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Dear America, I Saw You Naked

The TSA saw the near-miss as proof that aviation security could not be ensured without the installation of full-body scanners in every U.S. airport. But the agency’s many critics called its decision just another knee-jerk response to an attempted terrorist attack. I agreed, and wrote to the Times saying as much. My boss wasn’t happy about it.
“The problem we have here is that you identified yourself as a TSA employee,” she said.

Jason Harrington, author of the formerly anonymous Taking Sense Away blog, on his experiences as a dissenter inside of the Transportation Security Administration.
posted by gauche on Jan 31, 2014 - 71 comments

Showdown at the Airport Body Scanner

"As I watch fellow passengers walk into the machines, posing with their arms raised over their heads like prison inmates submitting to a strip search, I feel proud of my small act of protest. Then I spread my legs and await my public groping."
posted by paleyellowwithorange on Sep 3, 2013 - 136 comments

"...I assumed that this was another such check."

Don't fly during Ramadan. Aditya Mukerjee describes his experience while attempting to clear the U.S. Transportation Security Administration's checks and board a JetBlue flight. After being cleared by the TSA, following two hours of questioning and checks, Mukerjee was prevented by JetBlue from boarding his intended flight. He was offered rebooking for the following day and, when he declined, given a refund.

This isn't the first time that the TSA and JetBlue have been called out for this type of action.
posted by fireoyster on Aug 22, 2013 - 149 comments

The price of security

PreCheck, a new program instituted by the TSA, will allow passengers to keep their shoes, jackets and belts during screening, as well as allow laptop computers and approved liquids to remain in bags for a fee of $85.
posted by Omon Ra on Jul 25, 2013 - 216 comments

Grenades, Bayonets, and Tasers. Oh My!

The TSA has started an Instagram page showing confiscated items from TSA checkpoints in airports around the country.
posted by reenum on Jul 3, 2013 - 36 comments

TSA troubles

Delta Airlines and other airline workers' unions have asked the TSA to reconsider their recent announcement to loosen security restrictions on airlines, effective April 25, that would allow passengers to carry small pocket knives, among other items. [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Mar 9, 2013 - 202 comments

Security theatre theatre.

In the latest (ongoing) Economist debate (run Oxford-style), security expert Bruce Schneier and architect of the TSA Kip Hawley are facing off to respectively defend and attack the motion "This house believes that changes made to airport security since 9/11 have done more harm than good." Overview. Opening statements. Rebuttals. (Surprisingly cogent) comments from the floor.
posted by unSane on Mar 23, 2012 - 32 comments

Blogger: 1, TSA: -1,000,000,000

Body scanners attacked again as US blogger Jon Corbett who blogs for TSA Out of Our Pants! exposes how to beat the body scanners, carrying a metal box in a secret shirt pocket through security at two airports. [more inside]
posted by nickrussell on Mar 7, 2012 - 130 comments

"Carried to its logical end, TSA policy would have to require passengers to travel naked or handcuffed."

"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) ... have made air travel the most difficult means of mass transit in the United States, at the same time failing to make air travel any more secure." Steve Moore has been an FBI Special Agent, head of the Los Angeles Joint Terrorism Task Force's Al Qaeda and extra-territorial squads, a SWAT agent trained to interdict airplane hijackings, and a pilot. His father literally wrote the book on airline security. And he has come to the conclusion that "TSA is one of the worst-run, ineffective and most unnecessarily intrusive agencies in the United States government." [more inside]
posted by Zozo on Feb 29, 2012 - 170 comments

Can't touch this

Last week the Texas House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill (House Bill 1937) prohibiting public servants from intrusively touching anyone seeking access to a public building or form of transportation. (TIME, Dallas News, Washington Times) The blogosphere touted the legislation as a move to criminalize TSA groping. Today, the bill was withdrawn from consideration by the state senate after a threat from the TSA and Department of Justice to "close down all the airports in Texas". Protesters are currently marching on the state capitol. [more inside]
posted by thescientificmethhead on May 25, 2011 - 93 comments

TSA a Giant Waste of Money

John Mueller and Mark Stewart may have found the one part of government we can afford to cut in their paper "Terror, Security, and Money: Balancing the Risks, Benefits, and Costs of Homeland Security" From the abstract "The cumulative increase in expenditures on US domestic homeland security over the decade since 9/11 exceeds one trillion dollars. It is clearly time to examine these massive expenditures applying risk assessment and cost-benefit approaches that have been standard for decades."
posted by RSaunders on Apr 27, 2011 - 30 comments

Car-go or Car-stop?

Yesterday Air Canada said it would stop shipments of all cargo to the U.S.A. due to an "emergency change to US security" [more inside]
posted by sardonyx on Mar 10, 2011 - 60 comments

Newsflash: Terrorism existed before 9/11

We never used to go nuts about terrorism.
posted by dougrayrankin on Dec 29, 2010 - 64 comments

The Daily Patdown: Your Daily Dose of Security Theater

The Daily Patdown - Your daily Dose of Security Theater. Some pictures of groping therein. [via mefi projects]
posted by Burhanistan on Dec 20, 2010 - 46 comments

X-rays for naught

The TSA let a loaded gun get on an airplaine. (also, also, also) [more inside]
posted by knz on Dec 19, 2010 - 136 comments

List of commercial airliner bombings.

This list of commercial airliner bombings appears in the Ask a Rocket Scientist section of Aerospaceweb.org. It presents a comprehensive and descriptive catalog of 86 bombings and attempted bombings since 1933, 54 of which resulted in fatalities, and offers some information that might be relevant to the question of airline security.
posted by washburn on Nov 29, 2010 - 44 comments

We'll need to declaw that cat.

Airport-security cartoons from The New Yorker’s archives (1938 - present).
posted by gman on Nov 23, 2010 - 28 comments

Can you imagine 50 people a day, I said 50 people a day? Friends, they may think its a movement.

Nov. 24 is National Opt-out Day from airport back-scatter scanners Time to call BS on TSA's kabuki theater of airport security: "As public anger grows over the TSA's body scanners and intrusive new airport pat-down procedure, a Web site is urging travelers to "opt out" from the body scanners and instead choose to have a pat-down in public view, so that everyone can "see for themselves how the government treats law-abiding citizens." OptOutDay.com declares November 24 to be the day when air travelers should refuse to submit to a full body scan and choose the enhanced pat-down -- an option many travelers have described as little short of a molestation."
posted by TDIpod on Nov 10, 2010 - 395 comments

Bruce Schneier's work isn't peer reviewed. He has no peers.

Is aviation security mostly for show? An essay by Bruce Schneier.
posted by grouse on Dec 30, 2009 - 96 comments

"We are supposed to notify a supervisor. You’re a supervisor, right?"

Do I have the right to refuse this search?
posted by anastasiav on Oct 30, 2009 - 107 comments

An Unclear Future

Clear, the "security service" that allowed travellers to bypass TSA security lines, offered a Father's Day discount if you purchased a one-year membership by June 21. On June 23, Clear ceased operations. Sorry, no refunds.
posted by mattdidthat on Jun 23, 2009 - 50 comments

Trolling the head of the TSA

Trolling the Head of the TSA: Bruce Schneier [previously], consummate voice of sanity on all issues of security, co-authors an article in The Atlantic [previously] demonstrating how weak and ultimately pointless most of the new security practices put in place at airports since 9/11 are by, among other things, boarding airplanes with large amounts of liquid, using fake boarding passes he printed off his computer, and wearing an "I <3 Hezbollah" t-shirt. TSA head Kip Hawley then responds on the TSA's blog. Schneier then responds to the response on his blog. Hawley then leaves a comment to that post. Schneier fires back again in his monthly newsletter. Quite an interesting and intelligent debate, despite both men humorously falling victim to the idioms of the medium and getting increasingly snarky with each passing post. [via this month's crypto-gram, a good read all the way around.]
posted by ChasFile on Nov 17, 2008 - 30 comments

The Things He Carried

The Things He Carried. "Airport security in America is a sham—'security theater' designed to make travelers feel better and catch stupid terrorists. Smart ones can get through security with fake boarding passes and all manner of prohibited items—as our correspondent did with ease."
posted by chunking express on Oct 16, 2008 - 91 comments

TSA gets Xray goggles. No, seriously.

Scanners that see through clothing installed in US airports. Good news! No more testing. Time to roll these puppies out. It's OK though, seriously guys. See we're gonna blur the faces when we look at their sexual organs, so everything's cool. K? Prev.
posted by allkindsoftime on Jun 13, 2008 - 185 comments

Big Brother Is Watching You... Pack

The TSA wants you to know, dear American, that if you don't pack your bags neatly, the terrorists have already won. This busiest Thanksgiving travel week ever, why not Simplifly? [more inside]
posted by dw on Nov 20, 2007 - 95 comments

Chattin' With Kip

Conversation with Kip Hawley, TSA Administrator (Part 1) Part one of five, Bruce Schneier chats it up with Kip, TSA Administrator. The TSA and airport security have long been hot topics on Metafilter; here is a chance to read some hard questions put to the man himself and his answers.
posted by Bovine Love on Jul 30, 2007 - 29 comments

Oh, I wish we had the image tag again...

Bare naked travel? (Previously on MeFi: here, except now they're actually doing it, and here). The TSA wants to see you naked. Just don't paint "Kip Hawley Is An Idiot" on your torso in Pepto-Bismol before you go to the airport.
posted by bitter-girl.com on Dec 3, 2006 - 51 comments

"Kip Hawley is an Idiot"

"Kip Hawley is an Idiot". Careful what you say about the Director of the TSA when you're waiting to pass airport security.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese on Oct 2, 2006 - 208 comments

All such matters will be taken seriously.

Making any jokes or statements during the screening process may be grounds for both criminal and civil penalties.
posted by quonsar on Apr 24, 2006 - 73 comments

Fly in the Fast Lane

Tired of standing in line at the airport? Worried that you might share a name with a known terrorist or subversive on the TSA's mysterious no-fly lists? Relax. Get fingerprinted and/or iris scanned. And pay $79.95 a year to become a Registered Traveler, and fly Clear in the fast lane. (And note how quickly conceptual art projects become indistinguishable from reality.) Meanwhile, the Feds settle an ACLU lawsuit over the no-fly lists... while revealing no information about them. [Lists recently discussed here].
posted by digaman on Jan 25, 2006 - 52 comments

The Increasingly Unfriendly Skies

Is your name James Moore? If so, you may be a terrorist. Or at least the NSA thinks so, having added that name -- which also happens to be the name of the author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential -- to its mysteriously targeted and infamously mismanaged "No-Fly" list [previously discussed here.]
posted by digaman on Jan 5, 2006 - 51 comments

Stealing Osama's Identity

Security, the TSA, and the No-Fly List You would think that our National Security apparatus would be like the TV series "24", with the most ingenious and sophisticated technology available. You would be wrong. Disclaimer: TSA is not an intelligent intelligence agency. Here's a blurb from the resume of the designer(Kenneth Mack) of the application the airline industry uses for *PDF* managing their employee data and the cross-checking them with the no-fly list:
- Sr. Developer: Developed a program [for Goddard Technologies] that uses the "No-Fly List" Excel spreadsheet, provided by the FAA and the database of badged employees to permute the name combinations. It takes into consideration multiple first and middle names, with Soundex and the various "initial" combinations. This program reduced the time for comparison from 3 days to 10 minutes.
The scary yet interesting part of all of this is that the No-Fly List is nothing more than a password-protected spreadsheet (see this PDF). One would guess our Government's geeks would know that it's a bad idea to send email attachments containing social security numbers and dates of birth, unencrypted, over the internets, even if they might be terrorists.
posted by rzklkng on Jul 15, 2005 - 30 comments

Morning has broken

Cat Stevens on NatSec watchlist. "A London-to-Washington flight was diverted to Maine on Tuesday when it was discovered passenger Yusuf Islam - formerly known as singer Cat Stevens - was on a government watch list and barred from entering the country, federal officials said... Homeland Security Department spokesman Dennis Murphy identified the passenger as Islam. 'He was interviewed and denied admission to the United States on national security grounds,' Murphy said, and would be put on the first available flight out of the country Wednesday."
posted by mwhybark on Sep 21, 2004 - 79 comments

Are We Safer Yet?

Air Marshal Forgets Gun in Airport Bathroom
Are we safer yet?
posted by fenriq on Apr 12, 2004 - 24 comments

Minneapolis Airport Security Official Threatened Screeners

"If you don't do as I tell you, I'll personally take you out in the woods and shoot you." A top federal security official at the Minneapolis-St.Paul International Airport angrily threatened to "shoot" baggage screeners and financially ruin their families if they did not do their jobs to his satisfaction, airport employees have told the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.

All jokes about bombs, guns and killing will be taken seriously?
posted by busbyism on Jan 30, 2004 - 24 comments

20-year old college student calls the TSA and tells them security is below-par. Then he proves it.

20-year old college student calls the TSA and tells them security is below-par. Then he proves it. Taking the hacker's ethic of "exposing weakness for the greater good, law be damned" this guy did just that by planting knives and other objects with little notes admonishing the TSA. Feeling safe yet? The TSA thinks we should be.
posted by skallas on Oct 17, 2003 - 52 comments

But Can I Bring My Spear Gun?

What should I pack? According to the official list Toy Transformer Robots are OK (presumably real ones are not), but I'll have to put my throwing stars in my checked luggage.
posted by JoanArkham on Jan 15, 2003 - 31 comments

Coffee, Tea or should we feel your pregnant wife's breasts

Coffee, tea or should we feel your pregnant wife's breasts? Well, like most of you I've read many personal accounts of the change in air travel since 9/11. But this one packs a major wallop, well written, infuriating and containing one of the best concluding sentences . . . ever. ( via Blogdex )
posted by jeremias on Dec 22, 2002 - 138 comments

Student arrested with boxcutter & scissors.

Student arrested with boxcutter & scissors. But the thing that really boggled my mind was this: "Since February, we've taken more than 25,000 boxcutters from carry-ons and off of passengers. We've taken more than 500 firearms and 215,000 knives," Johnson said." For one thing, I guess I had never realized how much box cutting went on in the US - but the bizarre piece is the guns. A half dozen I can see, but five freakin' hundred? How can that many people - in the post 9/11 world - still be trying to get serious weapony onto airplanes?
posted by MidasMulligan on Sep 30, 2002 - 45 comments

"You can't professionalize unless you federalize",

"You can't professionalize unless you federalize", we were told. So, this is a professional case of giardia, I guess. Still, the kid COULD have mentioned that the muck was a project, and not his favorite tonic.
posted by dwivian on Apr 9, 2002 - 4 comments

New travel package

New travel package minimizes the amount of time it takes for you to get from the airport to the beach. Now you can get off the plane, and start swimming and sunbathing in no time! Isn't this amazing?
posted by yevge on Dec 12, 2001 - 9 comments

How, exactly, did this happen?

How, exactly, did this happen? I'll tell you how. I happened to be at O' Hare yesterday, and the security drones there were about as dumb as a bag of wet mice (more in comments).
posted by vraxoin on Nov 5, 2001 - 46 comments

Who needs boxcutters, when you can just pack a gun

Who needs boxcutters, when you can just pack a gun In the midst of so-called heightend security, a man accidentally brings a loaded gun onto a plane undetected. I know Southwest doesn't have meals, but do they not have metal detectors either? from Amy Langfield's always entertaining blog.
posted by tsarfan on Oct 25, 2001 - 24 comments

Airport BodySearch may reveal more than passengers know

Airport BodySearch may reveal more than passengers know
Does anyone really care if the lonely airport security guards have a look under your clothes?
posted by chiXy on Aug 21, 2000 - 0 comments

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