Category Archives: TSA

TSA Seeks Permission to Conduct “Security Assessments” on Highways

via Prison Planet: 

TSA Seeks Permission to Conduct Security Assessments on Highways  041212tsa

The TSA is seeking permission from the Office of Management and Budget to conduct “security assessments” on highways as well as at 140 other public transportation hubs, including bus depots and train stations.

The request was buried amidst a deluge of jargon and published in the Federal Register on November 30.

If approved, it would allow the TSA to to “conduct transportation security-related assessments during site visits with security and operating officials of surface transportation entities.”

“Similarly, TSA wants to conduct on-site assessments with public agencies that run buses, rail transit, long-distance rail and less common types of service, such as cable cars, inclined planes, funiculars and automated guide way systems,” reportsGovernment Security News.

On the face of it, the “security assessments” involve TSA officials telling transportation organizations what security measures they should adopt as part of the Highway Baseline Assessment for Security Enhancement (BASE) Program. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out what measures the TSA is likely to recommend – more “security assessments” that require more TSA agents and more funding for the federal agency.

“TSA’s Highway BASE program seeks to establish the current state of security gaps and implemented countermeasures throughout the highway mode of transportation by posing questions to major transportation asset owners and operators. Data and results collected through the Highway BASE program will inform TSA’s policy and program initiatives and allow TSA to provide focused resources and tools to enhance the overall security posture within the surface transportation community,” states the federal filing.

In other words, get ready for TSA agents to be groping Grandma on the interstate.

Critics of the TSA will undoubtedly see this as another example of the federal agency extending its tentacles into forms of transportation other than airports and greasing the skids for airport-style security at highway checkpoints. Such measures have already been put in place at numerous train and bus stations across the country.

The TSA has already conducted checkpoint-style programs on highways before, notably in Tennessee last year where Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams checked trucks at five weigh stations and two bus stations in the state, as well as making trucks pass through x-ray scanners. TSA officials also used the checkpoint to try and recruit truck drivers to become citizen snitches under the First Observer Highway Security Program.

Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner Bill Gibbons justified the highway checkpoints by stating, “Where is a terrorist more apt to be found? Not these days on an airplane more likely on the interstate.”

After the presence of TSA screeners on the highway made the newsthe TSA responded by claiming concerns were overblown, and that TSA workers were only, “supporting state and local personnel as they inspected vehicles to identify potential security threats.”

Now it seems the TSA is looking to run its own “security-related assessments” on highways without the involvement of law enforcement.

Last year, the TSA was responsible for over 9,000 checkpoints across the United States, a number set to increase thanks to the agency’s bloated budget and its expansion beyond anything vaguely related to transportation. Since its inception in the US after 9/11, the TSA has grown in size exponentially. The agency was slammed in a recent congressional report for wasting hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on security theater.

As Infowars has repeatedly stressed, any attempt to protest against the practices of the TSA by simply refusing to fly is largely pointless given the fact that the federal agency is expanding to cover virtually all forms of transport, as well as events that have nothing to do with transportation such aspolitical functionsmusic concerts, and even high school prom nights.

Federal Audit Proves TSA Is Misleading Public, Covering Up Passenger Complaints

via Prison Planet: 

Federal Audit Proves TSA Is Misleading Public, Covering Up Passenger Complaints

A Federal report released last week concludes that the TSA does not have an adequate system to measure passenger complaints, has failed to factor in many complaints in its evaluations, does not consistently inform travelers of how they can file complaints, and could be ignoring complaints altogether because the agents investigating the cases are in the same chain of command as those being investigated.

The report (PDF), compiled by the Government Accountability Office, will serve as a compelling source for reporters and activists who have claimed that the TSA is knowingly misleading the public on the level of backlash the agency has received.

Dated November 15, the fifty page report indicates that almost 40,000 complaints were formally filed with the TSA Contact Center (TCC), between October 2009 and June 2012. The report notes, however, that the TCC is only one of five ways that travelers are able to submit complaints, yet it is the only avenue that is currently being evaluated by the TSA.

“TSA is using only the complaints received through the TCC to calculate an air passenger satisfaction indicator in its Office of Security Operations’ Executive Scorecard.” the report states.

“TSA does not use data from its other four mechanisms, in part because the complaint categories differ, making data consolidation difficult,” it adds.

The report notes that the other four areas that deal with complaints are not factored in. They are the Office of the Executive Secretariat (mail complaints), the multicultural branch (civil rights), the disability branch, and local TSA airport offices.

The report notes that the TSA lacks a “centralized entity to guide and coordinate” complaints, and recommends that “an agency wide policy and process would help standardize how TSA receives complaints and how TSA analyzes and uses the information it collects.”

The report also flags up a potentially huge conflict of interest owing to “the lack of independence of the complaint investigators.”

“Specifically, TSA airport officials responsible for resolving air passenger complaints are generally in the same chain of command as TSA airport staff who are the subjects of the complaints,” the report notes, suggesting that greater independence as regards complaint investigation is needed.

“Having a more independent complaint resolution process would better position TSA to make informed and unbiased decisions about complaints and ensure that corrective actions are taken, as needed, against screeners who are reported to have exhibited unprofessional or inappropriate behavior with air passengers,” the report states.

It also notes that as things stand, TSA’s complaint resolution process fails to meet proper investigation standards of either the U.S. Ombudsman Association or the American Bar Association.

The TSA has routinely bragged on its own websites that the level of passenger complaints are low considering the amount of travelers that pass through it’s security points. Given that we now know the TSA’s complaints process is highly flawed, such assertions by the agency can be dismissed as misleading at best.

Indeed, many have complained that though they wanted to submit formal complaints, they do not believe they were taken seriously. Blogger Ron Bonner notes that he has attempted twice to file formal complaints to the TSA, but has been stalled or blocked from doing so:

“I spent many hours over a period of weeks trying to find out any outcome to the investigation and never got a word from the TSA. In fact, to this day I’m not sure that the TSA investigated my complaint at all.” Bonner states.

Engineer Jon Corbett, who exposed vulnerabilities in TSA body scanners, notes that in a recent release of filed complaints by the TSA under the Freedom Of Information Act, his own formal complaint about pat-downs was no where to be found. Indeed, the agency only released information pertaining to 201 complaints submitted by members of the public in Q4 of 2010, despite being asked to release every recorded complaint regarding pat-downs it had for that period.

The new GAO report indicates that at the end of 2010 there was a massive increase in complaints, owing to the fact that the agency introduced enhanced pat-downs, as well as a raised public awareness due to media coverage of the first national TSA opt-out campaign. At the peak of this increase complaints numbered in the region of 5000. The report indicates that over 17,000 complaints were made regarding pat-downs in the two and a half year period. The report also notes that thousands of additional written complaints were received by the Office of the Executive Secretariat and the other offices the TSA chooses to ignore.

This indicates that TSA has attempted to downplay and cover up the amount of complaints it has received.

Federal Audit Proves TSA Is Misleading Public, Covering Up Passenger Complaints 221112TSA

Federal Audit Proves TSA Is Misleading Public, Covering Up Passenger Complaints 221112TSA2

Many have complained that having asked how to submit a formal complaint to the TSA, they have simply been ignored or even threatened with arrest. The GAO report states that “TSA has several methods to inform air passengers about making screening complaints, but does not consistently implement them.” It also notes “TSA does not have a focal point to coordinate agencywide policy for informing air passengers about complaint processes.”

The report also refers to comment cards, noting that they were not in use at all the airports the GAO contacted, and that “TSA does not have a policy requiring that complaints submitted using the cards be tracked or reported centrally.” The report also states that “local TSA staff have discretion in implementing TSA’s complaint processes, including how they receive and document complaints,” and therefore “the full nature and extent of complaints” goes undocumented.

It is clear that the TSA has been less than forthcoming with information regarding complaints, to say the least. Reporter Scott MacFarlane, who broke the recent story about the TSA exposing the breasts of a Congressman’s 17 year old niece during a pat down, posted the following tweet yesterday:

I asked @TSA how many “pat-down” complaints they received. Spokeswoman refused to answer, said file another “freedom of information act”

 

The TSA routinely claims that millions of travelers pass through the federal agency’s security procedures every year without complaint. However, when complaints are made, the agency is loathe to make them public.

It took a staggering four years for the TSA to acquiesce to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by ProPublica’s Michael Grabell back in 2008 which asked the agency to reveal details of passenger complaints.

In addition, the vast majority do not go the route of submitting a lengthy formal complaint. As we have previously noted, the ACLU has been inundated with complaints, and previous studies have indicated that up to 90% of frequent flyers are highly dissatisfied with the TSA.

As usual, the mainstream media is nowhere to be seen on this issue. There are barely any reports from any mainstream source on the new GAO report, despite it having been released a week ago, and despite it being more than newsworthy considering it is the holiday period.

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TSA: Cakes and Pies ‘Are Subject To Additional Screening’

via Fox News:

The TSA is on high alert for any suspicious turkey complements this Thanksgiving holiday, and in alleged efforts to expedite travelers they’ve released a list of prohibited items and holiday travel tips.

Unless you’re transporting a very minute amount of gravy, the TSA says you’re better off leaving it at home, along with the following items: cranberry sauce, dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), gift baskets with food4items (salsa, jams and salad dressings), jams, jellies, lotions, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, salad dressing, salsa, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.

 

The TSA is on high alert for any suspicious turkey complements this Thanksgiving holiday, and in alleged efforts to expedite travelers they’ve released a list of prohibited items and holiday travel tips.

Thinking of taking along that famous homemade chicken giblet broth? Think again terrorist.

“Not sure about what you can and can’t bring through the checkpoint? Here’s a sample list of liquid, aerosol and gel items that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or leave at home if they are above the permitted 3.4 oz.” (emphasis theirs)

Unless you’re transporting a very minute amount of gravy, the TSA says you’re better off leaving it at home, along with the following items: cranberry sauce, dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.), gift baskets with food4items (salsa, jams and salad dressings), jams, jellies, lotions, maple syrup, oils and vinegars, salad dressing, salsa, sauces, soups, wine, liquor and beer.

In all fairness, they do permit any of the above so long as it fits in a quart-sized zip top bag (one per passenger), the same bag that is supposed to carry other personal hygiene items like toothpaste, cologne and shampoo.

In addition to indirectly telling passengers to can the cranberry sauce, the TSA has also been gracious enough to allow passengers to board snow globes; however, they need to be “tennis ball size” and must fit in the aforementioned zip bag, along with your toothpaste, shaving cream and maple syrup.

And in case you thought the TSA was being a little too paranoid, they show their rational side by permitting pies and cakes, albeit, with the added stipulation that they are subject to additional screening: “You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.” One can only wonder what that means.

And you can just plain forget about surprising relatives at the receiving airport with wrapped gifts, because “if a bag alarms our security officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside.”

Open up and say, “AHHH!!”

The extent to which Americans will stand idly by and permit such treatment should not be underestimated.

As a poll commissioned by Infowars and conducted by Harris Interactive last week showed, almost one third of Americans would accept a “TSA body cavity search” prior to boarding an aircraft in the name of safety. The question was posed as follows:

“Given the recent reports concerning the threat posed by terrorists who plan to implant bombs within their own bodies, how willing, if at all, would you be to undergo a TSA body cavity search in order to fly?”

According to the poll results, “A total 30% of American adults said they would be ‘willing’ or ‘somewhat willing’ to accept a body cavity search. 57% would be ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat unwilling’ to submit to it and 13% answered ‘don’t know.’”

The poll also disturbingly found that, in trade for an additional perceived layer of safety, a number of Americans would also be willing to wear electric shock bracelets during their flights:

In 2008, the Department of Homeland Security expressed an interest in having travelers wear electric shock bracelets that would both track travelers through the airport as well as allow airport officials and flight crews to incapacitate potential terrorists. How willing, if at all, would you be to wear such a bracelet in order to fly?

Poll results found, “35% of American adults would be ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat willing’ to wear the shock bracelet, compared to 52% who would be ‘completely’ or ‘somewhat unwilling.’ Republicans were more likely to be willing than Democrats, 41% to 34%.”

Why is the TSA at Mitt Romney campaign events and the Olympics?

The TSA has also predictably spread beyond airport terminals to highwaystrain stationspublic buses and prom nights throughout the U.S, and has also been spotted conducting security for recentMitt Romney and Paul Ryan campaign speaking events, despite the fact that these events had nothing to do with “transportation” whatsoever.

This past summer, the TSA also puzzlingly made its way out of the U.S. entirely, flying overseas toconduct security at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. If you can think of a better way to spend tax dollars, I’d like to hear it.

These laughable holiday guidelines are slaps in the faces of honest, hard-working Americans, many of whom only get to see their families once a year. The continuation of this grandiose (and expensive – $8.1 billion annually) security theater has spiraled out of control and will continue to do so unless people stand up and put their feet down collectively.

As more of our fellow Americans are brainwashed to accept this outright degradation and humiliation as a part of normal everyday life and are incrementally convinced of the TSA’s absolute necessity, our rights and freedoms get traded for routine roundabout accusations, invasive grope-downs and legalized tyranny.

This holiday season is the perfect opportunity to fight for America’s right to travel grope-free. Join the Infowars Opt Out and Film campaign by opting out of radiation-firing body scanners and filming the ensuing grope fest.

 

Every holiday travel season, TSA prepares to ensure we provide a smooth holiday travel experience for travelers. Since this is during the busiest travel time of the year, TSA wants to remind passengers of the security procedures in place and help travelers be prepared for security, before they leave home.

Click to download the Helpful Hints for Holiday Travelers printout.Holiday Traveler’s Checklist

  • Click here to download TSA’s Helpful Hints for Holiday Travelers Checklist

Improvements for Holiday Travel

  • TSA Pre✓™ Expedited Screening: This program prescreens individuals – traveling on participating airlines out of select airports – who volunteer information about themselves prior to flying in order to potentially expedite the screening experience. Participants may receive certain benefits including leaving on shoes, light jackets and belts during screening.
  • Screening Procedures for Passengers 12 and Under: TSA has implemented new procedures that reduce, though not eliminate, pat-downs of passengers 12 and under that would otherwise have been conducted to resolve alarms while also ensuring effective security measures. Passengers 12 and under are also able to leave their shoes on through security checkpoints.
  • Screening Procedures for Passengers 75 and OlderTSA has implemented modified screening procedures for passengers 75 and older. Changes are similar to screening procedures for passengers 12 and under and improve screening by better focusing resources on passengers who may be more likely to pose a risk. 
  • TSA Cares Helpline: Travelers may call 1-855-787-2227 toll free with questions about screening policies and procedures as well as what to expect at the security checkpoint. When a passenger with a disability or medical condition calls TSA Cares, a representative will provide assistance either with information about screening that is relevant to the passenger’s specific disability or medical condition or the passenger may be referred to disability experts at TSA.
  • Traveling with Snow Globes: Snow globes that appear to contain less than 3.4 ounces (approximately tennis ball size) will be permitted if the entire snow globe, including the base, is able to fit in the same one clear, plastic, quart-sized, resealable bag, as the passenger’s other liquids, such as shampoo, toothpaste and cosmetics.

Additional Information:

Millimeter Wave and Backscatter technology unitsAdvanced Imaging Technology
TSA has deployed hundreds of advanced imaging technology units to airports across the country to keep the traveling public safe.

The 3-1-1 Policy for Liquids, Gels, and Aerosols
Liquid explosives still pose a threat and for that reason TSA limits the amount of liquids passengers can safely carry through the security checkpoint. This limitation applies only to carry-on bags. Larger quantities of liquids, gels, and aerosols can be safely packed in checked baggage.
Here are the rules:

  • 3.4 ounce (100ml) bottle or less for all liquids, gels and aerosols; placed in a
  • 1 quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag to hold all small bottles;
  • 1 bag per passenger placed in a screening bin

Larger quantities of breast milk/baby formula and medically necessary liquids are permitted but must be presented to an officer for further inspection. For more information on traveling with medically necessary liquids, click here.

  • Wine, liquor and beer

Items that are purchased after the security checkpoint have been pre-screened and can be taken on the plane.

Traveling with Food or Gifts
When it comes to bringing items through checkpoints, we’ve seen just about everything. Traveling with food or gifts is an even bigger challenge. Everyone has favorite foods from home that they want to bring to holiday dinners, or items from their destination that they want to bring back home.
Not sure about what you can and can’t bring through the checkpoint? Here’s a sample list of liquid, aerosol and gel items that you should put in your checked bag, ship ahead, or leave at home if they are above the permitted 3.4 oz.

  • Cranberry sauce
  • Cologne
  • Creamy dips and spreads (cheeses, peanut butter, etc.)
  • Gift baskets with food items (salsa, jams and salad dressings)
  • Gravy
  • Jams
  • Jellies
  • Lotions
  • Maple syrup
  • Oils and vinegars
  • Perfume
  • Salad dressing
  • Salsa
  • Sauces
  • Snowglobes
  • Soups
  • Wine, liquor and beer

You can bring pies and cakes through the security checkpoint, but please be advised that they are subject to additional screening.

While wrapped gifts are not prohibited, if a bag alarms our security officers may have to unwrap a gift to take a closer look inside. We recommend passengers wrap gifts after their flight or ship them ahead of time, to avoid the possibility of having to open them during the screening process.

Please note that items purchased after the security checkpoint have been pre-screened and can be taken on the plane.

The MyTSA App
My TSA mobile applicationTo provide passengers with 24/7 access to the most commonly requested TSA information on their mobile device, TSA has developed the MyTSA mobile application. No matter where you are, you’ll have easy access to information you need to get through security and onto the plane safely and smoothly. To learn more, Click Here.

TSA Issues Warning Over Opt Out And Film Week

via Infowars:

The TSA has officially acknowledged the Infowars Opt Out And Film week protest, and warned that despite the fact it is not prohibited to film at TSA checkpoints, local laws may allow police to intervene and prevent such activity.

On its official blog, TSA official Bob Burns notes:

“TSA has given passengers the option of opting out of imaging technology. If you choose to opt out, simply let the officer know you would like to opt out of the body scanner, and you will receive a pat-down instead.”

Burns then states:

“We’re also aware of the Opt Out and Film week, where some are planning on opting out of the body scanner and then filming their experience. TSA respects passengers rights to exercise freedom of speech as well as the rights of fellow travelers trying to get to their destination safely and without unnecessary delay. While the TSA does not prohibit photographs at screening locations, local laws, state statutes, or local ordinances may.”

Essentially, the TSA is intimating that they can and will have anyone engaging in the Opt Out and Film protest arrested by police should they be able to find loopholes in local laws enabling them to do so.

As we reported last month, the TSA removed from its website all references to the right to film and photograph at checkpoints, just hours after it was announced that the national campaign was underway to encourage Americans to opt out and film TSA procedures.

However, following a backlash from supporters of the campaign, the approval to film section soon reappeared on the federal agency’s website.

Filming and photography in public is protected under the First Amendment. The First Court of Appeals ruled last year that filming police officers is not illegal in the United States. However, as we have seen on endless occasions, the authorities will exploit rules to suggest otherwise. While practically every case has been thrown out of court, police have increasingly touted wiretapping laws as a means to arrest individuals filming them.

TSA agents themselves have also been known to confiscate cameras and delete memory cards at checkpoints in the past.

People who do film TSA checkpoints or TSA workers have been harassed, threatened with court action or even accused of being terrorists.

Recording police officers and TSA agents (public servants) is perfectly legal. However, Americans are still being arrested for doing so, and the establishment media is enthusiastically perpetuating the hoax that such conduct is unlawful, even though in doing so they are completely eroding protections that guarantee press freedom.

There is no expectation of privacy in public, the police are fully aware of this, which is why they have dash cams on their cars to record incidents, wear microphones and utilize other recording equipment as part of their job.

Filming TSA procedures at checkpoints is a vital expression of free speech and serves to limit the degree of humiliation, degradation and harassment metered out by TSA screeners – aggravation that has become endemic across the country.

Please be aware that since the TSA has proven itself to be a tyrannical agency, you can choose to film them at your own risk. Standing up for the first amendment is never a walk in the park and expect to be on the receiving end of official oppression in some form.

We encourage everyone planning to engage in the Opt Out And Film protest to go ahead and exercise their constitutional rights, and ignore this overt intimidation at the hands of the TSA.

TSA Releases Top 20 List of Airports According to Employee Firings for Theft

via Prison Planet: 

TSA Releases Top 20 List of Airports According to Employee Firings for Theft tsabottle3

 

A FOIA request filed by ABC News revealed statistics on TSA worker thefts and has facilitated a list of U.S. airports arranged according to the number of employees that were fired due to thefts.

The list arrives just in time for the holidays, when the nation’s airports are set to be the busiest, and 16 out of the 20 busiest airports top the list.

ABC News published the list of the major airports where theft-related firings were most prevalent, as seen below. The number in parentheses reflects the number of fired workers.

1. Miami International Airport (29)
2. JFK International Airport (27)
3. Los Angeles International Airport (24)
4. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (17)
5. Las Vegas-McCarren International Airport (15)
6. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and New York-Laguardia Airport (14 each)
8. Newark Liberty, Philadelphia International, and Seattle-Tacoma International airports (12 each)
11. Orlando International Airport (11)
12. Houston-George Bush Intercontinental Airport and Salt Lake City International Airport (10 each)
14. Washington Dulles International Airport (9)
15. Detroit Metro Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (7)
17. Boston-Logan International, Denver International and San Diego International airports (6)
20. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (5)

The revealed data comes on the heels of an undercover sting investigation conducted by ABC news in which they purposely left an Ipad behind at the Orlando International Airport screening terminal with hopes it would be stolen; and it was.

Two weeks later, with the help of a tracker app, ABC News was able to trace the Ipad back to the home of a TSA worker, who repeatedly denied that he was in possession of the stolen goods. The investigator then set off the tracker device’s alarm feature, forcing the TSA worker to produce the stolen Ipad from within his home.

A subsequent investigation and sting operation conducted at the nation’s ten busiest airports found no wrongdoing, and in fact showed the TSA followed proper procedures in terms of contacting passengers concerning their lost goods.

The federal agency has an annual budget of $8.1 billion dollars, however, screeners are among the lowest paid federal workers. The agency told ABC that a majority of its workers are honest, hard-working individuals, but we are constantly bombarded with unbelievable stories regarding their sub-human treatment of passengers.

This month alone, we’ve been subjected to a deluge of TSA horror stories, such as a dying woman being forced to remove her bandages and having her IV bag full of saline solution broken in full public view, a TSA worker caught stealing $500 from travelers as retaliation for complaining, TSAconfiscating cameras and deleting footage, an FBI employee coming forward with a TSA molestation claim, a frequent flyer recounting how the TSA smacked his testicles and more.

In addition, we’ve exposed a bizarre new drink-testing policy witnessed at the Columbus Ohio Airport last month where TSA agents walked around the airport’s departure lounge testing passengers’ drinks even though they had been purchased beyond the initial security checkpoint, and an additional, but equally ludicrous, “policy” where TSA agents barked “freeze” commands to innocent travelers playing out a weird kind of subservience drill.

While the TSA defends their workers as “honest, hard-working individuals,” the fact remains that screeners often take it upon themselves to steal, lie, and dish out punishment and retribution for passengers who attempt to stand up for their rights.

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to protect us against unreasonable searches and seizures, and until the TSA is properly trained to uphold the rights of each individual passenger, the problem will never cease.

So if you’re thinking of flying this season, you may want to pack your expensive items lightly.

 

Mom Found ‘Guilty’ By Court After Refusing TSA Pat Down On Daughter

via Prison Planet: 

A woman who stood up to TSA screeners and refused to allow them to grope her or her 14 year old daughter has been found guilty of “disorderly conduct” and sentenced to one year of probation by a court in Tennessee.

 

 

Back in July 2011, Andrea Fornella Abbott of Clarksville, was arrested by Nashville airport authorities for expressing outrage at the TSA procedures.

A police report stated that Abbott would not allow her daughter to be “touched inappropriately” or have her “crotch grabbed”. Abbott also refused to submit to a full body scan, saying that she did not want her or her daughters’ naked bodies revealed by the scanner.

The report noted that she attempted to take cell phone video of the incident but was prevented from doing so by the TSA screeners.

When police were called to the scene, Abbott reportedly cursed at them and referred to the TSA screeners as pedophiles, leading to her arrest.

The Associated Press reports that the prosecution argued that Abbott’s behavior “prevented others from carrying out their lawful activities,” and held up two security lines for thirty minutes.

“You can speak your mind, but you can’t do it in an illegal manner,’ said Assistant District Attorney Megan King, adding “What the defendant did was a crime.”

The defense argued that Abbot was exercising her right to free speech. “Telling a police officer your opinion, even in strong language, to me that’s a First Amendment right,” Abbot’s attorney Brent Horst told reporters.

Abbott herself admitted that she may have cursed at police officers, but considered the exchange to be a “normal conversation” regarding the inappropriate nature of pat-downs on children.

Horst presented surveillance video of the incident, and claimed that Abbot was the one being yelled at by police. Although the video had no audio, it showed that other passengers were walking around Abbot and the police officers, and that security lines were still moving.

“It’s clear from the video … she wasn’t preventing anything,” Horst said. In closing arguments the attorney stated “Since 9/11, we’re losing a lot of freedom, and we have to draw the line somewhere,” before praising Abbot for standing on principle.

As we have documented, people who opt out of body scanners or those who simply fail to display the proper level of obedience to TSA screeners are routinely subjected to punishment by means of invasive grope downs or other forms of retaliation.

Journalists who are critical of the TSA have also been singled out for retribution.

The TSA is also operating bizarre obedience training programs, including the ridiculous “all stop” policy where travelers are ordered to freeze on the spot for no reason whatsoever. Again, the TSA has admitted that travelers are not mandated to comply with these bizarre displays of security theater.

The TSA has characterized people who do not fully comply with airport screening procedures, no matter how bizarre or invasive, as “domestic extremists.”

The verdict in Andrea Fornella Abbott’s case sets a dangerous precedent along the lines of First amendment rights not being applicable at security checkpoints. The verdict essentially paves the way for criminally punishing anyone who questions TSA procedures, no matter how bizarre they are.

 

Dying woman gets security pat-down at Sea-Tac

via Seattle PI: 

A dying woman says a a security pat-down at Sea-Tac Airport left her embarrassed in front of crowds of people.

Michelle Dunaj says screeners checked under bandages from recent surgeries and refused to give her a private search when she requested one.

Dunaj, who is dying of leukemia, carried a large amount of prescription drugs through Sea-Tac to head to Hawaii for what would be one of the last trips of her life.

She called Alaska Airlines ahead of time to request a wheelchair and to ask how her medicines should be separated for the security line.

 

“I did everything they asked me to do, so I didn’t think it would be an issue,” she said.

But Dunaj says nothing went right at the security checkpoint.

A machine couldn’t get a reading on her saline bags, so a TSA agent forced one open, contaminating the fluid she needs to survive.

She says agents also made her lift up her shirt and pull back the bandages holding feeding tubes in place. Dunaj needs those tubes because of organ  failure.

With other passengers staring, Dunaj says she asked for privacy and was turned down.

“They just said that it was fine; the location we were at was fine,” she said.

TSA spokesperson Ann Davis said “Officers are trained to perform pat downs in a dignified manner and, at any point, passengers can request a private screening with a witness present.”

However, Dunaj says her request for a private screening was denied, and she does not want others with special needs to run into the same problem.

“When somebody wants to take a trip, especially what I call an ‘end-of-life trip’ because you want to see your family and friends, then it becomes more important than just taking a trip,” she said.

Davis said it is against policy for passengers to be denied privacy if they ask for it. The agency is responding to a request by KOMO News to look into the  incident.

 

Are TSA Agents Punishing Us?

via Huffington Post:

 

Steven deForest is an experienced air traveler, but he says nothing could have prepared him for the confrontation he recently had with a TSA screener in Las Vegas.

“I chose to opt out of the backscatter X-ray and submit to a physical search,” he says.

DeForest was ushered into a glass holding box until a screener could be found to conduct the search.

“A bulky young TSA agent came over to pat me down,” he remembers. “He told me to turn around. He was using his command voice, barking orders. I told him that I wasn’t comfortable turning away from my luggage, which had already been screened, and wanted to keep it in my sight.”

The agent issued more orders — “Stay there, I didn’t tell you to move!” and “Empty your pockets!” — and deForest says the federal screener seemed irritated that he didn’t obey him without hesitation.

And that’s when deForest says he was punished. The agent knelt in front of him to conduct a pat-down.

“As he raised his hands he was looking at me,” he says. “Then he gave a quick flick and smacked me in one of my testicles.”

The TSA says its full-body scanners are optional and that it trains its agents to treat “opt-outs” like deForest with respect. But during the last few weeks, a different picture has emerged from within the TSA’s own ranks.

Passengers are complaining that TSA agents are punishing them for failure to comply quickly to their orders, or simply for opting out, an allegation that TSA insiders admit is true.

The most troubling is the case of former TSA agent John Irwin, who admitted to stealing $520 from a passenger because the passenger wasn’t deferential enough to him.

The scenario was virtually identical to deForest’s. Last November, a passenger asked to opt out of the full body scanner, and when he complained at being led into a private screening area, Irwin removed $520 in cash that had been screened and hid it in a TSA supervisor’s drawer.

And who can forget the woman who missed her flight last month because of her bad “attitude”? It might be difficult to believe a TSA agent would prevent her from making her flight, except that the incident was captured on video and posted to YouTube.

The latest wave of complaints about TSA agents punishing passengers isn’t new. Back in 2010, when the TSA began using full-body scanners, I spoke with passengers who said the pat-downs were retaliatory. But this is one of those rare times when TSA agents essentially agree that their actions at the screening area are intended to punish rather than protect airline passengers.

Of course, some passengers understand that airport screening is a game and they seem ready to turn the tables. When this woman was told she couldn’t bring her vodka through a checkpoint last week, she retaliated by drinking it. At 7:30 a.m.

Imbibing distilled spirits before being screened is totally legal, by the way — but I wouldn’t recommend it.

But most passengers probably feel a lot like deForest, the passenger whose genitals were rapped in Las Vegas: upset, but ultimately powerless to stop it from happening.

“I can’t over-emphasize the feeling of humiliation, rage, and frustration,” he told me. “I believe I have a better idea of what a woman feels when she is groped, or worse. I was deliberately assaulted by someone who knew that he could get away with it.”

He’s right. Unless an agent comes forward to confess that he or she intentionally roughed up a passenger, or stole money from him, or made her miss her flight, it’s hard to prove anything.

A delay in screening a passenger can seem like punishment, but who knows, the screening area might be short staffed? Valuables can go missing from a tray, but how can you be sure another passenger didn’t accidentally take it?

And a pat-down can look proper, but it can feel like rape.

TSA Worker Steals $500 From Traveler As Punishment For Complaining

via PP: 

 

A former TSA worker has pleaded guilty to stealing over $500 in cash from a man who complained about the TSA’s invasive pat down procedure, with the TSA agent admitting the theft was a punishment for the man’s lack of obedience.

TSA Worker Steals $500 From Traveler As Punishment For Complaining us3 tsa tb  530 298 80

60-year-old John W. Irwin pleaded guilty to one count of grand larcenyfollowing an incident in November 2011, during which a man asked that he be given a pat down rather than face a body scanner due to a medical condition.

When TSA agents ordered the man undergo the pat down in a private room, he complained but agreed to do so.

The man placed $520 in cash in a gray plastic bin before accompanying the TSA agents to the private room. When he returned, the money was gone, with Irwin having hidden it in a TSA supervisor’s draw.

When the man asked Irwin where the cash had gone, Irwin claimed ignorance and the incident was subsequently reported to the police.

After first denying to police that he had stolen the money, Irwin later admitted he had put the cash in his locker as a form of punishment in retaliation for the man complaining over his treatment.

“When the passenger returned and I saw that it was the passenger who had given my fellow employees a hard time. I just didn’t let on that I had the money,” Irwin said in a statement to police.

“The TSA’s spokesliars have long insisted that employees never, ever retaliate, nor do they punish dissidents — though every passenger fearing he’ll miss his flight if he so much as sighs while thugs grope him would vehemently disagree. Now here’s a goon admitting he did just that,” writes Becky Akers.

Indeed, as we have previously highlighted, travelers are routinely punished for opting out of the body scanner by being subjected to more invasive pat downs.

As Consumer Traveler’s Charlie Leocha reported, “When meeting with privacy officials at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and TSA later that month, I was told unofficially that there were two standards of pat-downs. One for the normal situation where passengers are going through metal detectors and a different pat-down for those who refuse to go through the whole-body scanners.”

“With this latest announcement, TSA admits that it has been clandestinely punishing passengers for refusing to go through the invasive whole-body scans with an even more intrusive aggressive pat-down and that soon those more invasive pat-down will creep from airport to airport,” adds Leocha.

During the height of the national op-out day backlash against the TSA in 2010, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was told by a TSA agent directly that pat downs were made increasingly invasive not for any genuine security reason, but to make the experience so uncomfortable for the traveler that they would be forced to use the body scanner.

Even being seen to display a “bad attitude” in not instantly complying with the TSA’s obedience training can lead to trouble.

As we reported last month, a TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.

Journalists who have been critical of the TSA have also been targeted for reprisals. CNN reporter Drew Griffin was also put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008.

John W. Irwin is set to be sentenced in December.