Archive for the ‘Washington DC’ Category

DC Police accused?

April 8, 2007

In response to the suit, D.C. police at first said that no police intelligence officials were involved in the arrests. Last year, city officials revealed under additional questioning that five members of the police intelligence unit were present.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/02/AR2007040201568_pf.html

Air Serv / TSA

October 29, 2006

Below, a person who writes travel books shares his experience with employees from a company called Air Serv Corp from Atlanta, Georgia and the US Transportation Security Administration. (Note: it appears that at least one TSA employee has referred to this company as “Airserve”)

But never, anywhere in the world — including a fairly wide variety of police states — have I been threatened with arrrest while travelling, merely for asking questions about what was happening.

Until last month, at Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC, USA.

I checked in at the United Airlines counter, showed my USA passport to the airline staff person when they asked me to show them my identification, and received my boarding pass and baggage check with almost an hour left before my flight. (I didn’t argue, but what they meant was to “show my credentials” — identification is an act or process, not a tangible object.)

So when one of a group of people between the check-in counter and the TSA checkpoint — who appeared to be neither TSA nor airline employees — said to me, “I need to see your boarding pass and ID”, I took the time to ask him, “Why? Who are you?”

“I need to check your boarding pass and ID,” he repeated. (“I need to…” is a peculiarly ambiguous locution. Is it an order, or a request? Must I satisfy your needs?)

“But why? Who do you work for? Am I required to open my passport for unidentified strangers?”

“We work for the TSA”, he said, and pointed to a logo on the badge that hung from a a lanyard around his neck.

There was a logo there — too small for me to read, even with my bifocals, without getting closer than seemed polite. But he wasn’t wearing anything that looked like a TSA uniform, and the largest line on his and his colleagues’ badges said, Airserv . I didn’t see anything saying “TSA” or “United Airlines”.

“Do you work for the TSA? Or do you work for Airserv?”

“Actually, we work for Airserv.”

“So what’s the relationship between Airserv and the TSA? Does the TSA require me to open my passport for you?”

“All our screening personnel at this airport are TSA employees,” Mr Graham told me.

“I see, sir. Thank you for clarifying that. So do these people with the badges that say ‘Airserv’ work for the TSA?”

“No.”

“That’s what I thought, sir. But this man claimed that they work for the TSA, and said that’s why they have the TSA logo on their badges.”

“TSA logo? There’s no TSA logo on their badges. That’s the logo of Customs and Border Protection [another division of the Department of Homeland Security]. That shows that they are authorized to be in the secure customs area of the airport.”

“Then are you concerned, sir, that he claimed to be a TSA employee, when he’s not?”

“No, sir. That’s not my concern.” I thought that impersonating a Federal officer was a serious crime, but Mr. Graham didn’t seem to care.

To give an added frisson of resemblance to countries with corrupt or dysfunctional police and governments, the people in uniform demanding people’s credentials are lying about being government employees. The real government employees watching them don’t care.

http://www.hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/001065.html

Washington DC coincidences

October 23, 2006

“This may, in fact, be only coincidence, and simply ‘look bad.’ But coincidence, in this town, is rare.”

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/19/AR2006101901720.html