Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weak dollar, weak economy, TSA harassment hit airline bottom lines

Let's keep it up, people!

Where are they now?

A local news site followed up on the sad story of the bladder cancer survivor whose ostomy bag was broken by TSA agents, leaving him covered in urine for his flight. If you recall, Pistole made a big deal out of having a meeting with this gentleman to get advice on how to better prepare TSA agents for people with medical disabilities. Not surprisingly, nothing has changed, leaving the victim, Mr. Sawyer, frustrated and disillusioned.

I didn't comment on Miss USA's video the other day as it mostly speaks for itself. However, in the second part of the video, she encourages her viewers to file complaints with the TSA. As we can see from Mr. Sawyer's story, you may get some attention, but it is all a publicity stunt. The TSA is out of control.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Another unreasonable search - this time she was pregnant

A pregnant woman wrote to a blogger about her recent traumatic experience at the hands of the TSA in Knoxville. I've pasted her story below. In a recent post, I noted that any travel - and especially air travel - is stressful. All the TSA does is add to the stress and read our completely normal and understandable signs of stress with suspicion. These stories will continue to be common, and, thankfully, we have the internet to share them. What is your breaking point? How many stories like this must you hear before you say enough is enough?
I went through the metal detector at the Knoxville Airport on 4-24-11 at approximately 5:20 pm. It buzzed, so the TSA agent pointed me to another agent, and she swabbed my hands. I then went to grab my purse, and she said “Don’t touch that and get back over here.” She would not let me have my things, and proceeded to search my purse and wallet without asking me. I was flustered, upset, and getting angry, as my husband and I were needing to board as our flight that left in 20 minutes from that time.
The lady then called for backup because they said they found “traces of explosives” on my hands. I asked if it was policy to search and profile young pregnant women who obviously did not come into contact with ANYTHING explosive or dangerous, and asked why they searched my wallet without asking me. They did not respond.
Then the backup agent, who I later was told was the supervisor on duty, Agent Olinger, said I had to come with her. She and the other lady forced me to leave my husband and almost miss my flight, pushing me on my back toward a room, to which I said “Don’t touch me!” because they were forcing me against my will and treating me very harshly. They did not ask me if I wanted to go in a private room – I did not want to be away from my husband and most of all did not want her to touch me.

TSA agent accused of distributing kiddie porn

It is not a coincidence that rapists, thieves and perverts keep being found in the ranks of the TSA. If you think it is, check out the Homeland Security Theater blog where a former TSA agent comments on the types of people he worked with.

H/T Bill Fisher

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unreasonable and illegal search in Philadelphia

A woman's privacy was invaded by a TSA agent. The agent looked at personal items - prescriptions, receipts, and checks - for no reason and without a warrant, asked inappropriate questions about these items, and then wondered why the woman was nervous. Having traveled with valuables before (who hasn't? You often have cash, jewelry, or gifts when on vacation.) I can say that I am probably a little nervous during the whole trip. Not because I'm doing anything illicit, but because I'm worried that the valuable item will be lost or stolen during the complexities of hectic modern travel. Here's the full story. An excerpt:

A female Transportation Security Administration officer wanded her and patted her down, she says. Then she was walked over to where other TSA officers were searching her bags.
"Everything in my purse was out, including my wallet and my checkbook. I had two prescriptions in there. One was diet pills. This was embarrassing. A TSA officer said, 'Hey, I've always been curious about these. Do they work?'
"I was just so taken aback, I said, 'Yeah.' "
What happened next, she says, was more than embarrassing. It was infuriating.
That same screener started emptying her wallet. "He was taking out the receipts and looking at them," she said.
"I understand that TSA is tasked with strengthening national security but [it] surely does not need to know what I purchased at Kohl's or Wal-Mart," she wrote in her complaint, which she sent me last week.
She says she asked what he was looking for and he replied, "Razor blades." She wondered, "Wouldn't that have shown up on the metal detector?"
In a side pocket she had tucked a deposit slip and seven checks made out to her and her husband, worth about $8,000.
Her thought: "Oh, my God, this is none of his business."
Two Philadelphia police officers joined at least four TSA officers who had gathered around her. After conferring with the TSA screeners, one of the Philadelphia officers told her he was there because her checks were numbered sequentially, which she says they were not.
"It's an indication you've embezzled these checks," she says the police officer told her. He also told her she appeared nervous. She hadn't before that moment, she says.
She protested when the officer started to walk away with the checks. "That's my money," she remembers saying. The officer's reply? "It's not your money."
 H/T Mike Hargadon

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Bringing the water to a slow boil

This post at with three anecdotes confirms what I've suspected based on other reports here and there: the scanners are becoming primary screening for all passengers. Since the scanners have been installed, it has been only the occasional passenger who was directed to the scanner, while everyone else went through the metal detector - every third, fourth, or tenth passenger. Now there are reports of the metal detector not being used at all with everybody being directed through the scanner.