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Interview With TSA Screener Reveals 'Fatal Flaws'

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the my-toothpaste-is-not-a-deadly-weapon-you-jerks dept.

Transportation 582

OverTheGeicoE writes "Jonathan Corbett, creator of the video showing that TSA's body scanners can't see metal objects on our sides, has a new video out. This time he's interviewing an experienced TSA screener identified only as 'Jennifer,' and her allegations point to 'fatal flaws' in TSA and its procedures. Worse, TSA's screeners are well aware of these flaws. According to Jennifer, body scanners frequently fail to detect objects on passengers, and this flaw is well known to the screeners on the job. People with visible items in their pockets can pass through scanners without detection, even when the items are simulated weapons or explosives. Jennifer also alleges that training for screeners is severely lacking. Screeners are directed to operate body scanners, even the X-ray scanners, without any training whatsoever. The manual of standard operating procedures often can't be found at the checkpoints, let alone read. Jennifer was so alarmed by what she experienced that she wrote her congressional representative to complain. She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday."

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582 comments

Firing in US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642523)

How come people in the US can get fired for reasons other than incompetence or stealing? Why can a person get fired simply by raising an issue? I never hear about this here in Europe. It's in fact very difficult to fire a person here if he is a good worker.

Re:Firing in US (5, Insightful)

BVis (267028) | about 2 years ago | (#39642573)

Because the USA is run by Big Business, who can give unlimited money to candidates for office. You can be fired here for no stated reason at all.

Re:Firing in US (-1, Flamebait)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#39642687)

Because the USA is run by Big Business

Nope. Because the US is (mostly, there are obvious and absurd exceptions) governed in a way that assumes consenting adults can engage in mutually beneficial relationships without a nanny telling them what to do as if they were five year old children. In Europe most laws are written to the point where they assume the ordinary citizenry are mentally handicapped five year olds that needs to be monitored, watched and told what to do at all times by responsible adults.

I prefer the government treat me as an adult.

Re:Firing in US (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642737)

I prefer the government treat me as an adult.

Here you go: "You're fired".

Re:Firing in US (0)

jcaldwel (935913) | about 2 years ago | (#39642905)

Here you go: "You're fired".

You can't use that phrase in the US without express permission from Donald Trump. I believe the recommended word is "terminate".

So in this case where the government behaves (4, Insightful)

goldcd (587052) | about 2 years ago | (#39642741)

like a child - who's the responsible adult in charge?

Re:Firing in US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642743)

I prefer the government treat me as an adult.

It's not a matter of children vs. adults; it's a matter of individuals vs. employers, which sometimes are large corporations. Do you really think there can be a fair discussion between an employee and their employer? Do you really think the employer won't exploit the employee, particularly in times of high unemployment?

If your system is so great, how come it leads to so much social inequality?

Adults or not, there are still bullies in the world, and letting them go unchecked will only lead to trouble.

Re:Firing in US (2, Insightful)

Linuxmonger (921470) | about 2 years ago | (#39642881)

Indivuduals that are profitable to retain are retained, those that aren't are not - that's what business (and life) is about. This isn't about exploitation - if you think that any company is going to pay you 100 units of currency a day when they only scrape 50 off of your back, you are mistaken.
If I hire a programmer at 60K per year, you can be certain that he's worth 75K to me, and I get to keep the 15K per year per programmer - I have enough of them that I can afford a pointy haired boss to keep them all going in the same general direction and still pocket a nice sum at the end of the year.
Welcome to profitable business, where is it any different? There may be differences in title, but nothing else.

Re:Firing in US (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39643025)

Explain to me where "Jennifer" was obviously fired because she wasn't pulling her weight. She raised important flaws within the organisation which could consiquently be resolved. That sounds pretty fucking valuable to me.

Re:Firing in US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642791)

Condescending - Check
Patronizing - Check
Subtly insulting - Check

Spoken like a true American.

Re:Firing in US (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | about 2 years ago | (#39642835)

Tell me that next time you're arrested for crossing a perfectly ordinary road (even with zero traffic on it), or "failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign", or any of a thousand and one ridiculous notions of what adults shouldn't be allowed to do.

The US is really no better or worse than Europe. The biggest problem with the US is that they DON'T REALISE THIS.

Re:Firing in US (5, Insightful)

StoneyMahoney (1488261) | about 2 years ago | (#39642853)

Oh, I'd say the US has a pretty massive deficiency compared to the Europe - we have socialized healthcare, they have inhumanity.

Re:Firing in US (-1, Flamebait)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#39642989)

The US is really no better or worse than Europe

You know this? How? Have you lived in both places? I have. Ten years living and working in the US. It has plenty flaws for sure. When it comes to the treatment of individuals they pale in comparison to Europe though. The EU, as an example, is the biggest threat to democracy this side of 1933.

Re:Firing in US (0)

notandor (807997) | about 2 years ago | (#39642839)

How can the parent post get insightful?

Even an advocate of cut-throat capitalism should see that his word choice ("nanny", "five year old children", "mentally handicapped") is purely trolling.

What is this, Glen Becks /. account?

Re:Firing in US (0)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#39642971)

I guess anybody who disagrees with you must be a troll. That's the /. equivalent of throwing a tantrum. If you can't disagree with someone without accusing them of being Glen Beck, I suggest you refrain from commenting until some responsible adult tells you you have finished your teens.

Re:Firing in US (5, Insightful)

ruhri (1480067) | about 2 years ago | (#39642875)

Nope. Because the US is (mostly, there are obvious and absurd exceptions) governed in a way that assumes consenting adults can engage in mutually beneficial relationships without a nanny telling them what to do as if they were five year old children. In Europe most laws are written to the point where they assume the ordinary citizenry are mentally handicapped five year olds that needs to be monitored, watched and told what to do at all times by responsible adults.

I prefer the government treat me as an adult.

Are nanny analogies now the new car analogies on Slashdot?

Anyways, here's what's wrong with that picture:

Let's ignore the massive differential in power between a corporation/employer and an employee for a second and accept for the sake of argument that your assumption of both parties being consenting adults is valid. Of both parties in this case, only one acted responsibly, and that is the employee. The TSA chose to throw a tantrum worthy of a five year old and go "Lalala, I can't hear you!". At that point, I'd like to have a mechanism in place to make both parties behave responsibly. And that, pretty much, is the definition of a law (to lay down what "responsible behavior" is) and this subsequently implies it must be enforced by an impartial entity (judge, jury, whatever is customary in your local law system).

Isn't that the way it's supposed to work even in the USA? Why is everybody so afraid of laws and regulations when time and time again experience shows that especially those with a lot of power act like 5-year-olds any time they can get away with it?

Re:Firing in US (0)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#39642947)

I'd like to have a mechanism in place to make both parties behave responsibly

You do. It's in the definition of consenting adults. If you have an adult friend who regularly throws temper tantrums for no rational reason you disengage from that relationship. Same with a temper-tantrum employer. Easy.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | about 2 years ago | (#39643019)

You do realize that the TSA is part of the organization that you want to act as the "impartial entity", right? You want the government to pass a law regulating on what basis an employer (in this case, the government) can fire an employee and then you want the government to act as "impartial referee" between itself and an employee it seeks to fire. Basically, you want to expand the government to fix a problem created by the government.

Re:Firing in US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642911)

how about the fact that from the top down, there is no accountability for anything until shit meets fan? I'm in a similiar position in a government job where I routinely point out flaws in our SOP and demonstrate exactly how shit will meet fan unless we make simple changes. Those changes never happen, because it would cause the top to work. I usually get the response, "it's not broke, so we won't fix it". Would I go so far as to publicly document the flaws?? hells no. That's suicidal.

It's the same as the facebook password issue... (3, Interesting)

jopsen (885607) | about 2 years ago | (#39642913)

Your argument is appealing and does make sense. Having visited the US, I would be surprised if all the horror stories from the media is just business as usual.
And yes, European countries do protect workers more, but much of this protection is negotiated by free marked powers (ie. unions and employers).

IMO the system of "consenting mutually beneficial relationships" without powerful unions fails to benefit the small man.
Especially, when big (greedy) business is involved.

Re:Firing in US (2)

next_ghost (1868792) | about 2 years ago | (#39642953)

I prefer the government treat me as an adult.

I always thought that one of the necessary parts of being adult is recognizing one's own limited power and ability. In this sense, it's Europe that is more mature because people in Europe don't delude themselves into thinking they're being treated as equals when they're really being used as nothing more than expendable serfs by the rich and powerful.

Re:Firing in US (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#39642965)

I had to re read this a few times.

the US is (mostly, there are obvious and absurd exceptions) governed in a way that assumes consenting adults can engage in mutually beneficial relationships

You mean like gay marriage? You mean like smoking pot?

Re:Firing in US (4, Insightful)

kilfarsnar (561956) | about 2 years ago | (#39642997)

Because the USA is run by Big Business

Nope. Because the US is (mostly, there are obvious and absurd exceptions) governed in a way that assumes consenting adults can engage in mutually beneficial relationships without a nanny telling them what to do as if they were five year old children. In Europe most laws are written to the point where they assume the ordinary citizenry are mentally handicapped five year olds that needs to be monitored, watched and told what to do at all times by responsible adults.

I prefer the government treat me as an adult.

This ignores the fact that most people are powerless against their employers. That is why laws exist in Europe. There used to be laws like that in the US too, but they have changed over time.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39643009)

Your central prejudice about how things work in these places you apparently haven't visited is in error.

The state does not assume everyone is a retard, only that some of them may be retarded in some aspect of their behaviour. A moment of reflection on the matter, had you ever given it one, would have easily shown that this is as correct a description of human abilities as any.

We generally see this as a better approach than assuming that all such people will be able or willing to contain their own stupidity and prevent it from spilling over into everyone else's business.

 

Re:Firing in US (4, Insightful)

abe ferlman (205607) | about 2 years ago | (#39643011)

Yes, who could forget when hundreds of thousands of professionals, all wearing their big-boy pants, marched on Washington and demanded the right to be fired for no reason. Corporate bigwigs, reluctant to let their little darlings flee the coop, were nevertheless powerless to stop this people-powered onslaught, and they shed a collective tear as they realized that the American Worker was all grown up now and ready to go out and start making minimum wage.

The minimum wage is next! Power to the grown-ups!

Re:Firing in US (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39642579)

This is a government job. If it was private sector, there's whistleblower laws and the likes to make employers at least try to find another excuse to fire people. Many states are also at-will. The logic is if you can leave your employer without being required to give notice, then they should also be allowed to fire you without giving notice in spite of employees traditionally giving at least two weeks notice. The younger generations are less concerned about giving notice because "if they wouldn't give me any notice, why should I give it to them if they might just fire me on the spot anyway?"

Re:Firing in US (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642625)

It's a private sector job. The TSA contracts the actual work to a multitude of private security companies.
 
Also a lot of states can just fire people for the hell of it. Right-to-work and all that...

Re:Firing in US (4, Insightful)

macs4all (973270) | about 2 years ago | (#39642845)

This is a government job. If it was private sector, there's whistleblower laws and the likes to make employers at least try to find another excuse to fire people.

AFAIK, "Whistleblower" laws apply to government jobs, and ESPECIALLY government contractor jobs, like most of the TSA worker jobs.

This person has a pretty good lawsuit against the fuckface contractor she worked for, employment-at-will or not.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642611)

The ease of firing someone also increases the risk you are willing to take in hiring someone since they are easier to get rid of. If when you hire someone it is made very difficult to fire them then you are less likely to hire them in the first place thus leading to higher unemployment.

Re:Firing in US (1)

Duncan Booth (869800) | about 2 years ago | (#39642819)

I'm afraid your argument doesn't really hold water. In the UK an employer can fire someone without a good reason if they've worked for them for less than 1 year (2 years if they employed them on or after 6th April 2012), so there's no disincentive to hiring someone as you can quickly get rid of them if you find you've made a mistake. The protection only means that you can't get rid of them easily if the relationship turns sour further down the line. FWIW, Google's public data page gives US unemployment 8.3% (Feb 2012), UK unemployment rate 8.3% (Dec 2011).

Re:Firing in US (2)

dmacleod808 (729707) | about 2 years ago | (#39642901)

The US Unemployment rate does not count folks who have given up looking for work, only those being paid unemployment compensation. The true rate is more like 11 or 12%

Re:Firing in US (1)

macs4all (973270) | about 2 years ago | (#39642949)

The ease of firing someone also increases the risk you are willing to take in hiring someone since they are easier to get rid of. If when you hire someone it is made very difficult to fire them then you are less likely to hire them in the first place thus leading to higher unemployment.

Hahahahaha!

It might make it more difficult for an individual with borderline credentials to get a job, but it would NOT lead to more unemployment. If a company decides it needs to "staff a position", that need doesn't go away just because they have to be more careful in hiring. Afterall, even in states where employment-at-will is (wisely) NOT in play, a worker can still be fired for cause.

What we REALLY need is a "deputy" who performs the same job that the person who decides if you were "fired for just cause" (and thus ineligible to receive unemployment compensation), but instead of THAT decision, that "deputy" (what they are called here in Indiana; you can substitute a more generic term, like Ombudsman) would be able to force the corporation to keep from firing you in the first place.

This would also further the people's goal of keeping unemployment down, and the monetary and staffing burden to the state and federal unemployment insurance programs.

Not many changes that can bring a WIN-WIN-WIN, but THAT would.

Re:Firing in US (5, Interesting)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about 2 years ago | (#39643007)

I glad it's not like that in Europe. I don't think I've ever read so much utter nonsense. Apart from the social aspect of hiring a person, which I don't think you'll get. You seem to thing that being able to fire someone easily leads to lower unemployment?

Lets back this up - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_unemployment_rate [wikipedia.org]
It's very hard to fire a person in German and they've got one of the lowest unemployment rates (5.7%) in Europe. In Japan (4.7%) they tend not to fire people even if they are awful, they just get moved to another office. The USA and UK are both ranked at 8.3%. That's a whole country worth of people in the US without a job and no social system to fall back on - erghh. Does that mean the poorest country is inside the richest country? How do they pay rent?
Greece(21%) and Spain(23.6%) no longer have any jobs to be fired from, so it doesn't matter what the hiring laws are, you can't hire or fire a person for no job. I've lost the point to this. back to work...

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39643041)

It's far more risky to employ anyone in a state where they have no loyalty to you because they know they can be fired at any moment. This means that no-one will really bother trying, and just do the minimum possible to appear to satisfy you.

Loss of long-term job security is the reason, above any other, that West is in such a mess. Instead of caring about the long term, all we do is concern ourselves with amassing as much as possible as quickly as possible.

Put another way, at-will employment is not just part of the problem, it is *the* problem. (Also, it's very easy to get rid of someone in most industries in Europe - it just requires a little more lawyer creativity than in the US, where you just have to make sure they're not too vociferously black or female or gay or etc.)

Re:Firing in US (1, Flamebait)

terjeber (856226) | about 2 years ago | (#39642671)

Most states in the US (it is dependent on state) has an at-will employment law. This means that the employer can let you go for any reason whatsoever or no reason at all. This is based on the fact that you and your employer are basically consenting adults engaged in a mutually beneficial work-pay relationship. In other words, the law treats you like you are an adult.

This is different from most countries in Europe, where the law basically assumes that the employer-employee is in a exploitative relationship with the employer exploiting the employee. In other words, most European countries treat you like you are a dumb-ass, no-brains child that needs to be protected against cruel and terrible employers. The European system is absurd. NOTE: I live and work in a European country. Some countries - France is an example, have laws that are literally insane, where employers can basically not fire anybody for any reason whatsoever.

The European system is a major contributor to the current problems in Europe, and it is also a major contributor to the fact that innovation, development and other important functions haven't worked in Europe since before WWII. Europe is going to (have to) change these laws. They are absurd.

Re:Firing in US (1, Troll)

benjfowler (239527) | about 2 years ago | (#39642701)

Retarded, partisan drivel.

This typifies the attitude of the US far Right, and is not shared by anybody in any other country, except for the lunatic fringe Right in mostly Anglo-Saxon countries.

Don't be dishonest, and don't pretend this approximates anything anywhere near a majority opinion.

Re:Firing in US (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39642895)

I'll second the "not shared" opinion, though perhaps not with such strong language.

At-will cuts both ways. I've been fired without notice, and I've quit without notice. On the one hand, it is unsettling to have absolutely no job security. I know I can be fired at any time. On the other hand, I know that I'm not losing anything if I quit. I can't be contractually obligated to give back anything but company property.

I've also worked under an employment contract, in a state without at-will laws. In that company, there were several employees who would be the bottleneck for the whole production line. They would intentionally work slower, so they'd keep a single job to do for the whole day, instead of having to find another task when they ran out of work. Where running a batch of incoming orders should take about 2 hours, they'd somehow manage to make it last all day.

Personally, I think at-will laws are a reasonable compromise. Employers (and co-workers) aren't stuck with bad employees, and employees can leave bad companies.

Re:Firing in US (4, Informative)

cornjones (33009) | about 2 years ago | (#39642781)

this is a good post. I am an american living/working in europe as well and went through trying to get somebody out of an EU position with cause. Even with a pretty good paper trail, we ended up having to pay him several months salary to go away or deal w/ unfair dismissal claims. terjeber put it well so I will only add my qualitative feeling.

In the US, i feel like the burden is on me to show my employer why i should receive a paycheck
in the EU, it feels like the burden is on my employer to show why I shouldn't receive a paycheck

it feels drastically different and alien to my US way of thinking. As terjeber points out, making it easy to fire someone makes it easier to hire someone and the 'creative destruction' is beneficial for an economy.

Re:Firing in US (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642813)

When a businessman cannot hide behind a legal fiction to protect him from liability in tort and for debts, he is being treated like an "adult".

When the law does not arbitrarily assign monopolies on natural resources, ideas and expressions to particular men and then give them men in uniforms to protect these things, then they are being treated like "adults".

This is different from most countries in Europe, where the law basically assumes that the employer-employee is in a exploitative relationship with the employer exploiting the employee.

That's reality. Either it's a worker cooperative or, by definition, the employee is being exploited. Not saying whether it's right or wrong, functional or dysfunctional, just how it is.

dumb-ass, no-brains child that needs to be protected against cruel and terrible employers

No, it's just a compromise. The employer gets to exploit you, but only under certain terms. No matter how childishly and emotionally you want to misrepresent how the democratic process works, you're still wrong.

France is an example, have laws that are literally insane, where employers can basically not fire anybody for any reason whatsoever.

No, but carry on making a fool of yourself.

The European system is a major contributor to the current problems in Europe

As someone who regularly bounces between Europe and America, Europe has been and continues to be the better choice for living. It's not that the US isn't full of wonderful people - it's just that it's firmly controlled by cunts and the experience reflects it. You know this, otherwise you'd be in America.

innovation, development and other important functions haven't worked in Europe since before WWII

What?

Re:Firing in US (4, Informative)

cdrnet (1582149) | about 2 years ago | (#39642991)

France and Italy != "most of Europe"

Most European nations have decent laws around job safety. Firing employees is not usually a problem at all, unless:
- mass firings often require some form of "social plan" (i.e. help them a bit getting a new job)
- it's obviously abusive, as in this case

Also not entirely sure what you mean about innovation, development and other "important functions" not working well in Europe, as there are almost always European nations that perform better than the US around innovation, education, stability, credit ratings, GDP per capita, etc.

Re:Firing in US (4, Insightful)

macs4all (973270) | about 2 years ago | (#39643005)

This is different from most countries in Europe, where the law basically assumes that the employer-employee is in a exploitative relationship with the employer exploiting the employee.

Or, in other words, like the way it really is...

I am with you that some laws in Europe are pretty silly (and, BTW, Europe certainly isn't alone in that regard. All one has to do is examine U.S. drug policy for some real knee-slappers); and that some of the European employee-protection law go a little far; but "employment at will", which ignores the inherent inequity of the employer-employee relationship, is certainly not grounded in "reality" or "adulthood" or even that illusory "freedom" we Americans used to be so proud of, either...

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39643037)

That is the dumbest thing I've ever read. In the US you can be fired for ANY REASON - the boss doesn't like your clothes, or he wants to give your job to his son - boom you're gone.

The "treating you like and adult" is patronizing bullshit. You might have to move a long way for a job, make significant changes to your life and get a mortgage etc. Then your boss can cut your salary (he knows you're now trapped there) and basically fuck you over any way he wants, threatening to fire you for any reason.

To cut it short: In Europe employees are considered human beings. In the US they are considered property to be exploited.

Oh, and learn what the word "Literally" means please - you display your stupidity clearly when you use it like that.

Re:Firing in US (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about 2 years ago | (#39642697)

It's actually worse than you suppose for many U.S. federal government employees. It's often so much work to fire them for incompetence, that they're just allowed to stay in their jobs. Although this varies from agency to agency within the government.

Re:Firing in US (3, Informative)

ccguy (1116865) | about 2 years ago | (#39642705)

How come people in the US can get fired for reasons other than incompetence or stealing? Why can a person get fired simply by raising an issue? I never hear about this here in Europe. It's in fact very difficult to fire a person here if he is a good worker.

Don't know what part of Europe you are in, but in Spain it's quite easy. Not free, but unless the worker belong to specially protected groups (such as pregnant women) you can fire anyone you want.
And since the conservatives are in power, termination fees halved. It's one of their first things they did.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642873)

Let me guess... they were roundly castigated for being heartless bastards? In the pocket of "big business?" When unemployment ultimately goes down because hiring new employees has become less risky, I somehow doubt that many people (besides maybe professional economists) will remember and give them credit for it.

Re:Firing in US (1)

mybeat (1516477) | about 2 years ago | (#39642711)

Actually, in eastern Europe, you can get fired with the reason: "loss of trust", which can be made up by an employer, since there are no definition of "trust" term neither law or an employee contract.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642719)

-- good points, except the TSA is a government agency. Not a business. And the employees are represented by a union. If she was fired, and it was not overturned on review or grieved by the union, there's more to the story than is being reported.

Re:Firing in US (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642753)

I'm going to give this a shot-

Because our media has been politicized to the point that we no longer have a watchdog holding our government accountable. Now journalists all think their job is the advancement of their ideology and they quickly discover that embarrassing government officials just makes their lives more difficult anyway. Hence, we have corrupt, inefficient government and lazy, negligent press. You'd be amazed how many 'news stories' originate as government press releases.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642799)

german here, my mother works for a sparkasse and apparently they have restrictions about voicing your opinions/political views in a public setting as it could negatively reflect on the bank and I am quite sure that they are not the only organization in germany with rules like these.

Re:Firing in US (1, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | about 2 years ago | (#39642807)

Because the US is a liberal federation as opposed to the leftist welfare states of Europe. Both systems have their ups and downs.

Re:Firing in US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642843)

The issue raised highlights something the government doesn't want getting out: The scanners aren't there for your protection in any way shape or form - they are there to help put an end to the middle class by ensuring anyone that can afford to fly gets a dose of radiation to assist with increased cancer rates and sterilization.

She's missing the point (5, Insightful)

GeneralTurgidson (2464452) | about 2 years ago | (#39642525)

They arent there to stop weapons or explosives.

Re:She's missing the point (5, Informative)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#39642583)

TSA's real reasons for existence:

1) Get citizen accustomed to life without the fourth amendment.
2) Provide government union jobs to re-elect incumbents.
3) Preserve the culture of fear, again to re-elect incumbents.
4) Discourage would be rabble raisers form assembly; can't have more than just local Occupy protesters showing up wherever the G8 is being held.

Re:She's missing the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642617)

There are some evil fucks at the top of the TSA organisation.

Re:She's missing the point (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642651)

Idiot

Re:She's missing the point (4, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about 2 years ago | (#39642657)

TSA's root reason for existence :

0) Transfer power (in the form of money) into fewer hands

It's a service economy. Ever wonder why they are called "security services" now? Service economies are ideal for oligarchs, because they don't even involve the transfer of goods - your customers won't have anything to show for their money that they could trade elsewhere after they finish partaking of your service.

Heaven forbid that someone point out that the service being provided is essentially worthless. That threatens this particular segment of the economy.

Re:She's missing the point (1, Insightful)

adrn01 (103810) | about 2 years ago | (#39642771)

No, more likely the primary reason for TSA's existence (at least at the upper levels) IS the TSA's existence. Consider also the likelihood that the top management at TSA was likely appointed during Bush's reign, the same era of wonderfulness that got us 'heck of a job, Brownie!, a horse association lawyer, appointed to run an agency he had no qualifications other than political connections, for.

Re:She's missing the point (0, Offtopic)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39642773)

Provide government union jobs to re-elect incumbents.

Oh look, an anti-union plug. The TSA has been around for over a decade, and only gained the right to collective bargaining a year ago, and only in a limited form. The attacks on unions have really gotten out of hand at this point.

Re:She's missing the point (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642847)

The whole point of unionization was to collect money for Democratic politicians. When the agency was formed, it was promised that it would never be unionized. The agency doesn't have the right to collectively bargain for salary or benefits, so what's the point otherwise?

People are right to be skeptical. Why do you think the TSA wasn't unionized until Obama was President?

Re:She's missing the point (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about 2 years ago | (#39642893)

Why do you think the TSA wasn't unionized until Obama was President?

Because Republicans hate Unions, and hate workers in general. What's your point?

Re:She's missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642783)

TSA's real reasons for existence:

1) Get citizen accustomed to life without the fourth amendment.
2) Allow incumbents to open government coffers to big corporations. There fixed it for you
3) Preserve the culture of fear, again to re-elect incumbents.
4) Discourage would be rabble raisers form assembly; can't have more than just local Occupy protesters showing up wherever the G8 is being held.

Re:She's missing the point (4, Insightful)

SCHecklerX (229973) | about 2 years ago | (#39642935)

So, in other words. The terrorists were more successful than they ever could have dreamed.

Perfect example of scope creep. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642827)

Why is the TSA whose mandate is to keep aircraft safe looking for drugs? [azcentral.com]

Having a joint is of no threat to the aircraft and they shouldn't be wasting their time.

Land of the free (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642539)

Jennifer was so alarmed by what she experienced that she wrote her congressional representative to complain. She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday.

You see, firing her is expressive of their wish to carry out retribution against anyone who dares criticise them; so it's their right under the first amendment. She should have just shut up and done as she was told.

Standard security (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642575)

is standard...

I have worked a lot of my years as a security guard at hotels and in the army, and both my brothers are now security guards, one at a mall and the other at an airport. The one thing that has struck us about this line of work is often the complete lack of interest in doing a good job, just do it well enough not to get fired.

Re:Standard security (5, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 2 years ago | (#39642591)

You'll find that's true of pretty much any job that combines low pay with repetitive or tedious work. If there's no incentive to do a good job, then most people won't bother. This was one of the big issues with communism.

ios app (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642587)

New iOS application "iScanner Pro" goes live

This app turns your iPhone or iPad into a Handy Scanner, Fax, File Storage or an Air Printer in your pocket. It lets you scan high quality multi-page documents, print it to any AirPrint capable printer in your wifi network, email it or save it to a document folder on your device, post it to Google Docs or fax it to any fax number, directly from your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch.

Download link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/iscanner-pro/id501925030?mt=8

Whose Security? (4, Funny)

mbone (558574) | about 2 years ago | (#39642589)

These scanners were intended to provide Michael Chertoff with job security. Any security gain for the traveling public is incidental at best and probably negligable in practice. But, from Chertoff's standpoint, I think they are working just fine.

you wanted capitalism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642593)

Under capitalism, power is consolidated, the most powerful buy influence in government, then the government either wages war to promote their interests or allows them to siphon off Treasury money.

There is no way to stop this except by not having capitalism. No amount of ideology about how good capitalism SHOULD be will change humans from how they actually behave when they have a lot of power.

Whistleblower Law? (2)

netwarerip (2221204) | about 2 years ago | (#39642601)

You would think she would be protected under a whistleblower protection law, but as the wiki states -"Whistleblowing is complex patchwork of contradictory laws within the US." (see wiki here [wikipedia.org]), but they can always find another reason to get rid of her.

Put on your tinfoil hat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642615)

There is no need for them to do a good job at identifying threats because it is rather unlikely that anything happens anyway. But a good bombing every now and then gets people panicking and throw money at useless security measures and tighten surveillance on everyone. Its a win win situation, if you happen to be provider of "security". Now imagine we had perfect security and no one could ever attack a plane, that would mean no justification for even more funding or crazy surveillance, everybody loses. Well everybody that sells security and surveillance.
So I think they are doing the right thing here. The more money they take the better everybody ( that sells security ).

Fatal flaw #1 (0)

koan (80826) | about 2 years ago | (#39642621)

The TSA wasn't created to protect the people, it was created to humiliate and break them down into acceptance of a police state, just like the "strip search for any crime" SCOTUS decision was.

Liberals, say thank you Obama (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642647)

Yes I know, trolling and all but
Thank You Obama; he managed to turn a really bad Bush ieda and make it even worse.
So, next time you liberals get molested by the TSA, make sure to offer your pray of thanks to the Obama. (Cause Im sure if it was a Repub in the oval office you would be screaming to high hell).
Yes I fed up with the bullsh*t one party system.

Security Plague (1)

corisco (1038076) | about 2 years ago | (#39642679)

Let's pray somebody somewhere takes the blinders off, even if by accident, or it's only a matter of time until we see a TSA check point at every bus station. Dam... I hope I didn't give them any ideas !

A bad interview from a bad source (5, Insightful)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39642707)

Look, I dislike the TSA as much as anybody, and I've complained about it to my representatives, and I hope it dies as quickly as possible, but everything about this story annoys me.

A guy with an obvious bias against an entity interviews a recently-fired employee, and uncovers terrible details about that entity! Oh no! Who could have guessed?

The ex-employee's letter to Congress was the reason she got fired - in a time span of one week. Right. I'm sure the Congressman has their interns sorting mail, looking for disgruntled employees, notifying the appropriate chain of supervisors, and working hard to get people fired - and they can get that done in under a week.

No SOP manual? Hey, at least you know one's been written somewhere. You could ask your supervisor, or move up the chain to their supervisor, and so on, until you find out where you can get one. There's no sign that that was attempted, just an "I don't know where it was" statement.

As much as I want to see the TSA dismantled, this interview isn't going to help. It sounds like a muckraker interviewing someone incapable of navigating office politics, who's skirting the system because she got fired, looking to become a martyr for self-justification. This isn't journalism.

Re:A bad interview from a bad source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642977)

You assume the interview was done AFTER she was fired.

"Jennifer" (5, Insightful)

Isaac Remuant (1891806) | about 2 years ago | (#39642729)

inb4 "Jennifer" is identified and prosecuted under the espionage act for blowing the whistle on national security matters that are to dangerous for us to know.

And depending on how we feel, throw Corbett in there too. At least ruin his life for daring to criticize authority.

Disclaimer: There would be a time where this joke would be obvious.

Re:"Jennifer" (1)

bmo (77928) | about 2 years ago | (#39642963)

>Disclaimer: There would be a time where this joke would be obvious.

It's not a joke anymore.

--
BMO

No flights for you! (3, Insightful)

seniorcoder (586717) | about 2 years ago | (#39642731)

If you think you suffer at the hands of the TSA (literally), just imagine what will be done to "Jennifer" each time she tries to board a plane.

You can take these knives on planes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642745)

I've personally been on quite a few flights with a knife like this by just forgetting it was in my carry-on, and never once been taken away:

http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?storeId=10051&langId=-1&catalogId=10053&productId=202202099&R=202202099

The blade folds into the metal case so it doesn't show up on scanners or x-rays...

Security Theater (1)

Sponge Bath (413667) | about 2 years ago | (#39642747)

She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday.

All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances

Fired for speaking up? (2)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about 2 years ago | (#39642759)

How the hell does that make sense, she finally spoke up that the system is broken and got fired? What should of happened is she got a promotion to overlook proper training and proper system implementation. When people sit back and just ignore what doesn't work nothing gets fixed. Even if it's not a big deal issue you should still stand up and say "Hey I need to know why" or "I think this is wrong", if your wrong then fine but at least you know why your wrong and if your right your really doing your job.

What really bugs me about this is how the US is almost a repressive dictating communist nation when it comes to airport security but then the security is broken!

Re:Fired for speaking up? (4, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39642897)

How the hell does that make sense, she finally spoke up that the system is broken and got fired?

The system is not really meant to work. Early on, plenty of people pointed out the following:

  1. By creating big crowds at the security checkpoint, you are giving terrorists an easy target.
  2. A clever terrorists could find a way to improvise a weapon inside of the "secure" area (think prison shivs)
  3. The next big terrorist attack will probably not involve airplanes, because that is where everyone is looking.

What the TSA is meant to do is give people the appearence of security, so that they will feel safe and keep flying, and so that they will think that the same people who supported Osama Bin Laden in the 1980s are now "doing something" to protect them. That goal was accomplished years ago, but getting rid of the TSA would undo all of that. Now that the TSA is here for good, corrupt politicians can use it to funnel money into the wallets of their friends -- the people who own high-tech scanner making businesses.

If a TSA employee says that the TSA's procedures are useless, they are threatening the appearance that the TSA is meant to foster, and worse still they are increasing the likelihood that the general population will wake up and realize how idiotic the TSA is.

Security Theater (2)

stevegee58 (1179505) | about 2 years ago | (#39642797)

It's all just security theature anyway. It was put in place to create the illusion of safety and security to the sweaty masses of sheeple.

Since When were these scanners supposed to .... (2)

3seas (184403) | about 2 years ago | (#39642815)

....detect weapons and explosives? Weren't they designed just to radiate people to help cause cancer in a population reduction effort?

Re:Since When were these scanners supposed to .... (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39642925)

I thought they were designed to transport tax dollars into the hands of particular corporate stock holders.

Fired for writing to her congressman? (5, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#39642869)

How does that happen? The congressman would not only have to violate the trust of his constuituent, but actually care enough to let the TSA know. If this violation of trust got out, it could seriously harm his career.

Could this actually be unrelated? I'd be more readily convinced that the sick leave was related. This would be a problem in itself perhaps but not a security problem.

Re:Fired for writing to her congressman? (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#39643001)

She was fired for "poor job performance." Nobody is ever fired for political reasons, that looks bad; employers just find some mistake that was made and use that as an excuse. The government is no different.

Nobody is a perfect employee. Everyone makes mistakes, and if your employer wants to fire you they just have to watch you closely until a mistake is made.

Any x-ray is dangerous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39642961)

Any x-ray is dangerous.
I miss the days of paying cash for a ticket **after** I've sat in the seat and being able to travel without giving my name.

Just went through international checks at USA airports in the last few weeks - Atlanta and JFK. Leaving was just a normal magnetic check - my tablet+keyboard confused the screener. She said it was a laptop .... which it isn't. She demanded it be re-scanned.

For the rest of the trip, I pulled the tablet out like a laptop and was hassled.

I also travel with an aluminum water bottle. Nobody ever asked me to open it.

I looked at the x-ray images and can see how a trained human is needed there, but the human brain will be looking for ways that common things "fit" the displayed image, not for ways that commonly looking things can be dangerous.

I'm good with the x-ray of my items. It isn't a bad thing. I'm not good with limiting commonly used/carried items on a plane that pose zero risk, like a tiny pocket knife, toenail clippers or contact lens solution larger than 4oz. The TSA really needs a leave-a-knife - take-a-knife program for each airport too. I've had 3 keyring knives taken ... used to commute on private planes weekly with my pocket knife (and forgot to leave it at home on a commercial flight). GONE.

Leaving an eastern European country about 10 days ago, I was selected for a pat down screening. It happened twice - once in public and again in a nearby shielded area. Two different men did it and I don't think they liked it anymore than me. It appeared that I was pre-selected, since I couldn't print my boarding pass from the hotel the day before, but both my travel companions could. I was deeply offended during and after the pat down, but it happened on foreign soil, so I can't easily sue them. The men did not "grab my junk".

If any citizen has to go through this type of check, then **every** government official needs to go through it every time they fly. Senators, Congress-people, Presidents, Ambassadors, diplomats, and all law enforcement people. Every time they fly. Every time.

BTW, I hold a security clearance and the FBI has a large file on me. I'm not an unknown person.

We need for more citizens around the world to say, "NO MORE!" just like we were able to stop stupid laws with a concerted effort, we need to stand up against this theater.

During that same overseas trip, I took multiple trains - including an overnight train. I don't recall seeing any security in the train stations at all. Though 1 of my companions was pick-pocketed somewhere in Barcelona (don't really know where; Parc Guell?) and a day later his smart phone was brazenly stolen while we ate in the back room of a restaurant - over 30 feet from the entrance. He had just finished copying all the credit card numbers from his stolen wallet out of it.

A study released this week says that dentists x-rays caused a strong increase in brain cancer. Any levels of x-rays are harmful to humans. I will "opt-out" of those scanners, always, even if it means having my junk grabbed.

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