The Insider’s TSA Dictionary

Jason Edward Harrington, the former TSA officer who revealed the uselessness of the Rapiscan body scanners the federal government squandered $40 million on, has written an article for Politico about his time working at the TSA and his run-ins with the apparatchiks and nomenklatura in charge. Included in the article is a list of code words used by TSA officers he's compiled. Here are a few:

Alfalfa: TSA malespeak for an attractive female passenger.

BBC: Bogus Bag Check, or Bullshit Bag Check. What happens when a not-too-bright x-ray operator decides to call a bag search.

Code Red: Officer malespeak. Denotes an attractive female passenger wearing red.

Fanny Pack, Lane 2: Code for an attractive female passenger.

Retaliatory wait time: What happens when a TSA officer doesn’t like your attitude. There are all sorts of ways a TSA officer can subtly make you wait longer to get through security, citing imaginary alarms, going “above the SOP” for “a more thorough screening,” pretending that something in your bag or on your full body image needs to be resolved—the punitive possibilities are endless, and there are many tricks in the screener’s bag.

Xray Xray Xray!: Code for an attractive female passenger, general.

Yellow Alert: Code for an attractive female passenger, yellow clothing.

Ziptop baggie: A magical thing that renders liquids safe for airplanes.

(Cory posted about this article as well, highlighting some other aspects.) Dear America, I Saw You Naked - And yes, we were laughing. Confessions of an ex-TSA agent.

Notable Replies

  1. Lion says:

    Not to be anti-cop or anything.. but this is just typical gross male behavior in any role that has males in authority over other people.

    Half the asshole bullies where I went to elementary and high school are now cops. And I went to my 15 year reunion and they didn't change much.

  2. I work with doctors. Surgeons.
    Trust me, TSA has nothing over them.

  3. Except that the vast majority of surgeons, even if they're misogynist pigs, actually do a job that has a real benefit to society. Whereas TSA agents are doomed to being actors in our national fetish with security theater.

  4. Am I the only one who appreciates that OSI, the company that makes those pornoscanners, is actually owned by Deepak Chopra, M.D.?

    Namaste, Y'all!

  5. Wait… what? You mean this Deepak Chopra?

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