TSA Wants Your Drink

TSA screening liquidsA new low being examined by the TSA. It’s now policy that drinks are no longer permitted to pass through security. Passengers then purchase drinks within the sterile area, yet the TSA believes they need to sample your liquid. “The TSA wouldn’t say what they’re testing for or why they are doing it, but travelers say they have a right to know” the story reads.

It’s another case of our Fourth Amendment Rights being violated by the TSA. Their position, “TSA employees have many layers of security throughout airports. Passengers may be randomly selected for additional screening measures at the checkpoint or in the gate at any time.” It’s bad enough now seeing the TSA harass and assault passengers inside the sterile area. What else will the traveling public be submitting to in the future to make sure air travel is safe?

Some interesting words from Kip Hawley, former Administrator for the Transportation Security Administration and author of Permanent Emergency over on FDL Book Salon:

Bruce S: Kip, your book has the first coherent explanation of the liquid ban I have ever read. For the benefit of those who have not read the book, can you explain 1) which liquid explosive you were concerned about, 2) why you were unwilling to allow a 12-oz. bottle of liquid through airport security but were willing to allow four 3-oz. bottles plus an empty 12-oz. bottle, and 3) what was the security reason for the baggie?

Kip: 1) highly concentrated liquid hydrogen peroxide with a sugar fuel and some other things. An extremely powerful explosive.

2) Our labs found that the mixture was extremely finicky and that mixing it was not simple. Our professional chemists in labs had difficulty making the bomb and found mixing to be problematic. AQ valued bomb-makers and were not sending them out on suicide missions. The times they asked operatives to do minimal bomb-making (Richard Reid & Abdulmutallab), they botched it. It was risk management in the end. A possibility but remote in my opinion.

3) the baggie allowed the liquids to be gathered so officers would’nt have to hunt for them and the vapor lock captured hydrogen peroxide vapor for easy testing.

This discussion board user at TravelUnderground.org sums it up nicely, “They have a procedure that is first and foremost ridiculous on its face, based on an implausible theory, carried out by idiots who don’t even know what they’re doing, managed by morons who either don’t understand the directive or don’t know what’s going on under their own noses, to mitigate a threat that isn’t even feasible.

I fly once a year and have been since leaving the airlines. I still have no desire to use ANY airline and go through the dog and pony show at the security checkpoints. Thankfully I have never been asked to submit to a molestation and hopefully that trend will continue in August when I must fly to Las Vegas.

Over the Top?

Another day, another video, from another TSA checkpoint. I don’t believe these people will ever understand their place, as it relates to airport/airline security. But your experience will be helpful when you apply to Walmart or the mall, so just remember that. Base on those few comments or past TSA related posts, I am not a big supporter of the TSA or their “iron fist” tactics at security checkpoints. This is one reason why I chose NOT to fly. The other reason, I really have no place to go, but if I did I would consider driving first.

While I do believe this woman is overreacting, with a bit of flair for the dramatic the ensuing video of her son being confronted, first by the TSA, followed by a ‘Ground Security Coordinator’ (GSC) from Southwest Airlines. “A Ground Security Coordinator is an employee of an airline who is designated to interface with aircrew, law enforcement officers, and others in matters of security.” This supervisor (I assume) tells the person filming, “it’s illegal” followed by “do you want to fly anywhere?” He is very confrontation and threatening in his approach. Hmmm, that was something I wasn’t taught when I went through my GSC training for United. Then again, I would not get involved in this situation, since it’s solely between the passenger and the TSA.

From the TSA Blog, which is really nothing more than a mouthpiece is this piece of information,

We don’t prohibit public, passengers or press from photographing, videotaping, or filming at screening locations…local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances might

Yet when the Phoenix Police Department arrive they do nothing to the individual filming and while not completely clear, they took the woman in question back out of the sterile area. Now there was some discussion this had happened multiple times by the family in question. Not surprise the local authorities don’t do much to back the complaint of the woman. Although, near the end of the video you can hear the peace officer say “I don’t think they will let you fly.”

There are other ways to go ab out making your Fourth Amendment Right statement. I have highlighted a few in past Aviation “in”Security pieces. I would stand up for my rights and refuse to be molested by the TSA. Chances are I would turn around and walk away (if they allowed me). It’s a broken process that doesn’t further aviation security. I have called it “window dressing” in the past and will stand by that statement. This “make work program” has not deterred terrorists from striking the U.S. or taking down our nation’s airlines.

Facebook Censorship

It’s bad enough our freedoms are slowing dissolving in this once great land. I don’t have to look any further than the government continually trying to take away our right to bear arms or the TSA and their disregard for the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution as they conduct illegal search and seizure without probably cause. Guess the government considers many of terrorist, based purely on what we say.

That leads to this story about Facebook and their censorship for “irrelevant or inappropriate” comments. So much for freedom of speech and it was really only a matter of time before they started cracking down on a very touchy subject. Facebook claims they are “working to create a safe and clean environment on its corner of the web by shutting down abusive or harassing behavior, content such as pornography, or general spamming of the system” (source). Much like the article says, I don’t understand how pornography and spam on the same level of comments posted on Facebook.

What offends an individual on Facebook is going to be subjective. I have seen quite a bit of “questionable” pages that could easily fall under soft pornography. Yet none of those pages have been shut down to my knowledge. There are times I read, what could be construed as “abusive comments” but why censor them? This was one of the main reasons I didn’t want to get into the social networking. I don’t want Big Brother looking over my shoulder telling me what I can and cannot post. Facebook’s explanation was “To protect the millions of people who connect and share on Facebook every day.”

I find the Facebook ads offensive everyday I log on to their system. I hide the ad and list the reason as “offensive.” Why not? Like many sites I visit I don’t like their ads spamming my screen, yet Facebook won’t block any of those “ads” as they continue to data mine more information in order to tailor those ads to your likes and dislikes. Unfortunately their ads bring in revenue, so they will never go away.

As for the censoring of comments, Robert Scoble (the individual at the cent er of this) spoke to Facebook PR, “They say what actually happened is my comment was classified as spam. He further said that this was a “false positive” because my comment was one that Facebook doesn’t want to block.” Facebook can spin this however they want, but censorship is wrong. Here is another story from last April about Facebook’s censorship.

4 Years Later…

87 pages of complaints to the TSA! If that’s not bad enough, it has taken 4 years for these complaints to made public. In 2008 Michael Grabell filed an FOIA request for a list of complaints from travelers. Unfortunately the Government wasn’t in any hurry to get him a response (I am sure they will cite “security concerns”). An FOIA is a process that usually takes a month or so took a bit longer, 4 years longer, but the results are not all that surprising. This is the basis of TSA Reveals Passenger Complaints, an article on ProPublica.org.

The list compiled from the FOIA request is now 4 years old, but the complaints are the nothing new from air travelers. Many of the complaints deal with concern over a name on the no fly watch list, questions regarding valid identification, items removed or allegedly stolen and travelers subjected to abusive treatment by TSA employees. As I said, nothing we haven’t heard or read about in the mainstream media, some brought to the forefront thanks in part to video.

Is the TSA really that backlogged on complaints they could not respond quicker to this inquiry? It wouldn’t come as any surprise if they are as more and more travelers file some sort of complaint because of their travel experience, many of which happen at the security checkpoints. “Lorie Dankers provided a statement pointing out that the agency has received an average of more than 800 requests annually over the past four years. Then the TSA apologized” (source). Sorry doesn’t cut it. Answers do.

Regardless of what happens, the TSA has gained too much power to man security checkpoint since it’s inception. As I wrote a few days ago, this department needs to be disbanded and private companies should be put back in place. Regardless of what group is “providing security” and I use that term very loosely, it really won’t matter. Neither the government or private security provide any real deterrent when it comes to terrorist. In my opinion they are solely window dressing. The intrusive pat-downs are unnecessary and are a violation of our Fourth Amendment.

TSA Busted Again

It always feels good to bring another story to light perpetrated by the TSA, who continues to illegally violate our Fourth Amendment right. This time it’s another seedy TSA baggage inspector in the spotlight after acts of impropriety. It seems Clayton Dovel was arrested on Feb 1 and suspended by the TSA after being “indicted in the theft of Apple iPads from luggage over eight months” as reported in the Star-Telegram. Are individuals like TSA agents/inspectors really that stupid when it comes to electronic devices? Are none of these folks aware that this devices can be tracked? A quick Gibiru search brings up some free apps from the Apple Store.

Now working for the airlines for 12 years I was never directly involved with theft while working as a ramp serviceman. I did witness bags being opened or searched through by other employees. I even heard of a story of a few ramp servicemen who worked for air freight that were trying to steal large electronic devices. Another set were brought up on federal charges for steal of U.S. Mail. I might be getting off the topic here, but theft and searching though bags does happen to luggage.

As for the TSA this is just another in a long series of wrongdoings that further begs the question, of why we need the TSA. I have said from the beginning, this is nothing more than a facade, window dressing if you like to make all outward appearance that the U.S. is now safer with the government running security checkpoints. It’s not! Remember this is the same government that has been at the root of many conspiracies through out history, including the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, the assassination of JFK in 1962, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident in 1964 and Watergate, in 1972-1974. I won’t bother including 9-11, which I believe was perpetrated by the U.S. Government.

Yet these incident and invasion of our rights will continue to happen whenever air travel is included. Unfortunately with the government’s power grab, the TSA is only on the receiving end of more power, as roadway, waterways and railways are now subject to unlawful search and seizure by the U.S. Goverment. News has already come to light about Big Sis and her perjury to Congress or the fact she lied in 2010 regarding the “safe” use of the AIT machines at airport security checkpoints.