Tag Archives | TSA

TSA Agent Plants White Powder on Passenger as ‘Joke’

Daniel Rubin writes in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
In the tense new world of air travel, we're stripped of shoes, told not to take too much shampoo on board, frowned on if we crack a smile. The last thing we expect is a joke from a Transportation Security Administration screener — particularly one this stupid. Rebecca Solomon is 22 and a student at the University of Michigan, and on Jan. 5 she was flying back to school after holiday break. She made sure she arrived at Philadelphia International Airport 90 minutes before takeoff, given the new regulations. She would be flying into Detroit on Northwest Airlines, the same city and carrier involved in the attempted bombing on Christmas, just 10 days before. She was tense. What happened to her lasted only 20 seconds, but she says they were the longest 20 seconds of her life.
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Mikey Hicks, 8 Years Old, Permanent Fixture On U.S. “Selectee” Terrorist Watch List

Every now and then the Gray Lady actually comes up with a story that makes it worth reading, such as this one detailing the Orwellian comedy surrounding poor little Mikey Hicks and his long-suffering family:

The Transportation Security Administration, under scrutiny after last month’s bombing attempt, has on its Web site a “mythbuster” that tries to reassure the public.

Myth: The No-Fly list includes an 8-year-old boy.

Buster: No 8-year-old is on a T.S.A. watch list.

“Meet Mikey Hicks,” said Najlah Feanny Hicks, introducing her 8-year-old son, a New Jersey Cub Scout and frequent traveler who has seldom boarded a plane without a hassle because he shares the name of a suspicious person. “It’s not a myth.”

Michael Winston Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name “was on the list,” she recalled.

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Full-Body Scanners Increase Cancer Risk

From noworldsystem.com:

There are two types of scanners we will have to endure at the airport; the millimeter-wave scanner and the ‘backscatter’ X-ray scanner. Both emit ‘high-energy’ radiation and are dangerous.

Body scanners have revolutionized the practice of medicine and has saved many lives, but we must question the government’s mandate to have people endure high-energy radiation in a non-life-threatening situation. We must protest the use of full-body scanners on children and young adults as they are at greater-risk of developing brain tumors and cancer from these machines. Cancer and tumors especially in the young will likely increase as more body scanners are being installed on a nationwide scale. There is just no “safe” dose of radiation, 50% of America’s cancers are radiation-induced.

People with medical implants such as pace-makers should also avoid electromagnetic pulse generating body scanners as they can significantly alter the waveform of the pacemaker pulse.

The millimeter wave scanners emit a wavelength of ten to one millimeter called a millimeter wave, these waves are considered Extremely High Frequency (EHF), the highest radio frequency wave produced.

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New Airport Scanners Break UK Child Porn Laws

So now terrorists have incentive to get even younger? … lan Travis writes in the Guardian:

The rapid introduction of full body scanners at British airports threatens to breach child protection laws which ban the creation of indecent images of children, the Guardian has learned.

Airport Body Scanner

Privacy campaigners claim the images created by the machines are so graphic they amount to “virtual strip-searching” and have called for safeguards to protect the privacy of passengers involved.

Ministers now face having to exempt under 18s from the scans or face the delays of introducing new legislation to ensure airport security staff do not commit offences under child pornography laws.

They also face demands from civil liberties groups for safeguards to ensure that images from the £80,000 scanners, including those of celebrities, do not end up on the internet. The Department for Transport confirmed that the “child porn” problem was among the “legal and operational issues” now under discussion in Whitehall after Gordon Brown’s announcement on Sunday that he wanted to see their “gradual” introduction at British airports.

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TSA Agent Arrested After Saying: ‘I Am God, I’m In Charge.’

KIM BALDONADO and SCOTT WEBER report on NBC Los Angeles:
TSABadge

They are the first line of defense in airport security but two troubling incidents involving TSA agents at LAX are raising concerns.

A TSA agent was arrested on January 3rd in Terminal One at LAX, a source told NBCLA. He had just gotten off duty and was behaving erratically, saying, “I am god, I’m in charge.”

Meanwhile, a TSA Internal Affairs investigation turned up evidence of LAX TSA agents using drugs at an after-hours party. TSA officials say a videotape of the party was of poor quality and the employees were not in uniform, but 4 employees were tentatively identified.

All 4 were tested for drugs. One came back positive and that employee was fired.

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TSA Threatens Blogger Who Posted New Screening Directive

TSABloggerKim Zetter writes on WIRED’s Threat Level:

Image: TSA Special Agent John Enright (left) speaks to Steven Frischling (right) after returning his laptop, outside of Frischling’s home in Niantic, Conn., on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2009.

Two bloggers received home visits from Transportation Security Administration agents Tuesday after they published a new TSA directive that revises screening procedures and puts new restrictions on passengers in the wake of a recent bombing attempt by the so-called underwear bomber.

Special agents from the TSA’s Office of Inspection interrogated two U.S. bloggers, one of them an established travel columnist, and served them each with a civil subpoena demanding information on the anonymous source that provided the TSA document.

The document, which the two bloggers published within minutes of each other Dec. 27, was sent by TSA to airlines and airports around the world and described temporary new requirements for screening passengers through Dec. 30, including conducting “pat-downs” of legs and torsos.

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Why Are We So Bad at Detecting the Guilty and So Good at Collective Punishment of the Innocent?

GreatDayToFlyChristopher Hitchens writes on Slate:

It’s getting to the point where the twin news stories more or less write themselves. No sooner is the fanatical and homicidal Muslim arrested than it turns out that he (it won’t be long until it is also she) has been known to the authorities for a long time. But somehow the watch list, the tipoff, the many worried reports from colleagues and relatives, the placing of the name on a “central repository of information” don’t prevent the suspect from boarding a plane, changing planes, or bringing whatever he cares to bring onto a plane. This is now a tradition that stretches back to several of the murderers who boarded civilian aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001, having called attention to themselves by either a) being on watch lists already or b) weird behavior at heartland American flight schools. They didn’t even bother to change their names.

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New TSA Security Regulations in Light of Christmas-Time Double-Header Scare

AirTerrorJeffrey Goldberg writes on the Atlantic:

Sometimes the stupidity is too much to bear. From the new guidelines for international air travel:

U.S.-bound passengers aboard international flights must undergo a “thorough pat-down” at boarding gates, focused on the upper legs and torso.

Thanks for letting us know, TSA, that the search should be focused on the upper legs and torso. As I’ve said on numerous occasions, pat-downs that ignore the crotch and the ass are useless. We recently saw in Saudi Arabia the detonation of a rectal bomb, so it really doesn’t take much creativity to imagine that terrorists will be taping explosives to their scrotums. Of course, TSA is not going to be feeling-up people’s scrotums anytime soon, so the question remains: Why does our government continue to make believe that it can stop terrorists from boarding civilian planes when anyone with half-a-brain and a spare two minutes can think up a dozen ways to bypass the symbolic security measures at our airports?

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TSA To Save Print Media? No Electronics On International Flights? What A Joke.

I wholeheartedly agree with MG Siegler’s comments at Techcrunch:

Before I begin, let me just state that TSA has yet to confirm any of this on its website, so the details aren’t entirely clear at the moment. That said, there are several indications that orders have been issued to cease the use of electronics during international flights. Yes, that means no laptops, no iPods, no Kindles, no CD players, no portable DVD players, no Nintendo DSes — nothing that requires any sort of power on these flights. If this is true, it’s absolutely awful news.

Obviously, this is all in reaction to the Nigerian man who attempted to bring down a plane coming into the U.S. And the TSA is going to do whatever it thinks is necessary to prevent further attacks of a similar nature. But the simple fact is that if the TSA was really this seriously worried about electronic devices, they could have banned them anytime since the attacks on September 11, 2001.

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