#1 By: Cory Doctorow, October 12th, 2013 08:40
#2 By: IMB, October 12th, 2013 09:02
Some of the "incidents" reported there are nothing less than psychological (and sometimes physical) torture. Is being a sadist a requirement of TSA employment?
Part of their training should include experiencing the "mistakes" of prior screeners, including humiliating, frightening and painful circumstances in front of strangers. Then they might understand the importance of being sensitive to others.
#3 By: thaum, October 12th, 2013 09:15
Yes. Why wouldn't it be?
You get to enjoy and inflict bodily humiliation on innocent people for the sake of it. What is that but not sadism?
#4 By: Brian Sizemore, October 12th, 2013 09:34
I wouldn't say it's a requirement, but I do agree that you'd find a higher percentage of people in those positions (along with things like being a police officer) where they can wield power and abuse others.
I think a lot of TSA workers do it just because it's a job, just like there are police officers who truly want to help their community...it's just the bad ones that get the most attention.
#5 By: Paul Renault, October 12th, 2013 10:05
Do dentures wearers have to remove their dentures?
How about people with glass eyes? Or metal securing their bones? What about artificial heart valves? Or clothes!
#6 By: IMB, October 12th, 2013 10:07
Okay, so maybe too broad of a brush stroke, on my part. Still the attention to the TSA is appropriate, given the very inhumane treatment of people versus the valiant life-risking to save lives that good police officers partake in. I suppose you could proffer that the TSA is there to save lives, but it's not an equal comparison, in terms of daily risk and sometime heroics.
#7 By: Brad Zimmerman, October 12th, 2013 10:11
When people fly in Europe (from one Schengen Zone country to another, although it may apply to the entire EU - I can't remember for sure), we don't go through porno scanners, we don't get groped, hell we don't even have to take our shoes off when going through the metal detectors.
#8 By: Neil Winkelmann, October 12th, 2013 10:16
Here in Vancoouver, they have a couple of porno scanners at the security for US-bound flights. They were used somewhat randomly for a couple of years, but it seems like they hardly use them at all now. Not sure why.
Yesterday, I had to clear security in Dallas for a flight to Vancouver and they were using them for 100% of passengers. I wasn't even offered a free fondle as an alternative.
#9 By: Earnestine Browning, October 12th, 2013 10:30
These guys have to go. Get rid of them. Fire them all. They provide no security at all! The government critters are complaining about the budget? Cut the TSA! Cut the DHS! Enough!
#10 By: manybellsdown, October 12th, 2013 11:09
I've found, at least at SeaTac, they usually don't make you go through the pornoscanner if you're traveling with kids. LAX made us all go through it though.
#11 By: Paul Jonusaitis, October 12th, 2013 12:24
Each airport seems to implement its own variations on the procedures. There's also a local work culture among the TSA employees that will vary between locations. In Nashville, I've gotten the impression that they're friendlier than average. At SeaTac, they they seem to focus on getting people through efficiently. In Las Vegas and Phoenix, they tend to be grumpy. Maybe it has something to do with the large number of clueless infrequent travelers they have to deal with. Or maybe old people are less willing to take crap from young punks with badges.
#12 By: Jennie_Brown, October 12th, 2013 12:56
I always take the TSA Body Massage option (although I might reconsider with the millimeter-wave scanners) and I have NEVER not been offered a pat-down in private. What this TSA officer did, as far as I know, is completely against protocol (even putting aside the "shut up" comment). She should be investigated and fired. I have my own problems with the TSA, but this woman was out of bounds even according to their standards.
#13 By: Girard, October 12th, 2013 13:07
Also, while cops can often be horrible, nasty, and murderous, there have certainly been documented cases where they have been helpful or saved lives. The TSA has not saved any lives in their years of security-theater traveler abuse.
#14 By: GirlScoutSniper, October 12th, 2013 13:17
Not entirely true... I have flown to Portugal from Atlanta many times. This involves changing planes, usually in Frankfurt, and once in Lisbon (to distinguish that these were inter-EU flights), and every time, except for the scanners, it's been the same as in the US. Take off shoes, put computer in separate bin, etc.
#15 By: IMB, October 12th, 2013 13:18
#16 By: IMB, October 12th, 2013 13:21
Yeah, it's entirely the weary traveler's fault, and certainly not borne of contempt for the public in general or a power trip.
#17 By: CLamb, October 12th, 2013 13:59
The article makes reference to agents drawing their guns in one incident. Do TSA agents really have guns? The only armed law enforcement I've ever encountered at US airports have been local police and on the rare occasion national guards.
#18 By: Hal Astell, October 12th, 2013 15:12
I had a rather surprising experience with the TSA at Sky Harbor. I'm an Englishman who flew to the US often before the 'glory years' of the TSA. I have my horror stories from American airports anyway (a 90 day trip to travel the country warranted a lot of rude treatment and I even wrote an article about the security guard who was convinced I was smuggling drugs in a large Tasmanian Devil plush toy that filled a suitcase and felt the urge to massage it in public).
I moved over in 2004 and married a Phoenix lady, but settling down meant no air travel, so I got to read about the TSA's long list of objectable behaviour without ever having to experience it myself. I knew I'd travel with my lass back to England at some point, though. I wasn't looking forward to the airport experience but, as I have a stubborn streak, I was half looking forward to objecting to whatever they tried to make me do.
And something was likely. You see, I still look different and nowadays I also wear a Utilikilt, which has a large number of metal rivets that set off metal detectors. Sure enough, it set them off at Sky Harbor and the TSA pulled me aside to do a patdown. That wasn't surprising. What was surprising was how I was treated, which was rather well, even after I offered to take off the kilt. They even let my lass take photos while they were doing so.
I realise that this appears to be unusual behaviour for the TSA, especially at Sky Harbor, which I've seen mentioned in the usual TSA stories more than once, but it's what I experienced. The trip went well, but it was on our return, flying out of Manchester, that my stepson and I found odd treatment, suckered through a pornoscanner before we realised what was happening.
#20 By: Paul Jonusaitis, October 12th, 2013 15:40
I'm not blaming the victims of TSA abuse, or excusing the TSA employees who act inappropriately. I'm simply observing that anyone might get grumpy after telling a few hundred people a day why they can't just walk through with their hubcap-sized belt buckles, even if it is their job and they're supposed to be "professionals". In the better-run airports, the front line employees seem to get rotated through different positions frequently, so maybe they have good supervisors who recognize this.
#21 By: IMB, October 12th, 2013 16:03
Yeah. I guess, initially, it rubbed me the wrong way within the context of the article, although I did realize that you weren't referencing it. Your explanation in the new comment makes much more sense. As much as the people at the bottom (in general) bear the burden of blame, it is always the climate of the higher-ups that creates the group, whether it be in sloppy hiring, poor training or mismanagement of staff (of course, barring the occasional bad apple who slips through).
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