Last week, the news media pointed out that the TSA has its own Instagram account and seems to take pride in bragging about the number of items that it has found.
The TSA also likes to abuse hashtags as their included blurbs about the confiscated weapons are littered with them.
The perfect #knife to bring to a #gunfight was discovered in a carry-on bag at #Cleveland #Hopkins #airport. – #picstitch #knives #blades #travel #aviation #tsa #instatsa #tsablogteam #tsagram #instagood #instacool #webstagram #instagramhub #photo #gov20 #gov #all_shots See and read more at http://blog.tsa.gov
Besides posting annoying blurbs about what they have found, why bother with showing any of this to the general public?
“It’s great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the throughput is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $7,500.00,” Burns writes. “This is a friendly reminder to please leave these items at home.”
The fact that the TSA keeps confiscating these items says that it is not a matter of security and harming others, but a simple fact that, as humans, people forget items are in their bags in the first place. A TSA agent at LAX recently admitted as much to Cory Doctorow.
That’s because no one — not the TSA, not the DAs, not the DHS — believe that anyone who tries to board a plane with a dangerous item is actually planning on doing anything bad with them. After all, as New York State chief judge Sol Wachtler said (quoting Tom Wolfe), “a grand jury would ‘indict a ham sandwich,’ if that’s what you wanted.” So if there was any question about someone thinking of hurting a plane, you’d expect to see indictments.
I had this discussion with a TSA agent at LAX last week. He asked me why I’d opted out of the pornoscanner — he’d been my pat-down assistant that day — and we got to talking. I said that as a frequent flier, I was very interested in safe airplanes, but that I didn’t think the TSA contributed to that. He disagreed and cited all the stuff he confiscated, but admitted, when I asked him, that he didn’t think that anyone actually planned to do anything bad to airplanes with the stuff he took away, nor did he think they’d do something unplanned and dangerous to the airplane with it.
No one is being prosecuted because everyone knows that the person made a mistake. They aren’t terrorists and there was no real danger. The problem is that this is what the TSA’s job has always been. Parading photographs around of what you are actually doing only makes your entire outfit look like children. The TSA wants you to think that security was a free-for-all before 9/11. It wasn’t. These same weapons would have still been detected and confiscated on September 10, 2001.
If someone really wanted to do some damage to the nation’s airports, they certainly wouldn’t be so stupid as to leave a single pistol in their carry-on bag. That’s not how criminals work and it certainly isn’t how any terrorist would operate.
The fact remains that locking the cockpit doors and allowing passengers to fight back are the only means you have to preventing any type of attack. The items that the TSA is currently finding are the same ones that they found pre-9/11. That was their security mandate. They have never found, and never will find, any terrorists. They aren’t equipped for it, nor are they properly trained for such a situation.
Does any of this make anyone safer? Of course not, but they are performing security theater to make everyone feel better.
Instead of constantly harping on the weapons they have confiscated, maybe it’s time for the TSA to admit that most of their confiscated items are not dangerous and that they are making huge profits off of selling passengers’ items online. This, combined with the outright theft of everything from laptops to phones to drinks, clearly indicates that it’s time to return to pre-9/11 security protocols, but keeping reinforced cockpit doors. Bragging about doing what your supposed to do is a childish thing for an agency that is supposed to be professional and keeping the nation “safe.”