What If The Worst Happened

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

  1. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    That sounds like a mismanagement issue more than anything else. Frequently when I go through Checkpoint Charlie to fly, there are several TSOs just standing around hands in pockets chatting with each other (they can be on break, just getting into work, getting ready to leave, etc). A go forth and make security happen really doesn't give a person an idea of what they are supposed to be doing.

    Intimidation of the passengers was a management tool early on with TSA. Frighten them with your authority seemed for years the unofficial mission of TSA. Unfortunately some people don't intimidate well. The SSI for travelers, you are bound by rules and regulations you are not allowed to see and held liable for violating those same unseen rules and regulations makes for a stressful process. Inexperienced travelers have no idea if what a TSO says to them is the truth or not (thank you for inconsistent inconsistency for the sake of security). One of the things foreign airports do that TSA refuses to do is to let people keep their dignity. The first time I heard a 'LISSEN UP PEOPLE' coming from a TSO it reminded me of basic training, not airport security. We are not basic trainees. We are not prisoners being run through incoming receiving. We are not cattle. Treat us like any of those and you will have problems. TSA management doesn't do enough about requiring TSOs to be polite to passengers. I have yet to hear a TSO be forced to apologize for being rude to a passenger.

    Politeness is a two-way street. Had your agency been polite since day one it wouldn't have many of the issues it has today. The ex military and ex law enforcement types it has in management were possibly not the best choice for dealing with non military/non criminal elements of our society. Bart is a good example of that. My first dealings with him didn't go well.
  2. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    That's why the pay him the big bucks. From what I've heard from others, some of the people at headquarters are a major component of the problems in the field. Sacking a department head is pretty hard anywhere. TSA should have listened better to the complaints early on and acted on them. Unfortunately some of the major players ignored those complaints and what could have been easily fixed
    Lisa Simeone, barbell and Rugape like this.
  3. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I just don't understand that type of thinking... that is not entirely true, I understand it, I just don't get it. You can get more flies with honey than with vinegar, and being a vinegar type does not mesh well with large groups of passengers. You are 100% right, you are not in Basic, you are not in boot, you are simply using airline travel as a way to get from point a to point b. The screening process is a big enough hassle without TSOs yelling at you to take your shoes off - especially when you already know to take your shoes off. Rudeness should nto be tolerated, and if TSA were to crack down on that type of behavior across the board - half our problems and conflicts would be gone overnight. Then the arguments and and conflicts would be over policy, not unprofessional TSOs. I also disagree with the passengers not knowing the rules, there are some elements of SSI that (I feel) could be made public knowledge without compromising the procedures. I understand the roadmap for bad guys (and buy into it on many things), but the patdown, what you are supposed to do in the checkpoint, and a more comprehensive listing of what can and can't go is not a roadmap - it can all be learned from spending about an hour watching the checkpoints. I dislike the inconsistencies as well, what happens in LAX should be the same thing that happens in GSO - that is one of our biggest PR nightmares, and is easily fixed... follow what is in the SOP to the letter, and it should be pretty uniform nationwide.
    barbell likes this.
  4. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I can neither confirm nor deny that, other than to say I have read some commentary that is the same as what you say. I have not witnessed this firsthand. I can say that sometimes there seems to be a disconnect from HQ and the front lines, but that is going to happen anywhere in a group this large. I can actually say that I have seen changes to SOP based entirely on information forwarded up from TSOs due to what was going on in the checkpoints. I just wish Pistole the best of luck in making positive changes, dealing with the incoming Union will make some things much more difficult, and some things much easier.
  5. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Pistole might be a "stand up guy" by FBI standards, but he is heading a group of employees who are dealing with the general public who just want to get on a plane to fly from Point A to Point B and are not criminals. Obama had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get him and it shows. TSA needs someone at its head who does not possess the "cop" mentality.

    If one pays attention to what he says and how he acts, his arrogance is undeniable. He told us back in October or November that children under 12 (?) were not going to be patted down the same way as adults. Then we see the video of the 6 year old and the baby (as well as other children). So he comes back to say that pat downs will now be changed for children under 10. That makes is pretty obvious to even the casual observer that what he said would happen in the fall didn't happen.

    His arrogance in either refusing to appear before Congressional committees or to directly answer questions posed by committee members (Rand Paul at the hearings this week) does nothing for his credibility.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member

    I agree with Doober - Pistole is the worst possible person to be in that position. If they insist on someone with law-enforcement history, we need a Sheriff Truman (Twin Peaks) and not a Sgt. Doakes (Dexter). Someone who really believes in "Serve and protect" rather than "I'm'na bust yo' (expletive deleted), perp."

    Of course, for my part, I'd rather have it written into regs that the head of TSA cannot have had any history in law-enforcement, and rather should have a history as a civil servant so they understand how to interact with the public. TSOs at a checkpoint should be polite, meek, helpful and apologetic toward the public. BDOs should be forbidden from pressing anyone for conversation and if a pax demonstrates a desire to be left alone, the BDO should be required to leave them alone under penalty of immediate termination without pension, severance package, or eligibility for reinstatement. Not directed at you, Rugape, but I'd heard comments at FT about "BDO conversations you HAVE TO participate in" and as someone on the autism spectrum, that is NOT okay. At all.

    We need someone who's able to turn the current crop of TSO subway rats into church mice and keep it that way.
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  7. VH-RMD

    VH-RMD Original Member

    every time I read, I again tell myself I am right to avoid the USA
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  8. mikemey

    mikemey Original Member

    Well, this brings up this question - why are TSOs being asked to do several jobs, seemingly at the same time, at the checkpoint?

    Its unfair to the TSO to work the x-ray, then drop that and do an opt-out, then have him go do TDC duties.

    Manage the people better, and maybe the people won't be so harried. Have 2 or 3 TSO's DEDICATED to processing opt-0uts, and that cuts out the 20 minute wait to "find someone." They can help elsewhere if needed, but their primary job would be Opt outs. Same with the X-Ray person. Don't shuffle him around, that's his job for the day. Or even for 2 hours, if you want to rotate to keep people from burning out.

    Your LTSOs and STSOs can help if necessary, but they should be supervising.

    Do that, get rid of the barkers, and get them some people skills, and maybe we have a start. Doesn't change the fact that the procedures are inherently unconstitutional, but that's another argument for another thread.
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  9. N965VJ

    N965VJ Original Member

    Actually when the TSA fist had their own screeners working the checkpoint, they were surprisingly polite and efficient. Really, it was amazing. About ten years earlier, when the new terminal opened in PIT with the SkyMall , all the new employees at the food establishments took a few weeks to get up to speed, as an example of the challenge to get a whole bunch of new people working efficiently in a new environment.

    So what happened? The TSA allowed the initial culture of courtesy to fade away. The retail establishments in PIT, ten years earlier, quickly came up to speed to meet customer expectations. After all, a fast food place that makes you wait 15 minutes for a cheesesteak is not going to have customers very long.

    Agreed 100%. Screening PAX and bags is not a law enforcement or military operation. There may be a few positions, such as the Bomb Appraisal Officers, where the military experience is beneficial, but the bulk of what the TSA should be doing (screening for weapons, explosives and incendiaries using x-ray, walk through metal detectors and explosive trace detection/portals) does not require that background.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  10. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Sorry, but a stand up guy does not consign millions of passengers to be strip searched and have their sex organs and private areas groped in ways he KNOWS could never be done by an LEO, and springs this on an unsuspecting public the way he did. Contrary to his sworn duty to uphold the constitution. He knew better and still pulled the trigger on this; and continues to promote this crap to this day.

    That is not stand up behavior, that is the behavior of a thug.
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  11. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I disagree, I think he is a pretty decent sort (due entirely to the communication with my FBI guys and the way they talk about him is pretty good) that is in an impossible position. He has stepped into a place where huge changes are just not the norm, and are not how the feds normally do things. There have been changes, the major problem is probably boiling down to communication. I don't see quite as much arrogance as you describe, and appearing in front of committees is just a part of the game, so is not appearing for them. Every time any muckety muck appears for one of those committees, it is a love fest for those that agree with or support them, and a gallows pole for those that hate or don't support them - either way, that is all a chance for the folks in office to make political hay (both ways).
  12. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I tend to think that you would want someone that is cooperative, professional and straight forward about the process - then when some cr** hits the fan that someone is able to function and do what needs to be done in a satisfactory manner. In this business, wilting flowers, church mice, meek and apologetic people, and Sgt. Doakes, aggressive, verbally abusive people are not going to work. What would be best suited is someone that has the capability and desire to do the job in a professional and courteous manner and help folks that need it - and just do the bloody job. No power trips, no shouting, no abuse of the passengers, simply do the bloody job and smile while doing it.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  13. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Any person who calls for the wholesale full body pat down of children has no moral compass and is not fit to be head of any organization. If Mr. Pistole fits that slot then we know all we need to know about Mr. Pistole.
  14. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    In a word, stagnation (and a couple of other reasons that I am not sure I can slip by the SSI censors). If you stay at one position too long, the awareness factor wears off, and you tend to get into a routine, and it gets repetitive and things just start to blend together... In security, that is a bad thing, even in the Army we rotated standing guard almost hourly because you tend to lose focus if you dont.

    Each TSO is qualified to work all of the positions (with some exceptions), and to get really good at all of what they do, each TSO needs to get their reps up. Like back in the Army, when you had someone that was not so good at one particular thing, you made them do it over and over until they got it satisfactory. In this case, it is the same, but once they pass the tests and are certified and you have no noticeable faults, everyone gets to do each job to keep all of their skill sets up. Xray is different, but only because of the visual component.
  15. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    Anyone that removes a complete subset of the passenger load (and a fairly large one at that) from the screening protocols is handing anyone with ill intent an easy access way to do whatever they wish. Children are no less feasible a transport system than Abdul Muttallab.
  16. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member


    Agreed. That dog won't hunt. No one put a gun to Pistole's head to force him to institute such a destructive set of procedures on innocent children, girls, boys, women, and men. Nor to expand upon this by doing random genital, boob, and butt gropes even PAST the checkpoint. It is a sick human being that would do this. It is a poor excuse of a man who would do something like this. Obviously, Rugape's buddies never knew Pistole very well. Once you're the top guy, it is harder to hide what you are really like.
  17. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    again, with the false dichotomy, the false choice. Either we don't screen kids at all, or we feel their genitals. WTMD, eyeball them if not wearing bulky clothes, passive millimeter wave if you must. that is sufficient. they don't need to be strip searched or have their body caressed.

    nobody else in the world does what you folks do here. NOBODY.
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  18. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Then why are pilots and other flight crew exempt from some screening methods? Why are airport workers, and TSA employees exempt from 100% screening.

    The list could go on but TSA has already made exemptions to the screening requirements so your argument in this case is very weak.
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  19. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Nowhere did I call for the complete removal of anyone from the screening process, so please don't try to say I did.

    There are other ways to screen people other than sexually assaulting them like TSA seems to favor.

    WTMD and ETD for children would eliminate most threats. If there are issues with that then we take a different tack.
    Lisa Simeone, DeafBlonde and barbell like this.
  20. AngryMiller

    AngryMiller Original Member

    Other countries manage to do screening without the draconian measures chosen by TSA. Why can't the US do it better? Suspect this is a management issue dating back to when TSA first came on line and was neglected from day one.
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