TSA Trickery

Here's a story about an agency that has become one of the banes of my existence in the last few years.

The Transportation Security Administration misled the public about its role in obtaining personal information about 12 million airline passengers to test a new computerized system that screens for terrorists, according to a government investigation.


The report, released Friday by Homeland Security Department Acting Inspector General Richard Skinner, said the agency misinformed individuals, the press and Congress in 2003 and 2004. It stopped short of saying TSA lied.

To which Bruce Schneier adds: "I'll say it: the TSA lied."

There's much more. The report reveals that TSA ordered Delta Air Lines to turn over passenger data in February 2002 to help the Secret Service determine whether terrorists or their associates were traveling in the vicinity of the Salt Lake City Olympics.


It also reveals that TSA used passenger data from JetBlue in the spring of 2003 to figure out how to change the number of people who would be selected for more screening under the existing system.


The report says that one of the TSA's contractors working on passenger prescreening, Lockheed Martin, used a data sample from ChoicePoint.


The report also details how outside contractors used the data for their own purposes. And that "the agency neglected to inquire whether airline passenger data used by the vendors had been returned or destroyed." And that "TSA did not consistently apply privacy protections in the course of its involvement in airline passenger data transfers."


This is major stuff. It shows that the TSA lied to the public about its use of personal data again and again and again.

Why don't more people get it? Governments are made of people. They are not infallible, they are not saintly, and often they are deceitful and/or incompetent. An agency justifying its own existence and fighting to expand its scope - especially with a task as wrongly-assigned as the TSA's - is going to resort to trickery and is going to treat us like subjects.

I have an easy solution. It will simplify air travel, make it less expensive, and cut down on the ridiculous wait times the TSA has given us. Axe the TSA. Let airlines do their own security. Let them have their own metal detectors, their own air marshals, and their own security policies. If you really enjoy the feeling of security the TSA provides currently, use your own time and money on it. As a frequent air traveler who can barely stand the sight of a TSA uniform, I am sick of the bullshit.





The report mentioned above is here.

Thanks to sometime Catallarchy commenter Victor and /. for the link.

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Its like everyhing they

Its like everyhing they touch, Sean. we're far safer mathematically and better off if they left everything alone. their ugly bullish intrusions into our lives and privacy over run any security those losers could possibly provide. they(goverment) are terrible and boorish at everything they do.:mad:

"Those who would give up

"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin

And, in fact, they will receive neither as well.

I have been avoiding airline travel as much as possible since the TSA was formed. I used to fly even the 400 miles to LA or 600 miles to Portland. No more. I drive for any trip I can do in under 12 hours. I've gone from being a customer at airports to being an inmate. The security guards don't work for me, they work for an agency that has no accountability whatsoever to its "customers." But I still have to pay their salary.

What a crock.

If you don't want airlines to underspend on security, the simple solution is to make them liable if their planes are misused and to give them the freedom to apply whatever security means they feel are appropriate. There is no reason that American and United should not have been allowed to fail.

Yes, it's great that the government is trying to protect us from terrorists. It would be even better if they tried to protect us in some way that actually had a possibility of working rather than just in highly visible ways that make it look like they're "doing something" and that give them an excuse to expand the scope and powers of government beyond all reason.

[...] I’d share a humorous

[...] I’d share a humorous link with our readers from Spaceman’s Abode commenting on my recent TSA post. On the return leg of our trip I kept my shoes off after runni [...]

The idea that the airline's

The idea that the airline's owners would be liable in any significant way reflects an ignorance of american corporate governance. All airlines are owned by shell parent companies. When the airline makes money the money flows to the owners in the parent companies, when the airlines lose money, or find themselves with significant liability the money does not flow back. THe parent company of UAL took 5 billion in profit out of the airline in the few years before its bankruptcy. The money was inaccesible when the bankruptcy court tried to recover it.

So there is no real liability threat for the big money behind the airlines.

TSA Lied Surprised?...

TSA Lied
Surprised?...

If the airline was extremely

If the airline was extremely negligent to the point of almost causing the tragedy (i.e. the highjacker was an employee or they passed out small explosives with the peanuts), there may be some liability, but I don’t think that the airlines, or many other industries for that matter, could survive if they were one houndred percent liable for all damages caused by someone else with something they owned.

In the absence of transaction costs, the efficient outcome will be reached.

Of course, there are transaction costs.

I would love to take planes

I would love to take planes that aren't searched. If I could afford it, I would. As it is, I have to waste time standing in line and risk missing my flight just so some nitwits can appear to be doing something about safety while making us all less safe on net, by denying passengers the means to defend themselves if necessary.

Thus, I always bring a sharp pocketknife through airport security.

My writing partner flys a

My writing partner flys a lot and he says 'its 6 morons where there used to be 2'. nuff said.:bigcry:

So you need to throw in

So you need to throw in there that the airline is civilly liable for any damage done by terrorists who take over its planes, and then you have an answer.

If you were carjacked at gunpoint, let's say stuffed in the trunk, and during the ensueing police chase, the carjacker looses control and crashes into a gas station causing an explosion which injurrs several people and causes tens of thousands of dollars worth of property damage, are you liable?

Would it be different if you were driving a cab?

If the airline was extremely negligent to the point of almost causing the tragedy (i.e. the highjacker was an employee or they passed out small explosives with the peanuts), there may be some liability, but I don't think that the airlines, or many other industries for that matter, could survive if they were one houndred percent liable for all damages caused by someone else with something they owned.

OK, let me get this right .

OK, let me get this right . . . TSA screens u @ the airport yet u can then proceed to the bar near the gate and upon finishing your brewski u take the bottle into the head. Being the evil person bent upon mayhem u are, u then break the bottle and stuff it into your carry-on and get on your flight. Now you're the only 1 with a "weapon" and can have your way. Am I missing something??

How 'bout they put you on

How 'bout they put you on the special plane that they DON'T search? Will you be happy then? "Good affternooon: Zis is your pilot, Al Zarqawi…."

Would they force me to get on this plane, or are you proposing that people be free to offer such flights?

Because right now you can fly around the country on unsearched planes without being molested by the TSA, it's just too expensive for most people. You can charter a private plane from one small airport to another. And people do it all the time; what idiots they must be, taking such risks. Idiots like fortune 500 CEO's, movie stars, politicians ...

TSA: Streamlining Oppression

TSA: Streamlining Oppression Since 2002!
Reading Catallarchy today (yes, I'm a little behind), I see that the TSA has revealed it may have misled the public about how it obtained personal information on millions of airline passengers so it could test its computerized terrorist-screening syst...

How 'bout they put you on

How 'bout they put you on the special plane that they DON'T search? Will you be happy then? "Good affternooon: Zis is your pilot, Al Zarqawi...."
Those who give up essential liberties for security deserve neither. Those who won't even take off their shoes for security deserve neither as well.
The planes are private property: you don't have any right to be on them. They're also potential WMDs, as some of us still remember from a few Septembers ago. Therefore, the gov't, if it should do anything at all, ever, should certainly regulate and enforce the security measures pertaining to WMDs.
You don't agree. Is it because you don't think TSA has successfully prevented any terrorist attacks? Or is it just personally infuriating to you how the TSA screeners never wave you onto the plane without a search? Because, of course, YOU'RE not a terrorist and they should be able to tell just by looking at you....
:dunce:

Actually, I was hoping none

Actually, I was hoping none of them would stick.

Can They Keep a Secret? The

Can They Keep a Secret?
The blogosphere has been busy decrying the disclosure of news that the TSA and the airlines engaged in something between incompetence and a blatant effort to deceive the public regarding transfers of personal data. While bloggers have been right to...

The problem with your

The problem with your solution is the idea that poor air security has a negative externality on the rest of the world. If left to make their own decisions, people and airlines together may underinvest in security because the costs of destroyed NYC skyscrapers are not factored into their calculations.

While this is true, the unsurprising evidence is that the TSA (and government mandated standards in general) are utterly ineffective at improving security. So the above argument is not really relevant. But there is a real externality.

So you need to throw in there that the airline is civilly liable for any damage done by terrorists who take over its planes, and then you have an answer.

Do you have evidence that

Do you have evidence that Randall, or anyone here is one of these "simpering asshats who would be first in line to sue anybody and everybody if anything bad happened to a flight they were on"? Or are you talking out of your ass, throwing some infantile accusations out there and hoping some of them will stick?

"I find it kinda funny, I

"I find it kinda funny, I find it kind of sad"
that the same people who are so quick to burst into tears of rage over the hideous indignities perpetrated upon them by airport security are usually the same simpering asshats who would be first in line to sue anybody and everybody if anything bad happened to a flight they were on.
Nevertheless, any duly elected and sufficiently responsible democratic government will hold it a duty to grant such infantile petulance more courtesy than it deserves, on principle.
So: bitch away!
Don't let the grownups keep you down!
:kiss:

Hey Randall, email me! It's

Hey Randall, email me! It's Dain Fitzgerald from The Lew Rockwell thing in October. I'm coming out there in August:
Champagne.bulge@gmail.com

Sorry folks for the off topic remarks, but I know no other way to track him down.

I have no problem with what

I have no problem with what the TSA did. I prefer and hope the Govt is LOOKING for terrorists proactively. If you don't want this to happen to you you can always drive, take a bus, take a charter plane, whatever...
but seriously you are outraged that the TSA is looking for terrorists by screening names???? Come on.

How ’bout they put you on

How ’bout they put you on the special plane that they DON’T search? Will you be happy then?

Hell YES! That is exactly what I would be advocating. You know why? I'll be boarding that plane with a 9mm Glock, a holdout revolver, and a big assed knife. And about 60 rounds of ammunition. That plane would be safer than anything the TSA provides now. I don't need the government to secure my person. I do just fine on my own, thank you.