Confessions of a TSA Agent

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,408
Good read on the theater our airport security is. WHen the TSA was created in 2001, we were spending $700 million on airport security. In 2010, that number was $7.1 billion.

I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots—the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.

There I was, an aspiring satire writer, earnestly acting on orders straight out of Catch-22.




http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/01/tsa-screener-confession-102912.html?hp=f1
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
Damn good read here. I've squawked this over at FlightAware so the aviation community is aware of it.

Fleecing of taxpayer money aside for the security theater, people say that government jobs are really secure; but at the cost of your morals and principles? too high of a cost for me, plus the ridicule on top of that for doing your "job".

Props to this guy for getting out, and putting down on pen, paper, and website what the public already knew: Commercial air travel is a farce. Even if it took me triple the time to get to where I wanted to be in a Boeing, Airbus, Embraer, or Bombardier aircraft, I'd feel safer in flying myself and my family in a Cessna. We'd bypass the TSA altogether, and baggage claim is easy to get to: it's in the back of the plane.

BL.
 

palmerc2

macrumors 68000
Feb 29, 2008
1,604
641
Los Angeles
As someone who flies damn near every week, I hate the TSA. With a bloody passion. They are so ****ing retarded. Have a toothpaste that's over 3.4 oz? In the trash! Bunch of pricks.

You think you're free? Try going through an airport and telling them you neither want the body scanner or a pat down.
 

bradl

macrumors 601
Jun 16, 2008
4,006
11,823
As someone who flies damn near every week, I hate the TSA. With a bloody passion. They are so ****ing retarded. Have a toothpaste that's over 3.4 oz? In the trash! Bunch of pricks.

You think you're free? Try going through an airport and telling them you neither want the body scanner or a pat down.
Which is why I would prefer to fly either Part 91 (General Aviation) or charter my own flight and avoid them altogether. Again, if money weren't a factor.

BL.
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
Which is why I would prefer to fly either Part 91 (General Aviation) or charter my own flight and avoid them altogether. Again, if money weren't a factor.

BL.
Well yeah, if money weren't a factor, we'd all like to take our own Gulfstream everywhere, but in the real world, we will all have to put up with the TSA to get places we want to go.
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Original poster
Jul 11, 2003
27,345
12,408
As someone who flies damn near every week, I hate the TSA. With a bloody passion. They are so ****ing retarded. Have a toothpaste that's over 3.4 oz? In the trash! Bunch of pricks.

You think you're free? Try going through an airport and telling them you neither want the body scanner or a pat down.

I despise them as well. I flew twice a month in my last job, for nine long years.
 

zioxide

macrumors 603
Dec 11, 2006
5,725
3,711
Between the TSA and the NSA, the terrorists have won. Game over. Congrats to the USA for turning a once-"free" country into the second coming of the USSR. Papers please?
 
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palmerc2

macrumors 68000
Feb 29, 2008
1,604
641
Los Angeles
Between the TSA and the NSA, the terrorists have won. Game over. Congrats to the USA for turning a once-"free" country into the second coming of the USSR. Papers please?
TSA = transportation security administration
NSA = national security agency

Perhaps we should defund any government security admin / agency. They don't want to catch the terrorists, they just want to keep Americans in the sheeple mentality, slowly numbing the sheeple to government control. Less likely to overthrow / question the governemnt by injecting fear, one step at a time.

At least, that's what I think. However people are starting to wake up (thank goodness).
 

iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
16,505
15
On tenterhooks
They don't want to catch the terrorists, they just want to keep Americans in the sheeple mentality, slowly numbing the sheeple to government control. Less likely to overthrow / question the government by injecting fear, one step at a time.

At least, that's what I think. However people are starting to wake up (thank goodness).
Metropolis, 1927, Fritz Lang

 

lostngone

macrumors 65816
Aug 11, 2003
1,340
2,826
Anchorage
Between the TSA and the NSA, the terrorists have won. Game over. Congrats to the USA for turning a once-"free" country into the second coming of the USSR. Papers please?
Come on, it is still a free* country!!!








(*)Some restrictions apply, not valid in all 50 States. Some Rights might be substituted for privileges without notice. Some Rights are not guaranteed based on skin color or sexual preference. Your mileage may very.
 

iJohnHenry

macrumors P6
Mar 22, 2008
16,505
15
On tenterhooks
Come on, it is still a free* country!!!








(*)Some restrictions apply, not valid in all 50 States. Some Rights might be substituted for privileges without notice. Some Rights are not guaranteed based on skin color or sexual preference. Your mileage may very.
Now you're talking. :)

I'm beginning to understand a little about your love of the 2nd Amendment.
 

jav6454

macrumors P6
Nov 14, 2007
16,864
1,480
1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
That was a really nice read. Goes to show how inept the govern't was and is in handling airport security.

You know you have a problem with your security when you react to an attempt rather than foil it altogether.
 

zioxide

macrumors 603
Dec 11, 2006
5,725
3,711
TSA = transportation security administration
NSA = national security agency

Perhaps we should defund any government security admin / agency. They don't want to catch the terrorists, they just want to keep Americans in the sheeple mentality, slowly numbing the sheeple to government control. Less likely to overthrow / question the governemnt by injecting fear, one step at a time.

At least, that's what I think. However people are starting to wake up (thank goodness).
Imagine how much money we could invest in 21st century infrastructure and bringing this country's economy into the 21st century if we stopped pissing away all our tax revenues on the NSA, the TSA, and our over-bloated military and militarized police agencies.

Then we'd actually have our government working as the founding fathers intended.. to help and serve the people and make the country a better place, not to control people Soviet style and make a bunch of money for defense contractors.
 

thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,518
The TSA exists to keep YOU happy. Yes, you. Pay attention when you scream at your elected officers, cause this nonsense is what you get in reply.

The airlines are certainly no safer than they were pre 9-11. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a complete idiot.
 

Happybunny

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2010
1,752
1,351
The main problem is if security is relaxed, and an attack does happen, it's the government that gets blamed. If security is tight and inflexible the government gets blamed.
The zero tolerance attitude is there to protect not the general public but the TSA.

That being said I still see a vast difference between airport security in Europe and the USA.
 

Happybunny

macrumors 68000
Sep 9, 2010
1,752
1,351
The answer is not searching babies and old ladies. Fly into the safest airport in the world and see how to do it right. Ben Gurion does security right. We in the West have no stomach for it, so we spend billions screening out baby formula and finger nail clippers - but allow anyone in a burqa to walk right in.... http://banislamofficial.com/2013/09/15/canada-allows-veiled-musl*********-to-bypass-airport-security-checks/

While I do not dispute that Ben Gurion airport is a very safe place, the sheer numbers make it difficult to replicate elsewhere.

Ben Gurion 13,133,000 passengers per year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Gurion_Airport

Just to give a example JFK is just one of the airports of the USA.

JFK 47,000,000 passengers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_F._Kennedy_International_Airport

Another point which you conveniently gloss over is that the average Israeli is very aware security procedures and situation, and is willing to execpt them far more than any country in the western world.
 

thewitt

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2011
2,102
1,518
Confessions of a TSA Agent

I fully expect you to reject any real attempt at security in favor of no-profiling and making my grandmother go thru a special line where she can have her knitting needles confiscated.

Security in the US is a joke, unfortunately it's a multi-billion dollar a year joke on the American taxpayer.

I have to remove my zip up hoodie, however a woman in a full burqa can simply walk right thru... Security indeed.
 

aerok

macrumors 65816
Oct 29, 2011
1,488
135
I fully expect you to reject any real attempt at security in favor of no-profiling and making my grandmother go thru a special line where she can have her knitting needles confiscated.

Security in the US is a joke, unfortunately it's a multi-billion dollar a year joke on the American taxpayer.

I have to remove my zip up hoodie, however a woman in a full burqa can simply walk right thru... Security indeed.
You can't compare a burqa to your hoodie...
 

Renzatic

Suspended
We in the West have no stomach for it, so we spend billions screening out baby formula and finger nail clippers - but allow anyone in a burqa to walk right in....
If I were an Islamic terrorist intending on blowing up a plane in a foreign country, the last thing I'd do is draw attention to myself and my Islamicness.

"Is there anything you want to declare before boarding the plane, sir"?

"ALLAHU AKBAR, DEATH TO AMERICAN IMPERIALIST SWINE...er...I mean, uh...:fake Texas drawl: howdy, partner. How are your cows doing on the range today? My name is John Jones, and I am here to try your freedom fries"

"Hey, I think this guy's alright, Bobby. He's not wearing a turban, so he can't be a terrorist. I say let him...wait...THERE'S A DARK SKINNED MAN WHO LOOKS A LOT LIKE A MUSLIM WALKING THROUGH THE SECURITY GATE RIGHT OVER THERE! HEY YOU! STOP"!

"...¿Qué demonios? ¿Pero qué está pasando aquí?"
 

yg17

macrumors G5
Aug 1, 2004
14,888
2,480
St. Louis, MO
If I were an Islamic terrorist intending on blowing up a plane in a foreign country, the last thing I'd do is draw attention to myself and my Islamicness.

"Is there anything you want to declare before boarding the plane, sir"?

"ALLAHU AKBAR, DEATH TO AMERICAN IMPERIALIST SWINE...er...I mean, uh...:fake Texas drawl: howdy, partner. How are your cows doing on the range today? My name is John Jones, and I am here to try your freedom fries"

"Hey, I think this guy's alright, Bobby. He's not wearing a turban, so he can't be a terrorist. I say let him...wait...THERE'S A DARK SKINNED MAN WHO LOOKS A LOT LIKE A MUSLIM WALKING THROUGH THE SECURITY GATE RIGHT OVER THERE! HEY YOU! STOP"!

"...¿Qué demonios? ¿Pero qué está pasando aquí?"
No ****...if the 9/11 hijackers did it today, they'd probably be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with Beats by Dre plugged into an iPad watching reruns of Breaking Bad like everyone else on an airplane. Singling out people wearing burqas is a complete waste of time.
 

Renzatic

Suspended
No ****...if the 9/11 hijackers did it today, they'd probably be wearing jeans and a t-shirt, with Beats by Dre plugged into an iPad watching reruns of Breaking Bad like everyone else on an airplane. Singling out people wearing burqas is a complete waste of time.
I'm sure that's exactly what the 9/11 hijackers did. Minus the Beats headset and the iPad, of course.

The simple fact is that it's almost impossible to racially profile a Muslim if they're not dressed how you'd expect. If you take some random person from Saudi Arabia and remove the cultural bling, they're gonna look white, Slavic, Mexican, or at the most extreme, Indian. Pretty much like anyone. The only way someone would be able to tell otherwise is by their accent, and I'm sure an Al Qaeda sleeper agent intending on blowing all of us up would probably have gone through a bit of voice coaching to disguise that.

Chances are good that if you see someone in an airport wearing a burqa or turban, they're not intending on doing a damn thing except riding the plane from point A to B. It's a waste of time singling them out, because the actual terrorist will look about like you and me.
 

VulchR

macrumors 68020
Jun 8, 2009
2,328
10,242
Scotland
And the number of actual bombs or firearms that the TSA actually has found in all of these searches is? Anybody?

Meanwhile, in other news... terrorists have gone back to old tactics and attacked people waiting in line, which has a higher density packing of humans beings than airplanes, for TSA security checks before boarding planes.