Tuesday, December 31, 2013

TSA Reflects on 2013



2013 was an important year for TSA, as we continued to move away from a one-size-fits-all approach to security, and towards a more risk-based security posture. At the heart of this effort has been our focus on expanding expedited screening opportunities to eligible members of the traveling public. Let’s take a look at some of the significant steps we have taken toward that goal and new ways we share TSA information over the last year. 

TSA Precheck Logo
TSA Pre✓™ Expansion: Most importantly, 2013 saw the TSA Pre✓™ program dramatically expand to nine participating airlines and 113 airports.  TSA Pre✓™ allows low-risk travelers to experience faster, more efficient screening and leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, and keep their laptop in its case and 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in their carry-on. Since its launch in October 2011, more than 30 million passengers have experienced TSA Pre✓™. 

TSA Pre✓™ Application Centers Launch: In December, TSA launched its first of many TSA Pre✓™ Application Centers which expanded the expedited screening program to a larger population of travelers. This new application program allows pre-approved, low-risk travelers the opportunity to apply for expedited screening in select screening lanes at participating U.S. airports. There are currently 11 TSA Pre✓™ application centers, and TSA has planned to open more around the country in 2014. 

Member of U.S. Military at TSAprecheck desk.
TSA Pre✓™ for Members of the Military: As a result of the ongoing partnership between TSA and the Department of Defense, TSA Pre✓™ expedited screening was extended to all U.S. Armed Forces service members. Service members, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard, may now enjoy the benefits of this expedited screening program at all 113 participating airports when flying on any of the nine participating airlines. 

TSA Spanish-Language Site: The new Spanish-Language site offers information about TSA’s screening process and security procedures to Spanish speaking travelers. The Spanish language site contains the same helpful traveler information and tips that are available on tsa.gov, and is the TSA’s next step in its plans to easily connect with passengers in their native language and ensures that Spanish speaking passengers have the most current information and security updates available.

As we look back at 2013, we also remember Transportation Security Officer Gerardo Hernandez, who was killed in the horrendous attack at LAX.  Officer Hernandez’s death reminds us of the risks the brave men and women of TSA face every day as they work to protect the traveling public. We will continue to honor Officer Hernandez’s memory as we move into 2014 – working each day to keep the traveling public secure. 

TSA Blog Team

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

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am constantly amazed by the weapons each week found on people planning to fly. Thought I do not think most of them are planning a threat, I wonder where they have been since 911 to think they can do this! I am scared to think I might be standing in line with someone with a gun with the bullet in the chamber!

RB said...

TSA claims that Pre Check is for low risk travelers.

99.99999% of travelers are low risk.
...........
All military members qualify for Pre Check but go and retire from the military and the person is no longer qualified. Only in TSA could this be seen a sensible.

All retired ID card carrying former active military members should be qualified for Pre Check..
.............
Pre Check has expanded to 113 airports.

So about one third of U.S. airports have Pre Check. And this one third has taken how long?
.........

If this TSA Pre Check is the best example of a successful program that TSA can put forward then it is easily understandable why TSA as a whole is such a massive failure.

And no mention of another wheelchair bound person being abused by a TSA screener.

Unknown said...

I have just heard a report of the TSA collecting passenger fingerprints at one of the JFK checkpoints. This was for a domestic flight, so it couldn't have been part of the US-VISIT pilot previously mentioned on this blog. There appears to be no information online about this. What's going on?

Anonymous said...

Happy Holidays from the tourists of the world who are choosing to spend their holidays somewhere other than the United States this year because we value not being sexually assaulted!

Rest assured, we're spending our money wisely, in places that have some respect for us.

GSOLTSO said...

Unknown sez - "I have just heard a report of the TSA collecting passenger fingerprints at one of the JFK checkpoints. This was for a domestic flight, so it couldn't have been part of the US-VISIT pilot previously mentioned on this blog."

I can find no information on anything like this in the news cycle or anywhere online. Would you please provide the source so we can look into it? I know that CBP has some regulations on fingerprinting, but I believe those apply to incoming International passengers. I too am interested to have more info on this.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

The TSA is just another example of "BIG" government out of control. The TSA "brand" has been forever stained by countless miscalculations and incompetent arrogance. Regarding your much touted TSA Pre program and as someone who travels frequently, I refuse to get fingerprinted by an organization that recently beleived it's OK to virtually strip search passengers and continues to touch law-abiding citizens inappropriately without warning. All the false marketing messages in the world can't fix the TSA's sullied reputation.

Anonymous said...

How could the TSA possibly know who is law abiding and who isn't. All current records show is who has a record of being caught. For the safety of all its best to assume everyone has the potential of being bad or manipulated into doing something they may not normally do.

Anonymous said...

" And no mention of another wheelchair bound person being abused by a TSA screener."

What airport was this in? did you witness it? Were there charges filed? Was there a news report? What station? Can you back this up with any efvidence other than your own opinion?

Anonymous said...

"How could the TSA possibly know who is law abiding..." Exactly. The trouble with PreCheck is that we never really know who is dangerous. DHS has warned us that military personnel are dangerous to themselves and others as terrorists. This very blog lists military devices snagged by alert TSA officers every week. Let's take security seriously.

Anonymous said...

So the TSA found nothing a metal detector couldn't find? How many gun shoes did you find this year?

SSSS for Some Reason said...

2013 was an important year for TSA.

Really? Did you find a terrorist and just not tell anyone?

Anonymous said...

LOL at the silly comment that everyone should be treated like a criminal or terrorist. Typical TSA employee talk.

Maybe no one should be allowed in stores because anyone could be a shoplifter. Maybe no one should be allowed to drive because they could be a drunk or reckless driver.

Such silliness!

Anonymous said...

Funny, the first comment is not related to the post, but looks like another TSAnonymous employee playing the "I'm skeeeeeered!" line to the hilt.

Thanks for the laughs, Bob.

Bubba said...

Everyone should be screened using Pre standards, not only those who pay or are lucky enough to fall into the specific categories to qualify.

Instead of installing Pre as a "perk", you should end the use of shoe removal and full body scanners as a primary screening method for everyone. It would actually make us all safer, since body scanners are proven on a weekly basis on this very blog to be totally ineffective (they never find anything dangerous with them).

Sandy's Sister said...

"This new application program allows pre-approved,..."

How does one know if one is "pre-approved?" Do we wait for an invitation from the TSA?

Where are the missing comments on the TSA Kids website? We know there are more than 15 comments and that in all likelihood none are terribly favorable. Why aren't they being posted?

screen shot

Chris Boyce said...

I think you overlooked a few other significant TSA events in 2013. Here are but just a few:

TSA Worker at DFW Airport Markeia Mimms Pleads Guilty to Stealing Passenger’s Cash

http://tinyurl.com/pp7bho7

TSA employee Michael A. Luedecke, charged in father’s shooting death

http://tinyurl.com/lq5q33x

TSA agent, Kathy S. Prisk, accused of theft at Dane Co. airport

http://tinyurl.com/pquyp54

TSA air marshal, Adam Joseph Bartsch, caught taking photos under skirts – RT – October 18, 2013

http://tinyurl.com/krzqoqn

Dozens Of TSA Employees Fired, Suspended For Illegal Gambling Ring At Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

September 19, 2013 4:17 PM

http://tinyurl.com/o9j3zkn

TSA Agent Arrested for Smuggling Illegal Aliens

http://tinyurl.com/mofm6wv

Former TSA employee Nna Alpha Onuoha arrested, accused of making threats against LAX

http://tinyurl.com/nefzzp7

DFW Airport Police Targeted Seven TSA screeners in Sting Operation

http://tinyurl.com/lvy8wvs

Holly Springs police charge former TSA supervisor Kerene Helen Kimberly Mohammed with shoplifting

http://tinyurl.com/mcedz7u

TSA Manager Shane Hinkle at Blue Grass Airport charged with sexual abuse of co-worker

http://tinyurl.com/mgfy96f

TSA officer, ex-Tarpon Springs police officer Larry Kobielnik accused of kidnapping, sexually battering

http://tinyurl.com/kjrmtal

Honolulu TSA screener Tracy Leanne Owens accused of stealing cash

http://tinyurl.com/kbvogmo

Police: TSA employee, Miguel Quinones, had child porn on laptop

http://tinyurl.com/l8momns

TSA agent arrested over cocaine

http://tinyurl.com/m2vs28n

Former TSA worker, Trevor Lee Schindler, indicted, arrested in Gresham on federal bank robbery charges

http://tinyurl.com/l3tfq8e

Items reported missing from Pittsburgh International

http://tinyurl.com/klv3cch

TSA Employee Eric Richard Dunlap at Columbia Regional Arrested

http://tinyurl.com/k2wp3nb

TSA supervisor Jeremy Hemingway caught stealing pills from luggage in Syracuse

http://tinyurl.com/c88qm3x

Family’s iPad stolen during TSA security screening – 7NEWS Boston News WHDH-TV 7NEWS WHDH.COM‏

http://tinyurl.com/pqsdyov

Orlando TSA officer, Keith McKnight, arrested, accused of stealing tourist’s computer

http://tinyurl.com/bmda5wa

TSA screener charged with assault, harassment

http://tinyurl.com/o2q2hwd

TSA baggage inspector arrested again; charged with stealing $150

http://tinyurl.com/kdd8rfk

TSA agent Reggie Edwards at North Carolina airport nabbed for stealing money from traveler’s suitcase

http://tinyurl.com/m5pxtfk

http://tinyurl.com/kyl3k9a

Adrian said...

The post asserts that PreCheck is a part of "a more risk-based security posture." This is patently false. Nothing discovered in a PreCheck screening that can determine whether a person is more or less of a risk with any statistical significance.

PreCheck is a scheme to reduce the annoyance that TSA security theatre causes those with influence, in order to keep those influencers on the side of DHS empire building.

The TSA is a huge drain on the economy that provides no significant security benefit and instead makes the routine violation of rights of U.S. citizens.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the info

Anonymous said...

How many false arms from naked body scanners in 2013?

Anonymous said...

You missed so many TSA articles from 2013. What about the 5000 public comments on the strip search scanner? Oh yeah, you tried to deny this official request for public comments.

How about your brand new children's cartoon video? That came out the same time as the Spanish version of the TSA website, just last month.

Also, does it really take over a decade to make a Spanish version of a website???

What about the screener who verbally abused a teenage girl, and then was rightfully reprimanded by the TSA? You know the one. He threatened the TSA and LAX shortly thereafter.

How about all of the "bad apple" screeners who smuggled drugs and people, stole from passengers, etc? Aren't you glad you caught them? You said on this blog it's such a small number of employees, it "proves" the TSA does a good job.

How can your year in review be another big pile of prechek promotion, and a small after thought about the screener who was murdered? Your social media went on and on and on about him.

Blotter on, Bob.

Unknown said...

West,

This is just what a friend of a friend on Twitter reported:

"@aeolianharp resistance is futile! (btw had weird experience @ JFK TSA on xmas eve - they were fingerprinting us and triaging based on that)"


"@aeolianharp @supersat JFK to ATL. They called it "randomization" and I put my index fingertip on a scanner and it assigned me a line."


"@supersat @aeolianharp then sent to a line where I didn't have to take off shoes, remove laptop, or anything. Hard to believe its random."


The TSA Security Technologies page mentions biometrics, but is very vague on what, if any, plans the TSA has for using biometrics. It does mention that the TSA is testing the technology, but no specifics are given.

So, it's hard to tell if this person was mistaken about what happened at the checkpoint, or if the TSA is testing some new fingerprint scanner.

GSOLTSO said...

Unknown sez - "The TSA Security Technologies page mentions biometrics, but is very vague on what, if any, plans the TSA has for using biometrics. It does mention that the TSA is testing the technology, but no specifics are given.

So, it's hard to tell if this person was mistaken about what happened at the checkpoint, or if the TSA is testing some new fingerprint scanner."

Based on the description in the tweets, this is a lane randomizer, which does not fingerprint, it simply chooses a lane based on randomizing algorithms. For some more information, please see these stories:

http://www.usatoday.com/story/todayinthesky/2013/07/11/tsa-eyes-electronic-randomizers-to-sort-security-lines/2508349/

The RFI mentioned in this artcile is now closed, but here is another link on the lane randomizers that outlines the basics in the RFI:

http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/30506?c=airport_aviation_security

Here is an online copy of the RFI that contains the entire RFI:

https://www.fbo.gov/?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=e9b607a6aa395501cbee9ecf51e57abd&tab=core&_cview=1

I can find nothing in the RFI that indicates anything other than a random binary operating system that notifies both the passenger and TSO of which lane they will be participating in (so no biometrics are attached to this solicitation). I hope that helps clear up any confusion.

West
TSA Blog Team

Unknown said...

Thanks for clearing that up. Looking in to it a bit more, it sounds like it's just an app on an off-the-shelf tablet?

I think part of the confusion stems from the fact that passengers are asked to touch the randomizer. I suppose this is supposed to give people confidence that the TSA agent isn't secretly relaying information to the randomizer, but in practice might make people think the TSA is collecting fingerprints. If this is the case, then I suppose a tap of the knuckle would be sufficient.

Perhaps a blog post about this might be useful?

GSOLTSO said...

Unknown sez - "Thanks for clearing that up. Looking in to it a bit more, it sounds like it's just an app on an off-the-shelf tablet?

I think part of the confusion stems from the fact that passengers are asked to touch the randomizer. I suppose this is supposed to give people confidence that the TSA agent isn't secretly relaying information to the randomizer, but in practice might make people think the TSA is collecting fingerprints. If this is the case, then I suppose a tap of the knuckle would be sufficient.

Perhaps a blog post about this might be useful?"

I can understand the confusion. I am glad this helped to clear up at least some of the confusion! I will forward your suggestion for a blog post on this up the chain. Thanks for the suggestion.

West
TSA Blog Team

Anonymous said...

How about instead of spending thousands of dollars for iPads and a stupid yes/no, green/red, grope/no grope app, give your screeners a six-sided die. Let the pax roll for the lane they are "allowed" to use.

Would go over great in LAS and save tax dollars.

Or better yet, dump the stupid "randomizer" game all together. It isn't necessary and causes further delays, confusion, and bureaucracy, and waste of our money to pay some screener to sit there and play games all day.

Post copied.

RB said...

GSOLTSO said...
Unknown sez - "Thanks for clearing that up. Looking in to it a bit more, it sounds like it's just an app on an off-the-shelf tablet?

I think part of the confusion stems from the fact that passengers are asked to touch the randomizer. I suppose this is supposed to give people confidence that the TSA agent isn't secretly relaying information to the randomizer, but in practice might make people think the TSA is collecting fingerprints. If this is the case, then I suppose a tap of the knuckle would be sufficient.

Perhaps a blog post about this might be useful?"

I can understand the confusion. I am glad this helped to clear up at least some of the confusion! I will forward your suggestion for a blog post on this up the chain. Thanks for the suggestion.

West
TSA Blog Team

January 5, 2014 at 10:56 AM

So TSA Security Screening has devolved into a randomizer determining what level of screening an individual receives?

Is this what TSA calls risk based screening?

RB said...

Anonymous said...
" And no mention of another wheelchair bound person being abused by a TSA screener."

What airport was this in? did you witness it? Were there charges filed? Was there a news report? What station? Can you back this up with any efvidence other than your own opinion?

January 1, 2014 at 7:41 PM

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

Anon, the Internet is a wonderful thing with all kinds of information available to those who wish to learn.

'''''''''''''''''''''''''''''''
Complaint filed against TSA agents at Hagerstown Regional Airport over search of woman in wheelchair


"The daughter of a Hagerstown woman has filed a complaint about the conduct of federal security agents at Hagerstown Regional Airport after her mother who uses a wheelchair was searched in public prior to boarding a flight to Florida, making her feel “really, really violated.”"
............................
A hat tip to Chris Boyce for his post showing everyone what TSA really is.

wintermute said...

So, can we refuse to touch the sensor and have a TSAgent do it for us, or is TSA acquiring our biometric data as part of the "randomization?" (Also, does TSA know how easily biobetric data, specifically fingerprints, can be fooled?) If I have to push it myself, what is the penalty for getting caught by TSA with fake fingerprints? 'cause I'm likely to start wearing clear gelatin with someone else's prints whenever I traverse TSA "security" from now on.

Anonymous said...

RB had said "All retired ID card carrying former active military members should be qualified for Pre Check.." So Tim McVey should have been qualified? On the contrary, your statement is not sensible.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RB had said "All retired ID card carrying former active military members should be qualified for Pre Check.." So Tim McVey should have been qualified? On the contrary, your statement is not sensible.

January 6, 2014 at 1:34 PM
.......................................................................

First off Anon you need to understand what we are talking about here and you show a profound lack of understanding in your post.

To be retired from the military a person must serve 20 or more years of service or be medically retired which usually indicates a severely wounded veteran.. Retired military members carry a retired Military ID card and are still subject to the UCMJ.

Timothy McVeigh (correct spelling given for your education) did serve in the military but he was not retired.. McVeigh served from 1988 to 1992 and had no further affiliation with the military when he was discharged in 1992.

The point is that any person who has demonstrated loyalty and service to their country for an extended period of time presents little threat to commercial aviation, which is what TSA is trying to do with this so-called Risk Based Screening which currently has devolved to using randomizers to willy nilly assign people to lessor screening processes. How is that Risk Based?

Based on your concerns why should a military person in uniform be eligible for reduced screening standards or anyone else for that matter?

If TSA wants low threat sectors of the public for inclusion into Risk Based Screening and PreCheck I would suggest including not only retired military and their immediate families but also law enforcement and some other public sector groups such as fire fighters. Better yet screen all people with Pre Check level screening and elevate only when cause is demonstrated.

Using a Randomizer to determine if a person gets lesser screening in no ways demonstrates if a person is a lower threat. TSA is once again demonstrating a total lack of understanding what risk is and how to interdict a person representing a threat. Par for the course at TSA.

Anonymous said...

Funny how your 2013 review doesn't include the BDO scam that the GAO uncovered in November. I wonder why you have no comment on that?

Kimberly said...

While traveling in December, there were numerous people directed to the TSA Pre line that had no clue why they were sent to that line and more importantly NO IDEA of how to proceed through the line.They were unloading their bags, taking off coats and shoes,all the things you have to do in the regular lines. And most of them were elderly, and having traveled with my elderly parents it requires more time, which slowed the process to a snail's pace. PLEASE, PLEASE, Please for the sake of us that travel frequently, if you're going to direct additional passengers to the TSA Pre lines, educate them on the protocol! It took longer to go through TSA pre than it would have to go through the regular line!!!

Kimberly said...

There were numerous people directed to the TSA Pre line that had no clue why they were sent to that line and more importantly NO IDEA of how to proceed through the line.They were unloading their bags, taking off coats and shoes,all the things you have to do in the regular lines, and given that most were elderly, it slowed the process to a snail's pace. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE for the sake of us that travel frequently, if you're going to direct additional passengers to the TSA Pre lines, educate them on the protocol! It took longer to go through TSA pre than it would have to go through the regular line!!!

Anonymous said...

RESUBMITTED COMMENT. SCREENSHOT TAKEN. ALSO, THE LATEST CAPTCHA SYSTEM YOU ARE USING IS REALLY BAD.

I usually agree with you, RB, but I think you are incorrect in stating that retired military personnel are PreCheck-worthy simply because of their duration of service. Where is the correlation with terror risk? I frequently ask TSA in this blog for proof that terror risk is correlated with frequent flyer status and willingness to pay $85, and, in fairness, I will likewise ask you for proof of your assertion. How is a retired soldier more "worthy" than, say, a kindergarten teacher, a priest, a secretary, a farmer, a cop, or a librarian? Is there more rape within the farming community than there is within the U.S. military? (See http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21588131-can-new-campaign-persuade-pentagon-reconsider-its-attitude-breaking-silence.) Are we talking about the same military that leads the NSA? For the record, I am the child of a veteran, so I am not trying to smear the U.S. military here. I just expect sound arguments from both sides of the PreCheck debate.

RB said...

Anonymous said...
RESUBMITTED COMMENT. SCREENSHOT TAKEN. ALSO, THE LATEST CAPTCHA SYSTEM YOU ARE USING IS REALLY BAD.

I usually agree with you, RB, but I think you are incorrect in stating that retired military personnel are PreCheck-worthy simply because of their duration of service. Where is the correlation with terror risk? I frequently ask TSA in this blog for proof that terror risk is correlated with frequent flyer status and willingness to pay $85, and, in fairness, I will likewise ask you for proof of your assertion. How is a retired soldier more "worthy" than, say, a kindergarten teacher, a priest, a secretary, a farmer, a cop, or a librarian? Is there more rape within the farming community than there is within the U.S. military? (See http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21588131-can-new-campaign-persuade-pentagon-reconsider-its-attitude-breaking-silence.) Are we talking about the same military that leads the NSA? For the record, I am the child of a veteran, so I am not trying to smear the U.S. military here. I just expect sound arguments from both sides of the PreCheck debate.

January 11, 2014 at 3:12 PM

...............................
Anon, I submitted a lengthy reply to your questions but it seems our TSA Censors are once again violating our civil rights by limiting our free speech even when we comply with the illegal TSA Blog posting guidelines.