Category Archive 'Airline Security'
01 Dec 2010

“Help You Make It To Your Flight”

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Buck Howdy’s song tribute to the TSA.

Via Theo.

25 Nov 2010

She Just Travels in a Bikini

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NBC Los Angeles reports on one young lady’s solution to TSA’s security procedures.

Thousands of passengers were expected Wednesday at LAX, but only one left little to the imagination.

“I’m wearing my bikini,” Corinne Theile said as she unbuttoned her overcoat outside the terminal to reveal a black two-piece. “It’s not that I’m concerned, it’s that I feel like the TSA is making travelers feel uncomfortable, and I feel like we can have security measures that don’t make people feel uncomfortable.

“Every time I go through security I always say, ‘I don’t even know why I got dressed this morning.’ I end up taking off belts, jewelry and everything else off anyway,” Theile said.

“I don’t want to do a body scan, and I’m hoping by wearing a bikini they will see everything they need to see and we can avoid a pat-down, as well,” she said.

After arriving at her destination, Theile told NBCLA over the phone that the TSA agents got a laugh out of her outfit.

“The woman looked at me and said, ‘Girl, you wearing a bikini. Come right through.’ She had a big smile on her face,” Theile said. “I think this might be the way I travel from here on out.

23 Nov 2010

Abolish the TSA

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Mark Hyman knows what needs to be done with regard to airline security, abolish the contemptible and offensive TSA and abandon political correctness, start following Israel’s example and profile.

It is long past time to disband the TSA. Replace it with an effective, free market system that actually works.

Critics of the TSA’s naked body scanners and intrusive pat-downs (including its genital probing) miss the biggest problem with this agency. It is the TSA’s premise that the 89-year old great-grandmother in a walker, the soccer team comprised of 11-year old girls, the two-year old toddler on the family vacation, the airline crewmember and the soldier traveling home from Iraq pose the same potential threat to airline safety as the Middle Eastern man traveling alone, without luggage, on a one-way First Class ticket that was purchased with cash. The TSA is fueled by political correctness run amuck. Its sole accomplishments to date have been establishing a sizable airport presence and humiliating passengers.

For a number of years following 9/11 I regularly flew between Baltimore and Atlanta. I was saddened at the all-too-frequent sight of a soldier dressed in his camouflage uniform on the way to or from his two-week R&R with boots off and the contents of his backpack strewn across the floor as a TSA agent nosed through the belongings to see what potential threat faced other air travelers.

No one has been spared the unwarranted indignities and gross violations of privacy perpetrated by the TSA.

In 2002, then-75 year old Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) was forced to strip down to his underwear because his artificial hip set-off alarms on the magnetometer. The issue is not that Dingell should undergo the same invasive inspections as everyone else. Instead, it is that the 99% of American airline passengers who do not raise meaningful red flags should not be subjected to such invasive inspections. (As an aside, I happen to believe members of Congress pose a greater threat to the American way of life when they are voting than when flying.)

Then-U.S. Senator Conrad Burns (R-MT) was asked to produce a picture I.D. at the Washington National Airport security screening area before a 2002 trip. Reagan National is the airport used by nearly every member of Congress when flying. Burns showed the TSA screener his U.S. Senate identification. The official refused to accept the government-issued I.D. but allowed Burns to proceed to his flight when he produced his Sam’s Club shopping card as proof of identification.

Retired Brigadier General and former South Dakota Governor Joe Foss nearly lost his Medal of Honor when TSA officials threatened to confiscate it from him during a 2002 screening of his carry-on belongings. Believing the medal could be used as a weapon, the TSA screeners fortunately relented when the 86-year old showed them a photograph of President Franklin Roosevelt presenting the medal to him for his WWII heroics.

In 2003, a U.S. Army medic who was wounded in Afghanistan when he was shot in the jaw was grossly mishandled at San Francisco International Airport. His jaw wired shut, the soldier was given a small pair of wire clippers to use in the event he became air sick in order to keep from choking on his vomit. TSA officials confiscated his wire clippers and he was forced to fly from San Francisco to Texas even though flight attendants informed him there was nothing on board the aircraft to open his jaw in an emergency.

In 2004, a chartered airline flight rotating an Army unit back to the U.S. from an Afghanistan deployment was stranded on the tarmac at San Francisco airport for hours during a layover. The troops were not permitted to deplane to purchase food and drink nor to use the bathroom. TSA officials ruled the soldiers posed a threat to airport security because the unit’s weapons were stored in the cargo hold of the aircraft.

This quarantine of troops returning from combat is not isolated. A planeload of servicemen were detained at nearby Oakland airport on their last layover while en route Hawaii in 2007 after departing Kuwait a day earlier. In spite of having all baggage x-rayed and hand-searched before boarding their aircraft in southwest Asia, the troops were ordered by TSA to deplane near an outdoor baggage handling area if they wanted to stretch their legs. TSA prohibited them from entering the terminal as they posed a threat to airport safety. Troops returning from Vietnam may have been spat upon but at least they were permitted to visit the snack bar and men’s room.

Last year a retired assistant police chief who observed she had been chosen for additional screening with uncanny regularity during her frequent travels asked a TSA screener why it appeared so many women had been selected for secondary screening on that particular day. The answer, said the screener, was that cross-gender pat-downs were not permitted and on that TSA shift there was a shortage of male screeners so women were singled-out for further scrutiny.

One commercial airline pilot confided his frustration at continually being subjected to x-ray screenings and pat-downs. He told me that in the first 1500 feet of elevation after take-off and the last 1500 feet before touch-down that no other crewmember in the cockpit could prevent him from using the jetliner as the ultimate weapon if he wanted to fly the aircraft into the ground. “I’m in complete control and no one can stop me.”

Another commercial pilot who is a licensed Federal Flight Deck Officer and is permitted to carry a sidearm onboard his aircraft reports that half of the time after checking in with the TSA he is whisked through security. The rest of the time he is instructed to place his weapon in his carry-on bag and run it through the x-ray machine to determine if he possesses any objects that might pose a threat in flight. It is as if the script writers on Saturday Night Live are making up the rules.

It is not as if the TSA is a highly professional workforce merely following asinine rules. In 2003, TSA baggage screeners at La Guardia airport were given the answers in advance of their certification exam to ensure an appropriate number of screeners were cleared to work. …

Congressman John Mica (R-FL) reported that under the watchful eye of the TSA, at least 17 known terrorists evaded screeners and traveled on 23 occasions from eight U.S. airports utilizing SPOT methodologies. Among these was the failed Times Square bomber who was apprehended just prior to boarding his flight to Dubai. Meanwhile, TSA screeners continue to poke, grope and fondle longtime airline crewmembers who are merely trying to do their job.

Earlier this year, the Washington Post reported that “at least 23” TSA workers have been fired since 2007 for stealing from passengers. There are numerous reports of TSA workers having also been fired for drug use, perpetrating pranks on passengers and other misbehavior. From a numerical standpoint, more TSA employees than terrorists have been caught who pose a threat to Americans.

The rash of reports of TSA officials humiliating passengers and overstepping the bounds of common decency underscore the agency is indeed broken. One surmises it is only a matter of time before it is discovered that naked body scanner operators are swapping graphic images of runway models and other attractive people who are forced to enter the voyeurs’ playground. …

Obviously U.S. airports require a competent security screening program. Two programs offer a model. Anyone who has crossed from Tijuana into California at the busiest border crossing in the world has witnessed U.S. border agents who observe, profile and question the public in order to narrow the field to those who legitimately require secondary inspection.

The same is true of the system at Tel Aviv Airport. Airline security officials in Israel are not required to be politically correct and give the third degree to a Danish school teacher on holiday for every Palestinian they further scrutinize. Israel’s El Al Airlines has had a rather impressive security record and it does not rely on humiliating elderly widows or terrorizing toddlers.

22 Nov 2010

Iowahawk: “Comply With Me”

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21 Nov 2010

Viral Email Humor

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When public policies begin attracting this kind of ridicule and bitter satire from the general population, intelligent leaders would change the policies. The American establishment, e.g., both Bush & Obama, cannot produce intelligent leaders anymore as our educational system is far more successful at inculcating self-confidence and self-entitlement on the basis of the credentials it issues than it is at inculcating common sense. American leaders don’t listen to the people; they listen to credentialed, well-qualified advisers and commentators who, chances are, have their heads equally up the very same place.

Hat tip to Ann Althouse via Matador Network.

20 Nov 2010

TSA Announces Facebook Integration For Full Body Scanners

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Wonder-Tonic:

John Pistole, the head of the Transportation Security Administration, announced yesterday that full body scanners at airports across the nation will be seamlessly integrated with Facebook next month, allowing travelers to save, tag, and share their near-naked security photos with friends, family, and co-workers through the popular social networking site.

Hat tip to Walter Olson.

19 Nov 2010

“Don’t Touch My Junk”

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Charles Krauthammer celebrates the latest American folk hero, the 31-year-old programmer who sparked a nationwide revolt against against the Kafkaesque indignities visited upon ordinary travelers by the Transportation Safety Authority.

John Tyner, cleverly armed with an iPhone to give YouTube immortality to the encounter, took exception to the TSA guard about to give him the benefit of Homeland Security’s newest brainstorm – the upgraded, full-palm, up the groin, all-body pat-down. In a stroke, the young man ascended to myth, or at least the next edition of Bartlett’s, warning the agent not to “touch my junk.”

Not quite the 18th-century elegance of “Don’t Tread on Me,” but the age of Twitter has a different cadence from the age of the musket. What the modern battle cry lacks in archaic charm, it makes up for in full-body syllabic punch. …

That riff is a crowd-pleaser because everyone knows that the entire apparatus of the security line is a national homage to political correctness. Nowhere do more people meekly acquiesce to more useless inconvenience and needless indignity for less purpose. Wizened seniors strain to untie their shoes; beltless salesmen struggle comically to hold up their pants; 3-year-olds scream while being searched insanely for explosives – when everyone, everyone, knows that none of these people is a threat to anyone.

The ultimate idiocy is the full-body screening of the pilot. The pilot doesn’t need a bomb or box cutter to bring down a plane. All he has to do is drive it into the water, like the EgyptAir pilot who crashed his plane off Nantucket while intoning “I rely on God,” killing all on board.

But we must not bring that up. We pretend that we go through this nonsense as a small price paid to ensure the safety of air travel. Rubbish. This has nothing to do with safety – 95 percent of these inspections, searches, shoe removals and pat-downs are ridiculously unnecessary. The only reason we continue to do this is that people are too cowed to even question the absurd taboo against profiling – when the profile of the airline attacker is narrow, concrete, uniquely definable and universally known. So instead of seeking out terrorists, we seek out tubes of gel in stroller pouches.

The junk man’s revolt marks the point at which a docile public declares that it will tolerate only so much idiocy. Metal detector? Back-of-the-hand pat? Okay. We will swallow hard and pretend airline attackers are randomly distributed in the population.

But now you insist on a full-body scan, a fairly accurate representation of my naked image to be viewed by a total stranger? Or alternatively, the full-body pat-down, which, as the junk man correctly noted, would be sexual assault if performed by anyone else?

This time you have gone too far, Big Bro’. The sleeping giant awakes. Take my shoes, remove my belt, waste my time and try my patience. But don’t touch my junk.

17 Nov 2010

Who Put Government’s Hand in America’s Crotch?

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Taiwan’s animated news service pokes fun at America’s resort to electronic strip searches and crotch fondling.

The Washington Times is right that the recent move to humiliating invasions of personal privacy represents a deliberate policy choosing universal indignity over profiling, but I think they are wrong to identify the TSA’s practices and politically correct ideology as the invention of the Obama Administration. That infernal organization was created by the Bush Administration, and it was the Bush Administration that appointed the original officials who established its keynote policies of security theater and political correctness.

10 Mar 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

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I bet it would work on democrats, too.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

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The federal government has nearly doubled the no-fly list since the Xmas bomb attempt.

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“There goes my life’s work.”
George Monbiot (the original moonbat) laments the impact of Climategate. The experts, he observes, are “Like squabbling evangelical churches in the 19th century, they can form as many schismatic sects as they like, nobody is listening to them any more.”

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The recent New Yorker profile of Paul Krugman features some particularly fine examples of superbia.

“We were the only textbook that incorporated the financial crisis, as we were chronically late. We were supposed to have the manuscript delivered in August or September, and by October we were still working, and we just said, ‘We can’t send it out like this, too much is going on.’ We were really in nail-biting territory, because you have to get it to the printers by a certain date or you miss the academic year.”

“We were right in the middle of that when the Nobel Prize committee called, and Robin’s reaction was ‘We don’t have time for this! …

“Paul is really averse to being drawn into a social network, to being groomed,” Wells says. “He doesn’t go to Washington because he doesn’t want to fall into that. As a spouse, you have your little list of things that you jokingly won’t forgive your spouse for. Right after he started writing for the Times and attacking George Bush, we got an invitation to have dinner with Paul Newman and his wife, but he wouldn’t go. And now he’s dead.”

“It was inconvenient,” Krugman says. “I just don’t get any joy out of thinking, Oh, here I am with the movers and shakers. It would have required really discombobulating my schedule just to be able to say I’d had dinner with Paul Newman, and it’s not worth it.”

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Richard Murphy explains to his readers why he fights.

    Tory parliamentary candidates have undergone training by a rightwing group whose leadership has described the NHS as “the biggest waste of money in the UK”, claimed global warming is “a scam” and suggested that the waterboarding of prisoners can be justified.

This is the reality of the libertarian right – openly hostile to humanity at large, embracing abuses of human rights, putting profits before else, contemptuous of the needs of the majority, denying facts when it suits them, seeking to destroy society as we know it, and wishing to make life for most considerably worse than it is now to advance their own enrichment.

That’s why I take them on here – and the bogus economics some of them use to support their arguments.

24 Feb 2010

Pope Criticizes Full Body Scanners

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Jean-Léon Gérôme, Next Year at Airline Security, 1867, private collection.

I was appalled by the reactions of my classmates to news that the officialdom was responding internationally to the failed Christmas Eve underwear bombing by adding electronic strip searches to the pointless forms of harassment and humiliation inflicted on ordinary citizens of Western countries, in order to avoid singling out for special attention exotic representatives of the backward and benighted regions of Barbaria where the teachings of Mahound commonly inspire fanatical intolerance and a lust for blood.

There were all kinds of crude jokes about how trivial issues of personal modesty are by comparison to safety, and how happy they all would be to stripped completely naked in mixed company in order to avoid injury or death. This from a bunch of men over 60, who in general, doubtless, have plenty of reason for personal objection.

I thought myself that this particular measure represented a particularly apt metonymy for a number of the objectionable aspects of the contemporary liberal perspective: the eager submission and thoroughgoing surrender of everything, including personal dignity and privacy, to official authority; the elevation of egalitarianism to a position of absolute supremacy over any and every other value; cowardice and materialism; and limitless obeisance to the Other, combined with a complete disregard for either female modesty or human dignity.

The Telegraph reports that at least one modern leader actually is on the record objecting to the new full body scanners.

The Pope made his comments during an audience with airport workers held at the Vatican.

Although the Pontiff did not mention the words body scanner it was clear what he meant as he told the 1,200 strong crowd: “Every action, it is above all essential to protect and value the human person in their integrity.

“Respecting these principles can seem particularly complex and difficult in the present context.

“The economic crisis has had problematic effects on the civil aviation sector, the international terrorist threat which, precisely, has in its line of fire airports and aircraft to realise its destructive schemes.

“Even in this situation, one must never forget that respecting the primacy of the human person and attention to his or her needs does not make the service less efficient nor penalise economic management.”

31 Jan 2010

Al Qaeda Planning Surgically-Implanted Bombs

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Body scanners and even cavity searches are unlikely to prove effective against the latest apparent tactic being planned al Qaeda’s suicide bombers.

The Daily Mail reports:

Britain is facing a new Al Qaeda terror threat from suicide ‘body bombers’ with explosives surgically inserted inside them.

Until now, terrorists have attacked airlines, Underground trains and buses by secreting bombs in bags, shoes or underwear to avoid detection.

But an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time. …

A leading source added that male bombers would have the explosive secreted near their appendix or in their buttocks, while females would have the material placed inside their breasts in the same way as figure-enhancing implants.

Experts said the explosive PETN (Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate) would be placed in a plastic sachet inside the bomber’s body before the wound was stitched up like a normal operation incision and allowed to heal.
Umar Farouk Abdulutallab

Failed attempt: Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb sewn into his pants

A shaped charge of 8oz of PETN can penetrate five inches of armour and would easily blow a large hole in an airliner.

Security sources said the explosives would be detonated by the bomber using a hypodermic syringe to inject TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide) through their skin into the explosives sachet.

Western security measures can never be 100% effective against the efforts of suicidal fanatics to destroy innocent lives. The real answers lie in eliminating funding for terrorism, and by applying a principle of reciprocity to discourage attacks on non-combatants. The West needs, first, to destroy the OPEC oil cartel and remove the economic surplus from Islamic hands. Secondly, Western governments should promise that any new successful mass attack on civilian populations in Europe or the United States will result in a retaliatory attack on a target as valuable in the eyes of our barbarous and fanatical adversaries as innocent lives are to us. We should take the advice of Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo, and promise that, if another mass attack on the West occurs, we will permanently destroy the Muslim holy site of Mecca.

12 Jan 2010

Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

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CBS: Obama’s approval rating on health care hits all-time low. 36 percent of Americans approve; 54 percent disapprove.

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WSJ: “The House version of ObamaCare is more destructive than the Senate version, though that’s like comparing Krakatoa and Mount Vesuvius.”

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Eliot A. Cohen, in the Wall Street Journal: “J. K. Rowling has given her readers a more thorough understanding of Lord Voldemort than the West’s leaders have given their populations of whom we fight, what really animates them, and what the challenges that lie ahead will be.”

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TSA is lying to the public. 2008 Federal specs require full body imaging machines to be able to record, store, and transmit digital strip search images. (EPIC.org) They’d obviously be a lot less fun for those airline security rent-a-cops if they couldn’t.

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