March 3, 2011
The TSA, already facing a significant public backlash, has been thrust firmly into the media spotlight again this week as the controversy over the agency’s domestic security takeover has been heightened with the exposure of multiple unsavory stories of secret plans, security failures and outright criminality.
The latest incident to be exposed occurred Saturday night at JKF International Airport, as a passenger was allowed to board a plane with three boxcutter knives in his hand luggage. The details have only been fully revealed today.
Two Screeners and a TSA supervisor all failed to detect the boxcutters, and they were only discovered when they fell out of the luggage and were reported by a flight attendant.
The passenger told police that he uses boxcutters for his job and forgot they were in his case.
The New York Post writes “the stunning breach grounded the flight for three hours Saturday night and drew fury from Port Authority cops, who accused the Transportation Security Administration of being asleep on the job.”
“In case anyone has forgotten, the TSA was created because of a couple boxcutter incidents,” one unnamed Port Authority source told the Post, making reference to the weapons allegedly used on the flights involved in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Despite the failure, the TSA says the screeners will not be fired, but will be disciplined and given extra training.
In another completely separate incident, the TSA says it will also discipline workers at Honolulu International Airport who didn’t bother to screen thousands of bags and pieces of luggage.
Honolulu station KITV reported that, in some cases over a period as long as four months, officers marked suitcases as having been screened when the bags hadn’t even been examined.
The situation only came to light when two other TSA employees alerted their superiors.
TSA spokesman Nico Melendez released a statement to KITV 4 News that said the agency “is taking appropriate disciplinary action against several TSA officers following an extensive investigation into allegations of improper screening.”
These two incidents are just the latest in a long series of security failures on behalf of the TSA, underscoring the point that the agency is wholesale failing to do it’s job properly, while simultaneously making life hell for anyone traveling through an airport.
Last week it was revealed that an undercover TSA employee has managed to take a handgun through security lines and naked radiation firing body scanners an astonishing FIVE times in one weekend without being detected.
None of the TSA agents who failed to spot the gun on the scanned image were disciplined, according to a TSA source. In fact they continue to operate the machines and have not even been placed on other duties or been scheduled to take further training.
The TSA refused to address the incident specifically.
TSA agents are now so busy groping and irradiating airline passengers that they are routinely missing the presence of knives, bombs and guns in both tests and live situations.
Screeners detect less than 30% of the knives and guns that officials try to sneak through security in tests, according to a TSA source who the leaked information to ABC news. Failures to detect explosive material and bomb parts are also disturbingly high, the source noted.
The TSA then attempted to mislead the public by claiming that those failure rates were taken from old test figures. Of course, the agency did not provide any of the latest test results as evidence, because the Department of Homeland Security has classified them and continues to withhold them despite repeated requests to release the information under the Freedom of Information Act.
This all underscores how the newly enhanced and invasive TSA security procedures are pure theatre and actually do nothing to make anyone safer. Indeed, it may be argued that the procedures are putting fliers in more danger as screeners are spending more time groping people and ordering them through x-ray body scanners than checking for potentially dangerous items in their hand luggage.
As we have exhaustively documented, the technology the TSA is using, which is so invasive and potentially hazardous to the health of travelers, cannot detect all contraband. Yet it seems that TSA employees are increasingly relying on machines to do their job for them.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Another telling example came last November, when TV’s Mythbusters host Adam Savage told a crowd that despite going through a full body scanner he accidentally made it on a plane with 12 inch razor blades.
When TSA workers are not asleep on the job, it seems they are engaging in wanton criminality. Yet another incident of this nature was exposed this week, as a TSA worker was arrested for allegedly aiding drug smugglers to move cash through Buffalo Niagara International Airport and ensure their luggage and persons continually evaded security searches.
The incident is the latest in a long history of cases indicating that TSA workers are prone to criminal behavior.
Just two weeks ago two more incidents were exposed in which TSA workers were found to have been stealing money and valuables from luggage at two different airports. Another was arrested and late fired for assaulting an airport employee over a parking space.
While the TSA apparently aids drug smugglers to waltz through security unhindered, the general public continues to be groped and prodded and forced through naked x-ray body scanners in the name of security.
In the face of such widespread and routine scandals and failures, the prudent thing would be to remove the institutionally corrupt TSA and replace the agency with private security contractors who are well trained and make it their business to ensure the security of passengers. Indeed, some States have expressed a desire to do so. However, the TSA has indicated that it will not allow this to happen.
Indeed, the agency has bigger plans afoot, as has been further exposed by two more major stories this week.
Yet another controversial story to emerge was that the next generation of naked body scanners, set to be trialed and rolled out in airports, will use deep penetrating ionizing radiation to literally see inside the bodies of travelers.
The justification is to crack down on drug smugglers, yet if they are simply allowed to walk through security unhindered by TSA agents, clearly the plan is somewhat flawed.
The full strength x-ray machines present a clear and present danger to the health of millions, who will be subjected to radiation usually used only in hospitals and surgeries to examine bone fractures and to produce brain scans.
The most recent studies estimated that CT scanners cause 29,000 cancers and kill nearly 15,000 Americans every year. If similar devices are employed in airports many many more will be exposed to the radiation they emit.
Yet the vast amount of security failures on behalf of the TSA will no doubt be carefully spun to justify introducing even more draconian and potentially hazardous levels of security theatre.
Freshly uncovered documents released this week by EPIC.org prove without doubt what we have been warning for a long time, that Homeland Security wishes to expand it’s operations beyond airports and onto the streets and shopping malls of America.
Since 2006 the DHS has been readying plans to install x-ray body scanners in a multitude of other public places, according to the documents obtained under a FOIA request.
A lawyer for EPIC, Ginger McCall, told Forbes: ”This would allow them to take these technologies out of the airport and into other contexts like public streets, special events and ground transit.
‘It’s a clear violation of the fourth amendment that’s very invasive, not necessarily effective, and poses all the same radiation risks as the airport scans.’
He added: ‘When you’re out walking on the street, it’s not acceptable for an officer to come up and search your bag without probable cause or consent. This is the digital equivalent.’
A frightening glimpse of what life would be like should the TSA be allowed to be fully implemented in train stations was revealed this week in another key story.
Video emerged of agents frisking women and children who had disembarked from an Amtrak train in Savannah, Georgia. The TSA then engaged in another lie, to add to the myriad of other lies it has promulgated, claiming that the passengers were not forced to undergo the pat-downs. However, according to those involved, the TSA swarmed the platform and ordered everyone into a roped off area to be searched.
Americans need to wake up to this tyranny immediately before it is too late and follow the example set by New Hampshire this week, as debate moves forward there on a bill to criminalize TSA pat-downs and naked body scanners as forms of sexual assault.
With all this happening in just one week, one wonders what the next week holds in store as the revolt against the TSA gathers pace.