TSA Says 'You Might Be A Terrorist If… You Complain About The TSA'

from the seriously-guys? dept

Ah, the TSA. Apparently among the “behavioral factors” that the TSA uses in determining who might be a criminal or a terrorist is… if you complain about the TSA. I guess that means I’m in line for some extra scrutiny. Honestly, though, this sounds a lot more like punitive action against people who complain, rather than a legitimate characteristic of someone who deserves extra scrutiny. Specifically, one of the factors is if someone is:

“Very arrogant and expresses contempt against airport passenger procedures.”

An ACLU person quoted in the article wonders if this violates the First Amendment, in that it’s going after someone for expressing their opinion:

“Expressing your contempt about airport procedures — that’s a First Amendment-protected right,” said Michael German, a former FBI agent who now works as legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. “We all have the right to express our views, and particularly in a situation where the government is demanding the ability to search you.”

“It’s circular reasoning where, you know, I’m going to ask someone to surrender their rights; if they refuse, that’s evidence that I need to take their rights away from them. And it’s simply inappropriate,” he said.

Honestly, you’d have to think that a real terrorist or criminal, hoping to avoid calling attention to themselves, wouldn’t be openly hostile to the search procedure, but would try to be quiet and blend in. Perhaps the TSA will defend this latest ridiculousness by saying it’s all okay because it’s standard operating procedure.

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Comments on “TSA Says 'You Might Be A Terrorist If… You Complain About The TSA'”

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MrWilson says:

TSA strategy is simple. Make air travel as unbearable as possible for as many people as possible so fewer will fly. Thus, the thinking goes, the terrorists will realize that they can’t get as high a terrifying bodycount and will move on to targeting something else. Of course the airlines already tried this strategy for years, but it doesn’t seem to dissuade passengers from flying.

Scan em naked, grope em, take their bottled water, grope their kids, feed em plastic food, charge for peanuts, steal their luggage, skullfuck their personal dignity, expose their prosthetics, break their colostomy bags, throw away their shampoo bottles… American air travelers are nothing if not masochists.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

The spouse and I are empty nesters, cash on hand to do some travelling if we wanted. We could fly around the US or to another country, been saving our pennies for a nice vacation this year.

We decided to just rent a house in Jersey on the beach, an hour away by car, since I won’t even consider the possibility of going through this TSA crap.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

We are also empty nesters. We plan to never fly anywhere for the rest of our lives. We’ve been there, done that enough, and to have to submit to the TSA Gestapo every time is so grossly insulting to human dignity that we will not participate. The genetically deranged subhumans who run the TSA should themselves be imprisoned for their crimes, but since we now live in a pretty close to fascist state, that will never happen.

Screw the airlines, and the TSA. I even refuse to fly for business, and have legitimate health reason for it, even though it probably wouldn’t be that big a deal. Nonetheless, why even take the slightest risk of an adverse reaction to it?

If I do go to Europe, the Caribbean, and elsewhere, I will take a boat. Yeah, it takes more time. I have the time. I will gladly waste it whilst enjoying myself. To me, the act of flying is like the act of vomiting. Sometimes you might have no choice, but if you do, you won’t do either.

FormerAC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

If I were a terrorist, I would wait until the next big travel holiday (day before Thanksgiving, Christmas week, spring break, etc) and go to the biggest airport with the longest lines at security. Then I would blow myself up in the middle of the security line. Should be a nice addition to the security theater, don’t ya think?

Chris Rhodes (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I think the government will have a hard time trying to do anything even if it is useful if they continue down that path, they are damaging their public image and probably nobody will trust them to do anything and will move to block anything they try to do.

You assume that public anger or resentment will change anything.

misterdoug (profile) says:

How does the government prioritize problems?

Shouldn’t “Transportation Safety” include not getting creamed on the highway by some drunken asshole? That happens about 20,000 times a year — a 9/11 every two months. For some reason we’ve never had a multi-billion dollar War On Drunken Assholes. Funny thing.

This kind of makes sense though, because drunk driving deaths don’t affect the economy as much as an equivalent number of deaths from (much more spectacular) airplane hijackings. People would be afraid to fly, the air travel industry would collapse, devastating the tourism industry and the businesses that feed off it. The ripple effect would be huge.

It seems plain that the TSA’s primary purpose is to protect the economy, not the public. I’m not saying that’s a bad goal. Let’s just be honest about it. Protecting the economy is a higher priority than protecting the public.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: How does the government prioritize problems?

If the TSA’s goal is to protect the US economy, then the TSA has failed dismally and any US citizen who doesn’t show contempt for them should be ashamed of themselves.

Though I am not surprised that the TSa state that anyone who shows contempt of them is scrutinised more than normal since the USG themselves classify any country/individual/organisation that queries their international (and domestic) practices and hypocritical stance on Human Rights, Freedom of Expression, Right of Quiet Enjoyment, Right of Religious and Sexual freedom, Democratic ability for a country to set their OWN laws that might be restrictive to US interests (oh the horror) as a form of Terrorism.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: How does the government prioritize problems?

Shouldn’t “Transportation Safety” include not getting creamed on the highway by some drunken asshole? That happens about 20,000 times a year — a 9/11 every two months. For some reason we’ve never had a multi-billion dollar War On Drunken Assholes. Funny thing.

Or people who use cellphones while driving, which is even more dangerous. Just shows that it’s really all about politics, not safety.

That Anonymous Coward says:

I read these stories and I find myself terrified to fly ever again.
I am afraid of being felt up, robbed, irradiated, humiliated, “detained without being detained”, showing resentment at being treated poorly will lead to worse treatment, and this is wrong.

In the push to stop the terrorists, they have become just as bad, if not worse, than what they claim to be protecting us from.

They are terrorizing the populace, shouldn’t they be detaining themselves?

FormerAC (profile) says:

Re: Safer?

From TFA …

For every person correctly identified as a “high risk” traveler by (the behavior detection officers), 86 were misidentified

86 to one false positive ratio. Outstanding job officer!!!

Even better, still from TFA …

The Accountability Office said it looked at 23 occasions in which 16 individuals — people later charged with terrorism-related activities — passed through high-threat airports. None is known to have been identified.

SO, 86 false positives for every “high risk” person identified. Yet still not a single terrorist?

So we have naked scanners that can’t find a gun. Behavioral profiling which incorrectly targets 86 people for every one they correctly identify, and 23 known cases of terrorists going through our “security” and not one was identified.

Yeah, safer, that’s the word I’m looking for …

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’ve read on a camera forum that nothing has ever been stolen if the checked luggage that includes a declared firearm. The TSA doesn’t want bad press from anything coming up missing from luggage like that and they mark the luggage clearly as having a firearm inside.

The best bet they say is to pack a starter pistol since they are small and no place in the U.S. includes them in handgun bans, but they still qualify as a firearm by the TSA. You would also need the same kind of (lockable?) handgun case or something, it can’t just be loose in your luggage, and unloaded of course.

Griff (profile) says:

No imagination

The problem here with the TSA appears to be the stable door syndrome. They are trying to prevent 9/11, but locked cockpit doors and everyone knowing that hijackers don’t just want to be taken somewhere will stop that ever happening again.

9/11 succeeded because they were organised, motivated and had the element of surprise. Apart from some idiotic shoe bomber type incidents (ie poorly organised and no real element of surprise), we don’t know of any real attempts at a major attack since 9/11.

If the next event is as completely unexpected as a mode of attack as the last one was, it won’t be prevented by security that works like this.

The reason I worry is because I have no confidence in law enforcement (or Government)’s imagination.

Neil (SM) says:


First of all, the law and courts have made it clear (at least in the non-airport real world) that refusal of a search does not constitute probable cause or grounds for a warrant. Obviously this isn’t about warrants since the TSA doesn’t need those for some reason, but in terms of principles this seems like it should fall along those same lines.

Second of all, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Like you said, a real terrorist would not be going out of his/her way to draw attention to himself and would be trying to get through security checkpoints as quickly and quietly as possible. This is purely either a punitive measure or simply meant as a deterrent for possible complainants. They’re letting the public know to keep your mouth shut and take it…or else.

JeroenW (profile) says:

Reminds me of the DSLR user = terrorist witch hunt

This reminds me of the convoluted reasoning we saw a lot between 2007 and 2010. If you went somewhere crowded to take pictures with a DSLR without a press pass you must be some terrorist coming to scout the site for the next attack. Never mind that any terrorist with enough brains to clean an AK-47 would use a cheap compact or a cellphone.

retired cop says:


I was raised in an airline family. My dad was a pilot and carried a 357 magnum in the cockpit routinely and checked passenger firearms in a locker near the cockpit, until the feds told the airline that was an employee firing offense. Flying was once fun, exciting, and respectable. I once flew on Aeroflot in the USSR in 1968. Cattle car conditions in an old converted Tupelev 104 bomber, but I was allowed my shotgun as a carry-on item.

It has degenerated to the Soviet standards except here just like guun laws, the “easy” ones “we the people” are punished. Flying is like going to jail: the TSA remove your shoes, belt, search you, you are one of many unhappy people in a crowded area, your overseers are rude, intellectually challenged, rules made up to suit the occasion, the food sucks or is non existent, confined with uncertainty of getting out of there. They may be arming each TSA “security officer”. The Federal grant money from Wash. DC corrupts the local police into protecting the fed system & money source. I never have had a beef with the TSA, people, but they are “obeying orders” (the the Nuremburg war crimes defence) coming from the DC Nazis-in-charge. I do not like to fly, esp. on an airline that goes along with such crap and is operated by lawyers and bureaucrats.

Now they are checking trains and highways……just because it’s there……???

soo keong chean says:

Malaysia is a proven terrorism within/born with

14/12/2011 Wednesday
Today I went to Sri Manjung Hospital and an Indian male medical officer said proudly, India country quietly approach to the queen of kingdom of heaven, ask and she replied ” Is to be a terrorist or die ” If the medical officer worked very hard and diligent to obtain vast of knowledge and speaks very much English and at golden age and a rubber stamp to practice by respect, then what is the very bottom people of kueh keling by millions ? Value of judgement ? Malaysia is a real 3rd world nation. Satisfaction Guaranteed…..3rd World because it is the Country that is of no good. The peoples are just bloody fools.

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