Are you one of the TSA’s unwitting accomplices? By Christopher Elliott | August 12, 2012 FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest I would have given anything to be a fly on the wall at the Gallup Organization last week after it released a poll that suggested more than half of all Americans believe the TSA is doing a “good” or “excellent” job. The survey, which Gallup claims is self-funded and carries no ideological agenda, is sure to be used by the agency assigned to protect America’s transportation systems to defend its current practices. But the fly on the wall would have probably seen another side of the story: The hand-wringing and consternation among Gallup’s pollsters, who darken the door of an airport every now and then. They must have known the results would be used to promote more of the nonsense we’ve seen since 2001. They must have felt like unwitting accomplices. Even though Gallup’s survey, and others like it, have been criticized, they haven’t been discredited. And because they haven’t been fully debunked, you can be sure the stats will emerge in a post on the TSA’s blog or in a letter to the editor from an agency apologist or in a Congressional report, in which the TSA requests additional funds to “secure” America’s borders. The TSA relies on the work of unwitting accomplices like pollsters who ask irresponsible questions and tourists who offer uninformed answers to a survey. Without them, convincing the flying public that these allegedly unconstitutional airport searches are for their own good, would be considerably more difficult. And perhaps even, impossible. But others are helping the TSA, too. Just last week, the White House pulled a petition that asked the president to require TSA to “follow the law.” If the petition had received 25,000 signatures, the administration would have been obligated to publicly respond. The petition was 9,000 signatures short when it was allowed to expire under what some observers call mysterious circumstances. It’s easy to understand why the Obama administration wouldn’t want to make a public statement about the legal status of the TSA. The agency has repeatedly thumbed its nose at the rule of law, the courts and the constitution, say its critics. During an election year, there’s no up-side to saying anything. Help also comes from the mainstream press, which often doesn’t see what the big deal is with an agency that scans, prods, pats-down and interrogates the people it’s supposed to protect. When TSA agents show up at NFL games and subway stations, reporters and editors don’t understand what the fuss is about. They may even believe that questioning the TSA is unpatriotic. Mostly, though, it isn’t what they write and broadcast, but what they choose not to cover, that’s problematic. When an agency critic claims to have foiled the TSA’s controversial full-body scanners, it only takes a warning to get the press to back off. Has anyone ever bothered to count the number of full-time journalists covering the TSA? I’ll wait here while you do the math. We could spend all day pointing fingers, but as my grandmother used to say, when you point one finger there are at least three pointing back to you. See, Gallup’s disastrous poll didn’t happen in a vacuum; there were 1,014 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, who helped the cause. Those of us who write about this deeply troubled agency found ourselves asking: Who are these people? Now that I think about it, that’s not hard to answer. They are our neighbors, friends and relatives who get their information from the daily newspaper, the evening news, the mainstream news website. They are soothed by the words of a commander-in-chief who looks the other way while an entire federal agency flouts the law. And obviously — and perhaps most importantly — they haven’t suffered at the hands of a TSA agent. Their rights and their dignity haven’t been violated. They haven’t been bullied, harassed, lied to, and haven’t had their personal belongings pilfered. At least not yet. Note: Disqus, our commenting system, is acting a little funny this morning. If you can’t post, please try updating your browser or switch to another one. FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus sirwired Look Chris, I agree with you… we are getting very little security for our tax dollar. However, this I think this article was unfair to Gallup, as the poll itself has nothing wrong with it, even if it does have disconcerting results. Looking at the poll questions, I fail to see how the questions were in any way “irresponsible.” Pollsters ask citizens their opinion; that’s their job. Good pollsters ask balanced questions, which these were. It’s not the job of a good pollster to ensure citizens come up with the “right” answer. It’s not “irresponsibility” to accurately report the results from a well-designed poll. Should Gallup have withheld the results from their poll lest they become “unwitting accomplices” to results you disagree with? I thought journalists were supposed to report on the facts, not merely facts that point towards preconceived conclusions. You can certainly make the argument (as with most opinion polls) that those being asked are probably less informed than a prototypical Model Citizen. A common saying is that the answer to speech you don’t like is not censorship, but rather more speech. I think a logical corollary is: The answer to poll results that show a populace that disagrees with you is not suggesting that the poll results be suppressed or thrown away, but rather continuing to work to interest and inform the populace. And frankly, I thought that article on TSAnewsblog also had plenty wrong with it. (Enough that I certainly agree with your statement that the poll has been criticized, not discredited, even though discrediting the poll seems to be the idea behind the the post. Given how lousy that post is, I’d say it’s TSAnewsblog that is discrediting itself.) One the one hand the article vents righteous anger at all those people who think the TSA is doing a good job. At the same time, it mocked those that answered “no opinion.” While it would be better if the population was informed, I’d think the last thing you want to do is to encourage citizens to lie about their ignorance. (I, for one, wish MORE poll subjects would admit to ignorance on topics.) It stated: “The article also implies that frequent fliers are equally impressed with TSA’s performance, but the details do not support this conclusion.” This is simply untrue. The results show identical results (within the error bars of the poll), regardless of the number of trips taken, including zero. (The article also harps about how many survey respondents haven’t flown. I’m not sure how this is a valid criticism; that’s like faulting a poll for reporting on the views of senior citizens because they had to call a lot of people (most of whom aren’t senior citizens) before they had a big enough sample.) And it “predicted” that a question about TSA workers would have gone poorly, based on “Anecdotal evidence, eyewitness testimony, and comments”. The plural of anecdote is not “data”; anecdotes have little to no predictive value. It’s why we have polls (which contain actual data)… and I would say given that the results showed flyers showed having a similar opinion of the TSA vs. non-flyers, I’d predict the opposite. sirwired As a followup to my earlier post: While I think the TSA’s priorities are mis-directed and most of their efforts are an utter waste of taxpayer dollars, I don’t think the front-line screeners are doing any worse (or better) than can be expected. I AM a frequent flyer (if not a road warrior), and I have yet to encounter a single TSA employee that has been anything but professional. And I’ve never even gotten a scowl, much less an interrogation, for opting out of the body scanners. Yes, some screeners have been surly (oddly enough, in my impression, it seems the ID-checking station has the largest proportion of grumpy employees), but many more have been friendly and hospitable. (I feel surly some mornings too… no private business would remain in business for long if they had to fire every employee that occasionally woke up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed.) Do TSA agents exist that are unprofessional / incompetent / rude / downright criminal? Sure. And we should rightfully call out any employees that fit that description. However, for any given workforce of that size, I’d say it’s utterly impossible to ensure that every single one of them is a model employee. I predict you actually looked at the statistics, the TSA is doing no better or worse than any large employer in that regard. TSA’s leadership is poor, it’s efforts mis-directed and mis-guided. But those employees we actually interact with I suspect are doing their jobs about as well as anyone could expect. Most of them do it well (or excellently), some of them do it poorly (or worse.) Christopher Elliott I didn’t say Gallup’s questions were irresponsible. My comments were not aimed at anyone in particular, but I can think of several other polls that have asked questionable questions. Iam Wendy For those of you that have not seen critiques of the methodology or an analysis of the conclusions made, please visit tsanewsblog.com… there are several articles analyzing this poll. Lisa Simeone Ask these folks how happy they are with the TSA: Racial Profiling Rife at Airport, U.S. Officers Say http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/12/us/racial-profiling-at-boston-airport-officials-say.html?_r=1&hp&pagewanted=all ibackamerica I won’t trust a public union to do anything right. The taxpayers is not at the table as they bloat their paycheck and pension. The TSA was created to control Americans. Americans who give up freedom for security have neither. RetiredNavyphotog I fly to Europe several times a year out of Washington Dulles. I have always found the TSA employees to be polite and professional. It might be because the airport is in the Washington, DC area that the standards are higher. Even when I find a note inside my checked bags from the TSA, I can’t complain about my suitcase being a mess. I’m sure I will be getting plenty of “thumbs down” on this post. Lisa Simeone Standards are no higher in the DC area (where I live); there are just as many horror stories coming out of BWI, Dulles, and Reagan National as anywhere else. There was even an organized ring of TSA assailants back in 2004: http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/post911/aviation/iteam_reaganstripsearch.html I’m glad you haven’t been abused. But you’ve just been lucky so far. Thousands of people haven’t been so lucky. RetiredNavyphotog You’re right – I have probably just been lucky. I usually have nothing of any real value in my checked bags – just my clothes. Checking my bags in Krakow, Prague, St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia has been more worrisome. cjr001 22% of people voting so far think TSA is doing a good job. Really? So many of you really think this is the best we can do with 8 BILLION dollars a year? Apparently a lot of people LOVE bloated, wasteful, and incompetent bureaucracy. I wonder if they’ll love TSA as much when TSA is spotted more often in their neighborhood doing jack squat for this country. cjr001 The more titles and power you give a TSA employee, the more likely they’re going to abuse the hell out of people with it. Here’s a great bit from an AP article about this story: “The officers said their co-workers were increasingly targeting minorities, believing the stops would lead to the discovery of drugs, outstanding arrest warrants and immigration problems, in response to pressure from managers who wanted high numbers of stops, searches and criminal referrals, The Times reported.” This, folks, is the definition of “mission creep”. TSA will never stop a terrorist, but as long as they can claim that they’re doing something, anything, they’ll be allowed to continue to abuse anybody who passes their way. But then, competent, rational people knew that TSA’s version of “behavioral detection” was a complete joke. It’s just another couple of days in the classroom beyond their current crash course on how to treat a security checkpoint like your own personal fiefdom. RetiredNavyphotog This agency is no different than other agencies in the Federal government – bloated, wasteful and incompetent. Mary Ramsey Are these the same poll places that call people at random times? I have gotten those calls before (about political issues) and I have to think that the only people who are home to answer random phone polls are people who, MAYBE do not travel that much? and if they do, most people do not get hassled by TSA. When i went from SFO to OHARE, out of about 50 people going through TSA only 3 were pulled over. (and one had to wait for a supervisor for some reason.) But with those numbers, of couse over 50% of people would say TSA is a good thing. Lisa Simeone Mary Ramsey, 48% of respondents said they have not traveled at all in the past year. They’re many of the ones claiming they’re “happy” with the TSA. So much for reliability. frostysnowman It doesn’t really matter whether the TSA people at any given airport are “polite and professional”. The problem is that what they are required to do is useless kabuki theatre that has never captured an actual terrorist in the airport. So you can be as polite and professional as you want, but I’ll still say you’re not doing a good job. Raven_Altosk TSA. The Post Office. Social Security. Yeah, I totally want to trust the government with my health care at this point. #sarcasm RetiredNavyphotog I have felt pretty intimidated and sometimes fearful at airports and border crossings overseas. One time I stood in front of a Passport Control officer who scrutinized every stamp and visa in my passport and peppered me with numerous questions on why I was in his country. He found it rather strange that I would visit for a vacation and not business. And I know that my American passport is not a “get out of jail free card” when I travel. For at least the last 10 years, I have always received a full body pat down in Frankfurt airport. I like to think my blond hair and green eyes would kind of give me a pass on the typical physical description of a terrorist. I hope that if I really have a problem with a TSA agent, I can contact my Congressman, Senator, my local newspaper and even Chris to raise a ruckus. Carver Clark Farrow I like to think my blond hair and green eyes would kind of give me a pass on the typical physical description of a terrorist. —————————————————— Yes, your “blond hair and green eyes” should definitely give you preferential treatment at airport security. I can think of a few other places as well. Perhaps a guaranteed seat at the front of the bus, at the lunch counter, and maybe even a special bathroom for people with blond hair and green eyes. RetiredNavyphotog Point taken. I was referring to German airports. I don’t think they have ever been accused of profiling. A lot of folks complain about TSA in this country. But how many of them have been in foreign airports were there are security personnel and military carrying automatic weapons? Now that is something to worry about. I was in Russia several times in the mid-1990s. Security forces with automatic weapons were stopping everyone with dark hair and eyes. This happened in my hotel, on the street, in a shopping mall and at the airport. At that time, Russia felt there was a real threat from Chechen terrorists. ExplorationTravMag 100 people actually said “Yes” at this stage? Wow, TSA has their employees out in full force for this column. The only thing TSA is good at is being bad at their jobs. In that respect, I guess, yes, they ARE good at what they do. They violate our civil rights on a daily basis, they take pornographic images of us, they frisk little old ladies and people in wheelchairs, they molest small children and they allow those who are mostly likely to commit an act of terrorism, the zealots who abuse the word of Allah for their own purposes, out of fear of not being politically correct, and people actually think they’re doing their job? Wow, whatever it is they’re taking, I want some of it… ExplorationTravMag As a side note to your comment: My husband is retired military and we use TriCare as our primary insurance. In the last 6 months, this government run healthcare program, that has ALWAYS been easy to work with, has decided the following… 1. My Rheumatoid Arthritis medicine is $2000 a month. TriCare (under order from the suits in the Obama Administration) decided that was too expensive and they ordered me to take a medication I’m allergic to and can’t take w/o risking my health and well-being (I’ll admit – I’m addicted to breathing… Can’t help that.) My doctor fought with them for 3 months. He sent them a letter explaining their required drug would, most likely kill me due to the risk of allergic reaction. He then said, “If the patient stops taking the prescribed medication, she will be in a wheelchair in about three months and require home care.” Their response? The mailed me a packet on my coverages with regard to a wheelchair and home care, ALL of which they will cheerfully cover at a cost of about $6000 a month. The other alternative they offered was to send a home nurse to give me another medication that is given via infusion. The monthly cost of THAT is nearly $15,000 a month. They will do these two things but not approve a medication that is a “mere” $2000 a month? (I did finally get it approved by writing my senator, John McCain. Within 48 hours of receiving my letter and McCain’s office calling me, TriCare approved the drug) 2. My husband is on a new medication that makes it difficult to fall asleep. He went about a month on three or four hours of sleep a night before his doctor prescribed a medication to help him sleep. The medication TriCare wants him to take is Lunestra or Ambien, both of which make him sleep walk. He tried these first and this is how we know it causes this; in May, I caught him in the barn at his workbench with the table saw turned on. We have no idea what he was imagining he was doing but once he stopped taking these meds, he didn’t do it again (sleepwalk). The doctor wants to put him on another medication that doesn’t carry the side effect of sleepwalking. TriCare said “No.” and we have to pay for it out of pocket. Instead of a $3 co-pay, we now have to pay $100 a month for the medication because TriCare won’t approve it for his use, in spite of the danger of his taking it. Also, the Feds want to raise our monthly premiums from $38 a month to about $200 a month, something we simply can’t afford. We are being offered less coverage for more money. May God help us all if Obamacare is permitted to stand. Sommer Gentry I’m disappointed in my fellow citizens for supporting acts of unjustifiable physical violence against innocent people, but then again, it’s hardly the first sordid instance of this kind of thing in U.S. history. Think of the long long list of other popularly approved, yet unjust and disgraceful abuses of power: the Alien and Sedition Acts, legal slavery, Jim Crow laws, the internment of Japanese-Americans, male-only suffrage, and I could go on. The point is, my rights are not up for a popular vote. A majority or even a super-majority do not get to vote on whether I deserve to be sexually assaulted by a thug in a blue shirt because I bought an airline ticket. Barely-trained TSA screeners are manhandling perfectly innocent people in ways that U.S. police officers would never be permitted to do without suspicion, probable cause or a warrant. My body is mine, and keep your hands off my sex organs, TSA perverts! I don’t care how many people voted for these vile cretins to put their hands down my pants: what’s wrong is wrong. ExplorationTravMag Ah, yes, with all the abuses going on with TSA, it’s YOUR having a problem that will cause everyone to stop in their tracks to solve. Puh-leeze! You think a great deal of yourself, don’t you? Sommer Gentry I tried to fly out of Dulles. After a government molester gave me a PTSD panic attack, I got thrown out of the airport by a supervisor (Bryant Livingston) who was busy running a prostitution ring in his off hours. Sure, he must have a whole lot of respect for a woman’s autonomy over revealing her body to strangers… I guess what I’m asking is, even if you haven’t had negative experiences, have you any sympathy for those of us who have? RetiredNavyphotog This is off subject – it pertains to your earlier post – but has your husband been able to register for VA healthcare in your area? I know that the VA has its critics, but in some areas it is a godsend. If he has a disability rating from the VA, he will be able to get into the VA healthcare system. Depending on what his disability rating is for, he may not have to pay for his prescriptions, or he may only have to pay an $8 co-pay for a 30-day supply. The VA tends to use some of the older, proven drugs. They shy away from the new whiz-bang drugs that end up with a black box warning in a year or two. Depending on where you live, there are some very good VA hospitals. I receive all my healthcare from the VA – it is actually less expensive than TriCare. Extramail I continue to ask my senator, Rand Paul, why he continues to fail me as his constituent. He was personally subjected to TSA illegal tactics, stood up and said he was going to do something about it and you haven’t heard squat from him since. I can only wonder who got to him and made him shut up. And, if he can be shutdown, the. What hope do we have? ExplorationTravMag We already know all this and, no, it’s not better for us. He and I are both disabled vets and are VA eligible but Obamacare has hit there, too. TexanPatriot1 T-SA does have a whole section of people on government payroll who are dedicated toward commenting on public blogs, voting on poll sites. They even have their own Goebbels-like spin doctor….Blogger Bob. I invite every T-SA employee to vote no on these comments, they can’t help it, it’s part of their kneejerk reaction. TexanPatriot1 Just think Obama may be forcing you off TRICARE sooner than you think. Because of all of the waivers they’ve given to their friends, the Unions, they will need SOMEBODY to actually participate under Obamacare. They’ll make Prime prohibitively expensive, and offer this “wonderful” cost savings option, called…..Obamacare. TexanPatriot1 It goes all the way to the top. Obama and Big Sis. TexanPatriot1 Just remember, the 9-11 terrorists attacked….with box cutters…which by the way were supposedly not brought in through the checkpoint! TexanPatriot1 Some Gestapo agents were actually nice too. TexanPatriot1 Actually…..EMPLOYEE POSTING very likely. Who else would take the time to write a nice flowery defense. TexanPatriot1 T-SA employees don’t get groped by their own….. TexanPatriot1 Try the checkpoint with Aspergers….I had to nearly put a hole in my cheek with my teeth to keep from melting down right at the checkpoint. TexanPatriot1 If you’re one of the 3 out of 50…your day just got much worse. TexanPatriot1 I’ve travelled in the past year. I have intense dislike for those blue shirted jackbooted thugs. TexanPatriot1 Except this one is on the front lines of violating the 4th Amendment. TexanPatriot1 Just wait until they have permanent stations on the NYC subway system. At ALL Greyhound bus stations. And last but not least, on every major interstate highway between cities….they’ll be employing some 5 million of your fellow citizens, turning them into thugs with guns (eventually) and badges. All on the public dime whose sworn mission will be to keep the Obama regime in power…anyway they have to. TexanPatriot1 That kind of disappointed me too. TexanPatriot1 Your Congressmen and Senators have a free pass, unless they’re one who has been critical of them. Ask Canseco of Texas how that went for him….being personally targeted based on personal recognition not once but TWICE. ExplorationTravMag And that’s the scary part for us. We’re at the mercy of the government on this one. As much as they’ve been pushing corporations to stop making it cost-effective to stay on TriCare (my husband’s employer stopped offering a TriCare supplement when the order came through they had to offer a comparable plan to civilians, thus making it too expensive for Northrop Grumman to keep it) we had no choice but to go Prime. Now, Obama wants us off TriCare completely and I’m sure he’ll stop at nothing to make it happen, even if it’s an executive order. I believe what’s actually going to happen is we’re going to be forced into using NG’s healthcare insurance, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of $600 a month for the most basic of coverage. Our youngest just left this past Tuesday for USAF BMT and we told him, when he signed the DEP paperwork, to not count on retiring because the Feds are looting military retirement benefits and we don’t believe there will be anything left in 20 years. cjr001 Because it’s easy to forget who was in charge when the Patriot Act was pushed and TSA was created… If your whole act is going to be blame Obama, then you’re probably better served finding somewhere else to post. Maybe Yahoo? Miami510 One of today’s headlines (Aug 12, 2012) accuses TSA of racial profiling. It seems a number of TSA employees have anonymously accused TSA of choosing Blacks and Hispanics for increased inspection during their effort to employ the new behavioral detection program. . The one significant piece of information missing from the report is the number or percentage of malefactors discovered as a result of behavioral detection. I suspect, but do not know, that the number is appallingly small and probably equal to the current electronic detection systems. cjr001 Well, NASA just landed a rover on Mars. Sure, it cost $2.5 billion, but NASA’s entire budget is around $18 billion, and constantly under threat of being cut further. I’d say that’s the one agency well worth the money we spend on it, and one of many where we don’t spend enough (sciences, education, arts, national infrastructure, etc). cjr001 And yet, for all this sarcasm, few of the same people express such interest in doing the same with our military… I wonder why? (And then you wonder why so many are so willing to sacrifice every person and dollar in our government except for our incredibly bloated military industrial complex.) RetiredNavyphotog Yes, I have sympathy for those who have had unpleasant experiences. I’m sure my luck will run out soon. It is just a question of time. Fisher1949 The Gallup poll results show that most Americans think TSA is useless in protecting them. The poll says that 58% found TSA less than effective. Since security effectiveness is their only responsibility how can this be construed as favorable for TSA? Why is the media focusing only on the “job” data? Gallup said that 54% of Americans “think” TSA does a decent job while 44% don’t think they do a good job, hardly a ringing endorsement. The poll has a 4% margin indicating that Americans are largely divided on whether the screeners are doing a good job or not. It also shows TSA’s PR campaign has been more successful than their workers. Why was it necessary to add the adjective “only” to the fair performance category when “fair” would have been sufficient? This creates a bias by implying “only” is bad in the question and contaminates the result. The Gallup question on TSA job performance was severely flawed and biased. There were two options that gave TSA a clearly favorable rating, Excellent and Good but only one that gave them a clearly unfavorable rating, Poor. The Only Fair category was somewhat neutral and offered a substitute for an unfavorable rating. So if a plane explodes because of TSA incompetence but America thinks the screeners “do a good job” that makes it okay? Gallup’s data shows that 48% of respondents have not flown in a year or more and are not familiar with the agency or its procedures and 75% seldom if ever fly. Another interpretation of Gallup’s data is that 75% of Americans are non-fliers or rarely use airlines and are unaware of TSA’s poor performance record or just don’t care since it doesn’t affect them. Maybe Gallup will comment on why TSA’s poor effectiveness wasn’t the headline in the press and why the media favorably reported the performance results. And how does anyone explain how only 122 people who flew more than five times in the past year suffice for anyone to conclude that millions of frequent fliers view TSA favorably? It’s funny that the pool came out he same day this comes on the day when two more TSA screeners in Atlanta were indicted for smuggling drugs through security in a FBI sting. Twelve TSA workers have been charged with smuggling contraband in twenty months Media pandering to an incompetent agency that can’t rid itself of criminals is jeopardizing airline safety, not helping it. BMG4ME TSA security is a show, intended to make the public feel good, while not actually creating more secure travel – in fact if anything it creates less secure travel. It just inconveniences and embarrasses those of us that intend no harm, whereas those that mean harm just work around the system. By the way, the system of making people show their ID before entering the boarding area originally had nothing to do with security, it was put in place in the late 90s to prevent people from giving their non refundable tickets to other people to use. Lisa Simeone Off topic. Please stick to the topic, folks. ExplorationTravMag Thank you, board police. No one is forcing you to read any of it and what you’ve just done is rude, to the nth degree. I’ll bet you go up to people in restaurants and movie theaters talking on their telephones, too, don’t you? Chris allows side conversations to take place all the time, such as when Raven’s baby was born. When did Chris make you his moderator? ExplorationTravMag @cjr001:disqus – as a military family, we don’t like to see anything happen to our military that involves risking the lives of our sons, all three, and the sons, daughters, wives, husbands, sisters, brothers, etc. who are in the military. A reduction in budgets doesn’t just affect the bottom line, it affects their safety in a war, it affects their quality of life, it means no pay raises for them (and the average military pay raise is around 2%, or so) and it means a step backward with regard to technology. If your salary were subject to the whims of the government and people like you, how do you think you would feel about it then? What if you’d done the best job you’d ever done and someone came along and said, “Yeah, you did a great job but we’re cutting the budget and it means you not getting a pay raise for two years.” Also, the military is our national security. To reduce it more than it is now places this country in jeopardy. But, yeah, you’re right, if cutting the budget gets one of my sons killed, at least YOU have the comfort in knowing you got to save a dollar a month on your taxes. DavidYoung2 Same here. Travel once per month and never had a problem. Sure, they’re sometime grumpy, but so is the dude at Starbucks. And I’m sure that when we were running late last month, with my 6-year old dithering in line and not wanting to put Barbie through the scanner, I wasn’t the pinnacle of kindness. So give ’em a break – they’re just doing their jobs. All the TSA crazies need to remember these are just fellow Americans doing their jobs. They don’t make the rules, they don’t make the procedures, yet they get all your vileness because they showed up to do the job for which they were hired. And SirWired says, if you fired every employee who was having an ‘off day,’ we’d all be out of work. Finally, the poll is what it is. Most people don’t interact with the TSA that much and many that do, quite frankly, don’t have a problem with them. It seems Elliott wants to dismiss the results because he doesn’t like them. Guess what: Nobody really cares much what the TSA does. And that gets the TSA-haters get all flustered that they can’t get traction with the general public. cjr001 My brother spent a year in Afghanistan. My brother-in-law is Air Force. My aunt was career Air Force (recently retired). Another uncle was a member of the Army Reserves. A cousin just recently signed up. Sorry, but I don’t fall for cards, and it’s time you stop trying to play them. If you don’t think we can’t get by on the SEVEN HUNDRED BILLION we spend on the DoD alone, then you should have no problems whatsoever burning a few billion on TSA, right? No, that figure does not include money for VA, Homeland Security, etc. And no, I don’t think our military members are getting paid nearly enough, nor do our teachers, police, firefighters, etc. But then, I place my priorities on lives, rather than how many expensive planes and bombs we can make. So, if you think America can do better by spending less everywhere else, then it can certainly do better by spending less on the military. Btw, if we’d stop starting pointless wars, maybe we could get some our national debt paid off, including a ton of interest on past wars. Then maybe that money could be put to good use elsewhere. Instead, you’ll complain about your health care coverage (or lack thereof) and you wonder why there’s no money for health care in this country. Go figure. ExplorationTravMag Wow, it sounds as though your family, all by themselves, saved our country from things that go bump in the night. Why would we even NEED a military with your family around… I noticed one GLARING absence in your laundry list of military heroes- that being your name. So you’re content to stand by while others fight your battles for you, eh? And just to compare my military genealogy to yours: I was in the Air Force My husband is retired from the Air Force My three sons are in the military now, two in the Army, one in BMT right now at Lackland AFB, having just arrived a week ago My father was retired from the USAF, making the switch to them from the Army-Air Corps when the USAF started in 1947 (he was drafted for WWII and didn’t get to finish HS, getting his GED in 1959) My brother and sister were both in the USAF, one as an NCO, one as an officer with the medical corps as an RN My grandfathers on both sides were in the Army during WWI My Great-Grandfathers on all sides were in the Army during the Spanish American War My Great-Great Grandfathers were in the Army for the Civil War, on both sides My Great-Great-Great Grandfathers on all sides were in the military in the Revolutionary War, one of them with the British. My husband is currently employed by a government contractor who works diligently to advance our combat technologies because they, too, have children in the military and take it personally when even one soldier, sailor, airman or Marine dies because they didn’t do their job right. And if the timeline seems askew, I come from a long line of late in life, last child born, people. BUT, unlike you, I served my country honorably and didn’t expect someone else to pick up the baton for me, so I could rant about how much the military sucks (like you) while having no real understanding of just how it works. As far as my “lack of healthcare coverage”, my husband sacrificed 20 years of his life to earn benefits that were supposed to be free and unlimited. Now, not only is it NOT free, it’s limited to what a suit in an office thinks is best. My family and I gave up a great deal while we stood by my husband, even his going to war, during those 20 years, and dealt with low pay, his being on call 24/7, being subject to the whims of the Air Force, his missing the birth of three out of four of his kids, missed birthdays, missed holidays, the death of loved ones, the ability to take a vacation, saying goodbye to some pretty good friends, not being able to grow roots. So, yeah, I believe the government has a responsibility to its military retirees. And that means leaving alone the benefits we were supposed to have gotten when my husband signed on the dotted line and took an oath to defend the Constitution. And how is the latest war pointless if it meant bringing freedom from a despot and saving the lives of tens of thousands? My oldest son, who was in on the initial invasion as a member of the 82nd Airborne, was hugged and kissed by Iraqis who were thrilled we were there and gave them the first taste of freedom they’d had in 30 years. Do you think those people think it was a “pointless war”? Since you’re so concerned about money, what price do you put on a human life? If the budget is cut, as you demand, if one life is lost because of it, is it worth it to you? Two? Three? How many is too much? For me, it’s just one person dying because we as a nation didn’t care enough to make sure the money was there to keep our military members safe. It’s much more than big, fancy, expensive toys. And even if it were, those toys save lives. You should step out of your bubble and learn what the money really goes towards before you start casting aspersions against something you know absolutely NOTHING about, never having lived it personally, only by living vicariously through others. It’s an amazing world out there were you to bother stepping out of your mom’s basement. cjr001 Well, you have easily proven my point that too many in this country are willing to throw all government under the bus… as long as you don’t touch their precious military. The government can’t do anything right! Spend more on the military! Cut education, cut sciences, cut the arts, cut spending on infrastructure, cut everything and pour it all into our military! That’s the future! Huzzah! Hypocrites. ExplorationTravMag And you have easily proved my point that there are cowards everywhere who would much rather have someone else fight their battles than give a tangible effort themselves. You would be the hypocrite, passing judgment on something you have zero knowledge about… Let young men and women die so long as you and your other welfare recipients get the ability to spend more time on their couch watching television while others pay them. Lisa Simeone DavidYoung2, “just doing my job/just following orders” was demolished at Nuremberg. Tamara Murphy Interesting that you read an article about how Gallup’s polling methods may be flawed, but take full faith in the accuracy of the lopsided web poll at the end of it. jet2x2 But they are from the government and they are here to help you. And the check is in the mail…which will be delivered in a month or so.