Posts Tagged ‘Airline Passengers’

A Good Cop Steps Up

by Bob Livingston on Friday, November 30th, 2012

This is article 61 of 71 in the topic Travel/Transportation
A Good Cop Steps Up


Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy Stan Lenic understands the Constitution, and his stand on its behalf has made him an overnight Internet sensation.

Lenic was called in to the Albany (N.Y.) International Airport last week to resolve a growing confrontation between the airport’s PR hack Doug Myers and a couple of activists handing out flyers informing airline passengers of their right to opt out of the airport’s naked body scanners. Myers tried to get them to stop handing out flyers and videotaping their activities.

Myers made the two move to a new location then accused them of blocking traffic while standing where he told them to stand. In an obvious intimidation tactic, Myers demanded their identification — even though videographer Jason Bermas gave Myers his name several times — and told Lenic to get their IDs and, with a wink, said to give their information to him. Lenic told Myers the two did not have to produce IDs.

“Obviously this is your Constitutional right, okay?” Lenic told Ashley Jessica and Jason Bermas. “As far as you’re concerned, you’re not breaking any laws. That’s what I want to get across to you guys.”

After Bermas posted the video to YouTube, it went viral. The Albany County Sheriff’s Department began getting calls and emails from across the Nation commending Lenic’s actions in defense of the 1st Amendment. A Facebook page for Lenic was up within hours.

Lenic got it right and deserves all the accolades he receives for his actions.

Watch the whole video:

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Congressional panel holding closed hearing on IEDs

by Jim Kouri on Friday, July 13th, 2012

This is article 309 of 804 in the topic Terrorism

The Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, chaired by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), is holding a closed hearing entitled “Securing Ammonium Nitrate: Using Lessons Learned in Afghanistan to Protect the Homeland from IEDs” this morning.

The scheduled hearing is examining the intelligence gathering, information sharing and inter-agency coordination between the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) on combating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in the battlefield and their possible use within the U.S. homeland.

Committee members are hearing from several witnesses on ways to prevent attacks using IEDs, such as tracking the use of ammonium nitrate, a key ingredient used by terrorist bomb-makers.

Because the House members and witnesses are discussing classified information at this hearing, the Subcommittee intends to move directly to close the hearing and transition to a secure hearing room in order to receive classified testimony.

“The IED is still one of the greatest threats to our troops in Afghanistan, and it remains a global threat. Just days ago, a blast went off in Mexico right before the Presidential elections. Earlier this year a potential attack on the U.S. Capitol was thwarted. [This] hearing will focus on the lessons learned from our wartime experiences to combat this global threat and to protect the Homeland,” said Chairman Lungren in a statement.

Terrorists are constantly changing their tactics to avoid detection and achieve successful operations and that includes the design of IEDs, said former NYPD bomb technician and training officer at the New York City Police Academy.

For example, counterterrorism officials have often warned American and foreign airlines that terrorists may be planning to surgically implant bombs inside the bodies of airline passengers. The threat brings new meaning to the term “suicide bomber” and “improvised explosive device,” one official told the Law Enforcement Examiner.

“Recent intelligence brought to light the possible terrorist scheme but no specific plot had been uncovered,” according to a Law Enforcement Examiner source.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox News Channel that a bomb implanted in airline passengers is something government security officials have been worried about for “a while.”

“This is a concern about human bombs,” King said. “We believe we’ve informed everyone.”

A U.S. security official told the Law Enforcement Examiner that a body bomb implanted is likely to come from overseas rather than domestically and that precautionary steps have been taken internationally and in the United States to be on guard for such terrorism suspects. .

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Obama moving to kill Armed Pilots Program?

by John Lott on Sunday, February 19th, 2012

This is article 35 of 49 in the topic Budgets

Fiscal year 2013: Cuts, Consolidations, and Savings Budget of the U.S. Government Office of Management and Budget (

Obama’s 2013 budget looks to cut the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) from $25 million to $12 million. But has almost no cut in the Federal Air Marshal Service. From CNN:

President Barack Obama’s budget ax is falling hard on a program that allows pilots to carry handguns in the cockpit as a last line of defense against terrorists.

Obama’s proposed 2013 budget cuts in half funds for the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO) program. The current budget of $25 million a year — which goes for such things as conducting background checks, training the pilots, and periodic gun proficiency tests and retraining, in addition to administrative costs — would be cut to $12 million.

The thousands of armed pilots, who greatly outnumber the better-known federal air marshals, volunteer for the job, train at federal academies and are deputized to use their weapons in the cockpit. They call themselves the “single most cost-effective counter-terrorism measure” the government has taken.

The federal government spends about $15 a flight for FFDOs, as armed pilots are called, compared to $3,000 per flight for federal air marshals, said Mike Karn, vice president of the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association. Those numbers are based on costs of the respective programs divided by the number of flights covered by armed pilots and air marshals.

As recently as last March, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano voiced support for the program, agreeing with Rep. Chip Cravaack, R-Minnesota, a former airline pilot and FFDO, that it was a vital part of the country’s layer defenses.

But in the budget documents released Monday, administration officials said security measures put in place since 2001, such as locked cockpit doors and 100% screening of airline passengers, “have greatly lowered the chances of unauthorized cockpit access.”

The proposed budget also cuts Federal Air Marshal Service funds almost 4%, to $927 million. It is unclear whether that cut will result in fewer air marshals. The number of air marshals is classified. . . .

My understanding is that there are currently about 10,000 to 12,000 FFDOs out of about 60,000 commercial pilots flying large planes and 90,000 flying all size commercial passenger planes.

Representative Cravaack Grills Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano

Rep. Cravaack: Is your intention that this program be phased out?
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano: I think that as the budget request shows it is our intention to reduce it, yes. But we have not predicted its demise.

Thanks to Tracy Price for the links.

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STASI Government covers up Cancer Deaths from Airport Body Scanners. Near 100 Per Year

by Greg Hedgepath on Tuesday, November 8th, 2011


 The GLOWING Honesty of the TSA


Anthony Gucciardi Activist Post


Has the government known since 1998 that the TSA body scanners could be giving you cancer?

An explosive report has exposed the carcinogenic effects of  X-ray body scanners, finding that up to 100 United States airline passengers each year could get cancer from the machines. Despite the report coming out years ago, millions of Americans still walk through the carcinogenic TSA X-ray body scanners, also known as naked body scanners.

While many passengers may not develop full-blown cancer as a result, radiation is truly unsafe at any dose. Furthermore, the long-term usage of the X-ray body scanners have not been fully studied — the number of cancers caused by the machines may actually increase over time.

Keep reading…..

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Airport Security: Lawmakers concerned with 25,000 security breaches

by Jim Kouri on Saturday, July 16th, 2011

This is article 11 of 71 in the topic Travel/Transportation

DHS had completed an initial study to validate the scientific basis of the Transportation Security Administration’s Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques (SPOT) program; however, additional work remains to fully validate the program, according to a report released by the Government Accountability Office on Wednesday. 

Airline passengers going through security at JFK International Airport in New York. Credit: NYPD Press Office

The House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations called a hearing on Wednesday to investigate airport security after reports showed there had been 25,000 breaches of security checkpoints since November 2001.

Subcommittee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), a frequent critic of the TSA, complained about the security breaches and called them “unacceptable.”

“We appreciate TSA in tracking and providing that data, but obviously, those are the ones we know about,” Rep. Chaffetz said at the start of Wednesday’s hearings. “The deep concern is, what about the ones we don’t know about?”

Chaffetz added that he was concerned that the TSA had not conducted threat-vulnerability assessments of most U.S. airports. Only about 20 of the more than 450 airports for which the TSA is responsible for security have been reviewed by the Homeland Security Department.

Originally, GAO reported in May 2010 that the TSA deployed a program that uses behavior observation and analysis techniques to identify potentially high-risk passengers, before determining whether there was a scientifically valid basis for using behavior and appearance indicators as a means for reliably identifying passengers who may pose a risk to the U.S. aviation system.

Specifically, TSA had not conducted vulnerability assessments for 87 percent of the approximately 450 U.S. airports regulated by TSA at that time. GAO recommended that TSA develop a comprehensive risk assessment and evaluate the need to assess airport vulnerabilities nationwide and a national strategy to guide efforts to strengthen airport security.

DHS concurred and said TSA is developing the assessment and strategy, but has not yet evaluated the need to assess airport vulnerabilities nationwide. GAO reported in July 2011 that TSA revised explosives detection requirements for its explosives detection systems (EDS) used to screen checked baggage in January 2010, but faces challenges in deploying EDS that meet these requirements.

Deploying systems that meet the 2010 EDS requirements could be difficult given that TSA did not begin deployment of systems meeting the previous 2005 requirements until 2009. As of January 2011 some of the EDS in TSA’s fleet detect explosives at the level established in 2005 while the remaining EDS detect explosives at levels established in 1998.

Also, TSA does not have a plan to deploy and operate systems to meet the current requirements and has faced challenges in procuring the first 260 systems to meet these requirements. GAO recommended that TSA, among other things, develop a plan to ensure that EDS are operated at the levels in established requirements.

DHS agreed and has outlined actions to do so. GAO has made recommendations in prior work to strengthen TSA’s SPOT program, airport security efforts, checked baggage screening efforts. DHS and TSA generally concurred with the recommendations and have actions under way to address them.

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‘Body bomb’ warning issued by U.S. officials

by Jim Kouri on Saturday, July 9th, 2011

This is article 198 of 804 in the topic Terrorism

Terrorists are constantly changing their tactics to avoid detection and achieve successful operations. Credit: News with Views/Paul Walter

In the award-winning motion picture, “The Hurt Locker,” U.S. military bomb technicians in Iraq come face-to-face with what they termed a “body bomb,” a explosive device surgically  placed in the remains of a dead Iraqi. The lead bomb tech discovers the surgically implanted explosives in the hapless young Iraqi’s stomach.

While “The Hurt Locker” is a work of fiction, the concept of body bombs is considered a very real threat to U.S. national security.

On Thursday, U.S. government counterterrorism officials warned American and foreign airlines that terrorists may be planning to surgically implant bombs inside the bodies of airline passengers. The threat brings new meaning to the term “suicide bomber” and “improvised explosive device,” one official told the Law Enforcement Examiner.

Federal officials revealed the warnings on Thursday. “Recent intelligence brought to light the possible terrorist scheme but no specific plot had been uncovered,” according to a press release from the U.S. House of Representatives.

Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said on Fox News Channel that a bomb implanted in airline passengers is something government security officials have been worried about for “a while.”

“This is a concern about human bombs,” King said. “We believe we’ve informed everyone.”

A U.S. security official told the Law Enforcement Examiner that a body bomb implanted is likely to come from overseas rather than domestically and that precautionary steps have been taken internationally and in the United States to be on guard for such terrorism suspects.

In August 2009, an al-Qaeda suicide bomber, Abdullah Hassan Tali Assiri, attacked and injured Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with a bomb concealed in a body cavity after passing through two airport scanners, Rep. King said on Fox News.

King and TSA officials would not say if the full-body scanners currently employed at U.S. airports would detect bombs implanted in a human. Also, there are questions as to the vulnerability of these body bombs to radio waves, cell phones or scanners.

Passengers flying from international locations to the United States might notice additional security measures, including additional pat-downs and other physical screening, the TSA said in a press statement.

The TSA stepped up installations of full-body scanners at U.S. airports after the Christmas 2009 attempt to blow up a flight over Detroit by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. Abdulmutallab tried to detonate a bomb concealed in his underwear.

The attempt failed as the jet, carrying 300 people, prepared to land on a flight from Amsterdam.

Coincidentally, GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul of Texas proposed getting rid of the U.S. Transportation Security Administration this week.

In addition to Rep. Ron Paul,  Rep. John Mica,a top Republican congressman, on transportation safety and security issues blasted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for its federal workforce of airport screeners or Transportation Security Officers (TSOs).

Paul, a veteran U.S. Congressman, joins a growing number of lawmakers and security experts who believe the TSA security officers are no better — perhaps worse — than the private security company guards who worked at the nation’s airports prior to the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent creation of the Homeland Security Department.

“The press reports are horrifying,” Paul said. “Ninety-five-year-old women humiliated, children molested, disabled people abused.

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Congressman blasts airport security and screeners

by Jim Kouri on Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

This is article 21 of 71 in the topic Travel/Transportation

Mica is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Credit: US Congress photo gallery

A top Republican congressman on transportation safety and security issues blasted the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on Friday for its federal workforce of airport screeners or Transportation Security Officers (TSOs).

There’s been growing anger regarding allegations that TSA screeners have conducted inappropriate pat downs of airline passengers.

Representative John Mica (R-FL) stated that the TSA bureaucracy could save up to $1 billion over five years by switching to airport security personnel employed by private contractors at the nation’s top 35 airports.

Mica is chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which oversees the TSA’s budget and operations. He told fellow members of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that having contract security personnel supervised by federal security directors and supervisors would be more cost-effective and a model that has worked in many industries including nuclear power plants and other critical locations.

On Thursday, the House voted to cut the TSA’s budget for the next fiscal year by $270 million, and TSA officials and union leaders warned that airline security is likely to suffer, but Mica said the additional funding is unnecessary if private screeners are used more widely.

“Right after the 9-11 terrorist attacks, lawmakers and the media began a campaign to revamp airport security programs by replacing contract agency guards with federal employees. While the idea seemed plausible at the time, what eventually occurred was counterproductive,” stated former police officer Edie Quinones.

Security guards from agencies — who many believed contributed to the 9-11 plane hijackings — were quickly hired because they were the only ones with airport screening experience and knowledge of high-tech screening equipment.

“What we witnessed were security officers who failed to protect the airlines being hired by the federal government with better pay and more employee benefits including membership in a federal employees union,” said former NYPD detective and security firm owner Sid Franes.

A report released Friday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee compared the cost and performance of private screeners at San Francisco International Airport with the federal screeners at Los Angeles International Airport.

The report showed that it costs an average of $2.42 to screen a passenger using private contractors but $4.22 per passenger for the federal workforce.

The contracted screeners in San Francisco processed an average of 16,113 passengers per year while federal screeners in Los Angeles processed an average of  only 9,765 passengers per year, according to the report.

Training expenses were also cheaper with a contracted workforce, who required less than half the $17,652 it takes to train a federal security officer.

Mica also accused the TSA of deception. He claimed, “TSA cooked the books when conducting past cost comparisons of the two models, misleading Congress and the public by artificially inflating the costs to use private contract screeners.”

The House committee’s report claims that private screeners are 65 percent more efficient and would save taxpayers 42 percent of the current costs compared with the federal workforce at airports.

Disputes over using private contractors have intensified since January, when the TSA announced it would arbitrarily stop allowing airports to “opt out” of using federal screeners.

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To Tyranny And Beyond

by J.J. Jackson on Sunday, May 29th, 2011

This is article 5 of 186 in the topic US Constitution

The Transportation Safety Administration has flexed the power of President Obama’s federal government. This is same government, mind you, that could not be bothered to accept a default judgment against the New Black Panther Party for the most blatant bit of voter intimidation in the past decade. But it sure can harass the heck out of states that step out of line.

Texas was set to tell the federal government where it could put its groping pat downs of airline passengers who refuse to submit to full body scanners. The state house had already passed a bill that would make it a felony to touch the private parts of travelers and would subject TSA screeners to fines and imprisonment for such actions. The bill was moving on to the Texas senate.

Enter the TSA which issued a warning to Texas that it had better back off from its plans or else. Or else what you ask? Or else it would cancel all flights in and out of the Lone Star State for security reasons. The result of this threat? The bill has been tabled and support for it has collapsed. Let us all weep for Texas.

Texas has been beaten down. How even the most mighty and once proud have been forced to kowtow to the will of a federal government which is exerting authority well beyond anything it is possesses. A threat to prevent private businesses from doing business in Texas if Texas does not let the TSA do whatever it is they are doing? I guess that is not to be unexpected. After all this is the same federal government that just recently pitched a fit about Boeing daring to try to open a new non-union facility in a state that arrogantly allows such.

Whoa! What is this? Liberty? No, no, no – the feds cannot have that. Off with their heads!

“Blogger Bob”, a courageous TSA official (note my sarcasm please) who writes in support of the TSA on their official blog, has commented against Texas for their plan. Recently he penned a silly and ill-informed remark with the particular intent of trying to convince Americans that states like Texas simply do not have the right to tell the federal government what to do because the Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2), “prevents states from regulating the federal government”[1].

“Blogger Bob” of course has deep credentials as a Constitutional scholar. Ok, maybe not.

His qualifications for his comments, as stated in his profile on the TSA’s blog, include being a singer songwriter (prior to joining the TSA), a love of ugly ties, serving in Desert Storm and Desert Shield, training to be a Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Decontamination specialist, working as an Operations Watch Officer, Instructor, Training Coordinator, Behavior Detection Officer, and serving as the Vice Chairman on TSA’s first National Advisory Council. Wow.

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White House Official Spokesman

by Alan Caruba on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

This is article 6 of 23 in the topic White House Advisors/Czars

I really miss Tony Snow who served as George W. Bush’s White House press secretary until cancer took him from us too soon. Snow was a journalist with an impressive resume, but beyond that, he had a charm that made him the master of that ugly little pit of hell where White House correspondents gather to report on its events.

I was no fan of Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s first press secretary. I used to call him Glib Gibbs and often wondered if some of the correspondents had secret voodoo dolls with his image. It wouldn’t have surprised me. For all that, he was good at his job which was to protect Obama from the growing perception that he was an idiot who hated America.

I was not surprised when Gibbs decided to move on. Being press secretary is a killer job and he had served in that capacity all through Obama’s campaign and into the White House for most of the first two years there.

Why anyone thought Jay Carney, a former Time Magazine Washington bureau chief, could ever take over is beyond me. I am confident in saying he was probably never picked to play on anyone’s team during his school days. He looks like he has a permanent weggie,. He is beyond being a nerd. He is a caricature of one. Nervous, twitchy, and in way over his head.

In a very real way, Carney reflects the incompetence that can no longer be hidden from the American public (and all others). It’s a national embarrassment to watch Attorney General Eric Holder’s glassy-eyed ignorance, real or feigned, of any question members of a congressional committee might ask.

Then there’s Homeland Security’s Janet Napolitano who apparently has no idea where Mexico is located. As for any useful anti-terrorism action, it was airline passengers who subdued the last two terrorists who tried to blow up a plane and passengers who fought the terrorists in one of the 9/11 planes.

The Obama administration has alienated States that have gone to the courts to put an end to Obamacare, that have sought the right to enforce immigration laws the federal government will not, and are demanding that drilling moratoriums and other restrictions be lifted.

Top Secret Obama Drawing from White House

The skyrocketing national debt will be an issue that the administration cannot paper over with calls for higher taxes and measures that sound increasingly bizarre to ordinary Americans—the latest being to tax people based on how many miles they drive their cars anywhere, such as to work, if they have a job in this economy.

And it’s not just the press secretary who looks and sounds foolish much of the time. Following the triumphant announcement that Osama bin Laden had been found and killed, the next few days were a cornucopia of conflicting statements leaking from the White House and other government spokespersons regarding the specifics of the event.

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Napolitano, Holder meet with European Union counterparts in Hungary

by Jim Kouri on Saturday, April 16th, 2011

This is article 6 of 129 in the topic National Security

Secretary Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder flew to Hungary for an international conference this week. Photo: NewswithViews

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder attended the biannual United States-European Union Justice and Home Affairs Ministerial in Budapest, Hungary yesterday to discuss international collaboration on counterterrorism and homeland security issues with their counterparts, according to a report to the 14,000-member National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister, Public Administration and Justice Minister Tibor Navracsics, Hungarian Interior Minister Sándor Pintér, EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights, and Citizenship Viviane Reding and EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Cecilia Malmström were among the attendees.
“The United States is fully committed to working with our European partners to combat threats to our mutual security and economic stability,” said Secretary Napolitano.

“Together, we will enhance information sharing, strengthen cybersecurity and ensure the security and resilience of our global supply chain systems against terrorism and transnational crime,” she stated.

While in Budapest, Secretary Napolitano underscored the significant progress made in negotiations on the U.S.-EU Passenger Name Record agreement — reiterating the important role that intelligence collection and analysis plays in ensuring the safety of the traveling public through information sharing while protecting the privacy of airline passengers.

She also commended the World Customs Organization for its continued collaboration on Program Global Shield — a multilateral effort led by DHS and the WCO and involving over 68 countries to prevent the illegal movement or diversion of precursor chemicals that can be used to make improvised explosive devices.

However, critics pointed out the security failures described in a recent U.S. Government Accountability Office report. The GAO revealed a number of incidents in which airport security measures failed to detect suspicious individuals who entered the United States on overseas flights.

Napolitano claims that the United States and EU share a commitment to strengthen international air cargo security and overall global supply chain security standards in partnership with WCO, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

As part of the meeting, Secretary Napolitano joined Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda and EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to reiterate their shared commitment to deepening cooperation to address the increasing threats to global internet and digital networks.

They all agreed to strengthen transatlantic cooperation in cybersecurity by further identifying the issues to be addressed by the US-EU Cyber Working Group, which was established at the November 20, 2010 U.S.-EU Summit Declaration in order to establish collaborative approaches to a wide range of cybersecurity and cybercrime issues.

Yesterday in Budapest, Secretary Napolitano met with her Bulgarian and Dutch counterparts and joined U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban — reiterating the Obama administration’s continued commitment to partnering with Hungary and the EU to enhance international collaboration on counterterrorism and strengthen mutual security.

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