DENVER (CBS4)– Long lines at security checkpoints at airports across the nation seem to be getting worse and the Transportation Safety Administration is putting some of the responsibility on passengers.
“We are not here today to blame passengers, but it is one contributing factor to long lines at the airports,” Mark Howell, TSA Regional Spokesperson, said Thursday.
Security lines have caused headaches and delays for passengers around the country. On Thursday, agents staged an unscientific show and tell at Chicago’s hard-hit Midway airport to illustrate how prohibited items like water bottles and knives back up the lines.
“When we are able to process passengers quickly through the line when they don’t have those bottles of water, pocket knives and other prohibited items, they went through in about a minute and 50 seconds for 10 passengers,” Howell told reporters.
CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann spoke with travelers at Denver International Airport and found a few who agree with TSA.
“They bring just too much stuff,” passenger Glenn Hoge said of other travelers. “Just too much stuff onto carry-on, water bottles… it slows down the line.”
But others, like Diane Foley, believe the TSA is pointing the finger in the wrong direction.
“I think people have been going through TSA long enough that you know what you need to do,” Foley said. “I don’t think it’s necessarily people, it’s in understaffed issue.”
The agency is hiring an extra 768 screeners nationwide over the next month to help with the crowds. However, TSA says a boom in air travel will likely keep checkpoints packed.
“We are seeing an average of seven percent more passengers from last year to this year and some larger airports up to 15 percent more,” Howell said.
Travel is expected to hit new records this summer, including at DiA. The upcoming Memorial Day weekend could be the busiest ever.
A Frustrated Traveler’s Video of Massive Airport TSA Security Line Goes Viral: VIDEO
Viral video of extremely long TSA security lines at Midway airport were seen close to 1,000,000 times in the first day !
Okay, So we have all been here before right? Standing in line for some ridiculous bull-sh*t,running late because of difficulties with TSA security lines, but now it seems like the problem is getting worse – this is another example of massive TSA security lines at United-States airports. As one frustrated traveler at Chicago’s Midway airport illustrated, drawing attention to the problem by shooting a video of the line he had to endure, and watching as the footage is still going viral.
“Oh no, we’re just getting started,” says passenger Sean H, as he snakes around corner after corner in a seemingly endless labyrinth filled with passengers and their bags.
Last week, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey suggested it would replace the United-States Transportation Safety Administration with private contractors if it did not improve its “abysmal” performance. The Port Authority’s letter to the TSA echoes sentiments expressed in a similar letter in February by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the nation’s busiest airport. The Port Authority, which operates the JFK International and La’Guardia airports in New York and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, is urging the TSA to increase resources for its security-screening services.
“I share your concerns,” he said. “I hold those who violate standards accountable.”
The Transportation security agency has come under fire recently for increasingly long security lines at airports. Some airlines have said that the increase in wait times has caused passengers to miss flights. Some airports, such as Seattle-Tacoma International airport frustrated by the TSA security lines say they are considering Dropping TSA for Private Security.
Transportation Security Administration administrator Peter Neffenger, seen here in November, has asked Congress for a slight increase in screeners for 2017. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Mr. Peter Neffenger, (Transportation Security Administration) administrator said the long lines were a result of staffing shortages and higher-than-forecast passenger numbers.
While ABC 7 Chicago reported that the queue was about an hour long, social media users said it was double even triple that, with one saying that the line went as far as to the car park out side.
We here @Wearechange.org suggest that you always prepare for a extended and difficult flight, dress comfortably, arrive early and give yourself plenty of time to board your plane, don’t forget to relax, listen to calming music, bring a book to read. With in the anti-corruption, alternative media community we knew with the formation of the TSA, and with the stringent security protocols enacted with the NDAA, that global transportation in the post 9/11 world was going to be a representation of everything that we dislike about the tyrannical, authoritarian, paranoid police state, and sadly it does not look like it will be loosening up its grasp on the people anytime soon.
“It is only going to get worse as travel ramps up in the spring and summer,” says Doug Parker, chief executive at American Airlines, which has seen more bags miss flights in Miami because of delays getting them screened by TSA security.
“We all want security at airports, but TSA has an obligation to be properly staffed to handle the traffic. Currently they are well understaffed and there don’t seem to be any plans in place to address the shortage.”
On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration chief administrator claimed before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that the agency is no longer going after whistleblowers.
While testifying on Thursday morning, the TSA’s Peter Neffenger asserted that the agency has made great strides against the controversial retaliation since he took over in July of last year. Many whistleblowers had previously come forward stating that employees who dared to question or report fraud and abuse would be reassigned against their will or forced into early retirement.
“I discontinued directed reassignments explicitly,” Neffenger told the committee. “I don’t tolerate that. It’s illegal, unethical and most of those people doing directed reassignments no longer work at the agency.”
He claimed that employees are now encouraged to come forward with their concerns, and can speak with him directly instead of going through other channels.
“So if there are people watching this at TSA who feel they are being wrongfully retaliated against, you’re saying you have an open door?” Representative Elijah E. Cummings asked.
“They can come directly to me,” Neffenger replied.
Neffenger was brought to lead the agency one month after auditors were able to smuggle fake weapons and explosives past screeners 67 out 70 times during testing.
The TSA chief explained that he found “systematic problems” with the training of agents and their use of the equipment when he first took over, and forced all employees to go through a two month long retraining — including some of the highest level senior management.
Many Republican lawmakers favor privatizing the agency, while many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, are calling for it to remain a government agency — and for Congress to approve more funding.
“Certainly some of the challenges that they’re facing right now could be alleviated if they got all of the funding that we would like to see them have,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday. “So once again, a problem that people have noticed can be traced back pretty directly to the inability of Republicans in Congress to govern the country.”
The Transportation Security Administration is admitting their mistake and claiming that agents “did not follow correct screening protocols,” after they “humiliated” a wheelchair-bound six-time Olympic champion at the Denver Airport over the weekend.
Amy Van Dyken-Rouen is a famed Olympic swimmer who was in an ATV crash in 2014 that left her paralyzed from the waist down, she now uses a wheelchair for mobility.
On Sunday, Van Dyken-Rouen was at the Denver International Airport where she was subjected to a full body search, despite having TSA’s Pre-Check pass. She immediately took to Instagram to detail the incident and speak out against their actions.
“With the positive in my journey, there is also negative. Need to make changes for all in ??. @denairport @tsa pre check officer was rude, and in correct. Said every airport in country BUT Den is doing it wrong. Had a full body pat down, and was humiliated by him as well. Thank you STSO Keith Rogers!!! I’m going to find out if the rest of the country is wrong, or if HE is wrong. I’ll get back to you,” Van Dyken-Rouen wrote in the Instagram caption.
She also spoke to the Denver ABC affiliate and told them that, “they go around your breasts, they basically go under your butt and the just grab things, not grab, they touch things that are not appropriate and it’s really embarrassing.”
On Monday, the TSA released a statement that the officers involved in the incident were being retrained.
“TSA works closely with the disability community to develop screening procedures that integrate the unique needs of those with disabilities or medical issues into the process. TSA reviews passenger complaints, and in this case determined that our officers did not follow correct screening protocols when Ms. Amy Van Dyken came through the security checkpoint at Denver International Airport (DEN) this weekend. TSA’s federal security director has reached out to Ms. Van Dyken. The officers involved are undergoing retraining, and TSA Denver is providing refresher training to all of its officers as well,” the statement said.
Van Dyken-Rouen hopes that by speaking out she will help prevent the same embarrassment from happening to others.
-Seattle- Washington: This just in- the TSA continues making a 12 hour drive seem more attractive then commuting with standard commercial airliners. Recently Seattle-Tacoma International airport, better known as SEA-TAC, created a few headlines within the main stream media. This happened because managing director Lance Lyttle announced publicly to local KIRO 7 news that he was;
“Considering all options [to reduce waiting times] including replacing the TSA with private security contractors. It’s really a sign of us looking outside the box,” Lance Lyttle said. “We have a problem and we can’t operate the same way and expect different results.”
Travelers’ reviews and the TSA’s official website state that check in times for flights can often reach well over an hour and a half during peak travel periods. This announcement comes just shortly after one of the world’s busiest airports – Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport – issued a warning to its TSA agents last month over too few screeners and growing passenger waiting times.
TSA Satire [NSFW] Spoiler alert it’s not funny.
According to a TSA spokesperson, the security line waiting times have jumped dramatically in the first few months of 2016 as a result of many factors such as remodeled security checkpoints, a reduction in the number of agents, insufficient training, and more people flying. But the honest truth is that the Transportation Security Administration, the Aviation and Transportation Security Act that created it, and the National Defense Authorization Act that sustains it are, and were always a part of the Hegelian incrementalism designed to create a one world authoritarian police state. It is no secret that prior to 9/11, very limited federal security aviation requirements existed. Yet under these progressive 9/11 provisions the TSA has exponentially grown the federal authority to oversee security for highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, pipelines, sea-ports and more than 450 airports in the United States.
Numerous critics have asserted that the TSA is a waste of tax-payer finances. They cite the fact that TSA employees have literally been caught sleeping on the job, bypassed security checks, and on multiple occasions failed to use good judgment and common sense. TSA agents have been accused of mistreating and sexually harassing passengers, having used invasive screening procedures and touching genitals – including those of children – removing nipple rings with pliers and searching passengers or their belongings for items other than weapons or explosives in order to steal passenger posessions. The TSA fired 28 agents and suspended 15 others after an investigation determined they failed to scan checked baggage for explosives. The TSA was also accused of having spent lavishly on events unrelated to airport security, installing body scanners for insider profit instead of safety, and wasting money in hiring, including a recent $1.4 million purchase of an app that makes right and left arrows. A 2013 report by the Homeland Security Department Inspector General’s Office charged that TSA was using criminal investigators to do the job of lower paid employees, wasting millions of dollars a year.
On Wednesday, Peter Neffenger, Head of the TSA told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that he’s made resolving the problem of long lines a top “priority” for TSA and plans to visit Sea-Tac as early as next week. During a Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday, Neffenger welcomed Senate proposals to beef up airport security, saying“We have to mitigate what is going to be a very challenging summer season by pushing as many new hires as we can into the system.” The total failure of the TSA to detect bombs during drills and the many other deep-seated issues of the TSA were not discussed.
Related: Today in a 91-5 vote, the Senate also adopted an amendment from Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) that would double the number of Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams — which are deployed to inspect travelers This comes after a vote Thursday which adopted an amendment containing the text of several bills to strengthen airport employee vetting, expand the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program and donate unneeded security equipment to foreign airports that have direct flights to the U.S.
The provision was sponsored by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Lawmakers have been pushing to attach the provisions to the FAA bill after a deadly terrorist attack on a Brussels airport and subway station last month. Current legal authority for FAA programs expires July 15.
“Events around the world and security lapses at U.S. airports necessitate new protections for the traveling public,” Thune said in a statement.
Thune’s amendment would increase random inspections of airport workers at secure area access points, require the TSA to conduct a review of the insider threat posed by airport employees and enhance employee vetting and eligibility requirements.
It would also expand the use of so-called red teams, which are special units which conduct covert operations to test airport security by attempting to sneak dangerous materials into airports.
An article published today on TheHill.com references the same Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday where TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger welcomed the Senate proposals to beef up airport security. Neffenger said if he received additional VIPR teams, he would quote “put them to use…Anything we can do to tighten the oversight of the insider population to verify their trusted status is worth doing.”
The question is what exactly are all these provisions being set in place after the attack on Brussels actually meant to accomplish. The congressional idea that somehow the answer to the TSA debacle is simply to add more agents doing random checks clearly shows just how out of touch with reality some of these congressional representatives really are.
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