Back in April 2008, I applied for a position as TSA screener. I had passed all the initial tests, and then came time for the interview. During the chat, I was asked a series of questions, including inquiries about the information on my resumé. We discussed my background in counterterrorism, battlefield experience, my work in physical, operational, and information security, and force protection. It went smoothly until I ventured into the TSA’s profiling methods, which anyone with half a brain would find seriously flawed. When I suggested that it’s common sense to pull a Middle Eastern (muslim) male out of line and scrutinize him instead of a little old lady in a wheel chair, and that such practices save American lives, the conversation came to an abrupt halt. I did not get hired.
Suffice it to say, the recent incidents and stupidity involving the TSA, proves that someone like me would not fit in very well; I actually want to catch and stop muslim terrorists.
Having said that, lets take a look at some of the inherent problems with the agency.
Annie McKeehan, a former TSA screener has some insight and scary anecdotes. She worked from 2005-2007 in four different East Coast airports, and witnessed appalling work environments in each one.
The former health worker and 62-year old grandmother of ten became a TSA screener at an age most people are getting ready to retire; she saw it the perfect day job while attending night school. But after two years, McKeehan became so fed up with what she says included security lapses, abuse of power and fiscal waste at TSA, she wrote a book based on her experiences. Disguised as fiction (as per her TSA contract) and written under her maiden name, she called it Screener. A little over a month before her book published, McKeehan was called into TSA offices and interrogated.
“They had been monitoring my personal emails. Ones I’d sent from my home computer using a personal email account,” McKeehan explained. In an email to a friend, she’d written that she was fed up with TSA.
“In an email, I wrote, ‘I have a plan,’ meaning a plan for my future,” McKeehan explained. “When I arrived at this interrogation, my TSA supervisor, Bob Adams, and the Operations Manager, Mitchell Moore, had those words written out on a paper which they put in front of me. They kept asking me about ‘my plan.’ I told them it was illegal to monitor my personal correspondence unless I was a national security threat. They said ‘maybe I was.’ So, I said, ‘if I’m such a threat to this country, then why am I reporting to work as a Screener in Charlottesville every day?’”
TSA Screener Annie McKeehan and Federal Air Marshal P. Jeffrey Black both sought to expose the inner workings of an agency so mired in secrecy, the National Security Archives’ Barbara Elias has testified to Congress that TSA is an agency built on “dubious secrets.”
One of TSA’s closely held secrets has been the number of employees who’ve been fired or who’ve quit. The TSA told this reporter “that information is not public.” The Air Marshal service says its numbers are classified. In a 2005 investigation of the Air Marshals by the House Judiciary Committee, TSA denied Congress access to its employment figures.
The high turnover rate could be attributed to any one of a number of reasons, but my guess is that many of them like Ms. McKeehan, left due to dissatisfaction with craven, politically correct policies that reflect the agency’s fearful preoccupation with potential lawsuits and “offending” someone.
Speaking of the old lady/wheelchair scenario, as Mark Steyn points out, the 99-year-old granny isn’t the problem.
Oh, to be sure, you can still find the occasional nonagenarian spinster who thinks if they’re patting her down and making her unscrew her leg brace it’s a sign that they’re being extra-super-careful about security. Which, of course, they’re not. Every minute spent on the nonagenarian spinster is a minute not being spent on, say, a nervous 23-year-old Muslim male who’s a bit twitchy because his crotch is loaded with PETN.
……Question: what do the 9/11 killers, the Shoebomber, the Heathrow plotters, the Pantybomber, the London Tube bombers, the doctors who drove a flaming SUV through the concourse of Glasgow Airport and the would-be killers of Danish cartoonists all have in common? Answer: they’re Muslim. Sometimes they’re Muslims with box cutters, sometimes they’re Muslims with flaming shoes, sometimes they’re Muslims with liquids and gels, sometimes they’re Muslims with fully loaded underwear. But the Muslim bit is a constant. What we used to call a fact. But America’s leaders cannot state that simple fact, and so the TSA is obliged to pretend that all seven billion inhabitants of this planet represent an equal threat.
The airport ‘security’ powers that be make it easier for real terrorists by pretending everyone who passes through a checkpoint is an equal threat. We are practically stripped nude, frisked, scanned with metal detectors, x-rayed, and finally packed in a plane like sardines. Once seated, we are told when we can move or use the latrine.
GITMO terrorists get better treatment.
The TSA doesn’t look for real terrorists, they mainly look for weapons; which limits the options and makes air travel less secure.