TSA Says Groping A Dying 95-Year-Old Woman, Forcing Her To Remove Diaper, Is Ok Because It Followed Standard Procedure

from the not-this-again dept

Back in April, we wrote about the TSA defending its groping of a 6-year-old girl, by saying that it was fine because it was their standard operating procedure. That, of course, made absolutely no sense to anyone outside of the TSA. Just because it’s the way you normally do things doesn’t make it right. At all. In fact, even the TSA’s boss seemed to acknowledge last week that groping 6-year-olds is no longer standard operating procedure in most cases.

Perhaps he can now turn his attention to groping 95-year-olds.

Yes, over the weekend a lot of people heard about the story of Jean Weber’s 95-year-old mother, who is in the final stages of leukemia, and wanted to travel to Michigan from Florida, to spend her few remaining days with family. Except, once she got to the airport, she was apparently selected for extra scrutiny, including a patdown, and being told she needed to remove her adult diaper. She ended up being detained for 45 minutes.

The local TSA spokesperson defended the procedure by suggesting that if they didn’t grope 95-year-old dying cancer patients and force them to remove their diapers, that the terrorists would plant bombs on such old ladies:

“TSA cannot exempt any group from screening because we know from intelligence that there are terrorists out there that would then exploit that vulnerability.”

But that’s just the TSA spokesperson in Miami. Surely once this made its way back up to the top, the TSA folks in DC wouldn’t go through the same mistake from April and claim this is perfectly fine because it’s standard operating procedures… or would they? Oh, of course they would:

The TSA released a statement Sunday defending its agents’ actions at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport.

“While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area, TSA works with passengers to resolve security alarms in a respectful and sensitive manner,” the federal agency said. “We have reviewed the circumstances involving this screening and determined that our officers acted professionally and according to proper procedure.”

You know what? If that is “proper procedure,” the procedure is wrong. It’s time for someone at the TSA to admit that.

Filed Under: , , , ,

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “TSA Says Groping A Dying 95-Year-Old Woman, Forcing Her To Remove Diaper, Is Ok Because It Followed Standard Procedure”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
146 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

As always, if you look at individual cases, you may find outrage. But the reality is if they cannot properly search someone, the rest of us are at risk.

It’s just really too bad that there is a much micro-focus placed on certain instances, and yet no work for the hundreds of thousands of people searched every day without issue.

Kingster (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Because those searches that are uneventful don’t really do anything for the security of flights anyway. And what about the continuous tests of the system where the TSA fails? And the un-controlled settings of the backscatter machines, the unknown health issues, etc.?

Where do you decide that the false security and the costs thereof outweigh what the organization ACTUALLY does for us? There’s no metrics, nothing. The whole thing is a sham. ANd you bought it. Hook, line, and sinker.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

You have to think about it a bit. How would you get the metrics? Turn off security entirely and count the bodies at the end of the year?

The closest you will get to metrics is looking at places in Africa and other third world areas that don’t do very good security. It seems that most of the detected terrorist attacks start in places like that. Perhaps that is a good indication that the “security theater” is actually way more effective than anyone would like to admit.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Europe, which still checks everyone through metal detectors, still checks people closely, still pats people down, and often subjects people to the third degree when they are travelling.

Yet, almost all of the terrorist attacks come out of unprotected countries, into Europe, and on from there. Amazing, isn’t it. Notice there aren’t many terrorists choosing to start in the US? Wonder why?

greg.fenton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Tell us about “almost all of the terrorist attacks”. First, which “terrorist” attacks are you talking about? Second, where do you come up with these “facts” about the terrorists origins?

Of the millions of bodies we see at the end of each and every year…oh wait…there aren’t millions, nor thousands…unless you want to use a broad definition of the term “terrorism”.

Yet the resources, time and liberties that are thrown at this issue are grossly disproportionate to other, real, measurable problems that exist.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Yes, but remarkably, if the European agencies had done what the TSA is doing, there is good potential that at least 2 out of the 3 wouldn’t have happened, which is the point. Someone wants data and examples, those are three. Thanks for supporting me and making my point!

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

there is good potential that at least 2 out of the 3 wouldn’t have happened,

Two of the three didn’t happen as it is. The third one (Lockerbie) was a retaliation which could have been prevented if the US had NOT bombed Libya in 1986 or shot down the Iranian airliner around the same time (since we still don’t really know which of the two was responsible.

How would you have prevmneted the terrorist attack on the King David hotel?

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Oh stop talking crap about European security. European security has always been tight because we’ve had terrorism for DECADES. Funnily enough, the worst incident we’ve had was Lockerbie, which was fairly serious state-sponsored terrorism, and things were tightened up after that anyway. In case you hadn’t noticed, that was 1988, 23 years ago.

Funnily enough, it says something that the 9/11 hijackers couldn’t just put a bomb in a plane – because of those security procedures, so they had to take knives on a plane – something that would NOT have been possible in Europe in 2001.

We have proportionate security without needing to destroy human dignity, without totally trampling on our rights, and without totally letting the terrorists win.

Yes a few things have got through security, and funnily enough, no-one has shown any proof that TSA procedures would have found those. Invasively strip-searching all passengers may prevent the very occasional incident, but why criminalise, insult, inconvenience and annoy the regular 99.99999% of your customers?

Seriously, all that the TSA will achieve is making the airport security queues themselves a prime target. Or they could just hit softer targets (i.e. public transport in Madrid or London, a night-club in Bali).

Honestly, some of this “count the bodies” garbage is nearly as bad as some of the post-9/11 paranoia where everyone in Nowhereville, Alabama (pop. 303 + dogs) seemed to think that ‘the terrurists’ were going after them personally. Notice how it seems to be discarded B-movie plot methods the terrorists are already reduced to using – shoe bombs and underwear bombs? I also suspect that any chemist worth his salt could tell you half-a-dozen ways to cause mayhem (and that’s all you really need to do) within all the existing restrictions and searches.

You can never stop everything, but at some point you have to decide when there’s no point trying harder for no benefit, or where there are other social or economic costs. Even 1% of the effort going into the TSA could save many more lives from drunken driving or dodgy medications, and MANY more people die from those. Where is the sense of proportion? Where is the respect for your Constitution and human rights that your country fought so hard for?

It’s a shame, but it’s just another way that America comes to seem a joke to the rest of the (Western) world. Can’t do security right in the first place, then over-react massively and disproportionately (it seems).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Just three examples.

Or the only three that exist.

Because as far as I can tell those have been the only even remotely credible threats in the last 10 years. 10 YEARS! Billions of dollars and personal freedom and in 10 years we have manged to stop 0 out of 3 credible threats.

What a track record!

greg.fenton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

So because of 3 incidents that span 25 years, you are willing to throw many billions of dollars, waste many years of people’s lives and throw away various rights, all the while not actually being any safer?

Oh, you can name a few more examples, I get that. But we are talking about thousands of planes worldwide PER DAY, millions of pedestrians.

I am not advocating letting people walk off the street and onto a plane. But I am advocating for a smarter approach in terms of $$$, time and respect/dignity for all involved.

cc (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Funny thing. I live in Europe and travel regularly between the UK and a number of other European countries, including France and Sweden, as a matter of work.

I go through a metal detector, pass my hand baggage through an xray machine, and if something comes up I get a pat down of my pockets (happened once in the many years I travel). While I’m sure there’s profiling going on, there are no nude scanners, no invasive patdowns of my junk, no third degree like you get.

When you refer to “unprotected countries”, are you referring to the third-world countries that initiate terrorist attacks? Is it a surprise that countries with political unrest are more likely to be involved in terrorist attacks?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

BULLSHIT DETECTOR OVERLOAD!!!??!?!?!??!!?!?!?!?

The procedure involves touching your genitals which by its very definition is invasive. Also, they put their hand in your underwear; how is that not invasive.

Would you let the creep behind the McDonald’s counter put his hand down your pants before you were allowed to enter the restaurant? … I didn’t think so.

Pseudonym says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

A better comparison than Europe is Israel, where terrorism is commonplace, but airport security is several orders of magnitude less inconvenient.

Notice there aren’t many terrorists choosing to start in the US? Wonder why?

I don’t need to wonder, because there’s plenty of solid data on the fact that home-grown terrorists are relatively rare in the developed world.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“””But the reality is if they cannot properly search someone, the rest of us are at risk.”””

You, sir, are a sheep.

Number A: Nothing… NOTHING… reduces the “risk” of flying to zero other than stopping flights completely. Therefore any attempt to reduce that risk to zero is foolish.

Number B: Checking old ladies’ adult diapers might reduce said risk by some infinitesimally small amount, but it is certainly not worth the emotional backlash from the public nor the trauma to the “victim”.

Number C: That goes for feeling up kids too. Risk reduction way too small for the negative publicity and trauma to the child.

It all comes down to ROI (return on investment), these people have no understanding of ROI. The returns are much too small for the impact their “procedures” cause.

Almost Anonymous (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“””And despite all the laws against murder & rape, we can’t bring the risk of murder and rape to zero. Therefore any attempt to reduce that risk to zero is foolish.”””

Jeez, can I call a Godwin ruling on rape here? You may as well have tossed out “Hitler” and called it a day.

But, yes, as ugly as it is to say it, any attempt to reduce THAT risk to zero is also foolish.

It’s simple math (the law of diminishing returns). At the point of diminishing returns on a graph, you get almost no return no matter how many resources you throw at it, which makes sense because as you approach zero (risk), the amount of resources you would need to get it there approaches infinity.

See? Simple!

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Straw man. No one is saying that any attempt is foolish. We are discussing a very specific attempt, namely that of backscatter scanners and gropings at airports.

We are discussing the return of investment, the benefit per cost, of that particular attempt.

Example of ROI in this context:

We can reduce rape and murders by X% by putting cameras in everyones homes, in the bedroom, in the toilet, everywhere. Remember, a lot of violence occurs in the home.

But, and here it comes, X% is not worth the cost in privacy (and money). Benefit per cost ratio is too low. ROI not good enough.

Even though it would solve crimes and prevent countless murders and rapes we still dont have police cameras in our homes.

That’s the argument. That it is a too high cost in privacy, freedom, dignity and money for how much it makes us safer.

X = counry specific, probably varies per state-equivalent sub-area as well, look it up for your own country and region if you are interested in exact figures.

greg.fenton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

As for Numbers B & C: the fact that we have TSA agents blindly following a “procedure” rather than assessing the individuals they are screening for an actual potential risk highlights that the system is ripe for gaming.

All that the “terrorists” need to do is send in enough individuals that get past the randomized screening (where enough == 1 or 2).

The fact is, there aren’t terrorist attacks going on all the time simply because there aren’t terrorist attacks going on all the time. Otherwise, TSA would be giving us daily or weekly recaps of all the attacks they have thwarted. But they don’t because they aren’t.

anymouse (profile) says:

Re: Re: They understand ROI....

Those high enough up to know what’s going on have a very clear understanding of ROI…. Since they are more interested in total control, it looks a little foreign to people expecting a monetary return on investment.

They aren’t expecting a monetary return on their investment, they are expecting to manipulate the general attitude of the public a little at a time…. AND IT’S WORKING!!!!!

Each ‘outrage’ is offset by the standard excuses we see from the apologists here every day…
If you don’t like it, don’t fly…
If you don’t have anything to hide, you have nothing to worry about….
If your papers are in order, you can cross the border…. we might even let you back in when you come back….

Wake up people, we have been sitting in the pot of water for a while now, and while it may not feel ‘that bad’ right now, it’s getting closer and closer to the boiling point every day….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Of course, terrorists could trivially raise the body count quite high by attacking the crowded security checkpoints.

The reason they don’t?

Because the TSA is doing *exactly what the terrorists want them to do*. They are terrorists’ best allies, doubly so because they’re doing it at OUR expense, triply so because they have convinced the stupider among us that this is actually desirable and/or necessary.

weneedhelp (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“the rest of us are at risk” Ohhh hooo hooo. Booo!!!!

There are certain risks associated with everyday life. Dying in a terrorists attack is next to nothing.

“hundreds of thousands of people searched every day without issue.” Not without issue, without it making the news.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&safe=active&client=firefox-a&hs=Mbv&rls=org.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial&channel=s&biw=1920&bih=955&q=odds+of+dying&btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=g10&aql=&oq=

Gracey (user link) says:

Re: Re:

“the rest of us are at risk”

You can’t be serious? You could manhandle every single individual on the plane and still be at risk. Terrorists could swallow a friggin’ bomb…feeling the guys jewels ain’t going to change that (though it might set the bomb off early).

This is really a rather useless exercise and provides no security whatsoever to anyone. Bah.

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Re: Wastrel

Actually, a .22 through the eye socket, with a trajectory to the opposite side of the rear of the skull, will produce a pretty decent pinball effect, which by the time it stops, has accomplished the desired purpose. Avoid the copper jacketed rounds, as they may penetrate the opposite skull side without the desired results. Just my professional opinion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It actually is Racist. Racism isn’t just color of the skin. Saying that crime is commited by blacks, and if we got rid of all the blacks, then we wouldn’t have crime would be a racist statement (also a very untrue statement). So also saying that Terrorist acts are caused by Muslims and if we booted all the damn muslims out of the country then we wouldnt have to worry about terrorism is also racist.

God, i can’t believe i had to explain that to an adult.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I didn’t say that muslims are one race. They are of all difference race (color). I am just replying to the specific comment that states we should target all muslims because they are terrorists. Saying that muslims are terrorists and we should keep an extra eye out for them is just like saying we should keep an extra eye out for blacks because they commit crime, or we should watch out for the Mexican people because they steal. Thats Racist. And its putting a stigma on someone of a specific color or religion also.

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

rac?ism
noun ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-
Definition of RACISM
1
: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2
: racial prejudice or discrimination
? rac?ist noun or adjective

You are thinking of either Religious discrimination or Islamophobia.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Either way, it’s a crappily broad brush. That shoe bomber guy was a white convert. Unless picked out by his name (and converts could just avoid changing their name) a racist/discriminatory profile would not pick him out.

Better to use an Israeli method like actually profiling people by how they act and other intelligence-based clues.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“””rac?ism
noun ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-
Definition of RACISM
1
: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race
2
: racial prejudice or discrimination
? rac?ist noun or adjective

You are thinking of either Religious discrimination or Islamophobia.”””

Adj. 1. racist – based on racial intolerance; “racist remarks”
racial – of or characteristic of race or races or arising from differences among groups; “racial differences”; “racial discrimination”
2. racistracist – discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion
anti-semite, antiblack

No i made it clear that i was refering to Racism thank you very much. You are thinking of either your head in your ass, or just plain thinking retarded.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

True, but wasting massive resources on preventing that which likely won’t happen again, with unprovable results, really doesn’t help.

Once again, proper Intelligence would help identify domestic and foreign threats.

It also highlights that Muslims are not the (only) ‘enemy’.
Especially as under the rather broad terms of things like the PATRIOT act, you should be going after PETA and pro-Lifers just as hard as they /do/ have members who occasionally commit ‘terrorist’ acts.

Harrekki (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

we can go to a mall, you point out the “Muslim” and I’ll show you why you are racist. You don’t see religion, you see “middle eastern”, which is racist. you have no way of knowing if they are Christian, Muslim, Pagan, or Hindu. You see someone with skin darker than white, but lighter than black, and what them to be patted down.
THAT’S racist.
and it’s not just Muslims who wear robes and head coverings, so don’t even try to use that crap as a cover.

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

> we can go to a mall, you point out the “Muslim”
> and I’ll show you why you are racist.

So you’ve already decided for me what I will and won’t do? How nice of you. As long as you’re at it with your psychic powers, why don’t you clue me in on this week’s lottery numbers as well?

> You don’t see religion, you see “middle eastern”,
> which is racist.

Who the hell are you to tell me what I do and do not see. If we did your little mall scenario, and you asked me to point out the Muslims, I’d say, “How the hell would I know who’s a Muslim and who isn’t?”

*That’s* what would really happen, as opposed to your little fantasy scenario.

> you have no way of knowing if they are Christian,
> Muslim, Pagan, or Hindu.

No shit, genius. That was my point all along.

> You see someone with skin darker than white,
> but lighter than black, and what them to be
> patted down.

Where do you get this crap? I didn’t say anything about wanting anyone patted down. More completely made-up crap.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Jeni i am not saying that i am offended by someone being a racist, Im just simply stating that it is.

Oh, and “Profiling” and “Racism” can go hand in hand. If the cops where to stop every Mexican that drove down the road to search for drugs, that would be profiling.

And Racist.

Do u understand now?

Jeni (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

If we have a known (and we do) problem with drug runners from Mexico, I see no relation to profiling and racism.

It’s based on facts, not skin color. Precautions are not prejudices.

If Africans would have profiled white’s for slave trading back in the day, I wouldn’t have blamed them one bit nor would I have felt it was “racist”.

Guess it’s just a very different perspective. Even though I’m female and tend to be emotional at times, I struggle to allow logic to prevail in all things, and it just seems logical to me to apply standards that are based on factual evidence.

John William Nelson (profile) says:

Enhanced patdowns and new scanners should be viewed as a violation of the 4th Amendment

I’ve written on it before:
http://www.lextechnologiae.com/2010/11/18/tsa-scans-patdowns-do-these-violate-the-4th-amendment-maybe/

A passenger is given a devil’s choice ? have their 4th Amendment rights violated through a technological strip search, or have them violated as a result of an enhanced patdown that is like a strip search but with your clothes on.

My hope is that the crazy Tea Party folks finally get something back and take out the TSA. Most Americans aren’t cowards, and most Americans don’t want useless security.

After all, those who would chose safety over liberty deserve neither.

jakerome (profile) says:

Today's encounter

I flew out of Providence this morning, and as I was passing through the security theater checkpoint, I overheard 2 TSA agents discussing how they were glad this incident has gotten major news coverage. I noted how the TSA was somehow proud of itself because the procedures were followed, and told the agents my opinion that their bosses were idiots and they countered that they were required to check their common sense once they were on the clock.

One small story, hopefully the mass of TSA agents start pushing back on that end while citizens pull on the other and drill it into the thick skulls of the fearful morons running the agency that there rules are ineffective, counterproductive and ultimately futile. The entire top 3 layers of management should be sacked and have someone with a brain on his or her shoulders put in charge with a sensible regimen, not this asinine security theater which has done nothing to make our country safer, costs billions of dollars a year that we don’t have and reduces the individual liberties that this nation was founded upon.

Greg G (profile) says:

Re: Standard procedure

I am flying out of San Antonio at the end of July on the way to Vegas. I almost hope I’m selected for… additional scrutiny… so that I can make some “oh, that feels so goooooooood” moaning sounds as I’m being felt up, preferably by a hot female agent.

But from what I’ve seen at SAT before, the hot female agent is non-existent.

cjstg (profile) says:

if it doesn't work then stop

to all the people who object to this type of treatment: stop flying!

as soon as the airlines realize that passenger counts are down and the true cause if it, they will lobby the government to get things changed.

i guess if we are going to have a corporate run government, we need to learn how to work within it.

AJ says:

Re: if it doesn't work then stop

“as soon as the airlines realize that passenger counts are down and the true cause if it, they will lobby the government to get things changed. ” Between the crazy security, all the fee’s, and ticket prices, my company is using video conferencing now… not exactly like a face to face… but hell.. it’s quite a bit cheaper…

Prisoner 201 says:

Re: Re: if it doesn't work then stop

I am already reluctant to go to the US. I donated ten bucks to wikileaks a long time ago. With wikileaks now being a terrorist organization, combined with the SWIFT agreement, I will risk the full set of TSA “procedures” should I set foot in the states, including but not limited to hours of detention, threats, bodily searches, losing my electronic devices (since they are encrypted) and so on and so forth.

And if I flip out and totally uppercut someone, it’s straight to gitmo, do not pass court.

Radiation and/or groping when going home is just the last nail in the coffin.

That Anonymous Coward says:

Can we just cause recursion to make them go away?

“”While every person and item must be screened before entering the secure boarding area,”

So who screens the TSA agents arriving for work?

Because there are terrorist organizations out there that would target poorly paid government workers who get no respect for having to fondle people…

And while they are all busy feeling each other up, we can go back to flying like we used to, but now with the more enforced doors like we had needed for a very long time.

Ghost of BinLaden says:

Welcome ot the UST... United States of Terrorism

We simply exchanged one type of terrorist (Islamic Extremist) for another type of terrorist (State sponsered terrorism).

Islamic Extremist aimed at our lives… the United States of Terrorist aim at our dignity, our self-respect and our self-determination – making us nothing more than cattle in shoots, being poked and prodded and told where and when to move.

Remember the words of Benjamin Franklin:

“He who sacrifices freedom for security deserves neither.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Instead of spending 100 comments bashing/hugging the TSA, we should probably concentrate our efforts in finding a solution for the core problem: aircraft security.

I don’t think that enough effort has been put into making the aircraft itself more secure. For example, someone with a small explosive can probably open a hole on the side of the aircraft and send it crashing down, which is stupid if you take into consideration that some military-grade aircraft can take a might pounding from anti-aircraft guns and still make it home (mostly) in one piece. You Americans are good at making guns and armour right? Time to put some of that knowledge to good use.

Aircraft should also have some sort of inconvenient mechanism for crossing sections (also, more sections). Sort of two doors where only one of the could be open at the time (to slow down the process of crossing between sections). The pilot should also have a master locking control that locks all inter-section doors. Worst-case scenario is: terrorist kills off everyone in one section. A bit of a bummer, but it is on par with some idiot walking into a public place and start killing people indiscriminately (something which you can’t stop, but at least can contain).

But there is also work to do on the ground. There should be effective mechanisms to detect guns and explosives on passengers/luggage. And I mean sensors! Pat-downs are ineffective and inefficient: you can’t pat everyone down, and it only takes one slip-up to cause a disaster. And let’s be honest here: If I can tell that a planet that is a bajillion light-years away is inhabitable, why can’t I scan a guy and tell that he is carrying a gun?

These are just some ideas. I don’t care if you find them stupid, as long as it sparks some sort of debate.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Given the number of successful terrorist attacks using pre-9/11 security measures, I would say there was no problem. So let’s go back to magnetometer + x-ray machines. Let’s add better training for the x-ray operators and keep the reinforced locked cockpit doors. Yes, sometimes, somebody will manage to get on a plane and blow it up. Yes, it will be a bummer. But hey, given how rare this is, the resources we are dedicating to the protection of airplanes is completely absurd. Most importantly get everyone used to the idea that sometimes the terrorists win and that the appropriate response is NOT to abscond our liberties.

keiichi969 (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’ll tackle this chunk by chunk.

I don’t think that enough effort has been put into making the aircraft itself more secure. For example, someone with a small explosive can probably open a hole on the side of the aircraft and send it crashing down, which is stupid if you take into consideration that some military-grade aircraft can take a might pounding from anti-aircraft guns and still make it home (mostly) in one piece. You Americans are good at making guns and armour right? Time to put some of that knowledge to good use.

This is due to fundamental design differences. A fighter is 90% aircraft and 10% people. A 747 is 90% people and 10% aircraft. In addition most of our aircraft can not take a pounding. the A-10 being the exception, not the case. One solid missile strike and any aircraft in the US arsenal is toast.

Aircraft should also have some sort of inconvenient mechanism for crossing sections (also, more sections). Sort of two doors where only one of the could be open at the time (to slow down the process of crossing between sections). The pilot should also have a master locking control that locks all inter-section doors.

This is a bad idea. More compartmentalization would mean much much longer waits for passengers during boarding.

The whole point of a hijacking today, is to take over control of the plane. Locking the cockpit doors solves this issue. without access to the cockpit, the terrorist can’t hijack the plane.

What are they going to do, threaten to kill a hostage every 10 minutes until the pilot lets them fly the plane into another building?

But there is also work to do on the ground. There should be effective mechanisms to detect guns and explosives on passengers/luggage. And I mean sensors! Pat-downs are ineffective and inefficient: you can’t pat everyone down, and it only takes one slip-up to cause a disaster. And let’s be honest here: If I can tell that a planet that is a bajillion light-years away is inhabitable, why can’t I scan a guy and tell that he is carrying a gun?

We’ve had this technology for years, its called a metal detector. Despite being a plastic pistol, even a Glock has to have a metal barrel.

TDR says:

Re: Re: Re:

“What are they going to do, threaten to kill a hostage every 10 minutes until the pilot lets them fly the plane into another building?”

Yes. Every time someone brings up the locking of the cockpit door, I wonder why any terrorist wouldn’t do this to force his way in. No one ever addresses this point, this hole. Doesn’t matter how well the door is locked if the terrorist starts killing people unless the pilot opens it.

Not that I like the TSA – I hate it, and I think that it should be shut down. Completely. It’s just no one seems to see the flaw in relying solely on a door for protection.

PrometheeFeu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The point is not that closing the door solves everything. The point is that it solves many problems. The terrorists will necessarily be a small minority of the passengers. If need be passengers can take action and overwhelm the assailants. Sure, some people will get hurt and some people will die, but the terrorists are highly unlikely to retain control of the plane. On the other hand, if the terrorists can lock themselves in the cockpit, the passengers cannot act. So your scenario where they threaten to kill someone every 10 minutes just won’t happen.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“What are they going to do, threaten to kill a hostage every 10 minutes until the pilot lets them fly the plane into another building?”

Yes. Every time someone brings up the locking of the cockpit door, I wonder why any terrorist wouldn’t do this to force his way in. No one ever addresses this point, this hole.

Because it wouldn’t work.

Doesn’t matter how well the door is locked if the terrorist starts killing people unless the pilot opens it.

Except, the pilot on a regular commercial flight wouldn’t do that, so yes it does matter.

The eejit (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Well, you could actually follow the Israeli airport security system. IT would:

a) save billions from a useless thatrical performance that would make South Park look worthy of an Oscar: and
b) actually do something about possible terrorists.

It’s observation-based, but also based in psychological profiling, rather than any other profiling.

Vik says:

If bin-laden was still alive; he would be watching on TV old ledy getting harassed by TSA and he would be proud of his accomplishments.
Now that air travel if F-ed-up they will create mass casualties on trains, subways and sport events… if we continue to be afraid we will be groped in the future more than just at airports.

Freedom of religion? yeah right!
It really showed what most of us Americans really stood for.
“forget those Muslims they are all terrorists and not real Americans” a month later …”oh wait! why am I getting raped by the TSA I’m Amu’rican!!”

Anonymous Coward says:

It’s no wonder passenger counts ARE DOWN. Those in the rest of the world that would like to vacation in the US are choosing different locations not to have to deal with the idiocy of the TSA. There was an article on this several months ago.

I personally would not consider flying in today’s mentality of grope to fly. Quite simply, I resent it, don’t have to put up with it, and am not going to go through the process. If I have to go somewhere I will drive.

I have yet to see the bonafide terrorist caught by the TSA. If memory serves me correctly every terrorist that has been caught, has been caught by the passengers on the plane, not at the check points.

What I see is a new boondoggle government arm with nothing to do but spend more of the government’s money (our tax dollars) with nothing to show for it but irate fliers.

From start to finish it smacks of “papers please” mentality on a brutish level. When a new PR disaster comes along, the upper management comes out with some BS trying to justify it by making it sound like it is procedure. All that is, is CYA because once again they have screwed up because of a lack of applying common sense.

Best check your ticket for it’s beginning location; you’ll find you are in a Banana Republic. The TSA gets to play the role of the monkeyman.

Niall (profile) says:

Re: Re:

That says more about poor security in the prison. Somehow, I don’t think someone could do that multiple times getting onto flights, and shouldn’t a decent metal detector find most guns? If they can go off with the eyelets of shoes? Far more likely stuff like that gets on the plane through other methods.

As mentioned before, a single gun won’t do much good. You only have finite bullets, and passengers are incredibly much more likely to risk their lives to bring someone down.

Guard01 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

In this case no one thought it was weird that the metal detector went off because the prisoner was in a wheelchair. No one wanted to search his diaper because he kept it soiled as much as possible.

The point is, hiding things in an adult diaper of a supposedly disabled person is a tactic that has been used before.

Also an important fact being left of of this story was that the woman had soiled herself, and the urine created a kind of a gel inside the diaper (as the diaper was designed to do, as not to leak). The gel looked like, well a gel, on the scanners. They had to search her to make sure it wasn’t an explosive gel.

Jimr (profile) says:

Reminds me of a Monty Python test for a witch logic.

Crowd: How do you know she is a terrorist?
TSA: She looks like one.
[Crowd indistinctly shouts]
TSA: Bring her forward!
Old Lady: I’m not a terrorist.
TSA: But you are dressed as one…
Old Lady: They dressed me up like this. [Crowd murmurs]
Old Lady: And this isn’t my nose. This is a false one.
TSA: [inspects the nose and confirms] Well?
Crowd: Well, we did do the nose.
TSA: The nose?
Crowd: And the hat. She’s a terrorist!
Crowd: Burn her!
TSA: Did you dress her up like this?
Crowd: No, no, no! [beat] Yes, yes. A bit. But she’s got a wart.
TSA: Why do you think that she is a terrorist?
Crowd: Well, she turned me into a newt.
[Crowd gives him a disbelieving look]
TSA: A newt?
[Silence]
TSA: To be sure lets groping her anyways? after all it is the policy!

The Devil's Coachman (profile) says:

Re: Standard Procedure

They’re Skin Jobs. Replicants. Whatever you want to call them. They have no emotions, because they’re machines at their core. We need a Blade Runner to find them and root them out, terminating with extreme prejudice if necessary. Unfortunately, they don’t have a fixed life span, and they are already among us and too numerous to combat. Plus, many of them are armed, making it even more difficult. We’re doomed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Again the head office of the TSA, Big Sis herself appears to be neck deep in this mess.

The xray machines that are used to “backscatter” had the xray warning labels never put on the machines. They were shipped with the unit but at the request of the TSA were never put on them. Naturally during the installation, somehow they were never put on the machines to warn users of the possibility of exposure.

http://www.gsnmagazine.com/node/23445?c=federal_agencies_legislative

Later when questioned, they were supposedly all checked. However the company the TSA claimed to do this job, made it clear they don’t do measurements and are not responsible for calibrations.

http://www.tsa.gov/research/reading/xray_screening_technology_safety_reports.shtm

Some independent checks turned up xray exposures way above what was supposed to be. Worse the tests were rigged.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/adams-m/adams-m17.1.html

A warning was supposed to be given the TSA gropers not to stand beside the machine because of the increased risk of cancer. Now there are reports that there is a possible link to groupings of cancer with the TSA gropers and these machines.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/11/06/27/2012226/Cancer-Cluster-Possibly-Found-Among-TSA-Workers

Sorry for the links to another sites. I have nothing to reveal as far as linkage to them other than reading news articles.

All of this info is available for searching. Please don’t take my word for it.

It looks more and more like we are dealing with a group that really doesn’t care about the health of anyone, they are worried about justifying their presence there. It fits with the rest of the rig-a-mo-role of we are doing it by the book but the book got thrown away.

Ray Trygstad (profile) says:

Selective screening...of old ladies!

Really! Instead of waiting at your gate after screening, stay on the backside of the screening area for a while and watch how high a proportion of those selected for additional screening are old ladies. It’s astounding! And why? Because THEY DON’T PUT UP A FUSS! God forbid we should do this truly randomly or, even worse, based on a profile of potential terrorists. It is security theater, plain and simple, and I know, as I have mounted major security theater productions–as directed–during my career as a Naval Officer.

Ray Trygstad (profile) says:

Selective screening...of old ladies!

Really! Instead of waiting at your gate after screening, stay on the backside of the screening area for a while and watch how high a proportion of those selected for additional screening are old ladies. It’s astounding! And why? Because THEY DON’T PUT UP A FUSS! God forbid we should do this truly randomly or, even worse, based on a profile of potential terrorists. It is security theater, plain and simple, and I know, as I have mounted major security theater productions–as directed–during my career as a Naval Officer.

FM Hilton (profile) says:

It would be just so much simpler if the TSA used some common ideas to screen passengers-

Who is MOST likely to be a terrorist:

1. a 95-year old woman in a wheelchair wearing a diaper?
2. A 4 month old baby?
3. A 10 year old with a stuffed toy?
4. a 20-50 year-old male/female of any nationality with no identifying characteristics? (remember, racial profiling is a no-no!)

Eliminate the most obvious ‘non-terrorist’ types and screen those who fit it.
That would solve a lot of the crap that goes on in airport security checkouts and save time.
I’m just waiting to see the first lawsuits against the TSA for improper checking/groping/harassment to be filed in court.
This just can’t go on forever without being forced to be sued over.
Although I’m sure that the gropers in the TSA are having a field day. Legalized “cop a feel”!

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...
Loading...