Agency claims it is attempting to be “unpredictable”

Source: Steve Watson

The TSA has attempted to explain away a bizarre expansion of its powers inside airports as part of a move to employ “unpredictable measure(s)” to snare would be criminals and terrorists.

Yesterday we reported on the fact that the federal agency is now demanding the right to test drinks purchased by passengersafter they have already passed through airport security.

Many passengers have recently complained that TSA agents have approached them randomly after they have passed through the checkpoints, and have demanded to run tests on drinks they have purchased inside the secure gate areas, without explaining what they were testing for.

Travelers interviewed by the news channel KJCT8 condemned the rules as “ridiculous” and “extreme”, noting that practice is pointless given that the beverages are delivered securely to the airport in the first place and have already been passed though security checks.

Now, in a blog post on the TSA website, spokesman “Blogger Bob” Burns said the practice is nothing new and is part of the agency’s remit for creating “unpredictability” in the layers of security already in place.

“So, the most popular question that comes up with this topic is: ‘Isn’t this redundant?’” writes Burns. “On the surface, it does seem that way, and it’s the first logical thought that many have. However, any security expert will tell you that nothing is ever 100 percent secure. So, gate screening is kind of like our safety net to keep up with anybody who might be trying to get things past conventional screening,” he added.

“If everything we did was always the same,” Burns continued, “it would provide a checklist for people to know exactly what to expect. While this would be extremely helpful for passengers, it would also be useful to those wishing to do us harm,” he added.

Any discerning person will fathom that this is merely another case of federally employed TSA agents throwing their weight around, intimidating travellers, and making up the rules as they go along.

Rules on taking liquids through airport security, passed in the aftermath of the highly dubious attempted “liquid bombing” incident back in 2006 (which completely collapsed in court), have already been savaged as pointless and unnecessary. Mothers are forced to drink their own breast milk in a procedure that seems to be designed to achieve little else than humiliating the traveler.

The TSA’s own guidelines allow for non x-ray screening for breast milk. However, TSA employees are clearly unaware of this, as Stacey Armato found out when she was locked in a glass cage for over an hour by TSA workers for refusing to allow them to screen her milk.

In one incident earlier this year, another working mother, Amy Strand, was even made to pump breast milk into empty feeding bottles before being allowed through security.

Perhaps the TSA’s efforts at being unpredictable can also explain why it consistently finds itself in the headlines for humiliating elderly peoplemarching toddlers off planesacting with complete ignorancetoward people with disabilities, and becoming embroiled in bizarre situations such as leaving crude notes for people in their luggage, confiscating chicken soupcup cakes and candy and then bragging about it while people waltz through checkpoints carrying swords, knives and guns, and  knocking dead people’s ashes to the floor and picking through bone fragments while laughing about it.

If the TSA truly wanted to improve security, it should properly train it’s employees not only to understand their role, but also to be professional and courteous to travellers, rather than treating them like cattle. Perhaps the agency should also concentrate more on conducting background checks before it hires known criminals, sex offenders, and people who are just downright incompetent.

Former TSA chair Kip Hawley recently slammed the agency saying “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.”

In a piece penned for the Wall Street Journal, Hawley said the agency requires a complete overhaul, and that it has spent years standing behind a “wrongheaded approach to risk.”

Hawley described airport travel as “an unending nightmare” and said that airport security had been reduced to an ‘Easter-egg hunt’ as officers look out for low-risk prohibited items, such as lighters, rather than focusing on disrupting terror plots.

“It is time to end the TSA’s use of security officers as kindergarten teachers to millions of passengers a day” Hawley stated.