TSA warns TSA to be on the lookout for anti-terror agents

The LA Times has an article about undercover federal agents smuggling bomb materials past TSA airport screeners to test security.

My favorite part is how the TSA warns its screeners to focus on identifying and stopping undercover federal investigators whose job it is to test the TSA's effectiveness:

Release of the GAO report follows a hearing Wednesday in which Hawley vehemently denied that screeners had been tipped off about covert security tests, even as lawmakers brandished an e-mail from TSA headquarters that not only warned employees of testing, but described the methods and appearance of those conducting the probes.

"There was no intent to tip off, there was no cheating," Hawley insisted. He said that the e-mail was sent not to tip off screeners, but because a TSA official thought the tests might really be an Al Qaeda operation.

Democratic lawmakers were openly incredulous. "If you want me to believe that, I find that's a stretch," said Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-N.J.).



  1. While none of this comes as any surprise to me, I fear that this is a minor issue in the bigger picture. I fear/expect that the GAO report in question [which revealed that federal agents were able to smuggle onto airplanes all of the components to construct a bomb, past security personnel following procedures correctly, no less] will be used as justification by federal authorities for MORE of the pointless “security” measures to which fliers are subjected.

    The lesson here, of course, is that we need actually effective security rather than ever more elaborate rituals in humiliation and petty power-mongering. However, since the feds have yet to learn that lesson with anything else security-related (secure ports, anyone?), I don’t expect they’ll get it here…

  2. I agree, ringmod76. The TSA seems like half its staff are indifferent, and the other half are busy covering the agency’s ass. Glad I only have two more flights to make this year, and then I’m done until January 2009.

  3. But I thought the problem with airport security before 9/11 was that it was mostly private and that after airport security was nationalized it magically became effective.

  4. When you consider how terror drills have been used as cover like they were on 9/11 in th US and 7/7 in London, this might not be such a bad idea after all. Just don’t ask me how the “terrorists” seem to know exactyly when and what type of drills are being conducted.

  5. When you consider how terror drills have been used as cover like they were on 9/11 and 7/7 in London, this might not be such a bad idea. Just don’t ask me how those wacky terrorists seem to know exactly when, where and what type of drills will be conducted.

  6. Y’know what this reminds me of? Working at Office Depot, and at the just-before-opening or just-before-closing store meeting, the manager saying:

    “The mystery shoppers will be here this week, so make sure to give everyone extra-good customer service.”

    (sorry if this appears twice; I forgot to log in)

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