Journalism in the Public Interest

TSA Reveals Passenger Complaints … Four Years Later

It took the Transportation Security Administration nearly four years to respond to our public records request for passenger complaints against the agency.

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May 4, 2012, 8:03 p.m.

Wow!  800 requests in one year?  How on Earth could they cope?

I should note that I’m writing from Australia, with less than 10% of the US population.  We have government agencies employing less than 200 people that deal with more requests than that.  And respond.

chic twice

May 4, 2012, 8:30 p.m.

Recently I travelled to Japan to inter a family member in the Buddhist tradition , it was my misfortune to return on Delta to Atlanta. Very long lines at the immigration section, but the agent was efficient and courteous.I proceded to exit the airport (carry on luggage) . I was corraled by a TSA ballast person who said I had to go through security, shoes off, luggage heave,bell walkthru, the whole nine yards, this after security at Narita and a tiring flight where a waitress spilled hot tea on my arm.It seems the government has morphed in an organization to harrass it’s own citizen’s.,I hope Rep Peter King L.I. Chairman of the TSA (Homeland security) reads this,He should be ashamed of his muslim hysteria which importunes the harrassment of American Citizens,many who are veterans to boot…Yes I was a republican but now I am a Recycle Party Member.Disband the TSA . This is a poor way to keep thugs off the street…Recycle congress

Bruce Hanke

May 4, 2012, 8:40 p.m.

This TSA abomination is the reason I no longer fly commercial air carrier unless absolutely necessary. This formerly very frequent flyer and retired military man refuses to be subjected any more to the bypassing of the U.S. Constitution by these criminals we call TSA screeners, whose jobs have been elevated to unnecessary extremes by the arrogance of morons like TSA director John Pistole and all those involved in establishing the TSA who should be in jail for the damage they’ve done to this country by perverting passenger and baggage screening. For most people the job is not too difficult to figure out, but the TSA collection of losers has taken a simple process to an all new level of bureaucratic incomptence. Amazing that this kind of lunacy actually goes on. We are truly in deep trouble…....

Rosemary Mulligan

May 4, 2012, 8:55 p.m.

Yes, the TSA organization is ineffective
Yes, they violate our bodies
Yes, they violate the law and constitution.
Work together to effectuate change.


May 4, 2012, 8:58 p.m.

I quit flying when they started the pat downs.  If everyone boycotted them they would soon change.  When the pat downs and the scans stop, I might fly again. Until then, I have a car.
And there is always the bus and trains for now.


May 4, 2012, 9:11 p.m.

This is why I don’t fly anymore.

I’m waiting for a new Congress and a new President who will abolish this sick, un-American “agency”.

Jimmy Dean

May 4, 2012, 10:06 p.m.

I’m avoiding flying when ever I can.  For vacations I seek to drive.  For work I avoid all meetings via airplane when possible.  Use teleconference when ever I can.  For training I use a drive-able venue even if it costs lots more.  I used to fly 100 flights a year.  This year two and hoping for no more than that. 

Airlines loose along with foreign vacation destinations.  Keeping my vacation money in the USA and my business travel as local as possible. 

Airlines suck now for the most part too. 

TSA was going through the waiting area last time I flew taking some samples from everyone’s coffee cups.  I was not drinking anything but I think that would have been the end of it for me.  I’ll be damned if a couple of minimum wage aholes will stick something in my drink at the gate.  Soon they will walk up to people at the gate and run a probe up your a$$ in front of everyone.  Hell might as well strip everyone and make us all fly naked.  Makes Nazi Germany look innocent.

Mike Mathew

May 4, 2012, 11:05 p.m.

The Gov. employs the unemployable, god bless ‘em for the effort. It ain’t gonna work.

Mike Mathew

May 4, 2012, 11:09 p.m.

The Gov. employs the unemployable,  bless ‘em for the effort. It ain’t gonna work.

Your Real Name

May 4, 2012, 11:43 p.m.

Close enough for government work.

The Obama Regime would like to tell you that this is Bush’s fault.

They would also like you to believe it.


May 5, 2012, 12:03 a.m.

I have a load of metal in my body, fly so much I am sick of all airports and yet I loathe coming back into or departing the USA through TSA.  And that it took this long for FOIA requests to be processed continues to promulgate the fact that this administration considers itself above the populace and the electorate.  Time to put the high pressure sewage cleaning system to all of DC, de-centralize the US Government into regional operations centers and turn all Airport Security over to the States and the Air National Guard in each state.  It’s easier and smarter to have properly trained personnel secure our installations than it is to train and contend with the goobers currently in the TSA.

marlio c

May 5, 2012, 1:34 a.m.

Im not planning to fly again either until they disband the TSA.  These searches are unconstitutional, legal, molestation by low lifes which produce and have not stopped any kind of threat.  People who want to take down our system, will be able to do it without going through TSA lines but of course, michael merchoff and soros want to get back the investment they have made in these dangerous, back scanners.  I think they will eventually dismantle the machines, because they are not safe and radiation builds up if you continuously go through them every week.  I dont want cancer, and I imagine most of the agents working for tsa will have some type of cancer in 10 years, but of course the govt is not going to tell them the threat.  and the type of people they hire are probably not going to find this out on their own.


May 5, 2012, 1:42 a.m.

My wife and I live in Nevada but spend most of the summer in Michigan. We normaly fly but just tonight were talking about driving. Both my wife and i have had bad experiances with the TSA mainly on the Nevada side that coupled with the cost of flying these days. Charges for carry on and checked bags have gone off the charts.Driving mite make more sense. If this is protecting me please stop.

lee clayton

May 5, 2012, 1:44 a.m.

Firstly the TSA is a morally bankrupt institution. Having said that as to some earlier comenters asking about FOIA requests. I’m pretty sure the Feds don’t have to honor them if they claim a National Security Interest in the information. Since all scans are in the national security interest according to the TSA, they hsve no obligation to answer for them. Anyone here ever read Joseph Heller “catch 22”?


May 5, 2012, 3:28 a.m.

Lisa Simeone.  Wow, brilliant and original.


May 5, 2012, 4:07 a.m.

I advise my foreign friends to skip the US unless absolutely necessary.  It’s demopublican fascist government is increasingly unpleasant, dangerous and expensive ropoffs. Ditto many states and city governments.

Toni Gut

May 5, 2012, 6:04 a.m.

In reading the comments, I find it unacceptable and despicable that anyone should be subjected to unfair treatment on the basis of race or profiling. Though, our country has come a long ways to where it was before, where men and woman were dehumanized because of the color of thier skin. America has come along way to commit to that change, however difficult as race and class has been sewn into the frabics of our minds. 
TSA does not racial profile nor act like perverts while engaging and submitting passengers for Advanced Image Technology for security purposes.  Passengers have tapped TSA agency weakness by vehmently critcizing the security process to disparage and create a TSA campaign against the removal of TSA. 
One of the problems that affect the Transportation Security Administration is that the position that security officers perform are not fully legitimize. Passengers know that security officers do not have authority. That a security officer are at the whim of what a passenger says about him/her. 
Passenger can easily complain about customer service.  So, a screeening search that is necessary becomes reduced to less complete search. Because the supervisor becomes intimidated; the security officer is afraid to do his/her job because it may lead the passenger to disparage or exaggerate a situation, usually in favor to CUSTOMER SERVICE.
Therefore, undermining security process and lieu of making the passenger feel confident that the public service is a service, and the security oriented becomes the secondary objective.  TSA wants to be a customer service agency they should take the uniforms and badges away and train the personnel to become airline stewards and cocktail embassadors/barristas.  This way TSA can focus on appealing and making the passengers happy.  TSA can open massage booths and hire clowns to make passengers laugh through security instead complain that they were patted down because a passenger enter the screening area with a can of tear gas or .357 magnum.

Many passengers come to airport with their personal freedoms and righteous agenda, often undermiming and attempting to circumvent the security process to prove their rights. While not considering the security procedures in place and the persons conducting security procedures are trying to protect the safety of the passengers and business surrounding airport travel.  Often passengers come to the airport with their political agenda against TSA, but take it out security personnel, who are employed to carry out the safety measures. 
Many passengers enter into the screening area to test the procedures and ridicule and complain about being screening. 
Passengers demonize security personnel and exaggerate occurences and omit facts in order to support their own demands or justify their complaints.
Passeger ridicule and disparage TSA because it is easy.  Passengers know that TSA security has not been fully legitimize, and the officers will not be supported if anything happened.  A passenger’s proceeding to an airport security process use intimidation tactics like showing off thier police badge and get on the offense and passengers are verbally abusive toward TSA security because passengers know they can get away with treating TSA security personnel like morons and stooges. 

TSA created a precedent by allowing hostile and rude passengers to fly on a aircraft, while unintentionally undermining security for which it was supposed to stand in favor of the passenger with doughnut and police badge that they tout in the airport to get special respect, that they do not even deserve. 
Passengers know that they fly with their trump cards, by showing thier police badge, crying injustices toward thier constitutional rights, intimidating and interfering with security procedures, and adding weight against the unjust disparagement.  TSA needs to reevaluate its objective and make up thier mind: Protect the public, the infrastructure, or become and agency to satisfy and appease every passenger using the trump card. 
To eliminate TSA without a fromidable plan will be the day that many constituients will come to regret.  Everyone knows that TSA can be better. But how far TSA will be improved requires the proper investment and support in its frontline people.


May 5, 2012, 7:07 a.m.

Because of a few Crazy Groups of People this is now what it takes to keep us safe.. So please stop your bitching!! Its a shame our world has come to this but, it has and we have to live with it.

Al of GA

May 5, 2012, 7:10 a.m.

The TSA is the president’s personal unionized army.  Watch them grow in their efforts to control all of us.

dave hall

May 5, 2012, 7:21 a.m.

at security i have had a very nice anniversary gift - a watch- stolen. after another flight i open my luggage, and in the center of the clothes- found a wet grape juice stain on a white tee shirt.just that shirt. i do not drink grape juice. there is no juice at my house… some tsa slob was drinking it while searching my luggage. ( probably for an ipod to steal.)
i watch these idiots searching attractive ladies in tiny summer dresses, old women, and little kids all the time. at one airport i can leave my belt on, the next, i have to remove about everything but my johnson. state run terroristic thugs is all they are, and we pay their wages and benifits. ok, i’m done here. have a great day america!


May 5, 2012, 7:41 a.m.

We got the government we voted for and will vote for…again.  People are so determined to be safe (financially, physically and every other way from the womd to the tomb) they don’t consider if it is the responsibility for government to prevent or prosecute crime.  If it is to prevent, where do you stop?  Where is that defining line?  Sure, have a government response to foreign countries that use a collective power to attack our freedoms but does that require taking away the responsibility found in the freedom of self-government?  You can’t have ultimate security with self-government because it produces catastrophe.  It is like trying to give a kid a car, education, phone and credit without limits with the expectation that he will use all of that responsibly without consequences.  He becomes self idolized and self loathing with an entitlement mentality that makes him unable to succeed in life because he has never had to learn responsibility.

Of course, this describes over 50% of the US populace who are willing to trade their freedoms and/or the freedoms of others for their government benefit.  Welcome to America and the result of progressive/liberal thinking that destroys the heart and soul of a man.  It devalues poor while villanizing the successful.  Slothfulness and irresponsibility is awarded while inginuity and self-governence is penalized.  Our forefathers would be ashamed.

We get Bush to “maintain” us and we got lies.  We get Clinton to “rebuild” us and we got the loss of industry and state secrets to foreign nationals.  We get Bush to “protect” us and we lost our freedoms.  We get Obama to “provide” for us and we got robbed. We’ll get Romney to “fix” us and we’ll get something else we didn’t want while just building up government.  We just need someone to leave us alone.  Stop doing us favors.  Shrink, go away.  Build roads and maintain an armed force from outside agressors.  Stop being our nanny.  Let us live and die with dignity.

Kylie Gillespie

May 5, 2012, 8:12 a.m.

Thank-you to Nina Van Der Roos for giving me new insights.
Like Nina Van Der Roos, my Australian family would choose not to fly to the USA to avoid the dangerous process of full-body-scanning and the hideous processes of full-body-pat-downs.  I can only imagine how his wife would feel…

My only comfort in watching the USA horror-show unfolding was that it was ‘only in America’ and couldn’t happen in Australia.

We have just learned this week that Australia will be rolling out the same scanners in all international airports from July this year.  AND, worse still, the Australian Government has changed Australian Aviation Security regulations to close all ‘loopholes’ that would give travellers the option to ‘opt out’ of scanning.  i.e. Their policy will be ‘no scan, no fly’!!

I am feeling very beaten up at the moment about this news.  There is so much at stake…
I am attempting to put a petition on Avaaz for Australians and all potential international visitors, to tell the Australian Government that they will boycott travel in and out of Australia if this goes ahead.
If you are able to support this campaign to allow us the right to choose to protect ourselves from dangerous radiation, please find it on Avaaz and sign.


May 5, 2012, 8:18 a.m.

We don’t have to fly. There are trains, buses and cars. If we act with our wallets this will change. American freedom is dying, but it is not dead. Act with your money and vote with your head.

John Paul Thornton

May 5, 2012, 8:31 a.m.

The TSA is a joke and an utter waste of taxpayer money. Do you feel safer? Or more shat upon than ever? Its like they play a game at what is the most egregious thing they can get away with and still exist/ keep their jobs.

Well, NO MORE! We should band together and create one of those ubiquitous petitions going around now and demand DIGNITY AND A SEMBLANCE OF PROFESSIONALISM or DISBAND THE AGENCY.


May 5, 2012, 9:04 a.m.

Meanwhile, Big Sis just keeps telling us how much safer we are…

More victims in Mexican massacre found across border

SIX miles from the border:  The bodies of nine people were found hanging from a bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, just 6 miles from the U.S. border. Five were men and four women.

Pictures showed the nine bound, gagged and hanged.


May 5, 2012, 9:10 a.m.

John Paul Thornton, are you kidding me!?!  What about government makes you so compelled that you think that they CAN do anything but create disaster.  Have you not learned that since the New Deal that more government is nothing more than an unmittigated disaster?  And a petition!?!  Are you kidding me?  Signing a paper doesn’t do anything.  You need to first teach people, shame them if they aren’t willing to stand up on their own two feet and then urge them to vote government out of our lives.  Government is the problem and an uneducated and slothful public creates it.

mac mcintire

May 5, 2012, 9:13 a.m.

Tsa has become a rogue agency with no one in charge. Congress has oversite. Yet I have heard nothing from them about reigning in this massive out of control agency.  Until we can get Congress to actually do its job we Americans are screwdriver.  Freedoms and liberties come ar a cost. There will always be danger to them. But it becomes more dangerous to give into the fear. Look what it brought us. Tsa.  When you find missing items in your bag you call the airlines. Who then pay out money for the missing items. Yet Tsa are the ones who. Control access to your bag till loaded. More and more of these thieves are being caught. Wonder how big the problem really is


May 5, 2012, 9:35 a.m.

I do hope the TSA employees like their jobs as they are unlikely to find another one. If I see TSA on a resume that person has no chance of employment, why would I subject my customers to that kind of service?


May 5, 2012, 10:06 a.m.

I AM SO FREAKIN’ TIRED OF THE THINGS THAT GO ON FROM SOLYNDRA TO MICHELE’S VACATIONS TO TSA… I know there are many more… this partisan crap, “it’s OK because I agree with them politically” HAS GOT TO STOP.

Colonel Tom

May 5, 2012, 10:19 a.m.

The whole TSA is staffed with incompetent flamers, top to bottom.  They’re almost as incompetent as ICE and DEA.

Mike Hunt

May 5, 2012, 10:37 a.m.

I love all the dimwits who blame Obama for TSA when George Bush created TSA and stock market was 7,000 when Bush left office (it’s 13,000 today) and on 9-11-2001 George Bush prayed for 7 minutes while reading children’s books after being told America is under attack. Look at George Bush’s evil beady little eyes when told we are under attack. Looks like he knew it was going to happen. “Die for oil, sucker.”- Jello Biafra


May 5, 2012, 11:02 a.m.

Well anyone who votes for the Democratic Party in my opinion forfeits their right to complain. The Democratic party is all about controlling people’s lives on any and every level, if you still don’t get this then perhaps a good search of your physical cavities is just what you need to make you “wise up!” and don’t even say well “the republicans are just as bad!” you just show your ignorance, believe me as a member of the independent party, I have plenty of beefs with the republican party, but I’m not blind and stupid either, the republican party is not the same as the democratic party, they do not align themselves with the “black panthers” they are not supported by various unions, they are not trying to destroy the engine of a wealthy economy “Big Oil”, etc., etc., every time some idiot throws the lever by voting for a Democrat he is saying “Hey, I’m a moron, punk me!”


May 5, 2012, 11:08 a.m.

The picture with this says its a year old or so.  You can also tell its old because the TSA employee in the picture doesn’t have one of the shiny new police-style badges they now wear on their shirts.


May 5, 2012, 11:25 a.m.

TSA=otherwise unemployable. Most of those people working airport security were on public assistance and as part of the government program to help them get on their feet were forced into a paid training program.

Dave S

May 5, 2012, 11:29 a.m.

For the guy who said don’t fly. That is not the answer when they keep expanding to other parts of our lives. Trains, Buses (In Houston), HiWays in TN. It will get to the point we cannot go anywhere without approval.
This is America, not USSR.

Edward von Richtoven

May 5, 2012, 11:54 a.m.

I credit the author for his work and his intentions, but surely he realizes this leviathan called the TSA is getting larger, more oppressive, and continually pushes the unconstitutional envelope.  In Denver International Airport…. the airport that overlies a huge underground city designed for the survival of the three branches of government when the oppressed American people revolt…prior to my departure, the TSA gave me big trouble for a manual DOVO stainless steel nose hair clipper…with NO sharp edges…shaped like 1/2 a pen….after they cleared me, frisked me, xrayed me, and gave me a hard time, I offered to have them circulate the clipper among their employees to do an immediate inservice so that other passengers could avoid this crap in the future…they threatened my arrest!!!  I don’t have much respect for these guys.


May 5, 2012, 11:54 a.m.

no matter what period of time you step into all powers at that time have paper pushers which jobs are just pushing paper, a heirarchy of waste, fraud and abuse.

Jim in Houston

May 5, 2012, Noon

Only four years to respond, sounds like a very efficient bureaucratic organization. They usually never respond.

Katrina Bada

May 5, 2012, 12:52 p.m.

So part of the backlog is reviewing an 87 page document.  Huh… Common sense is extinct if we continue to keep hiring people that do not have a sense of accountability.


May 5, 2012, 12:55 p.m.

From the general tenor and tone of these comments one could conclude that air travel passengers in this country are a bunch of selfish, bitter, unappreciative, ignorant nitwits.  What is it that is so arduous about the air travel security process? I mean, really? The TSA (not created by Obama) do make mistakes and need to develop better methods. But they have an impossible job; too lenient and something really bad happens, people express outrage, politicians jump all over them and heads roll; too strict and people express outrage, politicians jump all over them and heads roll. Get over yourselves! There are plenty of good reasons to keep weapons off aircraft. People can go nuts over anything, as evidenced by the recent events involving mentally unstable crew members and passengers. Would you want one of those people with a weapon?

James Atkinson

May 5, 2012, 1:38 p.m.

Neither I nor any of my firm will fly commercial ever again.  At additional expense we send our people on flights available at general aviation airports.  On journeys of 500 miles, in good weather, at extra cost, we frequently drive at leisure.  This may not seem feasible to many, but we refuse to be the object of entertainment for moronic TSA government employees.  Isn’t it amusing that a government energized to attack bullying is itself the bully.  Do we need to address terrorist threats? Yes, but not with government ham-fisted amateurs.  Israelis are very proficient at airport security.  At the slightest examination of their operations, they do not recruit from society’s bottom rung.  Israel’s security system is not organized as a government employment gambit.


May 5, 2012, 1:50 p.m.

The TSA is the perfect example of how our country is going so wrong. When they aren’t violating peoples rights, molesting and humiliating them then they are stealing from people’s bags. More overstepping and abuse by our increasingly power hunger government.
TSA should be disbanded now. This country claims to be about one thing but then for the whole world to see, it treats the American people as badly as it possibly can just because they have the nerve to want to go somewhere on a plane. Terrorism my eye, it is only about government abuse of power against its citizens.

Giovanni Galtiago

May 5, 2012, 2:02 p.m.

I was on a flight on 9/11 on that morning, one of the many flights forced to land.  We drove back home from Ohio to Georgia.

I used to fly 2-4 times a week.  Since the institution of the TSA, I quit flying and started to work out of my home.  If I cannot get there by car, I telecommute unless it is a family emergency.

If presented with a TSA agent who has the intent to go beyond what I think is reasonable, I will choose not to fly that day.  Folks, stand your ground. 

The government has ceased to be of the people, by the people and for the people.  Instead, it is aggressively against its people and getting worse.  Though we never had an official or legal right to privacy in the constitution, the government no longer has the belief that we should have an expectation of privacy.  It goes beyond travel and invades every part of our lives.

This is not a left or right thing, this is a direct attack on the principles of this country, found no where else on this globe, that we are a nation of laws designed to protect the individual from government over-reach.

Giovanni Galtiago

May 5, 2012, 2:09 p.m.

One more thing.  To anyone who would want to present the argument that the TSA is helping save my life:

As an American, I would rather die in an exploding plane than accept a diminished Constitution - a belief I had 1, 5, 10, 20 and 40 years ago and still hold today.



May 5, 2012, 2:11 p.m.

The sooner this bunch of goons is gone the better.

Doug Kendrick

May 5, 2012, 4:26 p.m.

I predicted it woluld get worse after it unionized!


May 5, 2012, 4:46 p.m.

Does anyone really believe the 911 story anymore?  It was a setup for a bunch of reasons.  One being that they needed a way to setup a police state in America and not have the people freek out.  So…..make then think that there are people out to get them and they will hand over the few rights theynhave left.  They knew the people would beg to have their kids groped if they could scare them bad enough.  Why a police state??  It’s there for the next phase of the new world orders plans.  The will soon collapse our currency, cause pandemonium, and then wait for the people to beg for their solution.  A one world government with a one world currency.

But I am crazy! 

Have to go.  Dancing with the stars in on at seven!


May 5, 2012, 6:17 p.m.

Just stop flying, or fly privately or get on a maintenance flight that is privately owned if it’s that important. Hell people who own private jets could make a killing selling anonymous seats on their unused jets…

Derek Scoble

May 5, 2012, 6:26 p.m.

I would like to see someone develop a webpage/phone app that lets travelers rate their TSA experience by airport.  Categories could be Professionalism, Courtesy, Speed, Theft, and Barney Fife Factor.  As a frequent traveler, I know that every airport TSA group has a different personality.  Some are great (relatively) to work with while others take themselves way too seriously and are not deserving of respect or cooperation.  Unfortunately, the government would label this a security risk and stop any efforts to independently rate their performance as it’s all about control, in the lines and in the press.


May 5, 2012, 7:06 p.m.

From all the comments and ridiculous misinformation posted here, I can see that at least half of you are lying about your experiences with TSA and 99 percent of the remaining people are just making stuff up to, I suppose, feel important.

Regardless, the overwhelming majority of you are simply too stupid to ever be allowed on board an aircraft without parental supervision…

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