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Airport Rage Is All the Rage

Last week, Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) made headlines after he opened a secure airport terminal door at Washington Dulles International Airport. This week, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) is in the spotlight after he was overheard complaining to airport security workers in Portland about their "stupid" rules as they pulled him aside for additional screening.

And this from a man who created the agency that makes those rules.

DeFazio, who has served on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Aviation since 1986 and helped found the Transportation Security Administration in the wake of 9/11, admits, "I'm a grumpy traveler. But I don't think we have here airport rage."

DeFazio balked when he was singled out for additional security screening by rubber-gloved wearing TSA workers at his connecting gate at Portland International Airport. He had already gone through regular X-ray screening in Eugene, where his United Airlines flight originated.

"I said, 'This is really stupid. What are you going to find here with rubber gloves that you didn't find in primary security with the X-ray machine?'" DeFazio recalled of his Monday morning schlep from his district back to Washington.

And he said he offered up that he was "kind of an expert on airport security," telling the TSA screeners, "I helped create the TSA. I'm in Congress."

That was construed by an anonymous passenger - a Republican operative, DeFazio presumes - as a "do-you-know-who-i-am" rant against the TSA workers. The anonymous tipster told Roll Call newspaper (subscription required) that DeFazio was visibly angry and used a curse word, which the congressman doesn't recall.

Read the rest of the story from The Post's Fed Page »

By Mary Ann Akers  |  March 19, 2009; 5:50 AM ET
 
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Comments

How are these two situations analogous at all? Vitter represented a legit security threat, trying to force his way onto an airplane. DeFazio complained about the same things all of us complain about. This is making news where there is none.

Posted by: DCMike1 | March 19, 2009 8:15 AM | Report abuse

DeFazio might be a jerk and his comments might be ironic, but I think calling his comment an example of "airport rage" is a dangerous and potentially slanderous stretch.

Posted by: sarahabc | March 19, 2009 8:45 AM | Report abuse

So, based on this story, I can fart as I'm passing by the TSA agent and it may be interperted as an expression of airport rage. Wow, who knew.

Posted by: dem4life1 | March 19, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

We all get angry in airports. It is the price we pay for safety. I am an elderly, gray haired grandmother with a very distinct southern drawl and I was pulled aside for bringing an antique Roman tile, 4"x4"x1/2", into the Atlanta Airport from England. I don't know what that very ordinary looking tile could have had in it but it was fine with me. I want to be safe.

Posted by: Skye1er | March 19, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

We all want and desire security and safety, But
To the slaughter house we are led, inch by inch and step by step. Ha Ha!

This sort of article covers-up all the profilings of "other than ""regular Americans"". What is a regular American?

Unfortunately, we do make excuses and generalized rationalizations All in the name of Security and Safety these days.
We no longer appear to have the Resolute committment to defend our Full Freedom (or have abandoned it) in our own country and home-All in the name of national security and safety. Are You Really Secure and Safe? Ha Ha!

Price of Freedom is Freedom Lost?
I guess, In Reality, there hasn't been true freedom for a very, very long time.

Posted by: SOCIETY1 | March 19, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

Ha! And we all continue to operate under the delusion that we're all safe.

Posted by: ennepe68 | March 19, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

DeFazio has more intestinal fortitude than I do. My mouth remains shut unless I am asked a specific question by the TSA. The last thing I need is to be delayed for an extensive body search, errr, additional screening and miss my connection.

I also keep reminding myself that the TSA agents are just doing their job. It isn't their fault that this "feel good" security procedure is totally useless against a determined terrorist attack.

Posted by: Rich393 | March 19, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Are the editors asleep? They certainly aren't doing their job. There is no AIRPORT RAGE in this entire story. And if there was 2 instances certainly don't make a "rage" or a trend. Maybe the headline author would be better suited to write ad copy or other types of fiction.

Posted by: nardone22 | March 19, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

All this aside, the 9/11 terrorists had no problem boarding their flights - so where is the rage? The news? Arrogant politicians who become victims of their own "stupid rules," ones that they create.

Posted by: CubsFan | March 19, 2009 10:05 AM | Report abuse

De Fazio is an idiot. He *created* the absurd security theater that wastes our time, erodes our civil rights, and makes us not one iota "safer."

And the best he can do when confronted head-on with the absurdity he created and now oversees is GRUMBLE? The man has the power to fix the problem, and he just mumbles an obscenity and moves on. Now THAT is an obscenity.

Posted by: DupontJay | March 19, 2009 10:21 AM | Report abuse

It appears to me that almost all of the new "security procedures" instituted after 9/11 are pointless and wasteful window-dressing...they don't make anyone safer; that wasn't even their primary purpose. They provide the policy-makers with cover, as in "Look, see, we're doing something!".

No hijacking of the sort accomplished on 9/11 is likely ever to occur again, because PASSENGERS (salute to those on Flight 93) would never again meekly comply with idiotic instructions (and airline policies) to do as they are told by (barely) armed nutcases bent on killing them all. Beyond that the only "security precautions" required to absolutely prevent another 9/11 scenario are secure cockpit doors, making it impossible for hijackers to get into the flight deck without heavy equipment (which even the OLD procedures would have interdicted at the air terminal).

The 9/11 attacks were planned and executed with full cognizance of the security procedures then in practice. If there is another terrorist attack of similar magnitude, it, too, will be planned and executed with our current procedures in mind.

Once again, we have shut the barn door only after the horse is gone. Actually, we went out and bought a NEW and preposterously-expensive "barn door" with time locks and alarms, dead-bolts and an overpaid armed guard... so now it takes two hours to get back into the barn to feed the cows...but the horse is still gone!

Posted by: Observer44 | March 19, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Coming back into America this week I spent one full hour going thru Immigration since the line was so long. I almost missed my flight due to this delay where the only thing I had to present to the Agent was a piece of paper and my Passport. I went through custons in seven minutes even though they checked my baggage.There was at least 500 people waiting to show their passport and only four windows open although there were 19 windows available for personnel.

Posted by: jrbreslin1 | March 19, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a little funny and ironic how Defazio helped construct the agency that made the rules which are annoying him. But this is just an annoyance, nothing more nothing less. The guy claims to be a grumpy traveler, but that doesn't mean he has airport rage. Nevertheless it's funny to see that an agency he had started came in full circle just to annoy him, thus somehow being considered news for people to read. There are more important topics than a politician getting pissed off at an airport. It's not like he killed anyone! sheesh

Posted by: ralphbray | March 19, 2009 7:04 PM | Report abuse

I think it's both funny and ironic how Defazio got annoyed with the rules the agency he started were enforcing upon him. He even thinks that all the new security procedures are a little over the top.
Defazio said he is a "grumpy traveler" and he clearly displayed this at the airport. And also to his defense i think it's going a little overboard to say he had "airport rage". All it was, was a silly argument, nothing more nothing less.

Posted by: ralphbray | March 19, 2009 7:16 PM | Report abuse

What is often overlooked in anecdotes like this is that this relentless invasion we endure at American airports in the name of security is discouraging travel. I can't be the only frequent traveler who simply will not transit JFK airport because of the behavior of TSA agents there.

My own "airport rage" incident was simply stating in a simple matter-of-fact way that I was surprised their machine was still beeping although I had been through two previous checks that same day. All I had remaining in my pockets after two walk-throughs was a piece a plastic pen. When I said, "Shall I take that out?" the agent's response was, "It's too late."

She called over an associate who would not let me retrieve my baggage from the belt or touch it once it was placed at some distance -- resulting in my new laptop being left behind when I continued to San Francisco. Meanwhile, the new agent swept me several times with a wand, which continued beeping. (I have no artificial body parts.) He put his gloved hand down the front of my pants. His communication was mainly grunts and mumbles. Twice, when I apparently strayed beyond what he thought was an appropriate range, he commanded, "Sit!" as if I were a misbehaving dog. This was not a brief episode.

Even a Customs inspector, annoyed at the delays of passengers moving through the process, came into the are and screamed at the inspectors. Naturally, they slowed down. It was a hellish experience, seriously delaying my arrival at the connecting flight. So, I am traveling less by air and avoiding a couple of airports (and one pier site) because of what I perceive as intrusive, repetitive, and unnecessary examinations. Yes, I want safety, but I do not want insulting behavior. It is possible to have security without insulting behavior. How much is this costing the travel industry?

Posted by: jaygordonwillits | March 20, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"My own "airport rage" incident was simply stating in a simple matter-of-fact way that I was surprised their machine was still beeping although I had been through two previous checks that same day. All I had remaining in my pockets after two walk-throughs was a piece a plastic pen. When I said, "Shall I take that out?" the agent's response was, "It's too late."

She called over an associate who would not let me retrieve my baggage from the belt or touch it once it was placed at some distance -- resulting in my new laptop being left behind when I continued to San Francisco. Meanwhile, the new agent swept me several times with a wand, which continued beeping. (I have no artificial body parts.) He put his gloved hand down the front of my pants. His communication was mainly grunts and mumbles. Twice, when I apparently strayed beyond what he thought was an appropriate range, he commanded, "Sit!" as if I were a misbehaving dog. This was not a brief episode.

Even a Customs inspector, annoyed at the delays of passengers moving through the process, came into the are and screamed at the inspectors. Naturally, they slowed down."

Fact is most of those so-called "TSA agents" and "security officers" who flex and abuse their authority would be working at McDonald's or at Wal Mart if the TSA hadn't been created.

Posted by: ceefer66 | March 20, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I am THRILLED to hear of a government employee who has been part of the security apparatus feels pinched in an airport inspection-MY FREAKIN' HEART BLEEDS!

Posted by: sunaj | March 21, 2009 5:22 AM | Report abuse

I'm suprised to hear people talking about having to go through security before boarding a connecting flight. Is this just something for international connections? In my experience, once you board one US flight, you don't have to go through security again for another US flight. But I haven't flown a connecting flight in awhile. Also, hats off to DCA (National) Airport TSA - they are polite and quick.

Posted by: ejohnsoz1 | March 23, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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