A PR hack sent us a stupidly long press release a few hours ago about Clear, the company that—for an annual $100 fee—will pre-authorize you with TSA to speed up your passage through security. Clear started operating in select airports over a year ago, and this month will add Reagan National and Dulles International airports to its list. So, is the service worth it? We guess that depends on how much you’re willing to spend to be able to jump ahead of all the poor people waiting in line like the common criminals they surely are. We wanted a slightly more objective way to evaluate it, though, so we started looking around online for first-hand experiences of what exactly happens when you flash your Clear card.
The TSA is testing a new crowd management system at two airports in Denver and Salt Lake City that they hope will make the security process less troublesome. No, the new system isn’t less invasive or more security-sensible, but it does give families with kids/strollers/bags their own lane, both for their sanity and for ours. Early reports indicate families are happy with it but too many casual travelers think they’re experts and head to the black diamond lane, which is only for people who walk briskly and frown a lot.
Militia-funding banana company Chiquita has announced a big restructuring plan that will eliminate 160 management jobs, including 21% of the top three tiers of management, for a savings of $60-80 million dollars in 2008. The company says it will use the savings to pay down debt. It doesn’t mention, however, that last month it was fined $25 million for financially supporting both left- and right-wing paramilitary groups in Colombia from 1997 to 2004.
Turns out there’s a hidden gem in that 2006 TSA report that was recently leaked to USA Today (and previously written about here)—among the various stats and figures is the following statement: “At San Diego International Airport, tests are run by passengers whom local TSA managers ask to carry a fake bomb, said screener Cris Soulia, an official in a screeners union.”
In its efforts to combat terrorism, fight human trafficking, and bust drug dealers, the Department of Homeland Security compiles a large database of where you go, who you travel with, what you read and more. If you’re curious about what this record contains, you can request a copy of your file under the Freedom Of Information Act. Unsecure Flight hosts two form letters for submitting this request, along with instructions for doing so.
According to the Washington Post, the TSA is compiling extensive traveler records that can track passenger reading preferences. The Automated Targeting System is ostensibly designed to help officials ferret out terrorists; citizens who recently asked the government for records of their travel found that the databases also contains: “a description of a book on marijuana that one of them carried and small flashlights bearing the symbol of a marijuana leaf.” Our government’s long maw even reaches abroad to gather information on flights that don’t brush against U.S. airspace.
Ann Harrison, the communications director for a technology firm in Silicon Valley who was among those who obtained their personal files and provided them to The Post, said she was taken aback to see that her dossier contained data on her race and on a European flight that did not begin or end in the United States or connect to a U.S.-bound flight.
; bad credit is now the biggest near-term threat to our nation’s economy, the National Association of Business Economics reported in survey results released Monday. [Associated Press]
According to the Washington Post, the United States and the European Union have agreed to compile and share a database of information on consumers who travel on aircrafts between the two continents.
Federal inspectors were able to slip a bomb past the TSA 5 out of 7 times, according to the Albany Times-Union. Here’s the best part: One fake bomb was placed in the same bag as a bottle of water. The TSA opened the bag, took the water, and let the bomb on the plane.
Cecilia Beaman is a 57-year-old grandmother, a middle school principal and part-time terrorist. She was busted by the TSA for attempting to sneak a 5 1/2 inch bread knife with a rounded tip and a serrated blade onto an airplane.
We know we’re the last people to notice this, but while booking some airline tickets we saw a line item for a “September 11 Security Fee.”
Now the 6 arrested passengers are suing their accusers. Boy, there was sure a whole lot of nasty racism going on that day. It’s hard to figure out who should sue who, isn’t it? Psst, the airline probably has more money. —MEGHANN MARCO
The discovery of a series of suspicious objects on bridges, near a medical center, underneath an interstate, and in other crowded public places have set off a wave of bomb scares across Boston, snarling traffic and subways across the city.
A Pakistani judge has dropped charges against the main suspect in a purported terror plot to blow up airlines with half a sports drink bottle full of dangerous liquids. This plot is the reason you now have to fly with a ziplock bag full of tiny toiletries, and the reason we have started to pay attention to the quality of hotel soaps. From BBC News: “Anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi found no evidence that he had been involved in terrorist activities or that he belonged to a terrorist organization. As well as forgery charges, Mr Rauf has also been charged with carrying explosives. But his lawyer says police evidence amounts only to bottles of hydrogen peroxide found in his possession.”
Cnet is reporting that the creator of the fake NWA boarding pass generator has been freed and all charges dropped due to lack of criminal intent on his part. “They’ve given me back my passports, my computers, and I’ll be getting the rest of my stuff back shortly. Essentially, I’m a free man–with no charges filed,” Christopher Soghoian wrote on his blog Tuesday, talking about the investigation by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Indiana.
A Cleveland airport considers pie filling a dangerous liquid, while at JFK the pie loses its incendiary properties. TSA employees seized at least a dozen of the baked goods from travelers.