Woe to the TSA (http://overheadbin.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/06/04/12051630-dozens-of-tsa-workers-fired-suspended-for-screening-violations?lite) and their ongoing issues with security.
I’m not against security but I’m not a fan of the TSA and the haphazard way they do things. They’re inconsistent across the board; checks performed at one airport aren’t duplicated in other airports. Two of my favorite TSA stories bears this out:
- On one of my many business trips, they confiscated my drum key, saying it could be used as a tool… but they let me on the plane with my Snap-On screwdriver/hex wrench? They didn’t want to listen to my explanation that the drum key can only be used to take apart drum heads but since they only cost $1.00, fuck it, they can have it… and I was laughing my ass off all the way to the boarding gate.
- On a trip to San Diego, I’ve got my computer in its backpack and all its stuff; the TSA at BWI makes me take the laptop out of the pack and turn it on while the pack goes through the scanner. It’s all good, put the computer back in the pack, get on the plane. When I left San Diego – just before Thanksgiving, the place was hectic and when it was my turn to get checked, the agent made me empty my backpack – after it already got cleared through the scanner. Then she wanted to examine every little thing that came out of my backpack, questioning its use and purpose because, duh, is she supposed to know what a USB cord is? She’s trying to tell me that all TSA agents perform this check… and I know they don’t – they didn’t do it in Baltimore to which she replied, “This isn’t Baltimore, sir…”
Lucky for her I didn’t miss my flight having to sit there – while being stared at – and repacking my backpack; government agency or not, I was going to raise all kinds of hell.
One of the TSA’s problems, other than their inconsistent behavior, is public opinion; people want to be able to fly safely but no one wants to do whatever it takes to make sure this happens. As a result, the TSA overreacts – starts searching kids, babies, elderly people and the like, not because they’re habitually pissed off, but because they can’t use the high-tech gear they have… because people are worried about the agents looking at their private parts – it invades their privacy and its more important than, um, making sure terrorists or other criminals can’t get on the aircraft and kill people or wind up spending their vacation someplace other than they expected.
So, yeah, in a way, I can see the agents in the aforementioned article not performing the random checks; it’s really kinda pointless if you can’t check everyone and everything passing through the security portals.
Congress, for some reason, isn’t a fan of the TSA, either – not really sure why unless the TSA has managed to piss off Members of Congress as they go through airports and now they have a bone to pick with them. Whatever it is, Congress believes that the TSA really needs to get off their collective asses and do the job they were commissioned to do and I can’t say that I blame them on this one because, clearly, they aren’t doing their jobs very well.
Yeah, having to practically undress to get through a portal is a fucking pain in the ass and people walking through naked (or damned near so) is funny… but pointed as well. But, this isn’t the TSA’s fault – this is what 9/11 did as well as it is the fault of everyone who keeps finding holes in the system; the more holes found, the more the TSA has to do to plug them. Maybe they need better and more in-depth training; maybe their internal stuff needs to be revamped, upgraded, or otherwise improved upon. Maybe they need someone who’s more security-minded than some political appointee who sees running the TSA as a stepping stone; they need someone who gonna run it with an iron hand and zero tolerance for inconsistent and over-reactive behaviors.
They need to step up their game big time and we, as the traveling public, need to let them do their jobs so we can be as safe as possible. Otherwise, they’re fucked and will continue to be the joke everyone thinks they are.