The TSA, or Transportation Security Administration operates under the authority of the Department of Homeland Security. Its official task: to stop plane hijackings.
Its unofficial task: to keep passengers from causing trouble.
One TSA employees got challenged. Well, he was not going to let some civilian get away with that. No, sir. So, he stole $500 from him. The man was carrying cash. Terrorist!
Fortunately, he got caught.
Here is the capper. The TSA employee said he did not do it for the money. He did it to punish the man for complaining.
This is how bureaucracies work. They forget about the original task (stopping terrorists). They focus on making things cushy for employees (no complaining from victims).
A former TSA worker has pleaded guilty to stealing over $500 in cash from a man who complained about the TSA’s invasive pat down procedure, with the TSA agent admitting the theft was a punishment for the man’s lack of obedience.
60-year-old John W. Irwin pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny following an incident in November 2011, during which a man asked that he be given a pat down rather than face a body scanner due to a medical condition.
When TSA agents ordered the man undergo the pat down in a private room, he complained but agreed to do so.
The man placed $520 in cash in a gray plastic bin before accompanying the TSA agents to the private room. When he returned, the money was gone, with Irwin having hidden it in a TSA supervisor’s draw.
When the man asked Irwin where the cash had gone, Irwin claimed ignorance and the incident was subsequently reported to the police.
After first denying to police that he had stolen the money, Irwin later admitted he had put the cash in his locker as a form of punishment in retaliation for the man complaining over his treatment.
“When the passenger returned and I saw that it was the passenger who had given my fellow employees a hard time. I just didn’t let on that I had the money,” Irwin said in a statement to police.
This is not random. This is how the system works. When low-level employees are given power, they can become little tyrants.Rarely can victims fight back effectively.
During the height of the national op-out day backlash against the TSA in 2010, the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg was told  by a TSA agent directly that pat downs were made increasingly invasive not for any genuine security reason, but to make the experience so uncomfortable for the traveler that they would be forced to use the body scanner.
Even being seen to display a “bad attitude” in not instantly complying with the TSA’s obedience training can lead to trouble.
As we reported last month, a TSA screener admitted to a woman traveling through Houston Airport that she was prevented from boarding her flight for retaliatory reasons as punishment for a bad attitude rather than any genuine security threat, after the woman refused to allow TSA agents to test her drink for explosives.
Journalists who have been critical of the TSA have also been targeted for reprisals. CNN reporter Drew Griffin was also put on a TSA watch list immediately after he filed reports critical of the organization back in 2008.
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