Mainstream Media Questions TSA Security

Jonathan Corbett appearing on Fox News

Fox News, fair and balanced jokes aside, is very much mainstream, and it’s a rare thing that we see questioning of the TSA by big media. And, despite the piece coming from an “Are you afraid that the TSA isn’t keeping us safe?” frame rather than an, “Are you afraid that your civil liberties are being flushed down the toilet in exchange for security theatre?” frame, it’s important that the message that TSA security simply doesn’t work reaches those who don’t seek out news beyond what they find on their television.

This morning, a 10 minute segment entitled Is the TSA capable of keeping America’s airports safe? aired featuring myself, security guru Bruce Schneier, and the researches whose study last week confirmed, for anyone with a doubt left in their mind, that the scanners can be beaten with only trivial planning. They also interviewed TSA Führer John Pistole (but asked no hard questions, such as, “You read that research study last week? Do you disagree?”). For those of you here who keep up with TSA news, you won’t find anything new, but hopefully the piece reached hundreds of thousands who otherwise had no idea.

22 thoughts on “Mainstream Media Questions TSA Security

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  1. This argument is all double-talk, implying that we are somehow at a greater risk in commercial airports now. But we aren’t. And, the TSA does NOT keep anyone any safer than they already were. FOX media is just another ‘Tokyo-Rose’ hyping an illusion.

  2. TSA Demands to Conduct Full Body Pat Down on Man After His Plane Already Landed:

    TSA agents demanded to conduct a full body pat down on a man after he had already landed and was set to leave Denver Airport in a security mix up that was caught on camera.
    Kahler Nygard flew from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Denver last Saturday but was told to exit the plane before all other passengers before being met by TSA agents at the gate.

    Video of the incident shows Nygard asking if he is being detained by TSA agents as an officer requests that Nygard follow him into a private screening room.

    “Sir, where are you going?” asks TSA agent Alex Grossman as Nygard begins to leave the airport.

    After Nygard says he left his boarding pass on the plane, the TSA officer makes a call before asking Nygard to undergo further screening that “may or may not have been completed in Minneapolis.”

    “Why can’t I just leave the premises?” asks Nygard, adding, “Why do you need to do more screening if I travel from point A to point B safely, why does there now need to be more screening before I leave.”

    Grossman says Nygard is not being detained but continues to demand he undergo a “complete screening” which includes a search of his body and his bags.

    When Nygard states that he is going to leave, the TSA agent threatens to call Denver police who will apprehend Nygard “for refusing our direction.” The agent is unable to provide a statute or law under which this is permissible.

    Nygard then leaves the airport as Grossman calls the police. Nygard was able to leave the airport without being apprehended by law enforcement.

    A local Fox News story about the incident said that Nygard, “was on a list that should have singled him out for screening — but that didn’t happen.”

    According to the report, Nygard should have been subjected to enhanced screening at Minneapolis Airport because his name was, “on the secondary security screen list known as “quad S,” and Nygard, “had a boarding pass designated with four bold S’s.”

    The TSA failed to notice the details on Nygard’s boarding pass and he was allowed to board the plane. It was only after a Spirit employee called the TSA when the plane was half way to Denver that the oversight was recognized.

    Nygard, “slipped through three layers of security, and no one was any the wiser until he was already in the air,” states the report, noting that some of the red flags that get someone on the ‘quad S’ list include, “buying your ticket the same day, paying cash, or getting a one-way ticket.”

    In an email to Infowars, Nygard said that the Fox News story was mostly “lies,” noting that he was forced to undergo a full body pat down at Minneapolis Airport. Nygard also states that Fox News’ characterization of him as a “Somali-American man” is inaccurate given that his descendents are Poles and Norwegians.

    This is by no means the first time that the TSA has attempted to conduct pat downs on passengers after they have already exited their mode of transportation and are attempting to leave the facility. In 2011, travelers were subjected to an invasive pat down and bag search after getting off an Amtrak train in Savannah, Georgia.

  3. States being forced to accept DHS’s ‘Real ID’ national drivers license program:

    Beginning in 2015, you won’t be able to use your Oklahoma Driver’s license as an ID to get through security at federal buildings. And in 2016 you won’t be able to use it at the airport either.

    “You would be required to have a driver’s license and a passport or some other federal ID to actually go through the TSA checkpoint or fly on a commercial aircraft,” explained Karen Carney, spokeswoman with the Will Rogers World Airport.

    That’s because back in 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act that would make it harder for terrorists to get fake ID’s. But in 2007, Oklahoma passed a law forbidding compliance with the act.

    What the above sentence should say is: Congress sold us out to DHS and biometric companies that are tracking & profiting from a national biometric ID program!

    This is 100% B.S. we need to repeal this spying program now!

    Didn’t the ‘greatest generation’ (WWII) fight to preserve four American Freedoms:

    1.) Freedom Of Speech & Expression
    2.) Freedom Of Worship
    3.) Freedom From Want (economic freedom, living a healthy peacetime life)
    4.) Freedom From Fear (NSA, CIA, DHS/Police, etc.)

    1. The corrupt U.S. Government is allowing the unlawful DHS to subvert every American’s natural right to freely travel in their own country.

  4. Is the CDC being run by the TSA? CDC tells airlines to ‘treat all body fluids as infectious’

    “Treat all body fluids as though they are infectious,” said the latest CDC update to airlines. The update notes that if Ebola is suspected, aircraft can be cleaned mid-flight. The update is apparently meant to stress the rights airlines have to block anyone who appears “ill” from boarding.

    A U.S. Department of Transportation rule permits airlines to deny boarding to air travelers with serious contagious diseases that could spread during flight, including travelers with possible Ebola symptoms. This rule applies to all flights of U.S. airlines, and to direct flights (no change of planes) to or from the United States by foreign airlines.

  5. Don’t Make Fun Of False-Flag Terrorism: Passenger Ejected From Flight Over Notebook Doodles:

    A Melbourne man was hauled off a Tiger Airways flight by federal police on Saturday after claims he was seen doodling and writing sentences in a notebook satirising the current terrorism threat.

    The incident has highlighted the growing sensitivity among officialdom and the public following the decision of the Abbott government to raise the national threat level and a series of raids were staged against alleged home-grown Islamic fundamentalist terrorists linked to the Islamic State movement.

    Oliver Buckworth, 28, claims he was removed from a Gold Coast-bound flight after a fellow passenger saw the contents of his notebook over his shoulder and informed Tiger staff.

    “The irony is I was writing a sentence about the absurdity of the fearmongering when we live in such a happy country of ice-cream and beaches and fluffy things,” he said.

  6. Big Brother Warning: Fingerprint, retina scans considered for border crossing security

    Canadian and U.S. security officials are considering new advanced technology features, such as fingerprinting and retina scanning, to improve the border crossing between Windsor, Ont., and Detroit.

    Delegates to the U.S. and Canada Border Conference in Detroit learned how security will change once the new cross-border bridge is constructed between west Windsor and Detroit, and set to open in 2020.

    Officials spoke of eliminating paperwork, and using mobile apps, self-serving booths and new fingerprinting technology and retina scans as some of the options.

    One of the border-crossing systems already in use is the Nexus card. An extensive background check is needed for anyone who gets a card, which can get them through customs and across the border in about 20 seconds, compared to an average of about 45 to 75 seconds without a card.

    Bill Anderson, the research chair in cross border transportation at the University of Windsor, was at the conference. He explains the Nexus cards use radio frequency identification (RFID), which is now being used in U.S. passports.

    1. If my Passport isn’t good enough they can keep their stupid Nexus card. I’m not bound by any law keeping me within the borders of the USA. Illegals come into the USA country by the thousands, yet the worthless Fedgov seeks to entrap lawful Citizens in their worthless system.

  7. GAO audit confirms TSA shift to pre-crime profiling of all air travelers:

    A Congressional hearing last week on the so-called “Secure Flight” system for “screening” domestic air travelers confirmed that the TSA has completed a shift from blacklist and whitelist matching to a comprehensive real-time pre-crime profiling system that assigns each air traveler a “risk assessment” score on the four-step scale we’ve previously described and which is illustrated above in the latest GAO report.

    Redacted versions of three audit reports on Secure Flight by the Government Accountability Office (1, 2, 3) were made public in conjunction with GAO testimony at the hearing. According to one of those reports, “Secure Flight” started out as a blacklist and whitelist matching system:

    Since implementation began in January 2009, the Secure Flight system has identified high-risk passengers by matching SFPD [against the No Fly List and the Selectee List, subsets of the Terrorist Screening Database (TSDB), the U.S. government’s consolidated watchlist of known or suspected terrorists maintained by the Terrorist Screening Center, a multiagency organization administered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)…. To carry out this matching, the Secure Flight system conducts automated matching of passenger and watchlist data to identify a pool of passengers who are potential matches to the No Fly and Selectee Lists. Next, the system compares all potential matches against the TSA Cleared List, a list of individuals who have applied to, and been cleared through, the DHS redress process.

    But that’s not how it works any more. According to the same GAO report:

    Since January 2009, the Secure Flight program has changed from one that identifies high-risk passengers by matching them against the No Fly and Selectee Lists to one that assigns passengers a risk category: high risk, low risk, or unknown risk. Specifically, Secure Flight now identifies passengers as high risk if they are matched to watchlists of known or suspected terrorists or other lists developed using certain high-risk criteria, as low risk if they are deemed eligible for expedited screening through TSA Pre-Check — a 2011 initiative to preapprove passengers for expedited screening — or through the application of low-risk rules, and as unknown risk if they do not fall within the other two risk categories. To separate passengers into these risk categories, TSA utilizes lists in addition to the No Fly and Selectee Lists, and TSA has adapted the Secure Flight system to perform risk assessments, a new system functionality that is distinct from both watchlist matching and matching against lists of known travelers.


  8. A special TSA “whitelist,” allows lawmakers and other govt officials breeze past airport security:

    Members of Congress may have helped create the nightmare that is flying in America after Sept. 11, but they no longer have to endure it.

    Under a special Transportation Security Administration “whitelist,” lawmakers and other government officials breeze past airport security. The TSA claims it’s all about efficiency — but critics at the American Civil Liberties Union say it’s undemocratic.

    Under the TSA’s Precheck program, 447 members of Congress have elected to skip to the head of the line, according to a Sept. 18 Government Accountability Office report. Members of the general public can and do join Precheck as well, but have to pay to go through an application process that includes being fingerprinted. And they don’t get a helping hand from the TSA’s legislative affairs office.

    “Insulating lawmakers, judges, and other decision-makers from the burdens and inconveniences of air travel does not serve the interests of democracy and fairness,” charged Hugh Handeyside of the ACLU in a blog post. “When the government makes status-based decisions about aviation security, it pits Joe Congressman against Joe Sixpack, and unsurprisingly, the congressman comes out ahead.”

    Under Precheck, passengers do not have to endure the humbling ritual of removing their belts and shoes to get through security. Nor are they sent through body scanners, wiped for explosives or patted down.

    The special congressional list has been active since January 2013. But legislators aren’t the only ones skipping past long security lines. The Department of Homeland Security has also included dozens of members of its Homeland Security Advisory Council — many of them executives at highly capitalized government security contractors — on the Precheck list.

    Millions of military personnel and civilian Defense Department employees, as well as 79 Medal of Honor recipients, are also on lists. And so are 70,000 intelligence agency employees who hold top secret security clearances.

  9. Take it from an airport security agent: it’s OK to laugh at toothpaste terror threats:

    Common item + bomb + plot = justified military action and hassle at airports. Deodorant bomb plot? Sure, why the hell not? Sounds scary. Send in the drones, confiscate all the Old Spice.

    There have been conflicting reports as to how “imminent” the Khorasan group’s aviation attack really was. But regardless of whether these alleged terrorist masterminds had their favorite sweaters weaponized and ready to blow, or were just sort of thinking about it, exactly what are we supposed to feel when confronted with news of such counter-terror campaigns carried out on our behalf? Relief and fear? Relief that our military may have neutralized a tube of toothpaste, and fear that the next Hollywood-ready plot is still imminently lurking out there?

    Having worked for the Transportation Security Administration for six years, I actually think laughter is one appropriate response. It’s hard not to see the funny facets of a never-ending campaign against a nebulous enemy (Axis of Evil a decade ago, Network of Death today) in which you are issued a terror intelligence memorandum detailing the standard operating procedure for the confiscation of cupcakes. (“Cupcakes have got to have a reasonable level of icing to be allowed onto a plane,” one TSA manager advised us.)

    My former co-workers and I are not the only ones who found some of this stuff funny. In 2012, the international relations scholar Charlotte Heath-Kelly argued in a paper in the European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research that the War on Terror can be viewed as the lovechild of Franz Kafka and Monty Python as much as that of any vice president and foreign minister.

    “The War on Terror undermines itself by narrating a liminal space where its claims of security appear ridiculous,” Heath-Kelly writes. “A failure to laugh consolidates the War on Terror discourse and the joke it is playing on us by taking it seriously.”


  10. Government employees and politicians get special status from TSA:

    Government employees and politicians get preferential treatment from the Transportation Security Administration simply for being government employees and politicians.

    That’s the conclusion drawn by Hugh Handeyside, a staff attorney for the ACLU, who reviewed a recent audit of the TSA, every traveler’s favorite government pseudo-police force.

    In case you missed it, Watchdog reported last week the GAO says the TSA doesn’t really have a handle on how many people end up boarding airplanes despite being on the so-called “no fly list.” The TSA uses literally dozens of different lists provided by federal law enforcement agencies to determine which travelers should be singled out for extra screening or should not be allowed to fly, no matter how much screening they receive.

    But the keen legal minds at the ACLU caught another serious problem.

    Handeyside says keeping all those separate lists — and “blacklisting” some people while “whitelisting” others — is probably unconstitutional and is “stretching the concept of watchlisting to the breaking point.”

    “Not only has the Transportation Security Administration expanded its use of blacklistsfor security screening to identify passengers who may be “unknown threats,” but it also has compiled vast whitelists of individuals — including members of Congress, federal judges, and millions of Department of Defense personnel — who are automatically eligible for expedited screening at airports,” Handeyside wrote. “These changes have made a broken watchlisting system even more arbitrary, unfair, and discriminatory.”

    Read More:

  11. Authorities Think About Telling You If You’re On The TSA Watchlist:

    The Obama Administration might have to start letting people know when they’ve been flagged for terrorist connections based on information picked up from secret NSA spying programs.

    That could potentially affect the tens of thousands of individuals on the government’s no fly list, as well as those people and groups that the Treasury Department designates as foreign terrorists, The New York Times reported yesterday.

  12. The Airlines can go bankrupt. I refuse to molested, thieved. and interrogated by silly TSO’s who couldn’t get a job at Walmart.

  13. Irony: DHS Releases 2014 Privacy Report

    DHS released the 2014 Privacy Office Annual Report to Congress. The report describes a joint review conducted with the European Commission regarding the transfer of EU Passenger Name Records to the US. The European Commission found the redress mechanisms were lacking for passengers denied boarding.

    The Commission also found that DHS would often review passenger records without a legal reason. The Annual Report describes the sixth Compliance Review of the department’s social media monitoring program.

    Click to access dhs-privacy-office-2014-annual-report-FINAL.pdf

    1. Because, DHS is A r b i t r a r y . . .

      DHS will ‘steal and reveal’ any information they want, but then deny any responsibility for giving an account to anyone, as they routinely ignore the U.S. Congress.

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