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Out of Control Policy Blog

"Get Your Freak On" Baggage Screener Gets Disciplined by TSA

Robert Poole
October 26, 2011, 9:57pm

The TSA continues to find ways to violate air travelers. After a baggage screener left Jill Filipovic, who was flying from Newark Airport to Dublin, Ireland, a note in her luggage that said, “Get your freak on girl,” I’m dismayed to see that the TSA only “disciplined” the screener who wrote a “highly inappropriate note” in the bag that was searched.

TSA’s Blogger Bob writes

“TSA quickly launched an investigation and identified the employee responsible. That individual was immediately removed from screening operations and appropriate disciplinary action has been initiated. The handwritten note was highly inappropriate and unprofessional, and TSA has zero tolerance for this type of behavior.”

Doing what that screener did is an indication of bad character, which should not be tolerated in those who have access to the contents of people’s luggage or the images of their naked bodies on TSA's body-scanning machines. My guess is that had this happened at one of the airports where screening is done by a TSA-certified private screening company, the screener would have been fired, not “disciplined.” 

Congress needs to address our aviation security system’s lack of accountability by eliminating the conflict of interest that exists with TSA serving as both the regulator and provider of airport security. Someone needs to watch the watchmen. Ideally, the government would set the airport security standards and oversee private, TSA-certified screeners. 


Robert Poole is Searle Freedom Trust Transportation Fellow and Director of Transportation Policy


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