The TSA has an Instagram account of all the terrifying and bizarre stuff they’ve collected 

The TSA catches a lot of flak: While the agency subjects airline passengers to invasive scans and body searchers, even the American government has serious doubts that air travel has become significantly safer.

But taking a look at the TSA’s Instagram feed can give you a clear sense of what the agency’s work looks like. 

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Before my name change, I avoided airplanes and crossing international borders altogether. The dissonance between my clearly-boy name and obviously-girl presentation caused enough awkward situations with bartenders and bouncers; the mere thought of dealing with the TSA or Customs was enough to make my stomach do backflips. National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling has noted that “transgender people end up as collateral damage in TSA’s security theater. Any security system that relies on gender and ‘anatomical anomalies’ will always disparately affect transgender and gender non-confirming people.”

When I flew for the first time in many years last January, I spent hours going over the current TSA procedures for transgender people so that I was prepared for every eventuality. I carried my letter from my therapist, a copy of my name change order, and a letter from doctor explaining my gender, hoping to cover any objection the TSA may have. I even went as far as to carry the number for the local ACLU office, just in case things got ugly. These days I fly pretty regularly, but my anxiety levels still skyrocket every time I step into the security lines. I seem to run about a 50/50 risk that the agent who looks at my ID will misgender me, and the full-body scanner always seems to find something “suspicious” between my legs that requires an entirely-too-intimate check— and often disgusted look— from the nearest lady screener.

SPOILER ALERT: Everything in this article totally happens all the time.

6 Shockingly Childish Abuses of Power by Airport Employees

#6. Airport Body Scanners Have Been Used to Rate (and Berate) Your Junk

According to ex-TSA agent Jason Harrington (and every fiber of common sense in your exposed body), body scanners are much more effective for mercilessly ridiculing passengers from behind closed doors than they are for spotting terrorists. Plastic explosives were apparently indistinguishable from fat rolls, leaving screeners with little more to do than make a sport out of laughing at overweight passengers and guessing the sex of ambiguously shaped bodies passing through scans. And when they aren’t laughing their asses off at man boobs and crotchular irregularities, screeners racially profile your genitals in the name of … national security, or, as Harrington explained, “All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.” Which makes us feel markedly insecure. In our pants.

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This may not make Jose Antonio Vargas feel better, but apparently TSA agents need some basic geography lessons.

WFTV Washington correspondent Justin Gray was flying back to DC from Orlando, Fla., when a TSA agent halted him for holding a license from a state he didn’t recognize, and asked him for his passport. Gray was confused: he didn’t bring his passport, because his District of Columbia driver’s license should have been sufficient. The agent insisted that he didn’t recognize it.

“At that point, I was a little confused, but then I realized what was going on,” he later told WFTV. “I said to him, ‘Do you not know what the District of Columbia is?’ After some back and forth, it became clear he didn’t.”

The simplest solution for speeding up airport lines is right under the TSA’s nose

The government agency has not only become a symbol of the post-9/11 police state but has become inefficient at achieving even its most basic objectives. Long, slow lines are just the least of the the Transportation Security Administration’s worries: Since 2001, TSA agents have been intrusively searching travelers’ items, violating their bodies and confiscating personal items — all while remaining utterly ineffective at detecting guns, explosives or threatening suspects.

And now, to further facilitate that degrading and broken process, the TSA announced this week that it is offering a reward of up to $15,000 for the best ideas on how to speed up checkpoint queues.

How bad is the TSA? Really bad Follow micdotcom


The TSA’s Instagram Feed Is Terrifying and Totally Awesome

The Transportation Security Administration hasn’t endeared itself to the public by shuffling every airline passenger in America through full-body scanners and getting up close and personal with a pat-down search if they decline. It’s been accused of overreach, overspending, and redundancy. But one thing the bureaucratic behemoth has definitely done right is to create an always entertaining and occasionally unbelievable Instagram feed.

The feed is essentially a gallery of some of the craziest items people try to get past security checkpoints. There’s no shortage of material—the TSA claims an average of 40 firearms (often loaded) are seized at checkpoints every week. Nine-bladed super knife? Grenade? Everything you need to assemble a bomb? Yes, all that and more. Everything that’s seized is photographed for posterity, if not the spectacle, and then shared on social media to show people what’s what.

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Me at the airport
  • TSA Worker:Sir, may I inspect your luggage?
  • Me:Woah there hotshot! Most people buy me a drink before they go asking about my baggage!
  • TSA Worker:
  • Me:;)
  • TSA Worker:
  • Me:*gets arrested*