Former Screener Rats Out TSA

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by RB, Mar 10, 2013.

  1. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I wonder if the press actually gets any of those bald-faced lies directly from the TSA employees at the checkpoints - who are patently and obviously incapable of telling the truth, given the predilection to continue saying things like "photography at the checkpoint is illegal," and "you have no Constitutional rights at a TSA checkpoint."
  2. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

  3. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I am not certain on whether I can confirm or deny that local employees are used for testing without violating SSI.

    I already explained to you what would happen to me if I had done the same thing with regards to the AWOL incident.

    Yes, LTSOs and STSOs are active on the floor in my experience. LTSOs here work doing bag checks, patdowns, xray and all of the same things that TSOs do, just a little bit less of the time. STSOs are also involved in the day to day operations, but spend some of their time actively managing the floor/baggage zones (dealing with paperwork, addressing passenger concerns, etc).

    I have already indicated that passengers should always be given professional and courteous interactions, that they should be the norm, and make active moves to address it whenever I see something out of order. Beyond that, I am unable to do much more than comment that unprofessional behavior is simply unacceptable.

    The photography issue is one that frustrates me as much as it does you, the regulations are clearly written, in english, and in the SOP, there is simply no excuse for not following them.

    I personally believe that some of the changes being made are moves to improve the workforce - clearances, Professional Responsibility Office, some of the other changes that have been pushed down, all of them point to improving the interactions and professionalism of the workforce. Changes like that take time, and not just a week or two, it takes years to change the overall culture or to make the culture different than it has been. I keep telling you guys I am very lucky I work where I do, in that I very rarely see anything even remotely resembling what I read about here and in the press, and I am serious as can be. We have a great "little" airport and we have it made here, decent folks, few challenges with regards to unprofessional behavior, and an all around good attitude towards the passengers. I wish that I could translate that large, but that is beyond my skill set at this point.
  4. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I appreciate that where you work seems to be a good place with processes implemented well. The down side to that is I think you work at one of the less busy airports when using ATL, DFW, LAX and other large airports as a scale. So does that mean that TSA procedures aren't scalable? Or is it something else? I don't know but I use my personal experiences as my personal gauge. It is no secret that I have a serious issue with how FLL FSD office handled an issue. DFW, different issue same result nothing. I had an uncomfortable experience at LAS but not to the degree of the other two nor did I file a complaint but it involved removal of a medical device. And believe me I don't go into a checkpoint cocked to go off on the least little thing. There is something very wrong with how TSA operates. No ifs, ands, or buts in my mind about that. Corporate culture starts at the top so I will place blame exactly at that point.
  5. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I can't disagree with you on most of what you mention. The policies (while more difficult at a larger airport) are scalable, and should be fairly close in uniformity, with small variances here and there consistent with the variances in the SOP. This is not rocket science at the TSO end, if you learn the SOP, follow the SOP and do so in a professional manner, a TSO should be no different in essence than the TSO crew that I work with. Maybe some regional/cultural differences in how the people communicate, but the professional behavior, the basic screening expereince should be pretty close to the same. The random screening processes are implemented nationwide, so that will create some variances as well, but the basic process remains the same - passenger enters, has their ID and boarding pass checked, they submit their carryon for screening and they are screened themselves. The behavior and treatment of passengers should be professional at all times, especially if there is a situation that can be considered out of the norm (such as WEI being discovered in the carryon or on the passenger). I understand that the stresses and working conditions in general are different at a large airport, but that is not an excuse for a poor attitude or unprofessional behavior. I worked at LAX for 30 days, and I busted my rear the entire time I was there, but not once did I not greet passengers in a professional manner or lose my bearing - and trust me, the passengers at LAX could test the patience of Job, not necessarily because they are being difficult, but for a myriad of reasons. Language barriers, unfamiliarity with the process, and in some cases being difficult just to be difficult or for other personal reasons all contribute to the stress on a TSO in that location - none of those are valid reasons to be unprofessional.

    I can't fault you for being upset/frustrated/angry based on your personal expereinces, I too have had bad expereinces before, and can relate to that. You also have a point that the buck stops at the top of the food chain, whether it is local or national, and most of us place blame at that level once we have a bad experience. As far as a medical device being removed, the SOP does not call for removal of devices, there are other protocols in place to screen people with assistive devices and they should be used without fail. In some situations, passengers are given the option to remove items, but only if they are comfortable with it and want to do so - there should never be a situation where someone is "ordered" to remove a medical device. Something like that could have serious repercussions on the passengers health, and it is wrong at the base element. Not to mention the legal aspect of forced removal, that is just not feasible, and we have other processes to use so that does not occur. I am not saying that this situation does not occur (I have not seen it, but I have read some of the same stories you have), merely that there is no reason for it to be happening, especially when the SOP prohibits it.
  6. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Don't you ever get tired of that excuse?

    They're your co-workers, not mine.

    It's been twelve years, and since 2010 the decline has become more pronounced. Congratulations on the absolutely wonderful job you've been doing for TSA culture.
  7. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Commenting on the highlighted items only.

    MIA, non-English or barely passable English from TSA employees. Pretty much a military style CF.

    FLL, screener reaching in wife's purse just as bag exited xray. Didn't grab the tray but right in the purse. Small jewelery pouch in purse and who knew but her what was in there? FSD (Tim Lewis) did nothing to correct but actively covered up for employee!

    LAS, carry on xray operator loudly berating passengers for how they packed carry on bags. Tried to bring attention of this to supervisor but he wanted to argue what a supervisor was. Second issue was Supervisor podium was about 100 + feet from screening lanes and being used as a hang out for screeners not doing anything. Totally AFU operation.

    DFW, LTSO got in my face and I thought he was going to strike me. TSA did nothing. SNAFU

    LAS again, Screener ordered (as in no option) removal of medical device. Wasn't in the mood to fight that day. Just (expletive deleted)!

    In general, knowing the screening process. Sure would be nice if the public did know what the screening process entailed. But TSA, a criminal organization, hides these processes from the public. Only reason I can think of is to make it as difficult for the public as possible. If TSA wanted cooperation from the public they would enlist us by providing education, publishing clear and exact checkpoint processes and taking other steps to clean up the mess that TSA is. Repeated audio announcements, signs that can't be seen (WBI signage) and other steps TSA uses are ineffective. TSA should try looking at the process from a traveler's viewpoint but I don't think that will happen.

    I will continue to place TSA faults right in the front office because all it takes are a few edicts, some high level firings, demand that employees toe the line or suffer the consequences, and things would change in short order.

    I hate to say it but I think you (and the rest of TSA) have lost sight of the big picture. Travelers all across the nation say something is wrong with TSA while TSA keeps patting itself on the back for a job well done. Both cannot be true. Any rewards should be based on public input not internal self congratulations.
  8. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    TSOs should be able to communicate in english at a proficient level, it is part of the basic requirements for the job.

    TSOs should never just reach into an item without first identifying the owner and communicating with them what is happening. No exceptions to that rule, I have actually had discussions about that before with co-workers, and will again if I see it happen again. First of all, it is wrong to search a passengers items without them knowing what is going on, secondly, it can create a he said, she said type of scenario, if they are digging around in the tunnel area where the passenger can't see. As for the rest of that incident, I am truly sorry that it was not handled more to your satisfaction.

    No reason to yell at a passenger unless it is a safety issue ("LOOK OUT, that beam is falling on you" or something of that nature), I find that communicating directly to people in an even tone yields much better results and is more respectful to begin with. STSO should have addressed it, not necessarily in the public view, but it should have been corrected ASAP to prevent it from happening again. I have always been taught that you praise in public, scold in private, and I do feel that it has given better results to operate that way - unless it is something egregious enough to warrant a public intervention, YMMV.

    No reason to get in a passengers face, again I have found that addressing them in an even tone and just talking to them has given the best results. It should also have been corrected ASAP.

    Again, that is simply unacceptable, there are protocols to clear devices without removing them, and I am sorry that this happened to you and your family.

    I agree that there is a lot more info that we could make public that would make the transition through the checkpoints easier to prepare for, with negligible impact on security, I have been saying that for quite a while now. I would like to think that I have not lost sight of the big picture, rather I would say that I am hoping for changes that can imprrove the experiences for the passengers en masse. Whether that comes through disciplining emmployees that need it, and removing the "bad apples", or through policy changes - or preferrably both, remains to be seen.
  9. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Over a decade now of progressively worse behavior, with sanctions apparently only applied after the TSA employee is arrested and charged for one thing or another.

    It's been seen. And it's not good.
  10. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Your cow-orkers are untrainable chimps.

  11. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    I wouldn't give them that much credit. Keep up the good work *******, you're really improving things!

    There are some big potholes in the roads after this winter. We could throw a few of your coworkers carcasses in them until road crews can fill them with asphalt. That is all I can see TSA personnel being good for at this point, otherwise they are just wasting the planets oxygen and resources.
  12. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Your first two words in reply address the problem which goes uncorrected by TSA management.

    TSOs should......

    but they don't!
  13. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Can't. They'd have to achieve some level of competence, at which they've proven entirely incapable.
  14. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    Don't hold your breath.

    I can't remember who it was, maybe you or Bart or someone else who's not here, but a TSA clerk was posting about how Pistole is/was "making things a lot better" and how there were lots of improvements in the pipe.

    That was years ago. Since then we've seen Sherman/Zimmermann, we've seen the grandma-hugger terrorized, we've seen firings over $500,000 in theft, we've seen prostitution rings run by TSA employees, we've seen Rolando Negrin, we've seen Shelbi Wasler and we've seen an Iraq vet tortured and humiliated just this morning.

    Those changes, if there were any that would have made things better for passengers and not for TSA employees, are not coming.

    Believe me, it wouldn't be the first time someone's extolled the virtues of optimism to me, but seriously...the writing's on the wall. Without a mass gutting of TSA's workforce, including Pistole, Koshetz, Melendez, Burns and Napolitano, and an overhaul of hiring standards, things aren't going to get better.

    And at that point, it would be quicker, cheaper and easier to just abolish the agency altogether. Civil liberties are more important than jobs or safety, and if eliminating TSA is an easy way to restore civil liberties with a minimal impact on (unskilled, thoughtless, useless) jobs and (the laughable empty illusion of) safety, then I'm all for it.
    Caradoc likes this.
  15. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Can't overhaul something that does not exist.
    Caradoc likes this.
  16. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Objection - the TSA obviously has standards. It's impossible to find that many abjectly stupid people without actively selecting those criteria.

    They're just not the standards that any reasonable person would apply to anyone being hired for "security" purposes.
  17. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Standards of an amoeba.
  18. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    I never said they were good standards.
  19. Frank

    Frank Original Member

Tags: TSA

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