The TSA Follies

Airport security is in good hands with the Transportation Security Administration . . . and monkeys might fly out of my butt.

The TSA’s new motto is “Vigilant, Effective, Efficient.’ Let’s see about that. Here are four examples of how the TSA seems to be, well, a bad joke.


WKMG-TV in Orlando, Fla., did an undercover investigation at Orlando International Airport to see just how vigilant TSA employees were, by leaving bags unattended at various locations around the airport and filming the results. Not surprisingly, nobody seemed to notice, not even the bag left unattended right outside the Aviation Authority offices. Airport officials admitted their mistake and vowed to improve their training and vigilance. But the reaction of Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.), who chairs the House aviation subcommittee, was sad. “Does that really pose a risk?’ Mica asked. “What kind of damage is that going to do?’

In Portland, Ore., an unencrypted USB flash drive containing the personal information of 500 current and former TSA employees is missing. Nobody knows what happened to it, but they think it wound up in the trash. PDX federal security director Mike Irwin said the information wouldn’t be useful to terrorists, but failed to mention that it would be very useful to identity thieves.


Last week the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger revealed that tests at Newark Liberty International Airport showed that TSA screeners missed 20 of 22 test items, including guns and bomb-making components, in a “Red Team’ test of security. Instead of improving security, however, TSA officials have concerned themselves with finding out who leaked the information to the press. A TSA spokeswoman said that the leak “could compromise the integrity of the screening process and offer the terrorists an undue advantage.’ As if the screening process weren’t already compromised and the terrorists didn’t already have an undue advantage. Stop pretending the security problems don’t exist!


The Federal Air Marshal Service had much more than a booth at the International Association of Chiefs of Police annual convention in Boston last month. They had a complete cutout of an airplane cabin, complete with individual seats with video screens at each seat, playing videos about how FAMS defends America in the skies. But these seats were different: They gave massages. It’s not known how much this extravagant display cost Americans, but you can be sure we didn’t get a massage before or after getting screwed.

If you enjoyed this post, please visit, the completely unofficial site for TSA employees, which provided all of the above links in its mailing list yesterday.