Tag Archive for Security

The Incompetence of T.S.A

Created in the wake of September 11th, the Transportation Security Administration (T.S.A.) was the governments answer keeping our airports safe from terrorists. The idea was to replace the then privately run airport security system with a new government police force directed by the Department of Homeland Security. The T.S.A.’s role is to ensure the safety of air traffic nationwide and in turn has brought about new security protocols to keep America safe. With progress and safety, as we’re told, one must suffer through change and inconveniences until a new system is perfected. In other words, people should expect and accept the more invasive screening, inane regulations and of course incompetence to stay safe. Due to the overwhelming lack of intelligence behind the new protocols, training and technologies the T.S.A. has failed and has proven itself to be a virtually useless organization that infringes on the customers civil liberties with little, if any, improvements over security.

In 2006, 5 years after T.S.A. was created, internal reports gauging the progress of the airport security agency was leaked to the press. The report showed that 75% of fake bombs were successfully smuggled past the security screeners of LAX, 60% through Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and 20% through the security at San Francisco International Airport. Of course not all of the tests were bad, from August 2003 to May 2004 security screeners were given descriptions of the undercover security personnel who were in charge of testing their security; it’s always easier to pass a test when you know who what and when to look for. Just like any other test, T.S.A can do well if they cheat. Most of the test results aren’t available to the public so we have no way of knowing if all of the enhanced security actually works.

To keep people safe the T.S.A. has used aggressive search policies so that bombs, which can be hidden under clothes and also be made out of liquids, can be found. There have been numerous reports about how the searches have been conducted including profiling, sexual pat downs, making women remove nipple rings, having mothers drink their children’s breast milk, stripping old men who have medical implants and of course people are subject to intimidation by security officials even when they don’t break the law. To make the searches even easier, body scanning machines have been placed in airports which are so sensitive that they can take and save nude pictures of people through their clothes (which didn’t stop the terrorist on the flight from Amsterdam on Christmas).

With power comes responsibility and while T.S.A. has power, their employees their employees have proven over and over again that their power will be will abused. Part of the job is to search checked in luggage for explosives but anything worth money can be “confiscated” to help improve an employee’s financial security. Numerous reports have surfaced where employees who conducted searches have stolen passenger’s valuable items from diamond rings to cash. Over 200 employees have been fired for theft as of February 15th 2008 according to T.S.A but upon research the number varies.

A few weeks ago T.S.A. officials were involved in another scandal when sensitive information regarding security procedures, including those involved with bomb detection, was released on the internet. The release of the information should be blamed on the complete incompetence of the employees and management who run the agency since it was just an oversight which should have been caught. Even though the information wasn’t classified, it still had operating procedures and showed that a person will receive some extra screening if they’re coming from certain countries.

So what is it that the T.S.A. does right? They don’t find bombs, they sexually abuse passengers, they steal from passengers and the management is incompetent. If the goal of the agency is to make people want to fly less they’re doing an excellent job. Personally I think they’re just they’re just there for show. If people think there’s someone keeping them safe, then people will accept being abused by authority figures. Once people accept and support how things are done in the airports, the same systems can be brought into every day places such as schools and businesses. With a little bit of research it becomes clear that terrorism is extremely rare and you’re more likely to die from prescription drugs than the people who T.S.A. defend you from.

Call to Service

“Nearly all children nowadays were horrible. What was worst of all was that by means of such organizations as the Spies they were systematically turned into ungovernable little savages, and yet this produced in them no tendency whatever to rebel against the discipline of the Party. On the contrary, they adored the Party and everything connected with it… All their ferocity was turned outwards, against the enemies of the State, against foreigners, traitors, saboteurs, thought-criminals. It was almost normal for people over thirty to be frightened of their own children.” George Orwell 1984

On July 2nd 2008, presidential candidate Obama made a startling statement: “We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.” There’s been debate about the nature of this defense force and what its role in society would be. Even more disturbing has been the advertising related to volunteer work by AmeriCorps, which is geared towards younger Americans. In the past few months, through agreements with the Department of Homeland Security, the Boy and Girl Scouts have been recruited to work with the federal government in security roles answering the question of where some of the Civil Defense Force would be coming from.

After the election it didn’t take long before news articles began to report that the Department of Homeland Security began to train the Boy Scouts to combat terrorists and domestic threats. In an article written in the New York Times titled “Scouts Trained to Fight Terrorists and More,” pictures are shown of Boy Scouts dawning airsoft guns while they train to confront illegal immigrants, drug runners and of course terrorists. A. J. Lowenthal, a sheriff’s deputy in Imperial County California, stated that he would take children as young as 13 and a half into the training program. “I would rather take a kid than possibly lose a kid.” He states in the article. Even parents have a role in the training by donating land for mock raids.

A few months later, September 8th 2009, Janet Napolitano, head of the Department of Homeland Security, and Kathy Cloninger, Girl Scouts of the USA CEO, unveiled a Girl Scout preparedness patch and announced that they would be working together. The exact details of the agreement and the training that would be offered still aren’t clear but one thing is certain, they would be learning to help during flu pandemics, fires, dirty bombs and other natural disasters. While the Girl Scouts don’t say anything about police training; it wouldn’t be a leap, knowing how their counterparts are being used, to see that they’ll also be trained in some aspects of domestic security. See their announcement here.

With the addition of new security systems on a near daily basis and bills designed to give more resources to local police to combat terrorism it comes as no surprise to see cameras at major intersections throughout our local cities. The massive surveillance apparatus that is being put in place will need workers and young children are being groomed for that role every day. Your every move will be watched by the all seeing eyes of children brainwashed to be loyal to the state by the propaganda which is so prevalent on television and schools. It would be intimidating enough if all of this would be used to combat terrorism but with the definition of terrorist being anyone who breaks a law, the system is being turned inward towards the general public itself.

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