What If The Worst Happened

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by FetePerfection, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    I was wondering what would happen if TSA failed to detect devices, chemicals, bombs etc that took down a jet like the Lockerbie incident. Could DHS & TSA be charged with criminal negligence, pay civil fines, judgements etc or would the umbrella of the federal government shield them? Lastly, I'm sure Congress would open an investigation and hold hearings into what went wrong but would current SOP change?

    I know much of this cannot be answered but I'd love to hear other opinions.
    boggie dog likes this.
  2. RB

    RB Founding Member

    The first thing that would have to happen is determining why the plane went down.

    The Air France crash has just now found the black boxes after a couple of years have gone by. The reason for the crash may be determined but perhaps not.

    With that said, if a TSA employee(s) could be pointed out that their actions led to a loss then yes they should be held personally accountable.
  3. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I fear that first, Congress will hold hearings and point fingers.

    In the meantime Security Theatre will be ratcheted up yet another horrible level from wherever it is at the time.

    I doubt a major event is forthcoming, as I think we would have already seen one by now. However, I don't doubt entirely that one will happen.

    With every failure, whether by TSA's fault or not, the screening has only gotten worse.

    We will be faced with the inevitable tragedy of another event, and the increased procedures for their own failure. That is the pattern they have already established.
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  4. FetePerfection

    FetePerfection Founding Member Coach

    Do you think individual TSO's would be held responsible, fired or allowed to be sued for my hypothetical bomb incident?
  5. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    Absolutely not. They will be given a pass to be even more intrusive, more unpredictable, and more obnoxious than before. We must do anything and everything, even if it saves just 1 life. :confused:

    Oh, yeah, and :td:, too.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    In the U.S. people usually are not held criminally liable for simple negligence. If a TSO is drunk or asleep on the job, maybe. But if they are doing what their management has asked them to do on a daily basis, it's not likely. It's even less likely that management not involved in actual screen would be criminally liable. Our legal system just doesn't work that way.
  7. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    I would sincerely hope the TSA is called on the carpet to account. As for individuals, it might be hard to prove negligence on their part, but hey, the TSA types should be watching their backs to begin with.
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  8. VH-RMD

    VH-RMD Original Member

    how many are being held liable for 'improperly' screening luggage at HNL (even though nothing bad happened because of it)?
  9. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Last count was over 30, perhaps as many as 36, perhaps more (or less). There were also another group of more than 10 (sorry don't have the figures in front of me) that were recommended for suspension as well.
  10. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    One other thing to take into account is the limitations of the technology, the xray machines are a useful tool, but they have deficiencies that the AT xrays do a better job on. I wish all checkpoints had the AT xrays or one of the EDS styled machines, but in order to do that, it would be a gihoopic cost leap (both in initial expense to aquire and in the maintenance).
  11. FriendlySkies

    FriendlySkies Member

    I know we've brought this up many times.. TSA is so sure that the NoS will work so well, that they don't mind pouring money into these machines. What's the difference? It's to keep us safe, right? ....
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  12. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I understand that pattern of thinking (not that I subscribe to it). The AIT gives us a better chance of finding non metallic threat items - which at this point (explosives) are the biggest threat to aviation security. While weapons and such are a threat to the passengers and crew, explosive items are a threat to the entire plane (and by extension the folks on the ground where the plane would come down). The AITs were already in the pipeline before the AT Xrays passed inspection, so they are naturally more in focus at this point. If I had my druthers, each checkpoint would use AIT for alarm resolutions (if possible, or the patdown if not), and have either EDS or AT Xray for the carryons. I think we could streamline much of the process and calm the checkpoints down a ton more, if we would focus more on how the TSOs and other TSA employees interact with the passengers. If we are more efficient in how we address passengers (explaining what needs to happen to those that need it, instead of yelling basic instructions to everyone), 50% of our problems would be gone in about 5 minutes. If we worked on our secondary interactions with passengers (resolution of alarms and bag checks) by treating them professionally and courteously, and helping them where they need it, instead of yelling at them or getting an attitude - we would be up to 90% of our problems gone in 5 minutes.

    We need to work smarter with the budget we have (I am not a bean counter, but I am certain that with a table of accountants and the authority to cut out a lot of the redundant stuff, we could make positive changes in our spending habits), and teach our people to treat passengers like people, instead of cattle - and when they don't do that, they should be held accountable.
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  13. RATM

    RATM Original Member

    When government agencies fail, they are given more money and power. This is why we need to abolish such agencies. If the worst happened, something horrific would happen at the checkpoints.
  14. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I agree with what you say here, but the question is how?

    Is this sort of change a candidate for Mike's reverse incrementalism or is it going to take a new head of TSA to accomplish?
    Rugape likes this.
  15. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    I am in total agreement with this post. That said, I would ask why, in 10 years, has the TSA not been able to:

    " teach our people to treat passengers like people, instead of cattle....."?

    Do you think it is in the realm of possibility that TSA doesn't want to treat people with respect, but would rather instill in them fear of the checkpoint?
  16. jtodd

    jtodd Original Member

    Especially when the problem has been getting worse, not better, almost exponentially.
  17. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    I can understand the difficulty involved in screening the huge numbers of people on a day to day basis. It in not at all conducent to providing personalized service; however, TSA could move closer toward that goal it with a few minor, relatively inexpensive changes and improved communication with the passengers before reaching the checkpoint. Some have suggested multi-language brochres giving instructions regarding checkpoint procedures, video monitors giving looped instructions, automatic bin return conveyors (freeing up more workers to personally interract with travelers. I would also suggest that the BDO's (when they're not busy reading microexpressions :rolleyes:) be charged with answering passengers questions and offering help for inexperienced travellers as they wait in line for the TDC.

    BTW, Rugape, excellent post! I agree with everything you said!
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  18. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Thanks! Large airports such as ATL and LAX have a crush of humanity and that alone makes getting them in and out a pretty big chore - add to that the turnover at those airports (a lot of folks get into the fed system via TSA and move on to other federal posts in relatively short periods of time, say a year or so) and staffing becomes a recurrent issue at the larger airports. That will not change, but the way TSOs interact with the passengers should be simple, help those that need it - and the ones that travel 3-4 times a week should be left alone for the most part. I like the idea of multi-lingual brochures, and I will forward that up to Bob at HQ, and see if that is something that may be a possibility. The video loops are already in play at many of the larger airports (and even some of the smaller ones) and guess what... The regulars know what they are doing when they come in and the infrequent travlers still don't have the same level of preparedness once they get in the checkpoint. The problem with much of the location specific communication (outside of one on one communication) is that it bombards those that don't travel much, they get this overload of info and imagery and then get to the table and.... lock up with that look on their face like "what the (expletive deleted) did that tv just say do, put my shoes in a plastic bag and sprinkle liquid over my laptop?". We should do a better job of communicating to the public before they even get to the airport, and also have the stuff there for review. We have begun with the TSA apps and the websites, but we could do more communication through mainstream media outlets as well. The biggest problem I have seen with the auto bin conveyors was the layout configurations. I am all for it if they can work it into the footprints as they are, but most likely it will require a re-engineering of most large checkpoints and then we start talking real money just to free up a couple of people per checkpoint.

    Oh, and just to let you know, at my airport, we BDOs answer tons of questions daily, and even help folks with heavy objects from time to time.... shhhh.....:eek:
  19. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I don't really get that impression, I think the majority of the problem is that the TSOs are running back and forth doing bag checks, patdowns, and more of each and just get harried. Add to that the fact that I don't hear much about management cracking down on the yelling and confrontational attitude at some of the locations, it just continues to be a circular pattern. I think that a lot of the problems can be corrected by giving the employees the proper type of training and communication to understand how to treat passengers, and how to deal with problems as they arise, and then enforcing that training to the letter until professional behavior becomes second nature. I also think that most of the TSOs are professional, however it only takes one bad apple to ruin the impression of 5000 passengers in a couple of hours working.
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  20. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    It could be a combination of both. I think Pistole is a pretty decent sort, I have FBI contacts that swear by him and say he is a stand up guy. I think that he stepped into a job that had been essentially empty for almost 2 years. Gale was a stand-in, she was simply doing what she could without making too many waves (which is exactly what she was supposed to do). I believe that if Gale had wanted or been givn the job, things would have been different. Pistole is up to the task, I think he is simply not able to completely change the culture or the esablishment overnight, and shifting in a new direction is a precarious balance under the best of circumstances. He was not even in office for a month when folks were already calling for his resgination (he probably had not even finished setting up all of his passwords in the computers yet!). Add to the empty position, the new direction, the lack of ability to change what he wants to overnight - the fact that we have a non-stop cycle of d-bags and knuckleheads on the news every few days, and you have a recipe for making him look ineffective, when he is really trying to make positive changes and move forward. Right now, I think the headshed is too busy putting out fires to really ge to the business of changing the policies for the better and correcting the bad behavior at all levels. It is hard to fix the program when you have to stop every five minutes and explain you have intelligence about this and that, and what that intel indicates and why you have fired 36 folks at one location (to include the FSD!) and why this guy made it through and is a pedophile and why these guys are stealing..... you get the idea. I am just glad I am not in Pistoles chair, sometimes it seems that he is in a no win situation with no way to move forward.

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