October 3, 2022

The particular TSA Is Hot Waste. And We Will Never Be Rid Of It.

The TSA is a multi-billion/year boondoggle.

The terrorists won. And it wasn’t a small success. It was one that managed to associated with American way of life significantly worse for  anyone trying to fly . Flying is usually how we get around in this sprawl of a nation that includes 50 states and ~3, 000 miles between the shorelines. And that’s just 48 of the 50 states. Maybe you could drive most places if time wasn’t a factor, but Alaska and Hawaii are pretty much inaccessible without aircraft.

Every day in the United States, travelers are treated in order to millions of  small hassles , thousands of  invasive searches , and hundreds of  apparent rights violations . That’s just how the TSA rolls. Ushered into existence by the second Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks, the TSA has become as much a part of American life as  surveillance capitalism ,   qualified immunity ,   Disney-written laws , and  meritocracy delusions .

The TSA is a  multi-billion/year boondoggle . Two positive changes had been made following the 9/11 hijackings, neither of which require billions of dollars of federal spending. The  biggest deterrents to terrorists   were the implementation associated with locked cockpit doors and the empowerment of passengers to fight back. Everything else is theater.

But that isn’t the direction the US proceeded to go. Our representatives chose to perpetually fund this security theater. And the performative aspects of the particular TSA are constantly exposed. The TSA  frequently fails   to find the contraband that matters many: explosives. But it far more frequently finds things that simply no longer matter or engages in  supremely illogical deployments   of federal government power to hassle people who would like to board planes without being stripped of their (often essential) things. This is what billions of tax dollars buys us, year after year after year, as  Bruce Schneier caustically notes on this 2012 post :

[Then-TSA Director Kip Hawley] wants us to trust that a 400-ml bottle of liquid is definitely dangerous, but transferring this to four 100-ml containers magically makes it safe. He or she wants us to we hope that butter knives given to first-class passengers are nevertheless too dangerous to be taken through a safety checkpoint. He wants us to trust the no-fly list:   21, 000 people   so dangerous they’re not allowed to fly, yet therefore innocent they can’t be arrested. He wants us to trust that the deployment of expensive full-body scanners has nothing to do with the truth that the former secretary of homeland security, Michael Chertoff,   lobbies   for   one of the companies that makes all of them. He wants us in order to trust that there’s a reason in order to confiscate a  cupcake   (Las Vegas), a 3-inch plastic  toy   gun   (London Gatwick), a  purse   with an embroidered gun on it (Norfolk, VA), a T-shirt with a  picture of a gun   on it (London Heathrow) and a  plastic lightsaber   that’s really a flashlight having a long cone on top (Dallas/Fort Worth).

That’s the infuriating character of the TSA. We’re nearly 500 words into this post and I still haven’t also touched the true subject matter:   Darryl Campbell’s (writing for The Verge) excellent history   of one from the nation’s least essential companies — one that is, subsequently, frustrating, enraging, depressing, plus excoriating.

This opens with one terrible of an anecdote, one that proves with the TSA insisting upon searching a corpse. Bureaucracy meets another bureaucracy and it’s the people funding both that are expected to pay for this offend to the memory of the very much departed.

The decedent had died right after check-in for an international trip but before boarding. The family made a decision the best move was to put her on the flight given that they still had a boarding move and they wanted to return to their home country, rather than try to suss out the intricacies of the completely foreign medical paperwork.

Rather than believe the grieving family’s states the person was dead — and lacking the required dying certificate (impossible to obtain with that point), the TSA decided to be the TSA. There was ways to verify this claim — things that don’t require medical professionals and have been observed in TVs and movies for decades. The TSA could have checked for the pulse, listened for a heartbeat, checked to see if the individual could fog a mirror… literally anything but what it chose to do, which was feel up a corpse.

“ Wish just following TSA process, ” Cooper explained.

Her colleagues checked the cadaver according to the official pat-down process. With gloves on, they will ran the palms of the hands over the collar, the particular abdomen, the inside of the waistband, and the lower legs. Then, they will checked the body’s “ sensitive areas” — the boobies, inner thighs, and butt — with “ enough pressure to ensure detection. ”  

Only then was the corpse cleared to proceed into the secure part of the airport terminal.  

Protocol? It’s a good out. It’s a way to move the buck while subterfuge your obligations as a individual. A human being has the ability to use their particular rational thinking to make common sense calls in unusual instances. Presented with something out of the ordinary, TSA agents chose to violate the corpse rather than use their own discretion. That’s just a little part of the TSA’s problems: the inability or unwillingness for agencies to make the sort of judgment calls their job should need, especially when TSA officials still refer to the people staffing checkpoints as trained professionals.

Who did this keep safe? What enhancement to “ travel security” did patting down a dead person create? The TSA has no answers other than “ following protocol. ”

And all the TSA really has is usually “ protocol. ” Brand new hires are on probation for 2 years, giving the agency plenty of time to fire anyone who will not toe the bureaucratic series without fear of litigation. Micromanagement is the name of the game, with agents being viewed by other agents who are all watched by cameras, subjected to covert tests, plus random inspections.

This may seem like a good way to ensure compliance by TSA agencies. And maybe it is. But compliance doesn’t make the nation safer. And it doesn’t keep grieving families from having their particular deceased loved ones treated such as potential terrorists.

Meanwhile, the TSA will nothing to counteract the negative public image. While officials complain passengers verbally abuse agents, the company does almost nothing to engage with the public or otherwise deter the particular negative reactions its checkpoints provoke.

Beyond the anemic YouTube channel , the agency makes small effort to combat the rising tide of traveler hostility. Unlike other police force branches, the TSA has no TV development pipeline, simply no community outreach programs — not even a grassroots hashtag like #humanizethebadge.

Despite the micromanagement, individual agents still have lots of power and autonomy. And if someone wants to get from Point A to Point B, they have to go through them, something some agents use to their own advantage. When Katie Abdou was 14, she was called out of the boarding gate by a male TSA agent who insisted the girl needed a second screening. This is what happened next:

He did not explain why she needed to get screened a second period. Instead, he bombarded her with questions and looked her luggage.  

“ I know I shouldn’t have, ” she said, “ but I was 14, and so they weren’t telling me anything at all, so I made a joke such as, ‘ Do you think I have a bomb up my skirt? ‘ He didn’t find that really funny. ”

Instead, he did a full-body pat-down on Abdou. He place his hands all up and down her body. He achieved up her skirt plus between her legs.

Sometimes agents defer to protocol to explain invasive searches of dead bodies. Sometimes brokers ignore protocol to perform invasive searches of minors. Process is just a term of comfort — an excuse with a common adapter. When protocol isn’t very followed, it’s usually in service to some government agent, rather than the ones from travelers.

The particular TSA survives. Despite yearly injections of billions of bucks, it can’t be considered to be thriving. It’s terrible at the something it’s supposed to do. The great in funding aren’t becoming passed on to the lower rates, who are expected to be to the front lines of vacation security for pay which already extremely low for the security sector and hardly ever meaningfully increases. There’s a cause the  TSA promotes on pizza boxes : it constantly needs more agents but doesn’t want to attract anyone who might question the low pay or the performance of the security theater.

What we’ve got since 2001 is a labor force that is increasingly unhappy and whose entire job centers around dealing with other unhappy people.

No wonder TSA employees have the   cheapest job satisfaction of any Federal agency . It could barely recruit fast enough to keep up with attrition: for each four officers it hires, it loses three. Plus about  one in five new hires   quits in their 1st six months on the job.  

Probably attrition will do what Congress has no interest in doing. The particular TSA may be impossible in order to disband. But , given plenty of time, it may simply fall apart as attrition continues to outpace hiring.

The whole content by Campbell is worth reading. It details all the ways the TSA is not being able to do its job, beginning with its purely reactive methods — something that’s most likely indicative of its reactionary development — and following to problems that will only become worse as time goes on, like the fact the TSA’s body scanners basically don’t work when scanning anyone who doesn’t conform to binary gender expectations. Or the idea that the TSA continues to deal with brown people with Arabic titles far worse than they will treat anyone else, conforming to another long-held bias that dates back to its 9/11 assaults origin story.

20 years. $140 billion within funding. And this is what all of us, as American taxpayers, have obtained:

The reality is that TSA has played next to no part in the biggest counterterrorism tales of the past two decades.

The TSA can’t justify its own existence. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to. It has had the unhesitating support of legislators and sitting presidents for years. We all, th

The terrorists won. And it was not a small victory. It was one that managed to make the American way of life significantly worse for  anyone attempting to fly . Flying is how we go around in this sprawl of a nation that encompasses 50 says and ~3, 000 miles between the coasts. And that’s simply 48 of the 50 states. Maybe you could drive the majority of places if time was not a factor, but Alaska and Hawaii are pretty much inaccessible without airplanes.

Every day in the United States, travelers are treated to millions of  minor hassles , thousands of  intrusive searches , and hundreds of  apparent legal rights violations . That’s just how the TSA rolls. Ushered into existence by the 2nd Bush administration following the 9/11 attacks, the TSA has become as much a part of American living as  surveillance capitalism ,   skilled immunity ,   Disney-written legislation , and  meritocracy delusions .

The TSA is a  multi-billion/year boondoggle . Two positive changes were made following a 9/11 hijackings, neither which require billions of dollars associated with federal spending. The  biggest deterrents to terrorists   were the particular implementation of locked cockpit doors and the empowerment associated with passengers to fight back. Everything else is theater.

But that’s not the path the US went. Our representatives chose to perpetually fund this particular security theater. And the performative aspects of the TSA are usually constantly exposed. The TSA  regularly fails   to find the contraband that matters most: explosives. However it far more regularly finds issues that simply don’t matter or even engages in  very illogical deployments   of federal power to trouble people who just want to board aeroplanes without being stripped of their (often essential) belongings. This is what vast amounts of tax dollars buys all of us, year after year after year, as  Bruce Schneier caustically notes in this 2012 write-up :

[Then-TSA Director Kip Hawley] wants us to trust that a 400-ml bottle of liquid is dangerous, but transferring it to four 100-ml bottles magically helps it be safe. He wants us to trust that the butter kitchen knives given to first-class passengers are nevertheless too dangerous that must be taken through a security checkpoint. This individual wants us to believe in the no-fly list:   21, 000 individuals   so harmful they’re not allowed to fly on an airline, yet so innocent that they can’t be arrested. He desires us to trust that the application of expensive full-body scanning devices has nothing to do with the fact that the former admin of homeland security, Eileen Chertoff,   lobbies   meant for   one of the companies that makes them. He desires us to trust that there are a reason to confiscate a  cupcake   (Las Vegas), a 3-inch plastic  toy   gun   (London Gatwick), a  purse   with an embroidered gun on it (Norfolk, VA), a T-shirt with a  image of a gun   on it (London Heathrow) plus a  plastic lightsaber   that’s a real flashlight with a long cone on top (Dallas/Fort Worth).

That’s the infuriating nature of the TSA. We’re nearly 500 terms into this post and I nevertheless haven’t even touched the real subject matter:   Darryl Campbell’s (writing for The Verge) excellent history   of one of the nation’s least essential agencies — one that is, in turn, frustrating, enraging, depressing, and excoriating.

It opens with one hell of an anecdote, one that concludes with the TSA insisting on searching a corpse. Bureaucracy meets one more bureaucracy and it’s the people funding both who are expected to spend on this insult to the memory of the dearly departed.

The decedent experienced died after check-in for an international flight but before boarding. The family decided the best proceed was to put her around the flight since they still had a boarding pass and they desired to return to their home country, instead of try to suss out the particular intricacies of a completely international medical bureaucracy.

Rather than believe the grieving family’s claims the person had been dead — and inadequate the required death certificate (impossible to obtain at that point), the TSA decided to be the TSA. There were ways to verify this claim — things that don’t require medical professionals and have already been observed in TVs and films for decades. The TSA could have checked for a pulse, took in for a heartbeat, checked to see if the person could haze a mirror… literally not what it chose to do, which was feel up a corpse.

“ We’re just following TSA protocol, ” Cooper explained.

Her colleagues examined the corpse according to the formal pat-down process. With mitts on, they ran the palms of their hands within the collar, the abdomen, the inside of the waistband, and the lower legs. Then, they checked the body’s “ sensitive areas” — the breasts, inner thighs, and buttocks — with “ sufficient pressure to ensure detection. ”  

Just then was the corpse eliminated to proceed into the protected part of the terminal.  

Protocol? It’s an out. That is a way to pass the money while dodging your commitments as a human being. A human being is able to use their rational thinking to make judgment calls in unusual cases. Presented with some thing out of the ordinary, TSA agents chose to violate a corpse rather than use their own discretion. That is certainly just a small part of the TSA’s problems: the inability or unwillingness for agents to make the sort of judgment calls their job should require, especially when TSA officials continue to refer to individuals staffing checkpoints as educated professionals.

Who else did this keep secure? What improvement to “ travel security” did patting down a dead person create? The TSA does not have any answers other than “ following protocol. ”

And all the TSA really has is “ protocol. ” New hires take probation for two years, providing the agency plenty of time to fire anyone who doesn’t toe the particular bureaucratic line without anxiety about litigation. Micromanagement is the title of the game, with realtors being watched by various other agents who are all viewed by cameras, subjected to covert tests, and random inspections.

This may seem like a good way to ensure compliance by TSA agents. And maybe it really is. But compliance doesn’t make the nation safer. And it is not going to keep grieving families through having their deceased loved ones treated like potential terrorists.

Meanwhile, the particular TSA does nothing to counteract its negative general public image. While officials make a complaint passengers verbally abuse providers, the agency does next to nothing to engage with the public or otherwise deter the negative responses its checkpoints provoke.

Beyond its anemic YouTube channel , the agency makes little effort in order to combat the rising wave of passenger hostility. As opposed to other law enforcement branches, the TSA has no TV advancement pipeline, no community outreach programs — not even the grassroots hashtag like #humanizethebadge.

Despite the micromanagement, individual realtors still have a lot of power and autonomy. And if someone would like to get from Point A to Point B, they have to go through them, something several agents use to their own benefit. When Katie Abdou has been 14, she was called out of the boarding gate with a male TSA agent who insisted she needed a second screening. This is what happened following:

He did not explain the reason why she had to get screened a second time. Instead, this individual bombarded her with queries and searched her luggage.  

“ I know I actually shouldn’t have, ” the girl said, “ but I used to be 14, and they weren’t telling me anything, so I made a joke like, ‘ Do you consider I have a bomb up the skirt? ‘ He didn’t find that very funny. ”

Instead, he did a full-body pat-down on Abdou. He put his fingers all up and down her body. He reached up the girl skirt and between her legs.

Sometimes agents delay to protocol to explain intrusive searches of dead body. Sometimes agents ignore process to perform invasive searches associated with minors. Protocol is just a phrase of convenience — a reason with a universal adapter. When protocol isn’t followed, it is almost always in service to a government agent, rather than those of travelers.

The TSA survives. Despite yearly injections of billions of dollars, it can not be considered to be thriving. It’s awful at the one thing it’s intended to. The billions in funding aren’t being passed on towards the lower ranks, who are expected to be on the front outlines of travel security with regard to pay that’s already extremely low for the security sector and rarely meaningfully boosts. There’s a reason the  TSA advertises on nachos boxes : it continuously needs more agents yet doesn’t want to attract anyone who might question the low pay or the effectiveness of the safety theater.

What we’ve gotten since i b?rjan p? tv?tusentalet is a workforce that is more and more unhappy and whose entire job revolves around dealing with other unhappy people.

No surprise TSA employees have the   lowest job satisfaction of any Federal agency . It can barely sponsor fast enough to keep up with attrition: for every four officers it hires, it loses three. And about  one in five new hires   quits in their first six months at work.  

Maybe attrition will do what Congress has no curiosity about doing. The TSA may be impossible to disband. But , given enough time, it may simply fall apart as attrition continues to outpace hiring.

The whole article by Campbell is worth reading. It details all the ways the TSA is failing to do its job, starting with its solely reactive protocols — some thing that’s probably indicative of its reactionary formation — plus following through to problems that will only become worse as time goes on, such as the fact the TSA’s body scanners simply don’t function when scanning anyone who won’t conform to binary gender anticipations. Or the fact that the TSA continues to treat brown individuals with Arabic names far even worse than they treat anyone else, conforming to another long-held bias that dates back to the 9/11 attacks origin story.

20 years. $140 billion in funding. Which is what we, as American taxpayers, have received:

The reality is that will TSA has played next to no role in the greatest counterterrorism stories of the past two decades.

The TSA can’t justify its own existence. Luckily, it doesn’t have to. It has acquired the unquestioning support associated with legislators and sitting presidents for years. We, the people, might be unhappy with the goods and services we’re buying from the TSA, but it’s the only game around. If we want to fly, jooxie is at its mercy. That’s not how it should be. But which is way it is.

e people, may be disappointed with the goods and services we’re buying from the TSA, but it’s the only game in town. If we like to fly, we’re with its mercy. That’s not how it should be. But that’s the way it is.



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