Confessions of a former TSA agent

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Monica47, Sep 23, 2012.

  1. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    This is from March 2012. I don't remember seeing this posted on TUG - if this is a repeat I apologize.

    Love them or hate them, Transportation Security Administration agents get a lot of criticism and media attention as they work to keep our skies safe.
    No current TSA agents would talk to[​IMG] about their job, either on or off the record; but we found a former agent who would. Here's what he told us during a recent interview.

    Boredom seems to be a common element in screeners and, in my opinion, bored employees are ineffective employees.
  2. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Thanks, it seems to have been mostly overlooked. The only other reference is on Fox itself.
  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    ^ Good read! The key word there is "former" agent. As we often say, any decent screener with a conscience will leave & find an honest job.
    Caradoc likes this.
  4. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    This was a good read, and I could have written much of what is in this article, it is the same things I have been espousing all over the place - be professional, courteous and get the people through with a minimum of hassle. At least this guy didn't throw out SSI or supposed SSI, good article Monica!
  5. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Not even close. He quit because he retained enough personal dignity and honor and disagreed with the stuff he was being ordered to do to passengers.

    No current employee of the TSA can say that.
  6. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    It was a good article but in my opinion should have gone further. Why not SSI...he doesn't work there any longer so who cares? As if SSI needs protecting.
  7. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Probably because he (rightfully, I think) fears spending time in a prison while the bought-and-paid-for judges like Raymond Lohier simply rubber-stamp appeals by the Federal Government to wipe their arses with the Constitution.
  8. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    This is hardly a scientific poll but after reading many complaints on Twitter regarding the TSA the major complaint is the rude and unfriendly attitudes of many TSA employees followed by the confiscation of liquids at the checkpoint and missing items from luggage. Another complaint is the long lines with a few employees working and too many others doing nothing. Having worked with the public in food service for many many years I understand the frustrations that come along with serving the public - and the TSA IS a service supposedly to protect the flying public. I too got tired sometimes answering the same questions from my customers and having to repeat, for example, what salad dressings we had to each customer at a large table even though I went through them before starting to take the orders. However, my gratuity depended not only on the service I provided but also my ATTITUDE. So I repeated what needed to be repeated, answered the same questions over and over and did it with a smile without any outward appearance of impatience or frustration. The TSA, however, can treat passengers any way they wish with a guaranty of a paycheck regardless of how unfestive their attitude might be. I think many TSA employees forget they work for the government and the government is US. It is our tax money that pays their salaries and in any other job if you were that rude and unfriendly to your boss you would be out on your keister in a heartbeat.

    The comment in the article about how boring a screeners job is is the most troubling because a bored employee is an inattentive employee and this is a recipe for disaster. If one would believe some of the comments on Twitter, many things that are not allowed on a plane do get through not because a passenger is trying to sneak something not allowed on board but because they had forgotten it was in their carry on. Water and body lotions and shampoo is being confiscated while other items that could be considered dangerous are getting through simply because you've got bored employees who aren't paying attention to what is a true possible threat.

    As far as harassing children, the disabled, the elderly and anyone else who dares not silently comply to the TSA dog and pony show, I truly believe this is done simply to break up the boredom.
    DeafBlonde likes this.
  9. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I'm not buying the excuse that the repetitive nature of the job is what causes the TSA's bad behavior toward passengers, such as barking orders and treating them as if passengers were their personal slaves to be ordered about and abused. The job is repetitive in other parts of the world to and those screeners do not act that way. I believe it is because of the quality of person and social strata that is employed in this job in the US, compared to elsewhere, AND the belief at TSA headquarters that it is appropriate to treat people this way. There are excellent screeners (wrt personal interactions with passengers) in the TSA, but that should be the case ACROSS the board not the exception to the rule: those that can't cut the mustard in that department should be terminated immediately. It speaks volumes about the TSA that this is NOT the policy. Clearly, TSA headquarters sees this whole problem framed as if it were package processing. Because they are mentally diseased if not outright evil. My money is on evil.
  10. Doober

    Doober Original Member


    The above as well as:

    Those mandates out of TSA headquarters make it a certainty that more "bad" stuff gets through than the "good" stuff, i.e., water, shampoo, toothpaste that is caught.

    BTW, I ran into an acquaintance today who asked me when I was going back to Alaska. I told her never or not until the TSA has been brought under control. She said she didn't blame me one bit. She travels weekly for her job and is sick and tired of being harassed at checkpoints.
  11. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    I agree with everything you said. I think their attitude is a combination of boredom, lack of social skills, minimal training, ego and lack of accountability. The problem is you can't teach someone to be nice - you either are or you're not. The fact that the TSA is allowed to treat passengers like chattel without any recourse shows that the entire TSA organization has absolutely no respect for the flying public and has little to no incentive to change because they get away with this each and every day.
    FetePerfection likes this.
  12. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    My carrier field is repetative by nature and there are alot of things that are done so often I could do them in my sleep, but I dont as complaceny kills (literally in healthcare). This is what we get when you scrape the bottom of the barrel.

    Monica - I agree with you as I worked in the service industry in college and I had people that absolutedly rubbed me the wrong way more then once but had to smile despite in my mind there head was rolling out of the booth. Behind the bar I could be a little more brash, but still had to give good service to get good tips.

    I still get that working on the ambulance but thanks to modern pharmocolgy I can fix that... Or better yet
    Fisher1949 likes this.

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