Posts Tagged TSA

Transportation Security Administration drug-smuggling case stems from airport mix-up – CBS News


April 26, 2012 3:21 AM

 

Transportation Security Administration drug-smuggling case stems from airport mix-up

A Transportation Security Administration screener is arrested at Los Angeles International Airport in an alleged drug trafficking scheme in this picture provided by the U.S. Attorney’s Office April 25, 2012. (U.S. Attorney’s Office)

(AP) LOS ANGELES – Duane Eleby, a suspected drug courier, was all set to sneak 10 pounds of cocaine through a security checkpoint at Los Angeles International Airport last February with the help of a former Transportation Security Administration employee and a screener.

Eleby, however, bungled the plan by going to the wrong terminal and was arrested after another TSA screener found the cocaine, which set in motion a series of undercover operations that led to Wednesday’s announcement that two former and current TSA employees had been indicted on federal drug trafficking and bribery charges.

A 22-count indictment outlined five incidents where the TSA employees took payments of up to $2,400 to provide drug couriers unfettered access at LAX over a six-month period last year. In all, seven people are facing charges, including Eleby.

“The allegations in this case describe a significant breakdown of the screening system through the conduct of individuals who placed greed above the nation’s security needs,” said U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr.

TSA screeners charged in LA drug trafficking probe

Among those arrested and charged are Naral Richardson, 30, of Los Angeles, who was fired by TSA for an unrelated matter in 2010 and accused of orchestrating the scheme; John Whitfield, 23, of Los Angeles, a current TSA screener; Joy White, 27, of Compton, who was terminated last year; and Capeline McKinney, 25, of Los Angeles, also a current screener.

It wasn’t immediately known if any of the four had retained attorneys. Authorities didn’t say what post Richardson, who began working for TSA in 2002, once held.

Eleby was given specific written instructions by White last February to ensure his safe passage through the airport, according to the indictment. Instead of going to Terminal 6 where White, who was hired six years ago, was located, Eleby went to Terminal 5 where his plane was scheduled to depart, authorities said.

The plan, court documents show, was to have Eleby use a secure tunnel linking the two terminals after he was allowed through security by White.

Despite Eleby’s arrest, the smuggling scheme continued and federal agents set up a sting where informants were able to pass cocaine and methamphetamine through security checkpoints without further inspection.

In one case, after nearly 8 pounds of meth went through an X-ray machine, Whitfield and an operative met in an airport bathroom where Whitfield was paid $600 for his efforts, court documents show.

In another instance, McKinney let more than 44 pounds of cocaine pass through her security checkpoint, authorities said.

None of the drugs ever made it to their final destination, authorities said.

Randy Parsons, TSA’s security director at LAX, said the agency is disappointed about the arrests but that it remained committed to holding its employees to the highest standards.

If convicted, all four employees face a minimum of 10 years in federal prison. Whitfield, who has worked at TSA since 2008, and McKinney, a seven-year veteran, are under suspension, authorities said.

There have been a handful of other arrests of TSA employees since the agency was created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Last week, former TSA officer Jonathan Best pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute oxycodone for his role in a painkiller trafficking ring. Another former TSA officer, a former New York police officer and a former Florida state trooper have already pleaded guilty.

 Transportation Security Administration drug-smuggling case stems from airport mix-up – CBS News.

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The Associated Press: TSA defends pat-down of 4-year-old at Kan. airport


TSA defends pat-down of 4-year-old at Kan. airport

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press

 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.

The incident has been garnering increasing media and online attention since the child’s mother, Michelle Brademeyer of Montana, detailed the ordeal in a public Facebook post last week. The Transportation Security Administration is defending its agents, despite new procedures aimed at reducing pat-downs of children.

The child’s grandmother, Lori Croft, told The Associated Press that Brademeyer and her daughter, Isabella, initially passed through security at the Wichita airport without incident. The girl then ran over to briefly hug Croft, who was awaiting a pat-down after tripping the alarm, and that’s when TSA agents insisted the girl undergo a physical pat-down.

Isabella had just learned about “stranger danger” at school, her grandmother said, adding that the girl was afraid and unsure about what was going on.

“She started to cry, saying ‘No I don’t want to,’ and when we tried talking to her she ran,” Croft said. “They yelled, ‘We are going to shut down the airport if you don’t grab her.'”

But she said the family’s main concern was the lack of understanding from TSA agents that they were dealing with a 4-year-old child, not a terror suspect.

“There was no common sense and there was no compassion,” Croft said. “That was our biggest fault with the whole thing — not that they are following security procedures, because I understand that they have to do that.”

Brademeyer, of Missoula, Mont., wrote a public Facebook post last week about the April 15 incident, claiming TSA treated her daughter “no better than if she had been a terrorist.” The posting was taken down Wednesday. Another post said the family had filed formal complaints with the TSA and the airport.

The TSA released a statement Tuesday saying it explained to the family why additional security procedures were necessary and that agents didn’t suspect or suggest the child was carrying a firearm.

“TSA has reviewed the incident and determined that our officers followed proper screening procedures in conducting a modified pat-down on the child,” the agency said.

The statement noted that the agency recently implemented modified screening procedures for children age 12 and younger to further reduce the need for pat-downs of children, such as multiple passes through a metal detector and advanced imaging technology.

“These changes in protocol will ultimately reduce — though not eliminate — pat-downs of children,” the statement said. “In this case, however, the child had completed screening but had contact with another member of her family who had not completed the screening process.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, a Montana Democrat, pressed the TSA for more information Wednesday. Tester, a member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said he was concerned the TSA went too far.

“I am a staunch advocate for effective transportation security, but I’m also a strong advocate for common sense and the freedoms we enjoy as Americans,” Tester wrote to TSA Administrator John Pistole. “Any report of abuse of the power entrusted to officers of the TSA is especially concerning — especially if it involves children.”

In a phone interview from her home in Fountain Valley, Calif., Croft said Brademeyer tried to no avail to get TSA agents to use a wand on the frightened girl or allow her to walk through the metal detector again. She also said TSA agents wanted to screen her granddaughter alone in a separate room.

“She was kicking and screaming and fighting and in hysterics,” Croft said. “At that point my daughter ran up to her against TSA’s orders because she said, ‘My daughter is terrified, I can’t leave her.'”

The incident went on for maybe 10 minutes, until a manager came in and allowed agents to pat the girl down while she was screaming but being held by her mother. The family was then allowed to go to their next gate with a TSA agent following them.

Croft said that for the first few nights after coming home, Isabelle had nightmares and talked about kidnappers. She said TSA agents had shouted at the girl, telling her to calm down and saying the suspect wasn’t cooperating.

“To a 4-year-old’s perspective that’s what it was to her because they didn’t explain anything and she did not know what was going on,” Croft said. “She saw people grabbing at her and raising their voices. To her, someone was trying to kidnap her or harm her in some way.”

 The Associated Press: TSA defends pat-down of 4-year-old at Kan. airport.

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Why Airport Security Is Broken—And How to Fix It – WSJ.com


Why Airport Security Is Broken— And How To Fix It

Air travel would be safer if we allowed knives, lighters and liquids and focused on disrupting new terror plots. A former head of the Transportation Security Administration, Kip Hawley, on embracing risk.

By KIP HAWLEY


Airport security in America is broken. I should know. For 3½ years—from my confirmation in July 2005 to President Barack Obama’s inauguration in January 2009—I served as the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

You know the TSA. We’re the ones who make you take off your shoes before padding through a metal detector in your socks (hopefully without holes in them). We’re the ones who make you throw out your water bottles. We’re the ones who end up on the evening news when someone’s grandma gets patted down or a child’s toy gets confiscated as a security risk. If you’re a frequent traveler, you probably hate us.

More than a decade after 9/11, it is a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people whom it is meant to protect. Preventing terrorist attacks on air travel demands flexibility and the constant reassessment of threats. It also demands strong public support, which the current system has plainly failed to achieve.

The crux of the problem, as I learned in my years at the helm, is our wrongheaded approach to risk. In attempting to eliminate all risk from flying, we have made air travel an unending nightmare for U.S. passengers and visitors from overseas, while at the same time creating a security system that is brittle where it needs to be supple.

[TSAjump]Reuters

A TSA agent watches as a traveler undergoes a millimeter-wave scan.

Any effort to rebuild TSA and get airport security right in the U.S. has to start with two basic principles:

First, the TSA’s mission is to prevent a catastrophic attack on the transportation system, not to ensure that every single passenger can avoid harm while traveling. Much of the friction in the system today results from rules that are direct responses to how we were attacked on 9/11. But it’s simply no longer the case that killing a few people on board a plane could lead to a hijacking. Never again will a terrorist be able to breach the cockpit simply with a box cutter or a knife. The cockpit doors have been reinforced, and passengers, flight crews and air marshals would intervene.

Second, the TSA’s job is to manage risk, not to enforce regulations. Terrorists are adaptive, and we need to be adaptive, too. Regulations are always playing catch-up, because terrorists design their plots around the loopholes.

I tried to follow these principles as the head of the TSA, and I believe that the agency made strides during my tenure. But I readily acknowledge my share of failures as well. I arrived in 2005 with naive notions of wrangling the organization into shape, only to discover the power of the TSA’s bureaucratic momentum and political pressures.

There is a way out of this mess—below, I’ll set out five specific ideas for reform—but it helps to understand how we got here in the first place.

The airport checkpoint as we know it today sprang into existence in spring 2002, over a month and a half at Baltimore/Washington International airport. New demands on the system after 9/11, like an exhaustive manual check of all carry-on bags, had left checkpoints overwhelmed by long lines and backlogs. A team of management consultants from Accenture delved into the minutiae of checkpoint activity at BWI: How long did it take to pass from one point to another? How did the behavior of travelers affect line speed? How were people interacting with the equipment?

The consultants had a million ideas for improvement, but with no infrastructure, acquiring even the most ordinary items became a quest. For example, before passengers walked through the metal detectors, they needed to place their keys, jewelry and change into a container. But the long, skinny plastic dishes in use at the time tipped over. So a team member went to PetSmart, bought a bunch of different dog bowls and tested each one. The result was the white bowl with a rubber bottom that’s still in use at many airports. (Please, no jokes about the TSA treating passengers like dogs.)

One brilliant bit of streamlining from the consultants: It turned out that if the outline of two footprints was drawn on a mat in the area for using metal-detecting wands, most people stepped on the feet with no prompting and spread their legs in the most efficient stance. Every second counts when you’re processing thousands of passengers a day.

Members of Congress, who often fly home to their districts for the weekend, had begun demanding wait times of no longer than 10 minutes. But security is always about trade-offs: A two-minute standard would delight passengers but cost billions more in staffing; ignoring wait times would choke the system.

After I was confirmed as TSA administrator in 2005, one of the first things I did in office was to attend screener training at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

I sat down at a computer with Gary, a solidly built guy in his 40s with a mustache and a shaved head. Gary pointed at a screen that simulated the carry-on bag monitors at checkpoints. “What do you see?” he asked, a half smile on his face.

I stared at the series of colorful, ghostly images that Gary froze on the screen and tried to pick an easy one. “Well, that’s a computer or some electronic, there are wires, maybe a battery.” The sharp edges were easy to pick out, and the recognizable pattern of a motherboard jumped out. “But I don’t know about that big orange blob on top of it.”

“Right,” said Gary. “The orange-colored part…. That means it’s organic. Anything made of organic material—clothes, shoes, food—it’s all going to register orange here.”

As a confidence boost, Gary gave me a series of images with guns and knives in various positions. Knives lying flat were giveaways, but when viewed lengthwise, they had very little visible surface. Explosives were a whole different story. A plastic explosive like C4 is organic and dense. It appears as a heavy orange mass. Unfortunately, a block of cheddar cheese looks roughly the same.

As we started testing with a moving scanner, Gary warned me that too many false positives would be a big problem. A “hair-trigger” strategy would get me flunked. Images with guns took about one second to identify. Clear bags took roughly five seconds to double check for blade edges. It was cluttered bags—with their multihued oranges, blues, greens and grays jumbled together—that were the killers.

I wish that more of our passengers could see the system from the perspective of a screener. It is here, at the front lines, where the conundrum of airport security is in sharpest relief: the fear of missing even the smallest thing, versus the likelihood that you’ll miss the big picture when you’re focused on the small stuff.

Clearly, things needed to change. By the time of my arrival, the agency was focused almost entirely on finding prohibited items. Constant positive reinforcement on finding items like lighters had turned our checkpoint operations into an Easter-egg hunt. When we ran a test, putting dummy bomb components near lighters in bags at checkpoints, officers caught the lighters, not the bomb parts.

I wanted to reduce the amount of time that officers spent searching for low-risk objects, but politics intervened at every turn. Lighters were untouchable, having been banned by an act of Congress. And despite the radically reduced risk that knives and box cutters presented in the post-9/11 world, allowing them back on board was considered too emotionally charged for the American public.

We did succeed in getting some items (small scissors, ice skates) off the list of prohibited items. And we had explosives experts retrain the entire work force in terrorist tradecraft and bomb-making. Most important, Charlie Allen, the chief of intelligence for the Department of Homeland Security, tied the TSA into the wider world of U.S. intelligence, arranging for our leadership to participate in the daily counterterrorism video conference chaired from the White House. With a constant stream of live threat reporting to start each day, I was done with playing defense.

But the frustrations outweighed the progress. I had hoped to advance the idea of a Registered Traveler program, but the second that you create a population of travelers who are considered “trusted,” that category of fliers moves to the top of al Qaeda’s training list, whether they are old, young, white, Asian, military, civilian, male or female. The men who bombed the London Underground in July 2005 would all have been eligible for the Registered Traveler cards we were developing at the time. No realistic amount of prescreening can alleviate this threat when al Qaeda is working to recruit “clean” agents. TSA dropped the idea on my watch—though new versions of it continue to pop up.

Taking your shoes off for security is probably your least favorite part of flying these days. Mine, too. I came into office dead set on allowing people to keep their shoes on during screening. But, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just Richard Reid’s failed shoe-bomb attempt in December 2001 that is responsible for the shoe rule. For years, the TSA has received intelligence on the terrorists’ footwear-related innovations. Some very capable engineer on the other side is spending a lot of time improving shoe bombs, which can now be completely nonmetallic and concealed in a normal street shoe. There’s still no quick way to detect them without an X-ray.

I was initially against a ban on liquids as well, because I thought that, with proper briefing, TSA officers could stop al Qaeda’s new liquid bombs. Unfortunately, al Qaeda’s advancing skill with hydrogen-peroxide-based bombs made a total liquid ban necessary for a brief period and a restriction on the amount of liquid one could carry on a plane necessary thereafter.

Existing scanners could allow passengers to carry on any amount of liquid they want, so long as they put it in the gray bins. The scanners have yet to be used in this way because of concern for the large number of false alarms and delays that they could cause. When I left TSA in 2009, the plan was to designate “liquid lanes” where waits might be longer but passengers could board with snow globes, beauty products or booze. That plan is still sitting on someone’s desk.

The hijackings of the 1960s gave us magnetometers, to keep guns off planes. After the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, a small amount of international checked baggage was scanned and people were required to fly with their luggage. After 9/11, the TSA was created and blades were banned.

Looking at the airport security system that we have today, each measure has a reason—and each one provides some security value. But taken together they tell the story of an agency that, while effective at stopping anticipated threats, is too reactive and always finds itself fighting the last war.

Airport security has to change. The relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained. And the way that we use TSA officers—as little more than human versions of our scanners—is a tremendous waste of well-trained, engaged brains that could be evaluating risk rather than looking for violations of the Standard Operating Procedure.

What would a better system look like? If politicians gave the TSA some political cover, the agency could institute the following changes before the start of the summer travel season:

[TSA]Josh Cochran

Embracing risk could reduce the hassle of today’s airport while making us safer at the same time.

 

1. No more banned items: Aside from obvious weapons capable of fast, multiple killings—such as guns, toxins and explosive devices—it is time to end the TSA’s use of well-trained security officers as kindergarten teachers to millions of passengers a day. The list of banned items has created an “Easter-egg hunt” mentality at the TSA. Worse, banning certain items gives terrorists a complete list of what not to use in their next attack. Lighters are banned? The next attack will use an electric trigger.

2. Allow all liquids: Simple checkpoint signage, a small software update and some traffic management are all that stand between you and bringing all your liquids on every U.S. flight. Really.

3. Give TSA officers more flexibility and rewards for initiative, and hold them accountable: No security agency on earth has the experience and pattern-recognition skills of TSA officers. We need to leverage that ability. TSA officers should have more discretion to interact with passengers and to work in looser teams throughout airports. And TSA’s leaders must be prepared to support initiative even when officers make mistakes. Currently, independence on the ground is more likely to lead to discipline than reward.

4. Eliminate baggage fees: Much of the pain at TSA checkpoints these days can be attributed to passengers overstuffing their carry-on luggage to avoid baggage fees. The airlines had their reasons for implementing these fees, but the result has been a checkpoint nightmare. Airlines might increase ticket prices slightly to compensate for the lost revenue, but the main impact would be that checkpoint screening for everybody will be faster and safer.

5. Randomize security: Predictability is deadly. Banned-item lists, rigid protocols—if terrorists know what to expect at the airport, they have a greater chance of evading our system.

In Richmond, Va., we tested a system that randomized the security procedures encountered by passengers (additional upper-torso pat-downs, a thorough bag search, a swab test of carry-ons, etc.), while not subjecting everyone to the full gamut. At other airports, we tried out a system called “Playbook,” which gave airports a virtual encyclopedia of possible security actions and let local law-enforcement, airport and TSA officials choose a customized set of counterterror measures.

Implemented nationally, this approach would give to the system as a whole a value greater than the sum of its parts—making it much harder for terrorists to learn how to evade our security protocols.

To be effective, airport security needs to embrace flexibility and risk management—principles that it is difficult for both the bureaucracy and the public to accept. The public wants the airport experience to be predictable, hassle-free and airtight and for it to keep us 100% safe. But 100% safety is unattainable. Embracing a bit of risk could reduce the hassle of today’s airport experience while making us safer at the same time.

Over the past 10 years, most Americans have had extensive personal experience with the TSA, and this familiarity has bred contempt. People often suggest that the U.S. should adopt the “Israeli method” of airport security—which relies on less screening of banned items and more interviewing of passengers. But Israeli citizens accept the continued existence of a common enemy that requires them to tolerate necessary inconveniences, and they know that terror plots are ongoing.

In America, any successful attack—no matter how small—is likely to lead to a series of public recriminations and witch hunts. But security is a series of trade-offs. We’ve made it through the 10 years after 9/11 without another attack, something that was not a given. But no security system can be maintained over the long term without public support and cooperation. If Americans are ready to embrace risk, it is time to strike a new balance.Why Airport Security Is Broken—And How to Fix It – WSJ.com.

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TSA bars security guru from perv scanner testimony • The Register


The Register® — Biting the hand that feeds IT

TSA bars security guru from perv scanner testimony

 

Last minute excuse blocks Bruce Schneier

Security expert Bruce Schneier was been banned at the last minute from testifying in front of congress on the efficacy – or otherwise – of the US Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) much-maligned perv scanners.

Schneier is a long-time critic of the TSA’s policies for screening travelers, and was formally invited to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure hearings. However, the TSA objected to his presence because he is currently involved in a legal case over the use of said scanners in US airports.

 “I was looking forward to sitting next to a TSA person and challenging some of their statements. That would have been interesting,” Schneier toldThe Register. “The request to appear came from the committee itself, because they’d been reading my stuff on this and thought it would be interesting.”

Schneier, who is currently involved in an Economist debate on just this issue, has criticized the TSA’s procedures as “security theater“, designed to give the appearance of security without actually being effective. He has pointed out that the scanners are easily defeated, and that since people who do have items are merely forced to give them up and sent on their way, terrorists simply need to send enough people through the systems until one of them succeeds.

This isn’t the first time the TSA has been less than willing to have itself subject to anything like the same scrutiny that aircraft passengers are routinely put through. Last year they ducked out of similar hearings at the last minute, apparently because they didn’t want to sit next to representatives from the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

The use of the perv scanners is highly controversial. The TSA has spent millions of dollars to buy them, and the industry hired ex–Homeland Security supremo Michael Chertoff as a lobbyist to push the technology. However, there have been numerous examples of people claiming to be able to beat the scanners, concerns about the health implications of scanning, and the so-called “homosexual” pat-downs introduced to encourage people to use them caused a national day of protest.

There are currently several ongoing legal cases against the scanners, including one recent case in which, it is claimed, attractive female subjects were being repeatedly ordered to use the devices. Personal airport searches have to be performed by a member of the same sex as the target, but no such rules are in place for operators of the scanners.

“I think the TSA has really painted themselves into a corner over this,” Schneier told us. “They’ve said the scanners were absolutely necessary for security, and made the pat downs you can have as an alternatives so unpleasant. It’s going to be really hard for them to back down, if indeed they can.”

 TSA bars security guru from perv scanner testimony • The Register.

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Rand Paul detained by TSA – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com


Rand Paul detained by TSA

 

Rand Paul R-Ky., speaks to reporters at Washington's National Airport Monday. | John Shinkle/POLITICO

Ran Paul was detained ‘indefinitely’ after refusing a full body pat-down in

Close

By TIM MAK | 1/23/12 10:37 AM EST Updated: 1/23/2012

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul was blocked from boarding a flight Monday by the Transportation Security Administration in Nashville, Tenn., after refusing a full body pat-down, POLITICO has confirmed.

“I spoke with him five minutes ago and he was being detained indefinitely,” Paul spokesperson Moira Bagley said. “The image scan went off; he refused patdown.”

Paul’s father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), tweeted out news of the incident, saying that there had been an “anomaly” with a body scanner.

“My son @SenRandPaul being detained by TSA for refusing full body pat-down after anomaly in body scanner in Nashville. More details coming,” wrote the authenticated Twitter account of presidential candidate Ron Paul.

The TSA disputed this characterization of the incident.

The Kentucky senator triggered an alarm during routine airport screening and declined to finish the process, said a TSA official, but was “not detained at any point.” A targeted pat-down is usually used to address the alarm.

“Passengers, as in this case, who refuse to comply with security procedures are denied access to the secure gate area. He was escorted out of the screening area by local law enforcement,” the official said.

Shortly before noon, the TSA said Paul had been re-booked on another flight and went through the screening process again without incident.

After he was first stopped, Paul told The AP in a telephone interview that he asked for another scan after setting the scanner off but refused a pat-down, after which he was “detained” at a small cubicle and missed his flight to Washington.

Paul, a Republican, was traveling to Washington, when he was detained. He noted earlier on his Twitter that he was planning to speak at the March for Life.

“Today I’ll speak to the March for Life in DC. A nation cannot long endure w/o respect for the right to Life. Our Liberty depends on it,” tweeted Rand Paul at 9:49 A.M.

The TSA first released a statement to POLITICO without referring to the specific incident.

“When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport. Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling,” said TSA Spokesperson Jonella Culmer.

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign released a strongly worded statement Monday afternoon, blistering the TSA for its practices.

“The police state in this country is growing out of control. One of the ultimate embodiments of this is the TSA that gropes and grabs our children, our seniors and our loved ones and neighbors with disabilities. The TSA does all of this while doing nothing to keep us safe,” it said.

The incident was first disclosed by the senator’s spokesperson on Twitter.

“Just got a call from @senrandpaul. He’s currently being detained by TSA in Nashville,” read her tweet just minutes later, at 9:59 A.M.

Like his father, Rand Paul has libertarian leanings and has been a fierce critic of TSA’s pat-downs of passengers at airports, which he views as government overreach. The senator grilled TSA Administrator John Pistole last year after a 6-year-old girl from Paul’s hometown, was patted down by airport security.

“I guess this little girl would be part of the random pat-downs, this little girl from Bowling Green, Kentucky, one of my constituents,” Paul said, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader. “They’re still quite unhappy with you guys as well as myself and a lot of other Americans who think you’ve gone overboard, you’re missing the boat on terrorism because you’re doing these invasive searches on six-year-old girls.”

Rand Paul detained by TSA – Tim Mak – POLITICO.com.

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The ‘hilarious’ TSA note about a woman’s vibrator – Yahoo! News


The ‘hilarious’ TSA note about a woman’s vibrator

By The Week’s Editorial Staff | The Week 

 


After packing a sex toy in her luggage, a woman allegedly opens her suitcase to find a note from the TSA reading, “GET YOUR FREAK ON.” Cue the jokes

The TSA’s full body scanners have prompted privacy and modesty concerns, but one woman alleges that the TSA violated her privacy in a far more overt way. Feminist blogger Jill Filipovic says that after flying from Newark to Dublin, she opened her suitcase to find a special note from the TSA. Scrawled across the agency’s official search form was a message: “GET YOUR FREAK ON.” (See a picture of the note here.) I “guess they discovered a ‘personal item’ in my bag,” Filipovic tweeted. “Wow.” The item in question was a small, inexpensive silver bullet vibrator from the sex toy chain Babeland, chosen because Filipovic thought it “wouldn’t raise any flags at TSA.” Now “I’m grossed out,” says Filipovic, “but it’s also hilarious.” The TSA says it’s investigating the incident. Meanwhile, bloggers are cracking wise. Here, a sampling:

Conservative agenda?

“Is self-pleasuring really considered ‘freaky’ by anyone’s standards these days?” asks John Del Signore at Gothamist. “Or is Newark airport subcontracting out their security screening to Focus on the Family?”


Mission accomplished

“As part of its ongoing efforts to make air travel as uncomfortable as possible,” says Dan Amira at New York, “the TSA is now, apparently, leaving behind little creepy notes about the personal items it finds in your checked luggage.”

Just saying

“Given that ‘groping’ leaps to many people’s minds the minute the TSA is mentioned,” says Anna North at Jezebel, “it might behoove agents to exercise a little discretion when going through people’s stuff.”

Touchy subject

Is this “hilarious or horrifying?” asks Lauri Apple at Gawker. “I’m gonna go with ‘horrifying lite’ — if only because there’s the chance that the agent(s) touched the ‘item’ without washing his/her/their hands, or wasn’t paying attention to other potentially freaky things,” like, say loaded guns.  


The lesson

“On your next business trip,” says John Giuffo at Forbes, “you might want to leave your more private possessions at home — unless getting your luggage handled is how you ‘get your freak on.'”

The ‘hilarious’ TSA note about a woman’s vibrator – Yahoo! News.

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Chastisement 2014

He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork

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