Browsing: TSA

TSA's insider threat program lacks policies, procedures


While the Transportation Security Administration has made headway in defending against insider attacks, the agency lacks specific policies and procedures to mitigate those threats, according to a recent inspector general audit. The September audit, released this week, found that TSA has not implemented insider threat policies and procedures that clearly explain its employees’ role in defending against insider threats. TSA also lacks a risk mitigation plan that ensures all employees address the risks of insider threats in a consistent way. TSA defines insider threat as “one or more individuals with access or insider knowledge that allows them to exploit the…

TSA director on security patdowns: Like it or lump it


The Transportation Security Administration is digging in its heels over the new patdown procedures for airline passengers who don’t want to go through revealing — and possibly radiation-exposing — scans. But the agency is losing the battle for public opinion — fast. And the American Federation of Government Employees — one of two major unions vying to represent TSA — is worried the backlash could come down hard on screeners. There’s already been a few physical altercations between screeners and angry passengers, including an incident where a traveler in Indianapolis punched a screener. “TSA must do a better job explaining…



The Smoking Gun today published a statement from a Transportation Security Administration screener who allegedly beat a co-worker with a baton for mocking the size of his genitalia. According to alleged assaulter Rolando Negrin’s statement to Miami police, several co-workers teased him day after day as a “little angry man” after a full-body scanner digitally exposed him, and he snapped. He said the relentless mockery became a form of “psychological torture.” There’s so much about this case that is messed up. Using physical violence to resolve a workplace dispute is, of course, never justified. But if this is actually what…

FLRA denies bid for TSA union election


The Chicago regional director of the Federal Labor Relations Authority today denied the American Federation of Government Employees’ bid for an election to determine which union will represent Transportation Security Administration employees. The regional FLRA upheld its previous determination that because TSA screeners do not have collective bargaining rights, it has no jurisdiction to process the petition for an election. AFGE said it will appeal to the full FLRA within 60 days. AFGE and the National Treasury Employees Union are each seeking to represent roughly 40,000 TSA screeners. NTEU has filed a similar petition with FLRA.

AP: Harding drops out of running for TSA administrator


Associated Press reporter Eileen Sullivan just broke the news that Robert Harding, President Obama’s second nominee to run the Transportation Security Administration, withdrew his nomination this evening. Sullivan reported that Harding said he withdrew because his previous work as a defense contractor had become “distractions” to the administration and the Homeland Security Department.

Harding to head TSA


UPDATE: The White House has formally announced Harding’s selection. From President Obama’s statement: I am confident that Bob’s talent and expertise will make him a tremendous asset in our ongoing efforts to bolster security and screening measures at our airports. I can think of no one more qualified than Bob to take on this important job, and I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead. ORIGINAL POST: CNN and other news organizations are reporting that the White House is going to tap retired Army Maj. Gen. Robert Harding to head the Transportation Security Administration. Under…

Banjos, Claymore mines and TSA love


I was listening to Sirius XM’s alt-country station last night and heard what is surely the only banjo-driven love song ever written about a Transportation Security Administration screener: “TSA” by Texas musician Danny Barnes. In the live clip below, Barnes says that his banjo brings him a lot of scrutiny from TSA because, apparently, its body is about the right size to hide a Claymore mine. And all the quality time he spent with airport screeners inspired lyrics like “her hair in a bun/her hand on her gun/we made love with the radio on.” Being both a federal government reporter…

Student sues government over TSA, FBI actions


A Pennsylvania college student sued the federal government Wednesday, saying that TSA and FBI officials detained him at an airport because he was carrying a set of English-Arabic flashcards, reports The Washington Post. Nicholas George, 22, of Montgomery County, Pa., is a senior majoring in physics and Middle Eastern studies at California’s Pomona College. In his lawsuit, he argues that he was detained for five hours in August at the Philadelphia airport because three Transportation Security Administration officers, two Federal Bureau of Investigation agents and two Philadelphia police officers were suspicious of his flashcards and semester studying abroad in the…

Contractors dream of TSA dollars


The Christmas Day underpants bomber has spurred contractors to create security devices they hope may be deployed in airports across the country, reports the Los Angeles Times today. Security companies are scrambling to develop devices to sniff for explosives, screen shoes and analyze liquids in bottles. They’re all hoping for a piece of the Transportation Security Administration’s $1 billion in stimulus funding: $700 million to improve baggage screening and $300 million for detection of explosives on passengers. And it’s not just contractors striving to create new machines. The Homeland Security Department’s science and technology directorate’s New Jersey laboratory tests and…

TSA subpoenas bloggers over leak


The Transportation Security Administration has served subpoenas to two travel bloggers who posted a Christmas Day airport security directive after the attempted downing of a U.S.-bound plane. TSA special agents served the subpoenas to Steve Frischling and Chris Elliott, demanding to know by today who leaked the security directive to them. The directive was not intended to be released to the public, TSA officials said. The security directive, effective Dec. 25 to Dec. 30, outlined checkpoint and on board security measures, including pat downs of all passengers at boarding gates and no bathroom visits on board planes within an hour…

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