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Mother Found Guilty After Protesting TSA Pat-down of Daughter 652

Penurious Penguin writes "In 2011, en route to Baltimore, Tennessee mother Andrea Abbott was arrested after squabbling with the TSA over their pat-down and "naked" body-scan process. Initially Abbott had protested a pat-down of her 14 year-old daughter, though eventually backed off. When her own turn came, she refused both a pat-down and body-scan. This week, despite having no criminal record, Abbott was found guilty of disorderly conduct and sentenced to one year of probation. A surveillance video of the affair shows what appears an agitated Abbott surrounded by various TSA agents, but seemingly contradicts the premise by which she was convicted. In the case against Abbott it was claimed that her behavior impeded the flow security-lines and lawful activity. Beyond Abbott's confession of issuing some verbal abuse, the video does not appear to display a significant blockage of traffic nor anything noticeably criminal."

Terminal Mixup Implicates TSA Agents In LAX Smuggling Plot 255

First time accepted submitter ian_po writes "The U.S. Attorney's office has filed indictments against 7 people, including two Transportation Security Administration Screeners and two former TSA employees, after federal agents set up several smuggling sting operations. The alleged smuggling scheme was revealed after a suspected drug courier went to Terminal 5, where his flight was departing, instead of going through the Terminal 6 checkpoint his written instructions directed him to. Court documents indicate the plan was to return to Terminal 5 through a secure tunnel after being allowed through security by the accused Screener. The courier was caught with 10 pounds of cocaine at the other checkpoint by a different TSA agent. If convicted, the four TSA employees face a minimum of 10 years in Federal prison." If ten pounds of anything can get onto a plane by the simple expedient of bribery, please explain again why adult travelers, but not children, must remove their shoes as they stand massed in an unsecured part of a typical U.S. airport.

TSA Defends Pat Down of 4-Year-Old Girl 1174

cosm writes "With public outcry against the TSA continuing to spread, the TSA is defending a recent episode in which a four-year-old was patted down while kicking and screaming at Wichita Airport in Kansas. From the AP article: 'The grandmother of a 4-year-old girl who became hysterical during a security screening at a Kansas airport said Wednesday that the child was forced to undergo a pat-down after hugging her, with security agents yelling and calling the crying girl an uncooperative suspect.'"

Interview With TSA Screener Reveals 'Fatal Flaws' 582

OverTheGeicoE writes "Jonathan Corbett, creator of the video showing that TSA's body scanners can't see metal objects on our sides, has a new video out. This time he's interviewing an experienced TSA screener identified only as 'Jennifer,' and her allegations point to 'fatal flaws' in TSA and its procedures. Worse, TSA's screeners are well aware of these flaws. According to Jennifer, body scanners frequently fail to detect objects on passengers, and this flaw is well known to the screeners on the job. People with visible items in their pockets can pass through scanners without detection, even when the items are simulated weapons or explosives. Jennifer also alleges that training for screeners is severely lacking. Screeners are directed to operate body scanners, even the X-ray scanners, without any training whatsoever. The manual of standard operating procedures often can't be found at the checkpoints, let alone read. Jennifer was so alarmed by what she experienced that she wrote her congressional representative to complain. She was ultimately fired as a result, effective yesterday."

Damaged US Passport Chip Strands Travelers 624

caseih writes "Damaging the embedded chip in your passport is now grounds for denying you the ability to travel in at least one airport in the U.S. Though the airport can slide the passport through the little number reader as easily as they can wave it in front of an RFID reader, they chose to deny a young child access to the flight, in essence denying the whole family. The child had accidentally sat on his passport, creasing the cover, and the passport appeared worn. The claim has been made that breaking the chip in the passport shows that you disrespect the privilege of owning a passport, and that the airport was justified in denying this child from using the passport."

TSA Makes $400K Annually In Loose Change 289

Hugh Pickens writes "NBC reports that airport travelers left behind $409,085.56 in loose change at security checkpoints in 2010, providing an additional source of funding for the Transportation Security Administration. 'TSA puts (the leftover money) in a jar at the security checkpoint, at the end of each shift they take it, count it, put it in an envelope and send it to the finance office,' says TSA spokesperson Nico Melendez. 'It is amazing. All that change, it all adds up.' Melendez adds that the money goes into the general operating budget for TSA that is typically used for technology, light bulbs or just overall general expenses. Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) has introduced legislation that would direct the TSA to transfer unclaimed money recovered at airport security checkpoints to the United Service Organizations (USO), a private nonprofit that operates centers for the military at 41 U.S. airports. The recovered change is not to be confused with the theft that occurs when TSA agents augment their salary by helping themselves to the contents of passengers' luggage as it passes through security checkpoints. For example in 2009, a half dozen TSA agents at Miami International Airport were charged with grand theft after boosting an iPod, bottles of perfume, cameras, a GPS system, a Coach purse, and a Hewlett Packard Mini Notebook from passengers' luggage as travelers at just this one airport reported as many as 1,500 items stolen, the majority of which were never recovered."

Science Fair Entry Shuts Down Airport Terminal 380

OverTheGeicoE writes "A graduate student was returning home from a science fair in Omaha with his handmade entry in his carry-on luggage. When the TSA discovered it, they shut down the airport terminal for several hours, until they could determine it was harmless. All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again, so before you fly with your homemade Minty MP3 player, make sure you take a look at TSA Blogger Bob's warning or it could wind up looking like this."

Court Approves TSA Body Scans, But Calls For Public Comment 292

OverTheGeicoE writes "The District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals has finally issued a ruling (PDF) on EPIC v. DHS, a lawsuit seeking suspension of the use of body scanners for primary screening pending an independent review that would include a public comment period. According to the summary, the court 'grant[s] the petition for review' but 'due to the obvious need for the TSA to continue its airport security operations without interruption, we remand the rule to the TSA but do not vacate it.' In short, the TSA is required to open up their policy for public comment, but they can continue to use the scanners in the meantime and most likely afterward. This doesn't sound like much of a victory for EPIC or the U.S. public."

Walmart Stores Get CCTV-Enabled, Breathalyzin' Wine Vending Machines Screenshot-sm 135

Select Pennsylvania Walmarts have found a way to work around the law prohibiting alcohol sales in grocery stores. It turns out the shortsighted legislature forgot to make it illegal to sell wine from a vending machine: "as long as the user is asked to take a breathalyzer test, swipe their state issued ID or Driver License, and then show their mug to a state official sitting somewhere in Harrisburg, who is keeping an eye on the proceedings via CCTV." I'm surprised nobody thought of this sooner.

"You need tender loving care once a week - so that I can slap you into shape." - Ellyn Mustard