Thursday, November 18, 2010

TSA: No Psychological Testing? Really?

You do not have to go through any psychological testing to be a TSA agent, at least that is what the Washington Examiner is reporting:
To become a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agent fully empowered to aggressively pat down passengers -- even inside passengers' underwear -- applicants need not pass any psychological testing despite having full federal backing.

I spoke to TSA's Human Resources department to find out what is required to become an officer. “Cynthia” (no last name, though TSA requires callers to supply spelling of first and last names before anyone will speak to you) told me that applicants must pass a background check and credit check, and then they interview with the hiring office. “No psychological evaluation?” I pressed: “Absolutely none?” Absolutely none.

The background check currently required of TSA applicants merely clears TSA applicants from the possibility that they might be friendly with terrorists themselves or blackmailable. They might include questions like: "Do you love your country?" and "Do you have a history of violence?" Background checks do NOT include such questions as: "Do you have a history of sexual assault?"

I would think, if part of your job description is invasive body searches, one might ask some psych questions or get a psych profile. But, I guess that is too much to ask. I agree with the author on this point especially:
If TSA officers want to be given authority similar to exercise discretion like police officers can, they should also face the same screening process we use for police. Nearly every police jurisdiction requires officer applicants to undergo psychological screening.

Lawsuits against police officers also take place in the jurisdiction where the cop lives, before a jury of his or her peers. Liability for police exists on both the city, county, and state levels. Not so for suits against individual TSA officers, which contend with the legal morass that is federal indemnity, granting federal TSA officials even more procedural protections.

Cops are charged with doing what they deem necessary to stop alleged criminals from bad behavior and can face penalties if they violate the privacy of innocent citizens without cause. Meanwhile, TSA officials may do whatever they deem necessary to treat passengers however they want, including fining innocent Americans and ejecting them from airports should they refuse to comply with TSA’s determination to treat them like criminals -- a consequence of merely entering an airport.

For heaven's sake, these people are groping us and we don't find out if they get off on it or have some type of deep seated psychological disorder? Come on now.