Man Impersonates TSA Impersonator

Are you able to discern a real badge from a fake badge? Say, for example, a person walks up to the door of your home or apartment dressed in what appears to be a police uniform, says they need to speak to you and shows you a badge. Do you think you would know if the badge is real? Would you let them in if they asked to enter?

Now, let’s say you are in the security line at the airport and someone dressed in what appears to be a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) uniform pulls you aside and says you have been randomly selected for enhanced screening. Would you even consider asking to see their ID? Do you know how to identify a real TSA agent?

Most of us trust that officers of the law are who they say they are.

But in at least one case, at the San Francisco International Airport (SFO), the “officer” wasn’t who he said he was, and this has travelers on Milepoint questioning who is watching the watchers.

The article and the thread raise a couple of really interesting points:

  • SFO hasn’t used “real” TSA agents since 2002, when the airport was allowed to opt out of using TSA agents and use private security contractors instead.
  • The guy who posed as a security agent, Robert Slighton, might just get away with it pretty much scot free. Unless the women whom he frisked can be found, the most they can get him on appears to be public drunkeness.

Here all along I stupidly thought that impersonating an officer of the law can get you in serious trouble. But if you impersonate an agent who is standing in for a federal officer and touch a couple of unwitting victims inappropriately, well, one night in the drunk tank might be all you’ll get.

Particularly if you are “a private-equity executive with a big-time international resume”.

Fortunately for all of us, Captain Oveur offers a sure fire way to tell the difference between a real TSA agent, and someone who has had no training or experience with the agency:

Suspicions were raised when authorities heard the suspect say “please,” “thank you” and wasn’t yelling at passengers.

Read the thread in its entirety: who watches the watchers?

Image by eyeliam. CC BY 2.0

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