What If The Worst Happened

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

  1. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    Please don't use the euphemism "screening" when you mean the WBI that is doing a strip search. We know you don't mean WTMD. We have no problem with those, and the old style frisk (that was only a patdown, not the current rub-over) that used to be done if the problem couldn't be resolved by further emptying of pockets on children. The body caressing that is being done on these kids is simply inexcusable. A cursory frisk is sufficient for them, given the very small risk they represent.

    No one here is calling for no "screening" of children or old people. If there is concern for non metallic WEI, then the passive millimeter wave technology is sufficient, as it doesn't render the passengers nude. (Again, all that kind of "anomaly" spotting tech suffers from the same problem: commonly used items such as implants, feminine hygiene, etc---a policy change here is required also)
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  2. nachtnebel

    nachtnebel Original Member

    If by patdown you mean the old frisk, such as you might get at your local courthouse when the WTMD isn't working, then I agree. The current butt massage and groin check is a non starter as a primary screen.
    Currently ETD swab tests yield so many false results (100% false so far) that it should not be used as it currently is, to justify a genital massage.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  3. RB

    RB Founding Member

    Let me restate. ETD + WTMD for initial screening.

    If a person wants WBI or Pat Down as initial screening then I say let them but this would be the choice of the traveler not TSA.

    If a more in depth screening is called for then only those steps as needed in an increasing level of invasiveness.

    I think TSA should have to document why and request permission from a TSM or higher for any full body pat down that is not self selected.

    I would like to see a non-TSA employee at each TSA checkpoint who's only job was to be an advocate for the traveler. Seems since we are airport/airline customers that they should fill these positions.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  4. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    For the ETD they need to clean up their act to eliminate false positives: Clean gloves & clean swabs for every passenger.

    Both (esp. the clean gloves) are needed for hygiene as well -- TSA is a public health disaster waiting to happen.
    Lisa Simeone, Rugape and barbell like this.
  5. RB

    RB Founding Member

    I don't disagree. Seems TSA would want to limit false positives as it would lessen the work load.

    More forward thinking from the TSA brain trust.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  6. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    Excellent point! Their existing protocol only helps to inflate their need for more staff to join the thousands already standing around.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  7. RadioGirl

    RadioGirl Original Member

    I doubt it.

    Once you've written "We have reviewed the situation and confirm that our officers followed the correct procedures. We treat all passengers with respect and consideration. Your security is our highest priority. We have always been at war with Eastasia." you can just copy and paste that as needed.

    :td: <- RG after pretending to be Sari Koshetz or Nico or BB.
    Lisa Simeone and DeafBlonde like this.
  8. LeapingFrogs

    LeapingFrogs Original Member

    You make some good points and offer some interesting insight, but I've quoted this piece which I know is true. He's in a no-win situation with no way to move forward.

    When you arrive at that point in any project it's time to abandon ship. It's irrevocably broken and you have to go back to the previous version or point where it did kind of work and start again. And, you have to do that swifty and decisively in order to be effective.

    We have had 8 months of security theater in which the TSA thought they were making an improvement when in fact they were breaking the system beyond repair. Time for a return to the point in time (roughly Sept 30th 2010) where it worked, albeit slow and annoying, it WORKED. Now is the time for that reset.

    I wish someone would explain that to Pistole.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  9. barbell

    barbell Coach Coach

    I realize there is a much larger, and much different conversation going on here. This point, however, is one I want to pay particular attention to as we continue the discussion. I also believe it is the underlying problem in much of what we see with TSA and its development and implementation of policy.

    In the corporate world, when one has the opportunity to sit in a headquarters location, interacting regularly with lower, middle, and higher levels of management, one begins to understand several layers of office politics that exist as a microcosm inherent to any organization. That the word "politics" is specifically used in this nomenclature is telling to the indelible link between the corporate and public office worlds in this regard.

    In most any corporate organization, when one sings the praises of another to an outside audience, particularly when said outside audience is the current party to the organization to which the praisee belongs, the praise is immediately suspect. There are 2 reasons, and 2 reasons only, why one would speak highly of an individual in an organizational setting.
    1. They agree with the individual's belief system
    2. They want the individual out of their organization
    First, and foremost, in any situation with other individuals in these situations is self preservation. It is not normal for one to speak highly of another in an organizational setting unless you want that person noticed.

    As an example, we had interviewed an individual for an open position in our organization. He had previously worked for the company in a different capacity, and said that he wanted to come back. Fair enough. However, there were several unexplained holes and other oddities in his resume. I told my manager, who would make the ultimate hiring decision, that my gut didn't sit right with this candidate. She liked him. She hired him anyway.

    Once offered the position, several odd things continued to occur in his job performance that just didn't match what he claimed he was capable of doing. It also called into question several of his motives and previous accounts. Through my own internal contacts I was able to make contact with his previous supervisor when he last worked for the company. Apparently he was given the opportunity to resign because he was consulting with a competitor, giving them internal processes and procedures to their advantage over us. Due to a merger, some personnel records weren't all in order, and somehow this information didn't make it to our department during the vetting and hiring process.

    It was clear that this individual had to get out of our department, and in the worse way. It was also obvious that our manager was not going to undertake the steps necessary to rid the company of this infestation.

    So we made him someone else's problem.

    We found a higher paying position for which he would be qualified, out of our organization so that we didn't have to work with him, and not in the previous organization because they knew his history. We lobbied him to apply for the position, after all who wouldn't want a promotion.

    We also went on the full court offensive to ensure he got the job. We each networked with the members of the other department, taking them for drinks, offering praise and glowing adulation of this individual, letting them know what an asset he had been to the company, and what a great addition he'd be to their team. When asked why we were working so hard to help him out, the answer was always the same, "He's such a stand up guy, we don't want to lose him. Our department is downsizing, and since he's the newest guy, he'll be the one cut. We just don't want him out of a job, or the company to lose such an asset."

    He was hired for the promotion, and more importantly out of our hair. His new manager took exactly 2 months to figure out his shenanigans, and he had no problem making the case against him. He was gone from the company exactly 3 months after our coup.

    The point here is that Pistole's former colleagues at FBI are singing his praises most likely because he's either incompetent, stupid, or immoral and they want him out of their organization. He's made no secret of his desire to return to FBI, and I imagine they don't want him back.

    Based on what I've seen of his policies, he's all 3.
    Rugape likes this.
  10. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I agree 100% that we are our own worst enemy. I too agree with progressive screening, and the ETD/WTMD for all passengers (althought that may be a tough sell because it will increase the wait times or staffing requirements - or both). I disagree with giving any subset of the traveling public a pass on resolutions and such because it would simply be too easy to exploit by bad guys.
  11. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I am uncertain as to whether I can put a time limit on something like that - some of the policies have begun to move forward, just not at the speed with which I would like, or with the results I would like to see at this point. Does that mean I don't think the policies will work or make positive changes, of course not. Does that mean I will change my position next week - of course not. I will continue to do what I always do, work and try to make a difference where I am, and lobby for what I see as positive moves.
  12. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    100% security is just not possible, however aspiring to do the most you can to protect people is not a bad thing. The question lies in what is constitutional and what is not, and currently the prevailing opinion (at HQ) is this screening is constitiutional. That is subject to change based on the emplooyees at the top of the ladder, and outside of the organization that can dictate changes to us. Policy is like shooting craps with cheap dice, you are going to make 20% of the traveling public happy on your best day, so sometimes the changes are really slow to come. The biggest questions about constitutionality are as yet unanswered by the judicial branch - that is when we will get some firmed up direction and limitations. (btw, I disagree and think letting any subset go with a lower standard of screening is a bad idea).
  13. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    I use the term screening to cover all forms of ... well, screening.
  14. DeafBlonde

    DeafBlonde Original Member

    What kind of alarms are you talking about here? Is it because the WBI (AIT :rolleyes:) was "fuzzy"? Did the WTMD beep? Was the ETD swab on the poopy diaper positive (because of the nitrogen content of urine or feces? The extent of the invasiveness of the search should be determined by the type of alarm and location of the alarm. Why pat down infants that were waiting in the security que with their parent(s) for an hour and subsequently soiled/wet their diapers?
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  15. RB

    RB Founding Member

    NO, the answer is not doing all that is possible.

    It is doing the amount of Security that is Reasonable!!

    That's it, no more.

    Is there a chance of something getting through? Of course, but that is the risk a free country must take to stay free.
    Lisa Simeone and DeafBlonde like this.
  16. CelticWhisper

    CelticWhisper Founding Member


    Perfect security is impossible. Doing "all that is possible" is, 99.9% of the time, completely impractical for any number of reasons such as time or money requirements. If you consider the mentality of TSA in screening for threats, "all that is possible" would be trying to address every potential threat that each and every last TSA employee could conceive of. "If you can think of it, we have to guard against it." That's one checklist I DON'T want to see.

    Security is about a balance. Mitigate the critical risks (done - cockpit doors are locked and pax will beat hijackers within an inch of their lives) and then move on to smaller ones as time, money and staffing permit.

    Always remember that security is a means to an end and not an end in and of itself. It must coexist with other imperatives (in this case, the Constitutional rights of the people) and serve a specific purpose. "Stop threats to aviation." Okay, what threats? Why? How? "Explosives, so planes don't blow up, and by checking for traces of known explosive compounds through the use of cotton swabs or ETD portals." Okay, does this run afoul of the rights of the people? "No, because ETD portals are not dangerous, do not constitute unlawful detainment and do not take any action that is considered unreasonable search." What about knives? Someone, somewhere should respond with "Pointless - won't get through a cockpit door and the passengers would never stand for it again. Next?"

    On and on it goes, there are plenty of variants for plenty of different scenarios but my point is that this is a conversation that is not likely happening enough, if at all, at TSA headquarters. We're more likely to see the following:

    "What do we need to check for?"
    "How about guns?"
    "Got metal detectors."
    "What about porcelain guns?"
    "Good point, what do we have that detects them."
    "We could buy x-ray machines and make the passengers go through them."
    "How much?"
    "200 grand a pop."
    "GODDAMN BOY, that's expensive!"
    "Mikey Chertoff knows a company that makes them."
    "Well why didn't you say so? Let's get a few and see how we like 'em!"

    Brainstorming to pie-in-the-sky ideas to backroom deals, no consideration of the rights of the people, minimal consideration of practicality or realism. "Ooh, shiny authority-enhancing technology that impresses lobbyists!" And suddenly more of our tax dollars get flushed and all we get for it is irradiation and molestation.
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  17. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    What will happen? The abuse will get ratcheted up. They're close to cavity searches as it is (and Customs has had the power to do that for many years -- back when I still flew, I was always keenly aware that you lose all rights when you re-enter the country; I always said "Yes, Sir" and "No, Sir" to those guys). Quoting from the EPIC case, still making its way through the courts (sorry if the HTML and text come out wacky):

    From the Washington Post, re the EPIC lawsuit that began today (March 10):
    Tatel and Judge Karen Henderson questioned whether the TSA would be within its authority to determine one day that the security threat required that all passengers be strip searched. Brinkmann said TSA could make such a determination without public input, as it did with the body scanners. But she said both are subject to the court's review, and in the case of the strip search, "I think you'd have an overwhelming Fourth Amendment claim."
    Rugape likes this.
  18. Mike

    Mike Founding Member Coach

    I believe customs has to have probably cause for that type of invasive search. They can't just decide to do it.

    If/when cavity searches come to TSA, they will undoubtedly exempt themselves from such formalities in the name of "national security".
  19. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    The ETDs are not 100% false, they hit on substances that are in explosives. We have guys that do demolition come through from time to time, and they tell us on the way in they will alarm when they come through, and sure enough, they do, and they recieve additional screening per the SOP. Just because you don't have explosive items on you, does not mean that you do not have elements that make up explosives on you. The testing capabilities are not to the level of "This is certainly a bomb/this is most certainly NOT a bomb" unless we use mass specs and other lab machinery. The ETDs do what they are designed to, alarm when they have a certain amount of an element that makes up an explosive.
  20. Rugape

    Rugape Original Member

    We have begun to do that, at least here we do. Anytime a passengers hands are swabbed, that swab is tossed after it is tested. Same with the gloves. I can't say it is 100% of the time on the gloves, but we do a poop-ton better than we did when I first came here.

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