Archives for the month of: February, 2011

Rep. Sharon Cissna, a breast-cancer survivor, refused an intrusive full-body search and decided to take a boat instead.

Cissna, D-Anchorage, is a cancer survivor who has had a mastectomy. She underwent the full-body scan at the Seattle airport but was singled out for a further pat-down search, her second within three months.

Having vowed to never endure the pat-down procedure again, she decided to take a rental car and small airplane from Seattle to Prince Rupert, B.C., and from there, a two-day ferry ride to Juneau.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/02/24/rep-sharon-cissna-tsa_n_827934.html

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An undercover agent was testing the efficacy of security screeners in Dallas. In five tries, the gun wasn’t detected once.

The source said the undercover agent carried a pistol in her undergarments when she put the body scanners to the test. The officer successfully made it through the airport’s body scanners every time she tried, the source said.

“In this case, where they had a test, and it was just a dismal failure as I’m told,” said Larry Wansley, former head of security at American Airlines. “As I’ve heard (it), you got a problem, especially with a fire arm.”

The employees working the scanners weren’t disciplined and are still working the scanners.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/TSA-Agent-Slips-Through-DFW-Body-Scanner-With-a-Gun-116497568.html

Two TSA agents were busted for stealing $40,000 from passengers at JFK. The money was discovered during checked baggage X-ray.

Coumar allegedly X-rayed a piece of baggage bound for Argentina on January 30 and spotted a bag of money, according to a criminal complaint. He called Webb, who was assigned to a baggage belt area for American Airlines in building 56 at JFK and alerted him about the bag with the money, indicating that it probably belonged to a drug dealer, prosecutors said.

Webb searched the bag, found the cash, and marked the bag with tape. He called Coumar and confirmed the cash was inside. The men then met in the baggage area, found the bag wrapped in tape, and “observed what appeared to be approximately $170,000 in the bag,” the complaint states.

Coumar allegedly grabbed $40,000 in cash, stuffed the money into his clothing and met Webb in an airport bathroom where they divvied up the proceeds of the swiped loot.

http://news.travel.aol.com/2011/02/17/tsa-agents-busted-for-stealing-from-passengers-at-jfk/

Michael Merriman, a screener at Indianapolis airport, was arrested after a witness saw him repeatedly punching another airport employee in the head.

The victim, identified as 39-year-old Brian Hale was bleeding from his nose when officers responded to his 911 call for help. The Indianapolis man who works for HDS-Relay told officers Merriman appeared to be upset about not getting a parking spot.

“You will never do that to me again,” Merriman reportedly said as he held Hale in a headlock and reportedly punched him a half dozen times.

Merriman was fired by the TSA.

Michael Arato admitted to taking bribes to ignore theft by a subordinate. He took $3,100 in kickbacks for letting the employee steal between $10,000 and $30,000. They preyed on Indian women who couldn’t speak English.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/14/us-airport-bribes-idUSTRE71D72V20110214

TSA agents improperly screened passengers who were getting off a train in Savannah. In this video, TSA agents are seen harassing a 9-year-old boy.

In this instance, TSA’s Blogger Blog issued a rare apology for this clear overreach by the agency.

We learned that this particular VIPR operation should have ended by the time these folks were coming through the station since no more trains were leaving the station. We apologize for any inconvenience we may have caused for those passengers.

TSA acted without the knowledge of Amtrak and Amtrak has since banned TSA from its stations.

Amtrak Police Chief John O’Connor said he first thought a blog posting about the incident was a joke. When he discovered that the TSA’s VIPR team did at least some of what the blog said, he was livid. He ordered the VIPR teams off Amtrak property, at least until a firm agreement can be drawn up to prevent the TSA from taking actions that the chief said were illegal and clearly contrary to Amtrak policy.

“When I saw it, I didn’t believe it was real,” O’Connor said. When it developed that the posting on an anti-TSA blog was not a joke, “I hit the ceiling.”

He said the blog indicated that Amtrak had approved of the operation, but it had not. He called the TSA’s posting on blog.tsa.gov “inaccurate and insensitive.”

http://cs.trains.com/TRCCS/forums/p/188504/2059127.aspx

Two months after lawmakers asked for the records to be released, the TSA still hasn’t put them forward.

TSA spokesman Kristin Lee says that the agency is still trying to ensure that the reports don’t contain any “sensitive security or privacy-protected information” and that she expects they will be released “within the next few weeks.”

The chairman of a House oversight committee on homeland defense calls the delays “inexcusable.”

“The public has a right to know, and there isn’t something so sensitive that requires holding it back,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah. Chaffetz has sponsored legislation to limit the use of full-body scans.

http://www.usatoday.com/travel/flights/2011-02-09-tsa09_ST_N.htm