Monday, September 26, 2011

TSA News Roundup

  • We know the TSA doesn't really protect us from terrorists, but it can occasionally catch people who are smuggling live animals (including parrots, snakes and turtles). Aside from such smuggling having nothing to do with national security, I'm pretty sure that stewardesses and fellow passengers could similarly note a live animal on a plane.
  • The TSA agent who had used her position of power to aid a drug smuggling ring had her day in court and pled guilty. But, of course, it's "unfair" to form an opinion of other TSA agents based on this one agent's actions. Unless you realize that corruption is bred by bureaucracy.
  • What's worse than a regurgitation of a TSA press release about cartoon software upgrades? An editorial that is a regurgitation of said press release. It even ends by saying: "the TSA deserves credit for responding to customer concerns."
  • Ineffective TSA lead to calls for draconian measures by some:
But a new report by former heads of the 9/11 Commission said the process is not making us safer. 
It finds the full-body scanners aren't doing a good job of finding explosives hidden on passengers' bodies, and it says passenger ID checks are still weak and that it's too easy to use fake documents to get a state ID. 
At least one passenger agrees. 
"I think people should have a background check previous to buying their tickets so they already have all this stuff taken care of," one traveler said.
Complaints about TSA screening filed with the agency jumped 40% this year through June, compared with the first six months of 2010. In the month of June alone, TSA logged 1,975 screening complaints, more than double the 814 received in June 2010. 

Mr. Pistole said he takes the concerns of the traveling public seriously, and that TSA is still assessing what is behind the jump in complaints.
 Meanwhile, the inconvenience of flying is taking a toll on the airline industry:
The U.S. Travel Association, a travel industry trade group, says its surveys show, on average, each person avoids two to three trips a year because of the hassles of airport-security screening. That amounts to an estimated $85 billion in lost business for hotels, restaurants, airlines and other travel suppliers. In addition, there is a huge loss of productivity from all the extra time wasted at airports because travelers have to arrive early, uncertain how long it will take to get through security.
This isn't due to a boycott, per se, but rather business travelers recognizing that the cost and hassle is not worth their time and money. Either way, I'll take it and an anti-scanner boycott can only help exacerbate this.
Of course, the "solution" is the horrid trusted traveler. Are we seeing a theme?
  • A partisan promotion of Obama's FEMA gives some publicity to Chertoff's scanner scam:
...Secretary Chertoff was of the opposite ilk. What is most shameful today about this guy is that he probably made millions of dollars selling full body scanners to TSA at our airports. He set up the process to require them and then, after leaving, started selling them to his old agency. What a racket!
A 30-year-old Miami woman was arrested this week for doodling on a friend’s suitcase. Danisa Landaeta drew a bomb and wrote “BOOM” on her friend’s luggage as a misguided joke. After her friend checked the bag into a Santa Barbara Airlines flight from Miami to Venezuela on Tuesday, authorities noticed the drawing and called in the bomb squad. Three concourses had to be evacuated from Miami International Airport and the driving areas around another concourse was shut down as bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in to investigate. Landaeta has confessed to planting a “hoax bomb” and “criminal mischief” and is now being held on a $12,500 bond.
This is getting long, and I'm still working through old links, so To Be Continued...