Security Concerns

I read many of the comments before jumping in an reading the entire story from the UK Sun regarding the lack of security surrounding London’s Olympic Park. The story, which is quickly turning into a scandal has images and video footage of a construction working transporting a fake bomb through security checkpoints and inside Olympic Park. This security seems no better than what I experienced when I worked at the airlines.

I have written about security concerns at airports the past, how easy it was to bypass security checkpoints in LAX and SFO, when it was “mandatory” (yet not enforced) as an airline employee to go through a security checkpoint, adhering to the SAME rules and regulations as an air traveler. Now the Olympics are 82 days away and with the amount of money spent (£1billion) for security and precautions in place we see this major breach, including an 11-mile long electrified fence that cost £80million.

Fingers will most likely be pointed at the individuals in place providing security at checkpoints. Much like TSA agents, these people aren’t trained well enough to provide real security, especially to an event such as the Olympics, which will be a high profile event.

An already-vetted worker could bring in materials for a deadly suicide bomb mission. The loophole exposed by us shows just how easily that could happen” (source). This same loophole existed at the airlines, even being gone for nearly 6 years I don’t believe it has been improved. Here is just one story I wrote in 2006 while it centers more around the vulnerability of air freight facilities and accepting material from “known shippers” I did elude to the fact I could enter the AOA (ramp) dressed in everyday clothes with a badge and not past through a security checkpoint.

The UK story says, “terror cells may use “clean skins” — people with no criminal or extremist links” when it comes to people operating knowingly or unknowingly when it comes to an operation. Never in 2 years at SFO and 9 years at LAX was I ever questioned while walking on the ramp. Who’s to say I didn’t have a device, much like the construction worker touring Olympic Park, just to prove a point that it can be done and concerns exist.

Reporting Overkill: MSM

Just how quickly can the mainstream media create a scare? Check out the latest headlines from the Drudge Report:

Sen. Schumer Calls For Amtrak 'Do Not Ride' List...
Two tunnel 'breaches' cause scare in NYC...
SUV 'bomb' scare ...
Threats Divert Planes in Three Separate Incidents...
Passengers, flight crew subdue man banging on cockpit door...
Yemeni passenger had Calif. ID...
Scary Flight To Chicago...
Threatening Note In Bathroom Departing Detroit...
'Are we gonna blow up?'
Dallas Train Station Evacuated: Man Asked For Help Carrying Packages...
4 Arrested For Videotaping TSA Line At Denver...
Suspicious package found in mailbox: Cellphone sent back to company...

Just simply amazing! They are doing one hell of a job. Those links followed the main headline of USA FREAKS OUT: TERROR FEARS; FALSE ALARMS. All this courtesy of YOUR United States Government, busy at work, as usual.

I am still looking for a news story out of any of these links, yet I cannot find a legitimate story. Needless to say, any sort of “incident” in the air will turn into a breaking story. If it’s not because of a mechanical issue, then it will be because of “interfering with a flight crew.” I think we can do ahead and disregard all of these aviation related headlines.

The TSA? The laughing stock as the “make-work” program hits a new low. Have you seen this image yet, which was another Drudge Report headline?

I sure hope there is a more rational reason two TSA agents are allegedly checking the diaper of an infant. Yes, an infant. Make this worse, the mother seems to be okay with this and not raising hell over this potential case of molestation. Amazing! I guess as long as the TSA continues to push these checks the sheeple will continue to march in stride and do as Big Sis says. Scary.

It also seems video taping at an airport, outside of the “sterile area” is no longer acceptable. Denver police arrested the individuals and confiscated the camera. Yes folks, the police state is alive and well. I guess I will remember NOT to videotape my next vacation in which I use the airlines (which won’t happen). That would be a bitch of a way to start the vacation, by having my wife get me out of jail.

Tunnel breaches. No-ride lists. Mass transit hearings. Now that the airlines are more secure since 9-11, right TSA? Mainstream media can not turn their attention towards trains and rail systems in the US. I was watching some of the proceedings from last week and honestly, I was somewhat surprised to hear some of what was said as it relates to increasing rail security. This really means more Federal funds being allocated to making trains and subways safe.

Have you been violated today?

I guess a day does not go by that the U.S. moves a step closer to a police state. The creation of the DHS was just the initial move after the government sponsored terrorism that struck Washington D.C. and  New York City. “Big Brother” along with “Big Sis” are just trying to make you “more secure” and raise your awareness when it comes to safety. Unfortunately some of their tactics they are implementing potential violate your 4th Amendment Right.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In a blog today from Forbes, “uncovered documents show that as early as 2006, the Department of Homeland Security has been planning pilot programs to deploy mobile scanning units that can be set up at public events and in train stations, along with mobile x-ray vans capable of scanning pedestrians on city streets.“Though Freedom of Information Act you can read the 173-page report that includes Rapiscan (promoted by former DHS front man, Michael Chertoff), Seimens and Northeastern University.

Scanning technology would include mobile x-ray vans that  could scan people on the street, while others reports have the DHS “a walk through x-ray screening system that could be deployed at entrances to special events or other points of interest.” We saw something of this nature prior to the Super Bowl this year in Irving, Texas where all individuals were scanned before entering the event.

Of course the TSA has denied this, “TSA has not tested the advanced imaging technology that is currently used at airports in mass transit environments and does not have plans to do so.” I fear to think what would become of a daily commute on the trains in the bay area. We have seen these tactics employed on a “test basis.”

In a USA Today report, Clark Kent Ervin, the Department of Homeland Security’s former inspector general says ,”Mass transit systems are much less secure than the aviation sector or certain key government buildings.” The nation’s vast network of more than 3,200 stations and more than 20,000 miles of track combined with the impracticality and cost of screening every passenger leave U.S. subways and rails exposed to the type of terrorist attacks 22 other nations have experienced the last five years  (source).

DHS will continue to push a majority of funding and development to the security at aviation. Will we see further precautions taken to make our railways and subways safer? I don’t feel we will see it immediately (5-7 years). My guess it will be another knee jerk reaction by our government in response to some sort of terrorist event domestically that will heap new security procedures and regulations on the railway industry as a whole.

Terror Scare or Honest Mistake?

Out of JFK comes a story of overreaction. It’s really no surprise given Big Sis’s “See Something. Say Something.” campaign the current state of heightened alert, then again I think since 9-11 the status has never been decreased. So I guess we are safer now than 9-11 *sarcasm*. Not really, Napalitano just needs the reassurance she has made the situation better, when in reality it’s turning into nothing more than a police state at US airports.

So how can individuals overreact today? Allegedly a passenger on a plane bound for the Dominican Republic “waltz” (the Port Athority words) passed TSA. I could see this, do you REALLY expect them to catch every piece of contraband? Considering this is a “make work” program and those individuals are nothing more than governmental “rent-a-cops” I don’t expect much at all, least of all feeling “safer” when (which is never) I decide to fly.

Upon boarding the Jet Blue flight, Eusebio D. Peraltalajara was asked to store his carry on bag. Upon moving it, the flight attendant saw “box cutters” fall out of the bag. This is where the TSA campaign failed and the situation was blown way out of proportion.The pilots were notified, which then set off a chain of event that included Jet Blue Security, the PAPD Emergency Service Units, the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI. The report states the plane was “evacuated” and swept by canine units. These events also required passengers to be re-screened before they re-boarded the flight.

The passenger (thankfully) was not charged or arrested, explaining he used the “box cutters” in question at work and simply forgot to take them out of his bag.The TSA stated, “…a number of additional security layers that have been implemented on aircraft that would prevent someone from causing harm with boxcutters…and a more vigilant traveling public who have demonstrated a willingness to intervene.” Someone please fill me in, just how much did this dog and pony just cost the American taxpayer?

I think this just goes to show airline security is no more improved than it was before 9-11. Things will slip by the “make work” security guards at the airport and the result will be one over overreaction by a flight crew. I see this incident being blown way out of proportion because of a simple mistake by that of a passenger.You can read about the overreaction, here.

TSA = Joke

Here we go again! Is the traveling air public for more knee jerk reactions from a supposed “security agency?” The TSA still remains as nothing more than a glorified security company under the control of the US Government. Rest assured, if the government wanted to commit an act of air terrorism, it would happen. And they would let it. Increasing rules and becoming “more vigilant” won’t do shit. Where there is a will, there is a way. It is ridiculous to think the more rules imposed the less likely there is to be another terrorist attack using commercial airliners. Then again, I am off the thought it was the US Government that knew about 9-11, but that is a discussion for ATS, not T6F.

I no longer travel by air if I don’t have to. After spending 12 years at United Airlines I was getting fed up with the “added” or “heightened” security we were supposedly under. I can’t remember a time since I left the airlines, or even post 9-11 where the airlines were not at a heightened security alert. What does it matter our hourly rent-a-cops now fly mock badges and are federally trained? LOL. I’ll tell you. NOTHING! It might make you feel safer, but these people are no more better trained than they were pre 9-11. I can still remember going through a 4 hour class on how to detect explosives in an x-ray machine and supposedly I was “trained.” Again, pre 9-11.

Times have changed and as I mentioned I don’t want the hassle of the US Government telling me I can and cannot do when I pay for an airline ticket. “New rules imposed by the Transportation Security Administration limit on-board activities by passengers and crew in U.S. airspace. The airline said that during the final hour of flight passengers must remain seated. They won’t be allowed access to carry on baggage or to have any items on their laps.”

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement Saturday that passengers flying to the U.S. from overseas may notice extra security, but she said the measures “are designed to be unpredictable, so passengers should not expect to see the same thing everywhere.” That’s even better and this is supposed to help us how? I am sure there are guidelines and regulations that will continued to be followed and enforced, so this “unpredictability” is nothing more than another way to let the traveling public know their rights can be violated if there is any cause for suspicion.

How about more screening, after you are through the main checkpoint? Uh, okay. This was nothing more than an inconvenience while in the gate room, prior to boarding. What did it ever turn up? I’ll tell you what it turned up at LAX in the United terminals the years following 9-11. NOTHING! Just a stronger presence of TSA (the government version of a rent-a-cop).

I just wonder how much more tax money will be generated when they tack on another security fee in order to pay for this “presence” to make air travelers “feel safer” because in all honesty, very little has changed about the security or lack of it when it comes to US airports and airliners. Thankfully I take one flight a year, to Las Vegas. Even that can be made in an 8 hour drive, something I will seriously consider next year.