Tag: Airport security

TSA Sucks a Bigger Budget

Sometimes, you really can’t make this stuff up.

Over the last few weeks, dissatisfaction with TSA has been bubbling over as airport lines have reached insane lengths, causing hours-long delays. TSA says it is because they are “understaffed”. But given that they blame understaffing for everything, including the murder of Jon Snow, I’m disinclined to take that seriously. McArdle breaks down what’s really going on: they’re making security more of an ordeal because there is no cost to them in doing so.

Still … the TSA now has a response: clowns. Seriously.

Another Step Toward a Worse TSA

It’s not exactly news that TSA is unionizing. Pistole opened the door for that last year and they’ve finally hammered out an agreement.

What is news is how dumb the critics are getting. The criticism had focused on TSA striking. They’ve agreed not to strike but I frankly think we’d be better off if they did strike. It would have little impact on security but result in less gropings and harassment. The link above also has Republicans worried that TSA will be less “flexible”. I don’t think that’s really a concern since they’ve been flexible enough to ignore court orders for a year or more.

No, the concern is that any hope of any accountability is now gone. TSA agents have always been free to grope, harass, bully and steal, but they now have a big bad union to back them up. It’s not that all TSA agents do these things or even a large majority do. I travel a lot and have only had trouble with TSA a couple of times. No, the problem is that even a tiny minority of abusive TSA agents now have an even thicker shield of job security over them.

It’s going to get worse before it gets better.

Fooling the Nudie Scanners

At first, I didn’t think that this video was legit. But TSA’s weak-sauce response leads me to believe it’s accurate:

TSA is largely about theater — giving the illusion of safety. They rely on Americans to think that if we’re being humiliated so thoroughly — taking our shoes off, taking out laptops out, getting scanned, patted and questioned — it must be doing some good. But I remain unconvinced. I think it’s very likely that the biggest reason terrorist have not blown up an airplane is because they’re focused on other targets.

If they had done this when GWB was president…

I am sure the LSM would have gone bonkers, the left would have been furious, the accusations of racism, sexism, and profiling would have been all over the place, and the practice would have ended up dead. Oh, wait a second, that idea was floated when GWB was president, right after 9-11 if I recall, and it was killed immediately with precisely the above accusations – the language used however was far more colorful than mine – used to kill the whole deal. Now we have a different guy in the WH, so there is nary a peep about it.

What am I talking about? Well, the TSA is now going to adopt Israeli surveillance tactics at airports to screen individuals.

Boston’s TSA screeners — part of a security force whose competency has come under fire nationwide — soon will be carrying out sophisticated behavioral inspections under a first-in-the-nation program that’s already raising concerns of racial profiling, harassment of innocent travelers and longer lines.

The training for the Israeli-style screening — a projected $1 billion national program dubbed Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques — kicks off today at Logan International Airport and will be put to use in Terminal A on Aug. 15. It requires screeners to make quick reads of whether passengers pose a danger or a terror threat based on their reactions to a set of routine questions.

For those of you that don’t know better, the Israeli surveillance tactics are to profile heavily, focusing on people that cause red flags to be raised, and then working to determine if they are up to no good. You don’t waste time patting down old ladies, babies in diapers, or hot female models – that last one is a drawback, I guess – and focus on the people that have suspicious backgrounds, act out of place, and in general fit the profile of those you suspect to be up to no good.

I expect the program to fail. First we are dealing with unionized numbnutz that likely can’t think their way out of a cardboard box. It takes serious smarts and human empathy to pull the second part of this job off – the human interrogations – and the people with this skill are not going to be interested in wasting their time at our airports unless something changes.

I also expect some moron to immediately get their panties in a bunch when the people flagged disproportionately come from some specific background that make for worry. Like muslims, Norwegian nut jobs, or if you believe people like Joe Biden, Tea Partiers. That this practice will be far more productive or effective will mean nothing. I have long suspected that the TSA isn’t so much about airport security but about some kind of dumb ideological experiment we have so far have been lucky enough hasn’t botched up bad enough to cost more people their lives.

All in all though, I wanted more to point out how different things are when the occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Drive has a (D) next to his name instead of an (R), and how the hypocrites that pretend to be journalists suddenly lose interest in something that made them froth at the mouth when the occupant was of the wrong pedigree.