Friday, October 06, 2006

TSA followup

Mr Harris, the TSA person whose business card I had been given never got back to me. Thus, after waiting 2 weeks, I decided to go ahead and contact his boss. This afternoon, I had a telephone conversation with Rich Adams, the Assistant Federal Security Director for Law Enforcement at TSA's Indianapolis Airport office.

The main points of the conversation were as follows:

TSA has many different configurations of checkpoints. At the gate/terminal that I went through, they have designed a special streamlined channel for SSSS (secondary screening passengers) to go through. They do not have enough physical space to allow for these SSSS people to opt for a manual pat down.

Other airports/terminals, where the SSSS people go through the same lines as everyone else may have more space, and thus, may allow people to opt out of being puffed by the creepy Smiths/GE entryscan machines.

The highlight of the conversation, for me, was after this;

Him: (the above bit of text, telling me why I could not decline to get puffered at this checkpoint if i was designated SSSS).

Me: Could you please send me that in writing, and include a copy of the specific regulation or law which documents and backs up that policy.

Him: No. It's classified as SSI (Sensitive Security Information).

Me: What? That doesn't seem fair. You're forcing me to follow a rule or law yet are not permitting me to see the text of the law. How can I know if your employees are following it properly?

Him: For security reasons, we do not allow this information to be made public.

Me: Have you heard of the book Catch 22 by Joseph Heller?

Him: Yes

Me: Does this not seem a bit similar, or perhaps, alternatively, to something by Kafka?

Him: *losing patience - he then reminds me of the TSA mission of keeping us safe, and that his employees are not out to hinder our "god given" rights*

I also complained about having to go up to 2 levels of supervisor to be able to take sex lube on the plane- even though this was listed as an acceptable item on their website.

He didn't seem to have any problems with this, and essentially said that they were always doing their best to educate their staffmembers, and that me pulling 2 supervisors over was a normal part of the security screening process.

Quite a fun conversation, i'd say.

Remember Kids: You're either with us, or are helping the terrorists.


Derek Alfonso said...

Do you have any information on the Smith/GE machines? I have not has the experience yet of traveling through one of these things but have seen them a few times. What exactly do they do?

Anonymous said...

The "air puff" machines basically analyze the chemical composition of the dust that's on your body, in order to detect traces of explosives. The air puffs are used to get dust off your body.