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Security Transportation United States

Live Q&A With Ex-TSA Agent Jason Harrington 141

Jason Harrington (@Jas0nHarringt0n) is a controversial blogger, frequent contributor to McSweeney's Internet Tendency, and one of the TSA's least favorite ex-employees. His descriptions of life on the job as a TSA agent caused some big waves and restarted a national discussion on security theater. Jason will be answering your questions below for the next couple of hours, or until the security line starts moving again. Please keep it to one question per post so everyone gets a chance. Update: 03/01 02:11 GMT by S : Jason has finished up for now — you can skip to his answers at his user page, or simply browse the comments to read everything. Thanks Jason for answering our questions!
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Live Q&A With Ex-TSA Agent Jason Harrington

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  • by JHarrington ( 3553209 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @04:31PM (#46370331)
    Can't say that I have, no. If we happened to see child pornography on an electronic device, we were supposed to report it to our supervisors. But I never saw any such thing, or heard of it happening where I worked.
  • Re:Two questions: (Score:5, Informative)

    by JHarrington ( 3553209 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @05:37PM (#46370849)
    No terrorist has ever been thwarted at an airport due to TSA procedures. The TSA would trumpet that news far and wide the day it happened. If anything, there is the possibility that the TSA's procedures deterred a terrorist from making an attempt on an airline. The only sort of proof of this I could imagine would be documents found at a terrorist training camp, for instance, expressing the idea that US. airport security is too daunting to bother trying to get past. I think there may have been a couple cases of such communications turning up. But then there's the question of how much of the TSA's security was really necessary to deter that terrorist. It may have been just the passengers' willingness to fight back that made that terrorist decide not to bother with an attempt on a plane, or people's heightened awareness of fellow passengers post-9/11
  • by JHarrington ( 3553209 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @08:21PM (#46372261)
    I've been answering Qs for a little over 4 hours, I think I'm just about done now at 6: 20 Central time. I'll maybe come back later tonight and do one more sweep. Thanks for the awesome questions, you guys were great.
  • Re:Lighters (Score:5, Informative)

    by JHarrington ( 3553209 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @10:55PM (#46373115)
    Lighters I'm pretty sure are disposed of as hazardous material, as opposed to auctioned off. I would research it via Google right now but my internet connection is mysteriously sucking right now and this window is about all I can count on. I would think that there would be some sort of law preventing the TSA from wrapping up hundreds of pounds of flammable items and shipping them off to be auctioned. Most everything else gets auctioned away by state governments. In Illinois the site was something like Illbid or some such. You can find websites for most states where confiscated airport items are being auctioned off. Obviously, food items should not be eligible for this (i.e., hummus, apple butter, anything considered a liquid or gel substance) because what if someone eats that shit and dies for any number of reasons. I would honestly hope that the same would go for any product that could be consumed, so the alcohol should really not be auctioned off, either, in any ways, even if it is an awesome bottle of killer fine wine, because what if someone just brought some poisoned shit to the airport on purpose. Large snow globes, Swiss Army knives, all other types of knives, Leatherman tools, golf clubs, baseball bats, club-like items in general, lava lamps, etc. etc. etc., all get sent to state organizations that auction the items off, as far as I know. That's how it worked in Illinois, and I've heard that's how it works in other places, too.
  • Re:Lighters (Score:5, Informative)

    by JHarrington ( 3553209 ) on Friday February 28, 2014 @10:56PM (#46373123)
    Oh, and lighters can go on planes since 2009 or so I think, it's just torch lighters that can't go.

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire