It's The TSA, Not CSI: Actions Limited To Security, Not Crime Investigation

from the about-time dept

I'm actually writing this post just minutes after passing through TSA security at JFK, where I was stopped to investigate the fact that I have a candle (a gift) in my carry-on luggage. I'm not sure if this sort of thing makes us any safer (I have my doubts about this kind of "security theater"), but the overall experience was fine and the TSA folks were perfectly nice and professional and let me go on my way (yes, with the candle) in less than a minute. However, apparently some TSA agents have decided that they should serve a purpose well beyond their assigned domain of air travel security. They've been investigating other crimes as well, sometimes going on pure fishing expeditions if they think something looks suspicious, even if it has nothing to do with air travel safety. For example, people have been detained for traveling with large quantities of cash. However, after being sued multiple times, the TSA recently agreed to change its rules to limit its agents actions, so that they are no longer allowed to investigate random crimes and are officially limited to just focusing on air travel security.


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  1.  
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    BearGriz72 (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Getting There

    Now if we could get the "I can take you notebook for as long as I want" out of Notebook Searches at the Border

     

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  2.  
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    lavi d (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Slack

    ...officially limited to just focusing on air travel security.

    C'mon Mike. It must get boring confiscating nail clippers and strip-searching toddlers.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous1, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:03pm

    strip-searching toddlers.

    Exagerate much? I know it's TSA but you're a moron of the first rate. Just thought I'd share...

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:13pm

    Re:

    I would not doubt it, why do you?
    Seriously, why do you think this is out of the range of possible?

     

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  5.  
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    Murdock, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:16pm

    This XKCD comic about covers it

    http://xkcd.com/651/ Laptop batteries are far worse than any number of things they don't allow.

     

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  6.  
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    lavi d (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Anonny1

    Exagerate much?

    I'll bet your friends think you're a lot of fun.

    Oh, wait.

     

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  7.  
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    vyvyan, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 4:41pm

    Re: This XKCD comic about covers it

    They won't read xkcd, it's a webcomic of "romance, sarcasm, math, and language" and security guys aren't good at any of these.

     

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  8.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    Refuse To Be Terrorized

     

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  9.  
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    bob, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:00pm

    re: tsa

    this is old news. covered over two months ago. meh.

     

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  10.  
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    Clippy, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Getting There

    Looks like you're searching for a new notebook. Can I help? Try the new BingĀ® Search from Microsoft. Bing: The world's first Decision Engine, only from Microsoft.

     

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  11.  
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    Bradley Stewart, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:34pm

    I'm Old Enough To Remember

    when Someone every other week was hijacking a plane to Cuba. The issue was brought up then. Let's harden the cockpits. Oh No said the Commercial Airlines. It's just to expensive! Our Legislators said OK. Anything you want. Well not so fast forward to today. Don't forget to frisk that two year old child and ninety year old grandmother.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    Re:

    As a frequent traveler, I've seen it with my own eyes. 'Strip search' is a bit of a stretch, but YES moron, the TSA agents are fixated on separating infants from their carriers, looking inside diaper bags and they pat-down search or wand babies and toddlers. What really gets me pissed off is seeing women travelers alone with one or more babies, and there's nobody to help them through the security checkpoint. Infant carriers are examined carefully and the baby cannot stay in the carrier. So a woman with a baby traveling alone has to manage that squirming baby while he's out of the carrier, while she keeps an eye on her own luggage, the diaper bag and her purse as these things go through the x-ray machine, and often she has another child with her, usually a toddler. Yes, the TSA is on the job, keeping America safe from all those baby terrorists.



    I'm actually in the profile of someone who should be searched or further questioned - I'm a woman under 30, traveling alone with laptop computers and other less recognizable computer and electronics items in my carry-on luggage. Never happens. Yet old people who have walkers and can barely stand up have their canes and walkers examined and scrutinized with great care, because you know, granny might be a terrorist. I've seen this happen over and over and over again, not just once.

     

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  13.  
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    Andrew (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 6:01pm

    Passports

    Something similar happened to my girlfriend and I. We were bringing her father's coin collection down to him in St. Maarten and they had to check it because it was a large hunk of metal which is fine but I had our passports in my bag and my girlfriend has dual citizenship, Dutch and American, and she uses her Dutch passport when travelling into St. Maarten because she gets through quicker and then American to get back. The agents almost detained us because they had never heard of dual citizenship. The agent checking the bag had to ask her superior if it was allowed and he replied "In her country". It's too much to expect airport employees to know laws relevant to travel.

     

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  14.  
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    Alan Gerow (profile), Nov 18th, 2009 @ 10:11pm

    Re: Passports

    Technically, the U.S. doesn't recognize dual citizenship after the age of 18. At 18, a choice is supposed to be made. Other countries don't have this restriction. So, she can tell the Americans she chooses her American citizenship, and then tell the Dutch she wants both. From the U.S. perspective she is a U.S. citizen, from the Dutch perspective she is a dual citizen.

    At least that's how it was explained to me in government schools. And I've learned over the years that not very much of what I was told there has actually turned out to be true.

     

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  15.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Passports

    Actually, there is nothing in US law against having more than 1 citizenship (you can have as many as you want). The problem is that TSA people freak out when they see that you have more than one passport, because they fear what they don't know. More likely to try to burn your passports and club you in the head than to actually figure it out. There have been many cases where a person with another additional citizenship was detained, interrogated, and in general annoyed like hell, only for a higher-level official of migrations to explain to his subordinates that there's nothing wrong or "treacherous" about it.

     

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  16.  
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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Passports

    Sorry, mistranslation. "Treasonous" was probably the more literal term.

     

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  17.  
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    ex-TSA, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 1:48am

    I got a job at TSA to see what makes them so bad because they annoy the hell out of me and as a programmer I have the time to do stuff like that. Basically, it's a crappy job with a high rate of on the job injury that isn't paid for because it's a federal job. The turnover rate is amazing and when a job has a huge turnover rate it attracts the low end of the food chain. Most are ex-military wishing they were police and a higher than average amount of mouth breathers. A lot like working at Walmart I imagine. I worked there a few months, while working my real job, and eventually got bored and quit. Slack-jawed yocals.

     

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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 3:10am

    Then you're a stupid terrorist and the government will catch you

    Exagerate much?

    Hey moron, stop sharing and read this: The Things He Carried

     

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  19.  
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    Dementia (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Passports

    No, you were right the first time, treacherous fits just fine.

     

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  20.  
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    Dementia (profile), Nov 19th, 2009 @ 5:21am

    Re:

    Thanks, I appreciate being termed a slack jawed yocal just because I'm ex-military. Perhaps rather than criticize vets you should just quietly say thank you for my freedoms and go your way without antagonizing people for no reason.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re:

    Thanks, I appreciate being termed a slack jawed yocal just because I'm ex-military.

    You weren't, unless you also happen to work for the TSA.

    Perhaps rather than criticize vets you should just quietly say thank you for my freedoms and go your way without antagonizing people for no reason.

    Which attacking country did you fight off?

     

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  22.  
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    robster, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    TSA

    I have to admit that we've (2 adults, 2 kids under 6) done a lot of traveling in the past 2 years and the TSA EEs have always been pretty nice. Here in San Antonio, there's even a separate room/line that we can go through if we have a stroller etc.. so we aren't holding up the other travelers.

    This last trip, I had a lot of electronics in my backpack so they had to remove a few to make sure there was nothing going on - they didn't but them back in the backpack, though.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous1, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 9:27am

    Then you're a stupid terrorist and the government will catch you
    by techflaws.org (profile)
    Exagerate much?

    Hey moron, stop sharing and read this: The Things He Carried



    YOU SIR ARE THE FUCKING MORON. That article is about supposedly how all security is security theater because of some independent investigation. I was refering to the guy claiming (oh that's right it's a "funny joke" to talk about strip searching toddlers in order to create a straw man attack right?) they were abusing children. That is a blantent lie, and a major exaggeration, in order to go after the TSA. The TSA and the system have flaws, but X-ray machines and metal detectors are not "security theater", regardless of the historical lapses on 9/11 and other times.
    Please STFU AND MIND YOUR OWN BUISNESS AND GET A CLUE.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2009 @ 4:48pm

    Yeah, cause we wouldn't want federal security people to worry about crime, would we?

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2009 @ 2:21pm

    Re:

    Yeah, cause we wouldn't want federal security people to worry about crime, would we?

    We only want the proper federal law enforcement agents acting as criminal investigators, not every wannabe on the federal payroll.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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