Posts Tagged Transportation Security Administration
by: Alex Newman
August 3, 2012
About a year ago, a federal appeals court ordered the deeply unpopular Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to obey the law and hold public hearings on its widely loathed “naked body scanners.” The massive bureaucracy flouted the judicial order and has so far failed to comply. This week, however, the court demanded that the Department of Homeland Security explain itself by the end of the month.
A coalition of TSA critics including the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) originally sought to have the nude scanners removed from airports on constitutional grounds, alleging a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Other opponents also said the pornographic machines violate the right to privacy.
Because the controversial TSA devices use a type of radiation to peer through people’s clothes, many experts and activists worry about health dangers, too — not to mention the fact that federal bureaucrats are ogling naked men, women, and children. Besides, the machines were exposed as completely useless by an engineer last year.
As expected, the appeals court stopped short of ordering the rogue agency to stop using the porno scanners in its July 2011 ruling last July — federal courts are not exactly known for limiting federal power, regardless of what the Constitution states. It did rule, however, that the airport “safety” outfit had failed to hold the lawfully required 90-day public-comment hearings and that the law had to be obeyed “promptly.”
“This rulemaking is the only way to determine whether TSA’s air travel security regime is worth its huge costs and adverse effects on the public’s well-being,” noted former American Airlines chief Robert Crandall and transportation policy analyst Marc Scribner with the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “Several independent analyses have found that TSA’s use of these machines would be economically wasteful even if they worked as well as TSA claims, but may actually make us less safe.”
According to analysts, the public comments and the TSA’s responses would also create a new avenue to challenge the use of naked body scanners, already in use at some 200 airports. But the arrogant and bloated federal bureaucracy, which was blasted as a useless and even counter-productive waste of taxpayer money last year in a blistering congressional report, has so far decided to keep breaking the law and ignoring the court’s order.
July 26, 2012
by: Ed Bugos
July 23, 2012
[Editors Note: the following post is by Ed Bugos, TDV Senior Analyst… this occurred last week, on the same day that TDV Correspondent and new TDV employee, Justin O’Connell was incarcerated in Las Vegas. Is it because we are vigilantes that we continue to be cloistered and caged? We don’t think so. We believe it is solely because we have an inability to cowtow and submit to “authority”… unless you do that, you will be kidnapped and questioned… as Ed was last week. Here is more…]
“What kind of business are you going down to the US for, sir?” asked the customs officer.
I was coming from Vancouver, BC, Canada, and it was supposed to be just another trip. I was going to visit a mine site in Redding (owned by a private company), and a prospective mining property in Grass Valley (both in California) in some of the oldest mining districts at the request of potential investors who wanted me to vet the assets.
I wasn’t being paid for the excursion. The trip’s expenses were straight out of my pocket. Maybe it would lead to some business, maybe it wouldn’t. Chances are, it wouldn’t. That’s the risk in this business.
As we headed to the airport Sunday morning, my wife didn’t understand why I was so tense. We even argued about it a little. I told her I was worried that I’d miss my 6am flight because the TSA might detain me.
Not because I write for TDV, or because I have been a general critic of the fascist state since before Greenspan’s tech bubble. But because they detained me the last two out of three times I went to the US on business. At the airport, I even hesitated before checking off the box on my customs declaration that denoted I was visiting the US for business related reasons.
But, I thought, better tell the truth. Besides, what were the odds they would detain me again just to answer the same questions they asked last time? Boy, was I wrong.
Sunday, July 01, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] The Transportation Security Administration is already known for being one of the most, if not the most, inept, incompetent and criminal of all the federal agencies. Now we can add cruel and heartless to the growing list of TSA outrages.
John Gross of Indianapolis suffered unbelievable humiliation at the hands of a female TSA agent at the airport in Orlando, Fla., after she insisted on opening a jar containing his grandfather’s remains. When doing her “inspection,” she promptly spilled them on the floor.
Before the “accident,” Gross pleaded with the agent to “be careful.”
“They opened up my bag, and I told them, ‘Please, be careful. These are my grandpa’s ashes,” he told a local ABC News affiliate.
“She picked up the jar. She opened it up,” Gross said. Then she dropped them.
The remains of Gross’ grandfather, who was 91 when he passed, had been divided up among family members after he died a decade ago. Gross had been given his portion by his uncle during his trip.
Here’s the rub – the agency wasn’t even supposed to open the jar
The jar was clearly marked “Human Remains” and was in a tightly sealed jar.
Gross said one-third to one-half of his grandfather’s ashes spilled; worse, he said, the agent laughed as he worked to recover what he could.
“She didn’t apologize. She started laughing,” Gross told the station. “I was on my hands and knees picking up bone fragments. I couldn’t pick up all, everything that was lost. I mean, there was a long line behind me.”
Talk about adding insult to injury.
What’s even worse is that – as usual – checking those remains was against the TSA’s rules.
According to the TSA’s own Web site, “Passengers are allowed to carry a crematory container as part of their carry-on luggage, but the container must pass through the X-ray machine.”
Continuing, the site says: “Out of respect to the deceased and their family and friends, under no circumstances will an officer open the container even if the passenger requests this be done. Documentation from the funeral home is not sufficient to carry a crematory container through security and onto a plane without screening.”
What the agency was supposed to do was put the remains through an X-ray machine.
So why did that female TSA agent open the remains? Does she not know the rules? Does she care?
Gross wants to see some contrition, and he’s absolutely right to demand it.
“I want an apology,” he said. “I want an apology from TSA. I want an apology from the lady who opened the jar and laughed at me. I want them to help me understand where they get off treating people like this.”
As of this writing, Gross has yet to receive an apology.
TSA needs to be out of the security business
The TSA has such an awful history, it’s pathetic. Why this agency still exists is – well, Congress’ fault.
“TSA needs to immediately remove themselves from the human resource business. This report details highly disturbing cases where pedophiles and child pornographers wearing federal law enforcement uniforms are not only patting down unsuspecting travelers, but in many cases stealing valuables from their bags,” U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) said recently in a highly critical report about the agency.
“Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to step in and demand accountability from Administrator (John) Pistole,” she said.
She wants the TSA out of the “security” business altogether, if not out of American airports.
U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky wants the TSA gone as well.
“The American people shouldn’t be subjected to harassment, groping, and other public humiliation simply to board an airplane,” Paul said in May.
Saturday, June 30, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] While the Central Intelligence Agency has a history of paying off petty tyrants and thugs in its quest to keep America safe, no regular federal agency would purposely seek out and hire the dregs of society. Right?
Enter the illustrious Transportation Security Administration. Are you surprised?
According to “Rob,” a TSA supervisor-turned-whistleblower, in an interview with the Alex Jones Show, the agency’s brass is directing staff to hire degenerates – people with criminal records who have exhibited violent tendencies and psychopathic behavior.
How do you like air travel now?
During the interview, Rob talked about his job, which entailed filing reports on TSA screeners who did not follow agency procedures. He said he was alarmed by the fact that the agency was hiring a number of criminals who he said exhibited the behavior of “psychopaths.”
“We have a program in the state of Rhode Island where we take prisoners who are out for non-violent drug offenses and everything else – basically sociopaths – and we’re sending them to a ten-day course and getting them in uniform checking out people,” the whistleblower said.
He noted that people who presented themselves very professionally were often passed over in favor of applicants who had spent time in jail and who had megalomaniacal, power-trip tendencies.
The aberrancy is getting noticed
“If they have a background and it’s something like violence or abusing authority we put them right in, we put them guys on the floor first day,” said Rob, who also said he was encouraged to hire veterans from the Iraq war who had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It’s all about the power trip, it’s all about having people bug their eyes out at the public and getting the public conditioned to the fact that the police state is coming,” Rob said, adding that TSA screeners were instructed to stick out their chests in arrogance and “eyeball people.”
The TSA’s bizarre behavior, as well as the agency’s lower-than-low hiring standards, is getting noticed by more and more people. Fortunately for all Americans, an increasing number of those are people who can do something about it (let’s hope they do).
Take a recent report about the TSA by U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. In it she highlighted the fact that TSA agents engage in criminal behavior so often it’s almost routine. She says that’s no aberrancy, it’s because of “TSA’s hiring practices and insufficient use of background checks.”
“This report details highly disturbing cases where pedophiles and child pornographers wearing federal law enforcement uniforms are not only patting down unsuspecting travelers, but in many cases stealing valuables from their bags,” she told a local news station in early June. “Enough is enough. It’s time for Congress to step in and demand accountability from Administrator [John] Pistole.”
But what should Americans expect?
Criminal risk-based organization?
The TSA’s recruitment policy does not reflect its own mantra, which is that it was created as an “intelligent risk-based organization.” The agency doesn’t conduct criminal and background checks on many of its employees, Blackburn’s report noted, and that it trolls for employees by advertising “for employment at the Washington Reagan National Airport on pizza boxes and on advertisements above pumps at discount gas stations in the D.C. area.”
Rob also told Alex Jones that TSA screeners were being ordered by supervisors to check bags of people who were only coming to the airport to pick up a traveler. He said he was once directed to search a diaper bag that belonged to a woman who had only come to the airport to pick up her husband.
A little much?
“We’re doing patrols in the parking lot with dogs, we’re even going as far out to the train station because the train station is connected to the airport here and we have guys walking around the train station, walking around the rental cars, we’re inspecting cars coming into the parking garage, I mean we’ve fully expanded – we’re no longer just at the gate and just at the security checkpoint,” he said, adding that supervisors were firing agents who refused to grope travelers in certain areas.
Rob, the report noted, was contacted by his bosses shortly after the interview and reprimanded, by the way.
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By: J. D. Heyes
[NaturalNews] If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video has to be worth millions. And until millions of words expressing doubt, distrust, angst and displeasure at the ongoing multi-billion dollar scandal that is the Transportation Security Administration, don’t expect the air travel experience in America to improve anytime soon. Or security, for that matter.
An incredible new video by Jonathan Corbett, a privacy rights activist who runs the Web site, “TSA Out of our Pants” and is involved in a Fourth Amendment lawsuit against the agency, shows just how worthless the TSA’s billion-dollar body scanners really are (except, of course, for screeners to be able to scope out attractive men and women).
In the video, Corbett demonstrates how easy it was for him to take a metal object through a TSA airport security checkpoint in Cleveland in March of this year, one that was equipped with an expensive body scanner. Corbett videos the entire process, but the video he posted online at his site includes airport security video of the incident as well, which he says he obtained from the airport and the TSA after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Moreover, he claims the TSA became aware he was able to breach one of the most expensive pieces of airport security equipment currently in use and has spared little effort in trying to kill the story.
TSA warned media not to cover the story
“Let me tell you what the TSA has been doing since March to keep us safer – nothing, but covering this all up,” Corbett said.
After his initial video of the incident was released, Corbett says the TSA began threatening mainstream media outlets against covering the story, adding that “several” media outlets reported that a TSA spokeswoman sent them a letter “strongly cautioning” them against sharing information that the agency was, in essence, violating basic civil rights by photographing travelers naked for what turns out to be no appreciable benefit.
Corbett said that a number of outlets ignored the TSA’s plea and ran with the story anyway. A quick Google search by NaturalNews found that among them were London’s Daily Mail, the New York Daily News and Australia’s News.com.
So far, Corbett, an engineer, has been able to slip metal objects undetected through the international airport at Cleveland and the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida. He went on to say that the TSA has informed both of those airports “to withhold security videos” which show him defeating the scanners and surveillance equipment. He went on to note that the TSA “frequently releases surveillance videos when it is in their interest.”
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Corbett explained how the loophole in the system works.
Metal object in specially sewn side pocket invisible
Producing several images produced by the TSA’s body scanners, Corbett said:
“You’ll see that the search victim is drawn with light colors and placed on a black background in both images. In these samples, the individuals are concealing metallic objects that you can see as a black shape on their light figure. Again that’s light figure, black background, and black threat items.”
But, he continued, “If you have a metallic object on your side, it will be the same color as the background and therefore completely invisible to both visual and automated inspection.”
Incredulous, he said, “It can’t possibly be that easy to beat the TSA’s billion dollar fleet of nude body scanners, right? The TSA can’t be that stupid, can they? Unfortunately, they can, and they are.”
In the surveillance videos, Corbett is seen passing through the scanners in both airports with a metal object slipped into a pocket that he sewed directly on the side of his shirt. He was able to get through the checkpoint without TSA agents – or the backscatter X-ray machine – discovering the contents of his side pocket.