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Yet Another ID Post...With Some Answers to Your Questions

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Thursday, July 03, 2008
ID

The ID topic has elicited lots of emotion. Many posters feel very strongly on this topic and I respect that discussion and their positions. This is a case where taking steps for aviation security touch other, related controversies that are larger societal/political issues. To the extent that there are legal issues relating to TSA’s actions, they will be resolved elsewhere.


I would like to move on to other topics since we are not going to solve the several complex issues here and we do have lots of other security issues to discuss.

 

The essential point is that validating a passenger’s identity matters a great deal from a security point of view. Our intelligence, military, and law enforcement colleagues -- at great risk to themselves -- develop sensitive information about potential attacks and the people behind them. They get that information to us so that TSA can do its part and keep those people off aircraft. It is our obligation to protect passengers and crew using the best information that we can get. That is what we are doing.

 

We will leave this open for further discussion and then move on with our next post. But before we move on, I wanted to provide answers to some of your questions.

 

Q: If requiring ID is truly instrumental in keeping the flying public safe, why did it take the TSA until June of 2008 to institute that policy?

 

A: Building blocks.

 

TSA put up a national security baseline in 2002. This involved creating the organization, staffing, buying and installing equipment -- and the very familiar magnetometer/x-ray checkpoint. No-Fly and Selectee lists were established and given to airlines for them to match versus their ticketed passengers. Airlines continued the pre-9/11 practice of hiring contractors locally to check ID’s. That created a basic physical screening process at the checkpoint (TSA operated) and a basic person screening process through the airlines.

 

In 2006 and 2007 TSA strengthened the person screening process by adding a new layer (behavior) and improving the watchlist matching. Along with the Terrorist Screening Center (TSC), TSA scrubbed the No-Fly and selectee lists and essentially cut them in half. (CIA and FBI are the major players nominating people to the Watchlists, TSC maintains a consolidated, accurate, government-wide watchlist, and TSA operationally makes sure No-Flys don’t fly.) The system is vulnerable to people evading watchlists if they use a fake identity with the airline and then show a fake ID at the checkpoint. This vulnerability was called out by many on-line posters (and noticed by us) and we took a major step last year to upgrade the ID checks by integrating the checking of ID’s with the rest of TSA’s security. That is why you now have TSA officers, with lights and loupes examining ID’s throughout the system.

 

The ID requirements we’re talking about here, are the next building blocks to be added. First, to require identity verification and better define the hierarchy of good ID’s -- hence the ‘gold standard.’

 

We know that terrorists use fake ID's to evade security scrutiny. While I recognize that there are very valid philosophical issues and debates around ID’s, for TSA, this issue is about closing vulnerabilities and stopping attacks.
There is considerable operational complexity to resolving the identity of a person without an ID real-time at the checkpoint. It is getting done now but is still clunky at times. We will get better over the coming months. In answer to the question, all of the building blocks mentioned above, needed to be in place. They are now and aviation is safer as a result

 

Q: What will TSA do if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

 

A: We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.

 

Q: If TSA believes that 1) checking ID increases safety to the flying public and 2) the no-fly list is there to catch terrorists, then why are the TSOs that check IDs at the airport not comparing names to those on the no-fly list?

 

A: Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA. The system is automated and close matches are resolved on a one by one basis.

 

Q: Since it has been claimed by TSA that the 3-1-1 rule was implemented due to the circumstances surrounding the London bomb plot, what position will TSA take if the defendants are found not-guilty?

 

A: I can’t comment on the U.K. legal system but “certainty” in a criminal proceeding is very carefully defined. I can tell you from the intelligence and law enforcement information developed in this case that the threat to U.S. aircraft was chilling, lethal and the clock was ticking when they were arrested. Had that plot not been discovered, there may well have been thousands of casualties. Doubt about the reality or efficacy of that threat? Zero.

 

Kip

Comments

Submitted by CBGB on

among the things horribly wrong with what you just said...the link isn't a link. The numbering and lettering scheme doesn't follow which leads me to believe parts of your post were removed shortly before it was published. Do you seriously expect your employees to detect fake IDs with any certanty when they see thousands (and likely many different ones) a day, especially with the minimum of training and tools you give them. Also, WHAT GOOD ARE THE REAL IDS when a costco card or a social security card is good enough?

You have like six months left in office. Just stop talking we're not interested in your lies. The fact that you came and made a post specifically to move discussion on without adressing any of the serious issues brought up with your post leads me to believe you have no leg to stand on. So Kipper, when was the last tiem YOU flew a commercial airline?

I think its time for me to move on from asking rhetorical questions here to a much more pulic setting.

Submitted by Not That Stupid on

This blog used to make me angry.
Then it made me laugh.
Now it makes me sad and angry that there are people who actual buy this line of bull.

Here's a tip. Most of us can read. A lot of us have some grasp of reading comprehension. And a good number of us know side-stepping when we see it.

Submitted by IHopeItGoesWell on

While I don't agree with the ID concept, I do agree that it is time to move forward on to other things while this is ultimately hashed out in the courts over the next couple years.

Saturday I fly for the first time in quite a while, I will have my passport with me to avoid issues with TSO's unfamiliar with my states drivers license.

I will be carfully observing and making notes on how I am treated through the checkpoint and will report back on my experience on this blog.

Quite honestly, if this does not go well, I will look at other methods of transportation in the future, forget about flying again and not travel to those destinations requiring air travel.

Submitted by Dunstan on

Does this mean that the discussion will move on to issues like secure (from pilferage or introduction of dangerous items)check in luggage and cargo?

Submitted by Dunstan on

IHopeItGoesWell said...

"I will be carfully observing and making notes on how I am treated through the checkpoint and will report back on my experience on this blog.

Quite honestly, if this does not go well, I will look at other methods of transportation in the future, forget about flying again and not travel to those destinations requiring air travel."

Keep us posted. You can print out your own complaint/comment form before you leave home from tsa.gov.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Kip, we will stop raking you over the coals for pointless and invasive policies with no basis in fact when you reform those policies, and not one second before. Deal with it.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Excellent post. With the threats to our safety today free people must make some accommodation with travel and security. The United States is not alone. Israel, one of the great free countries of the world, is noted for the best air security. The work of Shin Bet, local and civil police, the military and other investigative and enforcement agencies guarantees safety through coordinated teamwork. Similarly, the agencies of DHS are working together for US safety. It is not too much to expect the citizens of the US to support and help DHS do their jobs.

The people of America need to thank you all.

Submitted by Eric on

This post makes no sense, besides the fact that it does nothing but regurgitate previous posts from Christopher and Bob. Try again please.

Submitted by Abelard on

Kip stated:

We know that terrorists use fake ID's to evade security scrutiny.

The terrorists on 9/11 all had legitimate IDs.

What will TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

c. We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.

So, now my passport isn't even valid ID? How is that possible? It will establish my identity well enough to admit me back into my mother country if I am abroad, but it isn't good enough to allow me through security at an airport? That's insanity or stupidity. Take your pick.

Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA.

Wow. Just wow. You do realize that there is anywhere from 30 minutes to hours between the time someone checks in at the airline counter and the time they get to TSA security, no? Because I can come up with two or three quick scenarios where someone could circumvent security without being bothered by a TSO.

Security theater.

Submitted by Brandon on

Quote: "Many posters feel very strongly on this topic and I respect that discussion and their positions."

Which is doublespeak for: "I have unlimited God-like powers and do not need to answer to you mortals. America is not a democracy, and you're funny looking for thinking that it was."

Requiring ID is pointless, but Kip and the TSA don't really care, as this is little more than security theater. The fact that there are more loop holes in this ID process than I have fingers to count with is just stupid, and makes the entire endeavor by the TSA the so far biggest waste of their time and taxpayer money (notice I said, "so far").

It doesn't matter how many banners the President stands under declaring victory, it's people like Kip, organizations like the TSA and stupid, stupid rules like these that are proof the terrorists won seven years ago, crushing everything America stands for, and continuing to terrorize the cowards in charge of this pitiful country.

Happy Independence Day.

Submitted by Yangj08 on

I'm going to continue nagging about this until my question is answered because it could have quite an impact on the country's largest airports- what are you going to do about foreigners traveling within America who have no ID (assuming they had a valid visa in their lost passport)? If they're only in America short-term there's no info to verify their identity against and the problem gets even worse if said person doesn't have any grasp of English. This may not be much of a problem for those from Canada/Mexico, but from other continents...

Given the incidents I've heard of I wouldn't be surprised to hear of any TSO taking someone's English difficulties as uncooperativeness and refusing boarding, causing frustration and possibly bigger issues.

Submitted by Anonymous on

The most dangerous terrorists are not on the No Fly List.

I'll say it again if anyone missed it:

THE MOST DANGEROUS TERRORISTS ARE NOT ON THE NO FLY LIST.

Their names are excluded for "national security reasons." Don't believe me? Google it -- 60 Minutes and other responsible news organizations have reported this.

Would you care to respond to that, Kip? Would you care to explain why Osama bin Laden could get a boarding pass, show his real ID and get on any plane in the US because his name is NOT on the list?

ID checking is a farce. The No Fly List is a farce (it took an act of Congress to get Nelson Mandela off it).

Kip's "security theater" exists for one reason: to reassure infrequent fliers that its safe to fly (and, probably, to further the Bush administration's assault on individual rights and the Constitution).

Enough already!

Submitted by Robert Johnson on

Kip's translation:

You don't buy what I have to say so I'm just going to stop talking about it and hope you go away.

Robert

Submitted by Bob Eucher on

I think the TSA may need to read their own policies. Maybe it is too overwhelming to follow what they write, but then again, how many times have they posted conflicting information.

TSA: Civil Rights for Travelers

We treat all members of the travelers in a manner free from unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation. To emphasize our commitment to TSA employees and the traveling public, TSA issued its Civil Rights Policy Statement.

Quite simply, our policy statement assures travelers they will be treated in a fair, lawful and nondiscriminatory manner. It also emphasizes we have no tolerance for harassment in the treatment of the public we serve. Finally, it outlines out how we ensure an environment free of discrimination through program, policy, and operational reviews.

To ensure that the civil rights and liberties of the traveling public are respected throughout screening processes, without compromising security. The Division ensures that Agency processes and procedures do not discriminate against the traveling public, and abide by the constitutional freedoms of the traveling public.

Civil Rights – include the Constitutional rights to due process, and equal treatment under the law.

Civil Liberties – include the Constitutional freedoms of speech, religion, and assembly.

This is something we all can understand. Does the TSA?

Can anyone find the flaws in their official statement?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Good God the arrogance. You'll have the last word? Right. See ya in court January 20, 2009. We can only pray the Republican idiots who put you in charge will be changed out and hopefully, some of this madness will reside.

You have failed to address what happens when the Real ID is thrown out in court. You have failed to address what has happened to the agent in the previous post. You've failed to directly answer any of the questions.

True Arrogance.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Kip, you folks have been asked many times why a person with no ID is treated differently than a person who chooses not to display ID. If that person cooperates in every other way then TSA is in fact depriving the person who wishes to not show ID of their civil liberties.

Before we move on please explain why the two cases are treated differently.

Submitted by Anonymous on

And Now a Final Word on ID from Kip .
.......................

Yeah, I'd be bailing out too if I was you. Can't destroy the agency much more before you will be questioned by people who you do have to respond to.

Submitted by Anonymous on

You know Kip, plugging your ears and going "lalalalala" will not make the issues disappear.

Submitted by Miller on

Kip, please resign immediately. You've done enough damage to the American traveling public, airport security, and security in general to take several lifetimes to undo.

Your layered security theater does nothing except to make the Kettles feel safer.

Submitted by Theflyingdrago on

So, people who chooses not to show ID cannot fly anymore, I guess, and person with no ID goes through interrogation and humiliation process . Are we still United States or may be North Korea, Cuba or Iran? And also I don't drive and don't have Driver License. That means I need passport if I want to travel between New York and Boston, according to your new ID polices?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Kip:

If your agency was actually serious about fixing security holes and actually performing the mission as specified ('as fragged'), the TSA might not have replaced the IRS as the most reviled federal agency.

Perhaps, if your agency was serious about fixing problems instead of generating them, more attention would be paid to some of the good suggestions that people have offered. Possibly, just possibly, there might be fewer layers of security theatre in the process to replace with security concepts that actually work.

Instead, all I see is CYA posturing that does nothing useful other than look pretty on paper and function as an 'prevent a GAO audit' measure.

You, and every single person in TSA's disfunctional upper and middle-managment cadres should be ashamed. Your people in the trenches, the majority of whom do care about what they are doing, deserve better. We, the flying public, the ones who are paying your bloated salary, deserve better. We should all demand better.

Submitted by Anonymous on

This blog is useess. We make comments on 311 rules, they ignore them and go on with it. We comment on luggage care and theft and they ignore us. We comment on screening workers and ramps, and they ignore us. We comment on screening all airports and other forms of transportation and they ignore us. We make comments on how full body scans are done, and they ignore them too. We make comments on ID, and they keep their silly rule. The rule is stupid not because of its legal implications, but because it specifically targets a group of persons who want to protect their civil rights and are not a terrorist threat.

The only sensible thing you have done recently, which does not hassle the general public is use behavioral detection.

Get a new job and leave us alone. I'll take the chances of being "unsafe" - they are lower than those of having a car accident on the way to the airport.

Submitted by Anonymous on

That you honestly believe it is acceptable to institute a papers-please state, where innocent citizens require papers, permission, and/or "cooperation" with government officials to engage in free movement and association, is truly disturbing. I learned in 8th-grade civics that such rules were unacceptable. All I can do is shake my head.

Even identification does increase security, that doesn't mean it is worth it. Your argument could be used to completely abolish the 4th amendment, due process at trial, and so on, because a total police state would be "more secure." Is that your next plan?

And that you admit to what appears to be a planned, incremental process over 6 years to create this papers-please society is even more chilling. What's next, mandatory SSSS for everyone who isn't a registered traveler once the people (sheeple really) get used to the forced ID checks? Outright denying travel to anyone who isn't registered after they get used to that? Requiring everyone to not only be registered but that they request explicit permission with a "valid" reason for travel before each trip?

What a sad thing to read on the 4th of July. Look at what's become of the land of the free. Our forefathers who fought and died are rolling over in their graves today. I have ancestors who fought in the Revolution, Civil War, Spanish-American War, and World War II, and my Father served for 20+ years during the Cold War. What you have done mocks their sacrifice and service.

Submitted by Sandra on

Kip, if you think that we will accept your words as "final" on the subject of ID, then you are sadly mistaken. We will "see you in court" - you can count on it.

On another subject, who wrote that drivel for you? Does that person have any clue at all as to what a decimal outline is supposed to accomplish?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"The work of Shin Bet..."

Torture. Murder. Abusive detention and interrogation.

Shin Bet is NOT something any citizen should want to see here in the US.

We need to keep the TSA and others from becoming Shin Bet.

Submitted by Ihopeitgoeswell on

dunstan said:

"Keep us posted. You can print out your own complaint/comment form before you leave home from tsa.gov."

I won't preprint forms, I am going to try this with as much of an open mind as I can after reading this blog since January.

I really want it to go well, and at least I know what to look for as well as who to ask for if there are problems.

Last time I traveled, the TSO's were not in the least way respectful to the passangers. We will see if this blog has taught the TSA anything and if it has filtered down to the front lines. I will try to repost Sat. afternoon if I can get a free wifi signal.

Submitted by Lulu on

Kip,

Thank you for personally answering some of the questions posed. Critics asked for answers but it seems it will never be enough. I hope someone gives you a magic wand soon and then you can make everyone happy.

Submitted by Anonymous on

What makes someone who declines to show ID, but is willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations, too dangerous to fly?

What is the difference between someone who declines to show ID and someone who lost their ID, if both are willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations?

If you cannot answer these questions, how can you claim with a straight face that you are not, contrary to your attempts to say otherwise, targeting anyone who declines to show ID?

Why are 10 people a day who decline to show ID such a threat that they cannot be permitted to fly?

How much money does the new regime of invasive interrogations cost the taxpayer, compared to the previous policy of giving those who cannot or decline to show ID a pat-down and bag-check?

Why have you repeatedly refused to answer these questions? What are you afraid of?

Submitted by Anonymous on

This is the Friday joke post, right?

...right?

Submitted by Anonymous on
"Q: If TSA believes that 1) checking ID increases safety to the flying public and 2) the no-fly list is there to catch terrorists, then why are the TSOs that check IDs at the airport not comparing names to those on the no-fly list?

A: Because those checks are done before the boarding pass is issued. It is done in the background by a combination of the airlines and TSA. The system is automated and close matches are resolved on a one by one basis. For more on issues about passengers who have problems because someone else with their name is on the list, please see DHS Trip."

Wow. I'm stunned.

It is child's play to generate a fake boarding pass with any name desired. Thus anyone on the watch list or no-fly list could present his legitimate ID along with a fake boarding pass and thus gain access to the flight side of security.

Any idiot knows this. What I can't decide is if Kip thinks we are such idiots that we'll be fooled by this answer or if Kip himself is a special kind of idiot.

Answers such as that quoted above confirm the contempt TSA has for the traveling public and clearly demonstrate why the citizenry is developing a growing contempt for TSA.


T-the-B at flyertalk
Submitted by Anonymous on

"I can’t comment on the U.K. legal system but “certainty” in a criminal proceeding is very carefully defined. I can tell you from the intelligence and law enforcement information developed in this case that the threat to U.S. aircraft was chilling, lethal and the clock was ticking when they were arrested. Had that plot not been discovered, there may well have been thousands of casualties. Doubt about the reality or efficacy of that threat? Zero."

I'm very familiar with the intelligence process. Intelligence is by its very nature uncertain, and does not have the same checks and balances the legal system does to ensure facts are presented. Entire courses are taught in the IC on how to mitigate (not eliminate) bias and uncertainty, and even then the best intel officers can make serious errors in analysis. There is simply no such thing as slam dunk evidence in intelligence. If you have "Zero" doubt about the intel you're seeing, then either you are ignorant of how intelligence works, you've been led astray by your intel division, or you are just trying to use strong rhetoric to make your case sound more convincing than it really is. I'll buy (for the moment) that these knuckleheads where a real threat, but please don't insult OUR intelligence with hyperbolic rhetoric.

Submitted by Anonymous on

On one hand, I sort of admire TSA for having the guts to run this blog. On the other hand, it illustrates just what a sham TSA is.

As one of the other posters noted, the 9/11 terrorists all had real ID's, which makes me wonder what threat this latest TSA requirement is designed to prevent against.

But when you stop to consider it, creating a policy to address a non-existent threat is completely consistent with the entire existence of TSA, since one rationale for TSA's creation after 9/11 was to address the alleged cause of the 9/11 tragedy - lax gate security.

Which is absurd, since 9/11 didn't happen because of law gate security. It happened because our law enforcement agencies weren't talking to one another, and because the airlines at the time had a policy that forbid flight crews from resisting a hijacking.

So what did we do in response? Create the illusion of security in the form of unnecessary rules and regulations enforced by a new group of federal employees who believe they are entitled to respect.

That our nation has fallen for this sham is so very, very sad.

Submitted by CBGB on

@anonymous who said "Excellent post."

Not really.

Orwell was writing a warning to citizens, not a manual for government. The TSA has done nothing to make this country safer. Law enforcement has done that. All these references to failed terror plots don't mention the TSA not having anything to do with finding or stoppping them. In fact with the security theater and their miserable rate of detecting dangerous items, the TSA has likely made this country safer through complacency and creating a culture of such fear that people cant tell a real fro ma fake threat.

Shame Shame on you TSA.

Submitted by Trollkiller on

WOW! Ok now I am perplexed. How did "And Now a Final Word on ID from Kip" change to "Yet Another ID Post...With Some Answers to Your Questions"?

I am hoping this is an indication that there has been a realization by Kip and the TSA that the new ID policy has some serious issues that need to be rectified before we can proceed unfettered.

Submitted by Trollkiller on

Good job Kip, this is one of the few times in my life that I have been rendered speechless. There are a bunch of teachers that would bow at your greatness. Of course as you can well imagine, my speechlessness was only a temporary condition.

I am glad you took the time out of your busy schedule to back your Blog Team. I would have rather you spent your valuable time backing up the your assertion that the forced ID check as a criterion for granting access to a sterile area was in fact legal.

There is no need to resolve this legal dilemma in other venues, because according to statements by the TSA the legal issue has already resolved by 49 C.F.R. PART 1540. All we need is for you to show your work.

Your new policy was vetted by your lawyers, before implementation wasn't it? So far it looks like the answer to that question is a deafening "NO!"

I wish to remind you my questions about the forced ID check at this point are not hinging on the constitutionality issue or a philosophical issue but rather on the simple issue of legality.

Is the forced ID check as a criterion of granting access to a sterile area legal in light of the definitions governing 49 C.F.R. PART 1540?

Is there another law or executive order that I am not aware of that would make the forced ID check as a criterion of granting access to a sterile area legal?

Kip, I understand why the TSA took the ID check away from the airlines, the Aviation Transportation System Security Plan demanded it. (PDF warning. Document Page 9, PDF page 13) In an attempt at brevity I did not quote the irrelevant parts.

Departmental Requirements
Department of Homeland Security will:

• Assume the responsibility for vetting international and domestic air passengers and crew against the No-Fly and Selectee Lists.

• Assume responsibility for verification of passenger identity and deploy behavior observation techniques at and beyond the checkpoint.

Sadly once again the TSA FAILED to read the whole thing. Way up at the top of the document in the Forward is this little gem. (PDF page 3)

These plans do not alter existing constitutional and statutory authorities or responsibilities of the department and agency heads to carry out operational activities and to provide or receive information.

Kip your statutory responsibility is to search and inspect FOR explosives, weapons and incendiaries as the criterion for granting access to a sterile area.

Your statutory authority is limited to searching and inspecting FOR explosives, weapons and incendiaries as the criterion for granting access to a sterile area.

If I sound a bit ticked off it is because I am. I began writing this post while your title was "And Now a Final Word on ID from Kip". That title and the attitude conveyed by it had me spitting nails.

I was so mad I invented brand new cuss words just to describe you and the TSA. I am glad you had the title changed to the less inflammatory "Yet Another ID Post...With Some Answers to Your Questions". Because of the change in title I have edited this post, you should have seen the first draft.
;-)

You gave a solid answer about the Real ID, now I ask you to do the same about the legality of the forced ID check. As you may be aware I have already complained to the OIG, so far I have not heard back from them. Come Tuesday I will escalate that complaint if I don't have a satisfactory answer. If the OIG is not helpful I will take the next step and the step after that.

This is not going away, I am not going away, we are not going away. I like you Kip, I think you know that, but this is more important than you or me.

Please have the lawyers show their work and prove that this is legal. If it is not legal just roll it back until you can make it legal.

If ID is as important to the safety of aircraft as you claim it is, then put all your ducks in a row. Seek to have the law changed so what you are doing is legal. Let those that are charged with making the law do their jobs.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Please give us an update on your domestic flights foreign passports immigration status check policy. There have been many reported cases of such an incidents in recent months. Is this TSA scrutiny changed or it's about to be changed?
Many thanks for your reply.

Submitted by Dunstan on

lulu said...
"Kip,
Thank you for personally answering some of the questions posed. Critics asked for answers but it seems it will never be enough. I hope someone gives you a magic wand soon and then you can make everyone happy."

Someone else in the Bush administration would grab that "magic wand" immediately from Kip's fingers, before he could even compose his first wish...

The executive branch is rife with people who would like to magically wipe away their poor decisions, or at least the public's memory of them. Grow up Lulu, public figures face harsh but honest criticism of their policies on a daily basis, some admit their mistakes, some go forward making further blunders because they can't face and admit the truth of being wrong.

TSA wants to gloss over the 105 years of history and hundreds of thousands of pilots and ground personnel who make the private air industry, which safeguards 95% of the airports in the country, safe. It is still possible to fly any where in the country without the ID constraints Kip advocates. No magic wand is going to erase the truth.

Submitted by Dunstan on

"I'm very familiar with the intelligence process. Intelligence is by its very nature uncertain, and does not have the same checks and balances the legal system does to ensure facts are presented. Entire courses are taught in the IC on how to mitigate (not eliminate) bias and uncertainty, and even then the best intel officers can make serious errors in analysis. There is simply no such thing as slam dunk evidence in intelligence. If you have "Zero" doubt about the intel you're seeing, then either you are ignorant of how intelligence works, you've been led astray by your intel division, or you are just trying to use strong rhetoric to make your case sound more convincing than it really is. I'll buy (for the moment) that these knuckleheads where a real threat, but please don't insult OUR intelligence with hyperbolic rhetoric."

I would like to thank you for your insightful post. It is important that the leaders in this country are held to, and maintain the highest standards.

Submitted by Miller on
The ID requirements we’re talking about here, are the next building blocks to be added. First, to require identity verification and better define the hierarchy of good ID’s -- hence the ‘gold standard.’

All you do is verify that the ID was probably issued by a state office, not verifying the identity of the individual carrying that ID.
What's next? Sign countersign for the super-secret word of the day?


We know that terrorists use fake ID's to evade security scrutiny.

The 9/11 terrorists all had valid ID, issued by their state of residence. How would you deal with a terrorist with a state issued ID, Kip?

While I recognize that there are very valid philosophical issues and debates around ID’s, for TSA, this issue is about closing vulnerabilities and stopping attacks.

So what are you doing about screening cargo? Your attempts at cargo screening have been a dismal failure. What happened to the $500,000,000+ that's gone missing from your accountants? You haven't closed very large holes in the security process.

There is considerable operational complexity to resolving the identity of a person without an ID real-time at the checkpoint.

And you, the traveling public, are too stupid to understand those complexities. Kip, try us. We really aren't that stupid.

It is getting done now but is still clunky at times. We will get better over the coming months. In answer to the question, all of the building blocks mentioned above, needed to be in place. They are now and aviation is safer as a result.

No Kip, hardening the cockpit doors and changing the SOP for hijacking made aviation safer. Now as to your organization, what has it done to demonstrably make aviation safer (smoke and mirrors for the Kettles don't count)?

FYI, over the last 8 years I've had over 600 flights, dealt with TSA over a multitude of issues (i.e secured baggage being returned unsecured, attempts at a TSO removing a translucent dressing covering a 12" incision, papers and wallet being searched-retaliatory screening, etc) and am for the most part unimpressed with the lack of professionalism your organization displays at many airports (i.e. Newark, Orlando, O'hare and Atlanta).
Submitted by Amy on

The TSA should figure out that terrorists will probably think of new ways to destroy the US not the same way already used.
They are going to find new security lapses in different areas of travel.
Also, in the UK terrorists are often citizens with ID all in oreder which may be the case in the US too.
But you have to try don't you?

Submitted by Anonymous on

I see this has been answered a few time but some people just do not get it. The difference between some one who lost their ID and one who refuses is ATTITUDE!! If you are cooperative and go through the verification process then you can get through once your identity has been verified. Some one who say NO don’t want to show it to you is not cooperating with the program. It is as simple as that folks. If they refuse to show ID then refuse to follow the procedure that verifies ID with out documents, then they don’t fly. I fly roughly 150,000 miles a year I stand in lines just like everyone else. Sure there are TSA screeners who need an attitude adjustment in how they treat people then again there are passengers who need one too. They have had to fight traffic to get there maybe had the airline tell them they have to pay 15 bucks for a bag. So they enter the security line with this huge chip on their shoulder and want to crap on every person they come across. When liquid’s first got banned I was in line behind a lady who asked “Is water a liquid”, I am not excusing the TSA these people should be professional and no matter what treat all with at least common respect, but I can see after fielding that question and if I saw it once I am sure it has happened more then that you might get a bit worn down. We live in an ever changing imperfect world, trying to defend against an ever changing threat. No answer is going to be perfect. I have been reading this for awhile now and seems like we have a group that no matter what TSA does feel they are making the wrong call. Seems some would have no ID check no security just a free range. REALLY! Now let’s all put on our reality hats and see what that brings us. We live in a free society and yes you can travel state to state with no papers as some have joked. Get into you car and unless you violate a traffic law you will not be asked for ID from New York to LA.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
For an Anonymous poster:
Interesting how this hasn't been answered yet, given that it's such a simple and easy answer. I've been refraining from answering these questions myself since I wanted to research into the process more, and at least now I'm comfortable enough to try to explain the process from a technical standpoint. I don't think I'm qualified to talk about any of the various what-ifs that could come up, but here goes with the official, no-problems-at-all process:

What makes someone who declines to show ID, but is willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations, too dangerous to fly?

Nothing.

What is the difference between someone who declines to show ID and someone who lost their ID, if both are willing to cooperate with your invasive interrogations?

Again, nothing.

Officially speaking - If someone declines to show their ID, or lost their ID through some other means, but is willing to cooperate in order to verify said ID, then the operating procedure we got says to go on with the screening process of calling the security operations center and doing the ID verification procedure.

If they're not willing to cooperate at all (i.e.; refuse to show ID as well as refusing to fill out the form that gets handed to them) then they're not permitted to enter into the sterile area.

Assuming the operations center cannot verify their identity, we then turn the situation over to an LEO to attempt to do so. If the LEO can not or will not establish their identity, then they're not permitted to enter into the sterile area.

Either way, operations center or LEO identification verified, a BDO makes the determination of whether or not they're acting suspiciously. If so, then they're referred for selectee screening when they go through the checkpoint. If not, then they process through normally.

We got this whole great flow chart and everything for it.
Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Abelard wrote, in parts:
What will TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

c. We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.

So, now my passport isn't even valid ID? How is that possible? It will establish my identity well enough to admit me back into my mother country if I am abroad, but it isn't good enough to allow me through security at an airport? That's insanity or stupidity. Take your pick.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that that's a misunderstanding, and that Kip proably didn't use as many words as he should have to completely convey the thought behind what he was writing.

Allow me to speculate:

Specifically, I think he meant that if one of said state's respective citizens produced a driver's lisence for that state that does not conform to REAL ID, then we would attempt to verify their identity another way and that it would take longer.

A US passport is still on the list of acceptable ID all by itself, and so is a TWIC card and military ID, among others. So even if, say, Alabama chooses not to conform to REAL ID -- my Alabama driver's lisence would not be acceptable as the primary form of ID, but my passport still would be.

Unless the list of acceptable ID gets narrowed again, anyway, but I doubt that'll happen.

Better, Abelard? :)
Submitted by Anonymous on

Anon said...

"but please don't insult OUR intelligence with hyperbolic rhetoric."

HA! You've got to be kidding me!!!! All of the usual suspects on this blog mindlessly chanting the same line of "hyperbolic rhetoric" day in and day out, but can't take it when it's dished right back to 'em!!! Please, for all our sakes, find a new/better raison detra than this tired, ignorant and legally insufficient argument against ID requirements.

Submitted by Winstonsmith on

Kip said:

I would like to move on to other topics since we are not going to solve the several complex issues here and we do have lots of other security issues to discuss.

Kip, what you would like is to sweep this under the rug, like you have done with so many of the other issues that people have raised on this blog, issues such as:

* Why all airport personnel do not get screened when entering the sterile area and how it is that the TSA has not yet come up with a plan to address this.

* How it is that all vehicles entering the sterile area of airports do not get screened and how it is that TSA has not yet come up with a plan to address this.

* How it is that 7 years after 9/11 we are still flying on top of unscreened cargo.

* How the low bar to entry and the high attrition rate among TSOs contributes to security.

* How the TSA has made us one bit safer in the air than we were on 9/10/2001.

* How ever more invasive tactics such as the MMW make us safer and at what cost to the 4th amendment and how and why the 4th amendment does not seem to apply to the TSA.

* Where did that half a billion dollars go? Wasn't there a recent audit of the TSA that came up with about that much money that seems to have gone *poof*?

These are just but a few of the questions that people have put to you and your people. Not one of these questions has received a straightforward answer. What we get, on the rare occasion that we do get a question addressed, are platitudes, "trust us," "it's SSI," "you wouldn't understand," "it's one of many layers of security and while maybe it doesn't seem like much, really it works and it's for your own good," and so many other lies and obfuscations that they now just wash over me like so much raw sewage.

No Kip, what you would like here and what we the people will permit, I think, are two different things. Trollkiller, Dunstan, Ayn R. Key, Marshalls SO, Abelard, CBGB, NoClu, Sandra, Wintermute, and so many others who have been so good about holding your feet to the fire I hope will inspire others to do the same, just as their continued determination inspires me to keep going (Thanks Folks!)

Submitted by Adrian McCarthy on

All of this misses the point.

The new ID policy (like the 3-1-1 policy) does not do what you says it does.

The TSA is not checking the passengers' ID against the selectee and no-fly lists. They are checking them against the boarding passes. Boarding passes are trivial to doctor.

So either you're complete idiots (which I doubt) or there's a motivation other than security.

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Kip,

Are you validating boarding passes along with IDs? As I see the system right now, a terrorist can get access to the sterile area simply by creating a forged boarding pass (easy enough to do, since one can print boarding passes at home), and presenting the forged boarding pass with their own legitimate ID.

Submitted by Ayn R Key on
Q: What will TSA due if a majority of the states refuse to issue REAL ID cards to their respective citizens?

A: We would attempt to verify identity with other means, it would just take longer.

OMG.

Well, thank you for finally answering my question.

Do you really think the traveling public is going to accept 100% full screenings? Are you expecting the traveling public to blame the state or to blame the TSA?

I feared that would be your answer. I asked trying to give you an out. I really was trying to get you to say "I think this is a stupid policy so let us rethink this." It didn't work.

Unfortunately the one thing I cannot say about your answer is "unbelievable."
Submitted by Anonymous on

Hmm-- I've scanned through the recent ID posts to find some discussions about minors (by "scanned", I mean searched for "minor" in the text).

I'm not seeing it-- maybe I'm dense, but I'm also not seeing a link to the policy. I've found it here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/acceptable_documents.shtm . If it is displayed somewhere, my apologies; if not, you probably ought to include it with each posting on the subject.

It says, in short "Beginning on May 26, 2008, adult passengers (18 and over) will be required to show a U.S. federal or state-issued photo ID". Can you clarify-- we're traveling with our two minor children (6 and 8)-- is there any ID requirements for them?

Submitted by Anonymous on

Thank you Kip, Thank you TSA.

Those of us defending our rights as citizens of this great country appreciate the enormous efforts it takes to keep Americans safe from those who would destroy everything we take for granted each and every day.

Keep up the great work, Americans need people and agencies whose job is thankless but very necessary in these troublesome times.

God Bless the USA!

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