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Tag: TSA

Column: Ex-FBI Agent Says TSA Continues to Prove It is “An Inept Agency”

Douglas B. Wolfe was an FBI agent who also worked for Department of Defense and retired as Senior Special Agent, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Agriculture. He runs Fidelity Investigations & Consulting in Maryland and recently launched a blog  WorldFamousPrivateEye’s Blog.

Doug Wolfe

By Douglas B. Wolfe

It’s the week before the busiest holiday travel season, and the TSA continues to prove it is an inept agency in search of a mission. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano justifies intrusive policies with simple-minded platitudes, “It’s all about security,” and “everybody recognizing their role.” When did it become the role of a TSA employee to don gloves and grope passengers?

I doubt most TSA screeners envisioned this part of their job description, and MOST don’t want to be the groper. What do I and most airline customers want? We just want to visit Mom for Thanksgiving and not be hassled.

But the TSA must be doing a great job since there have been no hijackings since 9-11, right? Wrong. The whole paradigm of how to act if your plane is hijacked has changed. The “system” taught us for decades to just comply with a hijacker’s instructions and the plane will land safely in Cuba. Now, no self-respecting planeload (read cattlecar) of travellers will ever let a terrorist, a ne’er-do-well, or anybody else take over a plane again. Not without a fight anyway. Bad guys know it, I know it, you know it, but Napolitano and TSA chief John Pistole are determined to give you and me a choice between the high-tech scanner (think of the ads for xray glasses that accompanied the mini comic strip inside the Bazooka bubble gum wrapper), or the low-tech molestation.

Billions of our dollars have been flushed down the drain called “security.” It’s a brilliant strategy by the Bin Ladens of the world if you think about it. They can’t win by force, but they can watch and wave as the United States spends itself into more economic woe.

In the weeks following the 9-11 attacks President Bush boldly re-drew the lines on government organization charts, creating DHS by simply renaming the people already on the job, adding more layers of bureaucracy, and more political positions. Some of the realignments make sense. But it was never essential. The government’s default strategy for problem solving is to reorganize. But it won’t address the real problem

Secretary Napolitano and Mr. Pistole, your first duty is to respect the Constitution and the dignity of both the traveling public AND TSA employees. Do the best you can within reason, to deter evil-doers.

But please, stop hassling us.

Head of TSA Plans No Change in Airport Body Scans or Pat-Downs

John Pistole/dhs photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — In wake of the video-gone-viral where a passenger warns airport security not to touch his “junk”, head of the Transportation Security Administration told a Senate committee Wednesday  there would be no changes in the use of full-body scans and pat-downs for passengers, AOL News reports.

John Pistole, formerly the number 2 person at the FBI, who now heads the TSA, said he preferred to educate the public rather than change procedures.

“Am I going to change the policies?” he said, according to AOL News. “No.”

Pistole told the Senate Committee on Commerce that the passenger John Tyner, whose encounter at the airport was posted on YouTube, would not face fines for his confrontation with TSA security, AOL News reported. He had been facing possible punishment.

Tyner was heard saying on the tape: “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.

To read more click here.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3lbnSLalWQ

Column by Janet Napolitano: New Airport Screening Devices “Safe, Efficient and Protect Passenger Privacy”

Janet Napolitano

By Janet Napolitano
USA Today

WASHINGTON — Nearly a year after a thwarted terrorist attack on a Detroit-bound airliner last Christmas Day, the recent attempt by terrorists to conceal and ship explosive devices aboard aircraft bound for the United States reminds us that al-Qaeda and those inspired by its ideology are determined to strike our global aviation system and are constantly adapting their tactics for doing so.

Our best defense against such threats remains a risk-based, layered security approach that utilizes a range of measures, both seen and unseen, including law enforcement, advanced technology, intelligence, watch-list checks and international collaboration.

This layered approach to aviation security is only as strong as the partnerships upon which it is built.

In addition to the more than 50,000 trained transportation security officers, transportation security inspectors, behavior detection officers and canine teams who are on the front lines guarding against threats to the system, we rely on law enforcement and intelligence agencies across the federal government.

We require airlines and cargo carriers to carry out specific tasks such as the screening of cargo and passengers overseas. We work closely with local law enforcement officers in airports throughout the country.

And we ask the American people to play an important part of our layered defense. We ask for cooperation, patience and a commitment to vigilance in the face of a determined enemy.

As part of our layered approach, we have expedited the deployment of new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) units to help detect concealed metallic and non-metallic threats on passengers. These machines are now in use at airports nationwide, and the vast majority of travelers say they prefer this technology to alternative screening measures.

AIT machines are safe, efficient, and protect passenger privacy.

To read more click here.

Passengers Irked About Airport Patdowns; TSA Chief John Pistole Discusses Issue

Napolitano Announces Clamp Down on Air Cargo Security

Janet Napolitano/file photo-bill maher show

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The U.S. moved Monday to clamp down on the vulnerable area of cargo shipments from abroad.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced the banning of “high risk” cargo shipments and a ban on shipments from Yemen and Somalia.

“Following the thwarted terrorist plot last week to conceal and ship explosive devices on board aircraft bound for the U.S., the Administration took a number of immediate steps to increase security by tightening existing measures related to cargo bound for the United States,” Napolitano said in a statement.

Read more »

Update: 17 Firearms Found in Week at U.S. Airport Checkpoints

airport scanner 2By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — As part of an occasional snapshot of what’s happening at U.S. airports, here’s the latest:

Authorities found 17 firearms at airport checkpoints the week of Oct 4 to Oct. 10, according to the Transportation Security Administration, which runs the checkpoints.

Additionally, seven passengers during that week were arrested for suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents, TSA said.

The 17 figure is on the lower end. For instance, last Dec. 21-27, authorities found 37 firearms at airport checkpoints.

More TSA Workers to Get “Secret” Clearance

John Pistole/dhs photo

John Pistole/dhs photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration, which protects our airports, will be giving more employees secret clearances so they’ll have more access to intelligence, CNN reports.

CNN reports that the number of employees with “secret” clearances will go to 10,000 or one sixth of the agency’s workforce.

TSA Administrator John Pistole, formerly the number two person at the FBI, said the access will give frontline workers more information when trying to stop terrorists, CNN reported.

Pistole, who spoke before a House Homeland Security Subcommittee this week, said “a key lesson I took from my 26 years at the FBI is that one of the best tools we possess in our effort to combat terrorism is accurate and timely intelligence. Our enemies constantly evolve their methods and their tools…and it’s our job to stay ahead of them.”

Transportation Security Administration Supervisor Pleads Guilty to Stealing Items From Luggage

airport-people-walkingBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

It’s bad enough airline customers have to pay to check in luggage. But to have to pay and then have things stolen from the luggage.

Well, former Transportation Security Administration supervisor Randy Pepper pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Seattle to stealing $20,000 in jewelry and other items from checked luggage at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, the Associated Press reported.

AP reported that Pepper was fired in July 2009 after a TSA worker saw him remove items from luggage. Pepper pawned the items, AP reported.

Pepper is set to be sentenced in November. The AP reported the guideline range is six months to one year in prison.

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