Showing posts with label TSA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label TSA. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Gov't watchdogs urge Congress to reverse Obama administration IG crackdown

Nearly six-dozen watchdog agencies are asking Congress to step in after the Obama administration clamped down on access to government records they say are vital for their investigations into waste, fraud and abuse. 
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency sent an Aug. 3 letter to congressional leaders ahead of a hearing scheduled for Wednesday where they will ask lawmakers to pass legislation reversing a controversial decision made July 20 by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel. The OLC is now requiring investigators to get permission to review sensitive documents from the very agencies they are monitoring.
This decision, the letter said, "represents a serious threat to the independent authority" of all inspectors general. 
IGs are assigned to audit and conduct internal reviews of federal agencies, and recently have been responsible for investigating the IRS targeting scandal, TSA security gaps, personal email use at the State Department and other issues. 
The council represents about 70 IG offices across the government, including for the Federal Communications Commission, the National Security Agency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. While the July 20 ruling applies to the DOJ, some are worried it will prompt other departments to set similar restrictions.
DOJ spokeswoman Emily Pierce countered the claims, saying the ruling still allows investigators to get sensitive information.

Friday, June 12, 2015


Traveling through the T. F. Green Airport of Providence, Rhode Island?
If so, the Department of Homeland Security may be collecting video of you as part of a project to sniff out behavioral indicators of “malicious intent.”
In other words, the DHS wants to use video images of passengers to predict crimes.
On Tuesday, the DHS quietly released online a “privacy impact assessment” that provides the legal justification for an ongoing experiment it is calling “Data Collection for the Centralized Hostile Intent Project.”
The 14-page document, reviewed in full by WND, reveals the DHS’s Science and Technology Directorate will conduct an exercise at the Providence airport at an undisclosed date.
The DHS is planning to collect video images at designated areas throughout the airport, including at TSA security checkpoints, ticket counters, baggage claim and the airport entrance. No audio will be recorded at any time, states the document.
The stated goal is to evaluate “whether the behavioral indicators used to screen for passengers with hostile intent can be reliably observed by BDOs (Behavior Detection Officers) via live video images as opposed to in person.”
The document states the video data acquisition will entail collecting and even storing “Personally Identifiable Information in the form of video images that include the face and body of trained actors and members of the traveling public.”
The experiment, the paper makes clear, is focused on video collection of trained actors at designated airport areas. However, it concedes that the agency “may incidentally collect Personally Identifiable Information from members of the traveling public and airport personnel who may be near them.”
Via: WND

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

TSA whistleblowers describe security concerns, culture of 'fear and distrust'

Whistleblowers on Tuesday portrayed the beleaguered Transportation Security Administration as an agency mired in a culture of “fear and distrust” while raising security concerns over several programs -- including TSA PreCheck, in which passes for expedited screening allegedly are passed out “like Halloween candy.”
The TSA employees leveled their criticism during a Senate hearing that follows recent bombshell inspector general reports. One showed undercover agents were able to sneak fake explosives and banned weapons through airport checkpoints about 96 percent of the time; the findings led to the acting TSA secretary being reassigned last week. A second report released Monday showed the agency failed to flag 73 commercial airport workers "linked to terrorism." 
As if to underscore the security concerns being addressed, the committee hearing was interrupted shortly after noon over a suspicious package report. Capitol Police emptied the committee room, and evacuated the floor of the Senate office building. 
Earlier, Rebecca Roering, an assistant TSA federal security director at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the agency suffers from low morale. She said this is in part the result of agency leadership, composed of too many former commercial airline executives “placing more emphasis on customer service and passenger wait times than on security and detection rates.

Monday, June 8, 2015


The Transportation Security Administration granted access to secure airport areas to 73 aviation workers with “links to terrorism,” according to a new report from the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General.

The audit, released Monday, reveals that TSA was unable to vet out 73 individuals with terror-related category codes because the agency did not have enough access to terror list information.
“According to TSA data, these individuals were employed by major airlines, airport vendors, and other employers. TSA did not identify these individuals through its vetting operations because it is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related categories under current interagency watchlisting policy,” the redacted report reads.
“TSA acknowledged that these individuals were cleared for access to secure airport areas despite representing a potential transportation security threat,” it added.
The new audit comes on the heels of another damaging Inspector General report on TSA’s security measures, which found the aviation security body was unable to detect fake bombs and weapons in 95 percent of trial runs. Revealed last week in an ABC News report, the OIG’s findings resulted in the Acting TSA Administrator, Melvin Carraway’s, removal from the post.
In addition to the threats posed by aviation workers with terror-ties, Monday’s report also took issue with the TSA’s handing of aviation workers’ potential criminal pasts and/or immigration issues, noting the agency’s controls on criminal histories and immigration statuses were “less effective” than its terror-vetting.
“In general, TSA relied on airport operators to perform criminal history and work authorization checks, but had limited oversight over these commercial entities. Thus, TSA lacked assurance that it properly vetted all credential applicants,” the report reads.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

[CARTOON] Where Is the ‘Security’ in TSA?

According to ABC News, the Transportation Security Administration failed to stop undercover agents in 67 out of 70 recent probes.
David Inserra, who specializes in cyber and homeland security policy at The Heritage Foundation, wrote about the issue earlier this week:
Importantly, it exposes the reality that government screeners are not necessarily the right answer to airport screening.
Almost all European countries and Canada use private airport screeners. In the United States, airports have the right to opt out of TSA-administered screening through the Screening Partnership Program, which swaps out TSA screeners in favor of private contractors with TSA oversight. SPP has been found to result in screening that is more efficient, more customer friendly, less costly, and more secure.
With all these benefits and the precedent set by Europe and Canada, SPP is a no-brainer. Sadly, the program is subject to burdensome regulations and bureaucratic processes that limit its use.
So while Congress should ensure that the TSA fixes the current holes in airport screening, lawmakers should also consider expanding SPP as a longer term solution to improve transportation security.
Via: The Daily Signal

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Investigation: Undercover agents snuck fake explosives, banned weapons past TSA

Undercover agents were able to sneak fake explosives and banned weapons through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, in an investigation that revealed a massive, system-wide security failure at America's airports. 
The findings were part of a DHS inspector general probe. The report is still classified, but Fox News has confirmed the investigation found security failures at dozens of airports. 
Homeland Security officials confirmed to Fox News that TSA screeners failed 67 out of 70 tests -- or 96 percent -- carried out by special investigators known as "red teams." 
In one case, an undercover agent with a fake bomb strapped to his back set off a magnetometer -- but the screener still failed to find it. 
A Department of Homeland Security spokesman told Fox News on Monday that DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson "immediately" directed changes upon learning of the investigation's findings, "to address the issues raised in the report." 
The tests, and findings, were first reported by ABC News

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Chris Matthews: Unlike IRS, VA Scandal Is Real, Except When He Compared IRS to ‘Profiling’ Innocent Arabs

Jeffrey Meyer's pictureMSNBC’s Chris Matthews seems determined to kill the idea that unlike the Veterans Administration scandal, past Obama scandals such as the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups are not in fact legitimate issues to investigate. 
Appearing on his nightly Hardball program on Wednesday, May 21, Matthews declared “For the first time, President Obama speaks out about the VA scandal and this is no phony IRS or Benghazi nonsense, this is the real deal.” [See video below.] 
While Matthews is correct that the VA scandal is in fact serious, his dismissal of the IRS scandal contradicts his past statements on the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups. On May 22, 2013, the Hardball host proclaimed that “profiling” by the IRS was akin to targeting innocent Arabs: 
I go to the airport and I'm running TSA. Instead of deciding based upon people's movements around the world that might be suspicious, going to countries that cause us trouble, I just look for everybody that looks Arab and I put them in one line. The American people would say that's outrageous.
While Matthews insisted that in 2013 “The IRS scandal is like profiling” he maintained on Wednesday May 22, 2014 that it was not a scandal. Speaking to the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and former Senator Bob Kerrey (D-NE), Matthews cheered “President Obama today, as you saw, addressed a growing scandal that unlike the phony, if you will, scandals like Fast and Furious and Benghazi, has the potential, the real potential, to cause some real political damage.”
The MSNBC host went on to promote Robinson’s recent article entitled “Heads Need to Roll at the VA” and swooned that “I loved the way you said this is a real one, not like the other ones.” The Washington Post columnist reiterated Matthews’ argument and maintained “It’s not like the phony ones. Bad stuff happened, right?” 
Despite Matthews’ decision to change his tune on the legitimacy of the IRS scandal, he was not the only MSNBC host who in 2013 held this same viewpoint. On May 16, 2013, Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski lamented that “Unfortunately the information and the guts of the story are there and it's an opportunity.” On May 10, 2013, MSNBC contributors Chris Cilizza and Ruth Marcus, who both write for the Washington Post, were stunned by the “outrageous dumbness” of the IRS.  

Friday, December 6, 2013


Congressional Budget Committee chairs Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Patty Murray are working to finalize a deal on the federal budget. Reportedly, the two are just "a few billion" away from an agreement to fund government and replace the automatic sequester cuts. The deal may also increase government revenue through higher "fees" for airline security and other government services. This idea should never get off the ground. 

“That sort of thing is a user fee, it’s not a tax,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), a party to the negotiations. “It’s not something that I would have an objection to as a tax increase. But we’ll see where [Ryan and Murray] end up.”

Calling higher government revenue a "fee" rather than a "tax" is mostly a distinction without a difference. Money to pay a fee still comes from a consumer's wallet, not some magical "fee" account. 
Reportedly, Ways and Means Chairman Rep. David Camp, has briefed several Republican colleagues about the possibility of including "revenue raisers" in any budget deal. As if the federal government had a revenue problem.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, government revenue currently equals about 15% of GDP. Next year, the amount the government takes out of the economy will spike to 17.5%. Over the next two decades, the government's take will gradually increase to equal 19.5% of the economy, higher than its historical average. Over the past 4 decades, government revenue has averaged 17.5% of the overall economy. 
If anything, the government should be trimming its revenues. 
Via: Breitbart
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013


On November 5, the union that represents Transportation Security Administration agents called for a "new class of [TSA] officer who is trained as a law enforcement officer." But Republicans and Democrats alike were uncomfortable with the idea.

This new class of officer would be armed and given arrest powers, but according to Politico, Rep. Richard Hudson (R-N.C.) "opposes arming the TSA's massive screener workforce." Instead, he wants to focus on "coordination and communication between TSA and local police," who are already tasked with protecting airports. 
Hudson also wants to "review TSA's own program for detecting and disrupting terror attacks."
On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) believes training and equipping a whole new class of TSA agents would simply be too expensive. He also believes a focus on checkpoints alone is misplaced. He thinks the focus should be on securing the airport as a whole.
In addition to Hudson and Richmond, many conservative representatives have been working for two years to get TSA agents to stop referring to themselves as "officers" to begin with rather than expanding their policing powers. They have also been working to prohibit them from wearing badges that make them look like law enforcement. 


According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a radical left supposed justice-based organization, the Los Angeles International Airport shooter sprang from homophobic hatred for the Transportation Security Administration. “The TSA, short for the Transportation Security Administration, is an agency of the DHS charged with ensuring the security of transportation, most notably air transportation,” the SPLC noted. “Although it has not been widely singled out by Patriots, it has been subjected to criticism by far-right homophobes, among others, who have alleged that TSA agents engaging in hand searches are really sexually groping travelers.”

The notion that homophobia lies at the root of anti-TSA sentiment is beyond asinine, but the SPLC is the same group that labeled the Family Research Council a “hate group,” leading Floyd Lee Corkins to shoot a security guard in the FRC headquarters.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Post-9/11 airport security measures didn't prevent LAX shooting

Lax Shooting Suspect — Despite a $1.6-billion investment in new security measures at Los Angeles International Airport since 9/11, Friday's shooting by a gunman who made his way deep into a passenger terminal demonstrates that the airport remains vulnerable to attacks that appear costly and difficult to defend against.
Lobbies, ticketing counters, baggage claim areas and sidewalks of the nine terminals at Los Angeles International Airport, the nation's third-busiest, are easily accessible to attackers intent on bringing firearms or bombs into the airport's public areas.
Creating a fail-safe security perimeter for the terminal area, however, would be extremely costly and might shift attacks by those seeking to do harm to other public gathering places, said Brian Jenkins, an authority on terrorism and aviation security at Rand Corp., the Santa Monica-based think tank.
"It would be very hard to do," Jenkins said. "There would be very little net security benefit. Terrorists could go somewhere else, like attack a shopping mall in Nairobi or a theater in Aurora, Colo., or Times Square. What do we really gain?"
In Friday morning's attack, a gunman identified by police as Paul Anthony Ciancia, 23, carried an assault-style rifle through the lobby of Terminal 3 and began shooting as he passed through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint.

Read more here:

LAX shooting comes amid mounting aversion to the TSA

WASHINGTON — The killing of a TSA screener in Los Angeles is symptomatic of a growing antipathy toward government workers and TSA personnel in particular, experts said Saturday.
Specialists on hate crimes and union officials decried what they said was a general atmosphere of mockery and derision toward TSA agents that they said is amplified by late-night talk show hosts, politicians and news media.
"When people or institutions are vilified on national television and in the public square, you often see people latch on to them as enemies to be destroyed," Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an interview.
Potok has tracked radical groups for more than two decades. He said alleged shooter Paul Anthony Ciancia appeared to have subscribed to anti-government theories about a conspiracy to take away American freedoms and create a single global government.
The violent outburst Friday has put airport screeners around the country on edge, just weeks before terminals will see a rush of passengers during the stressful holiday season.
As Ciancia allegedly blasted his way through the checkpoint, the 23-year-old was looking for transportation security officers to shoot, officials said, and cursing the Transportation Security Administration.
A note found with Ciancia contained a rant against the government and the words "kill TSA," said a federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.

Friday, November 1, 2013

TSA employee dead, at least 6 injured in LAX shooting; gunman wounded and in custody, officials say

A gunman with an assault rifle opened fire in a crowded terminal at Los Angeles International Airport Friday, killing a TSA employee and injuring at least six before being wounded and taken into custody.
The suspect was identified by federal authorities late Friday as Paul Ciancia, 23, a Los Angeles resident, Fox News reported.
The FBI said it had not interviewed him because he was hospitalized but expected to speak to him as soon as possible.
A note was recovered from a bag he dropped at a security checkpoint. It was described to Fox News as containing threatening language directed at the TSA and anti-government rants.
The shooting incident, which sent passengers in the airport scrambling for cover, disrupted flights nationwide as planes headed for Los Angeles were temporarily grounded.
"I am deeply saddened to inform you that a TSA employee was shot and killed today on duty at Los Angeles International Airport," said TSA administrator John Pistole in a message to employees. "Other TSA employees also were injured in the shooting."

Gunman Opens Fire at Los Angeles International

 At least two people were shot when a gunman opened fire inside a busy terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.


At least two people were shot when a gunman opened fire inside a busy terminal at Los Angeles International Airport.

At least two people, including a TSA worker, were shot when a gunman opened fire inside a busy terminal at Los Angeles International Airport, according to a report.
The shooter apparently confronted the security worker before firing a round in the man's leg and squeezing off several shots inside Terminal 3 about 9:30 a.m., NBC Los Angeles reported.
At least one other person was shot before authorities managed to nab the suspect, who was reportedly armed with a rifle.
It was not immediately clear how bad the two people were hurt or if any other victims were shot in the gunfire. One person was being treated for a sprained ankle.
Police ran a man out of LAX after a shooting Friday.


Police ran a man out of LAX after a shooting Friday.

A law enforcement source told the Daily News that the suspect was taken into custody alive.
All departing flights remained grounded an hour later as cops began evacuating neighboring terminals.
Buses were spotted driving passengers away from the area after they disembarked from planes stopped near the runway.
Via: LA Daily News

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Friday, September 20, 2013

Dozens Of TSA Employees Fired, Suspended For Illegal Gambling Ring At Pittsburgh Int’l Airport

(Photo Credit: KDKA)PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Dozens of local Transportation Security Administration workers have been fired or suspended after they were caught in an illegal gambling ring at Pittsburgh International Airport.
TSA sources tell the KDKA Investigators that the officers were fired or suspended Thursday morning.
Of the 311 local TSA workers, five were fired, and 47 were suspended.
TSA sources say they just finished a two-month investigation into the office betting. The investigation found that TSA officers at the airport had an office betting pool, and officers were betting on everything from Nascar, to the NCAA, even football.
Homeland Security says all of the workers accused of sports gambling at the airport were in uniform at the time, but says public safety and security was never at risk.
The investigation determined that no criminal laws were broken, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office has turned down the case for criminal prosecution.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Eight TSA Workers Arrested in Dallas in Stolen Parking Pass Scam

Eight U.S. Transportation Security Administration employees were among nine people arrested in connection with stolen parking passes at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, police said today.

Airport police found stolen airline employee-parking placards had been sold for $100 each to TSA workers. The passes would normally cost $34 a month or $400 a year, according to a police statement.

The passes were among 129 that went missing from an American Eagle Airlines Inc. office inside an airport terminal in March. An airline employee has been arrested on a felony charge involving the theft of the passes, police said. The carrier is a unit of American Airlines parent AMR Corp.

TSA misconduct, and the agency’s handling of it, has been a concern in Congress. The Government Accountability Office said in a July 31 report the agency hasn’t been consistent in meting out discipline for infractions ranging from sleeping on the job to stealing travelers’ laptops from security lines.

One TSA employee faces a felony charge of theft for selling the placards to colleagues, police said. The other six government workers face misdemeanor charges for using the stolen passes. The airport didn’t release names of the arrested employees, saying the investigation was continuing.
Via: NewsMax

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