TSA Has Been Compiling A Shitlist Of Travelers It Just Doesn't Like

from the this-time-it's-personal dept

The TSA is the worst. Super-secret watchlists can keep people from flying — people deemed too dangerous to travel but not dangerous enough to arrest. This isn’t the TSA’s fault. Not these lists. Those are maintained by agencies who could possibly cobble together enough intel to build a flimsy case against these “dangerous” would-be travelers.

The TSA, however, maintains its own database of travelers. It can’t necessarily keep them from boarding airplanes, but it can give agents a heads up that the person in the queue probably needs to be detained and hassled. [via Boing Boing]

The Transportation Security Administration has created a new secret watch list to monitor people who may be targeted as potential threats at airport checkpoints simply because they have swatted away security screeners’ hands or otherwise appeared unruly.

A five-page directive obtained by The New York Times said actions that pose physical danger to security screeners — or other contact that the agency described as “offensive and without legal justification” — could land travelers on the watch list, which was created in February and is also known as a “95 list.”

It’s an agency shitlist, and only the TSA knows who’s on it. This list doesn’t contain people who’ve actually assaulted agents, but people who’ve expressed their displeasure with intrusive gropings through words or non-violent deeds. The agency’s official statements make it clear this is an arbitrary way to punish travelers who make agents unhappy, noting that it neither requires “injury” to a TSA employee nor the intent to do so. Instead, the list contains anyone who presents a “challenge” to the “safe and effective completion of screening.”

That’s about the end of the TSA’s honesty on the matter, however.

So far, the names of fewer than 50 people have been put on the watch list, said Kelly Wheaton, a T.S.A. deputy chief counsel.

But two other government security officials who are familiar with the new watch list, describing it on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it, said that the number of names on the list could be higher, with travelers added daily.

Without evidence, the TSA claims a whole 34 of its screeners were “assaulted” last year. Keep in mind this number pales in comparison to the millions of travelers screened every year. The fact that this happened eight more times last year than it did the year before (26 in 2016) does not demonstrate the need for a special list of argumentative travelers. Also keep in mind the TSA’s definition of “assault” — much like law enforcement’s — covers actions or words that do cause “injury” and may have been committed with zero intent to cause harm.

On top of the seemingly punitive motivations for creating the “95 list”, there’s the fact that once you’re on this list — like other government lists targeting travelers — you may never come off.

The directive obtained by The Times does not specify how members of the public can appeal being included on the list.

Just like all the other travel-related watchlists, then. Great. So, the TSA can freely antagonize travelers and slap them on a watchlist if they respond antagonistically. I guess we can mark this down as a win for terrorists because it sure doesn’t feel like a win for Americans.

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Comments on “TSA Has Been Compiling A Shitlist Of Travelers It Just Doesn't Like”

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40 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Assaults statistics

So 34 assaults on TSA employees, some of which were verbal only, and likely 0 of the 34 would qualify as a “sexual assault.”

Millions of assaults on law-abiding travelers, almost everyone one of which involved non-consensual physical contact, and a substantial number of which would readily qualify as “sexual assault” if the assailant were not hiding behind a badge.

Yet the 34 assaults merit a secret harass-list and the millions go unredressed.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: 'All animals are equal. Some are more equal than others.'

Of course. The 34 ‘victims’ on the side of the TSA are special, deserving of the highest respect and deference, and therefore anything less than instant grovelling obedience is a terrible crime.

The peons though? Please, they had it coming, their betters know what’s good for them and they need to shut up and accept it.

Bergman (profile) says:

Re: Re: 'All animals are equal. Some are more equal than others.'

TSA agents are supposedly prohibited from touching people in ways and places that could constitute sexual assault.

And yet, if you touch a TSA agent right back in exactly the manner they touch you and in exactly the same places, you DO get charged with sexual assault.

Some animals are just more equal than other animals.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: 'All animals are equal. Some are more equal than others.'

They target women with large breasts. The gay TSA staff run competitions as to who can feel up the most cock in an hour.

There are THOUSANDS of paedophiles, convicted and non-convicted put in a position to fondle children away from their parents.

That One Guy (profile) says:

'SUBMIT!'

The Transportation Security Administration has created a new secret watch list to monitor people who may be targeted as potential threats at airport checkpoints simply because they have swatted away security screeners’ hands or otherwise appeared unruly.

So people who are unhappy with being groped in public are now being added to a list for extra attention to punish them and cow others into being good little victims. Charming.

As if people needed more reasons to avoid air travel unless you absolutely must engage in it.

Lars says:

Re: 'SUBMIT!'

Why have not anyone made a public website were people can submit name, picture and reason for putting the TSA agent on that public list of TSA agents that are disgusting in some way?
Could be a way to keep them inline. If they want off it they must have shown good behavior for a year without anyone reporting them again.
Of course the site should be on a non-American server.

Anonymous Coward says:

…secret, non-judicial government “lists” of ‘non-cooperative’ or suspicious citizens are a hallmark of a police state.

No Americans worry about that when they actually vote for their rulers.

Police are always good; uncooperative citizens with non-mainstream political views are inherently dangerous.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I suspect plenty worry about it, the problem is that it’s a rare time when there’s an alternative, and/or even those that are elected who do start out with good intentions quickly discover that they are surrounded by other politicians who quite like the privileged position they currently enjoy so they either stick to their guns and accomplish nothing, or start giving ground just to get something done, eventually having given everything up in the name of ‘political expedience’.

Anonymous Coward says:

re: a Shitlist Of Travelers - how about a DOG-SHIT List?

It’s a shame that the TSA does not keep a shit list of dogs – and not just for those that defecate on airplanes. The sad fact is that anyone is allowed to bring even the most vicious attack dog aboard a commercial flight onto their seat with them, unmuzzled and free of charge, simply by saying that their pet is an “emotional support” animal. Unlike registered service dogs, which are carefully selected and rigorously trained for their roles, these “emotional support” animals have no requirements whatsoever. The question is whether someone needs to die from these dog attacks before something is finally done about this snowflake-coddling insanity that’s infected the entire airline industry.

https://www.ajc.com/travel/delta-passenger-bitten-emotional-support-dog-couldn-escape-says-attorney/nYtlgO1rGbVMv68XekCWUL/

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Constitutionality

I’m absolutely sure it’s contrary to the <i>spirit</i> of the constitution (the words are a bit trickier) for a state agency to choose by internal list what parts of the public to serve or not.

This is certainly covered by the indictments in the Declaration of Independence, though.

The thing is, there is nothing enforcing constitutionality at this point, whether or not it actually is or isn’t

John85851 (profile) says:

Why don't the airlines weigh in on this?

I was going to ask when the airlines would weigh in on TSA’s actions since it affects their customers: more TSA groping means less people flying means less customers for the airlines.
However, airlines have their own way of dealing with this issue: simply lower the price of the tickets. Then if someone can’t fly due to the TSA’s list, well, there’s always someone else who’s willing to buy the cheap ticket.

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