Happy 10th Birthday, TSA! Thanks For, Uhh, Nothing?

  happy grab-ass birthday

Feelin' nuts for Freedumb!Have you been celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Transportation Security Administration? We sure have! We’ve been doing all kinds of crazy stuff, like feeling up old cripples and making babies take their shoes off and doing the Naked X-Ray on some crying nuns and pouring out little kids’ milk and sticking our hands into everybody’s business. For freedom!

To celebrate 10 years of bullshit, the Conde Nast Traveler magazine has a long & interesting investigation that proves, surprise, that the TSA has failed in every identifiable way at “securing airports” while providing the maximum amount of annoyance and hassle for travelers:

An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General found glaring lapses in the TSA’s oversight of [airport employee] badges, including instances where badgeholders had multiple I.D.s under different names or had recycled expired ones. It also found that the TSA doesn’t require airports to conduct repeat criminal checks of employees but relies on workers to “self-report” any subsequent brushes with the law …. The insider threat is real, it said, citing one case in which two workers at an unnamed airport were arrested after they stowed guns and drugs near departure gate ramps. They were picked up there by a uniformed airline worker who used his badge to bypass TSA security.

Terrorists have already relied on airport insiders to aid planned attacks on aviation. In England, a person with ties to the “liquids” bombers of 2006 was found to have once worked at Heathrow. In the United States, a plot to bomb the fuel pipeline at JFK also involved someone with inside knowledge of the airport’s workings: a former baggage handler at the facility. Wiretapped conversations among the plotters recorded one of them boasting about how easy it was to move around the airport grounds undetected ….

If the aviation security system is only as strong as its weakest link, then the TSA should probably be focusing more attention on airports overseas: In the past two years, the two most serious attempts to attack U.S. aircraft originated outside the United States.

While the TSA was created by the George W. Bush Junior Administration and its Patriot Act GOP allies in Congress, today the opposition to Airport Security comes almost exclusively from the Tea Party-type Republicans. Turns out they hate federal agencies and unionized workers a lot more than they hate Islamofascists! Also, those “backscatter nudie porn transporters” are pummeling you with deadly radiation! Imagine the tumors the poor TSA employees are going to have growing out of their heads ten years from now. [Conde Nast Traveler]

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158 comments

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    I just can't understand why, after ten years, they still freak out about the blue ice and injector pen in my carry on. I know I'm not the only fucker with diabetes in this country that travels by airplane.

    1. e_z

      I have a short missive from my Doctor explaining I am Diabetic and the needles and vial are a medical requirement. I keep it with my works and have never had a problem or a hassle.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        Yeah, I've got that too, but you would think after the thousandth time the x-ray guy would say to himself "OK, pen-looking thing and amorphous blob. Seen that before," and I wouldn't get pulled out and have my cooler bag gone through. Maybe I have a suspicious face.
        I got pulled out and bag searched because of one of these last time I flew. http://www.peacetimegoods.com/ptgshop/pc/viewPrd…. Guess they thought it was some kind of ninja throwing star rather than a keyfob/bottle opener.

          1. Dok-cupy Everything

            Yep. It's the War on the Unexpected. Anything that you don't immediately recognize must be dangerous.

            A nice observation from the link: Watch how it happens. Someone sees something, so he says something. The person he says it to — a policeman, a security guard, a flight attendant — now faces a choice: ignore or escalate. Even though he may believe that it's a false alarm, it's not in his best interests to dismiss the threat. If he's wrong, it'll cost him his career. But if he escalates, he'll be praised for "doing his job" and the cost will be borne by others. So he escalates. And the person he escalates to also escalates, in a series of CYA decisions. And before we're done, innocent people have been arrested, airports have been evacuated, and hundreds of police hours have been wasted.

        1. GunToting[Redacted]

          I carry a pre-addressed, stamped mailer envelope in my bag. I'm worried I'll forget to dump my pocketknife, or that they will try to confiscate my nasty-looking aircraft aluminum pen.

    2. Redhead

      I just found out (the hard way) that I need to carry an epi pen with me EVERYWHERE I go. I'm dreading the next time I fly.

      1. BarryOPotter

        Don't worry. A colleague and I were zooming about the globe – Asia, ME – with nary a problem. The one time we got static, we were all These are not the pens you're looking for…bitch, aaiigt? . Then BOOM, headbutts! No more questions and we were through. If they get all question-y, try it and be sure to tell us how it went…

    3. weejee

      BTF, must be the you and e_z are too sweet, or not sweet enough. But for what it's worth, they don't care about you having a security clearance either.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        On several occasions, usually when returning from overseas, I have come under increased scrutiny from the "Thank god for this TSA scam or I'd still be a minimum wage security guard" contingent. Maybe it's the beard. Anyway, I have been asked who do I work for, to which I reply "Same as you, US government" and have to stifle myself from saying "at five times the pay." Don't want to be an elitist!

    4. glamourdammerung

      I am not looking forward to flying next week while having to carry an EpiPen for my companion myself as I have a bad feeling that is going to get me flagged for the cavity search.

    5. OneDollarJuana

      And yet, and yet, they totally missed a bunch of .22 cartridges in my brother's luggage a couple of years ago.

      I was all for the TSA when it was first proposed because the security-for-profit industry employed bottom-of-the-bell-curve people who didn't even stop chatting and glance at me as I set of all the alarms, and indeed, the early TSA workers were fast, efficient, and thorough. Now, however, it seems that it has turned into the security-for-political-and-cronies-profit industry, and too many of the bottom-of-the-bell-curve employees have been snuck back in. All those who have derided the TSA as "political theater" have it exactly right.

  2. snoopyfan2010

    If only the airport security checks were applied using preconceived stereotypes, then we wouldn't have anything to complain about because only "those" people would be suffering.

    1. freakishlywrong

      Exactly. Because those four militia nuts they arrested in Georgia, (where else)?, looked like Muslins. (old white guys).

          1. HistoriCat

            Worst I can do is threaten to assemble your Ikea furniture for you.

            Where were you when I needed you?

  3. memzilla

    The TSA has the same problem they had with the Great Wall of China: you don't need to break the wall down to get past it, all you have to do is bribe a few guards to look the other way.

  4. FNMA

    Once again, you missed the mark. The TSA was created by Obama as part of the socialist, fascist, Kenyan conspiracy to collect pictures of our junk so that one day, they could take away our genitals. Let me tell you, they can take my junk when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers!

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      The reason no one remembers this is because Hilary Clinton used some kind of weird Bene Gesserit mindfuck thing to make us all think it's all Bush's fault.

    2. Negropolis

      And, the reason they are taking our genitals is so that Obama can control human reproduction and grow babies in labs just so that he can abort and/or pickle and eat them to sustain his many deteriorating host bodies. I saw it somewhere on the internet, so it must be true.

  5. memzilla

    "While the TSA was created by the George W. Bush Junior Administration…"

    Great turn of phrase. It truly was a Junior Administration.

  6. ProgressiveInga

    I celebrate my relationship with TSA thusly:
    In the intimate setting of Hartsfield/Jackson International Airport, standing with arms stretched out and shouting to the uniformed officer with the sexy blue latex gloves, "It's UNDERWIRE, you oaf!"

    Happy 10th Anniversary, B*tches!

    1. prommie

      Oooohhh, you have big boobies! Here's a hint: They know all about underwire bras, but they find it stimulating to pretend to be baffled while they peruse your merchandise.

  7. finallyhappy

    ok, I worked with higher level people at Homeland Security as part of my job(now retired) at another agency. Each year as we met(I worked with them for three years), they would not be able to find their part of the materials from the year before(all of the materials were on-line at my agency -who knows what Homeland Security was doing). Homeland Security- hahahhaha

  8. Barb

    TSA says they are going to crack down on the invasive pat-downs. In fact, one agent was transferred to another parish.

  9. x111e7thst

    Last time thru I suggested to the nice Agent Man that it would be common courtesy to give me a kiss before beginning to grope and probe. For some reason he did not take this very well.

  10. Negropolis

    God bless 'em. They make sure that my underwear doesn't blow up as they are wont to do. And, they are so thorough and intimate that those of us without health insurance can get the semi-invasive, preventative tests we need to stay healthy!

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      "They make sure that my underwear doesn't blow up"

      Nice try, TSA, but you can't prevent me from eating those bean burritos!

  11. mrpuma2u

    Keep taking that coffee away from old ladies and formula from mothers with babies! Keep up that stellar work! Never mind that last week some dumbass got his pistol through your screening, and some schmuck at Chicago Midway got on a plane with no boarding pass. You're doing great?

  12. Goonemeritus

    “If the aviation security system is only as strong as its weakest link, then the TSA should probably be focusing more attention on airports overseas:”

    I have to believe TSA workers would be way happier groping some of those hot Europeans rather than giving my dusty ball sack yet one more loving squeeze.

    1. Negropolis

      Contrary to popular belief, Europeans do age and get dusty ball sacks, too. Just look at Maggie Thatcher or Peter O'Toole.

  13. spends2much

    They never notice when I accidentally leave liquids in my purse, but they sure love feeling up my Asian colleagues / friends when I travel with them.

    And, while I'm in this public forum- to the TSA lady who threatened to send me to the back of a very long line because I said I had to pee: Please go fuck yourself with whatever rusty object you can find.

  14. ManchuCandidate

    But but but but according to the GOPers (especially the "love it or leave it" chickenhawk crowd) George W Bush was the greatest preznit of forever other than Ronnie Raygun.

    It's like everything W touched turned to shit, right?

    Iraqinam… Homeland Security… deficits do matter… tax cuts caused the revenue crunch… It's a TARP… deregulation fucked things up… and the beat goes on.

    1. freakishlywrong

      And Condie is crediting him, (and herself), for the Arab Spring. Ghaddaffy masturbatory fantasy.

  15. Terry

    TSA, luv ya, guys. Especially when:

    - At the Fairbanks airport, you thought the underwire in my bra was a potentially dangerous device and pulled me over for an extensive examination, not just the wee pat down. Granted, bras are highly unusual devices and you may not have encountered one before.

    - You locked me in the gate area a small regional airport in North Carolina and LEFT while I was in the ladies' room. Took me around 40 minutes of beating on the glass partition, yelling, and callling people on my dying cell phone to get out of there. (Thank you, local police, for letting me out.)

    - You thought my Tide Stain Stick that I inadvertently left in my purse was a dangerous object, worth totally removing every single item from my purse and computer bag and arranging those items out on top of a table for closer examination. Then, you dropped the Stain Stick in a ziplock, handed it to me, and left me to repack all my belongings.

    - You repeated misidentified my inhaler as a potentially dangerous device, to the point where you've even wasted doses of the medicine by squirting/puffing it to make sure stuff comes out.

  16. Chillwaver

    For some reason, I seem to be "randomly selected" quite frequently. It must be my thick, velcro-like eyebrows (how do you like them apples, Ron Paul?).

  17. weejee

    Dealing with rust, and the fact that corrosion is an electrochemical thing, on biz trips I often have to measure corrosion potentials. That requires a voltmeter and a reference electrode, and since you can't buy reference electrodes in your average store I take them in my carry on. Sometimes, not all times, they ask if they can open the bag, and I say sure, heck in the bag sittin' side by side they gotta look like one of these. They ask what the reference is, I say "a reference electrode", and then they say "okay" and almost never give it a swabbing to check for the ka-boom stuff. Mrs. weejee takes on manicuring sicssors and she goes to the Grope Group W bench. The logical disconnects are without end. Maybe that is what they desire.

  18. Chichikovovich

    Ah memories. This reminds me of three years ago, when everyone on Fox News, and every Republican on every other channel was repeating the soundbite of the month: "You have to admit that as Commander-in-Chief, Bush kept us safe.", because on his watch the number of terrorist attacks costing thousands of lives, and the number of rogue government scientists distributing weapons grade anthrax were held down to one apiece. Since there has been precisely zero such events under Obama, I expect those same people won't be able to shut up about how great Obama's record is.

    1. Dok-cupy Everything

      George Bush was so good at keeping us safe that his security aura has lasted through all of Obama's attempts to UTTERLY DESTROY AMERICA.

  19. smitallica

    I salute the TSA for their vigilance a couple weeks ago when they stopped me and courteously but firmly removed the two rounds of live ammunition I had forgotten were in in my carry-on bag. True story.
    I condemn the TSA for the SEVEN previous times I had made it through security with those same two forgotten rounds in my carry-on bag. True story.

    1. OneYieldRegular

      Saluting or condemning TSA aside, I'm just curious – what might you have been thinking, carrying live rounds of ammunition onto a plane 8 times?

      1. smitallica

        I had gone to a shooting range with some friends and had grabbed a couple bullets just as souvenirs, etc. I put 'em in my bag to bring home and COMPLETELY forgot about them. That is, of course, until the nice lady with the X-ray machine politely asked me to step out of line.

  20. OC_Surf_Serf_#OLA

    Dear Penthouse Forum,

    I never thought this kind of thing would happen to me, but..since I became a TSA agent I get to feel-up women all day long…

  21. Dok-cupy Everything

    You know who would make a hell of a good TSA head (if we have to have one at all)? Bruce Schneier, the guy who coined the term "security theater" to describe what the TSA does now. As he's pointed out, the two things that have done the most to improve airline security have almost nothing to do with TSA: 1) Reinforcing cockpit doors and 2) passengers' becoming willing to overwhelm potential hijackers/terrorists (the second measure helped subdue the underwear bomber, after all).

    This guy is the Elizabeth Warren of security. Which is why he'll never head a federal agency.

  22. Mumbletypeg

    OT sorta but took particular delight, upon loading teh wonkett page, at being greeted by Pedobear's twee image this morning.

    I guess this means either I've experienced some mirth deficit disorder of late or I'm still twelve.

  23. mereoblivion

    Whoa, I thought T&A had been a fixture on the Amurragun cultural scene a lot longer than 10 years!

  24. CapnFatback

    today the opposition to Airport Security comes almost exclusively from the Tea Party-type Republicans.

    Enter the "Ken Layne Exception."

    1. GunToting[Redacted]

      It makes me feel a little queasy to know that I share something in common with these fat, hateful assholes

  25. BigDumbRedDog

    One time I accidentally went through TSA screening with very small box cutter on my keychain. They didn't notice and I was allowed to board the plane with it. It was close there for a while, but I managed not to hijack anything.

    1. weejee

      A friend of Mrs. weejee's Tea Partier brother took a loaded pistol in his carry on bag on a flight from SEA to SFO and did not discover his error until unpacking at the San Francisco hotel. The TSA took no note. They were too busy playing with Terry's bra and snorting her inhaler and shooting themselves-up with other Wonketteers' injectors.

  26. Lazy Media

    And of course, the best part is that the worst TSA atrocities occur at smaller airports with less traffic and zero chance of terrorist infiltration. Places like Atlanta, DC and New York, which MIGHT be targeted, are too busy to spend much time on groping and ridiculous suspicions about innocuous items.

    1. Chichikovovich

      I'm not sure we should make the assumption that those places are safer. Mohammed Atta and a crony left from a small airport in Maine and connected in Boston precisely because they anticipated the security there to be more slipshod.

  27. Toomush_Infer

    They've twice debated over my nose-hair plucker (I carry it for their debates alone!), but seemed stumped as to how it could be used as a terraist device….

  28. Steverino247

    Sorry ladies, but I can top your underwire story.

    In the early days of the TSA, my younger son and I were leaving his VA hospital for home. In my hand was a letter from his doctor explaining why the metal in his head was going to set off the detectors and to please let him pass without hassle. The letter explained that I had to be with him since he was unable to talk and a seizure risk. The TSA morons took him through the machine, ignoring me and the letter I was waving at them, and started into the secondary inspection routine. He, of course, was pointing back to me and trying to talk the best he could. He was wearing a foam helmet to protect his brain where the skull had been removed and they thought that was why the machine was going off. So, he's standing there without anything protecting his head, trying to keep from falling, while they're going over the helmet, one of which you can see here: http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-18563_162-927763.html . And yes, that's what his head looked like at the time before the cranioplasty. He's doing well now, but the TSA continues to fuck up.

    1. ProgressiveInga

      Oh, shit, I am so sorry to hear that! Yes, you win and I will never complain again about being felt up by a man-handed female agent who does an excellent imitation of a frat boy in the back seat of his daddy's 1977 Ford Ltd. on prom night.

      Glad your son is doing well and a pox on the house of TSA!

    2. Steverino247

      Didn't have room above so here's the rest of it. The TSA regional dude called me up (the story got around pretty quickly for "some reason"), apologized and said they should have known better since one of their guys recently had a stroke that resulted in similar speech issues. He was very polite and rational, which was nice. It's not the leadership, it appears, it's the people on line that can be the problem. They're not all dorks, but they have enough of them to make the whole agency look like the Keystone Kops.

      As for my boy, he's doing pretty good, considering he still has a 7.62mm round in his brain. It's been seven years since he was hurt and all he needs now is a good woman with nice tits. Or so he claims.

      1. bikerlaureate

        Then here's hoping, in earnest, that Christmas comes early and he immediately gets what he needs…

    3. OneYieldRegular

      Awful. I'm sorry. Why isn't there a sort of VIP line for people like your son? By a booking error, I was once slotted into first class for a short flight, and sent through the first class security check – a luxury so unwarranted as to be odious to the very idea of democracy. But it's the kind of treatment that we should all receive – starting with people like your son.

      1. Steverino247

        We were in that line (employees, etc.) when that happened, so it was no guarantee against morons.

  29. tcaalaw

    Actually, given that this is the TSA's 10 year anniversary, you should have used the Pedobear "Too Old!" graphic to illustrate this story.

  30. Limeylizzie

    I think I have told this before, but I had a vibrator in my hand luggage, as you do when going out of town to do a show, and was searched by a lovely older black gentleman and was mortified at the thought of him finding it, so I motioned to the female TSA person standing next to him and whispered to her "I have a vibrator in there", she took over the search and ended it by saying "You English are so dirty".

    1. Chichikovovich

      Hey, it's to massage your aching back after a long flight crammed into a tiny seat. That's why you need the remote control – you can't reach some back muscles with just your hands. And research has shown that a penis-shaped back massager is – um – ergonomically optimal.

    2. Dok-cupy Everything

      "You English are so dirty".

      Wow–who'd have thought you'd get an Amish security screener!

        1. prommie

          Are you a sport? Interested in photographs, candid photography, eh? Nudge nudge, say no more, say no more.

  31. Dok-cupy Everything

    Laurie Anderson, on traveling during the first Gulf War:

    I was carrying a lot of electronics so I had to keep unpacking everything and plugging it in and demonstrating how it all worked, and I guessed I did seem a little fishy; a lot of this stuff wakes up displaying LED program readouts that have names like "Atom Smasher," and so it took a while to convince them that they weren't some kind of espionage system. So I've done quite a few of these sort of impromptu new music concerts for small groups of detectives and customs agents and I'd have to keep setting all this stuff up and they'd listen for a while and they'd say:

    - So uh, what's this?

    And I'd pull out something like this filter and say:

    - Now this is what I'd like to think of as the Voice of Authority.

    And it would take me a while to tell them how I used it for songs that were, you know, about various forms of control, and they would say:

    - Now, why would you want to talk like that?

    And I'd look around at all the uniformed security guards and the undercover agents and the dogs and the radio in the corner, tuned to the Superbowl coverage of the war. And I'd say:

    - Take a wild guess.

    –"The Cultural Ambassador"

  32. chicken_thief

    I'm not even close to sympathizing with the Tea Party and I've hated the stupid shit that TSA does from Day One. Israel has the best security in the world and doesn't ask every passenger to go through what we do. Of course, if they do target you, you can be there for awhile.

  33. actor212

    In fairness to the TSA, the other name chose was Perimeter Effectiveness Defense Organization.

    Much cooler.

  34. MissNancyPriss

    Am the only traveller who does NOT have a problem with TSA? Am I alone in having never had some sort of horrific experience at the hands of these malevolent government molesters? Am I alone is taking serious issue with TSA being likened to "molesters" or even "rapists", who thinks the rage directed at these workers is at least in part driven by the same racism and white rage being directed towards all government employees? I travel quite a lot in and outside the United States, and TSA have always been friendly and professional, unlike every employee of every American airline I have ever come in contact with.

    1. OneYieldRegular

      Point well taken (especially about airline personnel). I can never pass through security without feeling that TSA's failures are ours, what with its underpaid, mostly minority workers spending their whole days with people blatantly hostile towards them, and who could be sent back to the unemployment line for a single slip-up. The ire really needs to be directed at the whole security apparatus, which has invited contractors to come in and sell useless, expensive technology (i.e. body scanners, eye cameras, etc.) while ignoring more effective (but less profitable) measures that might actually do something.

  35. ttommyunger

    Relax. TSA is just the Airport Version of our great National Mirage of Security. Go to any Federal Building and you'll find the same level of professionalism: sleepy-eyed underachievers who are paid barely enough to afford food, rent and public transportation to their horrific, dehumanizing jobs. I feel too sorry for them to even get pissed at their feeble efforts on our behalf.

  36. owhatever

    TSA guy: "What's in the sealed box?"
    Me: "Not my box. It belongs to that guy going down the stairs to the planes."
    TSA guy: "We already cleared him."
    Me: "Yes, you did."

  37. HistoriCat

    OK, sure, maybe they haven't done a great job on the security front. But they've found some illegal drugs! And Michael Chertoff is gainfully employed selling nudie scanners. So it's been a rousing success

  38. Uniprober

    Not one hijacking, not one serious crime. Nothing. That's what the TSA has stopped. We pay. They do nothing.

  39. teebob2000

    InSecurity: 2 weeks ago a work colleague named "BREWSTER" checked in at ORD for a flight to Fort Lauderdale. Handed the Spirit Airways check-in desk person his printed itinerary. She gave him a boarding pass for someone named "BREWER" traveling to Fort Worth. He didn't notice it was wrong until he went looking for his gate. So he got past the security screening with a mismatched photo ID and boarding pass.

    Your tax dollars hard at work.

  40. Antispandex

    "…TSA! Thanks For, Uhh, Nothing?"

    Speak for yourself! I will never forget that awesome crotch grope I got the last time I flew. Oh sure she was overweight, and not particularly attactive, but I'm kind of into that, so…

  41. OneYieldRegular

    I just hate those cheap, ugly uniforms, too – they look like some community theater scraped the bottom of the barrel to come up with something that looked official and officious.

    Now if TSA employees dressed like cats

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