TSA Declares Victory, Achieves Same Vaunted Status As IRS

The IRS is celebrating the results of an AP poll that ranks the TSA as the most hated arm of the federal government. More than anything, Americans apparently hate being inconvenienced by seemingly pointless and arbitrary security checks.

The AP poll, conducted Monday through Wednesday, found that the more people travel, the less they like TSA.

But it also found that 53% of air travelers think TSA does a “very” or “somewhat” good job.

The inconvenience of security was the top complaint of air travelers, mentioned by 31% of those who had taken at least one trip in the past year. That figure rose to 40% for those who have taken five to 10 trips.

TSA’s parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, also ranked at the bottom of an index of consumer satisfaction released this week, supplanting the IRS as the prime subject of grumbling in that survey. The authoritative American Customer Satisfaction Index questioned 10,000 people about their experiences with the federal government.

But it’s all our fault. We just don’t appreciate that the TSA is working overtime to bring us a Safe And Secure Society (TM) using complex science-driven techniques that we should not mock.

Behavioral observation and document checking are proving to be the most successful in rooting out would-be terrorists, [Administrator Kip Hawley] said. Screeners do catch people who try to bring guns onto planes. “But they’re not terrorists. They’re just stupid,” he said. Terrorists know better than to try to bring prohibited items through security, he said.

That’s right. The fidgety terrorist with the forged passport, he’s feeling fine because he knew to leave the Purell at home.

Poll: Travelers dislike TSA as much as IRS [AP]
(Photo: Getty Images)


Edit Your Comment

  1. kidnextdoor says:

    “…the more people travel, the less they like TSA.”
    Well, duh. That’s like saying the more people commit crimes, the less they like the police. Or, the more taxes one pays, the less they like the IRS.

  2. superborty says:

    Huh? I hate the TSA and I don’t commit crimes. The staff, certainly around NYC, are bottom-of-the-barrel. Not only do they never catch the guns smuggled through (seems to be a story everyday about failures) but they have attitude to boot. Mass incompetence. Who would have guessed.

    Might as well get this site a bit heated before Christmas…. They aren’t allowed to profile which makes them even less than useless…

  3. CaptainSemantics says:

    The picture used is flawless: four TSA “personnel” looking at some flashy notecard created by the higher-ups because they’re not sure if someone can take their (insert innocuous object here) on the plane.

    “Well, gosh, that watch in his bag is ticking and it’s not an American flag, it must be a bomb!”

  4. zolielo says:

    How about a direct link to all of the poll results, please?

  5. skadoo323 says:

    On a related note I was recently departing from LAX and this Asian (no offense to Asians in particular, just to this guy) TSA employee who hardly spoke any English did not even know what a TSA lock is. It’s one of those locks you can put on your bags, but the TSA has a method of unlocking the lock without having to break/cut the lock. The guy looked at it funny and he kept saying hey hey as he pointed to the lock. I guess that was his way of communicating to me that I need to remove the lock. I replied sir it is a TSA lock, he didn’t understand, so I had to speak to one of his coworkers. This was surely frustrating since the TSA employee did not speak/understand English well nor did he even know what a TSA compatible lock is. I wonder who hires and trains these guys?

  6. CaptainSemantics says:

    @zolielo: Here ya go! :)


  7. elislider says:

    “Screeners do catch people who try to bring guns onto planes. “But they’re not terrorists. They’re just stupid,” he said. Terrorists know better than to try to bring prohibited items through security, he said”

    EXACTLY. making up all these ridiculous rules like no liquids over 3 oz. or whatever, its stupid and all it does is A) piss everyone off and B) nothing. the only thing not letting liquids onto planes is going to do is keep people from bringing liquids onto planes. its not going to stop a terrorist. i’m glad SOMEONE realizes watching someones behavior and properly check their documents is probably the best anyone can do to stop a “terrorist attack”. maybe we wouldnt have terrorism like this if our goverment wasnt so back-ass-wards about trying to prevent terrorism and as a result creating global hatred of the USA. if someone wants to bring a weapon on a plane, they will think in ways you dont think and they will figure it out. plain and simple. its the entire world vs. a board of rich white guys, just like it always is. who do you think can outsmart the other?

  8. Amelie says:

    @kidnextdoor: It’s related to the fact that the more often they fly, the higher the probability they will experience the increasing variety of TSA screw-ups and hassles. The analogy between paying more taxes and hating the IRS more, is not applicable here.

  9. TeraGram says:

    All this survey proves is that 53% of travellers in the USA are complete idiots.

  10. kantwait says:

    “So what’s going to stop 2 people from meeting up on the plane and combining their 3 ounces into 6 ounces?”

    SNL TSA sketch: [vids.myspace.com]

  11. inspiron says:

    I really hope terrorists don’t start hiding bombs in there rectums…eek

  12. SOhp101 says:

    Hatred toward the IRS is silly in my opinion–they’re just carrying out the laws passed by Congress/Administration–if you really want lower taxes, start lobbying for it or vote for those who will lower taxes.

  13. Trai_Dep says:

    Since the only reason the TSA got a 53% “doesn’t completely suck” rating is that the terroristsâ„¢ haven’t bothered, shouldn’t it be the terrorists that get the positive rating?!

  14. homerjay says:

    “…the more people travel, the less they like TSA.”

    Thats like saying the more I get abducted by aliens the less I enjoy the anal probes.

  15. CurbRunner says:

    Awww…come on! Give thess poor TSA guys a break!!

    After all, they did make that soccer mom scrape the jelly off of her 5 year old son’s peanut butter and jelly, carry-on sandwich, before boarding the plane.

    Don’t you know how explosive grape Jelly really is?
    I guess the peanut butter can’t explode as badly.

  16. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    @SOhp101: Which laws are you referring to? Income taxes are illegal, as the “16th Amendment” was never legally ratified by the required number of states.

    Much like the completely unconstitutional ‘Patriot’ act that got us into this mess.

  17. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    On one hand, the TSA sucks ass. On the other, it’s been over 6 years, and we haven’t had another terrorist attack.

    But as Benjamin franklin says:
    “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security.”

    So who is really winning the war on terror?

  18. homerjay says:

    @aaron8301: As Lisa Simpson said “By your logic, I could claim this rock keeps tigers away. Its just a stupid rock but I don’t see any tigers around, do you?”

  19. ageshin says:

    I hate to say it but the TSA and the whole homeland agency is a monumental waist of time and money. We are no more secure than before 9/11. This is due to the fact that Bush and his neo con friends don’t belive that government works and they work overtime to prove it. Scrap the whole mess and start over under new management.

  20. B says:

    @homerjay: I would like to buy your rock.

  21. banmojo says:

    I recently traveled through GB, and if you think the security in US airports is ridiculous, try taking more than a SMALL carry on bag through British security. I truly never ever want to travel by air again. EVER. And it’s only going to get worse. We’ve started down a slippery slope that ends in a stinking pool of fascism. Just my opinion. But in the end, we’ll have done it to ourselves, and will have only ourselves to blame.

  22. zolielo says:

    @CaptainSemantics: Thanks, I was hoping that my favorite governmental agency would be ranked but sadly it was missing from the poll.

    @B: $10 right?

  23. Trai_Dep says:

    Nice to see excellence rewarded. It took over 100 years for the IRS to get its loathsome reputation, which TSA trounced while still in swaddling clothes. That’s some accomplishment!

    Watch out, kiddy rapists, TSA is coming for you – you’ll only be the second most loathed entity in the US by 2008!

  24. Frantz says:

    This is not a comment, and probably should not appear in the website. It is merely a suggestion. I read Gizmodo on a daily basis, and there is one problem I have with it. Constantly there are articles using acronyms or abbreviations that I don’t have a clue as to what they mean or stand for. This “TSA” article is a good example of this. I can sort of figure it out by reading the content, and then taking a guess. Like TSA=Terminal Security Authority, or whatever. The point is, it is just not good journalism to assume that every reader knows what all the hi-tech abbreviations are. The first time such a term or string of letters is used in an article, it should be spelled out in full. Thank you.

  25. BigNutty says:


    Being abducted 6 times, I know that the use of anal probes was stopped back in the 70’s and now complete body scans using advanced technology are regarded tha norm.

  26. DeeSarco says:

    Whats up with their “random selection” BS! Flew Jet Blue to Puerto Rico from Seattle through NY, got “randomly selected” as soon as they saw our ticket all four times we had to go through security (twice each way), almost missed a flight. I may understand once, but all four times, c’mon.

    If TSA wants to random select, they need to work on their system.

  27. csdiego says:

    It’s not the inconvenience, it’s the cowboy attitude. I don’t mind getting to the airport early and standing in line, but when some failed mall-security cop with a TSA badge gives me a smirk that says, “Heh, heh, heh. I can have you strip-searched, you know”, that’s when I reach for my revolver. The selective ignorance of the rules, on things like knitting needles and nail clippers, does nothing to endear them either.

  28. brandymb says:

    The half-tube of sunblock they made me toss on my last flight must have scared the shit out of all of them. Imagine… SUNBLOCK!

  29. mcquetm says:

    The worst part of the TSA isn’t the cavalier attitude or the english-as-a-second-language employment options, it’s the random way that they apply rules and regulations.

    I travel for work, so to make life as easy as possible, I try to anticipate their demands. For instance, after Richard Reid ([en.wikipedia.org]) perpetrated the dumbest terrorist act in history, I was forced to remove my shoes *if* the heel was thinker than an inch. I bought some Merrells that seemed to meet the requirements, and in fact didn’t have a problem until I went through the Tampa airport. They stopped me and made me take my shoes off. I explained about the one inch rule. They claimed that TSA required everyone to remove their shoes regardless and forced me into the “problem traveler” line to get probulated. When I talked to the supervisor about it, he told me that each airport security department gets to decide for themselves which “guidelines” to follow (I’m not sure that this is true, or at least true anymore). I also asked him where I can go to look at the latest TSA guidelines, and he said that for security purposes they are not published. This means that they can and do change guidelines at the last moment without warning anyone, causing stress and delays at the security checkpoint.

    Another case in point is the CPAP machine. I suffer from Sleep Apnea and thus are required to carry my CPAP on-board with me (since the airlines like to lose my baggage about 30% of the time – long story). Our friends at the TSA are freaked out by the CPAP since it has large dark shadows inside it. Until about six months ago I could keep it in it’s carrying bag which would get scanned for explosives, but now I am required to remove it from the bag before it gets x-rayed. When a TSA employee sees the CPAP in the bin, they shout, “CPAP!” like they are warning everyone in the area that hey, there’s probably an explosive device in this thing.

    When I go through security I have to:

    – Remove shoes
    – Remove belt
    – Remove cell phone, keys and change
    – Remove gels and liquids from carry on suitcase
    – Remove laptop from case

    I usually have to keep track of two bins with all my stuff in it, plus my laptop case and carry-on bag. I’m forced to walk through the metal detector with one hand on my waistband so my pants won’t fall down around my ankles as I walk around shoeless (it’s happened). When I get to the end, I have to collect all my stuff, put on belt and shoes, put laptop back in bag and wait for CPAP so I can re-pack it. Sometimes I get yelled at by the TSA officers for holding up the line. I tell them that they make me take all of this stuff off, so they can deal with it.

    The ultimate insult is that there is *no* evidence that any of this is making us safer. I have never seen any statistics on how many terrorist incidents are foiled by the excessive screening, and probably never will. Every time I see TSA officers, I am reminded of the Nazi Brown Shirts ([en.wikipedia.org]). I can only imagine a future trial, in which TSA employees excuse their actions by saying that they were, “only following orders.”

  30. mr.Man says:

    In a related study, 100% of TSA Employee polled don’t give a shit what passengers think about them.

    They also plan on secondary screening and/or general hassling everyone they can find who responded to the first survey.

  31. Sonnymooks says:

    I still hate the IRS more then the TSA.

  32. Rhyss says:

    I was actually felt up by a female TSA officer. I was telling my friend about it as she is a probation officer and she told me that I was “patted down” wrong. The female TSA agent had her hands with her palms facing my body and when they get to “underwire territory” they’re supposed to put their palms facing down and use the tops of their hands, but not her. I did think at the time that seemed a little wierd. She could have at least bought me a drink afterwards.

  33. Cliff_Donner says:

    Silly Rhyss, you’re supposed to get the drink first.