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Tag: TSA

Man Claims TSA Jailed Him for 23 Hours for Threatening to File Complaint

tsa.gov

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 57-year-old man claims in a lawsuit that the TSA jailed him for 23 hours in retaliation for asking to file a complaint about the length of a search, the Daily News reports.

Roger Vanderklok said security thew him in jail while he was trying to fly from Philadelphia International Airport to Miami two years ago.

Vanderklok said he was miffed that security took 30 minutes search his baggage without explaining why.

The TSA responded that it was suspicious of a heart-monitoring watch and power bars in his suitcase because they resembled explosives and a detonator.

Vanderklok said he was placed in a jail cell after saying he wanted to file a complaint.

“I was scared to death. I have never been arrested in my life, never had handcuffs put on,” Vanderklok said. “Throughout the night, I was in a dark place; no one knew where I was. I thought, ‘I could fall off the face of the earth right now, and no one would know it.’ “

Former TSA Officer Tells of ‘Pained Relationship with Government Security’

By Jason Edward Harrington
The Week

My pained relationship with government security started in 2007. I needed a job to help pay my way through college in Chicago, and the Transportation Security Administration’s callback, for a job as a security officer at O’Hare International Airport, was the first one I received. It was just a temporary thing, I told myself — side income for a year or two as I worked toward a degree in creative writing. It wasn’t like a recession would come along and lock me into the job or anything.

I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly, and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots — the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.

Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group — a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.

I quickly discovered I was working for an agency whose morale was among the lowest in the U.S. government. In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.

Until 2010 (just after the TSA standard operating procedure manual was accidentally leaked to the public), all TSA officers worked with a secret list that many of us taped to the back of our TSA badges for easy reference: the Selectee Passport List. It consisted of 12 nations that automatically triggered enhanced passenger screening. The training department drilled us on the selectee countries so regularly that I had memorized them, like a little poem:

Syria, Algeria, Afghanistan
Iraq, Iran, Yemen
and Cuba,
Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan
People’s Republic of North Korea

People holding passports from the selectee countries were automatically pulled aside for full-body pat downs and had their luggage examined with a fine-toothed comb. The selectee list was purely political, of course, with diplomacy playing its role as always: There was no Saudi Arabia or Pakistan on a list of states historically known to harbor, aid, and abet terrorists. Besides, my co-workers at the airport didn’t know Algeria from a medical condition, we rarely came across Cubanos, and no one’s ever seen a North Korean passport that didn’t include the words “Kim Jong.” So it was mostly the Middle Easterners who got the special screening.

Most of us knew the directives were questionable, but orders were orders. And in practice, officers with common sense were able to cut corners on the most absurd rules, provided supervisors or managers weren’t looking.

Then a man tried to destroy a plane with an underwear bomb, and everything changed.

To read more click here.

Other Stories Of Interest


Airport, Airline Employees About to Undergo More Vigorous Security Measures

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Airport and airline employees will soon face tougher security measures being implemented by the TSA, CBS New York reports.

Homeland Security made the announcement just weeks after a gun-smuggling operation in which a bag handler and ramp agent were involved. 

Among the potential security measures could be airline-employee screenings, additional TSA patrols and random security checks.

The Aviation Security Advisory Committee is responsible for reviewing airport safety nationwide.

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Number of Weapons Seized at Airports This Year Increased 20% Over Last Year

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The number of weapons seized at airports this year have increased 20% over last year, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

TSA agents have confiscated 2,164 guns as of Christmas, which marks the seventh consecutive year of increases in the number of weapons seized.

So what’s the deal? Haven’t people been warned enough since Sept. 11, 2001, that they won’t be able to board a plane with a weapon?

It appears not, TSA officials said.

The agency launched a public-relations campaign last month to remind people during the holidays to leave their weapons at home.

Other Stories of Interest


TSA Agent Arrested After Estranged Wife’s Body Found in Van in Florida

Herve Placide

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A TSA agent has turned himself in after his estranged wife was found dead in a parked van Monday in Florida, the New York Daily News reports.

Herve Placide, 49, was arrested Monday following the discovery of his wife in a Walgreens Parking lot in Poinciana, Fla.

Placide is considered a suspected but was not charged as of Monday evening, the Daily News wrote.

A family member told police that Placide drove off with Magalie Placide after a physical altercation between the two.

About 45 minutes later, her body was found in the van.

Other Stories of Interest


USA Today Editorial: TSA Takes Sensible Steps to Improving Security, Airport Experience

tsa.gov

USA Today
By Editorial Board

Holiday air travel seems to get more unpleasant with each passing year, especially if you’re flying coach. Planes are packed. Seats are cramped. Overhead bins are overloaded. Free meals are non-existent.

But one part of the airport experience has been improving, and — believe it or not — it’s the part controlled by the government. Four years after the pre-Thanksgiving “don’t touch my junk” uproar over intrusive pat-downs, the Transportation Security Administration has made significant strides toward a more common-sense approach to screening.

TSA has accomplished this even as airlines have made the screeners’ job harder by imposing hefty bag-check fees that encourage fliers to schlep their densely packed luggage through security and onto planes.

The most welcome change at the checkpoint: No longer is everyone — from toddlers to wheelchair-bound octogenarians — treated like a terrorist.

Expedited, “risk-based” security is now available to children under 12, seniors 75 and older, members of the armed services and other low-risk fliers. Most significantly, the PreCheck program has enrolled more than 700,000 travelers who can go through special lanes where they don’t have to remove shoes, belts, light jackets or laptops.

As a result of these and other steps, complaints are down more than 25% and wait times have been reduced, says TSA Administrator John Pistole, who is stepping down next month after four-and-a-half years on the job.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

Record Number of People Trying to Board Planes with Guns; TSA Braces for Holiday Travel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

No matter how many warnings the TSA issues, people are trying to bring guns onto airplanes at a record rate, Channel3000.com reports.

So far this year, more than 1,930 travelers were found with a gun – the most ever calculated in one year. The number caught with guns all of last year was 1,813.

Expecting 24.6 million travelers during the Thanksgiving period, the TSA is bracing for a surge in people bringing guns in their carry-ons.

The reasons for the influx are varied.

“Some people just aren’t using common sense,” said George Hobica, founder of the travel advice web site Airfarewatchdog.com. “What’s really scary is that eventually some of these will get by TSA and misused.”

TSA spokesman Ross Feinstein said most travelers who are caught with guns claim they forgot they had their weapon.

“Perhaps we need stronger penalties for people who try to bring them, or forget to remove them, in carry-ons,” Hobica said. “That might jog peoples’ memories to not try to bring them on planes.”

 Other Stories of Interest

Ex-Red Sox Pitcher Curt Schilling’s Son Alarms Passengers, TSA with Fake Grenade

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling’s son caused quite a scare at Logan International Airport on Saturday when his 12-year-old son told federal agents he had a fake grenade in his bag, MassLive reports.

“I think I left (a) fake grenade in my bag!” his son said.

Schilling tweeted that the bomb squad responded and alarmed passengers. But before long, the TSA let the former baseball star and his son board their flight.

“TSA could not have been cooler once they realized what was happening,” Schilling tweeted.

 Other Stories of Interest