TSA Reverse Profiling

While entering one of the airport gates in Washington D.C. I was pulled aside because I forgot there was an unopened bottle of water in my satchel. Although the person I spoke with was mildly polite, it was obvious that he was irritated. I asked him point blank why they didn’t allow unopened bottles of water into the airport gate while I reached out to touch the top of the bottle on the table to emphasize that it was unopened.

He quickly put his hand on the bottle, looked at me sternly and said “take your hand off the bottle.” It was as if he thought it were some crime for me to now touch what was once fully in my possession.

So I asked, “Why are you so strict about liquids.” His reply was that a terrorist tried to blow up a plane in the UK with liquid explosives. Suggesting that the event occurred months ago he then continued: “We are at code orange.”

Looking back at the aforementioned terrorist activity, 24 of the 25 arrests had Islam-based names and were primarily in their 20’s. (Statistics gathered from Wikipedia.)

Even the 9/11 attacks were performed by obvious Islam extremists. So the question arises: Why is TSA making deliberate attempts to molest 83-Year Old Caucasian Women with the last name of Bogart when it’s obvious that 20-something year old Islamic Men with last names like Moqed and Almihdhar from Saudi-Arabia are the correct profile to match?

On one hand it makes the TSA organization look like cowards. After all, an 83-Year old woman is much easier to mess around with than a strong 25 year old man. However, I think the actual root of the problem is the fear of being accused and sued for discrimination. In situations where one terrorist activity after another comes from the same group of people, it’s obvious that you focus your attention on them – however, certain groups like the ACLU won’t have it. As a result, most of the training, money and efforts position the TSA to making an ass out of itself when it could otherwise be more productive in reducing the terrorist threat through the use of racial and age profiling.

I would liken the behavior of the whole mess to that of DRMs that hurt the honest people while it does nothing to hinder the problems in mind when creating them. This just reasserts my claim before – being a TSA worker must royally suck. I would put the blame on the TSA company as an entity as a whole and not any one person in it. For the company to really focus on its job would jeopardize its business because a minority of Islam-extremists could simply lean on the ACLU to stop them.

As a result the minority has power over the majority and money has to be put towards reverse profiling; it’s a necessary means to prove that TSA can still exist within the confines of political correctness no matter what absurdities come of it.

TSA Behavior Detection Officer

I found an interesting tidbit on the TSA site while waiting at the airport.

A rude response from one of the TSA officers prompted me to see what their motivation is. Usually they’re stiff, but still polite. But still, does TSA offer incentives to those who “contain” incidents even if the TSA officer is prompting the incident by frustrating or belittling passengers? Is the overall security process designed to build tension and frustration?

One of the positions is a “Behavior Detection Officer”, or “BDO”. This could be either a euphemism for “race profiler” (which sounds politically incorrect no matter how close the ties are between race and terrorism) or it could mean they are trying to use psychological tactics to weed out the prospecting terrorists. I can’t tell for sure since their site doesn’t explain the roles of that position.

I’m guessing that their logic behind the latter concept is as follows: a terrorist would likely already be at edge. Making a difficult and frustrating situation and causing confrontation during it may make him go berserk, revealing him out of the crowd. Unfortunately, those who are most tense are the ones who are late for their flight. Under this presumption that means they’re the most likely ones to be singled out and even detained.

Possibly, but I’ve found through personal experience with those who have successfully committed suicide and have read other reports that those committing suicide come to a point of euphoria before its execution. If you find someone abnormally happy and content through the TSA line – that’s likely the person to be afraid of.

From either point of view, with their statement on behavior profiling it appears that the entire TSA process is designed specifically to add tension, frustration and anxiety on travelers. In other words, if some security member starts barking at you or makes a rude comment, just politely grimace and go on.

One more word of advice with the security screenings – Don’t Bathe In Glycerol Soap. Don’t even touch anything with glycerol a day before you fly out!

I got put on a temporary grey list at an airport for doing so – it set off all sorts of alarms when their machines sniffed my luggage and my person. I was detained and it took us twenty minutes to figure out exactly what chemical I could have had that would set off the alarms. It wasn’t until one of the officers asked if I had used a glycerol based hand lotion that it dawned on me that the soap I had used that morning was glycerol based.

The event that prompted all this? They are now scanning for video camcorders. You have to remove the camcorders from their case in the same manner that you handle laptops. The security officer wasn’t clear on this and was just asking if people had video cameras and mumbled something about how they weren’t allowed. I had asked why video cameras weren’t allowed and if that includes the new MacBooks since they include a video camera on the case. He then gave me the third degree. After some effort I went to another TSA officer who explained things more clearly.

They didn’t detain me and the other officers were polite as usual. Chances are that one TSA officer was a victim of the very same stressful environment he was hired to impose on the travellers – from that, I’d gather that it must suck to work for TSA.