Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Travel Safety/Security > Practical Travel Safety and Security Issues
Reload this Page >

Tsa Advised Me That Theft Is Not Necessarily A Breach In Security

Tsa Advised Me That Theft Is Not Necessarily A Breach In Security

Reply

Old Mar 22, 07, 7:06 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 396
Tsa Advised Me That Theft Is Not Necessarily A Breach In Security

I recently flew from LGA to DFW, and upon arrival at the hotel found that my checked in bag had been opened and according to the enclosed TSA card searched. The contents were completely disheaveled and some of my belongings were missing. Fortunately the TSA enclosed card had a telephone number to call in the event of a probelm.

I explained the circumstances to the person at the other end and indicated that I felt there was a serious breach in security, and thought that TSA would want to investigate the incident. I was advised that if I filled out a form I probably would be reimbursed for the value of the missing goods. I explained that I was not so much interested in the value of the goods as the fact that someone took something out of the bag and could just as easily put something in. They reiterated that if I filled out a form I would probably be reimbursed for the value of the items.

I surmised that, while my logic might not be convincing, the person at the other end was not listening, and asked to speak to someone in authority. Whereupon I was transferred to someone else, presumably of authority, but it was never made clear after a couple of requests by myself. I don't know if it is me, but there often seems to be a longer pause than I would expect when, under certain circumstances you ask for an individual's name. I consider myself of pretty average intellegence and don't have any problem remembering my name. What's going on?

I again went through the same explanation, and essentially got the same reply, with the added explanation that it might or might not be investigated. They didn't know exactly how the forms are handled. As a prior registered letter inquiry sent to TSA and copied to Homeland Security over 9 months ago has gone unanswered I would have hoped that an investigation of what I consider to be a security breach would warrent prompter consideration.

This person replied that often the people inspecting the bags fail to return the contents to the bag after inspection, and although he could not guarantee that this was the case, it is more than likely (oh I feel alot better). I then inquired what happens to the items that are not placed back in the bag. The response was, typically they are sent to the lost and found, to which I then asked what happens next. The response was, they wait to be reclaimed and after a period are disposed of, and I could certainly go to the lost and found and try to find my property. Frankly, the thought of getting on a plane at the expense of my time and money to return to my departure city didn't seem very attractive. And, more important what about the breach in security.

If something is not returned to where it belongs or is stolen how is this not a breach in security? HELP - What am I missing?

I suppose I can take comfort in knowing that TSA is right on top of things as evidenced by recent events at ORLANDO Florida, Refer to following address:
http://blogs.usatoday.com/sky/2007/03/security.html

IF YOU CAN TAKE SOMETHING OUT OF A BAG YOU CAN PUT SOMETHING IN IT! DAH?
sailman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 7:34 am
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 396
A footnote to my Thread immediately above.

One might take the position that the bag was tampered with on arrival, and therefore was no longer under the control of TSA but the airlines. I should add that the TSA card was neatly placed right on top of the disheaveled contents. What are the odds?

More important a thought just occurred to me. Most of us are traveling with a small supply of 1 quart zip lockable bags for our carry on liquids (of less than 3 liquid ounces or is it 3.4 liquid ounces - I continue to see conflicting signage at the same airports at the same security line). They may provide an unintended but actual useful purpose.

If you feel the contents of your checked in inspected bag has in some way be violated, carefully remove the card by the edges and place it in a virgin 1 quart zip lockable bag. I would then contact a neutral (if there is still such a thing) law enforcement agency and provide them with the potential evidence. Should there be finger prints on the card they should be able to correlate them with the information that TSA has on file as a result of their very intensive screening process in order to qualify as an agent.

The only caveat is many of the agents wear surgical gloves in their work. Another thought - what is the "real intended" purpose of these gloves?
sailman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 7:58 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Programs: Delta,United,Continental,US Airways,Southwest,Marriott,all car companies
Posts: 120
Unhappy Theft is not a breach of security

I couldn't agree more! If they can take something out, logic dictates they may put something in. But the larger question is why are they "forgetting" to put back what has been removed. All of us have see the tables they inspect bags on and all of them have a back to prevent things from falling behind. Since they inspect one bag at a time, one would think that items left out would be noticed immediately after pulling the bag off the table. I've mentioned before how much we, as photographers, routinely lose and the ineffectiveness of the clain system. The system has more holes than Swiss cheese!
camerawork is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 8:54 am
  #4  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Between DCA and IAD
Programs: UA 1K MM; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 47,415
The TSA also sent me a letter denying a claim saying they only awarded claims when "the TSA was at fault." How an agent confiscating an allowed, legal item completely against the rules didn't constitute "at fault" for the TSA I do not know.

Their statement that "theft is not necessarily a breach in security" and the "even though we broke the rules, we didn't do anything wrong" they fed me stand right up there with "consistent inconsistency to confuse the terrorists" in terms of logic.
exerda is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:04 am
  #5  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 10,036
First, I wouldn't hold my breath on getting fingerprints off the card. I know if I were rifling through peoples' stuff, including dirty underwear, I would be wearing gloves.

Secondly, don't bother with the TSA HQ folks. If you want action, write the FSD at LGA, plus copy Port Authority and LGA management on this incident. This way, the airport calls up the FSD and asks what the status is on the situation.
LessO2 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:06 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Northeast MA, USA.
Programs: HHonors Diamond, DL Silver, TSA Harassee
Posts: 3,657
Gotta love that professionalism the Tom Dashle and Dick Gephardt promised us when they created this disgraceful workfare agency!
CameraGuy is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:13 am
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Yiron, Israel
Programs: Bates Motel Plat
Posts: 59,654
Originally Posted by sailman View Post
If something is not returned to where it belongs or is stolen how is this not a breach in security? HELP - What am I missing?
The person who told you that undoubtedly equated a breach of security as being something which endangers an airplane.

Theft does not endanger the airplane.

This in no way excuses it, it does not mean that you shouldn't be furious about it, nor does it say that TSA should not take any possible steps to stop theft, but it does answer your question of how it is not a breach in security.
Dovster is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:15 am
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Orchard Field
Posts: 1,420
Should the TSA agents be videotaped whilst rifling through people's bags? That would provide better evidence if any nasty items were found, as well as providing protection to passengers from possible TSA theft.
nigelloring is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:29 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: NYC
Programs: CO - silver, dl plat, spg plat, Marriot plat
Posts: 470
Originally Posted by nigelloring View Post
Should the TSA agents be videotaped whilst rifling through people's bags? That would provide better evidence if any nasty items were found, as well as providing protection to passengers from possible TSA theft.
That would not be a bad idea. When you get a bag back with a card indicating a search, it should also have a reference number on it. Everytime they search a bag a camera should be turned on, and if I make a claim I should be able to see them search my bag and reference it by claim number. They could keep videos on record for 30 days. Surely by then someone would know if there is a problem.

Of course they would claim that terrorists can't see how they search bags, but for pete's sake, they are searching bags not making bombs or carrrying bottles of water, (in containers larger than 3 ounces, of course.)
TLVorbust is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:35 am
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Salish Sea
Programs: DL,AC,HH,PC
Posts: 8,977
IF YOU CAN TAKE SOMETHING OUT OF A BAG YOU CAN PUT SOMETHING IN IT! DAH?
The first is not a breach of "security". The second might be if a) something was put in and b) that something was a threat to the flight.

Since you seem to accept that it was the TSA doing the opening, your second scenario would involve a terrorist working for the TSA, no ? Not surprising the TSA does not accept this possibility

BTW, the "higher authority" you were transferred to was most likely simply the next free phone answerer.
Wally Bird is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 9:46 am
  #11  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Between DCA and IAD
Programs: UA 1K MM; Hilton Diamond
Posts: 47,415
If you have someone dishonest enough to be stealing from your luggage working in a secure area at an airport, THAT in and of itself is a breach of security.
exerda is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 10:03 am
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: YPE
Posts: 420
Originally Posted by TLVorbust View Post
That would not be a bad idea. When you get a bag back with a card indicating a search, it should also have a reference number on it. Everytime they search a bag a camera should be turned on, and if I make a claim I should be able to see them search my bag and reference it by claim number. They could keep videos on record for 30 days. Surely by then someone would know if there is a problem.

Of course they would claim that terrorists can't see how they search bags, but for pete's sake, they are searching bags not making bombs or carrrying bottles of water, (in containers larger than 3 ounces, of course.)
I wouldn't assume that video surveillance isn't already available, as a number of airports do have some system installed, if only to deter incidences of employee theft. I'd contact the airport authority immediately after an incident occurs to determine if video is available, as some security offices only keep records for one week before they're taped over again.
davidcalgary29 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 10:21 am
  #13  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Greater DC
Programs: UA plus
Posts: 12,940
Originally Posted by nigelloring View Post
Should the TSA agents be videotaped whilst rifling through people's bags? That would provide better evidence if any nasty items were found, as well as providing protection to passengers from possible TSA theft.
Actually that might be happening but if you tried to get the tape, you'd be told its SSI and are not allowed access. IOW, why bother taping no one is ever going to use it to protect us, just them A waste of agency in its entirety
GoingAway is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 10:44 am
  #14  
Suspended
 
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 4,952
The Decider

Originally Posted by exerda View Post
The TSA also sent me a letter denying a claim saying they only awarded claims when "the TSA was at fault." How an agent confiscating an allowed, legal item completely against the rules didn't constitute "at fault" for the TSA I do not know.

Their statement that "theft is not necessarily a breach in security" and the "even though we broke the rules, we didn't do anything wrong" they fed me stand right up there with "consistent inconsistency to confuse the terrorists" in terms of logic.
Sounds like they are taking a page from Shrub, The Decider's handbook, i.e., "we can do anything we want to do".
doober is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Mar 22, 07, 10:59 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Salish Sea
Programs: DL,AC,HH,PC
Posts: 8,977
Originally Posted by exerda View Post
If you have someone dishonest enough to be stealing from your luggage working in a secure area at an airport, THAT in and of itself is a breach of security.
I disagree, but only semantically .

I'm personally tired of the egregious overusage of the term "security" to mean just about anything the Security Industry wants it to mean.

Talking specifically about flying aboard an airliner, I limit security to those things which endanger that flight and/or the people aboard. Ergo; something removed form a bag is not a security issue in that narrow context. YMMV.
Wally Bird is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread