National Security

The TSA: An Inside Scoop

A former TSA agent recounts what his job was really like.

Feb. 3, 2014
Security theater

Former TSA agent Jason Edward Harrington has gone public describing the uglier aspects of his five year gig acting in airport security theater. “I hated it from the beginning,” Harrington said. “It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show. I confiscated jars of homemade apple butter on the pretense that they could pose threats to national security. I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots – the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.”

Of course, none of that is really news to anyone who has flown since 9/11, but this is confirmation straight from a former agent. Harrington went even further explaining the preposterous protocol: “Once, in 2008, I had to confiscate a bottle of alcohol from a group of Marines coming home from Afghanistan. It was celebration champagne intended for one of the men in the group – a young, decorated soldier. He was in a wheelchair, both legs lost to an I.E.D., and it fell to me to tell this kid who would never walk again that his homecoming champagne had to be taken away in the name of national security.” It’s heartbreaking and outrageous that a man who lost his limbs in service to his country was subsequently treated just like the Islamofascist terrorists who made his mission necessary.

As for those infamous $150,000-apiece full-body scanners, Harrington said, “We knew [they] didn’t work before they were even installed.” He recalled that an instructor admitted that distinguishing between body fat and plastic explosives was nearly impossible. But on the other hand, yes, the “security” agents could see you naked and, yes, they were laughing at you. Harrington concluded, “Most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.” We can’t argue with that.

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t note that the TSA was brought to you by a Republican Congress and a Republican president. Indeed, it should be incumbent on the party to explain why, if given the reins of power again, things would be different next time.

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