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Transportation Security Administration
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Organization
    (November 19, 2001- )
    Born in Washington, District of Columbia
    Created in response to 9/11
    Oversees security for highways, railroads, mass transit systems, ports and 450 airports
    Originally part of the Department of Transportation
    Moved to the Department of Homeland Security (March 1, 2003)
    In tests, TSA screeners failed to detect 60-75% of fake bombs, while private screeners missed only 20% (2006).
    They have paid out $1.5 million to settle 15,000 complaints from passengers about thefts from baggage by TSA screeners.
    They failed to perform background checks, with 400 of the first 2,000 screeners hired by the TSA in New York having criminal records.
    A passenger who protested the rule against carrying more than three ounces of liquids by writing 'Kip Hawley [the TSA director] is an idiot' on the baggie containing his toiletries was detained for half an hour (2006).
    After Ted Kennedy required three weeks of appeals directly to Homeland Security head Tom Ridge to get his name off the TSA 'No Fly' list, he asked, 'How are [ordinary passengers] going to be able to get to be treated fairly and not have their rights abused?'
    When Princeton Professor Walter Murphy was denied a boarding pass because he was on the TSA watch list, an airline employee told him, 'Have you been in any peace marches? They ban a lot of people from flying because of that.'
    TSA Behavior Detection Officers at Orlando International Airport detained a passenger acting suspiciously near a ticket counter and found materials for a pipe bomb in his bags (April 1, 2008).
    A TSA spokesman noted about luggage thefts, 'When you look at the overall size of how many bags are being screened each day, it's substantially very small.'
    You can get a good deal on a second-hand corkscrew by buying seized contraband sold by the TSA through Yahoo.

Credit: C. Fishel


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