TSA credibility

I’ve mentioned this before in my original post at this site – that many TSA officers are rude and abusive.  I just read an article yesterday wherein the author, David Maril accuses TSA agents of the same.  He writes: 

It’s no coincidence that practically every horror story recently publicized in the media about issues with the “enhanced pat-downs” and full body scanning were the results of rotten judgment on the part of TSA personnel. In most cases, there were failures to use common sense or refer the situation to a better trained supervisor.

Too often, security personnel seem more focused on a confrontational stance, trying to bring out the worst in everyone’s behavior.

Here’s one example I experienced a few months ago at Baltimore-Washington International. Standing in a near-empty line, as I started to put my driver’s license in my wallet, a TSA guy yelled across the conveyor belt, “Hey, move up, don’t stand there.”

The “line” consisted of one other passenger who didn’t seem to be in a big hurry.

I started to explain I just wanted to make sure I didn’t misplace my license, but he interrupted, yelling, “Don’t be selfish. Don’t hold up the line. Move along.”

Figuring it was better not to argue with him and get pulled out as a troublemaker, I remained silent but slowed down my pace. The more deliberate I became with the wallet, the louder his muttering and negative commentary about me grew.

This type of unprofessional behavior is at the heart of the problem.

This is exactly the kind of behavior that I’ve experienced on past flihgts.  Still, to this day, some airports do not have a sign that alerts passengers that they need to remove their shoes and take their computers out of their cases.  On a recent flight, as I approached the x-ray machine, the Finnish man ahead of me who was unaware of our security procedures did not have his computer out and shoes off.  As he stood there removing them at the last-minute, the line backed up.

I politely asked the TSA agent why a sign wasn’t posted.  He answered (in a very antagonistic manner), “Everyone knows the procedures, they’ve been this way since 9/11.”  I responded that this foreign man did not know our rules and that a sign should be posted.  He then said, “You were told these rules when you bought your ticket.”  I told him that I was not told any such thing and he argued that each ticket sold is required to give a link to a TSA website that allegedly has the procedures.  I told him that if I don’t know about this website how would I read it?

My response, albeit a bit off the cuff was, “Well, that’s the silliest thing I’ve ever heard.”  At this point the TSA agent snapped, “You’re just ignorant.”  Really, is that necessary?  If I wasn’t running behind for my flight (late transfer on the 1st leg) I would have found the supervisor and made a complaint.

As I sat on the second leg of my flight I was fuming.  How and why should I (and the rest of the public) be abused by a civil servant whose job it is to help us?  I resolved right then and there that in the future I would make a formal complaint for any rude behavior.  I would suggest that we all do this.  I’ll post a link shortly to where one can make a TSA complaint.  If you ever encounter a rude TSA agent, be sure to get their name and work station (gate #).

The TSA is an organization that is paid for and answerable to the American public, we need to hold them accountable to do their jobs in a professional and courteous manner.  If you had a bad experience with a TSA agent, please forward me an email or leave a message below.

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