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22 Feb 2012 14:06


Politics: Congressman wants to take away TSA’s spare change … literally

  • $409,085 in change left in 2010 source
  • » But where does it all go? Since 2005, Congress has allowed the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to use forgotten money left behind by passengers as part of their operating budget, although the agency says it works hard to return the money left by passengers. But a new proposal in the House of Representatives, introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL), would change that. Miller’s proposal would send all forgotten monies, collected by the TSA, to the USO instead, and may expand the bill to include higher value items like sunglasses, cameras, and computers. He’s convinced that taxpayers and travelers alike would both prefer it this way. But we’re wondering, what do YOU think of this new plan?

02 Feb 2012 10:48


U.S.: Size of the TSA’s infamous no-fly list doubles in a single year

  • 10,000 people on the U.S. government’s no-fly list roughly a year ago
  • 21,000 people on the no-fly list one year later; only 500 are Americans source
  • » So, what happened? After the Christmas 2009 “Underwear Bomber” incident, the TSA worked on improving the list, expanding it far beyond the initial set of names. Of note: The federal government is adding names beyond al-Qaeda, believing that the terror threat expands beyond the group behind the 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center. “Both U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities and foreign services continue to identify people who want to cause us harm, particularly in the U.S. and particularly as it relates to aviation,” said TSA head John Pistole, who has had to deal with some backlash against higher security standards in the past year.

25 Oct 2011 15:35


Offbeat: TSA leaves special note for female blogger traveling with vibrator

  • Get your freak on girl.
  • A note from the TSA • Found scrawled on a post-inspection luggage insert, which was in a bag owned by Feministe blogger Jill Filipovic. She had packed her vibrator in the luggage, which no doubt spurred this rather personal request. Said Filipovic: “Total violation of privacy, wildly inappropriate and clearly not ok, but I also just died laughing in my hotel room.” source

06 Jul 2011 17:04


U.S.: TSA warns of implant-based bomb concealment

  • The new normal in airport security? It was announced today by the TSA that terrorists might try to surgically implant bombs into themselves to bypass airport checkpoints, a warning which seems to imply further heightening of security could be coming. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney explicitly said that the warning “does not relate to an imminent or specific threat.” That said, that a terrorist could hide a bomb in their body is fairly obvious, so whatever intelligence they’ve gleaned must be enough to drag this out of the realm of the hypothetical. The TSA has also advised international airports to tighten their security. source

30 Jun 2011 10:56


U.S.: Dude who managed to stow away on flight passed security check

  • fail Last Friday, some dude managed to stow away on a Virgin America flight from New York to Los Angeles; he was only caught after passengers started telling flight attendants that his seat was supposed to be empty.
  • double-fail However, Olajide Oluwaseun Noibi’s total security breach went undetected by TSA officials — in fact, despite holding an outdated ticket that wasn’t in his name, he passed through security checks with no issues. *facepalm* source

15 Jun 2011 11:32


Tech: Texas Rep. David Simpson gets a high-five over his anti-TSA bill

  • Right now, searches are proceeding under the object of preventing terrorist activities. But we’ve got to draw a line. You’ve got to have reasonable cause to touch people’s private parts.
  • Texas State Rep. David Simpson • Discussing his bill to prevent the TSA from intrusively groping people in the name of national security. (Which, as you might know, is kind of a pet issue for us.) The bill actually went somewhere last month — it passed the state’s legislature. However, it stalled in the senate because the state got pushback from the federal government, who threatened to stop flights into Texas if the bill became law. Simpson (a Republican), however, notes that the law doesn’t prevent these searches, but forces a good reason for them to happen: “But what we’re basically saying is, ‘Show me the law that says you can touch my private parts in order to travel and I’ll let you do it.’” This guy deserves a high-five. source

16 Mar 2011 10:59


World: Airline security: Could the TSA get a “frequent-flyer” program?

  • cause In an effort to improve our country’s air security after the 9/11 attacks, the Transportation Security Administration came to being. They’ve tightened security repeatedly over the years.
  • effect The most recent major tightening they’ve made forces people to either walk through a metal clap trap, get felt up by people with latex gloves, or play civil disobedience like this guy did.
  • solution? A way to prevent this type of annoyingness for frequent flyers — which would require the exchange of personal info — is on the table. The travel industry wants to see this, stat. source

26 Jan 2011 20:24


Politics: Rep. Peter King: TSA threat warning changes necessary

  • Though the system served a valuable purpose in the terrible days and months following the terrorist attacks of September 11, it was clearly time for the current color-coded system to be replaced with a more targeted system.
  • House Homeland Security Commission Chair Rep. Peter King • On the proposed changes to the TSA’s infamous (and widely-mocked) color-code system, launched not long after 9/11.  While not delving into the specifics, King sounds relatively positive on what might be in store. “It sounds to me like the changes they are proposing make sense,” he said. “We will have to wait and see how they implement this new, more targeted system.” source

07 Jan 2011 22:09


Politics: TSA: Don’t try to be cute with your underwear choices, terrorists

  • Passengers should be aware that the use of these types of products will likely result in a pat-down. Some might think this is TSA’s way of getting back at clever passengers. That’s not the case at all. It’s just security.
  • The TSA’s ultra-friendly PR blogger, “Blogger Bob” • Telling people that they can’t wear underwear cleverly designed to block nether-regions from full-body scanners without risking a pat-down. Which is a clever idea, but apparently too clever for the TSA. One commenter put it like so: “Bob, how does it feel telling citizens what kind of panties they should wear?” We’d like to buy that commenter a beer. source

01 Jan 2011 20:06


U.S.: Good: Some airports replacing the TSA with private firms

  • If you look at [the TSA’s] performance, have they ever stopped a terrorist? Anyone can get through. We’ve been very lucky, very fortunate. TSA should focus on its mission: setting up the protocol, adapting to the changing threats and gathering intelligence.
  • Rep. John L. Mica • Arguing that the TSA should go away in some of the nation’s largest airports. Some of them have already made the decision on their own – sixteen separate airports have switched to private firms since 2002, some in cities as big as San Francisco and Kansas City. And DC’s two main airports are thinking of getting rid of the TSA, too. Not that we’re going out of the way to agree with GOP members, but we think that Mica is absolutely right that the TSA was “never intended to be an army of 67,000 employees.” The private firms, by the way (so we don’t get too crazy effusive with our praise here), have to provide the same level of security and must use the same tools (including the pat-downs and the full-body scans), and must follow TSA guidelines … so it’s not that different. But they can provide a personal touch that a blob like the TSA might not. source