TSA destroys passengers' luggage at Palm Springs airport

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Mike, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    I've consistently advocating dumping the current ETD swabbing test because it doesn't work. At a false alarm rate at 100%, or close to it, it is useless and impractical. I support the idea of it, but if a method doesn't work, it doesn't work. Quit trying to spray paint a (expletive deleted) and call it Picasso.

    If you had an EFFECTIVE method of determining presence of explosives, then I have no issues with what transpired at Palm Springs.
  2. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Better yet, quit putting blue shirts on fricking idiots and calling them "officers."
  3. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I've got other things to say about this matter, but at this point I'm just going to mention that there are 6 comments on that article. Of them, ONE is supportive of TSA. Well, except that he came back and clarified his position:

    So, you see, even though people are supportive of TSA in some cases, they still think TSA sucks.

    Seriously, can this nightmare be over already?
  4. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I don't really see anyone disputing this fact.

    What we do have here, though, is a 9-year veteran who appears to be either a) incompetent or b) overly sensitive. Either one is bad.

    You have accused me of not knowing how to read a baggage x-ray. Fine. I'm not going to argue that point, because it won't go anywhere. You've clearly entrenched a position, and appear willing to desperately cling to it for whatever reason.

    However, wouldn't someone who has been reading these images for 9 years be the sort of person you are saying I am not? IOW, she is an "expert" at reading baggage x-ray. After 9 years she better be.

    So she sees something suspicious, and goes through the process you describe. That is, in fact, the right thing to do, IMHO.

    However, multiple false positives indicates the equipment is faulty. And for faulty equipment, which started with an apparently poor x-ray image, all the way through multiple false ETD positives, an innocent man's bag was destroyed. For what? A knee-jerk reaction that everyone coming through the checkpoint is a potential terrorist who must be stopped at any cost.

    That's not progress. That's stupidity.

    I agree with you, to an extent.

    Either the machines or the process, likely both, are faulty.

    That is both immoral and unlawful.
    Elizabeth Conley and nachtnebel like this.
  5. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    ...that's the TSA.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    Thank you, I thought I was the only one who noticed this. From the material in the article, the sequence of events is described to be :

    Step 1: "A man in his early 20s was going through the checkpoint when TSA's x-ray detected something that looked highly suspicious."
    Step 2: "TSA took the man's duffle bag ..."
    Step 3: "... and detained him for questioning."
    Step 4: "There were communication problems with the man because he had an accent..."
    Step 5: "At that point, TSA tapped into a national network that responds to a security problem like this."
    Step 6: "A robot was sent to pick up the bag..."
    Step 7: "and it was taken to an area where law enforcement attempted to detonate anything inside."
    Step 8a: "The fire department used a high-power hose to see if the pressure could detonate something in the bag, but..."
    Step 8b: "TSA ['s] Nico Melendez says the explosive ordnance disposal team from the Riverside County Sheriff's Department used a water cannon to "disrupt" the bag the item was in."
    Step 9: "...but there was nothing suspicious or harmful in the duffle bag."
    Step 9a: "The man whose duffle bag contained the suspicious item was released."
    Step 9b: " 'The contents of the bag were determined to be routine items ...' Melendez said. "

    I just can't see the step where first the TSA, then the BAO, then the EOD all run ETD on the bag. Sure, the media may have simplified the story or left details out, but as presented above, it went straight from "saw something on x-ray" to "taking the bag out back" to "water cannon". If in fact it also alarmed on ETD, that's a pretty significant part of the picture for the media to ignore, especially as the story has numerous updates where the reporter could have added "it wasn't just the x-ray."

    Here's another story about the incident: http://www.mydesert.com/article/201...prings-International-Airport-delays-travelers The repeated focus, INCLUDING FROM THE TSA SPOKESIDIOT NICO, is that the entire scare was based on the x-ray image:

    Just because running an ETD might be a sensible thing to do under the circumstances doesn't mean that it was done in this case. Heck, just because running an ETD is the SOP under these circumstances doesn't mean that it was done in this case.

    As far as the efficacy of the ETD itself, I've been swabbed dozens of times in Australia and (probably) Europe or Asia and never had an alarm. I've seen other people swabbed in non-US airports and never seen an alarm. Y'all are doing it wrong...
    barbell, Lisa Simeone, Doober and 2 others like this.
  7. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Agree. Nobody in their right mind is faulting the x-ray operator. If you see something that looks off enough to set you off, you have to stop it. I'm assuming that if a person gets too many bad hits they're gone or retrained. The issue is what happened next. If ETD swabbing was used to justify what happened next, that is an issue. Yielding the absurdly high percentage of bad results demands its abandonment.

    Out of curiosity, why wasn't the owner allowed the option of opening the bag (at a safe distance) and showing the contents?
    KrazyKat and Doober like this.
  8. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    In the space of an hour at a medium sized airport with no NoS last week in the US, I saw several people have luggage swabbed with false alarm and saw their luggage taken completely apart with contents examined etc in a public area, with the contents able to be viewed by the general public passing by.
    Lisa Simeone and Doober like this.
  9. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Why do you assume that the TSA's ETD swab has the same purpose as one performed in a foreign airport?

    I think it likely that a number of the false positives by the TSA are deliberate on the part of TSA management (because the front-liners are simply too stupid to force a false positive) designed to keep the public afraid, and the TSA budget uncut.
  10. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    Wow - love the fact that we're 4 pages into heated debate and our thread hasn't been closed for cowardice or personal agendas. :) Way to go TUG!
    nachtnebel, barbell and Lisa Simeone like this.
  11. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    This has to happen to more people, specifically non-accented-English people, the average American John and Jane Q. Citizen. As with the gropes, this kind of blatant police action has to happen to more and more and more and more and more people before they'll get it.

    And it has to happen to people with the means to fight back. Saying that the guy in this case has a right to sue is cold comfort. Phil Mocek is paying off a $34,000 legal bill (according to his website). Anyone here have that kind of money? I doubt it. 98% of the people in this country don't have the wherewithal to fight this stuff. And why should we have to? We're already paying these thugs to abuse us. Now we have to pay even more to clear our names and recover our property after they've abused us and destroyed it??

    And who's this SATTSO dude? I take it he's come over from FT and is now spewing his (expletive deleted) here?
    barbell likes this.
  12. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    SATTSO actually registered here a couple months ago. He occupies a special niche in our entertainment package.
    Doober likes this.
  13. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    That's extremely likely. It's also possible that the scanners in Australia are non-functional and serve only as a deterrent to the uninitiated, rather than actually detecting explosives. I like the Australian way better. ;)
    barbell likes this.
  14. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    If topics didn't evolve, we'd have nothing to say after the first 5-10 minutes. Comments aside, such as this exchange, are normal in all but the briefest conversations.
  15. RB

    RB Founding Member

    SATTSO offered reasonable comments on FT but has change to a much less tolerant person these last several months.
  16. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    someone is on a short fuse. perhaps he got rolando negrin'd at the last AIT training session.
  17. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I recognize that a TSA employee will expose themselves to a fair amount of discontent when participating in discussions that revolve around travel and TSA. Knowing this they can attempt to put a degree of reasonableness to the discussion or lash out and try blaming any discontent on the other participants.

    I don't travel often but I do travel several times each year. I have seen TSA up close and personal and I don't like what I have seen. I find that the screening methods used by TSA exceed what I would call reasonable. For TSA to bring me over to their side I will need to see some significant changes restoring innocent until proven guilty, screening methods that are not an assault, test for dangerous items to be reliable, and for TSA to mind its on fricken business and not ask me my name, where I' m going or why I'm going there. Those actions are un-American and the people who do these things do not represent the America I know.
    Lisa Simeone and barbell like this.
  18. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    For whatever reason, TSA screeners don't seem to care to have someone help them resolve what they see on an x-ray screen.
    Lisa Simeone and barbell like this.
  19. Caradoc

    Caradoc Original Member

    Of course not. It makes for better theatre if they can have the local EOD folks come and destroy it.

    They're fond of completely ignoring the simple fact that if someone's going to try something like that, they'll detonate it in the X-ray machine if they think it may have been detected... They're also fond of marching passengers right past the supposed bomb during a terminal dump.

    Idiots, the lot of 'em.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  20. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Well, how else are people supposed to know they found a bomb?!?!?!!
    Lisa Simeone likes this.

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