TSA Can Grope Dying Old Ladies; But Can't Catch Guy Boarding Flight Illegally?

from the security-theater dept

Apparently the TSA's Security Theater is a comedy. Pjerky was the first of a whole bunch of you to alert us last week about the TSA's massive failure to catch a Nigerian man who boarded a flight without a valid boarding pass. The man successfully flew from New York to Los Angeles. Apparently, the flight crew discovered they had a stowaway after people complained about the man's smell (even though he was seated in a seat). I'm not quite sure how complaining about someone's smell leads to them being found out as a stowaway, but what I do know is that the guy was not arrested when the flight landed. Instead, he was taken into custody a few days later when he tried to do it again by getting on a Delta flight from LA to Atlanta without a boarding pass. This time, the FBI took him in, but later released him. Meanwhile, the TSA was busy groping 95-year-old cancer patients.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Hulser (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    SOP

    the TSA's massive failure to catch a Nigerian man who boarded a flight without a valid boarding pass

    They were just following standard operating procedures, so it's OK.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Sadly, that really isn't the TSA's job. The incorrect boarding pass should have been picked up at the gate by the airline. Clearly if the document was good enough to fool the airline and all it's computers, it would be enough to pass a quick visual check at the security check point.

    On the plus side, you know the guy wasn't armed and didn't have too many bottles of water on him when he got on board.

    The story is a nice attempt to slam the TSA, but really it should be aimed at the airline.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Cause doing their job is harder than pretending to do their job when the boss is around

     

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  4.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    From the CNN story:

    "failures of this kind should be a thing of the distant past."

    Not when humans are involved.

    "any disciplinary action being taken against the travel document checker"

    Yes blame the travel document checker. I'm not supporting the TSA, but it could have been an honest mistake by the checker. You see so many passes that sometimes what you think is an 8 is a 9 or a 3. And since there is no standard date format in North America (I've printed off a travel reservation with the date in three different formats), the travel date can easily be misread.

    But hey TSA, keep up with the security theatre. It doesn't make us any safer but is sure is entertaining.

     

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  5.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

    Re:

    Clearly if the document was good enough to fool the airline and all it's computers...

    It was a discarded boarding pass. People see what they expect to see.

    Meanwhile, Hot Cancer Patients want to meet you!

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:47pm

    Re:

    This is the only article you've read on the subject huh, the boardin pass in question was for a different flight the day before, the man using it had stolen over 150 passes by pickpocketing people in the airport. It was not as you would like to believe some super forgery, it was in fact a just negligence.

    now explain to the thread why you hate Mike so much as to try(not succeed) in undermining his story?

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:50pm

    I don't know about the people saying the security theater is "entertaining". I know I don't like being violated by the TSA thugs, and I don't find it "entertaining" when they abuse other travelers either.

    Great Forbes article:
    Time to Close the Security Theater
    http://blogs.forbes.com/artcarden/2011/06/30/time-to-close-the-security-theater/

    "The problem isnít that the TSA is harassing the wrong people. The problem is that the TSA is harassing anyone."

     

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  8.  
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    DevConcepts (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Re:

    I think it is as the first stop in the "Theater" is a TSA agent checking you ID and name on boarding pass.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re:

    The point is the board pass wasn't valid, the guy should not have been able to get on the plane. He would have been in there gate area, *security checked*, without issue. The issue of getting on the plane is 100% on the airline, not the TSA.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re:

    All they check for generally is the flight number and gate. Beyond that, they are not name matching the board pass to the person, they are by sight matching the person to the ID.

    It must have been a good boarding pass, the airline computer said it was okay and let him on the plane.

     

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  11.  
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    AdamR (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    Sadly, you a moron.

    TSA suppose to check that you have a valid id and boarding before you get anywhere near the gate. JFK airport in NYC i had to 3 different TSA stations to check my id and boarding pass. Only people with valid boarding passes suppose to go thru the last checkpoint before you can get to the gate.

     

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  12.  
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    Vincent Clement (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    Sadly, it is the job of the TSA to not let people into the 'secure area' without proper documentation.

    The document would fool "the airline and it's computers" only after the person with the document made it through the TSA checkpoint.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    IT WAS A STOLEN BOARDING PASS FROM THE DAY BEFORE FOR A DIFFERNT FLIGHT
    10/10 WOULD RAGE AGAIN

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    That might make sense if he got past the TSA with a valid ticket and then used a stolen ticket to fly somewhere else.

     

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  15.  
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    Hulser (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:05pm

    Re:

    Yes blame the travel document checker. I'm not supporting the TSA, but it could have been an honest mistake by the checker.

    I read that as more of a failure of the system, not of a particular "travel document checker". That's the whole point of security theatre: that it's easier to focus on the showy, but less-effectual security measures than to change things that are a bit harder, but would actually increase security.

    For example, wouldn't it make sense to push for a standard boarding pass format, perhaps using low-tech approaches like a standard date format or color coding? (If the local sandwich shop can change the color of their flyers every month, why can't the airline industry/TSA/gov't change the color of their boarding passes every day?) Or, oh I don't know, use some more modern technology than a printed piece of paper? Or change the layout of airports so that you check-in and go through security at the same time?

    Yes, these measures are expensive, which is precisely the reason that it's easier to put on a show of security rather than actually making things more secure.

     

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  16.  
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    AdamR (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "All they check for generally is the flight number and gate. Beyond that, they are not name matching the board pass to the person, they are by sight matching the person to the ID.

    It must have been a good boarding pass, the airline computer said it was okay and let him on the plane."

    Just admit TSA failed and failed badly yet again. I guess its to much from the to read a couple big numbers and some letters! BTW i talking about looking at the the dam date and time! What the hell does the flight number and gate have to do with anything, what is that going to tell them.. Nothing is what.

     

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  17.  
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    molecule (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    checked baggage

    While they were unable to prevent him from boarding w/ a fraudulent boarding pass, TSA was able to confirm that this guy has an enormous pair of balls.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The TSA failed to notice something that the airline's own computer system failed to notice as well. If it can fool the airline and their mega bucks computer system, no doubt it can fool an TSA agent checking 1000 boarding passes an hour by eye.

     

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  19.  
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    Hothmonster, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I agree its the airlines fault he got on the plane but isn't TSA only suppose to let you through security with a valid boarding pass?

     

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  20.  
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    Dan0, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:16pm

    Re:

    In fact it is the TSA's job since they screen all pasengers boarding passes before hand. The TSA is part of DHS so it is ultimately their failing. TSA is a joke.

    And if I follow your logic, The airline is no better at their own security. Had they scanned in a ticket regardless of what they scanned, it should have showed up on the manifest with a name. Unfortunately not enough details...Could he have gone on with the baggage and went up the elevator???

     

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  21.  
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    Hothmonster, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So if the agent is more useless than a computer system that we have to use anyway why do we need the agent again?

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The issue of getting on the plane is 100% on the airline, not the TSA.

    how can you even write that without esploding from hypocrisy?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ummm the agent checks the pass in front of the screening area, and compared the id to the person presenting it. The computer actually checks the boarding pass when the passenger tries to get on the plane. It should have been rejected (as it was out of date), and the computer should know that. If the boarding pass was good enough to fool airline employees and their computer system, why do we expect better from a TSA agent?

    There is plenty of blame to go around, but the fact that the guy made it onto the plane clearly indicates that many people (and at least one computer system) was fooled. Pinning it all on the TSA is just petty and spiteful.

     

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  24.  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:30pm

    The guy is Nigerian. He probably promised them a huge windfall if they gave him a hundred in cash and let him go.

     

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  25.  
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    Prisoner 201, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Obviously the current TSA security measures are not enough.

    We need more security!

    All airport visitors (regardless of age) should be forced to wear a collar containing a radio interface, GPS tracker, microphone, camera and cyanide injector.

    That way if anyone does or says something "rogue", the solution is only a button press away.

    Then we would not see this situation repeated. Or at least not spoken of.

    Any objections to this suggestion can come only for the people who want terrorists to succeed and/or are child molestors.

     

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

  26.  
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    Cloksin (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Thorough physical screening

    From the CNN article:

    Transportation Security Administration spokesman Greg Soule issued a statement saying, "Every passenger that passes through security checkpoints is subject to many layers of security including thorough physical screening at the checkpoint. TSA's review of this matter indicates that the passenger went through screening. It is important to note that this passenger was subject to the same physical screening at the checkpoint as other passengers."


    Well isn't that what the TSA is good at? Physically groping (oops, I mean screening) everyone who comes through the checkpoints, but not checking whether he is supposed to be there in the first place. Of course he was "subject to the same physical screening at the checkpoint as other passengers", that's all the TSA really cares about, the physical part, where they get to put their grimey hands all over everone!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 1:51pm

    Re:

    The airline muffed it, yes, but TSA muffed it first, as this guy had to pass through a TSA screening point prior to entering the terminal. At the screening point, his boarding pass should have been checked against his ID to ensure that they matched.

    TSA screwed the pooch here, then the airline got sloppy seconds. Both, it would appear, are dog-rapists.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Huh?

    Are you kidding? To even get to the gate, you are required to have a VALID boarding pass and identification that matches you and the boarding pass.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:05pm

    I AM SHOCKED AND AMAZED AT THIS FAILURE THIS WILLNOT STAND. YOU WILL PLEASE SEND 11 MILLION US DOLLAR AS APOLOGY FOR THIS BREACH.

    -- Hon Geoffrey Teneilabe
    Nigearian Conul-General, Atlanta, Georgia

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    DCL, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds like you are trying to indicate the TSA is all for show since the agents aren't checking for valid passes and not cross referencing the ticket name with the photo ID.

    If it was the case were the ID was forged to match boarding pass that didn't already have marks on it then I would be less worried, but just a discarded pass and a non-matching photo id? That is just crazy (I am going to and draw a that says shirt "TSA not up to task... CRAZY!!!)

    When I think "controlled area" (which is TSA's name for it) I think it is a zone with no contraband and no unauthorized persons.

    If I get by with an extra 5 ounces of liquid they chase me down and close the airport till I am found... somebody gets stowsaway on a cross country flight and he doesn't get picked up for a few days.

    I accidently (I was sleep ok) got o

     

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  31.  
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    abc gum, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re:

    "Meanwhile, Hot Cancer Patients want to meet you!"

    omg - lol

     

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  32.  
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    DCL, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    DOH! hit the button too fast...

    I accidentally tried to get on an incorrect flight recently (I was sleepy ok?) and got a beep from the machine and it was after a full minute of the attendant searching various way the that it was determined I was wrong by two gates and 5 min.

    But I have also seen attendants get behind in their boarding pass swiping and let people on board... Bad attendants!

    Either way there shouldn't be anybody in the controlled area that has miss-represented themselves.. that is a huge security risk an check point fail.

     

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  33.  
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    abc gum, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Huh?

    Wait a minute ... facts getting in the way of paid for propaganda ???

     

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  34.  
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    abc gum, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your apologetic nature is duly noted, however - the excuses hold no water.

     

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  35.  
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    jackwagon (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 2:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "All they check for generally is the flight number and gate. Beyond that, they are not name matching the board pass to the person, they are by sight matching the person to the ID."

    Completely untrue. I was drunk when I booked a flight and I used my nickname rather than the name on my drivers license. (Jake vs James) American Airlines didn't catch it at the counter and gave me the boarding pass. TSA wouldn't let me through security, even though I showed both where I had the credit card that purchased the flight. $150 name change to American Airlines and TSA let me fly.

     

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  36.  
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    Bort Sarsgaard, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    Theatrical fail

    For on international flight, immediately before boarding, I remember having one attendant looking at everyone's passports to see that they were in order, and a different attendant checking the validity of the boarding pass. They weren't talking to each other, so no guarantee the two names matched, and thus no guarantee as to the actual identity of the boarding individual. Had to give up my shampoo, tho.

     

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  37.  
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    Old Fool (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 3:41pm

    Re:

    The guy obviously intended to use body odour to subdue the flight crew, did the TSA pick up on this? NO!

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    I have always said you can drive a mack truck thru TSA and they will miss it. Could it be that they have their heads in that dark place.

     

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  39.  
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    DAK, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Re:

    TSA should not have let him through security without a valid boarding pass. It is TSA's fault as well.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re:

    It can be done for bread, even. Those twist ties/plastic...things that hold the bread bag shut? The color of it tells you on which day of the week the bread was baked.

    Saw it on TV, it must be true...right? 8/

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 4:37pm

    Re:

    heh.

    Actually, I'm very curious as to *why* this guy was travelling around on day-old boarding passes. Bad enough he didn't get caught fast enough, but what was the reason in the first place?

    *goes googling*

     

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  42.  
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    Nick (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 6:22pm

    God help us

    If the terrorist learn this secret technique of picking things out of the trash can, then we will be in major trouble!

    Quick! give all the children colonoscopies!

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 5th, 2011 @ 10:33pm

    Why he's not caught?

    > I'm not quite sure how complaining about someone's smell leads to them being found out as a stowaway,...

    I read from the news that the flight attendents searched the passenger list for has name in order to properly address him, but found that seat should be empty.

     

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  44.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 10:53pm

    Airline revenue protection, yes, security, no

    Somewhere along the way, people have forgotten that the real purpose of checking the ID's and boarding passes of airline passengers is revenue protection -- preventing non-
    refundable tickets from being used by others. That sounded a bit greedy so the airlines started calling it "security". Now we have a Federal bureaucracy that devotes much of its manpower to doing the airlines' revenue protection work for them.

    As long as passengers are screened for weapons and explosives, cockpit doors are secured and many pilots are armed, this is not a security issue. The crime at hand here is a simple theft of services, not very well executed by the perpetrator.

    Mike, Executive Director
    Travel Underground
    http://www.travelunderground.org

     

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  45.  
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    The eejit (profile), Jul 5th, 2011 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dude, you obviously have something missing, as you keep repeating the same thing over and over again. Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol Carol

     

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  46.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Jul 6th, 2011 @ 5:12am

    Once again, our heroic and brilliant TSA saves us all! Send them more billions to piss away refining their groping techniques and waxing their carrots.z

     

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  47.  
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    Jim, Jul 6th, 2011 @ 7:31am

    Re: boarding pass

    except that security is supposed to look at the boarding pass twice. Once before you take off your shoes and once before you go thru the metal detector.

     

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  48.  
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    Bonnie, Jul 6th, 2011 @ 7:51am

    TSA

    The TSA is just as much to blame as the airline. They are suppose to check out the boarding pass prior to searching you. So yes it was a big error on the part of the TSA. Yet again, they botch the job. They have misplaced priorities.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 6th, 2011 @ 7:57pm

    Re:

    @ vincent clement: Yeah, sure, but what about the name? The old boarding pass was not the traveler's, so the checker missed the glaring fact that the ID and the pass carried different names.

     

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

  50.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jul 8th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    "The story is a nice attempt to slam the TSA, but really it should be aimed at the airline."

    Ahhh...did you read the part about how the Noibi did not have any ID that matched the name on the boarding pass?

    But, it is ridiculously easy to fake a boarding pass. Just print one at home, edit the HTML, and make whatever you want. I've heard of a guy who does this just as a convenience so that he can escort his wife and kids to the gate when he sends them off on a trip.

    So, in reality, the "secure area" may be almost entirely supposed passengers who have been "screened", but it is not entirely people who have a legit ticket under a real name. So why the farce that it is? Security theater, once again.

     

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


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