Militarize TSA?

Old Jul 14, 11, 12:22 pm
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Militarize TSA?

Just floating out an idea and maybe it's been discussed here before, but what are the thoughts about using military or recently discharged military to replace the current TSA "employees".

1. Possibly more respectful and professional service.
2. Possibly more effective and efficient screening.
3. Showing of weapons may be more intimidating than Barney Fife-like screeners who likely worked at a fast food restaurant prior to getting their TSA uniform. The presence of military in airports throughout Europe as an example gives a greater sense of security, (at least to me).

We have a lot of our service men and women coming back from Afghanistan and Iraq. Perhaps this would be a way to have them provide a continued meaningful and respectable service to our country and get rid of the current keystone cops that we face in our airports that are clearly ineffective, rude, condescending and are totally inconsistent.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 12:46 pm
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Unless there is a fundamental change in the upper management and "mission" of the TSA this would be a horrible, horrible idea. Arming screeners, (even military or ex-military) with the current management attitudes in place would only increase the abuses.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 12:47 pm
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It wouldn't just be a matter of replacing the front-line soldiers (so to speak). TSA needs its mission (re)defined, changes from the top down, they need to eliminate this notion that everyone is the enemy, and that compliance requires abuse.

If all you did was replace today's TSO's with ex-army, and nothing else, then asking "why do you need to know my last name?" would be met with their rifle stock meeting your face.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:02 pm
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I'm not entirely opposed to military manning security checkpoints BUT, it does not change the fact that the NoS's and sexual assaults need to go away.

Nothing would change unless the TSA current policies were banned. Starting with the illegal and grossly intimate, searching of our bodies.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:07 pm
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How about if we just send all the existing TSA to Afghanistan?
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Mabuk dan gila View Post
How about if we just send all the existing TSA to Afghanistan?
I know the Taliban harbored ObL and all that, but the Afghans don't deserve that.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:16 pm
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Honestly, I think every military person I've ever talked to feels about the same way we all do about the TSA. They hate them. They feel like they've spent the last 10+ years fighting a "terror" threat, only to come home find their government terrorizing its own people.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:19 pm
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Originally Posted by SFOSpiff View Post
It wouldn't just be a matter of replacing the front-line soldiers (so to speak). TSA needs its mission (re)defined, changes from the top down, they need to eliminate this notion that everyone is the enemy, and that compliance requires abuse.

If all you did was replace today's TSO's with ex-army, and nothing else, then asking "why do you need to know my last name?" would be met with their rifle stock meeting your face.
I commented before that if TSA clerks were armed, there _would_ be shootings of passengers, airport employees, and even TSA clerks. For that matter, if they were equipped with pepper spray or handcuffs, said products would wind up being used against passengers. Or passengers would find themselves being robbed of their belongings at weaponpoint by TSA clerks. The TSA checkpoint would become an immediate risk to personal physical safety, just as much as delivering pizza to certain areas after dark. And just like how your local pizza joint will refuse to send their delivery personnel into danger, employers would hopefully refuse to send their employees into danger by air travel. Perhaps you'd also see travel advisories being issued by foreign countries advising their nationals to not use US airports.

Seeing that the TSA have no enforced rules, I'm wondering if we'll ever see a clerk tell a passenger:

- You will give me your laptop computer/iPad, or else you will not fly/miss your big meeting/lose your job.

- You will come to the private room with me and have sex with me, or else you will not fly/miss your big meeting/lose your job.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:25 pm
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Can't use the military for this purpose. It's against the law dating back to the reconstruction era. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prevents the government from using military in law enforcement type activities.

Bush was successful in revising the law to allow the use of military following a terrorist attack however, I think that was repealed fairly recently. The use of the military in law enforcement against U.S. citizens has generally been disastrous throughout history. Military units are trained to assault, invade and occupy, under clearly defined rules of engagement, not administer and enforce the law. Apparently, not unlike many of the present day TSA (except TSA has no clearly defined ROE).
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:27 pm
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Originally Posted by StanSimmons View Post
Unless there is a fundamental change in the upper management and "mission" of the TSA this would be a horrible, horrible idea. Arming screeners, (even military or ex-military) with the current management attitudes in place would only increase the abuses.
Agreed on your points. I should clarify and say I would suggest On-Duty military, under military rule/supervision and totally disband the TSA altogether.

Remember these screeners are basically the same people that before 9/11 had the x-ray machines on full speed and never blinked an eye. The incompetence has to end somewhere.

On another note, I carry approved liquids in my carry-on bags, NEVER take them out and NEVER get detected. Interesting?
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:29 pm
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Originally Posted by greentips View Post
Can't use the military for this purpose. It's against the law dating back to the reconstruction era. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 prevents the government from using military in law enforcement type activities.

Bush was successful in revising the law to allow the use of military following a terrorist attack however, I think that was repealed fairly recently. The use of the military in law enforcement against U.S. citizens has generally been disastrous throughout history. Military units are trained to assault, invade and occupy, under clearly defined rules of engagement, not administer and enforce the law. Apparently, not unlike many of the present day TSA (except TSA has no clearly defined ROE).
TSA is not law enforcement. They used to deliver pizzas before getting their TSA badge.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by jemctag View Post
Agreed on your points. I should clarify and say I would suggest On-Duty military, under military rule/supervision and totally disband the TSA altogether.
I think that using military forces for commercial aircraft security would be a horrific waste of resources, and would probably lead to even greater rights violations than the TSA already represents.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:34 pm
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Originally Posted by jemctag View Post
TSA is not law enforcement. They used to deliver pizzas before getting their TSA badge.
Agreed. I was about to edit the post to clarify, but you beat me to it. Because of the role of the Union Army during reconstruction, the use of the military in administration and law enforcement is banned under the Posse Comitatus Act, and I think it would include TSA activities within the territory of the United States. The lawyers would know the legal limits better than I, I just read history.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 1:53 pm
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Originally Posted by jemctag View Post
3. Showing of weapons may be more intimidating than Barney Fife-like screeners who likely worked at a fast food restaurant prior to getting their TSA uniform. The presence of military in airports throughout Europe as an example gives a greater sense of security, (at least to me).

But were those military personnel you saw in Europe doing actual screening, or just patrolling with weapons? And God forbid there should be an incident, just what could the military personnel do, other than open fire? How would that be better than having actual law enforcement officers patrolling?

As far as feeling safer seeing soldiers patrolling in airports, I am of the opposite opinion.The mission and training of military personnel is NOT the same as law enforcement. Speaking from a security standpoint, I for one feel uncomfortable in airports that are patrolled with military personnel and weapons, for this very reason- LE most certainly have extensive training in trying to ensure that civilians/bystanders are kept safe. Don't think military personnel have as much training in that regard. Not that there's anything wrong with that, just that they have 2 different missions, and are not interchangeable.
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Old Jul 14, 11, 2:11 pm
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Why do the screeners need guns. We havent had any Red Dawn style attacks. Any of the incidents that the TSA claims to have averted have been done calmly without guns.

Another thing that people don't consider is that there are a decent number of people in the military that I would do not want my mother ever interacting with. When I was in the Army the majority of junior enlisted didn't know to act properly in society. They are good at shooting guns and what not, but there are a lot of hooligans who behave only good enough to not get in trouble with their superiors and that is their only moral compass. Sure they are good at killing evil doers, but they are not the kind of people that are ready for doing business with the public.

Last edited by Upstate; Jul 14, 11 at 2:26 pm
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