk To TSA here to file an official complaint on your experience: https://apps.tsa.dhs.gov/talktotsa/

As for the swabbing process, it is not taking DNA samples, it is looking for explosives residue. I hope that this will help explain a bit of the process for you. Thanks for commenting!

West
TSA Blog Team

November 21, 2012 8:27 AM
................
Since Bob seems afraid to answer simple questions perhaps you will answer West.

Do TSA employees have to identify themselves when that information is requested by a citizen?

Anonymous said...

TSA personnel being required to give their names to passengers wanting to file a complaint is about the difference between being projecting a professional and accountable culture or a deny-ability and coverup culture.

The actions of the officers in this incident, Bob and West demonstrate that TSA has chosen the latter as their preferred culture.

Anonymous said...

Bob and many others on here have proven that they have gaven up the ability to think for themselves. This is why the TSA hires them.

Just as the waitress requesting my ID when I ask for a beer even though I am a 60 year old man. (Mind numb drones!)

Bob; stand up for yourself and for you fellow Americans, shout it out “This 60 year old woman in a wheel chair isn’t a terrorist and I refuse to give her a pat down.” “This three year old is not a terrorist and I refuse to pat her down” a so on


YES PROFILING WORKS.

Anonymous said...

28 questions asked so far. TSA responds to one comment that didn't ask a question. Pathetic

Anonymous said...

Bob and many others on here have proven that they have gaven up their ability to think for themselves. This is why the TSA hires them.

Just as the waitress requesting my ID when I ask for a beer even though I am a 60 year old man. (Mind numb drones!)

Bob; stand up for yourself and for you fellow Americans, shout it out “This 60 year old woman in a wheel chair isn’t a terrorist and I refuse to give her a pat down.” “This three year old is not a terrorist and I refuse to pat her down”


YES PROFILING WORKS.

Anonymous said...

"This is the problem with travelers' like yourself; consumed with your rights..."

Standing up for Constitutional rights is a problem?

"...When you enter the checkpoint, you are consenting to undergo screening. So if you do not want to be screened, do not enter the checkpoint."

Nobody is saying there should be NO screening. We want REASONABLE screening. That is, we don't want to be irradiated, fondled, and/or photographed naked.

Sandra said...

West, stop being your usual sanctimonious-self and try answering the most important question asked:

Are screeners to provide their full names when asked?

Anonymous said...

If most people refused to fly, this nonsense would stop in 30 days.

Douglas said...

Bob:
Amy Alkon is not the first or only person to accuse TSA employees of rape and sexual assault. It is an all too commonplace occurrence.

Touching the intimate parts of a persons body without their consent (consent under duress is not consent) is a criminal act in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Even the Federal Bureau of Prisons does not allow this. Yet TSA has adopted this as routine policy in defiance of Federal and state law and common decency.

Amy's statements may be offensive, but they are true. TSA employees are paid to touch passengers private areas, and this is molestation. (Either they are paid to do this as policy, or they are being allowed to do it for free, which is malfeasance. Either way, it is a corrupt practice.)

Everyone wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly, and this can be done quite safely without irradiation or molestation.

A TSA employee has a duty to refuse to perform unlawful or illicit acts even when ordered to do so by his training. Forcing a TSA employee to touch someone's intimate areas is sexual harassment - check your own manual. Any employee who does not refuse to perform a pat down must be deemed to be acting out of a lewd and lascivious intent, and in direct violation of the common duty of care not to harm or injure others.

TSA can act responsibly and change its policy, or it can live in a dream world of denial and pretend that passengers are not being injured and harmed by its employees. Its up to you.

Anonymous said...

When you enter an airport you are NOT consenting to screening, you're going to catch a flight. You may assume that people are giving "implied consent" but it's no different from forcing someone to run the gauntlet. Abdul Mutalab, the "underwear bomber" was an FBI asset who was helped onto that plane, as admitted in congressional hearings. This is why people are being forced to undergo this humiliating experience. Problem, Reaction, Solution. Michael Chertoff and co. are the real terrorists, while the TSA are their monkeys.

Anonymous said...

and what you don't do, robert, in your response, is clarify whether TSA employees are required to give their name regardless of whether they feel offended by amy alkon's blog. your responses are canned niceties and anyone capable of critical thinking can see you for exactly what you are, a paid shill.

Anonymous said...

Any TSA agent who either wears their badge upside down or refuses to give me their name will be viewed as a potential terrorist and reported as such.

I seriously think the next terrorist attack will occur due to internal tsa staff or just plain incompetence. Besides if some of them are smuggling drugs, how far before they move to even more dangerous things?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't trust ANYTHING that your pathetic blog or TSA says. You could tell me that the sky was blue and I'd still go outside to see for myself.

RB said...

Seems Blogger Bob is unwilling to answer the question of "do TSA employees have to identify themselves if ask?" so I pulled up the official TSA complaint form.

http://www.tsa.gov/sites/default/files/images/tsa_complaint_submission_form.pdf

Line 4 of that form states the following:

 Who treated you unfairly?
Please provide a description of the individual(s) and/or the name and badge number of the individual(s) involved

Pretty clear that TSA expects to get the names of the person who committed the alleged violation.

So a question for the TSA Blog Team. how can a person complete that form if TSA employees will not provide their names?

Seems TSA has something to hide!

Anonymous said...

To all of you complainers and whiners about your rights being taken away Here's a thought for your next flight:

Flight one : TSA officers screen you and your property , Air marshalls on board and weapons surrendered at checkpoint.

Flight Two: No one screens you or your proerty and travellers are then allowed to bring, guns, knives, grenades, IEDS etc.and you are all on your own with no Federal assitance.

Go ahead and make your decision

And don't forget you will have your children with you , or parents, and loved ones.

No matter how intrusive we at TSA might be in your minds we ARE trying to keep you safe. yes we might have officers that need to be in other jobs just as we have doctos, electricians etc. that are not always best suited however I know that the majority of our Officers, and Mangers etc. come to work everyday with respect for you and honor for those they are trying to protect from another 911 type incident. This Thanksgiving please pray for all of those people who are with us this Thanksgiving and those who are with us in spirit.

TSA will remain vigilant and we will remain using the tools and policies we have been provided to ensure your safety. Peace

Anonymous said...

Posted on behalf of Amy (pt 1)...
“TSA gets paid to molest passengers and touch their private areas.” Does that sound like somebody who wants to get through the checkpoint smoothly?No, it sounds like someone who wants to defend our constitutional rights.

You, Bob Burns, are terrible person. You take money in order to support the violation of our rights. Being a prostitute would be a far more noble profession. In that case, consenting adults remove their clothes in a consenting exchange.

Tell me why in the world there is a reason to search me?

I NEVER make the metal detector buzz, but often I don’t even get to go through it.

And yes, I was selected for a SEARCH. I am selected just about every time I fly. Random? I doubt it. The fact that I choose not to go through scanners — scanners that professors at UC have written papers about the dubious safety of — does not mean I opt for the grope-down.

Furthermore, the thugs taking money for violating our rights that work for the TSA do a little intimidation number on me every time that I forgot to mention in the post. They tell me that they “don’t have personnel” to watch my computer, iPad and other items that are out on the conveyer.

You are part of a framework that is not about catching terrorists — Thedala Magee, Tiffany Applewhite…Moore, whose name I was denied in the most Orwellian manner…a woman allowed to grope my body sans probable cause…are these people highly trained intelligence officers? No, they are not. They’re people who would be working other unskilled jobs if they weren’t hired to provide security theater at the airport.

Any single commenter here smart enough to make it in the debating fray on my blog could smuggle contraband onto a plane. No, not through the cartoon security Jonathan Corbett and others have shown is a joke. (There was a TSA tester in Dallas who smuggled a gun through FIVE times without any of the hamburger clerks you have manning security noticing.)

This is not security — it’s obedience training for the American public so we will give up our rights like blinking sheep. It is odious that you earn a living supporting it. The TSA has not caught a single terrorist, and in fact, is unnecessary, now that our cockpit doors are reinforced and that we know that there’s an Islamic game-changer: That terrorists are now willing and even eager to die.
See Pt 2 next...

Anonymous said...

Part 2 of Amy's response...


There is no inaccuracy to what I write.

Furthermore, because I need to get on my flight, I cooperate with the thuggery at the airport — the entirely unnecessary groping of my body when I’m probably recognized by the agents. (One woman at the Delta LAX terminal a few flights ago said so.) This is punitive, this groping of me and the groping of other Americans, and has nothing to do with finding terrorists.

And while you’re crowing about free speech, let’s note that Thedala Magee tried to yank $500,000 out of me for exercising mine. My lawyer, the wonderful Marc Randazza, showed that when somebody you do not want to have touching your body touches your sex parts in any other arena we call this rape. What do you call it?

You are helping people like Michael Chertoff get rich and you are helping erode our rights. You are doing an extremely shameful thing and I just wish you could not go to sleep nights for taking money for this, but it seems you have all the conscience of cement.

Caught one single terrorist, Bob?

Where’s your comment on the post about Geoff McGann, the advertising creative guy who was JAILED for wearing a watch that didn’t look to the hamburger clerks manning “security” like it was bought at JC Penney?

Oh, and regarding this from Bob:

No, it sounds like somebody who makes a living by agitating situations and writing about them.

I don’t “make a living” from my blog. I earn a little money from ads and from when blog commenters buy stuff from my Amazon links. But, my living is earned as a syndicated newspaper columnist and author working on her third book which just sold at auction, meaning more than one company bid on it.

My blogging about the TSA — and my speaking up at the airport — is something I do for the same reason I blog about campus civil liberties defenders theFIRE.org and ask people to donate to them and to Institute for Justice: I am extremely grateful for the civil liberties we have and do my part to defend them.

You, Bob Burns, on the other hand, proudly take money to support the daily violation of Americans’ rights at airports, and in turn, the erosion of civil liberties in this country.

Vile.

Velocitor said...

As a taxpayer, I do not approve of my tax money being used to pay a blogger or run a website used to attack a journalist who is merely questioning whether a federal agency (i.e. the TSA) is properly adhering to the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution (i.e. freedom from ureasonable searches). Ms. Alkon is doing exactly that, and should be applauded for encouraging robust debate about this very legitimate public matter. The TSA ought to thank her for this, instead of squelching the discussion, because whether it is articulated or not, the issue is still very much on peoples' minds (as evinced by all the comments here). Stifling the discussion merely drives it underground; it doesn't make the issue disappear.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ November 20, 1:12 PM:

"So if you knew a known terrorist was flying the same day you are, would you expect TSA to allow the terrorist to be secure in his/her papers, effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures?."

-----------

Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law!
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast– man's laws, not God's– and if you cut them down—and you're just the man to do it—do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake.

(from A Man for All Seasons)

If the Constitution goes by the wayside because we think somebody has done/might do something bad, what's the point of it even existing anymore?

Please tell me a single thing the TSA has done that would have prevented 9/11 from occurring that was not done by pre-9/11 private security.

tramky said...

The problem remains that in order to 'get through the security checkpoint quickly and efficiently' you must subject yourself--acquiesce--to this insulting intrusion onto your physical person every time you go to a gate at an airport. I am personally insulted EACH and EVERY time I go to the airport, which is not far too often under such onerous circumstances. I am NOT a terrorist and would not harm a fly, but I am assumed to be one by every TSA agent--by EVERY one. THAT is how they are trained, and that is how they do that terrible job (well, it's terrible to most but not all).

You can attempt to position TSA agents on whatever white pedestal you wish, but the fact remains that they intrude themselves on my physical body, and they can & will call upon every law enforcement agency in the United States on you, for just about anything.

And we are just supposed to smile and say "thank you". That's sweet, but the fact is that I am being viewed, repeatedly, for years now, as a terrorist and murderer, and treated as such by TSA agents at all levels. And this will continue until the day I die. Not how I expected to interact with my government after retirement.

And I still want the pocketknife that was stolen by a TSA supervisor back. I was subjected to an extortion at a TSA checkpoint--either give the agent the $35 pocketnife with a 1 1/2-inch blade, or do not fly and be escorted from the building (and probably be placed on some terror list by TSA).

Sweet. My tax dollars at work.

And I do not feel at all safe on airplanes these days because TSA has ignored--even buried, the really important issue for 'safety', as though that is what this is all about: body cavity explosives.

Hope to god one of those doesn't take out a plane full of passengers--either one of two things will happen. It will be misrepresented to the public so the status quo can remain, or it will mark the end of commercial passenger air travel because the only solution will be politically and personally impossible to implement--cavity searches and real X-rays of ALL passengers and crews, including granny and children--and especially women.

tramky said...

So what happens if 'explosive residue' is found on a hand swab? Explosive residue it NOT explosives. Unless you have evidence the person has true explosive material going onto that plane, there is nothing wrong with it. Short of that, I can sink my hands into TNT powder all day long, then go the airport after having rinsed my hands off, and, well, so what?

I'd like an answer to that question--what happens when 'residue' shows up in the sniffer or whatever detection device is being used? For me, no bomb and that person IS going on that flight.

Anonymous said...

What is this? The playground blog? I can't believe this article is on a US Government website with a .gov domain!!! This defamation of a citizen by a SERVANT of the people is grossly inappropriate. You goons work for her! Your paycheck is paid by her taxes! I hope she sues the US Government, and you personally.

Anonymous said...

You need to take responsibility for the fact that TSA's own actions and incredible arrogance in this blog significantly contribute to the criticism that it receives. It took two years and a freedom of information act request to finally get TSA to release information on when one of your screeners pulled down a 17 year old girls dress during a screening and we are now able to see that TSA primarily blamed the girl for wearing "loose fitting clothing" for the incident. Truly amazing that you blame a child for this incident.

Anonymous said...

When TSA forces an employee to touch the intimate areas of a passenger's body it is both sexual assault of the passenger and sexual harassment of the employee! Even the Federal Bureau of Prisons does not allow this!

TSA employees have a duty to refuse to perform unlawful or illicit acts even when ordered to do so. If they do not, if they are willing to perform a pat down, and touch passengers in the private parts of their bodies, then it must be assumed they are acting out of evil intent and with a lewd and lacivious purpose.

TSA employees have a duty of care not to harm or injure passengers or damage their property. This duty has been neglected, if not ignored. It is time for TSA to change.

Anonymous said...

After reading today that a TSA agent pulled down the top of a 17 year old girl, exposing her breasts, is this person's blog really making "wild" statements about an agent's intention? Under what conditions is it appropriate to pull down a girl's top?

Anonymous said...

Unless the TSA suddenly went private, they are government employees and, as such, are required to identify themselves when asked.

While I have never personally had a bad experience with TSA employees, (agents implies special agents, they are never officers), I do have a serious problem with the extremes in screening being conducted in the name of security.

Was Amy Alkon spoiling for a fight? I don't know, I wasn't there. But it should never truly matter. All government employees should behave in a professional, reasonable, intelligent manner. Commonsense, which appears to be missing in many TSA encounters with the public, should be the most important part of all.

Unfortunately, I believe the only true way to change the abuse of power is for the airports to put their foot down. Airports are private property and could ban the TSA, turning to their own private security. Perhaps that wouldn't be the best solution, but the TSA as currently run certainly isn't.

No terrorist has ever been reported as caught by the TSA screening. But hundreds of individuals have made it through their security with guns, knives, and other weapons. I think that says it all.

Anonymous said...

"I can assure you of one thing, an infinitesimal number of our employees know of Ms. Alkon. I can also assure you that reoccurring allegations like hers seem to be more self perpetuated rather than based upon reality and do nothing but detract from the mission at hand." Did you just threaten a woman with sexual molestation as an act of revenge for giving you some bad publicity? Because that's what is sound like to me. 'Keep quiet and follow orders or we will circulate your name and molest you on site.'

Anonymous said...

It seems quite obvious you are making more enemies than friends, do you honestly believe this is good public relations? To what good does this serve? Yes, you will have complaints but suck it up and show some professionalism.

Anonymous said...

A lot of text about what you won't let someone say in a comment, much like the abuse of our 4th amendment rights at airports.

I am firmly in the "will not fly" group, have been for a couple of years, and will never allow your low level employees to abuse me.

Anonymous said...

TSA is evil. There is no doubt. It is absurd this blog even exists. You can't convince people TSA is good, since it is so obvious you are not, you should just give it up.

Anonymous said...

From what i see: most of you have sold your soul if you do not support the constitution even at USA check points. 911 was a inside job do your research and check Dr Judy Wood, Architects and Engineers as well as pilots who have come forward; USAF NORAD command on hijackings procedure. - The underwear bomber "what a joke" was led on the plain - research the witness report and lawsuit filled by the lawyer witness couple. TSA is the Hitler's brown shirts REVAMPED! study your history - and once again you have sold your soul - shame!!! Oh ya - and they will kill you too when you are no longer needed - because you are a sell out - RAT!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. Ok. So the TSA claims they are looking for terrorists. I assure you Mr. Burns, I'm far from a terrorist, and while I don't object to being screened (actually I endorse screening) I feel that TSA should do so far more discreetly than they have so far.

TSA uses x-ray equipment that has been recognized by a number of countries and scientific organizations as being carcinogenic, and the same equipment has failed to detect weapons a number of times, thus faulty. And TSA uses search methods that have been recognized as sexually intrusive.

Mr. Burns, if I didn't know any better, I'd have to say that Ms. Alton is correct in everything she has alleged.

Am I going to be mistreated like she was? Because I voice my opinion? Because I object to my Constitutional rights being attacked? Because of who I do or do not vote for? That is why I refuse to fly. I have not encountered TSA yet, but I am confident that sooner or later I will, and likewise I sure don't like the idea of being mishandled.

I am physically disabled. Getting rough with me in the wrong spot could put my in a wheelchair for life Mr. Burns. Likewise, I am not gay and I do not want to be physically touched in certain places by a homosexual.
That is not my idea of protecting Americans from terrorists, Mr. Burns.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
To all of you complainers and whiners about your rights being taken away Here's a thought for your next flight:

Flight one : TSA officers screen you and your property , Air marshalls on board and weapons surrendered at checkpoint.

Flight Two: No one screens you or your proerty and travellers are then allowed to bring, guns, knives, grenades, IEDS etc.and you are all on your own with no Federal assitance.

Go ahead and make your decision

And don't forget you will have your children with you , or parents, and loved ones.

No matter how intrusive we at TSA might be in your minds we ARE trying to keep you safe. yes we might have officers that need to be in other jobs just as we have doctos, electricians etc. that are not always best suited however I know that the majority of our Officers, and Mangers etc. come to work everyday with respect for you and honor for those they are trying to protect from another 911 type incident. This Thanksgiving please pray for all of those people who are with us this Thanksgiving and those who are with us in spirit.

TSA will remain vigilant and we will remain using the tools and policies we have been provided to ensure your safety. Peace

November 21, 2012 3:07 PM
..........................

No one is suggesting that there be no airport screening. And trying to compare TSA screeners with Doctors or even skilled workers like electricians doesn't hold water because well both of fields require professionals which TSA screeners aren't.

The public wants screening that is effective. Rubbing on our genitals is not effective or even needed. Confiscating liquids when TSA just turns around and throws those items in common trash right at the checkpoint is not effective but it is stupid. Having TSA employees barking orders like drill sergeants is not effective but it is demeaning. Having TSA engaged in illegal behaviors and not doing something to root out the those TSA employees is not only not effective but again demonstrates the less than intelligent approach of TSA management. For TSA to not inspect all cargo loaded on passenger aircraft as ordered by Congress again points out the lack of quality present in TSA management.

If any private company was ran like TSA it would be bankrupt in a matter of hours.

I would suggest that TSA stop its whining and fix its problems but that would require some intelligence from TSA leaders which apparently TSA has none of.

Susan Richart said...

I have just sent e-mails to my Congressional representatives as well as Congressmen Peter King and Mike Rogers concerning the unprofessional actions of Mr. Burns in attacking a citizen and asking that he be relieved of his duties.

I urge everyone who reads this blog to do the same.

Screen shot

Anonymous said...

Well since everyone thinks that TSA and the Government violates their 4th amendment rights...I challenge you to educate yourselves. This was taken from the 4th Amendment Find it! The Supreme Court has not ruled on post-9/11 airport security procedures, but the Ninth Circuit ruled in United States. v. Aukai that "airport screening searches, like the one at issue here, are constitutionally reasonable administrative searches because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, namely, to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft, and thereby to prevent hijackings."[81]

Mike Toreno said...

Flight one : TSA officers screen you and your property , Air marshalls on board and weapons surrendered at checkpoint.

Flight Two: No one screens you or your proerty and travellers are then allowed to bring, guns, knives, grenades, IEDS etc.and you are all on your own with no Federal assitance.

First:

False dichotomy

Second:

Flight two, please. The TSA is an employment project for people who can't get jobs elsewhere. Anybody that wants to get something past the TSA can do so easily, with or without bribing a clerk. There's no effective screening now, only an expensive and intrusive pretense. I'd rather have an easier airport experience and require the present TSA clerks to either gain the skills needed to do a job, or else starve.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Amy Alkon until you decided to get into a childish playground shouting match with her. I looked at the blog post that you referenced and didn't see anything that was even remotely offensive. One would think that she called your officers foul names or insulted their appearances. That's not what I found. The only "insult" that she appears to have hurled was to call your operation "Orwellian." That's simply not offensive. It's a serious accusation (or at least it should be), but it hardly accords with your description of her post.

What's offensive is the fact that a single penny of my tax dollars pays for you to engage in pointless sniping with a citizen.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous @ 11/21, 3:07 PM:

To all of you complainers and whiners about your rights being taken away Here's a thought for your next flight:

Flight one : TSA officers screen you and your property , Air marshalls on board and weapons surrendered at checkpoint.

Flight Two: No one screens you or your proerty and travellers are then allowed to bring, guns, knives, grenades, IEDS etc.and you are all on your own with no Federal assitance.

---

Why must you TSA agents continue to use that false choice? There's option 3: The same security we had pre-9/11. Keeps us just as safe, saves us the Constitutional violations.

Anonymous said...

Another TSAnonymous said...

"To all of you complainers and whiners about your rights being taken away Here's a thought for your next flight:
Flight one : TSA officers screen you and your property , Air marshalls on board and weapons surrendered at checkpoint.
Flight Two: No one screens you or your proerty and travellers are then allowed to bring, guns, knives, grenades, IEDS etc.and you are all on your own with no Federal assitance.
Go ahead and make your decision
And don't forget you will have your children with you , or parents, and loved ones.
No matter how intrusive we at TSA might be in your minds we ARE trying to keep you safe. yes we might have officers that need to be in other jobs just as we have doctos, electricians etc. that are not always best suited however I know that the majority of our Officers, and Mangers etc. come to work everyday with respect for you and honor for those they are trying to protect from another 911 type incident. This Thanksgiving please pray for all of those people who are with us this Thanksgiving and those who are with us in spirit.
TSA will remain vigilant and we will remain using the tools and policies we have been provided to ensure your safety. Peace
November 21, 2012 3:07 PM"


While you anonymously complain and whine, you state "we at the TSA..." So you're a TSA employee. Did you post this anonymous comment while on work time? Is this allowed?

If TSA employees are allowed to anonymously and abusively comment on the TSA Blog, Twitter, newspaper comment sections, and message boards while working on the The Taxpayer's Dime, I want to know!

Because when I worked at a government agency, we were subject to reprimand or worse if we identified ourselves as a government employee and treated citizens so poorly.

Ending your rant with "Peace" does not detract from your hyperbolic anger and resentment.

Anonymous said...

Fourth Amendment states: “Unreasonable searches, and seizures”.

When a passenger enters any TSA screening checkpoint and submits their bags for screening, the passenger has given TSA his/her implied consent for their bag to be searched. If the TSA agent has reason to believe a possible threat exists, the agent now has the right to search the passengers’ belongings because the passenger has already given his/her consent for the search. Therefore, the passengers’ fourth amendment right has not been violated.

If a TSA agent walked up to a random passenger, took their bag, searched it, and seized their property, the passenger’s fourth amendment right has been violated because the passenger did not consent for the search. This incident would qualify under, “unreasonable searches, and seizures”.

If the passenger does not want to give TSA permission to search his/her bag, then the passenger should not enter the screening checkpoint. There are multiple modes of transportation citizens can use to reach their final destination.

Anonymous said...

From the looks of all the responses I have read on here, why doesn't the government just get rid of all forms of protection. We should get rid of the Police, ICE, CBP, Sheriffs, US Marshals, all law enforcment and security agencies since American's feel so violated and so taken advantage of. Let's just get rid of all protection agencies and give free passage to all terrorists' and criminals. Maybe then all you American's would be happier...I guess that's how you want it. Only then, I believe would all of you appreciate the effort these departments make everyday to put up with your sarcasm, and degrading remarks for them doing their job.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous: "When you enter an airport you are NOT consenting to screening, you're going to catch a flight".

For your information you are consenting to be searched. Try reading the signs once you enter the airport, which most of you don't.

Also, for your information the screening process starts when you go online to purchase your ticket. So if you want to complain about being searched and your fourth amendment right being violated, then call the airline and every agency in between before you arrive at the airport because they conduct a personal history check.

Anonymous said...

I agree, since everyone feels so violated then the government should listen to the people and remove any form of law enforcement and protection from the airports across the nation. The only people who should remain are airline agencies, their employees, and passengers'.

1. Remove all Police/Security.
2. Remove all Air Marshals.
3. Remove all pre-boarding flight security checks.
4. Remove all K-9 officers' and their dogs.
5. Remove all Cargo Inspectors'.
6. Completely remove any form of security and protection from the airports since these departments violate passengers’ fourth amendment.

If this will make the people happy the government should consider it. I believe once this happens everyone in this blog who feels so violated will have a nice conversation on their next flight sitting next to the man or woman who was able to enter the plane with enough explosives to rip the plane in half.

Or better yet, you can have your family sit next to a hijacker who plans to hijack your flight and use your family as ransom to get money to support the next terrorist attack. Even better, you can have a drink sitting next to a kidnapper who just kidnapped a child and wasn’t caught because security and law enforcement are no longer at the airport violating your fourth amendment.

The list can go on with how exciting it would be without your rights being “violated” at the airport anymore.

Anonymous said...

Our friends in Israel face a more immediate threat than we do, yet they do not do things like we do. Maybe they should replace, or at least train the TSA

RB said...

Anonymous said...
Well since everyone thinks that TSA and the Government violates their 4th amendment rights...I challenge you to educate yourselves. This was taken from the 4th Amendment Find it! The Supreme Court has not ruled on post-9/11 airport security procedures, but the Ninth Circuit ruled in United States. v. Aukai that "airport screening searches, like the one at issue here, are constitutionally reasonable administrative searches because they are conducted as part of a general regulatory scheme in furtherance of an administrative purpose, namely, to prevent the carrying of weapons or explosives aboard aircraft, and thereby to prevent hijackings."[81]

November 22, 2012 11:03 AM

===============================
Anon, if you are going to use a courts decision to support your position why leave out important parts of that case?

The court also said that the screening could be "no more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives.

That would suggest that TSA's sexual assault feel downs exceed the courts ruling. The checking of ID's in no way is used to detect weapons or explosives so again TSA runs afoul of the court. Questioning people about anything such as where one is going, what they are doing, where they are staying or even "state you name" as TSA does violates the courts decision. And I suggest that Electronic Strip Searches violates the courts ruling by the very nature of how invasive that screening method is.

The courts ruling only allows for the screening of weapons and explosives, nothing more.

TSA is clearly in violation of the law.

TSA is the party violating the laws of the United States, not the citizens.

http://fourthamendment.com/blog/index.php?blog=1&title=airport_screening_searches_no_longer_con&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1

IV.

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

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous who thinks we should blame the airlines for doing "a personal history check."

Any questions the airlines ask while people purchase a ticket regarding our name, gender, birthdate, et. is reqiured of the by tge TSA!

It sounds like you also need to "try reading."

Also, just because there is a stupid sign doesn't mean we can't question the veracity, legality, and constitutionality of an agency, its employees, and its policies.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
"From the looks of all the responses I have read on here, why doesn't the government just get rid of all forms of protection. We should get rid of the Police, ICE, CBP, Sheriffs, US Marshals, all law enforcment and security agencies since American's feel so violated and so taken advantage of. Let's just get rid of all protection agencies and give free passage to all terrorists' and criminals. Maybe then all you American's would be happier...I guess that's how you want it. Only then, I believe would all of you appreciate the effort these departments make everyday to put up with your sarcasm, and degrading remarks for them doing their job."

Huh? We want pre-9/11 screening. Not no screening. I challenge you or any other TSA apologist to show us one single place where an anti-TSA comment has stated otherwise. I don't even think any of the "truthers" have said they want no screening at all. (I could be wrong on that point, as I tend to ignore the "truthers.")

Stacey Chadwell said...

1. I would be happy to take my chances on a plane with others with guns. If only the bad guys can smuggle guns on board, I have less of a chance.

2. Yes, I would take my daughters on the plane with guns and no TSA...as outlined in #1, I would be safer with everyone having guns...and stand a better chance dying by lightening strike 100 times before dying by terrorist.

3. If blogger bob is so interested in Freedom of speech, why is he blocking Amy's response? How childish. This forum is bought and paid for by the American people...and should allow her comments. She pays her taxes too. Guess Bob can't handle an honest debate.

Anonymous said...

1. I would be happy to take my chances on a plane with others with guns. If only the bad guys can smuggle guns on board, I have less of a chance.

2. Yes, I would take my daughters on the plane with guns and no TSA...as outlined in #1, I would be safer with everyone having guns...and stand a better chance dying by lightening strike 100 times before dying by terrorist.

3. If blogger bob is so interested in Freedom of speech, why is he blocking Amy's response? How childish. This forum is bought and paid for by the American people...and should allow her comments. She pays her taxes too. Guess Bob can't handle an honest debate.

Daryl Davis said...

"We understand that not everybody likes or agrees with TSA’s policies and procedures. Part of what makes this country great is that we can openly complain on blogs such as this one... "

Complain in person, though, and (as Bob not-too-subtly suggests in his third paragraph) you're subject to retaliation.

"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot, stamping on a human face, forever." -- George Orwell

Daryl Davis said...

""To all of you complainers and whiners about your rights being taken away... "

This contemptuous attitude, expressed by a TSA employee, sums up the Government's view of rights quite nicely. It's not just at the airport that they want the Bill of Rights to be invalidated.

Chip and Andy said...

"... just get rid of all forms of protection. We should get rid of the Police, ICE, CBP, Sheriffs, US Marshals, all law enforcment and security agencies since American's feel so violated and so taken advantage of. "

Classic Straw-Man Argument.

I don't believe there is a single rational adult in the US that wants *no* security. And the fact that you would think that is an alternative option puts you out of the 'rational' group of citizens.

The problem with the TSA is very specific.... the Fourth Amendment. The 4th prevents the government from doing what is minimally referred to as 'search and seizure.'

If Joe-Bob's Airline wants to strip search you before you get on their airplane you have two choices... get naked or get a different airline.

If, however, the Government wants to strip search you for any reason without arresting you first there is a problem. A serious problem.

And, no, a posted sign is not a legally binding contract in any of the fifty states of this nation so telling me 'there's a sign' means only that there is a sign, not that I am legally bound to surrender any of my rights as a citizen.

Each of you is welcome to surrender your rights because they are your rights and you can do whatever you want with them. It will be a cold day in hell before I allow any of *you* to give up *my* rights.

GSOLTSO said...

Anon sez - "3. If blogger bob is so interested in Freedom of speech, why is he blocking Amy's response? How childish. This forum is bought and paid for by the American people...and should allow her comments. She pays her taxes too. Guess Bob can't handle an honest debate."

According to Ms. Alkons page, she tried to enter comments, and had troubles with the Captcha feature. I have not seen a comment from her in the moderation queue as of this time.

West
TSA Blog Team

RB said...

Since Bob seems afraid to answer simple questions perhaps you will answer West.

Do TSA employees have to identify themselves when that information is requested by a citizen?

November 21, 2012 11:00 AM
..............................

How long before TSA answers a very simple question?

Why is TSA afraid to answer such basic screening questions?

What does TSA have to hide?

Anonymous said...

@Chip and Andy,

Nice response, but you failed to miss the point I was making with referring to get rid of all forms of protection within an airport. Everyone on this blog does nothing but complain about TSA. If TSA is so bad, then what I was referring to is getting rid of the TSA so everyone can board a flight without being searched. Once this happens, you and your fellow passengers can board the flight at your free will with anyone who wants to board with you without being screened.

You do have the right to not go through the screening process. And you are right in saying the signs posted are not a binding contract. The signs posted are meant for you to be prepared to go through the screening process. If you want to exercise your rights and not get screened, then don't enter the screening process. If you want to fly, then you have been informed before hand you will be screened. No one, not even the government, is taking your rights away. You have your own choice to make.

The government is not taking your fourth amendment rights away either. It's your choice to be screened. If you don't want to be screened then you won't fly. When you enter a federal building or a courthouse you are screened there too, so do you make the same complaint about your fourth amendment rights there also? Funny how no one is complaining about those facilities but they are complaining about an airport.

Anonymous said...

@Chip and Andy,
You stated:
"And, no, a posted sign is not a legally binding contract in any of the fifty states of this nation so telling me 'there's a sign' means only that there is a sign, not that I am legally bound to surrender any of my rights as a citizen".

You are correct! The sign simply informs you of the screening process, it is your choice to enter the checkpoint or not. No one, not even the governemt, is forcing you to be screened. The concept is the same entering a Federal building or courthouse. These facilities have signs posted also. If you refused to be screened through security you will not enter the facility. It's your choice.

Anonymous said...

@Wintermute,
You stated: "Huh? We want pre-9/11 screening. Not no screening. I challenge you or any other TSA apologist to show us one single place where an anti-TSA comment has stated otherwise".

To your first sentence. Pre-9/11 screening is why 9/11 occurred. If you did your research you would see screening was left to the airlines. Each airline determined what could enter security and what could not enter. Because of this, items which are now prohibited were allowed to enter security pre-9/11. These items such as box cutters and other knives were used to take down flight attendants and pilots. So to say we should revert back to pre-9/11 screening, I believe you need to rethink that thought. Maybe you should ask the families of those who died in 9/11 if we should revert back to pre-9/11 screening.

To your second sentence. You need to read this blog more and see the degrading statements that are made toward TSA employees'.

RB said...

Bobby, since you are in the PR business do you think your hit piece on Amy Alkon improved the public's overall view of TSA or made it worse?

@SkyWayManAz said...

I had never heard of Ms. Alkon's blog before you brought it to my attention Bob. Having read her posts I see she makes some very interesting accusations that you in no way attempted to dismiss or respond to. There have been numerous people here over the years posting that TSA agents are deliberately wearing their ID badges upside down or backwards so the public can not see them. I'm usually just trying to get from point A to B so I've honestly never noticed if this is true or not. Then again I'm not looking to pick a fight either, unlike some of your screeners. Perhaps I need to make a point of looking. She also mentions screeners and their supervisors both refused to provide their names to her. That backs up an accusation made recently by a pilot at MHT that was repeated by the Londonderry Police there. Correct me if I'm wrong but I won't be allowed into your checkpoint if I don't provide you with my name. I have the right to request the name and record of any police officer that issues me any kind of citation. I'm not in the habit of getting them so I've never tested it though. Are TSA screeners exempt from having to provide us their names or properly display their SIDA badges in a secure environment? Can a TSA screener refuse to provide me their name if I can't read it? Is all of this proper procedure? Is Ms. Alkon just mistaken about this information? Can any TSA employee give me an answer on that? Whether or not Ms. Alkon we'll see. Either she's mistaken about what has occurred or she's running into some fairly hostile people or both. Please clarify policy on those accusations for me.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Btw all the comments on here about calling the screeners Officers, well you can call them whatever you want I suppose. My very first job years ago when I was in high school was at World's of Fun amusement park in Kansas City. My job title was Ambassador. I earned that title every bit as much as your employees earned the title Officer. I'd appreciate it if you addressed me as such.

RB said...

Anonymous said...

You are correct! The sign simply informs you of the screening process, it is your choice to enter the checkpoint or not. No one, not even the governemt, is forcing you to be screened. The concept is the same entering a Federal building or courthouse. These facilities have signs posted also. If you refused to be screened through security you will not enter the facility. It's your choice.

November 25, 2012 3:24 PM

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Why is it that we never hear of problems with federal buildings and court house screening like we do with TSA screenings?

Could it be that the screeners at court houses are professional and know what they are doing?

Anonymous said...

oh my god.... are you guys for real, im from the u.k and travel to the u.s several times a year. my suggestion is to get a life, they are people doing a job thats all, may i suggest you ask for an advocate or chapperone to be present if you feel that badly about travelling through a SECURITY checkpoint ( you know that thing you all bang on about being secure). im personally not bothered whether someone wants to know where im going, what im doing or how long im doing it for.......... only the guilty have something to hide.just one more thing if the tsa is disbanded does that mean the TERRORIST have free run of the place then who would all of you guys blame then oh yes the tsa for not doing there job right.. just a thought

Anonymous said...

"...Maybe you should ask the families of those who died in 9/11 if we should revert back to pre-9/11 screening. "

As a family member who lost loved one in the September 11th attacks I can tell you yes, I would prefer to have pre-9/11 screening.

Furthermore, using the memories of my loved ones as the excuse for this charade of security is rude and unprofessional. If you want to use the memories of my loved ones from September 11th then I am going to call on the memories of our Founding Fathers who were intelligent enough to design a system to prevent exactly these kinds of abuses against the citizens of this great nation.

@SkyWayManAz said...

Hrm I did a hatchet job edit on a sentence in a previous post. Don't worry guys it was my mistake. I'm pretty sure it wasn't edited by someone else. I usually try to read these several times before posting to catch that. The sentence should have read . . . Whether or not [what] Ms. Alkon [says is true or not] we'll see.

Anon from UK I somewhat agree with your comment in terms of the people on here who object vehemently to any kind of security. My problem with TSA has never been that there is security. Airport security is a necessary evil that would continue to be needed even if international terrorism vanished overnight. My concern that is widely shared is with unprofessional behavior from their screeners. If I had a rude arrogant screener in the UK I'd complain about them thru the proper channels too. I may be travelling to Australia soon and would file a similar complaint there if I was treated rudely and unprofessionally. Honestly I'd expect a little more scrutiny there as I would be a guest in their country. If they pull a power trip though I'd file a complaint.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...

@Wintermute,
You stated: "Huh? We want pre-9/11 screening. Not no screening. I challenge you or any other TSA apologist to show us one single place where an anti-TSA comment has stated otherwise".

To your first sentence. Pre-9/11 screening is why 9/11 occurred.


Not exactly. Two things changed, which have nothing to do with screening. Cockpit doors were hardened and passenger awareness. With pre-9/11 screening and those two things in place, another 9/11 is impossible.

RB said...

When will TSA answer the question, do TSA employees have to provide their names when requested?

Why is that simple question so hard for TSA to answer.

Are TSA employees ashamed of what they do?

Are TSA employees embarrassed by their on name.

Or do TSA employees actually know what they are doing to the public is so disgusting they are trying to hide their identities?

Susan Richart said...

@Anonymous:

"When you enter a federal building or a courthouse you are screened there too, so do you make the same complaint about your fourth amendment rights there also? Funny how no one is complaining about those facilities but they are complaining about an airport."

I wish you TSA-types would just try to use some tiny bit of logic when you are posting (or know what you are talking about before you post).

No one is forced to stand in the surrender position in a machine or face being groped in the manner of a sexual assault in a federal building, not even the White House, or a court house.

Further, the individuals manning those screening points don't display the attitude that so many TSA screeners do.

Again, airport checkpoints are not analogous to those at federal buildings and court houses.

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Anonymous said...

Why not just have two flights. One that is screened by TSA and one that has no screening at all and let the passengers decide which one they want to fly on.

I'm quite sure there is a huge pool of pilots lining up for that unscreened flight.

Sunshine All Day Long said...

Thank you for turning me on to Amy Alkon's blog. I really like her. I have been abused by the TSA time and again. I don't believe anything the TSA says. I believe Amy.

Wintermute said...

Anonymous said...
Why not just have two flights. One that is screened by TSA and one that has no screening at all and let the passengers decide which one they want to fly on.


If you're aware of an argument against security in general, please point me to it. Anti-TSA is not anti-security. First, we want the Constitutionally-questionable searches to stop. Reel them in to what the Supreme Court has actually ruled is acceptable. Second, TSA doesn't actually provide security. It provides enough illusion of security to pacify those unwilling to look behind the curtain. Those who know even a little about actual security see right past it and see all the glaring holes, regardless of how many "layers" TSA throws at them.

Anonymous said...

Everybody you all need to realize that TSA, has now openly stated it is above congressional review, thus outside the laws of the United States of America and not accountable to the true government of the country. All of us.

We can complain all we want, but TSA will continue to harass the public, waste out tax payer money on useless procedures, that do nothing to secure the nations air travel.

TSA/DHS will continue to militarize and march toward a tyrannical future.

figueroa said...

As a member of the military, I understand the policies the homeland security has implemented and enforces. I completely understand the threats and they are bigger than my personal thoughts of "freedom"...No one agency will ever to devise a plan that is going to abolish terrorism, but something is better than nothing. The problem with TSA is inconsistencies. Even though there is only one SOP, people take it upon themselves to do what they want to. I just want every TSO to enforce the standards. Customer service is definitely not their specialty. I travel at least once per week and have never been harassed or molested, maybe because I do what I'm asked knowing that it's for the better good.

Anonymous said...

I'm a little late to this party, but I felt I had to comment on this.

First off, I am in no way any sort of fan of Ms. Alkon. Upon reading her columns and her blog, I can't imagine she actually makes a living giving the "advice" she gives on her website; either she's exaggerating slightly about that "living" or there are a lot of people out there who think becoming Queen of the Harpies is good social etiquette (and.. Evolutionary Psychology.. really?.. What, was Phrenology too legitimate a science for your tastes, Amy?)

But, I do think she makes a good point regarding the TSA. Bob said it himself, she's making a scene to draw attention to herself and what is happening to her - not cooperating to make the process go smoothly. I (and I loathe to say this) agree with her on some level that the DHS/TSA's approach of "get groped or don't fly" is a violation of our rights. So, like that annoying Rosa Parks who just made a big scene by refusing to change seats on that bus and drawing all that attention to herself, delaying those other passengers who were playing by the rules and just trying to go along about their business, I do not begrudge Amy her hissy fit, and think that perhaps TSA should spend it's energies trying to improve the system instead of getting into flame wars with some unknown columnist.

As for me, luckily, we still have choices, so I choose not to get groped by not flying. Every time I drive to a destination I would have flown to, I make it a point to figure out which airline I would have used and which flights, then contact that airline's customer service and let them know. I've gotten some very nice personalized replies; it's worth your while to let them know how much money TSA is costing them.

Bob Burns (TSA Blog Team) said...

Many of our readers have asked if our officers are required to give their full name when asked by a passenger. Hopefully I can provide some clarification.

If asked, our officers are only required to provide their last name and rank. This information is printed on the nameplate on every officer’s uniform. Furthermore, supervisors, managers, and customer support managers are not required to provide the officer’s full name.

As far as the photo ID badge on the officer’s uniform, this is a badge that all airport employees must wear. It’s called a Security Identification Display Area (SIDA) badge. Basically, it’s a badge that allows employees access to non-public areas. One side of the badge has the employee’s full name on it. Many officers choose to wear their SIDA badges vs. a name badge. This is permissible.

If at any time you need to file a kudos or complaint regarding one of our officers, the only information you need for us to be able to recognize an employee or resolve an issue is:

Last Name/Rank/Date/Time/Location

Our officers have a right to privacy, and TSA has the responsibility of protecting our officers from the harassment that could result from revealing their full names.

Thanks,

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't this post been brought back to the top of the blog since you posted a very important (and actually informative) update on Dec 6, 2012?

If the "What We Probably Maybe Will Let Through If We're In a Good Mood" post was promoted to the top because the information was so critical, why not this one?

Do you not believe your update, which spells out exactly what info an American citizen needs to submit to the TSA, is important? You posted it in two comments sections and at the top of this post. Sounds like you think it's important.

What gives, Bob?

Bob Burns (TSA Blog Team) said...

CORRECTION:

Many officers choose to wear their SIDA badges so their full name is not visible. This is permissible.

Thanks,

Bob Burns
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

Come on Bob. This little explanation of government employee's right to privacy deserves a new post all on its own.

Kind of ironic that a TSAer can go through my wallet and personal papers (in addition to my government issued picture ID), get all kinds of information about me but I don't even get to know his/her first name.

SSSS for some reason said...

"...Our officers have a right to privacy"

From your update to the post.

And, No, actually your employees DO NOT have a right to privacy. You are publicly funded. You are NOT sworn Officers. Therefore you are subject to all of the Sunshine Laws of Government and all of your information regarding name, title, pay, etc, is a matter of public record. The only information that is exempt from those Sunshine Laws are HIPA rules which include SSN, Insurance Information, and little else.

You are NOT Law Enforcement.

You are not Sworn Officers.

You don't have to 'give' the information, but you can't hide or otherwise obscure the information and it only takes a FoIFA request to get answers.

Susan Richart said...

Why did it take two weeks for TSA HQ to give a response?

"As of this morning (when I read my email and had the official response from HQ), TSA employees are currently only required to give their last name, and rank - this along with the time, location and checkpoint area will be enough information for an employee to be identified through local channels in the case of a comment/complaint/compliment."

Posted by West, an official blogger, here:

http://www.travelunderground.org/index.php?threads/tsa-can-put-a-damper-on-holiday-travel.6038/page-2

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TSORon said...

tramky asked...
[[So what happens if 'explosive residue' is found on a hand swab? Explosive residue it NOT explosives. Unless you have evidence the person has true explosive material going onto that plane, there is nothing wrong with it. Short of that, I can sink my hands into TNT powder all day long, then go the airport after having rinsed my hands off, and, well, so what?

I'd like an answer to that question--what happens when 'residue' shows up in the sniffer or whatever detection device is being used? For me, no bomb and that person IS going on that flight.]]

An ETD alarm is an indication that a more detailed inspection needs to be done. Nothing more, nothing less. I cant speculate on what that detailed inspection might entail, but finding traces of TNT on your hands means that you may have been handling the substance in the recent past and we need to make sure that you didn’t inadvertently or intentionally bring some of it along for your flight. I hope that clears that up for you.

As far as Ms. Alkon is concerned, I agree that we should not be feeding the trolls.

Anonymous said...

TSORon, tell us please if the ETD can tell if a passenger has handled TNT explicitly or if it just finds "explosives."

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RB said...

TSORon said...

As far as Ms. Alkon is concerned, I agree that we should not be feeding the trolls.


December 8, 2012 3:04 PM

Problem is that TSA is the one doing the trolling.

TSORon said...

Anonymous asked...

[[TSORon, tell us please if the ETD can tell if a passenger has handled TNT explicitly or if it just finds "explosives."]]

Yes, and Yes. The question you ask is far more complicated than you think. I suggest a bit of lite reading on the subject (pun intended), it might give you an idea just how complicated our job actually is.

Start here, then google.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosives

RB said...

TSORon said...
Anonymous asked...

[[TSORon, tell us please if the ETD can tell if a passenger has handled TNT explicitly or if it just finds "explosives."]]

Yes, and Yes. The question you ask is far more complicated than you think. I suggest a bit of lite reading on the subject (pun intended), it might give you an idea just how complicated our job actually is.

Start here, then google.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Explosives


December 11, 2012 1:47 AM
.................
The truth is that TSA's ETD devices can and do detect common chemicals used in any number of common items such as hand lotions, contact lens cleaner and other products many people use.

While those same chemicals may also be in explosives suggest that the broadband testing is not an effective tool to discriminate between dangerous levels of chemicals and none dangerous levels.

Just another waste of time and money by TSA.

TSORon said...

RB said…
[[While those same chemicals may also be in explosives suggest that the broadband testing is not an effective tool to discriminate between dangerous levels of chemicals and none dangerous levels.]]

That’s why it’s called “Explosives Trace Detection” RB. The devices detect very small traces of chemicals used in explosives, and many other things. And since we are looking for explosives and not the “other things”, it’s what we concentrate on. We use the devices to detect traces of the chemicals knowing full well that there are alternative uses for them, and those alternative uses are of no concern to us.

Maybe that’s a small part of what you don’t get RB, our efforts are to prevent certain things from boarding an aircraft, not people. Things that can be in just about any color, size, shape, and composition. It’s a very complicated job, and that also you do not get. IMHO it’s really sad that such an apparently intelligent individual refuses so steadfastly to make the effort to comprehend.

Anonymous said...

Blogger Bob,

"TSORon" is insulting American citizens on this US government website again. Please yank his chain.

Thanks.

TSORon said...

...Maybe that’s a small part of what you don’t get RB, our efforts are to prevent certain things from boarding an aircraft, not people. Things that can be in just about any color, size, shape, and composition. It’s a very complicated job, and that also you do not get. IMHO it’s really sad that such an apparently intelligent individual refuses so steadfastly to make the effort to comprehend.

December 12, 2012 8:51 PM

Anonymous said...

"... We use the devices to detect traces of the chemicals knowing full well that there are alternative uses for them, and those alternative uses are of no concern to us. "

That makes no sense.

Your equipment is looking for a certain chemical. That chemical is in most explosives. That chemical is also in several dozen other things. Your machines find the chemicals and when they are found the machine goes Ping, or whatever it does to indicate a positive reading. The machine can't discern if it found contact solution or explosive because it is only looking for the one chemical that happens to be in both.

In other words.... your *trace* test is useless because the search is so very broad as to be useless.

And, I think someone else asked this question already, why should the TSA care if I have trace amounts of explosives on my hands? Shouldn't they be looking for actual explosives in my luggage? I work in a fire works factory so of course I have trace on my hands. What does my job have to do with flying to see grandma?

Wintermute said...

TSORon said...

"That’s why it’s called “Explosives Trace Detection” RB. The devices detect very small traces of chemicals used in explosives, and many other things."

Which is why it's ineffective. Too many false-positives.

"And since we are looking for explosives and not the “other things”, it’s what we concentrate on."

And how does the device distinguish between the two? Oh, it can't? So it's ineffective.

"We use the devices to detect traces of the chemicals knowing full well that there are alternative uses for them, and those alternative uses are of no concern to us. "

And this is the problem with the TSA. The fact that we're the ones inconvenienced by your false positives is of no concern to you.

And I snipped the rest, as it was all veiled insults. Something the TSA doesn't allow on this blog, yet you somehow seem to get away with it. Maybe having "TSO" in one's handle has benefits. Maybe I'll start signing my name as "TSOWintermute" and see if I can get away with as many as you do?

Wintermute said...

... And yet another comment of mine has been censored because I called out TSORon for stooping to insults yet again...

And I ask again that TSORon be requested to not use "TSO" in his handle unless he is speaking for the TSA officially (in which case the TSA is officially insulting travelers now).... Otherwise, I may add "TSO" to the beginning of my handle as well.

RB said...

TSORon said...
RB said…
[[While those same chemicals may also be in explosives suggest that the broadband testing is not an effective tool to discriminate between dangerous levels of chemicals and none dangerous levels.]]

That’s why it’s called “Explosives Trace Detection” RB. The devices detect very small traces of chemicals used in explosives, and many other things. And since we are looking for explosives and not the “other things”, it’s what we concentrate on. We use the devices to detect traces of the chemicals knowing full well that there are alternative uses for them, and those alternative uses are of no concern to us.

Maybe that’s a small part of what you don’t get RB, our efforts are to prevent certain things from boarding an aircraft, not people. Things that can be in just about any color, size, shape, and composition. It’s a very complicated job, and that also you do not get. IMHO it’s really sad that such an apparently intelligent individual refuses so steadfastly to make the effort to comprehend.

December 12, 2012 8:51 PM
..............................
So all you have are insults to toss around eh TSOron. Keep on making TSA look like the bunch of undesirables it is.

If it is an Explosive Trace Detector then why doesn't it only detect explosive traces and not hand lotion or contact lens cleaner?

False positives take up your time and my time and benefits nothing.

Effective screening is something TSA just doens't understand. I kinda get it with you guys only having Pistole as your top guy.

Wintermute said...

TSORon said...

"...our efforts are to prevent certain things from boarding an aircraft, not people."

So, tell me why identity matters, again? This appears to be an admission that it doesn't. While it's nice to see that SOMEONE in the TSA gets it, it's too bad that someone is just a TSO and can do nothing to change it.

crella said...

"You may not realize it but we are in fact looking for one or more terrorists. If you happen to know that they all decided to stay home today...then by all means please continue disrupting our checkpoint."

Either you're looking for a tall skinny redhead or you're not. You have no idea who you're looking for? Statistically, how many terrorists who committed acts of terrorism on American soil so far have been:

Old women in diapers in wheelchairs
3-year-olds with teddy bears
17-year-old girls going to Christian youth camp?
Middle-aged housewives?

How many planes have been brought down, or buildings blown up with-

Nutella
Biscoff Spread
Apricot jam
Hand cream
(my 80-year-old mother had a jar of Biscoff and one of jam taken off her, at Atlanta airport)

The choices of whom to search, and the draconian bans of foods that little old ladies are prone to buy on vacation make the TSA look as if this is all random. It's far from confidence building to think that national security at airports is without rhyme or reason. This is the source of much of the American people's distrust of the TSA.

Being groped like drug mules is the other problem. Of course law-abiding citizens are going to object to being treated like common criminals! You have terror watch lists, are they useless?

There is quite a bit of cancer in my family, and last year due to a death in the family and the subsequent dealing with the details of the estate,I traveled from my home in Asia to the US 4 times between July and November and I was passed through the scanner 11 times;on the trip back I was able to avoid the scanner and be passed through the metal detector as I strained my shoulders and could not raise my arms properly.

It worries me. Many,many people worry about the scanners. The TSA has never posted levels for the machines, nor ever issued a statement as to how often they are calibrated and maintained. If I'm going to be passed through a machine, I deserve to know exactly the level and type of radiation I am being exposed to. 'Informed consent' is a cornerstone of the health industry for good reason. People who are not told of the risks they face, or not shown clear evidence of a lack of risk claimed by the TSA, are going to be suspicious.

The actions of the TSA have directly caused the anger and suspicion of the American public. It would seem that the American public are not the ones in need of an attitude adjustment. The TSA should not be exempt from all reasonable standards in informing the public.

Anonymous said...

Today 8/6/13, Noon, at LAX terminal 4 I snapped a photo of at least 15 TSA agents standing around at a security checkpoint that was not open.

Apparently i am not able to post the photo here