The good, the bad, and the ugly: My TSA experience My up close and personal experience with the TSA
Like many Americans, I’ve long supported abolishing the TSA. In addition to legally sexually assaulting law-abiding Americans, the agency is essentially a billions-dollar “security theater” program.
However, until last week, my experience with the TSA has largely been limited to the annoyance of taking off my shoes far too often on dirty floors and worrying that the scanners will poison me.
Last week, however, that changed when I realized at the security gate that I had misplaced my driver’s license while traveling. And while the four TSA staff who dealt with me were, for the most part, very professional, the experience has reminded me just why I support the agency’s destruction.
First, the good: For the most part, again, the staff was professional. Explanations were forthright, I was treated with respect (with the exception of the sexual assault-like patdown), and while the process took an hour, they seemed to be going as quickly as possible while still meeting security protocols.
However, three things stood out to me during the process:
First, obviously, the patdown is excessive. The officer explained to me how the process would work, and I informed him that at certain points of physical contact — you can guess what I mean — I might tense. I informed that I would not be a threat, yet he looked at me and said, “You’ll have to control that.”
So, in other words, the officer wanted me to be completely meek about submitting to legal sexual assault.
Second, the TSA agent who did the most interacting with me — and who was the most sympathetic to my wish to get through the process and get on the plane — called an outside source to verify my background. I figured they would ask for my birthday, dates related to my military service and my time working for a Congressman, etc.
Nope. Not one mention of the military or working for a Congressman. Instead, I was asked for my birthday, when I was issued my Social Security Number (SSN) and what state issued it, the last four digits of my SSN, and the name of a close relative.
The disturbing part was when they asked where I currently live, and then where my last place of residence was.
Maybe my crazy libertarian friends who are concerned about Big Brother aren’t so crazy, after all. These folks have a lot of information on us.
Lastly, the original security agent who handled my situation — the one who made the phone call, and was sympathetic to me — said a Costco or BJ’s card would suffice as an ID in lieu of my driver’s license. I don’t know the details of how much the Costco card would have alleviated security concerns, but it’s a little weird that the TSA would put so much value into two little cards owned by scores of millions of Americans.
This is especially odd in light of the fact that even after verifying where I used to live, etc. I still had to have my bag scanned by hand, hand-searched, and run through the detector twice.
So let me get this straight: The TSA thinks it’s cool to let me through with nary a second look if I have a driver’s license, but even after doing a more thorough background check I have to get an extra-super-duper security check.
This seems disproportionate.
All in all, while the situation wasn’t terrible — though it was hardly pleasant — it was a good reminder of why the TSA needs to be abolished, and its 65,000 employees given the chance to find productive employment.