YouTube star Jerome Jarre decided to have some fun on a flight to Miami, so he slipped into a silly swimming outfit in the lavatory and filmed the hijinks. After being threatened with jail, he had a little talk with the FBI. Read the rest
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I’m not an actual “terrorist,” but years ago the the government convicted me of a property crime it deemed “terrorism,” and since then, life has been interesting.
Especially flying. Since 2009, I’ve been on the TSA’s “terrorist watch list.” Not quite the “no fly list”, but close.
This means that when I fly, the TSA goes crazy. At various times, I’ve been refused entry to planes, tailed through airports, and told my Starbucks coffee might be a bomb. What the TSA does when someone like me flies
Here’s the abridged protocol: I obtain a boarding pass. It is emblazened with four large S’s. Like this: “SSSS.” At security, the TSA sees the S’s. Their eyes get big. They turn between 90 and 180 degrees, lean into their radio, and whisper for backup. A senior officer approach, announces I have been “selected” for special screening. I am told to follow them. I am escorted to the front of the line (this is the good part). My carry-on items are placed in a bright red bin. I am shadowed through the body scanner. I receive what I will euphemistically call a “thorough pat-down.” My luggage is ripped apart, swabbed for explosive residue, my computer turned on, and everything generally put under a microscope. TSA takes my ID into a back room and calls the FBI to report my travels.
Minnesota's Kahler Nygard drew a Spirit Air boarding car with the dreaded "SSSS" extra-search marker, and halfway to Denver, Spirit and/or the TSA decided he hadn't been searched properly (he says he was), so they panicked and dragged him off the plane in Denver for another search because he might have been a time-traveller who could harm a plane after getting off of it. Read the rest
A person who "works for the TSA" accidentally posted a public comment to Facebook excoriating Rebecca Hains for expressing skepticism about the TSA's efficacy. Read the rest
He was allegedly drunk, and had at least two victims before SFO's crackerjack private aviation security outfit, Covenant, noticed (they're the same ones who smashed my brand new camera some years ago and refused to take responsibility for it). Read the rest
An Orlando TSA screener told a DC-based reporter that he'd need a passport to fly, because DC isn't a state, so a DC driver's license wasn't valid ID. Read the rest
If you'd rather that the cost of US airline tickets not rise an average of 5% to pay for additional invasive and largely pointless TSA screening, you can tell them so. (Thanks, Dwen!) Read the rest
The TSA has demanded that overseas airports, like London's Heathrow, should require travellers to turn on their electronics before flying to the USA, and ban any broken or out-of-power devices. Read the rest
Ahmed Shihab-Eldin is a respected journalist who holds US citizenship. Every time he returns to his home in New York, he is detained for many hours by the DHS, subjected to humiliating questioning and detention without evidence or charge, because he fits a "profile" that seems to consist entirely of "brown dude with Arabic name who visits the middle east." He recently returned from the World Economic Forum in Davos and found himself detained for hours, despite having been assured that his name had been removed from the DHS's watch-list.
His story of harrowing treatment at JFK airport stands in sharp contrast to his experiences at checkpoints in the middle east, where security risks are much more immediate and more grave. As he points out, America has spent billions creating an aviation security system and system of border checks that have had no material impact on security, but have nonetheless enmiserated, alienated, and harassed millions of people who committed no crime and posed no threat, Read the rest