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Transportation Security Administration

Keep Your Lap Top IN if you have a “Checkpoint Friendly” Bag

Friday, August 15, 2008
James Brown once sang Papa's Got a Brand New Bag . Well, it may be a different kind of bag than what the Godfather was singing about, but now everybody can feel better than James Brown and keep their laptop in their “checkpoint friendly” bag as long it meets certain criteria . You may already own a “checkpoint friendly ” bag and not even know it.

Tomorrow (8/16) is the day that new laptop procedures roll out nationwide.

For all of you Debbie Downers out there, we realize that purchasing or owning one of these bags isn’t your free ticket to never have your laptop searched again. However, there is a darned good chance that your laptop won’t be searched. To put it in perspective, how many times has your laptop been searched when it’s been out of the bag? It’s pretty rare.

Just think of it this way, as long as there is nothing in your bag besides the laptop, you’re good to go. But, please remember that our Officers are trained to look for anomalies and if something looks odd or out of place, they will search your laptop. Next time you go through security, look around and see how many laptops are undergoing secondary screening. It’s rare.

Now I know what you’re thinking. You’re a road warrior and you’ve got all sorts of cables, adapters, gadgets and gizmos. You’re probably wondering where you’re going to put all of that stuff. Have no fear, several manufacturers have been hard at work designing bags that meet “checkpoint friendly” criteria . Just Google “checkpoint friendly laptop bags” and you’ll have a wide variety to choose from. Just remember, the TSA does not endorse any of these bags and you’ll need to be aware of our criteria to ensure you buy the right type of bag. These are some examples of bags that meet our criteria.

This new procedure will make things a little easier for our travelers while lessening the amount of preparation and recomposure time. Hopefully this will reduce your hassle factor at the checkpoint and make for happier passengers and happy passengers make the bad guys stand out.

Happy traveling and we hope to hear from you here about your experiences with the new procedures.

Blogger Bob
EoS Blog Team

Comments

Submitted by Phil on

The rule change described in this press release sounds good. So we can all be sure about what the current rules are, where has TSA published a list of all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart? Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.

Submitted by Gunner on
For all of you Debbie Downers out there

Professional, really professional.

I thought better of you Bob.
Submitted by Tso Rachel on

Eh... I thought the "Debbie Downer" reference was cute. *shrugs*

I am grateful for these bags. It should definitely cut down on the amount of time people spend in line, both with unloading and loading their property.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Gunner said...
For all of you Debbie Downers out there

Professional, really professional.

I thought better of you Bob.
.......

It's a watch list for you, Gunner, and all you other malcontents!

Submitted by Bob Eucher on

I am with Phil, please provide a link or a means to obtain ALL rules and regulations that one is subject to at a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport.
How can you expect people to obey and follow rules, when there is not an ALL inclusive place to find those rules. Since there are obvious repercussions if your rules are not followed then it only stands that those rules should be easily obtained.
You must have rules, as I have read from several TSO posting here, that they just do their job, and are following rules.
Don't you think it would make the entire "checkpoint process" smoother, if EVERYONE knew exactly what was expected of them prior to coming to the airport. Your failure to provide a means to view ALL the rules, would indicate that you make them up as you go along, and that the TSA is really NOT interested in serving the public, as you frequently state.
I know of no other government agency that does not have a means to obtain all rules/regulations that they are tasked to enforce.

Submitted by Miller on
For all of you Debbie Downers out there, we realize that purchasing or owning one of these bags isn’t your free ticket to never have your laptop searched again.

We realize that fact. Now about the TSOs who either haven't heard about this, were asleep during the briefing, or make up their own rules on the spot, what are you going to do with/to them?

However, there is a darned good chance that your laptop won’t be searched. To put it in perspective, how many times has your laptop been searched when it’s been out of the bag? It’s pretty rare.

Laptop searched? Do you mean, taken apart by a TSO hot on the trail of something they can claim as being on the forbidden list, swabbed down, or attempts made by the TSO to power up the laptop so they can initiate a search like ICE has been authorized to do?
Submitted by Earl Pitts on
From the blog: "Hopefully this will reduce your hassle factor at the checkpoint and make for happier passengers and happy passengers the bad guys stand out."

Happy passengers make bad guys stand out? This really is the Friday puppies post!

Thanks for a great laugh. I really needed it today.
Submitted by Anonymous on

This is good, but it is not "evolution" it is a reversal of a former "devolution".

Submitted by Anonymous on

Good morning to you
Good morning to you
We're all in our places
With bright smiling faces

This new procedure will make things a little easier for our travelers while lessening the amount of preparation and recomposure time.

That's never been an issue before. Why is recomposure time now be of any concern to TSA?

Hopefully this will reduce your hassle factor at the checkpoint and make for happier passengers and happy passengers the bad guys stand out.

Happy passengers vs bad guys. Since the definition of bad guys keeps expanding and that for years passengers were regarded by TSA as un-indicted terrorists how do we, the traveling public, know that for some unknown reason, TSA might now consider us bad guys instead of upstanding citizens?

Truncheons, mace, water-boarding, electro-shock (as was done in the old Soviet Union to unhappy citizens) or other less invasive and easier to hide such as data bases that don't really exist to track fictional passengers who just happen to have the same personal information as real travelers?

Phil, that list unfortunately, is SSI and you don't have a need to know. All you can hope for is that the TSO shows you some mercy for not knowing rules de jour.

Submitted by Tomas on

In your "criteria" link the page says:

"Recognizability: TSOs currently instruct passengers to remove all laptops from bags. This will continue except in instances where passengers have a bag that is designed to allow for a clear X-ray image. Designs should be distinguishable from other standard laptop cases." [emphasis added]

And:

"Laptop bag manufacturers may not indicate in any of their marketing, packaging, warranties, or related activities that TSA certifies, recognizes, approves, endorses, guarantees, sanctions, or in any other manner favors a particular bag or design."

"Bag manufacturers may not refer to their products as "TSA Bags" or any variation thereof..."

"# Use of the TSA logo or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seal by any bag manufacturer is specifically prohibited. Use of the TSA logo or DHS seal may constitute a criminal violation under 18 U.S.C. § 506."

Please reconcile.

Thanks.

Submitted by BlognDog on
happy passengers make the bad guys stand out.

I am trying to take Earl's attitude on this and just see your ridiculous beliefs as comical, but mostly the feeling of total rage I feel every time I think "TSA" is what surges to the surface.

You guys are actually drinking your own kool-aid. "BAD GUYS" are the ones going through your silly shoe carnival and putting up with your offensive agents and ridiculous policies with a cheerful "good morning" and total co-operation.

The ones (like myself) who are freedom-loving, paranoia-free travellers who haven't bought into your irrational, paranoid vision are the ones who are not happy, who choose to use their constitutionally protected freedom of speech to tell your brown-shirt wannabee "agents" to do biologically impossible acts in language that would violate your comment policy. It is true you can never know who the terrorist is, but I can tell you, when they get to one of your check points, they will be all smiles and "yes, ma'am", "no sir", "thank you, sir" and leave your incompetent, liquids checking half-wits thinking, "what a nice man". The ones like me -- the ones who are not "happy" and leave your agents feeling angry and resentful, are the last one who would ever pose a threat to the flight.

The fact that you do not know this just proves how pointless and ineffective your pathetic agency is.

And no, I am not going to go buy a new bag just so you keep up your security farce more efficiently.
Submitted by Anonymous on

"Click here to learn more about the industry process and guidelines for laptop bag [sic]."

"Your laptop bag has a designated laptop-only section that can lay [sic] flat on the X-ray belt."

(What are the chances that the Security Theater playwrights know what "sic" means? Shrug...)

Submitted by CBGB on

@gunner

Bob's just pissed that the TSA has decided to use common sense...it makes his job really hard because do justify all the stupid other stuff we harass him about...

Submitted by Anonymous on

You guys are actually drinking your own kool-aid. "BAD GUYS" are the ones going through your silly shoe carnival and putting up with your offensive agents and ridiculous policies with a cheerful "good morning" and total co-operation.
***********************************
Your logic would indicate that 95 percent of the people I see daily at the checkpoint are "bad guys" simply because they smile and say good morning when they come through the mag. Come on give us a break! I don't agree with the so called "checkpoint friendly" bags or leaving a laptop in its bag. I think its totally ridiculous and uncalled for. But I'm not that high up in the chain of command, and I don't make the decisions, so I have to deal with it. But to say that the "bad guys" are the ones going through with a smile and friendly good morning is nuts! You people accept nothing for what it is. This blog was set up for the purpose of giving you some input to procedures and how they affect you at the checkpoint, instead you're using it to bash. Stop the hating, and get on with what you do.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Anyone want to bet the front line TSOs have no idea about this new 'guideline' [1] and will still scream at you to remove you laptop from your 'checkpoint friendly' bag/sleeve?????


[1] TSA doesn't have rules only guidelines so the terrorists/law abiding citizens can't count on any consistency from one TSO to another. OR they are guidelines to cover up for the lack of oversight of TSOs choosing to enforce their own interpretation of what should be allowed.

Submitted by BlognDog on

Anonymous:

No, MY logic does imply that everyone who is nice and happy at the checkpoint is a terrorist. My logic implies that everyone who is a terrorist is nice and happy. Lots of decent people are nice as well, but my observation was in response to Bob'b ludicrous assertion that "happy passengers make the bad guys stand out".

As for stop hating the TSA -- only once it has been liquidated thanks to the efforts of freedom loving people like myself and we get watch Chertoff's trial and sentencing on live television.

Submitted by Anonymous on

Hey blogndog, we don't care if you won't buy a new laptop bag. Thats your choice. So if you forget your laptop at the security checkpoint because all of the passengers that are doing whatever they can to make things run smoothly are crowding you while you try to get yourself together. Don't blame TSA for stealing what you will eventually leave behind because of the so called farce is moving better than you expected. And from all of us incompetent liquid checking half wits who most of have more intellegence in our little toes than you'll ever gain in a lifetime keep your credit card handy to have it mailed back to you. Maybe thats not a good idea because we're so incompetent that we might loose your credit card number. This blog was designed to get constructive input from the travelers. The laptop is an issue that was brought up. So instead of using this for what it should be, you continue to use it to insult people you don't even know. You talk about paranoid. Maybe you should stay in the Stockholm area and allow those who are honestly trying to make a difference discuss the real issues. Insulting people and thier character is not the issue.

Submitted by Miller on
You guys are actually drinking your own kool-aid. "BAD GUYS" are the ones going through your silly shoe carnival and putting up with your offensive agents and ridiculous policies with a cheerful "good morning" and total co-operation.
***********************************
Your logic would indicate that 95 percent of the people I see daily at the checkpoint are "bad guys" simply because they smile and say good morning when they come through the mag.

Put on a happy face and you suddenly become a pleasant, good guy. Frown, scowl, or show any form of displeasure at the theater and you become a bad guy.

Come on give us a break! I don't agree with the so called "checkpoint friendly" bags or leaving a laptop in its bag.

So what would you have us do? Perhaps have our laptop shipped to our destination so you don't have to deal with it? Much like the war on liquids and the failed hot foot of Reid, this will further anger the traveling public when airport after airport tells someone that their $150 laptop sock still must get opened and the laptop removed.

Guys, when you find yourself at the bottom of an ever deepening hole the first thing you should do is to stop shoveling.

Much of what TSA does is due to the knee jerk response of 9/11 and the mandate of fixing air travel so it becomes safe again. Operating a government agency on a knee jerk response shows just how little TSA management cares about the American people.

Mission creep now means more tasks to do while TSA fails to properly do their original job which was keeping weapons, explosives, and incendiary devices off of aircraft.

With few exceptions, the traveling public really doesn't care about who is on the aircraft.
Submitted by Anonymous on
This blog was set up for the purpose of giving you some input to procedures and how they affect you at the checkpoint, instead you're using it to bash. Stop the hating, and get on with what you do.

Want to see real bashing? Have blogger Bob take this blog off of moderated mode and let the comments come rolling in. You would get comments that would curl your hair.
Submitted by Anonymous on

"Mission creep now means more tasks to do while TSA fails to properly do their original job which was keeping weapons, explosives, and incendiary devices off of aircraft."

To be fair, TSA was failing at this even before the pointless and indefensible shoe and liquids nonsense.

Submitted by HSVTSO Dean on
Tomas wrote:
"Recognizability: TSOs currently instruct passengers to remove all laptops from bags. This will continue except in instances where passengers have a bag that is designed to allow for a clear X-ray image. Designs should be distinguishable from other standard laptop cases." [emphasis added]

And:

"Laptop bag manufacturers may not indicate in any of their marketing, packaging, warranties, or related activities that TSA certifies, recognizes, approves, endorses, guarantees, sanctions, or in any other manner favors a particular bag or design."

"Bag manufacturers may not refer to their products as "TSA Bags" or any variation thereof..."

"# Use of the TSA logo or Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seal by any bag manufacturer is specifically prohibited. Use of the TSA logo or DHS seal may constitute a criminal violation under 18 U.S.C. § 506."

Please reconcile.

From my understanding, the design being emphasized is supposed to, theoretically speaking, be the very design of the bag itself. Even so, the people making and selling the bags are allowed to put, like, an embroidered "checkpoint friendly" logo on the bag. The only thing they're specifically limited from putting on there is the TSA or DHS symbol, or any kind of symbol or sign or implication that TSA approves, condones, or endorses a given design or type of bag.
Submitted by Marshall's SO on

“checkpoint friendly laptop bags”

We all remember what happened to "checkpoint friendly shoes".....

And now to another point:

Kip, in an "op-ed" piece in USA Today some time ago wrote, in part:

"Opposing view: Learn the rules before you go

TSA and our partners work hard to protect you, but we also need your help.

By Kip Hawley

"....Take a minute to learn the rules before going to the airport (www.TSA.gov). ...

Please respect the job our security officers are doing on your behalf. They use their training and experience to sort out threats among the busy flow of travelers. It is a demanding job and requires intense focus while working pleasantly with the public. ....."

Kippie, how can we "learn the rules" when we don't know them and when:

"The discretion carried out by our 43,000 Transportation Security Officers may mean that passengers might occasionally encounter slightly varying decisions at security checkpoints. Our goal is common sense security. To avoid absurd situations resulting from a mechanical enforcement of the rules, TSA entrusts its security officers to make decisions based on their training and judgment."

As USA Today wrote two years ago, your "rules" are a moving target, so I will ask again, as have others, how can we learn your "rules"?

Submitted by Miller on
The laptop is an issue that was brought up.

Hmmm, so let's talk laptops for a minute. A coworker had TSA accidentally drop his laptop on the floor while TSOs examined it. TSA refused to either pay for the laptop to be fixed or replace it. Reason? Hazards of going through the TSA checkpoint even though TSA had the laptop in their hands before dropping it. This bag will do what to prevent this from happening?

So instead of using this for what it should be, you continue to use it to insult people you don't even know.

The professional TSOs do what is expected of them and as such blend into the airport scenery. The TSOs who display socially aberrant behavior get remembered and those are the TSOs who cause much of the grief between front line screeners and the traveling public.

You talk about paranoid.

It isn't paranoid if it is true. TSA's own policy has every passenger viewed as a un-indicted, un-arrested terrorist.

Maybe you should stay in the Stockholm area and allow those who are honestly trying to make a difference discuss the real issues.

Stockholm area? Are you trying to refer to the Stockholm Syndrome, where hostages begin to identify with their kidnappers? I really don't see how that is applicable in this case, unless TSA has begun taking hostages.

Insulting people and thier character is not the issue.

Insulting people? Pretty tame around here. If you want to see insults have blogger Bob turn off moderation for a week or more. Then you will see insults. Insulting character? Again some TSOs deserve everything they get and more for their sadistic/boarder line criminal activity. Google Flyertalk and see what people say over there about wheelchair bound people, amputees, elderly, getting the process from TSA employees. Granted it those comments are anecdotal, but if are true, show some TSOs as bullying, vindictive thugs.
Submitted by Dunstan on

"Hopefully this will reduce your hassle factor at the checkpoint and make for happier passengers and happy passengers the bad guys stand out."

Are you going to give disabled people a reason to be happy?

Submitted by Gunner on

A TSA employee, posting under anonymous attacked those of us who challenge the TSA idiocy in a blog that began with Hey blogndog, we don't care if you won't buy a new laptop bag.

Dear TSA employee:

YOU are the problem. I'm willing to be that you are one of the TSA'ers who scream "do you want to fly today" at passengers who have the nerve to challenge you.

Yes, you with the blue shirt and the cheap tin badge, we are not impressed. I see mor4e professionalism at a WAL*MART that I see from the likes of YOU.

It is so easy to post under anonymous and attack people. Internet cowardice at its best. Get an ID and have some accountability. Rachel and Dean have the cajones to identify themselves.

Sure, we hammer Bob, and Christopher and the other bloggers, but for the most part those of us who "sign our posts" try hard not to get personal with them. They are trying. It has to be tough defending some of the TSA policies and posting the garbage that the PR department hands them.

But YOU come in here regularly and do your attack mode bit in total anonymity. I'm too lazy to look, but I'd bet dollars to donuts that you are the one that posted that garbage about putting your lives on the line for us.

So step up.

Oh, and when you trace me back and add me to a list, it is just fine, because frankly, my response to the "do you want to fly today?" question is not particularly

Submitted by Anonymous on

"Hopefully this will reduce your hassle factor at the checkpoint and make for happier passengers and happy passengers make the bad guys stand out."

So this is what TSA needs to make its BDO program work? To make all the non-terrorists more calm than the terrorists so they stand out more?

You are idiots, and things like this is why.

Submitted by Jeremy on

Just in case the idea needs a third, a 100% complete, official, everything you need to know rules and regs document would be a great thing to publish. I know it'll ruin the power trip for some of the employees, us knowing everything they do and all, but it's a good idea. For one, we'd at least know what to expect, and when the document grows to be hundreds of pages long, we have better evidence of the overreaching mission of the screening.

Submitted by Adam on

I understand that these checks are part of making us safe. However, last few times I had to use airport, I had troubles while getting my laptop out of my luggage.

Probably I should go for one of these "checkpoint friendly" bags as well.

Submitted by Caribbean Socia... on

This was a very good article. I agree with Bob Eucher. There needs to be a place to go to download this information so that I can have a hard copy. And also give to our employees to make travel more streamline.

Submitted by Benet Wilson on

Here's my question -- why can't we just cut out the middle man and use x-ray machines that allow us to keep our laptops in our existing bags? I know they've been tested in U.S. airports, and are standard at all airports in the UK. Plus, I really like the backpack I'm carrying now and I don't want to buy a new one.

Submitted by RB on

For Blogger Bob.

Bob, it seems you are the last EOS Blog Rep. Are you?

So where do we go from here?

There is no two way discussion here. Only the weekly post or two from TSA and then the public asking exactly the same questions over and over.

Even though you said you would answer the top 10 questions we all know that very few of the remarks made were really answers at all.

I am very serious, where is this blog headed?

Hope your handlers will let you answer.

Submitted by Anonymous on

If the most extreme critics want TSA dissolved, so be it, I won't argue the point. Go ahead and reprivatize it. However, no $15B bailouts for any airlines or security companies in the event of another major terrorist attack. Private companies can do better? Fine, I believe you. Then let them take ALL the risk too, not just the profit.

Heh, and if that attack did occur, the ironic part is that the surviving airlines (what few would remain) would be 10 times more strict and intrusive in security than TSA ever thought of being, because of liability concerns. Don't you get it? The "security theater" of TSA has never been for the PAX benefit, but ultimately for the airlines.

Submitted by Kathy From Kleveland on

I googled it and one of the top stories was titled:

"Chinese manufacturers help get checkpoint-friendly laptop bags to U.S. airports"

Glad to see we're helping out the Chinese economy!

I guess I'm a "bad guy standing out" because I don't want to shell out the money for a new laptop bag. Great.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on
Quote from Anonymous: "If the most extreme critics want TSA dissolved, so be it, I won't argue the point. Go ahead and reprivatize it. However, no $15B bailouts for any airlines or security companies in the event of another major terrorist attack."

Umm, some airlines didn't get any bailouts. United didn't get jack, for example.

It wasn't security that failed on 9/11 anyway. I don't know why TSA doesn't get that. It was the fact that the policy was in place to comply with hijackers that 9/11 happened. Geez.

"Private companies can do better? Fine, I believe you. Then let them take ALL the risk too, not just the profit."

Why? TSA isn't assuming any of the risk. We can't even get them to pay for items they damage or lose? I don't think TSA is in ANY position to lecture about assuming liability.

So if the security company was doing everything that TSA or whoever was regulating them said and screening was performed properly, you would just let them out to dry? What if it was bad policy that they had to follow that allowed the incident? What if it wasn't even their fault?

Tell me, what responsibility would TSA assume if something were to happen today?

"Heh, and if that attack did occur, the ironic part is that the surviving airlines (what few would remain) would be 10 times more strict and intrusive in security than TSA ever thought of being, because of liability concerns. Don't you get it? The "security theater" of TSA has never been for the PAX benefit, but ultimately for the airlines."

So you're admitting that TSA is nothing but theater and is only there to prop up an ailing industry?

The airlines or whoever implements the security are still bound by law. If the gov't passed knee jerk laws like they did in the wake of 9/11 that created TSA, sure, some things like that could happen. Otherwise, let them be sued and stand on the merits of whether they did was expected of them. If they did, then nothing will happen. If they didn't, they deserve to pay. Private security shouldn't be held liable if it wasn't their fault and they did what they were supposed to do. Let them be sued if they're negligent.

Even so, it would STILL be MORE recourse than what would happen if something happened under TSA's watch. The gov't would claim sovereign immunity, pretty much immediately throwing out any lawsuits against it. We'd STILL get the same invasive procedures you'd say we get in a private scenario.

Nothing was fundamentally wrong with security pre 9/11. It worked and they did what they were supposed to under the rules that they head. Sure, some things could have been improved on. However, we got the mess that is TSA instead and security is no better, and arguably worse, and it costs a whole lot more.

Honestly, your description sounds more like someone who's afraid of losing their job rather than someone who really cares about security. Well, I guess that's security to some extent you care about ... job security.

Robert
Submitted by Miller on
If the most extreme critics want TSA dissolved, so be it, I won't argue the point. Go ahead and reprivatize it.

TSA dissolved? Never said that. I want TSA held accountable for its actions. I want TSA focused on their first and primary mission keeping weapons, explosives, and incendiary devices off of the aircraft. I want them to have a better than 50 percent success rate at detection (red team tests). I want TSA to treat both passengers and their belongings with common courtesy. Shouldn't be too big of an effort since many countries already do this.

However, no $15B bailouts for any airlines or security companies in the event of another major terrorist attack. Private companies can do better? Fine, I believe you. Then let them take ALL the risk too, not just the profit.

9/11 occurred because of a near universal policy (by the airlines) of dealing with the hijackers, giving them what they want and not fighting back. That policy is in the toilet. Passengers will fight back.

Heh, and if that attack did occur, the ironic part is that the surviving airlines (what few would remain) would be 10 times more strict and intrusive in security than TSA ever thought of being, because of liability concerns. Don't you get it? The "security theater" of TSA has never been for the PAX benefit, but ultimately for the airlines.

I travel often and airline employees don't have a high regard for TSA doing much for airline security.
Submitted by Phil on

Numerous people have repeatedly asked,

Where has TSA published a list of all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart, not including laws that the person is required to abide by outside of the airport checkpoint (i.e., just those rules and regulations that apply only at the checkpoint). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication.

Jeremy wrote:

"a 100% complete, official, everything you need to know rules and regs document would be a great thing to publish."

Jeremy, I'm not even asking for a "100% complete, everything you need to know" document. All I want is a pointer to the place where the special rules travelers must follow in order to pass a United States Government airport checkpoint are published. There are plenty of rules that apply outside the checkpoint that are none of TSA's concern, and it would be unreasonable for us to ask them to repeat all of that. And I'm not asking them to tell us "all we need to know" -- that's best left up to us and our lawyers. Just show me the rules I'm required to follow, please.

Bob, can you do this for us? If not, how can you expect us to follow the rules? Are we to just guess and then wait for your security guards to tell us if we're following the rules or not?

Submitted by Anonymous on

When you are done scratching your head over this latest "security measure" (TIP don't bother), ask your self after watching this TSA surveillance video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcCmmaCqZhg if this laptop bag is really worth it. Kudos to the bad guys for showing how pathetic we've all become!

Submitted by Anonymous on

"I understand that these checks are part of making us safe."

No. Nothing TSA does makes anyone safe.

Submitted by Dan S on

In response to the earlier blog entry, it's now apparent why the TSA is planning on ending the distribution of paper complaint forms in favor of a web-based submission system: unnecessarily detained, verbally-abused people in holding pens don't have internet access.

"...After four hours, I finally demanded to speak to the guards' supervisor, and he was called down. I asked if the detainees could file a formal complaint. He said there were complaint forms (which, in English and Spanish, direct one to the Department of Homeland Security's Web site, where one must enter extensive personal information in order to file a "Trip Summary") but initially refused to hand them out or to give me his telephone number. "The Department of Homeland Security is understaffed, underfunded, and I have men here who are doing 14-hour days." He tried to intimidate me when I wrote down his name -- "So, you're writing down our names. Well, we have more on you" -- and asked me questions about my address and my profession in front of the rest of the people detained....

...A large crowd began to gather. Everyone wanted to voice complaints. I explained to the supervisor that his guards had been making people afraid. He flipped through the green files, tossing the American passports to the front of the pile. "You should have gone first, before these people. American citizens first -- that's how it should be." In the face of dozens of requests and questions, he turned and left...
-At JFK Airport, Denying Basic Rights Is Just Another Day at the Office by Emily Feder

I didn't realize that traveling through Syria or Lebanon was a crime. Especially, given that there is a travel warning, but not a ban, and the United States maintains embassies in both countries, which have a wealth of cultural and artistic treasures, despite the brutal, sadistic men who run them and the terrorist proxy groups that infest them.

How exactly are we expected to report an 'unfavorable customer experience' if the employees of the TSA and DHS are allowed to hide their identities and utilize intimidation tactics as cover for their time spent playing out their own personal Stanford Prison Experiment?

Submitted by Anonymous on

It wasn't security that failed on 9/11 anyway. I don't know why TSA doesn't get that. It was the fact that the policy was in place to comply with hijackers that 9/11 happened. Geez.
***********************************
Robert;
security did INDEED fail on 9/11/2001, and here's how:
at the time, the weapons that were used (boxcutters) were permitted on board the airplane. In at least two cases where the highjackers were scrutinized with "additional security measures" those measures were not found to have been appropriately applied. For instance, upon review of the tape it was found that one private contractor's employee failed to resolve hand held metal detector alarms around the highjackers rear pocket areas. It was also found that the only additional measure put in place with selectee screening at the time was to hold the baggage off the plane until the passenger who was specified under the CAPS progam had actually boarded. Security measures were not adequate at the time, and contracted employees failed to do what they were supposed to do. The object is to KEEP THEM OFF THE PLANE not stop them after they are ON the plane for god's sake! We are not interested in stopping someone who has boarded the plane, that's why we have air marshals on planes now. We are more interested in making sure they don't get on the plane to begin with. Say what you want about "security theater" "TSA sucks" whatever you want to say, the fact remains that the measures in place now, though an inconvenience to you, are better than they were pre-9/11/2001.

Submitted by Bob on

We’ve had public guidance on air travel on our web page for years. You can find it here.

It sounds to me like you folks are asking for our SOP to be made public. Even our staunchest critic would have to realize that releasing our SOP to passengers would not be the best security move.

I've taken the info from the public page and taught classes to passengers with disabilities before on how to travel through the checkpoint. The information is there. It is helpful. You just have to realize that it's not gospel. Knowing the information could get you through the checkpoint with no problems, but then again, there is always the slight chance that something could trigger secondary screening, whether it's your behavior, the way you packed your bag, or some other kind of anomaly...

Look, I completely understand that you want to know all of our procedures. I also understand that it's frustrating at times to not understand what's going on or why. It's just not the nature of our business to hand out the playbook.

Bob

Eos Blog Team

Submitted by Anonymous on

To those of you who keep asking for a list of the rules:

Why do you want the terrorists to win?

The TSA has told us many times that there is no consistency because it will keep us safer.

Submitted by Phil on

I wrote:

"Where has TSA published a list of all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to if that person wishes to cross a U.S. Government checkpoint at an airport en route to the gate from which his domestic flight will depart, not including laws that the person is required to abide by outside of the airport checkpoint (i.e., just those rules and regulations that apply only at the checkpoint). Please provide a URL or name of the government publication."

Bob of the EOS blog team responded:

"We’ve had public guidance on air travel on our web page for years. You can find it here.

"It sounds to me like you folks are asking for our SOP to be made public."

Bob, please don't change the subject and deny us something we never requested. We're not asking for your organization's operating procedures, public guidance or any guidance. We're asking for a written and published list of all the rules TSA will require us to follow beyond those which we are already obligated by law to follow, if we wish to pass through a U.S. Government checkpoint in an airport en route to the gate from which our domestic commercial flight is scheduled to depart.

Can you provide this? If you will not show us the rules, how can you expect us to follow those rules? We want to follow the rules if that is what it takes in order for us to travel. Are we to just guess and then wait for your security guards to tell us if we're following the rules or not?

You are restricting the freedom of movement of millions of people based on these rules. Why will you not show us the rules you require us to follow if we are to travel via the only means that is practical in most cases?

Submitted by Anonymous on

"where has TSA published a list of all the rules and regulations that TSA will subject someone to"

Comrades, have you not heard? Some of the laws in neo America are, shhhh, secret.

Have you not heard of Gilmore vs Gonzales? Do you not know about the buildings that it is secretly illegal to photograph?

Do you not understand that our safety from the terrorists depends on living under secret laws and regulations?

Submitted by Jim Huggins on

Bob writes:

Look, I completely understand that you want to know all of our procedures. I also understand that it's frustrating at times to not understand what's going on or why. It's just not the nature of our business to hand out the playbook.

Except that sometimes, it is.

Cryptographers have a principle known as
Kerckhoffs' principle
. Basically, it states that a cryptographic system should be designed to be secure, even if all of the procedures used in executing the system are known.

Would it really change security all that much if TSA's playbook were published? Sure, terrorists would know your procedures. But if your procedures were sound, it shouldn't matter if they are known them or not. Plus, if you know that your enemy knows your procedure, then you'll be that much more strongly motivated to make sure that you are relying on the strength of your procedures, not the secrecy of them.

(And, to be blunt, a determined terrorist will figure out your procedures anyways. Military secrets are the most fleeting of all.)

Submitted by TSO Jason on

Bob wrote:

"Look, I completely understand that you want to know all of our procedures. I also understand that it's frustrating at times to not understand what's going on or why. It's just not the nature of our business to hand out the playbook."

Reading through the comments posted I'm not getting the sense that people want to know our procedures. For example, you do step x and then step y for a handwand. There seems to be alot frustration from individuals not knowing what to expect when traveling. There is the website which does have some good information but it can be difficult to navigate. There should be a step by step process guide that outlines the rules and regs. Starting with approaching the checkpoint talk about ID checks what are the rules. Acceptable forms of ID, traveling with no ID, lost ID, ETC. Then move through the entire process outlining what is expected of the passenger. This could be done without violating SSI reguirements. It would also make for easier passenger flow which would reduce passenger anxiety, which is what is what we are attempting to do with the x-ray friendly bags.

Submitted by Robert Johnson on
Quote from Anonymous:"Robert;
security did INDEED fail on 9/11/2001, and here's how:
at the time, the weapons that were used (boxcutters) were permitted on board the airplane."

If anyone's at fault, that's the government's not security's. Arguably, box cutters still aren't a threat. Considering there are knives (supplied with dinner service in business and first classes), scissors, and other sharp objects (even a broken wine bottle would work), this is really a nonsequitor.

"In at least two cases where the highjackers were scrutinized with "additional security measures" those measures were not found to have been appropriately applied. For instance, upon review of the tape it was found that one private contractor's employee failed to resolve hand held metal detector alarms around the highjackers rear pocket areas. It was also found that the only additional measure put in place with selectee screening at the time was to hold the baggage off the plane until the passenger who was specified under the CAPS progam had actually boarded."

Funny thing is, even with those "failures", which in the end, would have found that they didn't have any prohibited items anyway, they were still batting WAY better than TSA. I'd take 2 in 19 failures over 20 of 22 failures as TSA has given us.

"Security measures were not adequate at the time, and contracted employees failed to do what they were supposed to do. The object is to KEEP THEM OFF THE PLANE not stop them after they are ON the plane for god's sake!" We are not interested in stopping someone who has boarded the plane, that's why we have air marshals on planes now. We are more interested in making sure they don't get on the plane to begin with."

No, that's NOT your job. The sooner TSA realizes that, the sooner they can actually improve security.

YOUR job as an agency is to screen passengers for prohibited items. No more. If anyone has the job of keeping baddies off the planes, it's law enforcement and intelligence agencies. You have no proof of any malintent short of finding prohibited items unless you guys are using psychics to try to figure out what exactly a person's thinking. You're denying people the right to move freely based on watch lists (inaccurate at ones that with little to no recourse of getting fixed ... trying being a Robert Johnson when DHS has flat out said that name will never be removed from the list), "gut feelings," and just not looking right. All of this without any sort of due process.

I don't care who's on the plane with me as long as YOU do YOUR job of screening them for prohibited items. It's NOT TSA's job to play judge, jury, and executioner with respect to who gets to fly and who doesn't based on anything else. It does like to think that though.

Say what you want about "security theater" "TSA sucks" whatever you want to say, the fact remains that the measures in place now, though an inconvenience to you, are better than they were pre-9/11/2001.

Empirical data would say otherwise.

Robert
Submitted by Phil on

Jason, you're on the right track. However, I don't want a guide to what to expect; I want a list of the rules I have to follow in order to avoid having my freedom of movement restricted at a U.S. Government checkpoint in the airport.

Start here: Imagine I'm walking through the airport and there is no checkpoint. I know what the laws of the land are, and as long as I do not break them, I will not be hassled by my government. (I also know what additional rules are imposed by way of my contract with the airline, but I needn't be concerned with them until later, when I deal with the airline and their property.) Now, add the government checkpoint into the situation. I'm stopped there, and can only legally proceed in the direction I was traveling prior to the stop if I follow certain additional rules. (e.g., I may not carry weapons on my person. I may not carry more than 3.4 oz. of liquid unless I split it into 3.4 oz. portions, etc.) What are all the additional rules am I subject to at that checkpoint? I still want to be able to go about my business without interference from my government, and the way to do so is to follow the rules that we and our government have set forth for ourselves.

Does that help? I don't think it's as complicated as some are making it out to be. Please, just show me where you have published the rules you require me to follow so I can be sure to follow them.

These aren't the policies of another private entity with which I may or may not choose to do business; these are rules that the only federal government available requires me to follow unless I'm willing to be prevented from traveling. I don't think it's a bit unreasonable to expect that government to tell me what the rules are so that I can follow those rules.

Pointing me to some guides, giving me an idea of what to expect, publishing revisions to existing rules only by press release or blog post, just doesn't cut it. That's not the way the law in the United States is supposed to work; this is not supposed to be a place where we subject people to secret laws.

Submitted by Anonymous on

"However, I don't want a guide to what to expect; I want a list of the rules I have to follow in order to avoid having my freedom of movement restricted at a U.S. Government checkpoint in the airport."

Part and parcel of rules for passengers would be rules for the government. Spell out exactly what TSOs can and cannot do, in black and white. (To any TSA apologists who flip out at the mere suggestion that TSA be restricted in any way, I note that we have such rules for the government in this country: They're called the Constitution.)

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