Commnet on TSA screening procedures

Many of you will have heard about the elderly cancer patient who was forced to remove her adult diaper by airport security. The problem for TSA is they can’t win. The system will appear broken simply because there is no perfect system. I see three choices:

1. Screen everyone. This includes babies and grandmas. The bad guys will use anyone they can, no matter how immoral.

2. Screen no one. This should raise obvious safety concerns but at least we’ll have our freedom.

3. Screen some people. This means we use profiling, allowing our prejudices to dictate who gets searched and how thoroughly. This method would allow us to go easy on sex abuse victims, kids, the elderly, etc. But is it fair and/or safe to treat people we view as suspicious better than people we view as unlikely to be a threat? Those in poor health and former Miss USAs should get a pass, right?

None of those choices will make everyone happy – they are all “broken” in one way or another. What would you do if you were TSA?

Number three seems the most problematic of all – doesn’t everyone feel they themselves don’t need a thorough search?

‘What have I done to deserve this treatment as an upstanding, law-abiding American citizen?’ Am I a threat to US security? I was Miss USA, for Pete’s sake!

“My mother is very ill, she has a form of leukemia,” Weber said. “She had a blood transfusion the week before, just to bolster up her strength for this travel.”

Filed Under: Airlines + flying

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  1. Dick the pilot says:

    The TSA bosses who make stupid decisions are still there ! Since when is profiling,..”allowing our prejudices to dictate who gets searched…”? If you train people properly and hire people with more than an IQ of 80 and monitor them closely to make sure that they don’t use any prejudices in dealing with passengers, you may have a pretty good way of defeating a terrorist from boarding a plane.

    You don’t get it. How many times have people such as myself, explained what the Israelis do. They are TRAINED to observe people. They selectively pull people out of line and ask them QUESTIONS and OBSERVE their BEHAVIOR. They have NEVER had a terrorist or hijacker get through their security screening. They did it again to my wife. Coming out of Boston Logan last year she was GROPED when the metal detector rang because of her knee implant. She almost smacked the TSA lady but held back because she knew the result of doing that. In Denver on the way back we asked for a supervisor. She said that my wife should go through the “back scatter” machine and she will “never be patted down again”. Going through BostonLogan last week she requested to go through the back scatter machine. After she exited the machine she was pulled aside and told that she had to be felt up ( my words) again. She was told that there was a shadow around her breast area and they had to check it out. She asked the TSA screener if the breast implants she had done for medical reasons could be the problem ? My wife was told “Could be”. Well coming out of Denver she went right through the scanner with no problem ! What gives ? The whole thing is stupid. The TSA screener also told her that they are “trained to go up between your legs until we meet resistance”. If a woman or man has tight jeans on, guess where the “resistance” will occur ? It you have loose pants, the “resistance” will occur before the screeners hand goes too far. Pretty stupid if you ask me. As I have said before, when I have gone through security in Tel Aviv I felt very secure.

    Going through the TSA’s procedures are a joke.

    This is from a retired ( 37 years) International Airline Captain.

  2. Jerry says:

    I’m sorry butI have to disagree that there are only the three choices you point out. Other countries, notably Israel, exist in a much more hostile and threatening environment. According to interviews their security people have given, the vast majority of the screening process is done well before you arrive at the airport. In addition everyone meets a screener at the airport. That person is trained to look for certain traits / mannerisms that prescreening may have missed. Call it profiling or whatever you want, they have figured it out.

    You don’t hear about shoe bombers getting on planes there and only being caught because their bomb was defective. Ditto with ‘underwear’ bombs.

    For all the expense of $$$ and resources TSA has demostrated they are NOT up to the task an are just another bloated government agency.

    I would ask the question, is TSA the best we can do?

  3. Sharon says:

    I have to agree with the above comments. Israel does have an incredible security screening procedure in place, and it certainly is in a precarious position (becoming even more so). Training is lacking with the TSA in the U.S. Profiling if done properly is absolutely necessary, asking the right questions, and observing behavior are most important. I have found security at airports in Central and South America to be far superior. We are questioned, not groped, and a wand is used on both passengers and carryon luggage. There are 3 or more armed police, not airport agents, that are standing there to discourage any attempts at violating security. There are no jokes, no smiles, no idle conversation, and this is far more intimidating and it does seem to work quite well. Also, where are the trained canines that I’ve seen in every international airport, but seen very few here in the U.S. Many people don’t take the TSA agents seriously, knowing they probably aren’t properly trained. For that reason, people resent their improper and awkward attempts to do their job. So, we ask, where is the money going that should be spent on training? Where is the no fly list the TSA talked about, but doesn’t seem to even update or have access to immediately.

  4. […] TSA controversy. Sometimes I take a shot at defending TSA but not this time. This time they wanted a woman dying from cancer to remove her bandages so they […]

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