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Tag: TSA

TSA Miserably Fails to Detect Weapons at Airports, Alarming Congress

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Undercover tests revealed that TSA failed to detect test weapons about 80% of the time, uncovering a slew of “vulnerabilities” at security checkpoints at multiple airports nationwide.

The results were shared with the House Committee on Homeland Security, which called the failures “disturbing,” ABC News reports

“This agency that you run is broken badly and it needs your attention,”Rep. Mike Rogers told TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Inspectors “identified vulnerabilities with TSA’s screener performance, screening equipment, and associated procedures,” according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

The TSA is working on implementing eight recommendations to improve safety and effectiveness.

In a statement, the TSA said the agency “concurs with the DHS OIG findings and is committed to aggressively implementing the recommendations.”

“We take the OIG’s findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints,” said Pekoske. “We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures and new technologies,” he added.

Other Stories of Interest

Record Number of Guns Expected to Be Confiscated at Airport Checkpoints in 2017

Guns seized by the TSA.

Guns seized by the TSA.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA is on pace to seize a record-high number of firearms this year, saying the increase is due to an increase in air travelers.

“While it’s impossible to ascertain an exact, scientific reason for the increase, there does seem to be a correlation between the increase in the number of firearms caught and the increase in passenger volume,” TSA spokesman Mike England told the Washington Examiner. “2016 was a record year for passenger volume and the industry is on pace to break that record in 2017. The same can be said for TSA firearm catches.” 

Over the past decade, the seizure of loaded and unloaded guns has increased every year. In 2007, 803 guns were seized at airport checkpoints. That number increased to 2,212 in 2014, 2,653 in 2015 and 3,391 in 2016.

With nearly three months left in the year, the TSA has documented the confiscation of 3,053 firearms. 

Other Stories of Interest

Appeals Court Dismisses Case Against Ill-Tempered TSA Supervisor

tsaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

TSA screeners at airport security checkpoints have such an important job that they cannot always be sued for failing to behave properly, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled Tuesday.

The court tossed a First Amendment claim by a passenger who said he was arrested merely for asking to lodge a complaint against an ill-tempered TSA supervisor, Reuters reports

“We, of course, do not suggest that TSA screeners should act with disdain for passenger rights or that they can escape all the consequences of their bad behavior,” Circuit Judge Kent Jordan wrote for a three-judge panel.

“Ultimately, the role of the TSA in securing public safety is so significant that we ought not create a damages remedy in this context,” Jordan added. “The dangers associated with aircraft security are real and of high consequence.”

Reuters wrote:

Airport security screening can be stressful. The decision was issued four weeks after the TSA announced tighter screening of electronic carry-on items, because of concern they could be used to conceal explosives.

Vanderklok said he was flying on Jan. 26, 2013 to Miami from Philadelphia International Airport to run a half-marathon when TSA personnel subjected his carry-on bag to extra screening, after x-rays showed a heart-monitoring watch stored in PVC pipe.

The TSA supervisor, Charles Kieser, said he summoned police after Vanderklok made a bomb threat.

Vanderklok denied doing so, and said Kieser retaliated for his having requested a complaint form to report the supervisor’s “rude” and “aggressive” behavior.

Prosecutors charged Vanderklok, a father of three then in his mid-50s, with threatening to place a bomb and making terroristic threats. He was acquitted after Kieser’s testimony did not match airport surveillance video.

Other Stories of Interest

Owner of Gigantic Lobster Angry That TSA Photographed ‘Dinnah’

Giant lobster posted on the TSA's Twitter account.

Giant lobster posted on the TSA’s Twitter account.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Georgia man is irate after discovering that his 20-pound lobster was photographed by TSA agents and went viral on the agency’s Twitter account.

“They are dumb,” Christopher Stracuzza told the New York Times of the TSA. “They are like the dumbest people in the world.” 

While on a trip to a market in Connecticut, Stracuzza bought 12 standard lobsters and the gigantic one.

The 32-year-old auto-body repairman spent $700 on the lobsters, which he planned for a cookout at his home in Savannah, Ga.

Stracuzza checked a cooler with the lobsters with his luggage at a Boston airport. When he arrived home, he noticed the cooler had been tampered with.

Then a friend told him his giant lobster was posted by a TSA agent and another official on the agency’s official Twitter account.

“We share images through social media to provide helpful travel tips and to better inform the traveling public about T.S.A.’s mission,” an agency spokesperson told the New York Times.

Other Stories of Interest

Former TSA Chief John Pistole Under Consideration for Top FBI Job

John Pistole/fbi photo

John Pistole/fbi photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

John Pistole, the former TSA chief who had been appointed by President Obama, is now being considered for the position of FBI director, CNN reports. 

Pistole, who was named deputy FBI director in 2014, met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to talk about the position over lunch. 

What’s unclear is whether Pistole is interested in the job, especially after President Trump has repeatedly attacked the intelligence community and tried to get the former FBI director to pledge allegiance to him. At least five people under consideration for the job have withdrawn their names.

In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, Pistole ran the FBI’s counterterrorism division.

TSA Warns of Potential for Terrorists to Steal Trucks to Plow into Crowds

Photo via Wikipedia.

Photo via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA warned the nation’s trucking companies and their drivers to be careful because terrorists are increasingly using stolen trucks worldwide as a method of attack.

The six-page report, obtained by CBS News, indicates that terrorists killed 173 people and injured another 667 in 17 vehicle-ramming attacks worldwide. 

The most deadly vehicle-ramming attack came in Nice, France last year, when at least 84 people were killed by a truck that drove through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day.

The report warns of indicators that suggest terrorists are planning to resort to vehicle-slamming in the U.S.

The American Trucking Association issued this statement to CBS News: “There is no more dedicated, professional and patriotic group of people than truck drivers, so our industry is disturbed by the possibility that someone would use our vehicles as weapons.Much of what is in this TSA guidance – avoiding area of congestion due to special events, exercising awareness of suspicious activity and practicing common sense safety and security habits – are already hallmarks of industry best practices. The commercial trucking industry deploys significant security measures like vehicle tracking, alarms and specialized locks, as well as ongoing driver awareness training and driver vetting.”

TSA: Southwest Airlines Pilot Caught with Loaded Gun in Carry-on Bag

Southwest Airlines

Southwest Airlines

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A pilot for Southwest Airlines was arrested Monday after security at Albany International Airport said they found a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag.

The TSA said Erick Gibson, 55, of New Orleans, was charged with a misdemeanor count of possessing a weapon.

The .380-caliber handgun, which was loaded with six bullets, was spotted at a security checkpoint.

The TSA said Gibson was released on $200 bail, and the flight to Chicago was delayed by four hours.

It wasn’t immediately clear why Gibson had the gun.

TSA Screener Fired for Missing Loaded Handgun at Airport in Georgia

airport-people-walkingBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The TSA fired a screener who missed a loaded handgun in a passenger’s bag Sunday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Georgia.

Katrina Jackson, of Alabama, said she had no idea the gun was in her bag. When she later opened her bag to get her passport, she spotted the .38-caliber handgun and immediately notified officials, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

The TSA responded in a statement: “This egregious mistake was unacceptable and the officer who was still a probationary employee was immediately and permanently separated from federal service.”

So far this year, screeners at the airport have found 48 guns before they left the security area. The total seized guns last year was 198.

Other Stories of Interest