Robert A. Teegarden's Blog

July 8, 2012

TSA—Time To Close Down A Failed Experiment

Filed under: Government — by Robert @ 11:02 am
Tags: , , , , ,

The TSA was “created in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems. The Aviation and Transportation Security Act, passed by the 107th Congress on November 19, 2001, established our agency and gave it three major mandates:

  • responsibility for security      for all modes of transportation;
  • recruit, assess, hire, train,      and deploy Security Officers for 450 commercial airports from Guam to      Alaska in 12 months; and,
  • provide 100 percent screening      of all checked luggage for explosives by December 31, 2002.

“ In March 2003, (they) we were moved from the Department of Transportation to the Department of Homeland Security that was created on November 25, 2002 by the Homeland Security Act of 2002, unifying the nation’s response to threats to the homeland.”

But who are they?  What are they?

Here’s how they say you are to apply for a job:

“Apply for the Job. Follow the instructions in the “How to Apply” section of each USAJOBS announcement (upper right tab). Instructions will guide you through the application process, providing you detailed information on the questions, forms, and format that must be addressed and used to capture your qualifications for the job. Submit all required documents and pay close attention to the application due date and application procedures, which will vary by job and the Department component.

Interview for the Job. The names of best-qualified candidates will be forwarded to the supervisor or hiring official. If you are one of the best-qualified candidates, the supervisor or hiring official may interview you in person or by telephone, or in rare cases may hire you based solely on your application materials. Selection procedures are subject to Federal Civil Service laws, which ensure that all applicants receive fair and equal treatment in the hiring process.

So, here’s how it works:

  • Apply
  • Complete forms and format      (?)
  • Submit documents (birth      certificates?)
  • Possible interview in      person or via phone
  • Hiring

Here’s what they say they do:

“Since 2001, we have been mandated by law to appropriately screen air travelers to ensure that certain items and persons prohibited from flying don’t board commercial airliners. We are most visibly present through our 43,000 trained and certified Transportation Security Officers stationed at over 450 airports across the country. Combined with over 1,000 credentialed security inspectors, these professionals screen over two million passengers daily and deliver both world-class security and customer service at your airport.

No they weren’t.  They were formed to screen luggage. Period.  Once in place, the TSA passed its own regulations about screening passengers.  They took it upon themselves to go a step further.

“We also lead and support security operations across the spectrum of the nation’s transportation systems from mass transit and maritime vessels to our highways. In concert with other federal agencies, we play an active role in national special security events and in ensuring the security of the nation’s airspace.

  • “Appropriately” means what? Wanding? Groping? Assault? It’s not defined in the code.
  • These so-called Security Officers are so because they’re “certified,” not necessarily qualified.
  • There are “credentialed security officers.”  Again, they have a piece of paper that says they’re qualified.  Kind of like teachers’ credentials.

Are they law enforcement officers?  NO.  Their “rank” is kind of like the officer in your local bank, and I don’t mean the night watchman.

Should they be wearing a badge?  NO  They are NOT law enforcement officers.  They have no authority to arrest; they have to bring in “real” law enforcement officers to do that.

So why the police-like blue uniforms?  It makes them look like police officers.  They’re NOT.  Also, I’ve been told that their uniforms are paid for by the American taxpayer, not the employee.  Pretty cushy job there.  They even have epaulets as in the military.  They surely give the impression that they’re official, don’t they.  But the simple truth is that they are NOT. They were hired to screen luggage.  They APPEAR to have authority (badges, military-typed creases on their shirts and blouses, ranks of office (?) [I’m a screener, he’s a prober, she’s a groper.],  but in actuality they only have the legal authority to check one’s luggage.

Here’s the training schedule:

The website is vague at best about TSA training.  It speaks more to the training they perform, not that which they receive.  As best I can tell there’s about 80 hours of training after being hired.  Is this police-officer training? NO.  Is this federal marshal training? NO.  Can they exercise a warrant and search?  NO.  Are they a form of police? NO.

80 hours and they’re certified!  Wow…  But to do what?  The original mandate is to check luggage. Well, check away.

TSA officials are a very close kin to the US Postal system and teachers’ unions.  There’s a lot of high fluting language and shiny badges and military-creased uniforms.  But the law basically says that they are baggage handlers.  With baggage they have been okay.

Have they discovered inappropriate items in baggage?  Yes.

Have they “caught” one terrorist? NO.

They’re okay with things but their track record with people is terrible.  Example abound how their actions border on the violation of and exceed the mandates of the Fourth Amendment.  In case you might have forgotten, here’s what that LAW says:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

TSA officials have no legal power to issue warrants or arrest.  Their searches are unreasonable and this sad experiment needs to be shut down. We, the people (in other words, We, the government…) need to call for closure.  I’m all for security, but not at the price of personal liberty and Constitutional expectations and provisions.

TSA folks have been found on the roads, on subway trains, and have been invited to schools.  That’s right, to your child’s school.  They say it’s training in safety. Some suggest it’s training in getting used to seeing the blue-shirts wherever you go.

But the TSA is kind of like taxes.  Once they’re in place, we all kind of get used to it and go along for the ride (literally).  We’re told they have the authority to do some of the things they do, but they don’t.  If congress or the American people don’t close them down or rein them in, well, instead of blue shirts maybe they should wear brown shirts.  Then we’ll know their real reason for being around.

Happily there is at least one effort at least to rein in the exaggerated claims and showmanship of the TSA.

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1 Comment »

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    Comment by Dejanira — July 10, 2012 @ 10:51 pm |Reply


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