TSA Screeners Get New Clothes, New Attitude, and...

Reader Russ Dewey points us to this Chicago Tribune story about Transportation Security Administration airport screeners getting new duds, unveiled on today's anniversary of the 9/11 attacks:

The goal is to give screeners a more professional appearance and establish a greater air of authority, in an effort to command respect from travelers....

Near a security checkpoint Thursday morning at O'Hare, Annie Gregg, 23, a transportation security officer from Midlothian who has been working at the TSA for a year, agreed that the uniforms would improve morale, saying they look "a lot sharper" than the old ones.

Screener Robert Jennings, 40, of Streamwood, a 6-year TSA veteran, reflected on his position's importance on the seventh anniversary of the attacks.

"It's part of me helping out my country," Jennings said.

More here.

We all like to get new clothes, but I'd be a lot more interested in hearing that the TSA is actually trying to figure out why its employees suck so hard at their jobs. It was only a month ago that we were treated to stories based on a Government Accountability Office study of TSA screeners:

A government program to find gaps in airport screening is "a waste of money" because it doesn't follow up on why screeners failed to spot guns, knives and bombs on undercover agents, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee says.

A Government Accountability Office report obtained by USA TODAY says Transportation Security Administration inspectors posing as passengers do not record why individual screeners failed to spot weapons. The TSA ran 20,000 covert tests at the USA's 450 commercial airports from 2002 to 2007, and the results ought to be used to improve screening, the report says....

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., plans a hearing next month to press the TSA on making better use of covert tests.

"You have a system that's supposed to strengthen airport security, but you don't use the results of the tests to do exactly what you're doing the tests for," Thompson said. "It's obviously a waste of money."...

An internal TSA report said screeners in Los Angeles and Chicago airports missed fake bombs on agents in more than 60% of tests in 2006.

More here.

Read reason's 2004 cover story, "Dominate. Intimidate. Control.: The sorry record of the Transportation Security Administration."

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    ""You have a system that's supposed to strengthen airport security, but you don't use the results of the tests to do exactly what you're doing the tests for," Thompson said. "It's obviously a waste of money.""

    Close enough for government work.

  • Frayed Knot||

    Seems to me that the "lipstick on a pig" saying would be apropos here.

  • ||

    in an effort to command respect from travelers

    I'm impressed that the author of this article was able to type while laughing so hard.

  • The Extispicator||

    Greater Air of Authority

    +

    Commanding Respect

    +

    No consequences to doing job poorly

    =

    Are these guys cops?

  • Zeb||

    Obviously the bombs got through because the screeners didn't look sharp enough or have enough of an air of authority.

  • ||

    Let me guess: "greater air of authority" equals "bigger guns".

    You don't command my respect. You earn it.

  • ||

    "It's part of me helping out my country," Jennings said.

    He would be more useful on the side of the road, picking up beer cans and discarded condoms.

  • ||

    They didn't ask me for input. But if they did ...

  • ||

    We all like to get new clothes, but I'd be a lot more interested in hearing that the TSA is actually trying to figure out why its employees suck so hard at their jobs.
    You and me both brother. Though I fear we are doomed (DOOMED I tells ya!) to disappointment.

  • Russ 2000||

    My office building contains a TSA training facility.

    I'm in favor of giving these people guns. These people are incapable of finding the bus stop (it's the same place you got OFF the bus, moron.) and from the looks of their former uniforms, these people are incapable of ironing a shirt; they would probably kill themselves if given a firearm.

    I'm not even sure these people can operate cars. The TSA gets new cars and vans every year. Apparently driving 6 blocks to O'Hare once a day is major wear and tear on a vehicle. (Must be the source of Carmax's inventory.)

  • ||

    "in an effort to command respect from travelers...."

    Now I'm hoping for someone to identify what clothes will enable travelers to command respect from the TSA.

  • Dagny T.||

    J sub,

    If TSA staff weren't so uniformly (pun intended) ugly, you might be on to something.

    Although if they were hot chicks, potential bad guys might get distracted and forget their plans. And they'd be much less likely to stare at female travelers' nipple rings, so win-win!

  • ||

    TSA = Security Theatre

  • Windypundit||

    My suggested uniform is at the bottom of this post here.

  • Sam Grove||

    We recently experienced TSA scrutiny at the Jackson Hole airport.
    It's obvious that security rules rule out judgment.

  • ||

    How appropriate TSA employees receive new clothes. They expect to be treated as emperors...

  • ||

    TSA scrutiny at Jackson Hole? What, terrorists are going to try to bring down the Grand Tetons?

  • jj||

    Great, just what they need - better costumes for the dimwitted ushers at security theater. I just hope these spiffy new uniforms include loafers or clogs, since most TSA employees are too mentally challenged to figure out how to tie their own shoes.

    So new duds are going to create an "air of authority"? Still smells more like the overpowering stench of stupidity and incompetence to me.

  • ||

    Of course, the TSA had a post about this on their blog, with "how dare anybody question us, on this day of all days" faux outrage from Blogger Bob in the comments. Though you'll have to do a bit of scrolling to get there.

    http://www.tsa.gov/blog/2008/09/7-years-later.html

  • ||

    TSA scrutiny at Jackson Hole? What, terrorists are going to try to bring down the Grand Tetons?

    Harrison Ford lives there, ProL. If they get him it'll be even worse than the Canadians getting the Baldwins.

  • ||

    Harry? Nah, he's too loco for the terrorists, man.

  • ||

    Hans Ryan can fend for himself. Or would that be Jack Solo?

  • ||

    I don't know how much more respect I need to give to people that have the power to lock me away without even reading me my rights.

  • ||

    Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, Vic.

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    As I sit here trapped at work, I refer you to the special Lab Whore Day posting the Urkobold graced us all with. Don't tell Him I said this, but He's quite the perve.

  • GILMORE||

    TSA screeners make meter maids look like Navy Seals performing HALO night jumps with an ocean landing and swim infiltration. Elementary school brass bands have greater discipline, organization, proficiency, and collective IQ. Not to mention far greater courtesy, manners, digity.

  • ||

    Is there a video game where I can live the adventure that is the life of the average TSA agent?

  • ||

    ProL, just get MS Flight Simulator and never take off. That'll be pretty close.

  • ||

    Surely TSA agents are shooting terrorists on a daily basis. What are you implying?

  • Xmas||

    Oh...that's what was different today. I couldn't put my finger on it while I was going through security. I thought I had had too much Magner's before I got in line.

  • ||

    Are these guys cops?

    Don't let a cop hear you say that. They don't think very highly of the TSA drones.

    -jcr

  • e||

    That eagle...it needs a teardrop.

  • ||

    'Dominate, Intimidate, Control'

    Spells DIC(K) to me.

  • ||

    These people are incapable of finding the bus stop (it's the same place you got OFF the bus, moron.) and from the looks of their former uniforms, these people are incapable of ironing a shirt; they would probably kill themselves if given a firearm.



    The TSA is nothing more than a government employment program for those to stupid to get a job sweeping the parking lot at McDonalds.

  • ||

    I would say this is like giving the janitors new uniforms, but the janitors are probably overqualified. They recruit for these jobs in the same pool as fast food workers.

  • ||

    I'm a frequent flyer, and I've noticed two kinds of TSA workers. First there's the lazy asses who only bothered to apply because their unemployment ran out. You can recognize these because they exude extreme unprofessionalism. There's one lady at SJC who's morbidly obese, can't keep her shirt tail tucked in, and always has a couple days worth of stubble under her chin. Then there are the second type, the arrogant assholes who applied for the job because they get off and ordering people around. You can recognize them by their starched shirts, crewcuts, and broomhandles up the butt. I swear some of them are wearing studded leather harnesses under their uniforms. There used to be a minority that applied because they wanted to "help keep America strong", but they all wised up, got real jobs, and left.

  • olli||

    If the TSA wants their screeners to command respect from the public, instead of wasting money on uniforms, they should teach them to speak properly and teach them some manners.

  • ||

    When do they get the jackboots?

  • ||

    I figured it was just a matter of time. I mean, it makes sense if you think about it.

    We're dressing our cops like soldiers, may as well dress our TSA screeners like cops.

  • Scooby||

    Legislative logic:

    Testing shows government agency is ineffective in its assigned task, and government agency takes no corrective action, therefore, the testing is a waste of money.

  • Ravac||

    "Roger Farias wears the new Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uniform as he brings more bins to passengers in a security line at O'Hare International Airport, in Chicago. (Tribune photo by Nancy Stone / September 11, 2008)"

    Nice to see the Deliverance banjo kid got a job.

  • ed||

    Damn stupid Americans trying to earn a living!
    We should also note in fairness that we hate employees of the DMV, Walmart, USPS, McDonald's, cops who serve warrants, and anyone else who hasn't the time or wherewithal to post on H&R.

  • LarryA||

    The goal is to give screeners a more professional appearance and establish a greater air of authority, in an effort to command respect from travelers....

    This might do it.

  • ||

    With comments like these do you guys really think a TSA "drone"as you all put it is gonna kiss your asses when you fly? come on,lets be serious. Most of the flying public are as retarded as you all claim the TSA people are. You degrade them but yet you expect them to give you the ut-most of respect.You treat them like crap but your surprised when they treat you the same way..seems to me like you guys have a double standard for yourself..Im glad i dont fly often..you are all hypocrites,and if you are saying your not quit lying to yourself. Your all just as bad,even not even worse then the TSA

  • tp||

    Agree folks in any security/safety/customer/people inter-action relationship earn respect by their respective behaviors.

    Basically focusing on being polite and respectful as we evolve air safety system component of TSA is the best long term approach.

    Takes "two to tango" and a minority of folks on the fringe (travelers/screeners) who are negative!

  • ||

    with passengers like all of you who replied .. why would TSA employees care about your safety.


    on a serious note. quit your crying and take your laptops out your damn bags..you bunch of idiots... how hard is it to follow such a simple rule..

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement