Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Recent TSA crimes and idiocies

A round-up of some stories in the news lately about the TSA and TSA-similar organizations:

Nice to know that UK security can be just as idiotic as US security — tiny toy gun confiscated at Heathrow. Reminds me of the TSA confiscating the the sock monkey’s two-inch “gun” last year.

WTAE-TV in Pittsburgh FOIA’d some TSA records and found:
. . . a wide range of bad behaviors by TSA agents at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The violations range from disruptive behavior to drug and alcohol abuse to falsifying records to integrity and ethics violations.
The number of disciplinary actions against TSA employees at Pittsburgh International more than doubled from just 15 in 2008 to 33 last year.
And these are only the cases we’ve found out about. No way to know, of course, how many other crimes are committed, in Pittsburgh and elsewhere, that never get discovered. Perennial problem.
Speaking of FOIA, the Electronic Privacy and Information Center (EPIC) reveals that, surprise surprise, DHS (parent of the TSA) is stonewalling on granting FOIA requests:
Of the nine exemptions that an agency can invoke to withhold documents, DHS relied most heavily on exemption 7(C) (law enforcement records that if released would constitute an invasion of personal privacy) and 7(E) (law enforcement records that if released would disclose law enforcement techniques or procedures, which is significant because the DHS is not a law enforcement agency. DHS reported granting about 7% of requests for expedited processing.
In other words, gentle reader, your government doesn’t think you have the right to know what it’s doing when it comes to “security.” You or your child got pawed in a “pat-down”? Got robbed at the checkpoint? Tough. Suck it up and move on.
And if you were watching the Olympics, you probably saw this Old Navy commercial. At first it pissed me off no end, though one saving grace is that it makes the TSA agents look like buffoons. I still don’t think it’s funny. And it shows how pervasive and accepted the TSA’s tactics have become, that a major retail outlet can incorporate them into a supposedly humorous ad.
But hey, as I’ve been saying for years, this is what America evidently wants, so this is what it gets.