Friday, July 15, 2011

Erroneous Reporting


This morning the Associated Press posted a "news" story on yahoo.com in which they referred to the hyena's at the Transportation Security Administration as "officers." Nothing could be further from the truth so I felt compelled to write to the Associated Press to correct them. The letter was sent to info@ap.org That letter follows:

Dear Associated Press

In this news story posted this morning on yahoo.com news, the Associated Press (that would be you) states that "officers" of the Transportation Security Administration confiscated a number of knives from a passenger at BWI airport.

What is misleading is that the word "officer" implies police authority and police power. If your writer had looked into this he/she would have discovered that TSA employees have no police power. None of them have completed the Federal law enforcement training program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Brunswick, Georgia, or have they completed any other Federal law enforcement training.

The TSA clowns we see at the nation's airports are glorified baggage handlers who have a badge as part of their uniform. I have asked any number of TSA employees, from Honolulu to Boston, about their lack of training yet they continue to carry a badge, and I've been told "Its part of the uniform." If TSA employees had any police authority (arrest authority) why is it that they always have to contact an actual police officer if there is an issue involving police action? In 2006 I wrote to my then-Congressman in the suburbs of Washington DC and asked why it was that Federal employees at TSA were allowed to parade around with a badge on their shirts when I (at the time) would have been fired had I done that in my agency. The Congressman wrote back that the badge was there to send a message to the traveling public.

So, Associated Press, I suggest you start a trend by 1) correcting the error in this story, and 2) begin to educate the public that the badge on a TSA employee shirt is an ornament with no more power than if Ronald McDonald was wearing it. OK?

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