TSA – Failures, Lies and Extortion All in the Name of “Keeping Us Safe”

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In the week that TSA Administrator and serial groper, John Pistole defended his agency despite a growing chorus of calls in Congress to abolish the agency a woman with a history of stowing away again snuck past TSA security in San Jose and flew to LAX without a ticket or showing identification.

The fact that this woman was able to get aboard and make an entire flight punctuates the belligerence of Pistole’s testimony and him utter lack of credibility and that of TSA on the whole.

In an effort to defend the agency regarding the San Jose stowaway, TSA relied on its usual tactic of blatantly lying by claiming that she was screened despite the obvious fact that she managed to fly to LAX without a ticket. The local TSA propagandist Rosemary Barnes had the temerity to tell KTLA that “The passenger was screened by TSA for any prohibited items. It’s really important to point that out. This begs the obvious question as to whether they routinely perform security screening on un-ticketed people in airports, which would be a new wrinkle and odd behavior, even for TSA.

In his Congressional testimony an arrogant Pistole blatantly lied, denying responsibility for the policies that he created and implemented in October of 2010, many years after TSA was created.

The Hill article by Keith Laing on August 5, 2014 notes: “TSA critics have seized on complaints on social media from elderly passengers and parents of young children who have accused the agency of mistreating them to argue that techniques such pat-down hand searches and X-ray machines invade the privacy of airline passengers.

Pistole said in the interview that TSA was “just following congressional mandates,” despite the occasional criticism from lawmakers. “Congress said create TSA in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Don’t let this happen again,” he said.

“Some would say there has been a hassle factor. Absolutely,” he continued. “That’s been the case where we are patting down 95-year-old great-grandmothers with cancer or taking a teddy bear from a 3-year-old. Those policies have been changed to reflect the intelligence that says those people are probably not terrorists.”

What he fails to say is that those policies only have changed for those who assign up for PreCheck and pay the fee. TSA tried to garner public support by offering PreCheck privileges that exempt the traveler from the routine of disrobing and undergoing a public groping in the security line. However, these free passes will soon be withdrawn from the public at large and only granted to those who sign up and pay up the $85 membership fee and then only when TSA decides to allow those members access to the PreCheck line.

So not only does Pistole want Congress to keep funding TSA to the tune of $8 billion taxpayer dollars each year to do, well, practically nothing of merit, he also wants to be able to collect annual extortion fees from travelers to reduce their chances of being assaulted by TSA while traveling.

With the current cost and harassment involved in flying perhaps more travelers will try stowing away or just take to the highways instead.

Airlines Sue TSA Over Money, Not Abuses

For the past ten years the airlines have always loved the TSA and dismissed passenger complaints of abuse, molestation and theft as whining. Now that the TSA security has doubled and is affecting their profits, they are now crying foul. Any veteran traveler knows that TSA is not your friend, and is often your enemy but often overlooked the airlines culpability.

Savvy travelers have been critical of airlines but many frequent fliers ignored the shortcomings of their preferred airline in exchange for an infrequent upgrade or being allowed to queue three feet ahead of someone else. Now, the airlines have confirmed to all but the chronically stupid that they really don’t care that your child gets felt up by TSA as long as their bottom line isn’t reduced.

Airlines Sue TSA Over New Security Fees

Trade Groups Allege That TSA Is Violating Federal Law in Introducing Fee Changes

The Wall Street Journal – Doug Cameron – July 30, 2014

A group of airlines on Wednesday sued the U.S. government over new passenger-ticket security fees following months of squabbling over charges that came into effect last week.

The Transportation Security Administration introduced a new set of fees that scrapped an existing cap on the levy in place since 2002, effectively doubling the charge on many new tickets and applying it to some flights starting overseas that previously weren’t subject to the fee. The fee on a basic domestic nonstop round-trip ticket rose to $11.20 from $5—a one-way trip will cost $5.60 instead of $2.50 per flight segment, while the $10 per-ticket cap was dropped.

Airlines in recent weeks had pushed the TSA to delay implementing the changes until August, citing the need to make changes to their booking systems, and warning it would inflate costs and curtail demand. The TSA rejected the calls, according to regulatory filings, and on Wednesday the U.S.-based Airlines for America and the International Air Transport Association took their challenge to court in an eight-page petition to the District of Columbia appeals court that called for a review of the changes.

The two trade groups alleged that the TSA is violating federal law in introducing the changes, asserting lawmakers didn’t intend for the new structure to include ending the fee cap on security fees or collecting taxes for trips that originate overseas. The TSA declined to comment because litigation was pending, but previously maintained it was following December’s Budget Control Act statute that paved the way for the new fees, according to regulatory filings.

The airlines’ lawsuit alleged that the TSA failed to follow statute and was making an attempt to “conjure up even more fees”. The TSA increase, which won’t apply retroactively to tickets sold before July 21, should raise an additional $12.6 billion over 10 years, according to the Department of Homeland Security plan published in the Federal Register.

Congress voted to send much of the increase to the general fund, not the TSA, to help reduce the federal deficit. For example, the increase will generate an additional $322 million in the remainder of 2014, according to Homeland Security. Of that, $122 million will go to the TSA and $200 million will contribute to federal deficit reduction.

With the fee increase, Congress also voted to eliminate the $420 million in annual aviation security fees that had been imposed on airlines after the 2001 terrorist attacks. The airlines’ lawsuit alleged carriers would incur “significant injury” because of the TSA’s proposed final rule.

U.S. airlines have been generating record profits in recent months. Ben Baldanza, a longtime critic of transport-fee policy and chief executive of discounter Spirit Airlines Inc., told analysts that industry conditions were “terrific,” citing capacity discipline among carriers and robust demand.

—Scott McCartney contributed to this article.

 

Another TSA Arrest

More confirmation that the TSA is made up of low life criminal workers who cannot be trusted and have no respect for the law or the rights of others. This is the “security” that TSA is now charging travelers up to $15 per trip to deliver.

TSA agent arrested after taking taxi to LaGuardia Airport without paying: officials
BY Alfred Ng – NEW YORK DAILY NEWS – Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A TSA agent who tried to get a free ride got arrested instead, authorities said.

Arthur Pichardo, 27, took a taxi to LaGuardia Airport at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Port Authority officials said.

Pichardo then told the driver he would return to pay the $23.33 fare and walked into Terminal C, where he works, according to the Port Authority. After about 30 minutes, the driver’s patience wore thin, and he went inside to find Pichardo.

A baggage handler pointed out the Transportation Security Administration agent to the driver, Port Authority officials said.

Port Authority police arrested the uniformed TSA agent at the screening point, charging him with theft of service.

Another TSA Gun Violation

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It isn’t as though we haven’t seen this story before, like in Miami, twice, Memphis and Orlando.

TSA agent pleads guilty to a felony assault

REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN – BY JONATHAN SHUGARTS – July 15, 2014

WATERBURY — A Transportation Security Administration agent who worked as an airport screener pleaded guilty to a felony assault in the shooting of her boyfriend during a night of drinking at their Watertown home.

Although Wendy Santos, 35, pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, she may be spared prison time as part of a plea deal obtained Monday.

 

TSA Proves Itself Useless…. Again

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In a trio of stories, TSA has managed to highlight why this agency is totally useless and a danger to airline security as well as demonstrate that the TSA is merely a jobs program for otherwise unemployable misfits incapable of providing any meaningful contribution to society.

The agency recent doubled the security fee, apparently to cover the money wasted on the abandoned Rapi-Scan nudie scanners and to investigate their criminal workforce. For this we find that while they have doubled their costs to travelers and will soon be barring passengers with dead cell phones from boarding US flights.

As if that wasn’t sufficient to infuriate frequent fliers, now we learn that their record of failure to detect guns at the checkpoints remains intact albeit not five times so far as we know.

Also, while an American citizen who loses their identification will likely find themselves in a back room with their drawers around their ankles in order to board their flight TSA has now decided that anyone who claims to be an illegal immigrant can fly by providing an easily forged “Notice to Appear” form that can be produced on plain copy paper by anyone with a computer or access to a library.

Travelers who believe that we must endure these blatant assaults on our privacy “because of the world we live in” will now have to explain to those of us who have a functional brain and sense of decency how this makes us safe when TSA will let anyone on board, including terrorists, so long as they have a copy of the NTA form and a home computer.

It may be too late to salvage the cowardly lemmings, but if there is any justice and should this idiocy end in tragedy they will be the victims and not those who have protested.

TSA Allowing Illegals to Fly Without Verifiable ID, Says Border Patrol Union

Breitbart – by Brandon Darby 11 Jul 2014

MCALLEN, Texas—Illegal aliens are being allowed to fly on commercial airliners without valid identification, according to the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC). “The aliens who are getting released on their own recognizance are being allowed to board and travel commercial airliners by simply showing their Notice to Appear forms,” NBPC’s Local 2455 Spokesman, Hector Garza, told Breitbart Texas.

“This is not the CBP [Customs and Border Protection] or another federal agency renting or leasing an aircraft, these are the same planes that the American public uses for domestic travel,” said Garza. “This just adds insult to injury. Not only are we releasing unknown illegal aliens onto American streets, but we are allowing them to travel commercially using paperwork that could easily be reproduced or manipulated on any home computer. The Notice to Appear form has no photo, anyone can make one and manipulate one. They do not have any security features, no watermark, nothing. They are simply printed on standard copy paper based on the information the illegal alien says is the truth.”

Breitbart Texas reached out to the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) for comment without receiving a response at the time of this article’s publication.

 

TSA misses loaded gun, knife on passengers boarding separate London-bound flights

FoxNews.com – By Jana Winter – July 10, 2014

A TSA agent blamed for letting one man carrying a loaded handgun and another with a flip knife board Phoenix-to-London flights on the same day last month is out of a job, FoxNews.com has learned.

Both passengers flew the more than 10 hour flights to London with the weapons in their carry-on bags, sources told FoxNews.com. Neither passenger tried to use the weapons while aboard the flights, though the shocking security lapse raises obvious questions about whether passengers with bad intentions might slip through security.Both weapons were found by security officials at London’s Heathrow Airport as they attempted to transfer onto connecting flights.

In the more serious of the two June 22 incidents, William Joseph Richardson was going through transfer screening at Heathrow Airport to board a British Airways flight to Paris when airport security discovered his loaded Glock handgun, according to a document reviewed by FoxNews.com.

A TSA official with knowledge of the incident said the agent responsible for the breach is no longer employed by the agency.

 

 

TSA increasing fees for fliers starting July 21

Philadelphia Inquirer – Linda Loyd – July 11, 2014

Travelers may soon pay more for a plane ticket because the Transportation Security Administration is raising the passenger security fee at U.S. airports.

Fliers currently pay $2.50 for each leg of a connecting flight, capped at $5 per one-way trip. Starting July 21, the fee will jump to a flat $5.60 per one-way trip. The $5 cap on one-way travel will disappear.

The security fee has been built into airfares since the TSA was created after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Courts Act To Restrict Government Overreach

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On the heels of the Congressional recent hearings on TSA’s arbitrary classification of otherwise public information regarding their policies and procedures as Sensitive Security Information” (SSI), two rulings have further reined in TSA’s abuses of authority.

The first and most direct ruling involves the secretive no fly list that has ensnared many trustworthy passengers ranging from public figures such as Senator Ted Kennedy to eight year old children . The court declared that since there was no effective means available to travelers on the list that the policy denied them their due process rights.

Judge: U.S. violated rights of those on ‘no-fly’ list – By Bill Mears, CNN – June 25, 2014

The U.S. government’s “no fly” list violates constitutional protections by depriving travelers of a meaningful way to have their names removed, a federal judge ruled on Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Anna Brown of Portland, Oregon, ordered the Justice Department to redraft procedures “with the requisite due process” and without jeopardizing national security.

Thirteen plaintiffs, mostly Muslim-Americans, challenged their inclusion on the list. They said they were denied boarding on flights without explanation and were not allowed to present evidence to show they were no threat to public safety.

“A traveler who has not been given any indication of the information that may be in the record does not have any way to correct that information,” Brown wrote in her 65-page opinion and order.

In another decision which could have implications for TSA and Customs, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that cell phones, and presumably by extension tablets and laptops, cannot be searched by police without a warrant.

In the past TSA and Customs have claimed to have the right to seize and inspect the contents of personal electronic devices. While there have been on a few incidents reported where TSA or Customs officials have seized or devices, demanded passwords or confiscated the devices of travelers several have been reported and likely many others went unreported. Whether or not this decision will impact other non-law enforcement activities may require additional legal action.

Supreme Court Says Phones Can’t Be Searched Without a Warrant – By ADAM LIPTAK – JUNE 25, 2014

WASHINGTON — In a sweeping victory for privacy rights in the digital age, the Supreme Court on Wednesday unanimously ruled that the police need warrants to search the cellphones of people they arrest.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the court, was keenly alert to the central role that cellphones play in contemporary life. They are, he said, “such a pervasive and insistent part of daily life that the proverbial visitor from Mars might conclude they were an important feature of human anatomy.”

But he added that old principles required that their contents be protected from routine searches. One of the driving forces behind the American Revolution, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, was revulsion against “general warrants,” which “allowed British officers to rummage through homes in an unrestrained search for evidence of criminal activity.”

“The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand,” the chief justice also wrote, “does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the founders fought.”

Arrest of TSA Screener Latwana Daniels Brings 2014 Count to Eight

Yet another TSA screener has been arrested on drug smuggling charges. While theft is usually the crime of choice for TSA screeners, there have been dozens of TSA workers arrested for smuggling drugs through security in the past three years. Unlike thefts that are reported by victims, detecting drug smuggling within a workforce with an established reputation for criminal activity requires more effort and is likely far more prevalent than these arrests would indicate.

TSA Worker Latwana Daniels Arrested For Alleged Drug Trafficking & Child Neglect
CBS Miami – June 22, 2014 9:07 PM

Transportation Security Administration officials said they are in the process of terminating the employment of a woman who was arrested and charged with drug trafficking and child neglect.

Jail records show Latwana Daniels, 33, was arrested early Sunday morning. She is being held on no bond.

Charges include armed cocaine trafficking, possession of marijuana and four counts of child neglect.

The TSA released a statement Sunday: “TSA holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and expects all TSA employees to conduct themselves with integrity and professionalism, both in and outside the workplace.” Daniels is currently on administrative leave.

Federal Air Marshals Involved in Gun Trafficking

The case of TSA Federal Air Marshal gun trafficking was exposed several months and TSA attempted to pooh-pooh the matter and brush it off as a minor and isolated incident. Less than a month after the Supreme Court accepted a whistleblower case brought by a TSA FAM it is apparent that TSA has been unable to sweep this widespread misconduct by their Air Marshalls under the rug. Since this involves trafficking firearms it is an ATF violation. These usually carry stiff penalties and will likely lead to in the conviction and incarceration of dozens of TSA officials

Federal prosecutors reopen probe of Air Marshal gun scheme, sources say | Fox News

By Jana Winter – Published June 19, 2014 – FoxNews.com

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia has reopened its criminal investigation into allegations of illicit gun-selling at senior levels of the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), multiple sources told FoxNews.com.

“They’re taking another look at everything. They appear to have received new information they did not have during their initial investigation,” one of the sources briefed on the case told FoxNews.com.

In addition to the criminal probe, sources said internal investigations within the Air Marshal Service and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) have involved a larger number of senior officials than previously had been reported. Those senior officials may have illicitly purchased guns or been involved with a June 2009 contract bid awarded to Sig Sauer, the weapons manufacturer whose guns allegedly were involved in the gun-selling scheme.

Sources said the U.S. attorney’s office reopened the case following congressional inquiries into the matter and an April 10 FoxNews.com story revealing the existence of the investigation. The probe initially focused on allegations Danny Poulos, an Air Marshal supervisor, benefited from his professional relationship with Sig Sauer to receive free or discounted weapons, which were then allegedly sold to senior FAMS executives, including recently retired director Robert Bray.

A TSA spokesman, when asked about the case, confirmed the internal probe remained ongoing but referred FoxNews.com to the U.S. attorney’s office regarding the federal investigation. The spokesman said: “TSA has found no evidence of criminal misconduct by any senior FAM or TSA manager.”

“TSA Administrator John S. Pistole allowed Director Robert Bray to ‘NOT’ be disciplined for Bray’s conduct regarding a gun scandal that made national news,” the initial complaint reads, according to a copy obtained by FoxNews.com.

“TSA Administrator Pistol intentionally treated Director Bray favorably while other TSA employees were all disciplined for trivial allegations of misconduct. Pistole is Bray’s supervisor and allowed Bray to enjoy a ‘clean’ record but denied other employees the same benefit.

“Bray was not disciplined for his criminal acts nor was he disciplined for violating policy.”

New FAMS director Roderick Allison, who replaced Bray, previously led the TSA’s Office of Inspection, which conducted the internal administrative investigation. Sources said new information gathered during the TSA OI investigation was passed back to the U.S. attorney’s office.

According to officials with knowledge of the probe, DHS investigators conducted a late-night April 11 inventory of the Air Marshal Service’s national armory in Atlantic City, N.J. Managers were questioned, and inventory of weaponry at the agency’s national armory was taken.

Asked about the inventory, a TSA spokesman said “there was no all-night inventory” at the armory — but said the agency conducts an annual firearms inventory, which apparently began earlier this year. The spokesman described this as “standard and prudent” practice.

It is unclear if outside investigators — in addition to FAMS or TSA officials — were involved in the weapons checks. This followed email requests to training division heads in all the field offices asking them to confirm the whereabouts of guns registered to agency employees. Multiple sources say the agency continues to focus on tracking down all service and personal weapons purchased by FAMS employees on behalf of the agency.

Members of Congress continue to raise concerns about the allegations. On June 5, Reps. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and David McKinley, R-W.Va., sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Ranking Member Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., asking them to freeze plans for agency overhauls rolled out under Bray’s tenure as director, including the planned closure of six regional FAMS offices, until “further questions are answered and the TSA and DHS IG probes are complete.”

In introducing the measure, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., referenced the “recently uncovered misuse of a federal firearms license” by an employee, adding “the former director bought several.” “TSA was less than forthcoming with Congress regarding this investigation,” he said.

A spokesman with the agency said, “TSA does not comment on proposed legislation.”

TSA Abusing SSI Classified to Avoid Scrutiny

Most travelers are by now aware of TSA’s abuse of the SSI classification when challenged about their erratic and often irresponsible procedures. While TSA has long been a target of bi-partisan criticism, it speaks volumes when both Darrell Issa and Elijah Cummings join to criticize TSA has been systematically harassing passengers and hiding behind unwarranted SSI claims.

Perhaps this belated recognition by Congress that TSA and its Administrator John Pistole are incompetent and corrupt will lead to further Congressional action to rein in the agency and remove Pistole after the fall elections.

Congressmen Issa & Cummings’ Committee report: “Problems with the TSA’s Use of SSI Designation” | Scribd

I. Executive Summary
Under the Air Transportation Security Act of 1974, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a category of sensitive but unclassified information, frequently referred to as “Sensitive Security Information” (SSI), and issued regulations that prohibit the disclosure of any information that would be detrimental to transportation security.

These regulations restrict disclosure of SSI, exempting information properly marked as SSI from release under the Freedom of Information Act.

While the SSI designation can protect sensitive information, it is also vulnerable to misuse. Bipartisan concerns about the use of the SSI designation by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), an agency of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), have existed since the promulgation of the SSI regulations in 2004.

Through its investigation, the Committee obtained witness testimony and documents that show possible misuse of the SSI designation by TSA. Witnesses detailed instances in which TSA barred the release of SSI documents against the advice of TSA’s SSI Office. TSA also released SSI documents against the advice of career staff in the SSI Office. The Committee’s investigation revealed that coordination challenges exist among the TSA Administrator, TSA’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA), and TSA’s SSI Office.

Witnesses testified that many of the problems related to the SSI designation process emanate from the structure of the SSI regulation itself. TSA’s SSI Office is staffed with career employees tasked with assisting in the SSI designation process. The final authority on SSI designation, however, rests with the TSA Administrator. Pursuant to the regulation, the TSA Administrator must provide certain documentation supporting his SSI designations. Yet, witnesses interviewed by the Committee stated that there were multiple incidents in which the SSI Office was not consulted or where TSA took actions against the advice of SSI Office officials. Further, such actions occurred without the TSA Administrator providing required written documentation supporting the action.

Due to this contentious relationship and the failure to follow proper procedures, the SSI Office struggled to carry out its statutory obligations effectively. While the TSA Administrator has the final authority to determine whether information is SSI, he is also required under the regulations to submit written explanations of his decisions to the SSI Office in a timely fashion.

Unfortunately, the repeated failure to submit written determinations before taking actions on SSI caused a rift between senior TSA leadership and the SSI Office. This rift resulted in inconsistencies, which could be detrimental to the process for protecting sensitive information. This report explores issues related to the current TSA SSI designation process and recommends improvements to ensure that sensitive information is properly protected while non-sensitive information is properly released to the public. TSA’s use of SSI reveals a broader problem of pseudo-classification of information in federal departments and agencies. Limits on such labeling of information are needed to provide greater transparency and accountability to the public while promoting information security.

II. Findings
Problems with TSA’s application of the SSI designation date back to 2004, including inconsistent application of the designation. TSA improperly designated certain information as SSI in order to avoid its public release. TSA repeatedly released information to the public against the advice of the SSI office and without having produced suitable documentation to explain the decision.

The structure and position of the SSI office within TSA has contributed to the difficulties the office has encountered in carrying out its mission. TSA has moved the office within the agency’s organizational structure several times. One official stated the office moves have effectively relegated it a “throwaway office.”

TSA made significant improvements to its SSI designation process following the Committee’s investigation.

III. Recommendations
The TSA Administrator should provide documentation and an explanation for his or her decision to override a previous SSI determination in writing to the SSI office before the release is made in order to provide the SSI office with an explanation of the Administrator’s justification and promote consistent treatment of future SSI designations.

The Department should undertake an evaluation of the SSI Office’s position within TSA’s organizational structure, to ensure that the office has the support it requires to carry out its mission.

Executive Branch departments and agencies must curtail the widespread use of pseudo-classification of information, which hinders transparency. Agencies must track and report the use of such labels on information to ensure consistency and limits on their use.

XI. Conclusion
The examples set forth in this report raise valid concerns as to whether TSA consistently uses the SSI designation appropriately. While the agency has made some improvements to the program, additional steps may be necessary in order to insulate the integrity of the SSI process. TSA must ensure consistent and appropriate application of the SSI designation. TSA officials should always consult the SSI Office when making decisions either to designate information as SSI or to release information that has been or could be designated SSI. Documentation authorizing the release of SSI must be issued prior to the release, rather than after the fact.

Further, the TSA Administrator should consider the location of the SSI Office within TSA’s organizational structure so that it can perform its work free from political interference. More broadly, Congress must strongly encourage agencies to curb the use of pseudo-classification of information. The proliferation of the use of unclassified designations in Executive Branch departments and agencies has a profound impact on public access. Strict enforcement of rules governing the use of such designations is necessary to prevent abuse and to maximize public access to government information. Agencies must make greater efforts to track and report the use of such labels on information, as it has become clear that consistency is lacking and better controls are needed.

TSA Screener Attacks Coworker with Razor

Another incident of TSA screener violence occurred last week in Atlanta airport. In this incident, TSA screener Paul Johnson upheld the high standards of TSA by stabbing a coworker over an unpaid sports bet. In an ironic twist, he used a box cutter, the same tool used in the 9/11 hijackings and led to the creation of this abysmal agency.

There have been several other cases involving violent actions by TSA workers. These incidents include a TSA Supervisor murdering a screener, a screener beating his elderly mother, an attack on an elderly Somali man and well as sexual assault.

As usual, there is no response or only the standard propaganda from the agency and, as usual there will be no follow up, nor any improvement in the pathetic quality of the TSA “workforce”.

TSA agent arrested for allegedly cutting worker with box cutter over sports bet

WSB-TV Atlanta – By Rachel Stockman – June 2, 2014

A TSA agent is facing aggravated assault charges after police say he slashed another worker with a box cutter over a sports bet.

TSA agent Paul Johnson is charged with aggravated assault after the fight with another worker, Terry Vickers, at Hartsfield-Jackson’s International terminal on Saturday. Vickers was also arrested on simple battery charges as a result of the fight.

“[It was] a friendly wager, a little basketball game,” Vickers told Channel 2’s Rachel Stockman. Vickers, who works at the airport with Johnson, says the altercation started when Vickers went to go collect on a bet over a basketball game Saturday morning.

“He’s getting loud, I’m getting a little loud, and next thing I know he is reaching for his pocket for a knife,” Vickers said.

Atlanta police say it was a box cutter that Johnson pulled out of his pocket. According to a TSA spokesperson, Johnson is tasked with screening checked baggage and is authorized to have the box cutter.

Vickers received minor injuries on his face from the box cutter, according to Atlanta Police. In the police report, Johnson claims Vickers was the first one to make physical contact. Atlanta police say Vickers entered an area he was not authorized to be in order to collect the debt. Vickers disagrees. “I shoved him after he swung the blade at me, and this other guy from TSA grabbed him, and I took off in fear of my life,” Vickers said.

Both parties surrendered their security badges. A spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration says Paul Johnson is on indefinite unpaid suspension, pending a full investigation.