TSA Looks to Blog to Ease Passengers

Behind FEMA and the IRS, the Transportation Security Administration is America's least favorite government agency.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, increased airport security has become the bane of many travelers' existence, with complaints about long lines, rude employees and overall insufficiency hounding the security agency.

Now, the TSA has created a blog to answer passengers' questions and to get their feedback.

The blog was the brainchild of TSA administrator Kip Hawley, who, nearly three years ago, took over the agency that was plagued by poorly trained employees, insufficient equipment and millions of angry consumers.

Hawley hopes the blog can help ease passengers' frustration with security officials. Already, frequent flyers have voiced their concerns.

"Most of the TSA people I've run into are self-involved, arrogant jerks," one poster said.

"It was my understanding that the TSA was to keep our country safe from terrorists. But who will keep us safe from the TSA?" another poster questioned.

Hawley said he knows people probably resent him and the TSA. He's even visited a negative Web site dedicated to him, called KipHawleyisanidiot.com.

"It's not personal. It's a frustration that says, 'I don't think security makes any sense,'" he said.

Hawley's hope is that the TSA blog will help in letting people vent, while also taking in their ideas to improve how TSA works.

In fact, after someone suggested express lanes for frequent travelers, the TSA implemented the plan and the idea is working in four airports.

And after a number of complaints about rogue screeners in Arizona popped onto the blog, TSA brass started making calls and fixed the problem.

Even field agents have a voice on the blog, where they can speak anonymously.

Hawley's latest strategy to improve the TSA goes beyond the blogosphere. His newest idea is behavior detection, which involves training screeners to spot stress that could indicate a nervous terrorist.

But few places are more stressful than airport security lines, and to fix that, Hawley is trying to re-train 43,000 security officers and the 2 million people they screen every day.

"The way we look at is, if you have a shark fin in a choppy sea, it's hard to see. If you have a shark fin on a lake, it's quiet, it stands out. So, in security, you want to have a calm environment to do your job," Hawley said.

Click here to check out the TSA's blog.

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