TSA

TSA Wants Electronic Devices Charged on US-Bound Flights Originating Overseas, Because of Terrorism

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New rule "enhanced security measures" ordered by the Secretary of Homeland Security for certain flights originating overseas, via the Transportation Security Administration:

As the traveling public knows, all electronic devices are screened by security officers. During the security examination, officers may also ask that owners power up some devices, including cell phones. Powerless devices will not be permitted onboard the aircraft. The traveler may also undergo additional screening.

TSA will continue to adjust security measures to ensure that travelers are guaranteed the highest levels of aviation security conducted as conveniently as possible.

Secretary Jeh Johnson's statement was released last week. It reads in part:

I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible. We are sharing recent and relevant information with our foreign allies and are consulting the aviation industry. These communications are an important part of our commitment to providing our security partners with situational awareness about the current environment and protecting the traveling public. Aviation security includes a number of measures, both seen and unseen, informed by an evolving environment

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is sharing relevant information with foreign countries and airlines but not the public, although media reports point to a potential threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), a jihadist group fighting the Iraqi and Syrian governments and other regional governments and terrorist groups .

Writing in an op-ed at The Guardian, self-described former TSA employee Jason Harrington shares his opinion on the new directive, which he points out he joked about in a satirical post about the National Security Agency (NSA) last year. Harrington explains:

This is the real conundrum that accompanies most post-9/11 airport security rules: the logic behind them is a race to the bottom. Consider…

If a group of terrorists is clever enough to pack explosives inside a laptop to make them undetectable by current technology, wouldn't they be clever enough to devise an explosive laptop that can do all of this … and still appear to power up? If US intelligence next announces that terrorists have become clever enough to engineer the faux-power laptop bomb, and passengers are then required to prove their laptops can connect to airport WiFi, how long until murky intelligence warns of a hotspot-enabled iBomb ? If terrorists are theoretically clever enough to make that smart of a bomb, what would stop them from building one in, say, a disabled extremist's motorized wheelchair, Breaking Bad-style? Also, and not to get too deep into the mind of Machiavellian murderers, but wouldn't they have just done that from the beginning? Harrington also says he saw about 10 laptops a day broken by "inattentive" x-ray operators when he worked at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. Harrington, a former screener, writes that "absurd, ham-handed security rules are ceaselessly drilled into the minds of TSA screeners as the only way to ensure the American way of life," and "thoughtlouslessly" regarding as safe any item that can power up and then singling grandma out because her flip phone's dead makes security lines longer and a better terrorist target than getting on the plane.

NBC News' Luke Russert, meanwhile, dismissed criticism he says he saw on the Internet. Via Mediaite:

"I've seen on the blogosphere, on the Twitters, people complaining about this," Russert said, squinting so you know he's super-serious. "'What happens if my cell phone isn't charged? My laptop's not charged? I won't be able to get on the plane?'" he mimicked potential questions from skeptical travelers, before declaring: "Sack up!"

Shut up and stop complaining, Russert said, because "this is what the Department of Homeland Security says is a viable threat to the United States' safety and security. If you could not charge your phone, I'm so sorry for you. Go to the little place at the airport two hours before, hook it up, they have it."

"Most Americans don't fly more than three times a year," he added. "A lot of this whining comes from people who fly more. Do what you and I do, go to TSA-pre. It's very noninvasive. You're a business traveler, I'm sure you can afford it."

Jeh Jonson and the TSA both stress they don't want to unnecessarily disrupt or inconvenience travelers. Previous necessary disruptions and inconveniences here.

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  1. “Harrington also says he saw about 10 laptops a day broken by “inattentive” x-ray operators when he worked at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport”

    10 a day must be an exaggeration. I googled “laptops broken by TSA” and the most recent article I found was from the LA times dated 5/3/2011. It says of the 2,277 claims filed over a 3-year period, 202 were for broken laptops. (Only 13% of laptop claims are actually paid).
    Article is here: http://articles.latimes.com/20…..e-20110530

    1. And, really, if you can’t trust the TSA to keep complete and accurate records of their own incompetence, who can you trust?

      And/or a lot of people never bother putting in a claim. Because the damage is cosmetic (though still damage), or because they figure it’ll never be paid, or because they figure they’d be volunteering for TSA harassment.

      1. This.

        People probably don’t think it’s worth their time/expense to file a claim for a laptop. Mine is a nice(ish) model and I still wouldn’t go through the trouble.

    2. TSA broke my laptop at SEA. I never bothered filing any claim, not worth the bother. Last thing I wanted was to deal with these asshats even more.

      They broke my desktop a few years before that when I shipped it as luggage. They wrapped it up with yellow tape and included a note saying they’d ‘inspected’ it (they didn’t even bother to put the cover back on the tower). I didn’t bother to make a claim about that either.

  2. Making a check of $48500/month with online working,, you make money $81/hour from laptop in free time.My neighbour’s sister has been averaging $15750/months now and she works about 20 hours a week. i make $13900 last month, it is realy easy and trustful ,
    ======== W?W?W?.?MONEYKIN?.?C?O?M?

  3. Making a check of $48500/month with online working,, you make money $81/hour from laptop in free time.My neighbour’s sister has been averaging $15750/months now and she works about 20 hours a week. i make $13900 last month, it is realy easy and trustful ,

    ======= W?W?W?.?MONEYKIN?.?C?O?M?

  4. does this include my black market dildos?

    1. It’s company policy never to imply ownership in the event of a dildo. We have to use the indefinite article, “a dildo”, never your dildo.

      1. (remember the good old days when company policy rather than violent authority determined how obnoxious your airport experience would be?)

  5. If a group of terrorists is clever enough to pack explosives inside a laptop to make them undetectable by current technology, wouldn’t they be clever enough to devise an explosive laptop that can do all of this … and still appear to power up?

    Because no terrorist would ever think to hollow out a spare laptop battery (or three) and fill it with explosives. Like everything else the TSA does, this is transparent theater meant to appeal to barely conscious politicians who want to say that they’re doing something about the threat of terrorism. It says something about the unimaginable wealth of our world that the United States throws away $7+ billion a year on an agency that fundamentally serves to reduce American commerce and tourism while leading to more deaths on the roads.

    “A lot of this whining comes from people who fly more. Do what you and I do, go to TSA-pre. It’s very noninvasive. You’re a business traveler, I’m sure you can afford it.”

    Nothing says equality under law like the state selling the privilege of minimizing your harassment by the TSA. Go back to covering sports, Russert.

    1. “Nothing says equality under law like the state selling the privilege of minimizing your harassment by the TSA.”

      Not just the TSA, of course. Many of the daily harassments endured by the average citizen simply don’t apply to the Ruling Class, which includes the media. Remember when the government spied on reporters? Oh the horror! That kind of thing is fine for the little people, but not us. Also, see Nancy Pelosi vs. the CIA, Congressional exclusion from the ACA, police car parking, red-light running, and speeding, etc.
      Until we once again make everybody, especially congress and the media, live by the same rules, this kind of thing will continue. The first time Harry Reid is asked to submit to a full-body scan or denied boarding due to a dead cell phone the TSA will get reformed/disbanded.
      When John Stewart’s dog gets shot by the police, reining in the police will become all the rage. Until then, congress-critters will continue to subvert our rights while selling scanning-machine contracts to cronies, and LEO’s will continue to treat citizens like serfs.

  6. …he mimicked potential questions from skeptical travelers, before declaring: “Sack up!”

    This from a security state fellating asshat who’s apparently completely terrified of TEH TERRORISTS!!!!? And he’s telling others to “sack up”? That’s rich.

    I hope Luke Russert is enjoying the taste of TSA cock in his mouth. What a dipshit.

  7. I still cannot wrap my head around the 4 ounce container rule. It seems so easy to circumvent (just bring a handful of 4-ounce containers; nothing weird about that) and then buy a freaking 20 oz soda bottle at the concessions by the gate.

    1. Agree 100%. Last year an alert TSA worked at SEA confiscated my son’s Spongebob toothpaste. Because we just can’t be too careful in our fight against extremists.

      1. Sponge Bob is an extremist, after all. And he lives in a pineapple under the sea, so I don’t think he is even an American.

  8. I bet it’s Skunk Baxter’s fault…

  9. ” Do what you and I do, go to TSA-pre. It’s very noninvasive”

    TSA-pre…. that would be kafka’s answer to Orwell, or perhaps vice versa: in order to be spare the indignity of standard TSA screening, you capitulate to giving the gestapo-wannabes the keys to your personal life.

    One of the differences between us and the Soviets was that they needed government permission to travel. In a practical sense, how is post 9/11 USA different?

  10. Can we demand that TSA screeners be checked for alpha wave activity before they are allowed to break our laptops in two to see if the little man inside has a valid federal ID?

  11. Flying out of Amsterdam, their security is run by a bunch of Morrocans and other North African Muslims who traditionally mutilate their daughter’s vajayjay, yet still they are less pathetic as human beings than the typical TSA screener.

  12. We would do well to stop all this nonsense. It has very little to do with safety, nor real terrorism. It has to do with keeping us afraid so we can be controlled and will give up out rights for “security”.

    It is huge expensive theater. It makes scanner companies rich, creates tons of government jobs which are pretty worthless, and keeps the CIA or FBI busy planning minor false flag events to help keep the fear going.

    What we need to fear is the terrorists in our own government.

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