02 February 2008

TSA addresses my gripe!

Thanks to Jason for going through the 400+ comments this TSA blog has gotten soliciting complaints and suggestions from passengers. My gripe is here, and someone from the TSA responded by the handle of "tsa tos ny":

LT Nixon,
As a TSA Screening Manager I would 1st like to apologize for the fact that we have to screen you at all and would just like to say that the screening force more than respects the active duty military personel.

We see you go off to a war no one wanted and we sometimes see the terrible aftermath when you return. You have our utmost respect and I personally want to thank you for your sacrifices. Many of our screening force are retired or reserve military.

Unfortunately, the TSA "powers that be" don't see things the same way we floor level employees do. They quote such names as Timothy McVeigh and other "Domestic Terrorists". I just want you to know that there is a blog site type of idea board for TSA personel only and there is MASSIVELY OVERWHELMING criticism of the very policy you are talking about. We (the actual people that work at the checkpoints - not the policy makers) feel that military personel in uniform, traveling on orders should be exempt from screening or at the very least exempt from the liquids/shoes and other more intrusive rules. We are fighting to get those rules changed for military personel.

At many of the airports I've worked at, I usually see TSOs or Supervisors escort military personel to the front of the line and try to be as accomodating as possible within the guidelines of our SOP. We feel that it's the least we can do.

Just wanted you to know that and thank you again for your service.

Kudos to you "tsa tos ny"! I assure you that LT Nixon's no terrorist despite favoring smaller government, being white, male, and also having represented our country in uniform like Timothy McVeigh. Thanks for trying to nix the "politically correct" process of searching grandmothers, nuns, and service members in uniform. We appreciate your dedication to making airport screening more efficient. You are a friend to the military!


tankerbabelc said...

Gotta love a politically correct government employee who writes, "We see you go off to a war no one wanted ..." in their response?

I have seen our military personnel have to take off boots, belts, etc. What an disgrace that is. The very people who protect us in the most dangerous of situations are basically ordered by TSA. Only in America!

LT Nixon said...

It's an illogical gesture...

brat said...

"illogical gesture"?!

You expect logic? You know better. I know you do. Keep up the GREAT work - on all fronts. Even us foreigners support you..:)

Cargosquid said...

His reply was BS. I get "extra attention" in civilian clothes if I use my military Id, but I get left alone when I use a driver's license.

EVERY TIME I use my military ID.

The screeners check us because they know that military members won't be a problem.

Navy (interwar) vet said...

Don't take this the wrong way, but being in uniform with a mil ID, even returning from a combat zone, doesn't put you above suspicion.

Does the name Sgt. Hasan Akbar mean anything to you?

LT Nixon said...

Navy (interwar) vet,

That's one guy, not exactly a good indicator of trends in the statistics business. Not sure why me, the Grannie from Florida, and the girl scout are getting the same "suspicion" as males aged 18-35 from the middle east. It's nothing against our friends in the Middle East, but let's be honest here and apply some common sense, most terrorists interested in blowing up planes are probably male, aged 18-35, and Muslim. I wasn't interested in blowing up the plane, I just wanted to find the nearest place to smoke in the terminal. Not sure why there is "Equal Opportunity" suspicion unless it's a big scheme to make things run horribly inefficiently.

Army Sergeant said...

I don't know, LT Nixon. Some of those girl scouts are pretty fierce.

Also, my grandmother made it through two world wars, and beat up a burglar in her nineties with her cane. I'd bet on her over a male aged 18-35 from the Middle East every time.

LT Nixon said...


Is she like the old lady in "The Running Man" who called Arnold "One Badass Motherfucker", that lady was pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

I have to say I struggle with the majority opinion in this situation - of course the vast majority of our military personnel, grandmothers, and Girl Scouts are absolutely safe! In fact, they probably all are. But once we pick any population and stop screeing them, we have opened a door and someone who wants to use this door for any reason now can. If we didn't screeen our millitary, how long would it take for someone who wanted to take down a plane to either 1. impersonate someone in the millitary (not that hard to do with an easily available unfiorm and a fake ID - can 40,000 TSO's be trained to know every type of millitary ID and spot fakes?) or 2. Recruit someone to join the actual miliary for the purposes of getting through security. We don't screen these people because we actually think guys from our own millitary or our grandmothers pose threats. We screen them so that no one can use one of these groups to circumvent the system. If you can find a way around this, I'd love to hear about it.

LT Nixon said...


There is only one kind of military ID. The reason I brought this up (without walking into an OPSEC violation) is because in Iraq, there is rigorous security as you can imagine. Let's just say military personnel and Iraqi males aged 18-35 get treated differently. It's very easy to tell if someone is really in the military or not. Look for the bad haircut. Joining the military for the soul purpose of an extremist attack would leave a would-be terrorist with much better targets. Fortunately, the military has screening processes/ background checks and everyone has some sort of a security clearance.

Flag Gazer said...

Somehow, I missed this post!
Made me think of sitting in the 'Screening Room' in colorado Springs - me (5' tall old lady with her Support the Troops Sweatshirt on) and three uniformed soldiers flying out of Fort Carson. We were not very diverse - diversity was walking by us while our bags were being emptied.

GT said...

I am a civilian contractor, and sorry, but I normally don't place a whole lot of weight with Lieutenants. You, an the other hand, I expect to progress quickly.

Please inform your readers that a military ID (CAC card) uses non-duplicatable(is that a word?) information to authenticate identity and that identity is stores on a gov't server (You know, the people the TSA belong to).

A CAC card is a long way from photoshop and a photo printer.

LT, thanks for what you did in the ME, and for what your are doing now. I am trying to do my part as well

olgreydog7 said...

Not sure if you get updates when people comment or not, but just to let you know, when I got off my R&R flight, they didn't make me take off my boots or belt. That was nice. So it's getting a little better. I did have to throw out a half empty tube of toothpaste cause the total size was over three ounces on the way back. That did piss me off. If something is 6 oz, and it's half full, it now has 3 or less oz.

I agree with what annon said about as soon as we let one group have a pass, however, like you said, this is a higly screened flight where we were on lockdown 12 hours before the flight.