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2012 Survey: How Effective is the Transportation Security Administration?

2012 Survey: How Effective is the Transportation Security Administration?

Old Aug 12, 12, 8:15 pm
  #16  
 
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Originally Posted by Thunderroad View Post
I don't have any problem with the TSA. While occasionally I come across personnel who are lackadaisical in moving folks along or kind of unfriendly (though never downright rude IME), for the most part they've been pretty efficient and courteous. It's a tough job in a lot of ways, in terms of both dealing with the tedium and the sometimes impatient passengers.

I only rated the agency "somewhat effective" at preventing a terrorist attack because I think it does what it can but there are no absolute guarantees. Lots of the most effective work in preventing attacks involves intelligence to block them before anyone even gets to the airport.

Now, maybe some will take my "somewhat effective" responses as an indication that folks feel the TSA is doing a lousy job. And maybe, then, I should have checked another box. But my point here is that even the results leave lots of room for (mis)interpretation.

I'm quite surprised that I could vote more than once. This would seem to undermine whatever value the survey holds.
That is exactly how I feel. There's a huge difference between whether a policy is truly effective or whether people are effective in executing the policy.

While I think a lot of today's security theater is ineffective and always a step behind what we really ought to be doing, I've had very few negative experiences with TSA employees on the front line.
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Old Aug 12, 12, 9:59 pm
  #17  
 
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TSA is a ridiculous waste of taxpayer monies.

Based on the following threads (and hundreds more on FT and other blogs) and numerous news stories, I would say that the TSA is infested with thieves, criminals, and incompetents:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/searc...rchid=14111962
http://current.newsweek.com/budgettr..._screener.html
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/...hefts-per-day/
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/pract...cked-bags.html
http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/b...Bw7NFkRxVF5l0M


The last article I read said that TSA/baggage handlers steal around 5,000 items per day at US airports, including guns, which are then stored in "secure" areas until their shifts end. Knowing that these bozos can get anything in or out of a secure area should give a logical person reason to doubt that any of the Kabuki dance done in view of the public actually contributes to our safety.

I would pay special attention to this thread:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/pract...e-devices.html

An intelligent and motivated terrorist cannot be stopped.

Yet the risk of dying from a terrorist attack is around a thousand of times lower than your risk of dying in a car accident--Why, pray tell, doesn't our coddling government ban cars to protect us then?

You have an 8 times greater risk of being killed by the police than being killed by a terrorist.

You have 50 times greater risk of being struck by lightning than being killed by a terrorist.

Life is full of risks! Society cannot protect everyone all of the time from every threat, whether natural or man-made.

Surrendering our freedoms to a non-accountable government agency on the false promise of increased safety is a fool's gambit.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
--Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

Last edited by zombietooth; Aug 12, 12 at 10:41 pm
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Old Aug 13, 12, 4:19 am
  #18  
 
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TSA Good -give me a break

TSA agents are probably paid at the same level as a Mc donalds employee. They singularly have failed to give me the impression that there is anything between their ears that remotely resemples a brain. but it really isn't their fault - the fault lies predominantly with the government and the other authorities for helping the terrorists -

Terrorists attack a target through indirect means. The 9-11 attack was a terrible incident that cost thousands of lives, but the aftermath is affecting us in a much more severe manner as governments and citizens alike are spending billions of dollars on so called security that is really just a placebo.

Firstly, no terrorist will actually try to attack a plane as it is really very inefectual. it is a relatively small loss of life compared to higher value targets elsewhere, and the chances of success by carrying an explosive on board is less than .001 percent. If you look at all succesful attempts, the explosives were smuggled on board by inside help - such as the case with the Pan Am Lockerbie bomb.

Secondly, if a terrorist were to smuggle new binary liquid explosives, the system allows enough liquids to get on board in a small plastic bag that it would tear a plane apart at 30000 feet. (German explosive experts had already tested this a couple years ago). Since this is common knowledge, why are we imposed to 100ml units (of which in said plastic bags you can put three units of 100ml units - which they tested 300ml of binary liquid explosives that a passed a detector test and be then simulated an explosion at 30,000 feet where the fuselage section was ripped to shreds)
.
Either ban all liquids going into the secure area - or admit it makes no difference and allow passengers to take their own water with them.....OH! wait! I know I forgot the fact that the airport will make a lot less revenue if that happens, and I guess profit is more important. So we will continue to suffer and pay so that others can get rich of our fears.

Security companies are getting very rich off peoples fears, and government is pandering to it, because hey they want to get re elected, and wo betide any politician that actually does something for the right reasons! So the Security companies continue to feed that fear and government conitues to pay it out, and we the people get to pay it in taxes!

In short there are much more effective methods of initiating a terrorist attack in transportation hubs of which the general public is blissfully unaware - but here is the crux - it has nothing to do with passanger screening and the ridiculous security lines one faces in the united states. I doubt that these TSA employees would know what a detonator even looked like.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 6:33 am
  #19  
 
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Let's see...muslims hijack airplanes and murder thousands and we decide that proning out little old ladies from Des Moines is the solution? Last month I joined an Honor Flight taki g 50 WWII vets back to DC to see their memorial. The torment the TSA put them through, treating them like potential terrorist was mindless and disgusting. Every time i go to the airport, its like a time warp. The USSR had the same kind of people checking the papers of travelers. Those with no education had absurd amounts of power to disrupt the lives of normal folks. I'm too old to be PC anymore. It's the muslims stupid!
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Old Aug 14, 12, 8:26 am
  #20  
 
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.When asked about the TSA, emotion often trumps logic.

Trying to take a logical view, there are three questions that I'd ask.

First and probably most important, are they effective at protecting the travelling public. Given that you can never be 100% effective at stopping all bad stuff happening, there has to be a degree of reasonableness in asking the question. However my take on how effective they are is that they are reasonably good at protecting against the wrong things. The world has moved on and although they are good at dealing with yesterday's threat, they aren't anticipating today's threat. It's a bit like putting up a horse feeding station outside a shopping mall in the car park. The world has moved on.

Next comes efficiency and there they are fairly awful. Much of what they do is random and unnecessary. There is little logic in many of the processes such as the check against the no fly list or the multiple BP checks.

The third element is customer service where they range from just OK to absolutely terrible. They're not alone in this. I had the first pleasurable security experience in years a week or so ago, and that was at the Olympics. All air security is staffed by people with absolutely no sense of customer experience.

So, my scores are effectiveness 5/10 efficiency 2/10, customer focus 3/10
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:39 am
  #21  
 
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only the appearance of security

3 things I have seen

two ladies in front of me, travelling together. Screener lets first lady through after examining passport. Looks at second passport - for long time - realizes that he let first lady through on second lady's passport. They had obviously "swapped" at some time during their travel. So much for verifying identities.

Saw a person INSIDE security - with collapsable hiking poles. Now the difference between these carbide tipped "weapons" and a ski pole is beyond me. Yet TSA bans ski poles. I contacted TSA about this, and they said that hiking poles are allowed. Really?

Eveyone must take off their shoes, right? Person in front of me went through with shoes on. After I cleared security, I asked to speak to a supervisor, and asked if everyone had to take of shoes. Was told yes. Pointed to the person in front of me. He said, "Well, we do make exceptions". Person in front was wearing military outfit - so obvious way to get explosives in your heels through security is just to visit army surplus first.

What a joke.

Passengers have proven that they can enforce security on board just fine. Think of the shoe and underwear bombers.

My $.02
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:48 am
  #22  
 
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A decent technique used in China but not US

Only seen it in one China airport, and think it should be the standard everywhere.

We have all seen/experienced the "swab" for explosives, but it is random and arbitrary.

One airport in china - after the initial screening, before the "official" screening - EVERYONE GETS SWABBED, but, with the same swab. After which, you are put in a "holding pen" with about 20-30 people. Then they check the swab, which of course always comes up clean. Then all 30 people are released.

While the swab check is being performed on the group in holding pen A, people are still being swabbed, but put into an holding pen B.

The net is - everyone gets screened, and it adds maybe 30 seconds to the process.

Possibly effective and near zero cost in time or inconvenience to the traveller.

Maybe that explains why TSA doesn't do it.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:48 am
  #23  
 
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TSA in one word: Pitiful!
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Old Aug 14, 12, 9:51 am
  #24  
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Originally Posted by rsercely View Post
Only seen it in one China airport, and think it should be the standard everywhere.

We have all seen/experienced the "swab" for explosives, but it is random and arbitrary.

One airport in china - after the initial screening, before the "official" screening - EVERYONE GETS SWABBED, but, with the same swab. After which, you are put in a "holding pen" with about 20-30 people. Then they check the swab, which of course always comes up clean. Then all 30 people are released.

While the swab check is being performed on the group in holding pen A, people are still being swabbed, but put into an holding pen B.

The net is - everyone gets screened, and it adds maybe 30 seconds to the process.

Possibly effective and near zero cost in time or inconvenience to the traveller.

Maybe that explains why TSA doesn't do it.
If the swab is positive then what, rescreening these 20-30 people?
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:20 am
  #25  
 
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Bad analogy

Originally Posted by FLgrr View Post
Theatre as in there is no reason to do this to EVERYONE. They do it to (in the minds of those in charge and the politician) make it look like they want to catch the 'bad guy'. Have you ever been stopped in a DUI check? There is no reason to believe that just cause it is after closing time EVERY DRIVER is intoxicated. But it is done to LOOK like they are trying to stop the drunk driver on that road. that is not the only road he can possibly be on.
That's a bad analogy. The difference is there are many roads that the intoxicated driver can take (although I still think the DUI check is valid in some cases). However, someone wishing to use a commercial airline as a bomb almost HAS to do so by going through an airport security check. Personally I believe there's a reason we haven't seen another commercial airline as a weapon attack -- because the risk of getting caught is higher. That is due in part to the work of the TSA. Are they perfect? No. Are some policies ridiculous? Probably. However, as someone who travels pretty regularly, I am happy to see everyone being screened for my flight. I prefer that to being blown up.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:37 am
  #26  
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Originally Posted by rabtech View Post
That's a bad analogy. The difference is there are many roads that the intoxicated driver can take (although I still think the DUI check is valid in some cases). However, someone wishing to use a commercial airline as a bomb almost HAS to do so by going through an airport security check. Personally I believe there's a reason we haven't seen another commercial airline as a weapon attack -- because the risk of getting caught is higher. That is due in part to the work of the TSA. Are they perfect? No. Are some policies ridiculous? Probably. However, as someone who travels pretty regularly, I am happy to see everyone being screened for my flight. I prefer that to being blown up.
Do you feel safe knowing that few if any of the people who service and maintain your aircraft are ever screened? Or that little of the cargo loaded on passenger aircraft is screened? Do you believe a terrorist organization is so dumb as to not look at other means of attack?

TSA screening is anything but security.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 10:46 am
  #27  
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Originally Posted by rabtech View Post
<snip> However, as someone who travels pretty regularly, I am happy to see everyone being screened for my flight. I prefer that to being blown up.
^
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:01 am
  #28  
 
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I have just about reached my maximum tolerance for TSA agents touching my body! I fly every week on business and have dressed so carefully as to not trigger the darn scanner, but it seems to always pick up several 'spots' on my body. Being treated like a criminal going thru the booking process is outrageous and should be prohibited. While I also want to LIVE and not be blown up in the air, I believe that I should expect to not be physically assaulted by perfect strangers on a weekly basis. I applied for the pre screening clearance thru UA but apparently we are never told if we have been approved or not.
I personally believe that TSA needs to be dismantled as it exists today and privatized!!
The sheer number of incompetent and abusive agents must be purged and the system restructured to actually be effective.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:06 am
  #29  
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As a leisure traveler, I only get exposed to TSA 4-6 times a year.

Never been touched, fondled, interfered with, wanded or scoped.

But then I do ensure that everything metallic goes in the trays. At which point, whether in the USA or UK, I never seem to have a problem.
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Old Aug 14, 12, 11:47 am
  #30  
 
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I didn't like the survey. I would have expected more in-depth questions. I'm not sure to what ends this survey is undertaken. To say "business travellers don't enjoy TSA procedures"?

No kidding!
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