Six Little-Known Facts About TSA Screeners

From everything I can see, most TSA officers are hard-working and diligent, but I won't convince anyone who hates what they do. Remember, though, these officers don't make up the rules they follow; they just promise to uphold them. If you don't like the rules, speak to a supervisor, make a complaint, contact an elected official or maybe you too will want to take your clothes off in protest (though I don't recommend this). Or you can opt out of flying altogether.

5. Yes, there are bad officers - and bad passengers

As noted earlier, there have been "bad apples" working for the TSA - sometimes, criminally bad. But that is true of most professions. Imagine if all pilots were tarred by the actions of that SkyWest captain who was under suspicion in the murder of his girlfriend, then allegedly commandeered a plane at a Utah airport, crashed it and apparently killed himself. And let's not forget the JetBlue flight attendant who cursed out passengers before exiting the plane via the escape chute, beers in hand.

Passengers don't always behave, either. In the first two weeks of this month alone, TSA screeners found 56 guns in carry-on bags, all but five of them loaded. They also found hand grenades, smoke grenades, stun guns, fireworks and enough knives to open a cutlery shop.

Passengers make foolish comments, too. The TSA's Blog claims an irate individual at the New Orleans airport said, "I will get on a flight even if I have to blow up the airport and call myself a terrorist." I'm guessing that flyer did miss the plane, but while these are all good examples of bad behavior, thankfully they are very rare. 6. Please don't mention "naked photos"

A TSA officer once said he and his colleagues have become "numb" to their reputation which may explain why at least one screener I'm aware of sometimes fibs when asked what he does for a living. I'm told it's to forestall inevitable questions about "naked photos," a reference to those X-ray images from body scan machines, which these days are about as salacious as a gingerbread man cookie cutter.

One final thought: TSA agents I've heard from say they're proud of the work they do because they believe they're helping keep the country at least a little safer. But the question remains: Is there a better way go about this?

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