President Obama, It's Time To Fire the TSA

Our former colleague Joel Johnson, over at Gizmodo: President Obama, It's Time To Fire the TSA. Joel, I sing this kumbaya right along with you.


  1. There’s an interesting comment on Gizmodo in response to the post: “Secondly, Joel… This was not a failure by TSA staff. This was a failure by security screeners in FUCKING AMSTERDAM.”

    Lovely to see comments made by those who’ve probably never flown outside the US. I am sure things differ in different airports, but my personal experience at Brussels, Amsterdam and London, when flying to the US, was that I would go through the normal security checks, and THEN I would go through a special “because you’re going to the US” security check. This second check was manned/womanned by US citizens, presumably affiliated with the TSA. Anyhow, it’s the people who find no humour in my request to be patted down by a female ;-)

    1. There are no TSA or US screening agents in any of those airports you mentioned. I fly from Heathrow once a month to the US and at least twice a year from Schiphol to the US and I have NEVER seen any US TSA (or other staff) the only place I have seen it is in Ireland and Canada.


    2. Joel’s point, however isn’t about TSA failing to prevent the incident–it’s all about TSA’s response. The new measures are silly security theater.

      1. Joel’s point, however isn’t about TSA failing to prevent the incident–it’s all about TSA’s response. The new measures are MORE silly security theater.


  2. Sadly, we the travelers will get screwed further and the terrorists will snigger and keep getting past our “security.” Air travel SUCKS in the US and the experience is so bad that it was a contributing factor to the US not getting the Olympics.

  3. Agree with @Digilante, not sure how it is in other countries, but getting on US bound flights from Toronto’s Pearson Airport involves passing through a US Homeland Security checkpoint staffed by US citizens in the employ of the US government. Not sure if they are TSA or Homeland Security or what the difference is, but there they are. If the next perp gets on a plane in Toronto, you have only your own guys to blame!

  4. Also, it’s *been* time to fire the TSA. I’ve turned down a number of jobs that require air travel and taken trains and rented a car for a few I couldn’t avoid because they are less hassling alternatives than dealing with the TSA and airline policy.

    It’s no longer comfortable or efficient to travel by plane, as long as this continues the terrorists have won.

  5. Certainly I am thinking twice about visiting the US now – I have family there who have been asking me to visit for a while and I was ready to head over some time early in the new year – I had put up with TSA til now. But now I am thinking again – it sounds positively ridiculous and I don’t particularly want to be there still needing to fly home when they DO decide to strip us and strap us to our seats.

  6. Essentially, the TSA has run out of restrictions that are remotely plausible to the untrained, and have moved on to just making shit up so they can say they did something.

  7. It is remarkeable that we as (US) Americans have collectively gone on this long with the farce that is TSA. I don’t mean revolution, I mean the lack of common sense. We pat down grandma and take her 3.5 ounce toothpaste tube so we can feel better, but don’t take real precautions like multiple security checkpoints, extra screening of people who buy international (one way) tickets in cash, and people who have irregular suspect travel patterns. We already subject ourselves to a great deal of scrutiny, so this does not seem far off..

  8. My wife and I were talking about this just last night. It’s to the point where I’m going to do everything I can to avoid air travel.

    I just wish there were some effective method of protesting/boycotting the TSA and the airlines until they shape up and learn how to treat people properly.

  9. Re: Toronto’s Pearson Airport is not like other international airports. At Pearson you go through US Immigration in Canada. You know, like the same immigration process you would go though at SFO, LAX, JFK, etc.

    My experience on connecting return international flights was basic extra security, mainly carry-on baggage checks done by airport staff, not the TSA. Some security was so lax that I could walk into the no US section of the airport and walk back to the US bound area without my carry-on bags checked again (Frankfurt airport) Total joke.

  10. Kneejerk security is what these sort of super-macho-jock-hail-mary plays are all about!

    Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.

    This proverb has value, but is taken to the logical extreme by social authoritarianism.

  11. Thomas Brown has the right idea. Stop buying plane tickets, watch how quickly things change. I would rather drive 12 hours than stand in line for 2, take my shoes off 6 times, get frisked twice, have someone rifle through my bags, et cetera and then get on a plane where I’m treated like a 3rd world refugee.

  12. I work for an airline, and let me say that I’m just as pissed, if not more, than all of you. These policies are forced on us by the Government regardless of what we think. I still don’t blame people for not traveling due to the hassle. If I didn’t work for an airline I probably wouldn’t fly either.

    I read another post on this topic that I think said it best. The terrorists have won. Osama himself stated that his war was economic. Their goal is to get us all so scared and regulated that our economy goes to crap and that’s exactly what is happening. Every stupid reactionary regulation that we make weakens this country.

    But the bottom line is that there are too many people that blindly accept these regulations. I guarantee you that if Obama demanded that we take away the stupid restrictions and allow people to wear their damn shoes through security (a tremendous hassle when you’re traveling with two children under two years old), Glenn Beck and his lot would scream that Obama is soft on terror.

    They’ve won, and this is the world we live in unless we do something.

  13. And let’s not forget TSA’s famous motto: “When in danger or in doubt, scream and shout and run about.”

  14. I’ve submitted “crotchbomber” to Urban Dictionary. It would please me if this guy went down in history with that as his best known handle.

  15. I can’t verify this but i understand that this dept. is now the largest in the US government at upwards of 200,000 employees and a gigantic new HQ in DC (which i CAN verify) – and didn’t it all start just because at 9/11 there wasn’t one master radio frequency?
    So we fixed an important tactical oversight with the most massive bureaucracy in the history of the United States?

    Now i see why everyone calls it Homeland Insecurity.

    1. All true true. The TSA/Homeland Security IS the largest Fed. Gov’t agency. The Bush Jrs. administration’s response to 911 (I don’t know what to do…. Here’s a great idea, let’s make the largest Fed Gov’t agency ever that can be run by some idiots*..YEA! THAT’S THE TICKET!) I have yet to see in over 50 yrs of observing, where growing government “fixes” anything.

      * – Janet Napolitano to name the most current head. See here interview on the TODAY show on Monday December 28, 2009.

  16. The argument that we don’t need the TSA because we haven’t had hijackings in the last 10 years is insane. Is it possible that there has been a little bit of prevention, even in the TSA’s most insane security requirements? And perhaps making things a pain in the arse has reduced the number of would-be terrorists who attempt to attack a plane?

    I certainly wouldn’t say the TSA works perfectly, but the implication that nothing would be better — that the record of the last ten years can be evaluated without considering the impact of the TSA’s policies — is just ignorant.

  17. The TSA is ridiculous and solves nothing. There have been no bear attacks on airlines since the TSA has been around as well, should we increase their funding for bear attack prevention too?

    I work for a cruise line and unfortunately the cruise industry has taken a cue from the TSA and started instituting stupid crap like liquid bans and shoe removal too…if it wasn’t for the job I swear I would never set foot on a US flight again.

  18. The TSA’s failure to prevent the crotchbomber reminds me of one of the most encouraging things President Obama said in his inaugural address:

    “The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works […]. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account – to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day – because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.”

    It sure seems like the TSA’s current approach is not working. So what does it take for our government to end this program that doesn’t work? When do Obama and his people start to restore that vital trust he talked about last January?

  19. This wasn’t a failure, period. Everything worked as planned. This was a false-flag operation. Very, very few countries on this globe believe it was anything else. What you must note is that these passenger’s were not meant to survive this operation. Funny how the Dutch won’t release the video. It will, however, be released, but only after they have completed doctoring the video in favor of whatever lie they are adhering to. This would be laughable if it wasn’t so horrific.

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