Why does everyone hate the TSA?

Why does everyone hate the TSA?
The story had a familiar ring to it. It involved a group of soldiers returning home from Afghanistan. They were carrying weapons, including rifles, pistols and at least one M-240B machine gun.

And then they got to the TSA screening area in Indianapolis, where an overzealous agent began confiscating the soldiers’ contraband, according to the platoon leader.

One soldier lost a multi-tool.

“Kind of ridiculous,” he wrote, “but it gets better.”

“A few minutes later, a guy empties his pockets and has a pair of nail clippers. Nail clippers. TSA informs the soldier that they’re going to confiscate his nail clippers,” he added.

I didn’t have to go any further to know what would come after the account, which was forwarded to me by several readers last week and was reportedly making the rounds on Facebook.

The outrage. The TSA-bashing. The, “Can someone please tell me what the hell happened to our country while we were gone?”

There’s just one teensy problem: None of it is true.

And I’m not taking the TSA’s word for it, even though it posted an odd rebuttal late last week. The independent website Factcheck.org looked into it and concluded the incident did not happen.

Here’s an incident that did happen, though. This is an unidentified three-year-old on his way to Orlando with his family. If you don’t want to watch the entire clip, I’ll give you a Readers Digest version: The boy, sitting in a wheelchair, is subjected to a lengthy pat-down and is swabbed for explosives.

This clip got nearly 2 million views and tens of thousands of comments, all expressing fury that the TSA would do this to a toddler.

Just one thing: The incident didn’t happen earlier this week as the timestamp suggests; it occured about two years ago, well before the TSA changed the way it screens kids.

But that little fact didn’t stop the blogosphere and a few mainstream media outlets from pouncing on the agency assigned to protect us from flying jihadists.

Oh, who am I kidding? I probably would have done the same thing in the heat of the moment.

But why?

That’s a question I’ve pondered for a while. Maybe you have, too.

I mean, here’s an absurd story about fully-armed soldiers having their nailclippers confiscated. And people were forwarding it to me, even though it would have taken half a second to confirm that the story was bogus. They wanted it to be true.

Likewise, the video clip would have been far more troubling if it had been taken in March 2012, which we were led to believe it was. But it wasn’t. The TSA says it doesn’t do that kind of thing any more. But we want to think it does.

So what’s going on here?

It might help to pull back a little and look at airport security elsewhere. I can’t think of a single developed nation where airport security has such a terrible reputation. Even Israel, where airport security is thought to be airtight, doesn’t love to hate its screeners quite like we do here in the States.

Before 9/11, American airport screeners had a reputation for being poorly-educated and incompetent, but otherwise harmless. Now they have a reputation for being poorly-educated and incompetent, but they wear badges and call themselves “officers” and they aren’t so harmless anymore.

The TSA’s supporters may say the agency has prevented another 9/11-style attack, but that’s impossible to prove. They’ve been in charge of airport security for the last decade. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve protected us from anything or prevented anything.

In their efforts to do so, however, they’ve turned public sentiment against them. The American public didn’t hesitate to embrace two bogus events, and debunking them changed nothing. We still hate the TSA.

This is the TSA’s true problem — not terrorists, not budget cuts, but the fact that the American public wishes it would just disappear. And it isn’t something easily fixable with a PR campaign or another blogger with a corny sense of humor (sorry, Bob). American air travelers want deeds, not words.

We want the TSA to stop forcing us to choose between a potentially harmful full-body scan and an invasive pat-down. We want the agency to stop its unnecessary expansion that costs us billions of dollars a year. And we want it to start telling us the truth.

Is that asking too much?

(Photo: Defence Images)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • http://twitter.com/PJB956 Pamela Brooks

    If security for air travel were provided by the airlines and not the TSA, the system would improve dramatically. 

  • Daisiemae

    TSA doesn’t do that kind of thing anymore? What evidence do we have of that? When questioned about this video, TSA refused to state whether or not the boy and his wheelchair would still be examined in this manner under the current “new policy” that clearly does not guarantee that grope downs will not happen.

    The “new policy” only says that screeners will “try” to resolve any issues without doing a patdown. They will do things like offer to radiate your child multiple times. Refuse that, and your child gets the grope down.

    And with the proliferation of Pedophiles and other sexual predators hired by TSA, the chance that the “issue” cannot be resolved without a gropedown increases.

    I understand that the soldier story is bogus, but this video is not bogus. The fact that the incident occurred in 2010 rather than 2012 does not make it bogus. It is still an outrage that this incident and many more like it ever occurred at all. It is an outrage that parents still have no guarantee that their children are protected from similar abuse and molestation courtesy of our federal government.

    We hate the TSA because of the rampant abuse of innocent American citizens as evidenced by the many thousands of complaints that have already been lodged against this criminal organization. We hate the TSA because we have no way to protect ourselves from them. We hate the TSA because they rob us of our constitutional rights while giving us nothing in return. We hate the TSA because they rob our wallets of the hard earned dollars that should be going to put a roof over our heads, food on our tables, education for our children, and healthcare for our families…to the tune of $8 billion per year!

    The question should not be why does everybody hate the TSA. The question should be how could anybody NOT hate the TSA.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    TSA is such a joke. We laugh about how useless they are.

    They couldn’t organise a root (sex) in a brothel.

    If anyone & I mean anyone, wants to get anything past TSA it wouldn’t be very hard.

    Hell you Americans can’t keep poor Mexicans out of your country.

  • Rose Arnold

    Your blog and video remind me of the email diatribes I receive repeatedly  about the government, various government officials, and supposed bills wending their way through Congress.  All sent with dire warnings about the catastrophe that awaits us.  A quick and easy fact check on the internet (through numerous sites) reveals them all to be half-truths or outright lies yet people keep passing them on as they were gospel.  Why?  Because what they are passing along conforms to their world view so it has to be true, right?  In the case of the TSA agents, the real shame is that there is much to rightfully complain about with respect to the TSA and its “officers,” but the proliferation of false or outdated information about the TSA just weakens the legitimate criticism.  It seems that in all realms we have to make devils out of those we disagree with.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Side note…still haven’t heard back from the TSA on my inquiry last week. I will send them another message and see what happens, but I’m not holding my breath.

  • Susan J. Barretta

     “Why does everyone hate the TSA?”  You’re kidding, right?  TSA has practically nothing to do with real security, and everything to do with forcing Americans to submit unquestioningly to the authority of the state.

  • Todd Powers

    The soldiers in question did not fly to a commercial airport, However they were put customs and immigration at Bagram and Kandahar as per protocol. They  do not use any commercial facilities due to them carry weapons  and sensitive  items. so the story is false.  I have personally seen TSA  agents at both Bagram and Kandahar and they do not mess with military protocol. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HD35YPTNYVLSX5PTYF32MNA6FM DonnaP

    I checked Factcheck’s comments about the story, and it appears they (and vicariously, you too) are accepting TSA’s version of events and Blogger Bob in them all saying it’s not true.  The original post from the military guy SAYS they were taken to a separate part of the airport….didn’t say they were taken to the same place as commercial flights were.  All in all, because the soldier wishes to remain anonymous, there is no true way to find out if it’s true or not 100%. One line on Factchecker’s site on this story reads; “The bottom line is the story is not accurate and couldn’t possibly be true,” the TSA said.”  It is being claimed as false cause they couldn’t find any corroboration otherwise.  And the military guy who wrote the original post even responded to the TSA’s comments about saying it is false on Factcheck’s site too.  Here’s the link straight to the page on this story; http://www.factcheck.org/2010/12/tsa-not-to-blame-for-this/

  • MarkKelling


  • gritchie

    “They wanted it to be true.”; “The TSA doesn’t do that kind of thing anymore. But we want to think it does.”; “So what’s going on here?”… Are you kidding me, Chris? What’s “going on” is that you, and others like you, have incited the masses so well and for so long that they are ready to believe ANYTHING of TSA. Congratulations.

  • TravelingSalesman

    Sorry Christopher . . . it’s just so dang much fun to bash such a deserving target.  I’m an old geezer, so carrying a cane just so I can spin around and “accidentally” whack one or two of them, is about as much fun as I get in my travel. 

    It’s becoming what the military calls a target-rich environment.  I have spent some time thinking of stuff I could do to them, that wouldn’t get me in trouble, but would just ruin their day.

    It’s kinda like running over a snake basking on the road, EXCEPT that a snake has real value in our world and the TSA does not.

  • SoBeSparky

    We hate the TSA because its public relations suck.  And its PR sucks because “for security reasons, we are not allowed to tell you about that/discuss that/confirm that.”  Most probably very true and very unfortunate at the same time.

    Lack of transparency leads to misunderstandings and misinformation (a/k/a rumor mongering or urban legends).  This agency was formed at the same time our President was lying to us, and continued to lie to us, for seven years about the war in Iraq.  Everyone knew it, and many ceased to believe a measure of everything which came from the government surrounding terrorism and many actions perpetrated under the wildly misnamed Patriot Act.  (We are patriotic and going to preserve our freedoms by wiretapping anyone’s international telephone calls without any cause and any warrant.)

    Almost all agree Israel is in mortal danger of terrorism.  We respect that danger when we go through security at Ben Gurion.  Took me over 50 minutes after waiting for an hour.  My luggage (but not I) was searched particle by particle with little finesse by young security personnel.  Electronics experts (on break it turns out) had to be consulted about a standard piece of off-the-shelf PC hardware.  

    Do we take terrorism in the skies seriously in the U.S.?  Or is it that the deportment of TSA employees is lacking?  Or is it both?  

  • TheBride

    There is no problem with the TSA mission. The issue is that more and more TSA workers posture themselves as the police or law enforcers. They are not. And TSA made a very serious mistake when they outfitted them in new uniforms that mimic police uniforms. That is exactly the trend that pits the public against the TSA. It will only get worse. I think the better approach is to hide the TSA as “travelers” but that would be far too clever and I don’t think the TSA attracts the caliber of worker to pull off a superior approach. That is sad.

  • cjr001

    Why do we hate TSA?

    Well, how many links to various vidoes, news articles, and personal stories on blogs do you want?

  • AAmerican1

    As you write:”Before 9/11, American airport screeners had a reputation for being poorly-educated and incompetent, but otherwise harmless. Now they have a reputation for being poorly-educated and incompetent, but they wear badges and call themselves “officers” and they aren’t so harmless anymore.”
    TSA has too much authority, real or percieved, and is out of control in maintaining costs. An example is the number of “officers” in the screening area who are actually working rather than standing around in groups socializing. I never understand how they can have so many personnel available and not operate all of the scanners during peak periods. I commented in a previous post, not too long ago, how a TSA “officer” tried to have me removed from my assigned boarding area that was, at the time, not being used, I was early for my flight, because it was directly across from the TSA screening area and I could observe their screening procedures. A total lack of common sense considering I had to go through their procedures to get to the boarding area.
    And there-in is the problem, TSA personnel do not appear to be  trained in the use of either common sense or good judgment and if they are, the majority do not practice what they were taught.

  • Chasmosaur

    Doubt that highly.  Airport authorities are more likely to be interested, as the facilities are theirs to protect – airlines can move in and out of an airport, but the facility remains.

    I still think an agency dedicated to transportation security should go under the purview of USDOT.  They should then receive briefs from intelligence agencies on potential threats.  It keeps it out of the sphere where they can hide behind “national security” and have to open up the security process to public review.  (For example, AIT was pushed through.  When it was pointed out there was no public comment period, TSA/DHS has said it’s a “national security” thing and public review isn’t necessary.)

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500222631 Reuven Avram

    Smart “TSA” reporters, like the people at http://shinybadge.com/ didn’t fall for these false stories. In fact shinybadge.com wrote a story long before you did on why the “toddler search” is NOT an example of an abusive TSA.

    So don’t be a bigot and characterize all people who are against the TSA as fools.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500222631 Reuven Avram

    Smart TSA reporters, like the people at http://shinybadge.com didn’t fall for either false story


    There are enough true facts out there, based on actual court convictions and documents, that there’s no need to make things up.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Aaron-Gold/1015584383 Aaron Gold

    >We hate the TSA because its public relations suck.

    I disagree. I hate the TSA because it’s wasting our money on ineffective solutions. They have wasted billions of tax dollars on machines of dubious safety to us frequent fliers that haven’t been proven to protect us from anything.

    Worse yet, TSA is run by an idiot with little respect for the Constitution and an inability to admit that he’s wrong. Joe Pistole is wasting $$ that could be spent on healthcare and education, all so he doesn’t have to look bad.

    Israel is a *fantastic* example of a country that can battle terrorism without trashing the rights of its citizens. So why aren’t we emulating the experts? Why does the TSA insist on doing its own thing, when it’s clear even to laypeople like us that they are clueless?

    We hate the TSA because it’s running amock, and no one has the guts to stop them.

    We hate the TSA because they use the cloak of “security” to escape the scrutiny to which every publicly-funded organization is normally subject.

    We hate the TSA because frequent fliers like me, who have cancer in our family and don’t want to take any risks, have to be intimately touched to do our jobs.

    We hate the TSA because some day, if it turns out we’re right about those machines, they’re going to subject us to billions in lawsuits from agents stricken with cancer.

    Maybe if every elected official, including the President, had to fly commercial, we’d see some changes.

  • TestJeff Pierce

    Chris: As far as we can figure out, it is not true that they would not “check” a child in a wheelchair nor perform an explosives test. I absolutely have seen nothing to the contrary. They will also touch children, although they may leave their groins alone – but they will never admit that.

    All the TSA has asserted is that for 17 year olds and under they would run them through strip search scanners a few times or metal detectors a a few times to “resolve an alert” – before performing a “pat down”. In other words, they will follow a a strange security  process which is “100% workable for humans 17 and under, yet it fails to be sufficient on older humans.” I wonder what part of the process fails based on age?

    I have seen 100% explosives detection on ALL wheelchair bound TSA targets in my recent business travel, FYI.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    The first time I got that e-mail (spam) about the soldiers having their nail clippers confiscated, I knew it wasn’t true.  With two sons who went to war in Iraq and one of them doing a tour in Afghanistan, I can assure you soldiers don’t travel with their weapons – not even a pocketknife.

    And even if by some off chance they did, they SURE wouldn’t be loaded.  These soldiers are able to relax for the first time in months and they taught themselves to sleep with their fingers on the triggers.  All kinds of bad stuff can happen when one is asleep.  Imagine hitting turbulence or a soldier tripping and falling?  Mayhem would ensue.  The military knows these soldiers are coming of 6 months to a year of sleeping with one eye open and their finger on the trigger.Their weapons are either in the cargo hold or on another flight with the rest of their equipment and rucks/duffels.  This is the first thing both my sons complained about was not having their weapons for the first time in months and they were edgy about it.

    As far as the title of your column, Chris, it’s like asking, “Why do people hate spinach or Lima beans?”

    People bash TSA because they are truly awful at what they do. They are also power hungry little nips who have no sense of control in any other part of their lives so they take it out on the general traveling public.  And when they ARE caught doing something wrong, their first response is always, “Wasn’t there, didn’t do it”.  People believe in personal responsibility and this is an agency that doesn’t feel morally or legally responsible for the bad acts of their employees.

    We hate that…

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Wish I could like this one a few more time…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2NZAJ6KPWUWJV23TTE3TNBMJZI Trudi

    TSA ‘officers’ vary from one airport to another. Their rules vary from one to another. They infringe on my personal space and I don’t trust them anymore than I do the bad guys. I feel like we’re being punished for something and no one is sure what it was or cares that our civil rights are violated by our government. One time while leaving the Tampa airport (which I love! and is better than most others I’ve flown in and out of) a TSA agent asked me a question. Her English was so poor I couldn’t understand her. I said, “I don’t understand you. Is there anyone here who speaks English?” Okay, I’m a damned American, but this woman seemed to be from the Middle East. I sincerely didn’t understand her and she took offense. She called her superior and he was not cordial when I questioned her American loyalties (my temper) and they held up my plane to reprimand me. I never did find out what she asked; she could have said, ‘are you having a bad day?”  I’ll grant that it was 2 years ago, and like the little boy in the video, it’s over. It remains one reason why I hate TSA!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2NZAJ6KPWUWJV23TTE3TNBMJZI Trudi

    I don’t think the airlines are organized well enough to operate national security. I hate TSA, but whoever operates airport security needs to be well-organized. I know TSA is trying to do that. I think they’re failing, but I don’t think the airlines would do better.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2NZAJ6KPWUWJV23TTE3TNBMJZI Trudi

    Totally agree! They are the embodiment of ‘Big Brother’.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2NZAJ6KPWUWJV23TTE3TNBMJZI Trudi

    Just out of curiosity, what did TSA do with all those lighters they confiscated years ago, and when did lighters no longer pose a problem to security? What do they do with all the ‘stuff’ they steal from people? Can I go to Alabama and buy it at the Lost Luggage store? Why are knitting needles not a problem, but nail clippers are? Why do we hate TSA?  really?

  • UwasaWahya

    It doesn’t matter whether or not the kids patdown and swabbing was two years ago or two minutes ago. It is a violation of our fourth amendment rights. And the PC way of doing this is a sad statement to the fact that politics is more important than our actual safety. People profile everyday it is part of our nature as living beings.

  • Wrongsorry

    Hi to protect us from our employer, I have blocked our faces in this photo taken in August 2011. I am a flight attendant and have flown military charters since 2001. I want to assure everyone that at least on our major commercial airline, these men and women do indeed get to travel with their weapons. There are so many weapons everywhere in the cabin, that I have be cautious not to trip on one. The gate area in the terminal where our flight departs is roped off from the rest of the gates and they even get to have a cigarette or two right inside the terminal before we leave. During our long flights, the pilots like to leave the cockpit door open and the soldiers are
    welcome to walk in and speak to the pilots and come to the back galley and talk to the rest of the crew for the whole flight, so we hear all their stories. Yes they do have to go through security, and yes many…I mean many, have had their expensive Leatherman multitools taken away from them!!!  Shame on the TSA. They are confiscating (stealing) items they obviously want for themselves.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Might it be Guard does it differently?  My sons went over as Active Duty, not Guard.  Their weapons were secured in the cargo hold or with their other gear upon their departure from Kuwait.  Their trip from Baghdad had their weapons in their hands but coming into the US?  Nope, they didn’t have them and they went straight to the armory once they landed at Ft. Bragg.

    So, not wrong, sorry.

  • Victoria Dossey Findley

    Why do people hate TSA ? It is ATTITUDE ! Most people are teachable when it comes to skills, however I don’t think you can teach attitude. I am an almost 62 year old silver haired grandmother of 3 that must endure a pat down everytime I fly. I have a pacemaker  & am 100 % dependent on it.. I am SO tired of TSA agents who  get pissy  & tell me to go through the scanner. My cardiologist has advised me to not use the scanner . I got the same info from the maker of my pacemaker. There have not been enogh studies done to predict the effect on my pacemaker. Yet  these  agents smirk, shake their heads & are totally rude. I’ll bet most couldn’t spell pacemaker or understand the job of the pacemaker.

  • Wrongsorry

    We take Marines, Air Force, Army, you name it, and all different ranks of servicemen. Yes they are Active Duty and not Guard. I’m in Aviano Air Base in Italy as we speak. For the last 10 years I have spoken to maybe, oh, I don’t know, maybe half a million servicemen and women. Last month we took them Seymour Johnson Air Force base in North Carolina…a US destination from Kuwait. I know for certain that their weapons were NOT in the cargo hold while they were being positioned to their duty. Want another photo? Peace!

  • scapel

    In January 2010 I went on a cruise with Sue my wife’s cousin since it was on her bucket list. She was totally dependent on Oxygen so we brought several large oxyben bottles, and oxygen generator and several smaller travelling bottles to go on the mobile scooter.
    Her husband after being allowed to bring all these things aboard then had a pocket knife with a 1″ blade taken from him. I remembered to get it back for him, but it seemed foolish to take that and let him carry all these bombs aboard.
    The TSA is all we seem to have at present to try and prevent anymore terrorist activities.
    If a terriorist wants to put a remote controlled bomb on the railroad tracks and blow a train off and get away with it, I don’t see who is to stop them.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Okay, wow – Let me say it again – perhaps Guard does it differently?  My two sons were both Active Duty when they went to the sandbox for the initial invasion in, what was it?  2003?

    And Aviano is a stopping point for both Guard and Active, my husband having been stationed there while he was Active (and is now retired, so you don’t create the mistaken notion I am just another civilian who thinks they know about it but don’t)

    When my sons were put ON the plane to GO to the war, yes, they had their weapons (on a military aircraft).  When they were coming back from the war, no, they didn’t have their weapons, them having been cleaned and emptied of ammo and put in the cargo hold (of a military aircraft)

    The fact that you continue to present this as a fact when, the truth is you’re only discussing one base, tells me your login name is apt.

    And I remain, Not Wrong, sorry.

  • Wrongsorry

    One base? No, wrong again and again…Do you work for the TSA or something? If my login names upsets you so much then I’ll change it to ‘someone who flies a lot’ Yikes! Peace! We’re on the same side.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    You know, my husband, very early on in my marriage, had to help me understand that there are just people in the world who are wrong and will go on being wrong, no matter what you tell them.  They “think” they know because of their cursory affiliation with “something” and nothing you say or do can change their minds.  Sometimes you just have to let people be wrong.  Apparently, there are a lot of them in the military (and if you’re a civilian living on the fringe of the military, this would apply to you, too)

    I’m choosing to do this with you.

    Have a nice life.

  • Wrongsorry

    I am =)

  • DavidYoung2

    Save your breath, Mark.  Unless you are new to this site, you should know that reason and logic have no place when the TSA-crazies get going. 

    Not everybody hates the TSA.  The vast majority of people are, I would like to believe, like me.  I just have a life and, therefore, have no opinion at all about people I don’t personally know who are doing a job for which they did not make the rules. 

    Now, there’s a lot of (1) bitter, (2) bored, (3) lonely and/or (4) crazy people out there that have nothing better to do than rage against some form of whatever.  I think if they went instead to grab a beer with a friend instead of spewing their personal poison against other Americans who are just doing a job, they might be a lot happier.

    So when we board our flight later this week, we’ll be looking forward to nice vacation.  And if somebody wants to do a pat-down, or ask me to go through the scanner dingy, that’s not going to bother me a whit.  I’m looking forward to seeing friends and having fun.  What else matters? 

  • DavidYoung2

    Yeah, you guys down there are doing a tremendous job of stopping the Indonesians from just pulling a boat up on your beach.  And the Sydneysiders seem more interested in getting departing passengers into the Duty Free than any meaningful security.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    TSA provides absolutely no security whatsoever. It’s a total scham.
    Hey, last night (it’s Sun am in OZ) we had a state election in the large state of Queensland. The Labor Party (left) was decimated. Out of 89 seats in Parliemnt they may get 6. Labor Party controls Federal Govt & so looks good they willbe decimated at next election, if they last that long, as they don’t even have a majority, especially as 1 member is in trouble for using hookers & paying for them with his govt/union credit card.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    TSA seems to be acting like the Nazis in Germany in late 30’s.

    Amazing that they can get away with it in USA today, with lots of Jewish people.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Totally off topic, but I really wish AdChoices on this site would quit trying to get me to click on “Speed Up Your Mac” or “Mac Defender.”

    Both are total scams! Kind of a bad choice for a consumer advocate site…

  • TonyA_says

    Hey I use Firefox with NoScript. It blocks unwanted ads just like the TSA stops terrorists ;-)

  • TonyA_says
  • Annapolis2

    Actually, the TSA does indeed still fondle the bodies of tiny children, if they have to use wheelchairs to get through a checkpoint.  The TSA never denied that it would go down exactly this way if a small boy appeared in a wheelchair at a checkpoint tomorrow.  What’s going on is that we know that if TSA screeners could stop themselves from abusing passengers, they would already have done it.  Instead, we have new TSA atrocities appearing every week.  These people just can’t help abusing others – it’s the Stanford Prison Experiment in real life.

  • Annapolis2

    Agreed.  Different airlines would impose different types of security, and then everyone can have what they want. The bedwetting cowards can hire thugs to feel up their children, and those of us who understand probability can board our planes without being sexually assaulted. 

  • Annapolis2

    People hate the TSA because the TSA hurts innocent people.  They retraumatize rape survivors by forcing sexual contact on their unwilling victims.  They groom children for sexual abuse by training kids to let strangers touch their bodies.  They create and transmit nude images of children.  They blast people with cancer-causing ionizing radiation.  Some of them steal valuables, smuggle drugs through the checkpoints, and get caught raping people and distributing child porn on their off-hours.    There is no public relations campaign that can repair the damage they have done to the human beings they have abused.  I had a disturbing nightmare last night about what they did to me at a checkpoint, and I can’t get it out of my head.  TSA hurts people.  Intentionally.  There’s no fixing it.  Keep your filthy hands away from our bodies, TSA!

  • davidglass

    People are way too trusting of the internet. There are many many hoaxes and lies wherein people make stuff up and twist dates, times and facts around to sensationalize in an attempt to achieve a moment of fame or viral video on YouTube. Do some research people; don’t believe everything is as it appears at first glance.

  • CAEmigirant

    We have watched the TSA for years. From the most strategic to the most tactical and personal level, any thinking person views them as a inconvenient, expensive farce. At the most strategic level only due to political correctness, there is no profiling unlike all other security and police actions have to be in fact! Consequently, children, the aged, especially young women, and Senators have to be frisked. Their strategic no fly lists are out of date, don’t include known terrrorists, have similar-name errors for years that cannot be corrected. You can use a fake ID from more than half the states in the US where illegals can get bogus, old technology drivers’ licenses for under $100. There is no security for any General Aviation or Cargo planes. There is little security for airport personnel. They essentially have never caught any drug smuggling. Apparently you  forgot the early years of slow, untrained people, often with limited English ability in many airports, delaying people averaging over a one hour wait with totally inconsistent processes over time and between airports. The incidents I have experienced personally are too numerous to name. They confiscate small quantities of expensive perfume and shampoo and baby formula and cuticle knives and nail scissors(yes) and allow Duty Free to sell us 3+ liters of explosive alchohol(!!), e.g. 100 proof bourbon, in a large glass container, e.g. potential weapon, after they confiscated a four inch vase from my wife. You cannot have liquids over 3 oz., but an unlimited number of “frozen” containers, three pounds of supposed scallops, and five pounds of bacon with nitrates are okay. They have no reporting structure to be able to buy billions of dollars or useless equipment. Tactically, I have seen many times that there is NO chain of command to address issues and make decisions which must have come up in the same airport a dozen times or at some airport a hundred times.

    None of these issues has to do per se with any issues about personal dignity or privacy or supposedly urban myth legends about their incompetence. It also doesn’t reflect many people’s justifiable concern about them being unionized.

  • jim6555

    The fourth amendment does not apply here. There is nothing in the US Constitution about the right to fly on a commercial aircraft. You have a choice. If you want to avoid TSA security checks, there are other available means of inter-city transportation that do not require TSA airport scrutiny.

  • cjr001

    If logic were used in the first place, we wouldn’t have TSA.

    But thanks for insulting all of those who actually care about our country and the Constitution, when it’s readily apparent that you don’t.

  • cjr001

    That’s already been proven false: TSA wants their dirty blue gloves on EVERY mode of transportation in this country, including highways.

    TSA has been spotted at Amtrak stations, at city subway stations. They’ve admitted that they want to be at ports. And they’ve stopped traffic on an interstate so they could do whatever the hell it is they do.

    Once again, if TSA has their way, there will be NO WAY to avoid them.

  • cjr001

    Unlike TSA, add-ons such as NoScript, AdBlock and FlashBlock actually work.

  • TonyA_says

     LOL :-)

  • jim6555

    Since Chris’ article dealt with air travel and the comment about the fourth amendment by Proud Teabagger was about air travel, I commented only that mode of transportation. If the TSA extends the same techniques and procedures to train, bus, water or highway travel, then in my humble opinion, they would be in violation of the fourth amendment.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    “The TSA doesn’t do that kind of thing any more.”

    Not quite accurate. The TSA can and will still “do that kind of thing” if and when it wants to. The TSA has stated, repeatedly, that it can still search children any way it pleases if it deems the search necessary. That includes pawing and groping. It also includes shoving a child multiple times through the radiation-emitting backscatter scanners.

    And the child’s name is Rocco Dubiel.  His father’s name is Matt Dubiel.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    DavidYoung2 writes: “The vast majority of people are, I would like to believe, like me.”

    Well, there you have it. Who can argue with “logic” like that?

  • Brian

    The thinking that you forfeit your rights simply by the method of travel you choose is flawed.  The constitution was written when travel was far more limited than today.  The intent of the framers was that we are free against unreasonable search and seizure. Not free against unreasonable search and seizure unless we travel by horse, car, or plane. 

  • ClareClare

    Gee, thanks.  It’s a great way to convince the other side [incl. me] that you’re right: call them “crazies” in the first paragraph.  I take it you never learned how to argue your point logically and civilly by joining the debate-team back in high school?

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone
  • UwasaWahya

    If the airlines were government transportation I might agree with you. However it is not and I do not. I the airlines want to have their own security checks that is their business not the governments.

  • James Babb Ⓐ

    Nobody is asking airlines to operate “national security.” All they need to do is protect their capital investment, employees and customer base…just like every other business.

    If held responsible, I guarantee that airline stock holders and insurance companies would insist on real security to protect those assets, rather than the security theater that politicians buy.

  • DavidYoung2

    Really?  You believe the framers of the constitution were considering the interrelationship of airport / airline security and the constitution back in the 1700s?  Too funny.

  • DavidYoung2

    You’re never going to convice the TSA-crazies with logic, reason or facts.  Just ain’t gonna happen.  It’s like trying to teach a dog to play the trumpet — it’ll just annoy the dog and frustrate you.

  • cjr001

    The framers were a helluva smarter than you, that’s for certain.

    I wouldn’t trust you to find a way out of a wet paper bag.

  • cjr001

    Still waiting for any ounce of logic, reason, or fact from you…

  • cjr001

    The courts have guaranteed that you have a right to travel, regardless of the means by which you do it.

    It does not matter in the least whether it is by car, plain, train, boat, whatever.

    If you believe what TSA does is in violation for those methods of transportation, then you should believe it’s a violation when you fly in an airplane, as well.

  • http://perfectbracurves.com/ Kelly

     This post helped to know about TSA, which i was not ware.
    This should be controlled

  • lorcha

    My understanding was that that was precisely the problem with confiscating lighters: they were too expensive to dispose of properly, in bulk. They were confiscating thousands and thousands of lighters, and you can’t just throw all of that Butane in the ordinary trash stream. That’s an environmental hazard. 

    So the TSA decided to allow lighters through security because they were too much of an inconvenience for them to handle.

  • lorcha

    There are three reasons that I hate the TSA: 
    1. They sexually assault me every time I fly because I don’t want to go through their radiation strip-search machines.
    2. They cause huge delays in the airport (remember when we used to be able to breeze through security?).
    3. They are so pretentious when all they are doing is security theater. They want to inconvenience travelers as much as possible to give the illusion of “doing something” when what they are doing is not going to prevent any terrorist attacks.

  • LisaSux

    This blog has become pretty irrelevant.  I used to stop by daily, now it’s once a week if I remember at all.  Petty issues and the TSA wacckos – I supposed everyone has to have their place.

  • TexanPatriot1

    I HAVE witnessed incidents with overzealous TSA agents confiscating items from armed soldiers — they’d be getting onto contract flights versus regularly scheduled airline traffic.  Maybe THIS incident wasn’t true, but it could well be based on a real incident which may have occurred several years ago.  Such scattered incidents have occurred.

    Would you have believed that a TSA agent forced someone with a colostomy bag to disconnect it?  Sounds outrageous, right?   But you would recall it DID happen that way.  Checking feces in diapers?   True.

  • Daisiemae

    It’s easy to believe the soldier story because everything the TSA does repeatedly is entirely consistent with this type of behavior.  Even though the exact details of this story are not true, the arrogance, stupidity, rudeness, abusiveness and other attributes described in this story have all been displayed by TSA over and over again thousands of times.

    People believed this story because they know that there is nothing too outrageous or bizarre, nothing too inhumane, nothing too illegal or morally reprehensible for the TSA.

    So in this particular instance no TSA screener confiscated nail clippers from an armed soldier? Just wait, it will happen soon. If not, TSA will do something else equally shocking, stupid, and reprehensible. Perhaps something like forcing a mother to pump her breasts to prove that her breast pump is real.

  • http://oussamastake.blogspot.com/ Oussama

    It is the attitude, it all started on the wrong foot, the administration’s fear mongering and the fact if you questioned security you got hauled for questioning and ended up on a no fly list. The TSA never smiled as I remember, as if showing a big frown enhances security. They never had a humane face and they became the bullies, unstoppable in a way.
    Private security companies and airport authorities adopt the same stance in different airports and different countries. It seems something endemic with the job.
    Finally, what is it that everybody think that security should be, there is a perception problem here of what security ought to be. Guidelines are set in ICAO Annex 17 as a basis for a National Aviation Security Plan. The TSA has pushed technology to cope with perceived evolving threats and the rest of the world had to follow.