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Tag: TSA

Plans for New TSA Headquarters Delayed for 2 Years Over Bidding Process

tsaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA was expected to get a new headquarters in Alexandria by 2018, but those plans have been delayed until 2020, the Alexandria Times reports.

The decision appears to be influenced by plans for a new bidding process.

The GSA recently requested a request to amend the lease proposals to bidders to clarify certain requirements.

A judge recently voided a lease by Victory Center at 5001 Eisenhower Ave., where TSA was expected to move, over issues with the square footage available.

Other Stories of Interest

USA Today Writer: How Invasive TSA Aggressively Handled Me at Airport

body images airportJames Bovard
USA Today

The Transportation Security Administration finally obeyed a 2011 federal court order March 3 and issued a 157 page Federal Register notice justifying its controversial full-body scanners and other checkpoint procedures. TSA’s notice ignored the fact that the “nudie” scanners are utterly unreliable; TSAfailed to detect 95% of weapons and mock bombs that Inspector General testers smuggled past them last year while the agency continues to mislead the public about its heavy-handed treatment of travelers.

The Federal Register notice is full of soothing pablum about how travelers have no reason to fear the TSA, declaring that “passengers can obtain information before they leave for the airport on what items are prohibited.” But it neglects to mention that TSA can invoke ludicrous pretexts to treat innocent travelers as suspicious terrorist suspects.

Flying home from Portland, Ore., on Thanksgiving morning, I had a too-close encounter with TSA agents that spurred me to file a Freedom of Information Act request. On March 5, I finally received a bevy of TSA documents and video footage with a grope-by-grope timeline.

As a silent assertion of my rights, I opted out that morning from passing through the “nudie” full-body scanners. A TSA agent instead did a vigorous pat-down and then, after running his glove through an explosive trace detector (ETD), announced that I showed a positive alert for explosives. He did not know what type of explosive was detected and refused to disclose how often that machine spewed false alarms. Regardless, I was told I would have to undergo a an additional special pat-down to resolve the explosive alert. I was marched off by three TSA agents to a closed room. TSA states that “a companion of his or her choosing may accompany the passenger” but I was never notified of that right.

TSA disclosed exhaustive video coverage of my every movement in the Portland airport, even detailing which chair I chose after getting a Starbucks coffee. But there is a tell-tale gap. The video timeline notes “7:50:29 group arrives at Private Security room. 7:50:55. Door Closes. 7:57:28 Door Opens.” The seven-minute gap in the recording is where travelers’ rights vanish.

TSA’s power is effectively unlimited behind closed doors. The lead TransportationSecurity officer (LTSO) proceeded to carry out a far more aggressive patdown, tugging on my shirt as if he thought it was a tear-away football jersey. The procedure was only mildly aggravating until he jammed his palm into my groin three times. Perhaps that pointless procedure was retribution for opting-out or my scoffing at their security theater.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Tribune-Review: TSA’s Bonus Scam Rewards ‘Pitiful Job Performance’

tsaBy Editorial Board
The Tribune-Review

By definition, a “bonus” is recognition of a job well done. In federal application, it’s acceptance of poor performance as graphically illustrated by the Transportation Security Administration.

Following a whistle-blower’s complaint, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is investigating TSA bonuses paid despite pitiful job performance. Under the collective bargaining agreement with the American Federation of Government Employees union, performance-based cash awards are permitted without defining how these perks are to be issued.

And once again, the brakes are applied long after the flight to mediocrity has left the gate.

TSA officials at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport pocketed automatic bonuses — in one case, $70,000 over three years — despite abysmal results in security tests, according to reports. An undercover operation revealed that weapons bypassed security 95 percent of the time in 70 tests. Screeners reportedly failed to find a fake bomb taped to an undercover agent’s back even after it set off a warning device.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Concerns Raised About How Accused Shooter Boarded Commercial Airline

Kyle Odom

Kyle Odom

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man accused of shooting a church pastor was able to board a commercial airline in Idaho despite an attempted murder warrant for his arrest, the Associated Press reports. 

Kyle Odom managed to board the plane without problems and traveled to Washington D.C.

The Transportation Security Administration said local law enforcement didn’t inform them of the arrest warrant until Monday evening, hours after Odom boarded the plane.

“TSA had not received a law enforcement bulletin to ‘be on the lookout’ for the suspect,” the agency said in a press statement.

Although TSA screens passengers on the government’s Terrorist Watchlist, it has no similar database for wanted criminals.

Odom, 30, who law enforcement said wrote a manifesto about Martians controlling Earth, was arrested after allegedly throwing items onto the lawn of the White House.

Other Stories of Interest

Dozens of Air Marshals Committed Crimes, Ranging from Attempted Murder to Human Trafficking

us-air-marshalsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Dozens of federal air marshals have been committed crimes ranging from attempted murder to aiding a human trafficking ring, Patch.com reports. 

Between November 2002 and February 2012, air marshals were arrested 148 times.

Patch found that one air marshal tried to lure a young boy to a hotel room and another used his badge “to smuggle drugs past airport security.”

Air marshals also hired prostitutes and engaged in fights with security guards at a brothel.

The TSA responded, saying the incidents were relatively rare given the number of marshals.

“The vast majority of FAMs [federal air marshals] are dedicated law enforcement professionals who conduct themselves in an exemplary manner,” TSA said in a statement. “TSA and FAMS continually strive to maintain a culture of accountability within its workforce.”

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Stops Woman With Bullet-Lined Shoes at Baltimore Airport

Bullet-lined shoes discovered at an airport checkpoint. Photo by TSA.

Bullet-lined shoes discovered at an airport checkpoint. Photo by TSA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A woman trying to board a flight was stopped when security found bullet-lined platform shoes with revolvers for heels.

The incident happened at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Monday, when an unidentified passenger was stopped by the TSA for having the shoes and a bracelet lined with bullets, Time reports. 

“Shoes and bracelets that are less than ideal to wear or bring to a @TSA checkpoint. These delayed a traveler at BWI,” the agency’s spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein posted on Twitter Monday.

The platform shoes were in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

Instead of abandoning her flight, the woman abandoned the shoe and bracelet.

Farbstein reminded travelers, “Realistic replica firearms and ammunition are not permitted past TSA checkpoints.”

In 2015, the TSA found an average of seven firearms a day at airport checkpoints.

Other Stories of Interest

U.S. House Committee Investigates Lucrative Bonuses Doled Out to TSA Managers

airport-people-walkingBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A U.S. House committee has launched an investigation into awards and bonuses doled out to senior management with TSA.

The news comes a day after FOX 9 revealed that TSA managers were receiving lucrative bonuses.

Kelly Hoggan, the assistant administrator at TSA headquarters in charge of security, received $70,000 in bonuses over three years.

The issue first came to light when Drew Rhoades, an assistant federal security director at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, blew the whistle on bonuses.

“It wasn’t tied to a performance rating, wasn’t tied to any objective basis, if you have a high salary you continue to get performance bonuses,” Rhoades recalled.

TSA said in a statement: “Since his confirmation, Administrator Peter Neffenger has sought to enhance respect, selflessness, collaboration, and accountability in all activities, across the agency, from executive decision-making to core security functions. TSA will not tolerate illegal, unethical or immoral conduct. When such conduct is alleged, it is investigated thoroughly, and when appropriate, by an outside authority. When an investigation finds that misconduct has occurred, TSA takes the appropriate action. This is the case regardless of seniority or position.”

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Whistleblower Speaks Out About Security Flaws That Endanger Flyers

airport scanner 2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A TSA senior manager-turned-whistleblower spoke out publicly for the first time about retaliation within the agency and growing safety concerns.

Drew Rhodes, one of four assistant federal security directors at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, expressed his concerns about the TSA in an interview Fox9. 

Rhodes said he blew the whistle on the agency because of frustration over security flaws that weren’t being addressed,. They included the handling of ammunition at checkpoints and the failure to use orange tags on check bags that had already been screened.

Here’s a partial transcript of the interview with Fox9:

Rhoades: “There were these embarrassing stories about the TSA. My supervisor said, ‘I want to know who the leak is. Is it you, he said at one meeting.”
Reporter: They thought you were my leak for those stories?’
Rhoades “That is correct.”
Reporter: “And just to set the record straight, we had never talked, or met each other when I did those stories?’
Rhoades: “That is correct.”
Rhodes’ boss is Federal Security Director Cliff Van Leuven.

Ven Leuven ordered Rhoades transferred from Minnesota, to Tampa, Florida.  But for Rhoades, who had recently divorced, the warmer locale came at price.

Rhoades: “If I left the state of Minnesota, I would’ve lost custody of my children.”
Reporter: “So they knew they had you, that moving was a deal killer?”
Rhoades:  “Absolutely.”
Reporter: “And you think around the country directed reassignments are used to punish people in TSA?”
Rhoades: “No doubt. It’s happened in many cities.”