Tag Archives: DHS

Update: Two Years Later the TSA is STILL Keeping You Safe Five Percent of the Time

Transportation Security Administration TSA Failed 95 Percent

Once again, TSA inspectors have failed to find 95% of the mock weapons sent through checkpoints by Homeland Security agents working undercover.

Just over two years ago, in June of 2015, I posted about tests Homeland Security had run at airports across the country. In those tests, undercover agents were sent through pre-boarding checkpoints run by the Transportation Security Administration. (Video from that original post is embedded below.)

Those agents carried realistic looking weapons and explosive devices past TSA screeners in order to determine how often the “weapons” would be detected. This included replicas of pistols, knives, nunchucks, tasers, ammunition, and even defused hand grenades.

Out of 70 items that should have been stopped, TSA screeners found a grand total of three of them. As I noted, at the time that translates to a failure rate of 95%. Not exactly a number that will make you feel happy as you stand in the giant line at the security checkpoint next time you fly somewhere.

Surely they’ve addressed those issues in those 2+ years and improved dramatically, though. After all, you could seemingly stumble into a higher level of success just by randomly guessing which passengers have some sort of contraband in their luggage. Right?

Not so much, according to the Washington Times:

Undercover federal agents successfully snuck drugs and explosives past security screeners at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport last week, according to the local Fox affiliate.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) conducted the test last Thursday by sending agents disguised as ordinary passengers into the airport in order to see if screeners were up to snuff, KMSP reported.

The TSA “red team” attempted to smuggle 18 different items past airport security that should easily be detected but prevailed almost every time, the Fox affiliate reported.

“In most cases, they succeeded in getting the banned items through. 17 out of 18 tries by the undercover federal agents saw explosive materials, fake weapons or drugs pass through TSA screening undetected,” KMSP reported, citing unnamed sources familiar with the operation.
In fact, it could have even been worse this time:

The security test was ultimately abandoned once the TSA’s failure rate reached 95 percent, the station reported.

So, before the Mercy Rule was invoked, the TSA screeners in Minneapolis had successfully found a weapon being smuggled onto a plane once. Which, like 2015, equates to just five percent of the time.

Basically, when you eliminate groping people; especially underage passengers, taking lewd photos of unsuspecting women, and stealing shit out of your luggage, they just aren’t very proficient at what they do. (To be fair, they do seem to be pretty good at finding spare change passengers being subjected to their ineffectual security theater leave behind.)

Truth be told, they actually couldn’t be much less useful (and would be quite a bit less annoying and exploitative) if they just slept through their shift, like the guy in the picture at the top of this post.

Minneapolis – St. Paul TSA Screeners Fail Yet Again

Successful Five Percent of the Time in 2015

Groping People to Keep You Safe Almost Never

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DHS Officer Tries to Intimidate Man Open Carrying/Filming and Threatens his Nine Year Old Son

The video and content within this post were shared with the CopBlock Network by Joshua Elliott, via the CopBlock.org Submissions Page.

Within the post, Joshua can be seen walking around near the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) headquarters in Indianapolis, IN. Initially, he is filming their vehicles that are parked in a no parking zone and one that is also on a sidewalk. Soon after, he starts walking past the front of the building. At that point, one of the DHS officers standing nearby stops him and begins demanding his ID.

Joshua asks if he is being detained and what crime he has committed to justify that detention. In addition, Joshua asks for the officer’s name and badge number, which the officer refuses to give him. The unidentified officer states that the sidewalk Joshua is on is actually federal property and that he is not allowed to have a firearm (Joshua is open carrying at the time) on federal property. After some back and forth about whether the sidewalk is federal property and where it is stated that firearms are prohibited, Joshua leaves the area.

Not long after, Joshua returns, having put his firearm away in his car. At that time, Joshua asks for the name and badge numbers of the three DHS officers present and also asks to speak to their supervisor. All three refuse to identify themselves (one eventually does) and Joshua is told that a supervisor is on the way. However, later he is told the supervisor is busy and cannot come outside right now.

In the meantime, Joshua points out that the sign (which can’t actually be read without stepping onto federal property) actually says you cannot enter the building with a firearm, not that you can’t walk on the sidewalk with one. The DHS officer who originally stopped Joshua continues acting hostile and demanding ID from him while stating that he doesn’t have to identify himself unless Joshua does first. In spite of being told that citizens are not required to ID themselves unless they are lawfully detained and that DHS policy requires the officers to do so when asked, they continue to refuse to identify themselves.

Once again, the original officer who approached Joshua continues acting hostile, insisting he stop filming and provide his ID. Eventually, that officer threatens Joshua’s nine year old son, who is also filming with a cell phone. After confronting the officer about threatening a young child, Joshua asks the other officers what they think of the behavior of that officer. Both of those Good Cops pretend that they didn’t see it happen even though they were standing within a few feet at the time.

Joshua then decides to leave, which is not the worst idea when you and your children are being threatened by angry thugs who have been known to resort to violence.

Date Of Incident: July 5, 2016
Department Involved: Department of Homeland Security (Indianapolis, IN)
Officers Involved: Refused to Identify Themselves
Phone Number: (317) 233-4280
Address: Indiana Department of Homeland Security
Indiana Government Center South
302 W. Washington St., Room E208
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204

If you have a video, personal story involving police misconduct and/or abuse, or commentary about a law enforcement related news story, we would be happy to have you submit it. You can find some advice on how to get your submission published on the CopBlock Network within this post.

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Sorry this video is broken up into parts. It’s my first video shot on a knock off GoPro.In the first half of this, I was walking on a public sidewalk open carrying my .40 handgun when I was stopped and harassed by a DHS police officer. I guess I’m a glutton for punishment as, after securing the firearm in my vehicle, I went back to attempt to get the officers’ names and badge numbers. That’s when the bald idiot threatened my nine year old son.

I filed a complaint against this officer, for which I had limited info to do so. However, nothing has arisen out of it. So enjoy the video and I’m sure there will be many more to come.

– Joshua Elliott

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Secret Service Agents Retaliated Against Congressman’s Criticismby Illegally Accessing Private Info in Attempt

Secret Service Rep Chaffetz Retaliation
One Secret Service agent resigned and forty others have received “some level” of discipline after they illegally accessed background information on Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz. The intended purpose of the background inquiries were to find embarrassing information on Rep. Chaffetz that could be used to retaliate against him by smearing his name publicly.

Although he doesn’t seem to have received any level of discipline, Secret Service Assistant Director Ed Lowery encouraged the illegal searches, stating in an email that “some information [Chaffetz] finds embarrassing needs to get out.” Ironically enough, the identity of the specific agents disciplined for violating the Privacy Act cannot be named publicly because that would violate the Privacy Act.

Pretty convenient (wink, wink).

Via TechDirt.com:

When Rep. Jason Chaffetz began asking the Secret Service about its string of high-profile failures, agents were quick to respond… with attempts to undermine the Congressman’s credibility. Eighteen minutes after the hearings started, Secret Service agents — dozens of them — began poring through his 2003 Secret Service application in hopes of finding a few skeletons in his previously-vetted closet.

Even Secret Service Assistant Director Ed Lowery got in on the illegal fun, suggesting via email that “some information [Chaffetz] finds embarrassing needs to get out.” Information did get out, but it had no effect on Chaffetz’s reputation. The only people embarassed (sic) were the Secret Service and DHS head Jeh Johnson, who was forced to apologize on its behalf.

Johnson’s press release, detailing the results of the DHS’s investigation of the incident, shows dozens were questioned about this violation of the Privacy Act. Better yet, it shows dozens were punished for their misconduct.

  • “In all, the conduct of 57 Secret Service personnel was reviewed, including 11 at the SES [Senior Executive Service] level. Of those, 41 are receiving some level of discipline. This discipline includes a letter of reprimand to one individual, suspended discipline contingent on no further misconduct for a period of five years, and suspensions from duty without pay for periods of up to 45 days. The one individual found by the Inspector General to have disclosed the private information to an outside source, the Washington Post, has resigned from the Secret Service.”

As is often the case, the employee whose misconduct was the worst slipped out the door before the hammer could come down. As for the rest, the sheer number of Secret Service personnel involved shows this agency is no less susceptible to peer pressure and bandwagon jumping than the occupants of the average high school locker room.

Rest assured, this sort of misconduct won’t rear its ugly head again, because top Secret Service officials say Things are being Done.

  • “Like many others I was appalled by the episode reflected in the Inspector General’s report, which brought real discredit to the Secret Service. From Director Clancy, I have been told that tighter processes are now in place to limit access to personally identifiable information and to highlight for employees the consequences of a breach of that data.”

I’d love to know what these “tighter processes” are. Hopefully it’s something more than post-login clickwrap saying something to the effect of “user agrees to abide by all policies and statutes” with an “OK” button being the only thing standing between them and dirt on legislators they don’t like.

I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson and, along with not stiffing their hookers (no pun intended) or getting drunk and crashing into the White House gate, they now know better than to run illegal background check to dig up dirt on people that criticize them for not paying their hookers and crashing cars into the White House gate while driving drunk.

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The DHS Kicks Off National Cyber Security Awareness Month (Seriously)

In an announcement not posted at the Onion.com, the Department of Homeland Security designated October as “National Cyber Security Awareness Month.” In the official press release on the DHS website, Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas stated, “Cybersecurity is a top priority for DHS” and that “…cybersecurity impacts Americans in all aspects of their lives, including in their use of personal technologies and in their workplaces.”

Once all the laughter died down, a DHS spokesman is reported to have said, “no really, that’s an actual press release, not a joke. I mean it dude. Stop looking at me that way and just email it out to the press.” Apparently, whoever wrote that didn’t get the other memo that’s been going around for years about the DHS being the worst threat to cyber security in the history of the word “cyber.”

According to the ACLU:

big-brotherToday the government is spying on Americans in ways the founders of our country never could have imagined. The FBI, federal intelligence agencies, the militarystate and local policeprivate companies, and even firemen and emergency medical technicians are gathering incredible amounts of personal information about ordinary Americans that can be used to construct vast dossiers that can be widely shared through new institutions like Joint Terrorism Task Forcesfusion centers, and public-private partnerships.  And this surveillance often takes place in secret, with little or no oversight by the courts, by legislatures, or by the public…

The fear of terrorism has led to a new era of overzealous police intelligence activity directed, as so often in the past, against political activists, racial and religious minorities, and immigrants. This new surveillance activity is not directed solely at suspected terrorists and criminals. It’s directed at all of us. Increasingly, the government is engaged in suspicionless surveillance that vacuums up and tracks sensitive information about innocent people. The erosion of reasonable restrictions on government’s power to collect people’s personal information is putting the privacy and free speech rights of all Americans at risk.

In fact it was just two years ago that the Department of Homeland Security was actively casting jealous eyes at the online stalking powers of the NSA:

DHS Cyber SpyingDomestic spying capabilities used by the National Security Agency to collect massive amounts of data on American citizens could soon be available to the Department of Homeland Security — a bureaucracy with the power to arrest citizens that is not subject to limitations imposed on the NSA.

Unlike the DHS, the NSA is an intelligence agency, not a domestic law enforcement agency. It cannot arrest those suspected of wrongdoing. That power of the federal government lies with agencies under the jurisdiction of the Justice Department, the Treasury, Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies.

The NSA and DHS have waged a long Capitol Hill turf war over cybersecurity. Bills such as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 have sought to clearly define the relationship between the two agencies, but struggled to get off the ground…

The drive for an expanded DHS role in domestic spying, however, has been picking up steam. CISPA was reintroduced in the House of Representatives in February and passed in April. Although the bill stalled in the Senate, one of its most troubling portions remains intact: a provision granting private companies immunity from “any provision of the law” if they break privacy agreements between themselves and their customers to share private information with the federal government…

President Obama signed an executive order on February 12 establishing DHS’s role in securing the nation’s cybersecurity. Later, the federal government expanded a cybersecurity program “that scans Internet traffic headed into and out of defense contractors to include far more of the country’s private, civilian-run infrastructure,” according to a Reuters report

“By using DHS as the middleman, the Obama administration hopes to bring the formidable overseas intelligence-gathering of the NSA closer to ordinary U.S. residents without triggering an outcry from privacy advocates who have long been leery of the spy agency’s eavesdropping,” Reuters reported.

It shouldn’t really be shocking or even surprising, when the government looks everyone in the face and says something completely hypocritical, but it is still a bit comical when one of the worst violators of privacy and cyber as well as personal security announces that they are going to spend a month teaching you how to keep your internet activity safe from people trying to eavesdrop on you.


FBI, DHS, Pentagon, Fed using social media for… by dynamichiccup

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The TSA – Keeping You Safe Five Percent of the Time

TSA Failed to Find Fake Weapons 95 Percent

Three out of seventy ain’t bad…

Although they tend to be pretty good at finding oversized contact solution containers and mothers with unauthorized breast milk, the Transportation Security Administration has once again shown that they pretty much can’t find any actual weapons. In the latest series of tests where undercover Homeland Security Agents took realistic looking weapons through airport checkpoints to test the TSA screeners, they failed to find those “weapons” 67 times out of 70 attempts. That boils down to 95% of the time that had someone actually been walking through with a hand grenade and shiny pistol like the one to the left, they would have made their flight with time to spare.

Via the Huffington Post:

As thorough as the Transportation Security Administration screeners may be as they rifle through your belongings, the agency isn’t performing where it counts.

In a series of trials, the Department of Homeland Security was able to smuggle fake explosives, weapons and other contraband past airport screeners in major cities across the country, according to ABC News. Officials briefed on the Homeland Security Inspector General’s investigation told the station that the TSA failed 67 out of 70 tests conducted by the department’s Red Teams — undercover passengers tasked with identifying weaknesses in the screening process, NJ.com reports.

During the tests, DHS agents each tried to bring a banned item past TSA screeners. They succeeded 95 percent of the time…

In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down.

TSA Fail

A TSA screener displays stuff they didn’t actually find in people’s luggage

This isn’t actually something that should be particularly shocking since the TSA has a long history of failing these types of tests. This dates all the way back to 2006, when screeners in Newark (where one of the planes hijacked on September 11th departed from) missed 20 out of 22 guns and bombs that were sent through security, but also include incidents in 2007 in Albany, NY, and 2010 in Houston, TX. So while the TSA employees tend to be really good at finding stuff to steal, using the screenings as a pretense to grope people they are attracted to or expose the breasts of underage girls publicly, and humiliating innocent cancer survivors; they have a pretty solidly bad track record of not finding stuff they should actually be looking for. In fact, in spite of claims of enhanced techniques and the acquisition of even more evasive equipment since the last time they failed miserably at these type of tests, they’ve only gotten worse and have still yet to capture a single terrorist attempting to board a plane.

In the wake of the most recent massive failure, the head of the TSA has been re-assigned (but not fired obviously, because he works in a government job and that just doesn’t happen, even if the agency you run has a .050 batting average on the one thing they are actually supposed to do.) Also, they’re going to enhance those techniques again and look for some more expensive and faulty equipment to buy.

Once again, via the Huffington Post:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Monday reassigned the leader of the Transportation Security Administration and directed the agency to revise airport security procedures, retrain officers and retest screening equipment in airports across the country.

TSA Trading Liberty for SecurityThe TSA’s acting administrator, Melvin Carraway, is being reassigned to a different job in the Department of Homeland Security. Acting Deputy Director Mark Hatfield will lead the agency until a new administrator is appointed.

The directives come after the agency’s inspector general briefed Johnson on a report analyzing vulnerabilities in airport security — specifically, the ability to bring prohibited items through TSA checkpoints.

 Johnson would not describe the results of the classified report, but said he takes the findings “very seriously.”

So there you have it, some incompetent people have been moved around and things are being taken very seriously. Since the truth behind the TSA is that they are designed more to control people (they officially refer to those lines you wait in as “corrals“) and to give the appearance of safety by making it look like they are doing something, that’s gotta be pretty reassuring (said nobody ever).

Five Percent is (Slightly) Better Than Nothing

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