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Argue with a screener - your name goes on a list

Argue with a screener - your name goes on a list

Old May 25, 10, 10:21 am
  #31  
 
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
I'm not talking about passengers who verbally disagree with a TSO (as indicated by the title of this thread). I'm talking about those who physically strike TSOs or destroy property.
There's a current system and process in place for dealing with people who exhibit this type of behavior. It's called the legal system.

I haven't gone through training to become a TSO, but I'm willing to guess that TSA doesn't instruct its line employees to ignore or accept being hit by someone's punch. If someone made unwanted physical contact with me, I'd have the police call over in an instant and insist upon pressing battery charges.

The same applies to destroying property. I believe that's illegal, and that people can be arrested for that.

The same applies to making threats. Aren't there laws that address making terroristic threats aimed at people? IANAL, but doesn't making a verbal threat to someone count as assault (depending upon the specific threat being made)?

Originally Posted by Bart View Post
I think people who display this type of behavior at a checkpoint have a potential for exhibiting this same type of behavior in the passenger cabin at 30,000 feet regardless of whether or not they were arrested by the police.

I don't see anything sinister in this.
You're probably one of the few that doesn't see anything sinister in the TSA meting out its own form of extra-judicial punishment to passengers with no due process and no recourse involved.

Whatever happened to "innocent until proven guilty"? Oh, that's right. It's TSA, and everyone's a evil, nasty terrorist bent on destroying the world and our way of life in America-- and they can only be stopped by people dressed like bellhops who enjoy looking at your naked children.
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Old May 25, 10, 10:23 am
  #32  
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Originally Posted by Tom M. View Post
Well, shouldn't the public know who these potentially violent TSO's are?
Definitely! How about pink ID badges (doesn’t matter if they turn it around).
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Old May 25, 10, 10:23 am
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
I don't have a problem with this. There are passengers who resort to physical violence or destruction. While not necessary to be put on a no-fly list, I think TSA should maintain a database for these types of passengers.

As for TSOs who exhibit such behavior, they should be terminated.
I agree with you regarding passengers who resort to physical violence or destruction directed at a screener (or other TSA employee). However, this from the article:

"Incidents in the database include threats, bullying or verbal abuse, remarks about death or violence, brandishing a real or fake weapon, intentionally scaring workers or excessive displays of anger such as punching a wall or kicking equipment, the report says."

Threats? Perhaps.

Bullying? What, exactly, is "bullying" in this context? Is it bullying when I call a screener's bluff and say, "Let's summon a LEO." How about when I ask for a supervisor? How about when I believe, in good faith, that a screener is wrong? Or rude? This TSA "rule" chills First Amendment speech and is presumptively unconstitutional.

Verbal abuse? 'Fraid not. I have a constitutional right to call a TSO stupid (and irrespective of whether he is stupid or not). "Verbal abuse" is constitutionally-protected speech.

Remarks about death or violence?Depends. If they're perceived as threats, possibly.

Brandishing a real or fake weapon? Absolutely -- no argument there. Note, though, that "brandishing" has a legal definition. A child with a water pistol is not "brandishing."

Intentionally scaring workers? It depends. Putting someone in apprehension of an immediate, unpermitted contact is the legal definition of assault. Obviously, assault on TSA personnel should be (and is) illegal. Is it "scaring" a worker if I say, "I'm writing a letter of complaint!"? How about, "Please call your supervisor, the FSD, GSC and a LEO right now!"?

Excessive displays of anger such as punching a wall or kicking equipment? I'll accept the two examples given as appropriate. I find "excessive displays of anger," too broad and constitutionally vague. I have a constitutional right to be angry at a screener. I have a constitutional right to communicate that anger to the screener.

This appears to be yet another instance in which the TSA has decided to exercise discretion to sanction a broad range of constitutionally-protected activities.

Oh, and as a reminder to everyone, you are under no legal obligation whatsoever to provide any information to TSA for their "incident reports" that, as we all suspected, appear to be used, in violation of law, to provide data for this recently revealed list.
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Old May 25, 10, 10:26 am
  #34  
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Last edited by Bart; Dec 5, 10 at 7:34 pm
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Old May 25, 10, 10:31 am
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
Wow. Really? All that from one little statement?

What we're talking about here are passengers who resort to physical action in terms of either striking TSOs or throwing around items. Included in this category are those who say real threatening statements in terms of threatening to physically attack or otherwise harm a TSO. I don't see a problem with keeping track of such behavior. I would think this would serve the interests of both TSA and the airlines.
I agree with you with respect to the conduct you've described here. Shocked?

By the way, a significantly huge majority of encounters between TSOs and passengers, I'm talking about probably in the high 90% range, occur without incident. In many of those instances, the exchanges between passenger and TSO are pretty pleasant.
That's been my experience as well. What has "pleasant" to do with the fact that, on a significant number of occasions, TSOs have engaged in illegal behavior, violated SOP, or acted in an abusive manner? What has "pleasant" to do with the fact that TSA has, to date, proven itself completely ineffective at its core mission?

But, according to some in here, these are lemmings or Ma and Pa Kettles too stupid to know the difference because they aren't lawyers.
Really? Please cite to any post by anyone that says that.

I'm waiting.
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Old May 25, 10, 10:41 am
  #36  
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Argue with a screener - your name goes on a list
e pluribus unum where the tsa will bugger the puppy
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Old May 25, 10, 10:42 am
  #37  
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Last edited by Bart; Dec 5, 10 at 7:34 pm
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Old May 25, 10, 10:46 am
  #38  
 
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Originally Posted by LessO2 View Post
Where can I input the information for out-of-line screeners?

Bingo! Let's create our own list of "Potentially Bad A** TSO's" - oh, but, wait, I might get put on their list for making my own list...Welcome Comrade to The New Amerika!
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Old May 25, 10, 10:54 am
  #39  
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Last edited by Bart; Dec 5, 10 at 7:33 pm
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Old May 25, 10, 11:00 am
  #40  
 
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Privacy Act notices

The TSA published a System of Records Notice for this database in February, 2010.

Other than TSA employees, the "Categories of individuals covered by this system include ... members of the public who have been involved in workplace violence at TSA facilities." So if you haven't actually been involved in violence, but merely were SPOTted as potentially violent in the future, they aren't allowed to keep a record about you.

But in February 2010, at the same time that they updated this notice, they proposed a rule that would exempt this data from disclosure, so there would be no way to find out if you are (illegally) in this database.

This is different from the TISS database used by SPOT, for which there doesn't appear to be any SORN at all, and the maintenance of which is therefore a criminal violation of the Privacy Act.
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Old May 25, 10, 11:01 am
  #41  
 
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
I don't have a problem with this. There are passengers who resort to physical violence or destruction. While not necessary to be put on a no-fly list, I think TSA should maintain a database for these types of passengers.

As for TSOs who exhibit such behavior, they should be terminated.
Physical violence and destruction is one thing, however, when such events occur it should be turned over to law enforcement. This is something for law enforcement and should be public record, not hidden away in a secret TSA database.

TSO's engaged in such behavior should be fired; if TSA/DHS human resources wants to document employee behavior, that's a-ok.

What about a smart remark or rude comment by a traveler? Last I checked, the First Amendment still applies at the checkpoint - this includes opinion & criticism of individual TSO's, their actions, and the TSA as an agency.

Secret databases like this are ripe for abuse and will be abused; history has shown us this.

The mere fact the TSA had to create "police like" uniforms with badges to boast TSO "confidence" & to deter criticism speaks volumes.
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Old May 25, 10, 11:08 am
  #42  
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Originally Posted by Bart View Post
Actually, TSOs are trained not to get involved in physical altercations. TSOs can only take steps to defend themselves by either stepping away from the physical threat or by blocking punches and hits. I have to confess that I'm not so sure I could do that. I've only been in one such situation, and before I could react, the LEOs tackled the individual to the floor. Would I have reacted? I don't know. I did stop to think first, "Is he worth it?" and then the LEOs tackled the individual.
For what it's worth, it is absolutely within the law to defend yourself against a physical attack. I would hope that TSA has not suggested otherwise and that is what gave you pause.

[quoteYou'd have to ask one of the lawyers in this forum who cringe if I should dare to comment on something they believe is within their exclusive domain. I think it varies by jurisdiction and it depends on context.[/quote]I assume, "smarty-pants" refers to someone with an actual education in the subject matter. And I never cringe, I simply correct. I will observe, however, that the most contentious TSOs and sTSOs who post here are the ones who I have to correct the most.

Anyway, with respect to question, as rule, threats without more, e.g. the physical means to back them up, are not actionable. There are, of course, exceptions, e.g. threats to aviation at a checkpoint, bomb scares, etc. The basic rule of thumb is that pure speech is rarely actionable, whereas when speech crosses over the line into conduct, it is.

These are documented incidents not just allegations. In other words, we're talking about a passenger who might throw shoes at a TSO; it gets reported to the LEO; but the LEO decides that arresting the individual for assault is not the way to go for whatever reason.
Whoa, hang on a minute. There's a little thing called the Fifth Amendment that guarantees due process of law. If this list is used, in any way, to punish a passenger, or even limit or burden a passenger's ability to pass through the checkpoint, it is a prima facie violation of the Fifth Amendment. When a LEO decides not to arrest a passenger for an assault or battery, it is almost always because the LEO feels there is insufficient evidence to support the arrest.

The incident would still be documented because there's no doubt that it happened.
No doubt? Star chambers are illegal in the U.S. The accused is always allowed to confront their accusers who bear the burden of proof that the accused committed the act in question. There is always doubt. The TSO may be mistaken. The TSO may be lying. There may be affirmative defenses.

Sorry, there is always doubt as to what happened. IF you were a lawyer, you'd know that the most unreliable testimony of all is eyewitness testimony.

It wasn't made up.
I know of at least one incident involving an FTer in which BDOs lied, and the lie was apparent from reading the incident and arrest reports. This FTer has communicated with me privately and I will not disclose this person's posting name or even the name of the airport. I will say, however, that I am satisfied, based on the evidence that I have seen, that BDOs intentionally and unequivocally lied.

This is, of course, not to say that all TSOs or BDOs lie in their incident reports. Obviously, they do not. However, some do, which is why there is a Fifth Amendment right to due process of law in the first place.

Originally Posted by Bart View Post
These types of TSOs should be terminated for cause.

As I posted earlier, everyone is entitled to having a bad day. However, if a TSO resorts to physical violence or property destruction, that's intolerable, and that officer should be terminated.
How about bullying, verbal abuse and scaring passengers? You've already agreed that the standards reported in the article need tightening, so I'm just illustrating the problem.

Last edited by Kiwi Flyer; May 25, 10 at 12:29 pm Reason: merge consecutive posts, edited quote
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Old May 25, 10, 11:51 am
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by PTravel View Post
Verbal abuse? 'Fraid not. I have a constitutional right to call a TSO stupid (and irrespective of whether he is stupid or not). "Verbal abuse" is constitutionally-protected speech.
Agree. In fact, I think the whole "nonphysical interference with screening" offense should be abolished. There's no such thing as nonphysical interference. If a passenger wants to sing, shout, or cuss during the screening process, but does not physically interfere, TSA should either 1) put up with it or 2) call a LEO who can decide whether an arrest/ticket for disorderly conduct, etc., is appropriate. The advantage of the LEO is both that it's a real (as opposed to kanagaroo court) penalty and that the passenger gets due process, which is a novel concept to TSA.

Excessive displays of anger such as punching a wall or kicking equipment? I'll accept the two examples given as appropriate.
I won't even accept those. If the punching/kicking causes damage, it's appropriate. Otherwise, it's harmless and potentially necessary anger expression.

I've kicked a wall at an airport (actually one of those concrete support posts), though it had nothing to do with TSA. That day I had already been in a car accident on the way to the airport, nearly missed a flight due to said accident, left a multi-hundred-dollar piece of electronics on a plane, had a flight-attendant & gate agent refuse to let me back on the plane to search for it (while de-boarding was still going on), and had the gate agent "search" my seat area with no luck (I'm 90% sure that if I had done the search for the item I would have found it) and that the airline employees either 1) didn't really search, 2) did a very halfhearted search, or 3) stole the item. (The item had my name and address on a sticker under the main battery, and has not turned up in the 4+ years since. It's unlikely it was accidentally thrown away, so whoever did find it declined to return it to me.)

The airside CS desk then refused to provide me with a lost-article form, claiming I would have to go to baggage claim (outside security, and then reclear for my connection, for which there was not time). I asked nicely and politely. I explained that my item was much more likely to be found if the report was filed immediately, not 5 hours later. I suggested we could file it by having her call the baggage office. And the agent refused to help me file a lost-item report. And wasn't nice about it. So I kicked a post. And then she threatened to call someone to turn me in ("security," police, whatever) for damaging the airport, to which I rudely challenged her to prove that there was any damage. And I then stormed away.

Not my finest moment, but quite frankly, she wasn't very nice, I needed to vent, and it was much better for me to kick that post than threaten or kick her. And I have a right to express my upsetness. In a public place. It's called free speech.
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Old May 25, 10, 11:53 am
  #44  
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Originally Posted by ehasbrouck View Post
The TSA published a System of Records Notice for this database in February, 2010.

Other than TSA employees, the "Categories of individuals covered by this system include ... members of the public who have been involved in workplace violence at TSA facilities." So if you haven't actually been involved in violence, but merely were SPOTted as potentially violent in the future, they aren't allowed to keep a record about you.

But in February 2010, at the same time that they updated this notice, they proposed a rule that would exempt this data from disclosure, so there would be no way to find out if you are (illegally) in this database.

This is different from the TISS database used by SPOT, for which there doesn't appear to be any SORN at all, and the maintenance of which is therefore a criminal violation of the Privacy Act.
This piqued my interest enough that I set off on a less-than-exhaustive search for a legal definition of workplace violence. I had a hunch that the TSA was, once again, either misguided (Is Francine The Googler at it again???), devious, or both. But, after closer reading, even I can't blame Francine for this one.

I have no idea about the credibility of this website. But, their first paragraph was a legal definition:

Workplace violence is an act of aggression, physical assault, or threatening behavior that occurs in a work setting and causes physical or emotional harm to customers, coworkers, or managers. Broad definitions of workplace violence also often include acts of sabotage on work-site property.
These jump out at me:

1. This seems very much to be employment-centric. Employees commit workplace violence against customers. But, I don't see the reverse being true. In other words, I can conclude that screeners can commit workplace violence against passengers, but, not the other way around. Passengers can commit assault & battery, but apparently not workplace violence, against screeners.

2. Physical assault is easy to prove, but, "emotional harm?" The TSA is going to put you on a "workplace violence" list because a screener woke up in a cold sweat crying because you made him/her change their gloves? What is the TSA's standard for "emotional harm" -- especially one which the accused can't challenge in court?

I read through the proposed rule and I have a different opinion. It reads like a standard Workplace Violence Prevention Program system of records, which every federal agency is required to have. Members of the public are included if they were the objects of the workplace violence incident. I didn't read anywhere in the rule where this would be used to create another "no fly" or "special harassment" list.

My hunch is that there was an IG or GAO finding which embarrassed the TSA because they didn't have a workplace violence program. This rule happened before the attack on the Miami screener's manhood in the nude-o-scope. So, we can't blame that incident on this notice suddenly appearing.

Last edited by FliesWay2Much; May 25, 10 at 12:05 pm Reason: I read the rule a second time & now it makes sense.
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Old May 25, 10, 11:59 am
  #45  
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Originally Posted by studentff View Post
I won't even accept those. If the punching/kicking causes damage, it's appropriate. Otherwise, it's harmless and potentially necessary anger expression.
It depends on how that anger is expressed. Battery includes unpermitted physical contact with physical objects closely connected to the victim. If, however, I was, for example, to kick my own rollaboard, after it was in my possession, I'd agree with you. As a general rule, it's not a good idea to get violent with someone else's stuff, even if you do it no damage.
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