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TSA Screener: Yes, We Laughed at Your X-Rays
Former employee writes of the not-so-professional work in airports
By Newser Editors, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 31, 2014 12:49 PM CST
Updated Feb 2, 2014 10:03 AM CST
A volunteer poses inside a full-body airport scanner.   (AP Photo / Paul Faith, PA)

(Newser) – A former TSA employee has written a first-person piece for Politico Magazine, that, in the words of Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, "confirms pretty much everything we suspected about the TSA." Some excerpts from the article by Jason Harrington, who had previously posted anonymously at the blog Taking Sense Away:

  • "I hated it from the beginning. It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly, and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security."
  • "Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues: Many of the images we gawked at were of overweight people, their every fold and dimple on full awful display. Piercings of every kind were visible."

  • "Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group—a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an IED, and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security."
  • "We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. Not long after the Underwear Bomber incident, all TSA officers at O’Hare were informed that training for the Rapiscan Systems full-body scanners would soon begin. The machines cost about $150,000 a pop."
  • "The only people who hated the body-scanners more than the public were TSA employees themselves. Many of my co-workers felt uncomfortable even standing next to the radiation-emitting machines we were forcing members of the public to stand inside."
Click for Harrington's full article. The Verge notes that Harrington is now tweeting additional stuff, like this: "One thing I left out of that Politico piece: HELL YES airport employees often drink those bottles of alcohol you surrender at the checkpoint."

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Showing 3 of 133 comments
Dave0
Feb 3, 2014 9:55 AM CST
They laughed at our X-rays? Proves for me the incredibly low I.Q.'s of those people! And drank or took home confiscated items? Proves this is a "legal" mugging of personal property, theft by legal authority! Keep in mind the majority of these 'agents' could only get other jobs as burger flippers or common security guards. Many are power hungry, wanna-be cops, unable to pass the Police Admissions tests. Or got booted off the Police force. New Airlines motto: "Come fly with me, get groped for free!" No thanks, I'll pass!
FedUpWIthInsanity
Feb 2, 2014 6:38 PM CST
T.S.A.--Terrorism Sanctioned by America The enemy won, with this one. I feel LESS secure than ever--and not of "them" of US--United States. I'd rather drive 5 days than fly. (In fact, the last time I flew, I swore NEVER again. That was 13 years ago.) If I wanted to feel like a criminal, I'd commit a crime---and I have the one I'd like to commit, in mid.
dopenstein
Feb 2, 2014 6:12 PM CST
Well at least this confirms TSA agents are just as human as the rest of us, seriously when has anyone not made fun of a customer or hated a job that didn't have even working required equipment. It's a giant joke, you can't fault them for laughing at the punch line.