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Tag: TSA

Senator Holding Up Vote on TSA Director Who’s an Ex-FBI Agent

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

Sen. DeMint/gov photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — Here in the nation’s capital, there’s always someone willing to play politics, no matter the consequence.

In this case, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) is holding up President Obama’s nomination of Erroll Southers, a former FBI agent, to head the Transportation Security Administration over a union issue, McClatchy newspapers reported.

The news organization reports that DeMint is holding up the confirmation to try and prevent TSA workers from joining a labor union. He feels such a move would interfer with the effectiveness of the organization and its ability to change rules quickly.

The news organization reported that he wants to hear testimony on Southers’ view on unionizing TSA before the matter gets voted on before the full Senate.

To read more click here.

Column: Ex-TSA Official Says Document Scandal “Not The Worst Breach of Security Since 9/11”

Ellen Howe served as Assistant Administrator for Strategic Communications & Public Affairs at the Transportation Security Administration from March 2006 until January 2009.

Ellen Howe/security debrief photo

Ellen Howe/security debrief photo

By Ellen Howe
Security DeBrief

Certainly the posting of the Transportation Security Administration’s screening procedures on the Internet was not the agency’s finest hour, but it was not the worst breach of security since 9/11, as I heard last night on CNN.

While some were quick to pounce and ridicule, most of what was in that document can be deciphered by studying procedures at the checkpoint, something terrorists are known to do before they execute an attack.

TSA is a complex organization, and its people and policies should not be underestimated. The agency bases its operations on intelligence, and the document that was revealed does not account for constant updates and tweaks made based on current intelligence.

To Read More

Oooops! Transportation Security Administration Accidentally Reveals Airport Security Secrets

It’s never a good thing when an agency which is part of the Department of Homeland Security — emphasis on Security — makes such a goof. Someone needs to pay closer attention.

oops-art

By Spencer S. Hsu and Carrie Johnson
Washington Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — The Transportation Security Administration inadvertently revealed closely guarded secrets related to airport passenger screening practices when it posted online this spring a document as part of a contract solicitation, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

The 93-page TSA operating manual details procedures for screening passengers and checked baggage, such as technical settings used by X-ray machines and explosives detectors. It also includes pictures of credentials used by members of Congress, CIA employees and federal air marshals, and it identifies 12 countries whose passport holders are automatically subjected to added scrutiny.

TSA officials said that the manual was posted online in a redacted form on a federal procurement Web site, but that the digital redactions were inadequate. They allowed computer users to recover blacked-out passages by copying and pasting them into a new document or an e-mail.

For Full Story

President’s Nominee to Head TSA Was Censured as FBI Agent

tsa_logo

This probably won’t be enough to block his confirmation, but it certainly doesn’t help.

By Ed O’Keefe
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — President Obama’s nominee to lead the nation’s airport security officers received a censure from the FBI in 1988 after asking a San Diego police officer to run a background check on his ex-wife’s boyfriend.

Obama tapped Erroll Southers in September to serve as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration. Southers is currently chief of homeland security and intelligence at the Los Angeles International Airport’s police department and associate director of the University of Southern California’s Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events. He previously served as a homeland security adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-Calif.).

For Full Story

Shape Up! TSA to Install 150 Machines at Airports that See Through Clothing

airport-people-walking

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON— Ok, here’s another reason to stay in shape and stop hiding behind those baggy clothes.  More airport screeners are about to acquire Superman powers.

USA Today reports that Homeland Security’s Transportation Security Administration plans to install 150 security machines at airport checkpoints that will let screeners peek under passengers’ clothes.

The scanners have been used on a test basis at some airports, but mostly on folks who set off screening alarms and are pulled aside. Some groups are complaining that the machines are far too intrusive.

The House has passed a bill limiting the machines’ use for passengers who have set off some type of screening alarm. The bill is before the Senate, USA Today reported.

TSA spokeswoman Kristin Lee told USA Today that the machines are “critical” to stopping terrorists with homemade bombs. The machines will be installed early next year and will have “privacy additions to create images that look like etchings”, the paper reported.

People Just Keep Bringing Guns to Airports

Airport crowdBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — You have to wonder what part of “no guns at airports” do people not understand?

The Transportation Security Administration continues to seize guns at our nation’s airports every week.

The latest: From Aug. 10 to Aug. 16, TSA reported that 34 firearms were found at airport checkpoints.

On top of that, seven passengers were arrested for suspicious behavior or fraudulent travel documents and there were 18 incidents involving a check point closure, terminal evacuation or sterile area breach, the TSA said.

Airport Screeners a Step Closer to Collective Bargaining

It never made sense that airport screeners didn’t have the right to collective bargaining. This should right that wrong.

airport-screening
By Joe Davidson
The Washington Post
WASHINGTON — Charity Wilson didn’t go looking for a fight when she went to the Cannon House Office Building yesterday, but she was ready in case one broke out.

Wilson, an American Federation of Government Employees lobbyist, was prepared to provide Homeland Security Committee members with rebuttal arguments against any attempt to weaken or kill legislation that would allow airport screeners the right to bargain collectively.

But Republican opponents apparently knew a fight would be futile. The 13 to 6 vote along party lines that advanced the bill came after almost no debate. What could have been a long, contentious meeting was over in less than 20 minutes.

For Full Story

25 Guns Found at Airport Checkpoints During Holiday Week

airport-photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com
WASHINGTON — The holiday week from June 29 to July 5 brought more than fireworks and hotdogs.

The Transportation Security Administration reported finding 25 firearms at airport checkpoints around the nation during that period.

Also during that time, six passengers were arrested for suspicious behavior or for fraudulent travel documents, the TSA said.