Former TSA Screener: “A Lot of What we do is Make-Believe”

A former TSA agent who worked at the Newark airport has given an exclusive interview to the New York Post in which he is highly critical of the professionalism and effectiveness of the TSA in keeping Americans safe on planes. He paints a trashy picture of the agency as full of low skill employees who are using their TSA jobs as a cash cow with goods benefits, or a jumping off point to other federal agencies. He says the supervisors are a joke, and TSA agents must walk a fine line between doing their job, and getting thrown under the bus by the TSA leadership if standard procedure for doing their job turns into a media story, like when they pat down people in wheelchairs or toddlers.

An agent got through Newark last week with an improvised explosive device? That’s not even news to anyone who works there. It happens all the time. The failure rate is pretty high, especially with federal investigators, and the pat-down itself is ridiculous. As invasive as it is, you still can’t find anything using the back of your hand on certain areas.

The former Agent also said that when internal security tests were administered, they would use a TSA agent. Generally one TSA agent would disappear from his shift, and show up later with a duffel bag trying to get it through security. He said word would get around, and the typical exercise would include someone coming over to the other agents and saying, “Hey, it’s Joe. He’s got a blue duffel bag”. These training exercises are probably not very effective.

There is also a lot of ogling of female passengers by the male screeners. So, ladies, cover up when you get to the airport. These guys are checking you out constantly.

So women going through airport security are being objectified and ogled by agents who are supposed to be keeping them safe. These same TSA screeners “checking you out” may also be giving you a pat-down, and who gets to decide which passengers are “randomly” selected for additional screening? And if you want to feel really uncomfortable next time you go through airport security, check out the list of TSA agents arrested for sexual assault and child pornography.

While a small percentage of agents are “delusional zealots” who think what they are doing will actually help, the former TSA agent being interviewed claims:

The rest are only there for the paycheck and generous benefits. Screeners start at $15 per hour, and there is tons of overtime — mainly because they are filling in for the many screeners who don’t bother coming to work. For every 40 hours you work, you receive four hours of vacation and four hours of sick time.

So for every week you work, you get a day off? And this doesn’t attract the type of employees who are serious about security?

New hires see how bad it is working there, and, believe it or not, TSA does manage to hire some pretty decent people. They just don’t last because they can get a normal job.

Why do we allow ourselves to be groped by these people in he name of security? Why do we allow the fear mongers to scare us into accepting less individual freedom, in the name of safety, especially after seeing that the safety we get is illusory? A TSA search is a violation of our Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure; just because it happens before you get on a plane is no excuse to ignore the Bill of Rights.

Benjamin Franklin said it best, “Those who would give up essential liberty, to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty, nor safety”.

5 thoughts on “Former TSA Screener: “A Lot of What we do is Make-Believe”

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