Last year horror story after horror story came out about the TSA that removed any doubt as to why they’ve sank below the IRS has the most hated government agency. But aside from some questionable policies, maybe a lot of their problems could have been solved by canning their worst employees. Here is a list our team at LuggageOnline compiled of the WORST TSA employees of 2008.
10. The TSA Agent who screens laptops, but doesn’t know what they are
Back in March of last year a TSA agent who’s specially trained to categorize things as “laptop” or “not-a-laptop” had never heard of the Macbook Air. Usually the owner of the laptop beamed when someone noticed how thin it was and how it lacked ports on the back… but when a TSA agent notices anything you know it’s not going to end well for you. Luckily there were some more tech savvy agents to explain the scary new technology. Still, this is a pretty embarrassing moment for the TSA and it sounds like this guy should try to keep up with the times if he plans to ID electronics for a living.
9. The guy who stole a $50k camera and sold it on eBay
I’m not sure what you’re average TSA agent would use a $47,900 professional television camera for, but apparently neither did he and that’s why it ended up on eBay. Turns out this guy had been helping himself to the contents of everyone’s luggage. When he was arrested they found 66 cameras, 31 laptops, computers, jewelry, GPS devices and more, totaling over $200,000 worth of stolen goods. And you really have to wonder how this guy walked off with $47,900 camera without anyone noticing in the first place.
8. The woman who makes up her own rules about firearms
This instance probably most accurately describes the typical TSA attitude of “It’s my way or the highway.” But it seems like even when you study up on the correct policies of what’s permissible on a plane, there’s a TSO waiting at security to tell you that you’re wrong and you’re always going to be wrong because they say so. The woman of the hour claims that “TSA sometimes gives us different policies than they give you” and tries to deny a soldier the right to transport his firearm which is properly stored as per the rules on the TSA website. She even throws in the insulting “I am the supervisor” line when he asks for a second opinion.
7. The sadist who forced a woman to stand on a sprained ankle
The official policy according to the TSA website is that officers will not ask you to remove a prosthetic device, cast or brace. Yeah? Well tell that to the woman who had to remove her foot brace and stand on her sprained ankle and even lift each foot individually. If you’ve ever sprained your ankle you might have some idea how incredibly painful, not to mention difficult that is. Apparently after the incident the woman’s ankle had not one, but two fractures.
6. The agents who made a woman remove her nipple ring (and giggled about it)
Probably one of the most memorable horror stories of ’08 was the TSA nipple ring fiasco. A woman was forced to remove her nipple ring with a pair of pliers, even though according to policy she should have been offered a private pat down by a female TSA officer. To add insult to injury, she could hear the male agents laughing from behind the curtain as she removed it.
Via CBS News
5. Whoever was responsible for designing the new TSA uniforms
Remember the big fuss the TSA made about their new uniforms? You know, the ones that made them look like cops and added metal badges to ensure they would never be forced through a checkpoint? They really talked them up all year—they even had a micro-site dedicated to them . Well it’s hard not to laugh at the fact that these uniforms contain formaldehyde which is causing TSA employees to break out with rashes.
Via Washington Post
4. Everyone involved in confiscating a homemade battery and then bragging about it
This was really a joint effort. A TSA officer confiscated a completely harmless home-brew battery because they thought it was an explosive. The bomb experts who examined it realized it wasn’t capable of exploding, but the TSA apparently wanted the souvenir. This kind of thing happens all the time, but the really weird thing about the story is that someone at the TSA website then went on to brag about their victory, you know, of confiscating a battery that they called “explosive-like” for no good reason.
3. The TSA Inspector who grounded 9 planes by climbing sensory equipment
We can’t help but feel like things in this story don’t add up. The TSO in question damaged an aircraft’s sensory equipment in order to conduct an overnight security check. Not only did they damage the plane, potentially risking the lives of future passengers when their sole purpose is to “maintain security” but they also clearly must not understand the planes that they are inspecting otherwise they probably wouldn’t have used the TAT probe as a ladder.
Via ABC News
2. The team behind the “behavior detection” system that doesn’t work
It turns out that the “intense” training course that every member of the TSA was subject to is completely bunk. Apparently 99% of the IDs made using this system were false positives. Less than 1% led to arrests, and presumably even less lead to convictions. It’s hard to imagine why anyone would link criminal activity to signs of stress while travelling… because when is travelling NOT stressful?
Via Boing Boing
1. The TSA screener who smuggled a gun (and still has a job)
Whoops, did I accidentally sneak a gun into security? My hand must have slipped as I passed it around the metal detector and put it back in my holster. Yeah, and I never got the handbook that said “no guns allowed” so it’s not really MY fault. *Sigh* And yep, last we’ve heard, this guy still has a job. Wow.
Via Boing Boing