Feeds

back to article SHOCK: Poll shows Americans think TSA is highly effective

Forget what you've heard in the news. According to a new Gallup poll, the majority of Americans think the Transportation Security Administration, which handles security screening at US airports, is doing just fine, "despite recent negative press." The survey, which was published on Wednesday, asked a sample of 1,014 randomly …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.

Page:

Anonymous Coward

I like how excellent (13%) is being grouped with good (41%) to come to the conclusion of "highly effective" and an above 50% figure.

22
0
Mushroom

Does it really matter what the American public thinks?

The majority of Americans think the Earth is less than 7000 years old and that humans and dinosaurs coexisted.

26
9
Anonymous Coward

It's the herd mentality of the above average underachievers.

3
2
FAIL

Re: Does it really matter what the American public thinks?

We have the Comedy Group - called "The Chaser" in Australia who did a number of videos of "stupid Americans" - mostly ad-hoc interviews on the streets with clueless "dumb fucks", who have no idea where Kentucky Fried Chicken comes from, or that Australia is part of George Bush's Axis of Evil... or that something like 2/3rds of American's can't find the USA on a world map.....

But hey - these types are everywhere...... try living in country Australia....

But when a guy from America, does the same subject, based upon stats and general research.... and his more choice input includes comments like "We don't need town hall meetings, we need study hall meetings" etc...

This is a real fucking eye opener.

Real Time With Bill Maher - Americans Are Stupid

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4datkjjee88

0
2

Re: Does it really matter what the American public thinks?

which is interesting because the majority of Brits seem to have no idea what the majority of Americans are like - but, hey, that doesn't stop them from opening their ignorant gobs and rattling their tonsils.

3
1
FAIL

Re: Does it really matter what the American public thinks?

Umm ... trust me...if you are watching Bill Maher, you aren't getting a real picture of Americans. Sadly, Maher, and most other media, spend lots of time finding mentally challenged people and then making a big deal of displaying them in public.

Most Americans don't have a great picture of the intricacies of what is occuring in other countries, but then it's rare to have any reasonable media coverage of it, it does not however, mean they are stupid. I travel throughout the world quite a bit and you would be surprised at the warped ideas folks from other countries have about Americans.

Some of us take the time to monitor to monitor worldwide events through print and the Internet, but it's very difficult to have in depth knowledge of every country in the world...at least not and maintain a job, family life and relationships.

So you will always have someone who knows 'more' and will point at the poor stupid fellow who doesn't know the President of Uganda's brother is also the General of the Army and bought 30 million dollars worth of defective helicopters from a former Eastern Bloc nation....getting a huge kickback in the process....or some other detail of some country in the world.

People point to this and trumpet the failings of the American public to be aware of the world around them.

Keep going, though, eventually you will tear us colonials up enough that we'll believe we're inferior.

1
0
Silver badge

YOUNGER PEOPLE MORE PRONE TO MEDIA MANIPULATION SHOCK!

Results weren't nearly as impressive from people who remember what the word 'freedom' means.

57
1
Silver badge
FAIL

Re: YOUNGER PEOPLE MORE PRONE TO MEDIA MANIPULATION SHOCK!

>who remember what the word 'freedom' means.

Yeah too bad the Baby Boomers who remember are the ones that sold it all away so they could get theirs. Who cares about the grandkids?

0
0
Joke

I always remember this about my fellow citizens: I know what the stupidity of the average American is and that half of them are dumber than that.

37
1
Anonymous Coward

touch my privates stranger

touch them

6
0
Happy

Re: touch my privates stranger

I am all for chicks in uniforms donning the rubber glove and giving me the "bad boy" rough treatment - of the full body cavity searches.

Elbow length gloves are best.

Praise jesus and god bless America!

0
1
Silver badge
Pint

Wonderful play

So what they are really saying is that the actors playing in the security theater are good enough to impress the main audience regardless of what the critics think.

@Erik N., what's the joke alert icon for? The next time you're home sick you can see that proof is easy enough to find by turning on the TV in the middle of the day, any channel will do. Cheers, citizen.

8
0
Anonymous Coward

Feeling like the devils advocate here, but they must be doing something right otherwise we'd have had repeats of past problems.

There's not yet a shortage of loonies as recent events have shown.

But downvote at will, I'll understand.

4
39
Silver badge

Instead of a downvote, an analogy:

Nasrudin was throwing handfuls of crumbs around his house.

"What are you doing?" someone asked him.

"Keeping the tigers away."

"But there are no tigers in these parts."

"That's right. Effective, isn't it?"

53
2
Silver badge

@AC 01:23

You type: "they must be doing something right otherwise we'd have had repeats of past problems.", and then go on to comment: "There's not yet a shortage of loonies as recent events have shown.".

Do you not see the discord in your thoughts?

In the Western World, Security Theater doesn't work. Never has, never will. In a free society, loonies abound (except in Canada, where nutters abound and Loonies are scarce ... ).

13
4
Silver badge
Facepalm

Aha-

"There's not yet a shortage of loonies as recent events have shown."

As 'recent events' include this survey, I agree.

9
0
Silver badge

Funny, not clever

There are many jokes about this peculiar form of mental self-delusion. My favourite:

===================================

How do elephants hide?

Upside down in bowls of custard.

But I've never seen an elephant upside down in a bowl of custard.

Yes, that proves how well it works!

15
1
Mushroom

Uh huh. Remeber when the 100ml liquids malarkey came in? The moment I heard that I said "OK make a high explosive from liquids." which I already knew to be possible.

About 3 years later a program on telly wheeled out that whiskery old explosives bloke to explain so.

2
1
Anonymous Coward

Yeah yeah it's all pointless yada yada and sure enough you'd all board flights which had no security screening.

Just stay away from flightpaths where I'm near.

2
19

@AC 01:23

I think the thing is that it's not so much they have been effective, it's that they are always looking for the last terrorist attack, not the next. "No shoes, no underwear, no liquid..."

If it is so good, why have these terrorists not been stopped more often?

Or just decided to cut the middle man out and walk into an airport en-masse with suitcase bombs and detonate them all. Airport goes down for months, thousands of deaths, lots of publicity, total avoidance of any security theatre anyone could throw at them. Here in London the Tube has not been hit since 7/7, there is no extra security that I can detect.

I'll stop typing now.

You forget that most people are honest. The standard internal flight idiocy of having the baggage return outside security by the exit (Atlanta I think does this) shows that. Anyone could walk in, grab a bag on the conveyor, and walk out. Sure, most of the time you'll get dirty underwear, but you may hit the jackpot once. I digress.

There is more of a risk having your bags unzipped so TSA can open them at will once out of sight than the theatre up front. Are we really to say that a minimum wage secure side person would not be able to slip through and plant explosives/drugs in any open bag? If it's so easy to make a bomb from household chemicals, cleaning fluid the like, used by, er cleaners, in the airport - there's your weakest link, surely. Or even, all those open bags, does nobody, ever, have a rummage and nick some aftershave or something? I mentioned my SSS fiasco some time back, I think it was due to being stopped once on the way in to be asked "has anyone interfered with your luggage" and me saying "well, it's had to be unlocked and out of my sight for the past 15 hours, so I have no idea." Which did not go down very well at all.

I fear The Powers that Be prefer you to be scared and grateful than thinking.

17
1

I stopped wearing polyester leisure suits in 1974 and we haven't had any nuclear wars....

4
1
Silver badge
WTF?

@AC 13:17

It isn't that the security screening is pointless but the "new and improved" TSA gland holding style of security security screening that is pointless. Let me ask you this, if it worked why do they keep catching the terrorists on the plane when they go to light their explosive skives? Yeah yeah think of all the folks they caught with nail clippers, knitting needles and other miscellaneous crap they forgot to take out of their luggage when normal everyday items was legal to bring on an airplane. And since you're AC it would be easier for you to stay away when I'm near, but then you'd probably have to be a TSA agent to know... Oh, if you are a TSA agent that puts your second point into much greater clarity, thanks for letting us all know just how you roll.

"TSA 4 to Base, Tango down! Threat neutralized. Poor bastard didn't have a chance but he should have known not to bring a loaded safety razor through a flightpath where I'm near!"

2
1

If they're doing something right...

How many terrorists have they caught?

12
1
Silver badge

What they are doing right

It is all about perception, keeping the threat in your face and keeping the voters placated. In that they are doing very, very well.

11
0
Anonymous Coward

"Remeber when the 100ml liquids malarkey came in?"

Is that the one where the defendants were found not guilty (or innocent, I can't remember) by the judiciary, after having been hanged, drawn, and quartered by the media and the official propaganda machine?

0
0
Anonymous Coward

"Yeah yeah it's all pointless yada yada and sure enough you'd all board flights which had no security screening"

You may be interested to know that private flights, esp. those from small airfields or carrying VIPs, undergo little to no screening whatsoever, then we proceed to land at major airports.

Or of course, you could just cut the fence and make your way to the runway, amongst a number of other things.

Point being, the actual security is that which you do not see and is mostly done by intelligence work. The primate stealing your water bottles is there just to entertain the audience.

12
0
Silver badge

@Eddy Ito: Important clarification point:

In your post you used the ambiguous "they" which could be taken to mean TSA and therefore we might be able to deem them effective. The ambiguous "they" as far as I can recall is not the TSA, but the passengers on the flight, who proceed to hold the perp until the plan lands and TSA and/or FBI can take over. I do believe the most pointed recent case of this would be the pilot* who lost it and was held by the passengers at the co-pilot's request.

*Yes, I know he wasn't a terrorist and his recent behavior in jail points to a severe mental problem which probably needs proper treatment as opposed to jail time. But that actually only reinforces the case that the airlines and TSA aren't truly effective, they are only effective at security theater. Pilots are supposedly screened even better than passengers, at least from the mental health perspective.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: If they're doing something right...

I won't necessarily hold not knowing how many they've caught against them. If the managed to nab them quietly before they became headlines, I can see them keeping quiet about it. My concern is more the ones that got through to the plane that we DO know about. Stopped in all instances by non-law enforcement types on the plane (let alone the people allegedly hired to do so). I mean, I don't think we've even had an off duty city beat cop in on one of these captures.

0
0
Silver badge

But is there such a thing as a drinkable high explosive? I don't believe so.

I still think that they could safely allow a bottle of water (say up to two litres) provided the passenger takes a drink from it at the security checkpoint. The reason they don't has everything to do with increasing the profits of the air-side vending outlets, and nothing to do with security.

1
0
Silver badge

Re: @AC 01:23

> "has anyone interfered with your luggage"?

I use a (coloured and marked) cable-tie so that I can answer that one! It's also a mild disincentive to light-fingered security staff. It doesn't stop security looking inside if they want to (and they don't have to wreck my luggage to do so) but a thief will know for sure that I will notice the intrusion at the baggage claim.

0
0
Big Brother

There have been no underwear bombers since they installed the body scanners in response to the first underwear bomber. However if you believe they installed the body scanners in direct response to the underwear bomber you are easily gulled. The underwear bomber cam at a very helpful time, just before the installation of body scanners they had already bought.

If you are controlling both the problem and the solution it's likely you will come out looking good.

0
2
Silver badge
Big Brother

Shows constant media scare tactics about terrorism work

People had enough fear drummed into them by the media and government over the past decade that they became willing to submit to anything to feel safe again. Remember how they used to mention the "threat level" all the time on the news? How many times have we heard claims about how many terrorist plots have been stopped, while we have less than a half dozen actual instances, all of which were woefully incompetent morons acting alone with little outside support (shoe bomber, underwear bomber, printer cartridge bomber)

Don't bother pointing out that more Americans die in automobile crashes EVERY MONTH than died on 9/11, the sheep don't care. Don't bother pointing out that the bans on box cutters were stupid because it's trivial to sharpen the edge of a credit card sharp enough to slit ones throat, they'll only eye you suspiciously as a possible terrorist for knowing/thinking about this.

Even the Tea Partiers who think government is incompetant to scratch it's own ass would never think of cutting security spending. They want to cut waste, fraud and abuse, and somehow think there's enough of that to practically balance the budget, but they won't find any of that in the TSA or Homeland Security!

29
3

Re: Shows constant media scare tactics about terrorism work

Doug is on the money (I know nothing about Tea Partiers though, being a Brit)

I don't have the stats to hand, but in the aftermath of 9/11 IIRC more extra people died because they chose to go by road over the six months after it, than died in the 9/11 atrocity.

Humans are an odd bunch that don't really understand risk.

11
2
Silver badge

Re: Even the Tea Partiers...would never think of cutting security spending.

Yes, we would. But given it's one of the few areas which is explicitly authorized in the Constitution, we'd cut it in a more rational way than knee-jerkers like you who just hate The Man. And, yeah, I'm pretty sure you'd have fit if we could do what we'd like to about security.

0
2
Unhappy

Re: Shows constant media scare tactics about terrorism work

Umm ... wrong. I don't claim to be a 'Tea Partier', but I sure agree with most of what they are trying to do. I can assure you, most people who think as I do think the TSA is a huge waste of money and effort, plus the building of a new agency who seems to have almost unlimted power to harass and control the public is a very bad idea.

The TSA has become a force that apparently has no bounds, and is coming to a bus or train station near you. Perhaps ultimately to monitor ingress and egress of the building you work in, after all ... elevators are a form of transportation, and could be used in a terrorist act.

Watch and see.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

Flawed sample set

Generally, I trust Gallop polls about as far as I can piss upwind - and I live in Kansas.

People like myself, who care about our privacy and our freedom, have unlisted numbers on the Do Not Call list. Moreover, we have answering machines on our land-lines, and screen our calls, and do not take polling calls. Those with only cell phones are even more likely to screen calls, and thus are not counted in this sort of poll. This poll selected for sheeple.

The TSA is ineffectual at best, and is nothing but security theater at worst. The main steps to secure air travel - locking the flight deck and refusing to deal with hijackers - have already been implemented. The idea that a terrorist is going to be able to make a decent explosive from chemicals that, if commanded at the checkpoint to drink will not cause the terrorist's head to explode immediately, goes against basic chemistry. The best thing they could do to improve air travel safety would be to station 2 armed air marshals - one uniformed, one undercover - on each flight.

19
3

Re: Flawed sample set

>nothing but security theater at worst.

At worst it is much worse than just security theatre. The effects of the xray and millimetre wave scanners on human health should be factored in as well as the spread of disease from TSA workers not changing gloves between intimate pat downs. Consider also the economic cost of having your tourism industry destroyed by these procedures or the strong disincentives to frequent business travel (ignoring malware that just goes in and steals products anyway). It may also be that the surrender of freedom that the NSA / CIA / FBI / FEMA / Homeland Security / TSA police state embodies will mean a less confident, less creative America - that is for products people actually want to buy rather than products dropped upon them from 40,000 feet - and that does not augur well for their future - exhibit A: the UK. On the bright side, most of the Western world seems to be heading down this path of oppression and we may all soon find common purpose in the dream of moving to China, Russia or North Korea for the principles of freedom and democracy that they represent.

15
1
Pirate

Flawed sample set? Flawed question!

Given the TSA's brief is to perform in the security theatre, i.e. to make a show to the Americans (and visitors) of how the state cares about keeping them safe, they are doing good or even excellent job. If I was asked this question, that would've been my honest answer.

The jump from "doing good job" to being "highly effective" is absolutely unjustified (unless you count "highly effective in stage performance").

If the question has been "is TSA useful for averting the terrorist threat?" then the answer would have been quite different.

6
1
Facepalm

Re: Flawed sample set? Flawed question!

oops, to correct myself, there was a separate question about being effective. Jumped to commenting before reading properly. *facepalm*

0
0
Silver badge

Re: Flawed sample set? Flawed question!

Not so much flawed, actually, as very carefully designed. For the purpose it was designed to serve, that is.

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Self selecting morons?

Hi do you want to talk to me about the folks at the TSA?

..Doh, OK

4
0
Anonymous Coward

Re: Self selecting morons?

Reminds me of that south park episode 'Studies show that every 4th american is mentally retarded, there's 4 of us so you must be retarded cartman'

1
0
Anonymous Coward

A good citizen is a scared citizen

TSA, TSA!

We will scare you, all the way!

7
1
Silver badge

Re: A good citizen is a scared citizen

"We're making air travel a touching experience"

7
0
Stop

Hold on...

While I tend to agree with the various comments expressed above, I think we also have to remember how this poll was conducted. If you follow the link, the question asked was as follows:

"Thinking now about the TSA, the government agency that handles security screening at U.S. airports, do you think the TSA is doing an excellent, good, only fair or poor job?"

There are multiple ways to interpret that question, and if one interprets it as "how well are they doing the job they've been told to do?", the answer I myself would give would tend to be positive - that is, I believe they are, on balance, doing a good job at following the policies they've been told to follow. I also happen to think that those policies are by and large idiotic, unnecessary, and far more about the appearance of security than actually making us safe (all the while eroding our privacy, wasting our time, exposing us to unnecessary radiation and generally making the whole process far more unpleasant than it needs to be), but they are effectively executing those idiotic policies most of the time, are they not? What they should've done was to ask a question concerning the TSA's policies themselves, not their ability to execute on them.

As to the follow-up:

"How effective do you think the TSA’s screening procedures are at preventing acts of terrorism on U.S. airplanes – extremely effective, very effective, somewhat effective, not too effective or not effective at all?"

...the response you see is a direct result of the lack of any successful terrorist attacks via *US* airplane - that's in the question - in the last 11 years. Of course, if you put things in perspective:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0001454.html

...up to that point we had never had a single terrorist attack via US airplane at all; the closest we came were the Lockerbie bombings, since the flight was headed to the US, and we went for 13 years after that (without total panic, I might add) with nothing, in spite of all sorts of bad people being quite unhappy with us all over the world even then. This confirms that we are really, really bad at working out cause and effect - by far the more dismaying answer in my view than the one about whether the TSA is doing a "heckuva job" or not.

Last point, while as I say I agree with the points being made here, I will also say that, having lived in Europe and in the US and traveling internationally quite a lot over the last decade plus, airport security in the UK is even worse than in the US, in my experience. One carry on / no personal item, screened over and over and over again and on and on - ugh. I didn't think that was possible until I experienced it, but I can say now that it is. Not sure why you folks put up with that either, honestly, if we're going to be even-handed here...

Perhaps we should try airport security the French way (at least where CDG is concerned) by making our airports impossible to navigate, doing more to encourage missed connections and losing every third bag - at least 33% less likely to have a bomb on the plane that way, in addition to which the way they handle the bags that do make it at CDG makes me 100% certain that anything even remotely shock sensitive will be detonated well before it gets loaded. I have never seen such violence, such anger, such passion directed towards luggage as the French are able to summon at CDG. It is really quite something, and has made me an expert at repairing luggage.

As a friend said about my hard-sided Samsonite bag - the all plastic clamshell kind and the only thing that's survive the entire period in question (IT angle, I not once but *twice *brought a desktop tower trans-Atlantic inside it - pulled the HDs and put them in my carry-on, then stuffed the inside with packing material - no damage, still using the case) - I've replaced so many of the plastic fittings they've beaten the sh*t out of - stuff that it shouldn't be possible to break (but they did) - with over-engineered metal replacements that it's getting to the point where they are going to have to cut it in half to break it the next time around.

Arc_Light

17
1
Thumb Up

Re: Hold on...

Agree. Since there's been no terrorist attacks, logically it would be hard for many people to claim that the TSA had *not* been effective.

Perhaps if the question asked was "evaluate the following statement: 'the powers the TSA have are necessary to be effective against terrorism' - Strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree, strongly disagree" the results would be different. OR

"Would the TSA be more effective with decent human beings in their employ, rather than the fuckwits, arseholes and illiterate, braindead morons they currently employ?"

As always, the results the survey gives are determined by the questions asked.

7
2
Gold badge
Meh

Re: Hold on...

""Would the TSA be more effective with decent human beings in their employ, rather than the fuckwits, arseholes and illiterate, braindead morons they currently employ?""

You appear to think the purpose of the Thieves Support Association is something to do with "security."

2
1
Silver badge

Re: Hold on...

I know some people who work for the TSA, and actually in the screening positions. Frankly, they are decent human beings, except when they have to put on the badge and follow TSA policies. And if the TSA policies don't worry you, THAT should.

1
0
Thumb Down

Survey results don't match my experience

Maybe it is a local bias (live near DC, travel regularly) but I cannot think of anyone that would agree that the TSA is doing a good job. The conversations I hear are more frequently about how it should be disbanded, generally followed by a first or second hand account of obnoxious behavior. I have not had a bad experience myself, other than the general annoyance with the process, but would agree with the "get rid of them" assessment. Enormous waste of time and money, oppressive concept to begin with, and the few terrorist attempts have been thwarted by passengers rather than security.

5
1
Gold badge

Re: Survey results don't match my experience

Interesting. Isn't Ronnie Regan International meant to be top of the pile because of those Very Important Politicians (and their associated lackeys/henchmen/high price escorts) that travel with them.

RR is meant to be the gold standard of the TSA.

So you can imagine what the rest of the network is like...

2
2

Page:

This topic is closed for new posts.