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Confessions of a former TSA agent

This sounds just like what we all have or will encounter. Happy flying !! Love them or hate them, Transportation Security Administration agents get a lot of criticism and media attention as they work to keep our skies safe. ( More...

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Jim Quinn 3
Irony at its best: Sunday, September 9, 2001 I was having dinner with a large group of friends when the subject of airline security came up, and since I was the weekly flyer in the group I was asked what my thoughts were about airport screeners/security at that time. I gave my opinion that the screeners were an absolute waste of money, and that they should simply be eliminated because they were poorly trained, minimum-wage unmotivated people who were hired by low-bid companies that were paid by the airlines. Everyone seemed to be horrified! They had no idea about how these folks were not properly trained, ineffective and they had no idea that the screeners were private contractors. I said that I'd rather forgo the so-called security screening process and take my chances since the process was so lame! I felt that the hassle was not worth the time and would rather not be bothered, especially knowing that these folks were not doing their jobs properly anyway. Two days later, of course, I was proven to be spot-on in my assessment but oh, how I wished that I'd not spoken on the subject. Now I do feel that the security is much more effective but I did not like the idea of having 45,000 new government employees added to our 'overhead' with their salaries and benefits, etc., and more and more I see the private contractors being brought back into the fold.
AccessAir 3
That point is actually not true because back then, box cutters WERE ALLOWED to be carried on airlines in carry-ons per the FAA....
It was a stupid rule written into the FAA regulations that allowed this to happen....It was not a breach of any security...
I was trained as a Ground Security Co-Ordinator to screen passengers at our small Midwestern Airport when I worked for Great Lakes Airlines, from 1997 to 1999. In security training (my Station Manager was also our regional security trainer for Great Lakes) I had asked about this, why blades under four inches were allowed in carry-ons. I challenged it...but there it was in the Regs...It was allowed...
So, what the hijackers did was to exploit an obvious oversight written into the FAA regulations because they knew they were within their, then, legal rights to carry on the tools of their attacks...
If blame is to be dolled out, it should rest squarely on the shoulders of the FAA!!!!
Jim Quinn 1
Good point indeed! I stand corrected, however my experience was that in many airports the attitudes and professionalism exhibited by the security personnel were nowhere near as good as they are today.
You are INCORRECT. They are Federal Agents and they are certified and sworn in. They are not Law Enforcement Agents.That's not their job. They do not enforce laws, but they do enforce rules and regulations. They are Federal Agents. Also, there are many other Federal Agents other than the TSA that are sworn in and certified that do not enforce laws.
Ron Shelton 2
They are NOT agents. They are not certified,sworn law enforcement officers in any capacity. Outside the security line they have no authority. There is no law, federal, state or local that gives them authority for what they do. If they did in public what they do on the job they would all be on a sex offender list. They have never caught an actual offender and until they focus on the group most likely to commit an act of terrorism they will never catch an offender. The TSA is an enourmous waste; PC run amok.
Ur Mom 3
I believe you will find the law requiring screening operations be performed by federal employees in Public Law 107-71, the "Aviation and Transportation Security Act" of 2001. In SEC. 110 it states "The Under Secretary of Transportation for Security shall provide for the screening of all passengers and property, including United States mail, cargo, carry-on and checked baggage, and other articles, that will be carried aboard a passenger aircraft operated by an air carrier or foreign air carrier in air transportation or intrastate air transportation. In the case of flights and flight segments originating in the United States, the screening shall take place before boarding and shall be carried out by a Federal Government employee (as defined in section 2105 of title 5 United States Code), except as otherwise provided in section 44919 or 44920 and except for identifying passengers and baggage for screening under the CAPPS and known shipper programs and conducting positive bag-match programs."
Admittedly, portions of this wording are no longer current with the subsequent creation of DHS and the creation of new programs related to prescreening of passengers. New systems and programs have also been established with the intent to provide better screening of air cargo. Public Law 108-458, SEC. 4012 mandated the creation of what has become TSA's Secure Flight program which is why we are now compelled to provide our full name, DOB, and gender when purchasing a plane ticket.

Please check out the following laws, as enacted by Congress:

I encourage everyone associated with the airline industry both in a formal capacity or as an enthusiast to actually review the laws relevant to TSA and the DHS mission. You don't have to enjoy the screening process or agree with its implementation and I ask that you treat TSA employees only with as much respect as they treat you. TSA is a far from perfect organization but it was created by the United States Congress in an effort to combat a threat that was thrust from relatively low probability to three smoking piles of wreckage on a beautifully crisp September morning. There are myriad problems with accomplishing the mission of airport security no matter what country you are from.

Keep the discourse lively and civil, and where necessary hold the elected officials and policy makers honest with your vote. Our country and its government are not perfect but there is still no other country on Earth I'd rather live.
You are incorrect. They are Federal Agents and they are certified and sworn in. They are not Law Enforcement Agents, but they are Federal Agents.
Daniel Baker 0
Why aren't they agents? They work at the TSA and represent the agency, right? Just like Ticket Agents for an

I think your concern is about the term "officer," which is sometimes used (although not in this article)
iflyfsx 1
"as they work to keep our skies safe"??? Only a first-class dimwit would believe this agency is keeping anyone "safe."
Just ridiculous...
All I can say is 2012 is not 2001. In eleven years some things have changed and modifications are in order. So far the modifications we have made seem to have done nothing to streamline or enhance the system. Up to this point mostly all we have done is throw more people and money at the problem and hope it works.
Bill Eckrich 1
We ought to run airport security like they do in Europe. TSA agents would be armed and authorize to take any and all action up to and including deadly force. Those of you who have traveled to Europe know what I mean. Carbine-toting soldiers patrolling the airport. Ever wonder why Israel has few problems at the airports? The U.S. is not serious about airport security and needs to take a serious cue from your European friends.
Bill Eckrich 1
Should be "our" European friends. Fat fingers tonight.
Scott Campbell 1
Well folks they still allow glasses in bars and in first class, so anyone can go to the bathroom break a glass and have a hundred knives,'s not if it happens again but when....wake up America the TSA can't stop insanity.............
DashTrash 1
Which is why we need to keep the FFDO program.
Clive Peterson 1
TSA agents are a mere dog and pony show, making general uninformed public think they are doing a security job. NOW as for the bins, to heck with you, I put a lot of money , if you will in those bins..expensive wristwatch and other expensive items camera etc, I am NOT getting far away from my bin AND if some butt wipe finds gee I better dump this before getting caught with it, slips it in your bin!! See any problems here?? Missed flight, police FBI
Scott Campbell 1
Oh my God! Another "It's all Bush's fault?" How long do we have to hear this sad refrain? It's a broken record. Throw it away already!

We have to hear it forever he is the cause of everything including your birth LOL
Pileits -2
No thanks to George Bush creating the TSA
Joseph Girone 0
Oh my God! Another "It's all Bush's fault?" How long do we have to hear this sad refrain? It's a broken record. Throw it away already!
Boatinman -1
Thank You!
stol701 -5
......and running a once great country into the ground.
Boatinman 1
Wow. That's all I have to say about that statement. What has it been..3 years now? Better off?
In all fairness, it takes a while to clean up a mess, despite who created it...
Troy Raiteri 2
THANK YOU! Bush ran our asses into the ground and left Obama to clean up the mess...meanwhile still trying to get Bush's mess cleaned the citizens of American instantly jump on Obama for "not doing anything" wait till another president is elected and watch how many of his "supporters" and how he's gonna change the whole freaking world and once he sits in that oval office power goes right to his head and sits there doing nothing...cycle repeats.repeats....repeats..
Boatinman 0
OK well then when does it become Obama's problem? Explain to me how this is all Bush's fault, especially when the republicans only held congress for the first half of his presidency. The democrats held both the house and the senate the last four years. If you know how our government works, then you know that at that point, they were able to do virtually whatever they wanted.
Troy Raiteri 1
Isn't it clear? Apparently everyone lost hope in Obama from Month 4 during his time of president after that everyone just gave up saying "it's another Bush" well that's about 50% right. And I'm not into politics at all like the average Joe on the street I'm just pointing out what's right and facts here.
stol701 1
And that's exactly the problem, they do whatever they want, not what we want.
stol701 1
No....much worse off, but give credit where credit is due. Until our current moron in chief, the great GW did more to ruin us then anyone before him. Can't wait to see who is next.


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