photography apparently prohibited at MEM TSA checkpoint

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Paul Sanchez, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. Paul Sanchez

    Paul Sanchez "We already know you, Mr. Sanchez"

    So Friday morning I'm trying to do a 08:30 MEM-FLL and I'm in line at the checkpoint for Delta flights. I notice a screener is doing hand swabs of people even as they are in the beginning of the line (several hundred back from the travel document checkpoint podium) so I decide to take a photo. She quickly moves away to the other side of the checkpoint. Oh well.

    As I meander thru the line I come across the infamous TSA sign saying "please give the respect they deserve". Hmm, that is worth a photo alone.


    So a few contours later I see a behavior detection officer (3 stripes yet) merely watching who is coming up to the two podiums. Perhaps looking for facial micro-expressions and who is not conversing with the travel document checkers. He is also worth a photo.


    I finally get to the travel document check podium and am directed to the far right lane (#4) for backscatter x-ray rather than the far left (#1) which has walk-thru-metal-detector only. No problem as I've done this perhaps maybe once before. [​IMG]

    Our wonderful behavior detection officer is next to me as I'm filling the bins and I ask him if his iCom radio is working. He says yes and I ask if he can call for "male assist". Tyrone promptly replies "I don't do that". This can't be better.

    I go to the screener who is blocking the way of the walk-thru-metal-detector and ask him for a male assist, he asks me if I am opting out. I ask if I'm required to use advanced image technology (whole-body-imager or whatever it is called this week) and says I can opt out if I want to and receive a pat-down, a thorough one at that. I ask him if I may avail myself of such stated option which he did not understand either. I had to explain it 3 times.

    I walk thru the WTMD and no alarm. A screener who is going to do the pat-down shows up within 30 seconds. I ask him if he is familiar with the term private screening, and which additional screener he will use, and I point out where the private screening room is. I point out to him the blue carry-on bag plus 2 bins.

    Surprise, surprise Mr. Personality (I don't do that) behavior detector decides to join us. This is getting better and I did not think it could have.

    The screener grabs my carry-on and the 2 bins, we then walk over to the private screening room. As soon as soon as we step in I ask him what glove size he uses and he says XL. I told him great because there is a box of XL gloves underneath the explosive trace detection machine already in the room. He says I know his job better than he does and I reply I can't because that would SSI information which I could get in trouble for. [​IMG].

    And I really, really thought it could not get better but I was indeed wrong. Tyrone our 3-striper behavior detector then chimed in and said I need to watch my attitude when I'm in the checkpoint/sterile area. And that taking video of him was not allowed.

    Wow! This is a dream come true. I asked Tyrone if this is a public area of MEM airport, if the State of Tennessee prohibits photography/video/memorization in public areas and what are the TSA rules perhaps under CFR 1540 that prevent that? He said this is a secure area and it is not allowed.

    At this point I'm in heaven. I finish up the pat-down with the first screener (after of course asking him about "resistance" as an electrical value and to explain where it is on human anatomy). Gloves that were used are swabbed and subsequently pass.

    I then turn to Tyrone and ask him if he would feel more comfortable with a TSM, he says yes and gets one. Just to the outside of the room there is already a bomb assessment officer (I love it).

    TSM arrives and is standing next to Tyrone who apparently does not think highly of my photography skills (in that perspective he is correct I'm a terrible photographer).

    I ask the TSM is this a public area and she says no it is not it is a sterile are. I then ask if the public can enter thru here provided they complete the screening process she says yes (perhaps she realized her mistake in verbiage).

    I said great and asked why did Tyrone tell me that I could not take photos of the public area. And I promptly pulled up the infamous posting on the TSA blog regarding photography and even read it to her and Tyrone.

    At this point asked Tyrone why did he tell me that photography was prohibited at the TSA checkpoint and he backed down a bit, he said what he meant was photographing the screening process. I told him don't lie since even the TSA publishes "not to interfere with the screening process". And since I was in line even before the travel document check podium, how did the photo of him "interfere with the screening process".

    This was the where the TSM decided to throw in the towel and explain she does not know why Supervisor screener Tyrone told me incorrect information but she would ask him about it. I told her I would like to hear from Tyrone myself. She said he has nothing to say to me. Perfection knows no bounds.

    I gather up my stuff (shoes/belt/etc) and walked out while the TSM, BAO, and Tyrone were in a group huddle just outside the room. I went directly to Tyrone and said that had to be the most ignorant thing he could have ever done and I can see why screeners should be treated with every bit of what they deserve.

    The BAO then glared at me so I asked him if he wanted to talk to me for a few minutes as well. He said just leave as I made the screeners look bad thus my goal. I told him I don't have to make the screeners look bad since they do such a good job of it on their own. is the federal security director at MEM. 901-348-5400

    Ask him what respect should Tyrone get.
  2. FaustsAccountant

    FaustsAccountant Original Member

  3. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

  4. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    I don't know about everyone else but if I ever have to get on a plane again I'm going to ask Paul to go with me!
  5. Paul Sanchez

    Paul Sanchez "We already know you, Mr. Sanchez"

    Well thank you Monica47, merely doing my part each time I go thru a TSA checkpoint and meet one of them on the general aviation side of the airport.
  6. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    What kind of respect do you offer a fellow citizen who actively engages in organized crime, making his or her living from violating our Constitutional rights?
    Frank and TravelnMedic like this.
  7. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    Stands and applauds. Mr Sanchez you have my respect sir, if our paths should cross I will buy you a drink or three
    Monica47 likes this.
  8. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    Bravo! This is one of the best and most entertaining descriptions of the inanity of TSA that I have ever read.

    This really needs to be posted at TSA News so it reaches a broader audience. The writing is precious and it would be a shame not to share.
    Monica47 and TravelnMedic like this.
  9. Monica47

    Monica47 Original Member

    The lesson I learned from your post is to be prepared with as much knowledge as possible pertaining to TSA's own rules and regulations, to stay calm and collected and not be intimidated by anyone wearing a uniform, know what your rights are before, during and after security, keep your dignity intact while being subjected to a search and do all of this with the utmost class that the TSA could never hope to achieve. I agree with Fisher - this definitely needs to be posted at TSA news.
  10. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    "Please give our officers the respect they deserve."

    I've lived long enough to learn to be profoundly grateful people generally don't get what they deserve. It gives me more than a few chills down the spine when people commit acts of inhumanity. I find myself praying they DON'T get what they deserve. Everyone should be on the receiving end of mercy from time to time, if only to understand God's grace.

    The TSA should ask to be treated with kindness and patience. That is enough. Gangsters deserve prison time. The TSA thugs don't want the respect they deserve; they want mercy. If mercy is what you want, it's best to ask for it in a respectful manner.

    PS: I've seen people get what the deserve. It's akin to damnation. You see the lightbulb go on in their brains when they realize they're in a world of hurt, and what's happening to them is exactly what they deserve, given their past victimization of and contempt for others.
    jtodd and DeafBlonde like this.
  11. RB

    RB Founding Member

    While I generally agree with Elizabeth I think TSA putting up signs like the one shown in post #1 tell us that TSA employees are getting every bit of the respect they deserve.
    Frank, jtodd and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  12. TravelnMedic

    TravelnMedic Original Member

    Respect is earned... common courtesy is given. In the way TSA has behaved and handled itself they deserve absolutely no respect, if anything they have earned every ounce of disdain and anything coming there way. If they want respect they have a long road to hoe to build that back, but at this time I see that as a obese probibility.
    jtodd and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  13. RB

    RB Founding Member

    TSA refuses to admit they have taken the wrong path. As long as TSA maintains the current corporate attitude they will continue getting every bit of the respect they deserve, which in my opinion is NONE!
    jtodd and Elizabeth Conley like this.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I wish I had the cool to pull off stunts like this. I would resume flying again (remember,we were raking in vouchers on Southwest faster than we could use them), I would do this just for sport.
  15. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    A couple of questions, Paul. Why do you want a private screening? Do you not get a more aggressive screening if you ask for it to be done in private?
  16. Paul Sanchez

    Paul Sanchez "We already know you, Mr. Sanchez"

    Allocation of TSA resources. A private screening requires 2 people rather than 1. At DEN June of last year it took 8 screeners (all lead or higher) including a TSM more than 1.25 hours to screen me because each item in my carry-on was x-rayed & swabbed.
  17. Elizabeth Conley

    Elizabeth Conley Original Member

    The TSA becomes totally histrionic over the least risky passengers, making total fools of themselves and squandering man-hours.

    All it takes to send the TSA into a tailspin is a small measure of self-respect. Beautiful. May as well milk their insanity for all it's worth.
  18. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I like how they try to sandwich "verbal abuse" in between threats and violence.

    Threats and violence are actionable offenses; correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm under the impression that verbal abuse, when carried out against an employee of a federal agency who is on duty and acting under color of authority, is Constitutionally-protected criticism of government. Can they actually do anything if you wait until after your screening is done to tell a Pedosmurf that it's nothing more than bottom-feeding Nazi filth and that you hope it gets bone cancer from a body scanner?
  19. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Yes. They can harass you as long as you remain in the so-called "sterile area."

    (The one at AUS yesterday really didn't like me. Not at all. "Wow. So y'all installed a scanner that produces false positives on sweat, and you installed it in AUSTIN?" "Yeah, that probably wasn't very smart." "Well, y'know what they say about the fools who work for fools...")
    phoebepontiac likes this.
  20. RB

    RB Founding Member

    If a person can flip off a cop and courts have found that action to be protected speech then call a smurf a name as long as it does not construe a threat should be treated the same.

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