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Tag: TSA

Star-Ledger: Homeland Security, TSA Mismanaged Security at Airports

airport scanner 2By Paul Mulshine
The Star-Ledger

The head of the Transportation Safety Administration announced recently that the agency has a plan to deal with the long lines at many of the most important airports in America.

The plan is to warn us that the lines will get even worse this summer.

This is just the latest outrage that makes a lot of travelers hate the TSA. That feeling was buttressed for me when I was talking with a guy I went to high school with at Donovan Catholic in Toms River during the late 1960s.

After 9/11, this guy got a job with the TSA as a “behavioral officer.” There are 3,000 of these.  They walk around airports looking for people acting who are acting suspiciously.

The airport he  walks around is O’Hare in Chicago, the busiest airport in America and the one with the longest lines. When I asked him how many potential terrorists the behavioral officers at O’Hare had caught, he said none.

But they and the customs agents there sure did miss a couple big ones. That would be Syed Farook and his Pakistani-born, Saudi-reared fiancee Tashfeen Malik. They sailed through customs there on July 27, 2014, after traveling from Saudi Arabia and then switched planes for California.

To read more click here. 

Inspector General Investigates Claims That TSA Instructed Racial Profiling

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security’s inspector general is investigating complaints that the TSA is illegally profiling passengers.

The Federal Times reports that a TSA employee in Minneapolis complained that a supervisor told him to treat Somali residents “differently from others who visit the Minneapolis TSA office.”

The TSA has been under fire in recent years over claims by federal officers that they were instructed racially profile people.

The TSA responded that it does not condone profiling.

“The Transportation Security Administration does not  profile, nor does it tolerate profiling by employees,” a TSA spokesperson said. “TSA welcomes the Office of Inspector General’s investigation and will cooperate fully, but cannot comment until the investigation is complete.”

TSA Apologizes to Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer for Intrusive Search at Airport

Van Dyken-Rouen, via Instagram.

Van Dyken-Rouen, via Instagram.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

An Olympic gold medal swimmer who became paralyzed from the waste down said she was “humiliated” during a full-body search after her wheelchair couldn’t go through a metal detector.

ABC News reports that Van Dyken-Rouen, said she was groped during the search at Denver International Airport.

“They go around your breast. They basically go under your butt. They touch things that are not appropriate and it’s really embarrassing,” Van Dyken-Rouen told ABC News.

The TSA apologized in a written statement Monday.

“TSA works closely with the disability community to develop screening procedures that integrate the unique needs of those with disabilities or medical issues into the process. TSA reviews passenger complaints, and in this case determined that our officers did not follow correct screening protocols when Ms. Amy Van Dyken came through the security checkpoint at Denver International Airport (DEN) this weekend. TSA’s federal security director has reached out to Ms. Van Dyken. The officers involved are undergoing retraining, and TSA Denver is providing refresher training to all of its officers as well,” the statement read.

Other Stories of Interest

NY Post: Best Way to Fix Long Lines at Airports Is to Replace TSA

airport lineBy Benjamin Powell
New York Post

Long delays at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints at major airports nationwide have been causing passengers to miss flights. The situation will likely get worse during summer, experts predict.

JFK, according to Fox News Travel, has “by far” one of the worst TSA checkpoints.

But security delays are not the TSA’s only problem.

Newark Liberty International, which runs a close second to JFK on Fox News’ list of US airports with “the worst TSA checkpoints,” also was slammed for lax screening and reports of employee theft. That resulted in a rare occurrence in government: Several employees were actually dismissed.

Not to be outdone, a screener at JFK last summer was likewise busted for theft, trying to abscond with a passenger’s Rolex watch. Another TSA security screener at JFK was arrested three weeks later on an unrelated theft charge.

And, of course, there is the competency issue. As The Post’s Philip Messing reported last fall, “security screeners at Kennedy and Newark airports have consistently failed to find weapons and bombs being smuggled by undercover operatives posing as airline passengers.”

There is a ready solution to the TSA’s problems: Replace the agency. In large airports with multiple security checkpoints, airlines should be required to hire their own screeners and set their own procedures, bypassing the TSA.

Competition among the airlines would help set the proper balance between safety and efficiency, based on passenger preference and demand. This same competitive process would also weed out unnecessary procedures that add little to safety while increasing delays.

To read more click here. 

TSA Whistleblower Says He Was Ordered to Racially Profile Somali-Americans

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA employee testified before Congress Wednesday that his superiors instructed him to racially profile Somali-Americans.

Andrew Rhodes, the current TSA assistant federal security director art Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, laid out the allegations in testimony at the House Oversight Committee, CNN reports. 

One of the largest Somali populations likes in Minneapolis.

“Not only does the TSA mistreat its employees, it alienates entire communities,” Rhoades testified. “On April 8, 2016, my supervisors asked me profile Somali imams and other Somali community members. I refused.”

Rhodes said he received very specific instructions: “With our current world affairs that we need to be mindful of those we interact with and advised that employee should check with the field intelligence officer on potential visitors to determine if we want them in our office space or meet elsewhere.”

The TSA said in a statement that it “does not tolerate racial profiling.”

“TSA takes allegations of racial profiling seriously,” the statement read. “We are reviewing this complaint and will take appropriate action if there is evidence that any TSA officer acted inappropriately.”

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Finds Record 73 Firearms in Carry-On Luggage in 1 Week at Nation’s Airports

body images airportBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA reported that a record 73 firearms were found in carry-on luggage last week, setting a 73-year-old record for most guns found in such a short period.

Newsy reports that most of the guns were loaded, and 27 had a round in the chamber.  

What’s unclear is how many guns made it onto the plane without security noticing. A report last year from that the TSA failed to find an alarming number of prohibited items.

At the time, the TSA had a 95% failure rate of identifying smuggled mock weapons and explosives.

People caught with a firearm in a carry-on face arrest and fines between $1,500 and $7,500.

Other Stories of Interest

Senate Passes Bill That Would Improve Security at Airports

airport-people-walkingBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Senate approved a bill to overhaul aviation safety, security and consumer programs and policies, the Associated Press reports. 

In an effort to shorten security lines, the Senate wants to expand the TSA’s PreCheck program to include more travelers.

The number of TSA “viper teams” also could increase from 30 to 60 to stop and search suspicious passengers.

The bill calls for enhancing the vetting of employees who have access to secure areas.

Senators also addressed drones, saying criminal penalties need to be established to deter the reckless use of drone near airports.

Other Stories of Interest

Travelers Launched 1,000 Complaints Against TSA Agents at Orland International Airport

airport lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Travelers launched 1,000 complaints against TSA agents at Orlando International Airport in 2014, according to records obtained by Eyewitness News 9.

The complaints varies from rude officers to inappropriate contact. Some of the complaints involved children.

But the most common complaint was that TSA officers stole property from travelers.

“We’ll pull video tape and if there’s an issue with the individual, we’ll hold them accountable. But a lot of times, there’s a lot of frustration with people arriving late to the airport, not understanding our process,” TSA Director Jerry Henderson said.

Henderson said the TSA is working hard to minimize the conduct that leads to complaints.

“(We) don’t really want any complaints, at all, so some of the things we’ve done is really partnered with the airport. We’ve done a lot of customer service training,” Henderson said.