Friday, April 21, 2006

Supermodel arrested for allegedly hitting flight attendant

Danish supermodel May Andersen has been arrested for hitting a flight attendant on a flight from Amsterdam to Miami, police said.

The 23-year-old bombshell was aboard Martinair Flight 643 on Thursday. She was ''loud and disruptive all throughout the flight,'' according to a Miami-Dade police spokeswoman.

Airport police arrested the woman when the flight landed. She continued her unruly behavior with officers, police said.

Andersen was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital to check for signs of alcohol or drug abuse, then booked into Miami-Dade County Jail.

The leggy model has worked in advertising for J. Crew and Victoria's Secret, and has posed in Sports Illustrated's famed swimsuit edition.

She has been charged with simple battery, resisting arrest without violence and disorderly intoxication.
Airline Meals

If flying isn't scarey enough, check out the food they are going to serve you HERE.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mystery Silence At Sea-Tac Control Tower Prompts Investigation

SEA-TAC AIRPORT - For 25 minutes in the wee hours of April 11, the control tower at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport did not respond to airplane traffic.

"There were two planes affected - one trying to take off and one trying to come in," airport spokesman Bob Parker said Monday.

The unexplained silence, which started at 3:15 a.m. that day, ended at 3:40 a.m. when a Port of Seattle staff member drove to the guard shack at the base of the control tower.

"They went over to the guard shack at the tower and he (the guard) was able to raise someone," Parker said.

Airport officials said that a Boeing 747-400 flown by Taiwanese carrier EVA was on its final approach to Sea-Tac at around 3:15 a.m. when it radioed the control tower for permission to land.

There was no response. Eventually, the airliner reached a dispatcher at the airport's departure control facility, who is not in the control tower, and made a plan to remain airborne until a controller could be reached.

Meanwhile, a Delta Airlines jet attempting to back away from the airport's south satellite got no response when it sought clearance to leave.

The airfield - the runways and taxiways - was cleared of maintenance workers until the tower resumed communications, Parker said. "They followed procedure and left the immediate area," he said.

The EVA plane landed safely once contact was reestablished. The matter is being investigated by the FAA, which oversees air traffic control, Parker said. The FAA would not comment on the incident.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Homeland Deputy Arrested in Seduction Case

The deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday for using the Internet to seduce what he thought was a teenage girl, authorities said.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, was arrested at his residence in Maryland on charges of use of a computer to seduce a child and transmission of harmful material to a minor. The charges were issued out of Polk County, Fla.

Doyle, of Silver Spring, Md., had a sexually explicit conversation with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl whose profile he saw on the Internet on March 14, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

The girl was an undercover Polk County Sheriff's Computer Crimes detective, the sheriff's office said.

Doyle sent the girl pornographic movie clips and had sexually explicit conversations via the Internet, the statement said.

During other online conversations, Doyle revealed his name, that he worked for the Homeland Security Department and offered his office and government issued cell phone numbers, the sheriff's office said.

Doyle also sent photos of himself to the girl, but authorities said they were not sexually explicit.

On several occasions, Doyle instructed her to perform a sexual act while thinking of him and described explicit activities he wanted to have with her, investigators said.

Doyle later had a telephone conversation with an undercover deputy posing as the teenager and encouraged her to purchase a web camera to send graphic images of herself to him, the sheriff's office said.

He was booked into Maryland's Montgomery County jail where he was waiting to be extradited to Florida, the sheriff's office said.

There was no immediate response to messages left on Doyle's government-issued cell phone and his e-mail, and he could not be reached by phone at the jail for comment.

Homeland Security press secretary Russ Knocke in Washington said he could not comment on the details of the investigation. "We take these allegations very seriously, and we will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation," Knocke said.

Doyle, who is the fourth-ranking official in the department's public affairs office, was expected to be placed on administrative leave Wednesday morning.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Office of Special Counsel Investigating TSA Officials at Buffalo Niagra Airport

According to an anonymous source, an investigation directed by the United States Office of Special Counsel has begun at airports in the Buffalo area. The investigation follows a number of controversies surrounding the Buffalo Niagara International Airport and surrounding airports over the last year.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency. OSC’s primary mission is to safeguard the merit system by protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices, especially reprisal for whistleblowing.

The agency provides a secure channel through its Disclosure Unit for federal workers to disclose information about various workplace improprieties, including a violation of law, rule or regulation, gross mismanagement and waste of funds, abuse of authority, or a substantial danger to public health or safety.

The Buffalo Niagara International Airport is the largest Category II airport in the country.

According to the source, several high ranking TSA officials are among the subjects of the investigation, including: David F. Bassett, Federal Security Director at Greater Rochester International Airport; Lawrence (Larry) Fogg, Buffalo's current acting Federal Security Director; and Tom Koch, Assistant Federal Security Director of Operations at Buffalo International.

Bassett and Fogg have reportedly been instructed to meet with the TSA's Northeast Area Federal Security Director, George Nacarra, in Boston next month.

Buffalo area airports have been the subject of controversy for some time.

Two TSA training officers were terminated from employment by the agency earlier this year after blowing the whistle on unsafe practices at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Thomas Bittler and Ray Guagliardi reported a number of security violations to management, including the failure of screeners to test some bags for explosives as required by federal law.

"I've seen so many violations, I don't know where to begin," Guagliardi said.

"I trained these people," Bittler said, "so I knew what they were supposed to be doing."

But local TSA management failed to heed the warnings and act on the reports, the two have said. In fact, management's reponse was to tell the security-conscious trainers that they were responsible only for assisting screeners, not for supervising them.

"When I questioned what was going on," says Bittler, "I was told to keep my mouth shut and do what I was told whether it was right or wrong."

Both men claim that TSA officials told them that they should never have complained.

"If you people would just learn to shut your mouths, you would still have your jobs," one supervisor reportedly told Bittler.

Management's response seems to contradict TSA's own published policy. According to the agency's Interim Policy on Employee Responsibilities and Conduct, TSA screeners are required to "Report known or suspected violations of law, regulations or poplicy through appropriate channels and fully participate in inquiries."

The same document states that supervisors must "provide positive leadership and serve as a role model for subordinates by demonstrating a commitment and sense of responsibility to their job and loyalty to the organization."

Not deterred by management's apparent lack of interest, the men then wrote a letter detailing their concerns to TSA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Two months later their service was rewarded with termination from employment.

"[T]he new FSD fired [them] for documenting policy deviations and violations," wrote one TSA employee, " intimidate the screeners. He said loud and clear, 'this is what happens to people who write letters of greviance'."

The TSA claimed the terminations were simply part of a "staff reorganization."

This past November, Bittler was among a number of other TSA employees who were recognized for their exemplary service during an agency awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

"It's pretty ironic to have Adm. James Loy (then head of the TSA) personally give me a bronze award for individual achievement in November and be terminated in January," he said. "I think this tells you something is very wrong at TSA Buffalo."

Bittler filed a complaint with Office of Special Counsel for wrongful termination.

Former TSA staff members also contend that TSA management has created an atmosphere of intimidation and fear among screeners at Buffalo. One screener, who asked not to be identified, said a manager had told a group of workers that Bittler's termination is an example of what happens "to people who write letters."

Similar complaints have been echoed from screeners around the nation. And the TSA's own 2004 Organizational Assessment Survey of more than 22,000 screeners lends credence to the complaints. According to a "Corporate Snapshot" of the survey results, released by the TSA in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, the majority of TSA employees are dissatisfied with supervisors, communication, and work conditions.

TSA Screeners and trainers are not the only ones who have been treated unfairly, however. According to a document obtained by Screeners Central, Buffalo airport's former Federal Security Director Jay W. Stroup was also targeted.

The document, purportedly a transcript of a deposition of Tim Glasow, the former Acting Northeast Area Director for TSA, is related to a Merit Systems Protection Board review case (docket no. NY-1221-04-0193-S-1). (Note: the authenticity of the document has not been independently verified.)

Glasow has drawn criticism from screeners, including several who have posted comments on screener-related web sites and message forums.

"He served as Acting [Area Director] for over a year," wrote one screener. "Yet, his only qualification is that he went to the Naval Acadamy with several individuals who are now -- or were at one time -- his superiors."

When confronted with reports of security violations, Glasow allegedly replaced the Federal Security Director Jay Stroup with Rochester security director David Bassett, a former Naval Acadamy class mate of Glasow's, who was named Acting Federal Security Director at Buffalo airport in mid-November, 2003.

When Buffalo News staff reporter Sharon Linstedt attempted to contact Bassett to comment on Stroup's allegations he did not return her phone calls.

Jay Stroup was appointed as Buffalo's Federal Security Director (FSD) by Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta on October 11, 2002. In February, 2003, he was quoted as saying, "[A]ll of us recognize that security is an on-going process and it works at the optimum level only through commitment and consistency," according to one news article.

Indeed, Stroup seemed to have a reputation for dealing with problems and trying to help rank-and-file screeners.

"He was strict but fair," said one former employee, who noted that Stroup was known as a hard-nosed leader who tackled problems and addressed security issues head-on. "If you did your job you had no problems. But if you didn't, he would deal with it."

"He was responsible for saving over 45 jobs when the right sizing issue was going on," said another.

Stroup, who Transportation Secretary Mineta once characterized as an "experienced professional" who was "integral in furthering the Transportation Security Administration's commitment to first-class security and first-class customer service," found himself on the receiving end of unhappy superiors within the administration.

Stroup said that he was forced to resign his Senior Executive position with the TSA on October 2, 2003, under pressure from TSA superiors, after allegations of nepotism and mishandling of a disciplinary matter involving a subordinate. His resignation came after just one day before his probation period would end.

In the purported deposition transcript, Area Director Glasow was asked who made the decision to terminate Mr. Stroup and when? Glasow replied "I did," and "after viewing the management inquiry."

According to the deposition transcript, the management inquiry was an administrative fact-finding document, which was prepared by a member of the Syracuse Federal Security Director's staff "to look into some allegations that headquarters had received regarding matters in Buffalo."

Glasow indicated that his termination letter indicated that he had "lost trust and confidence in Mr. Stroup's ability to continue to lead the effort there at Buffalo."

According to a Buffalo News report this past February, Stroup's key concerns included improper handling of baggage screening at the airport. Stroup alleges that screeners ran only a fraction of bags through explosives-detection devices, in violation of a federal mandate requiring all checked luggage be scanned.

"I know of several instances where one in five bags is screened, and that aggravates me to no end," Stroup was quoted in the article. "That means there's a four-out-of-five chance of a bomb getting onto a plane in Buffalo. It's dangerous and it's wrong."

"Several of his staff members, along with some screeners, were responsible for his removal," says one former TSA employee who worked at the Buffalo airport.

Others also support Stroup's claims. According to several former TSA employees, Stroup reportedly terminated three screeners who were caught sleeping in the baggage-screening room while on duty, but the screeners were later reinstated by the new management team after Stroup left.

Five TSA employees even contacted the Washington office of Congressman Jack F. Quinn (R) regarding "personnel issues" and later met with Quinn in Buffalo in January.

Some screeners say that the congressional representative lost interest in their complaints, and later his office refused to take their calls or allow them to see TSA responses to their concerns. New York Senator Hillary Clinton's office was also contacted by some of the concerned screeners, with "very little reaction," they say.

"It's amazing how many people who just don't care," said one screener.

"The bottom line is if you're TSA management, all the people in [Washington] D.C. want to hear is good news," said one former TSA employee, "If they hear bad news they [TSA] will fire you!"

According to Bittler, however, Congressman Quinn has been "very, very supportive" in regards to his and other cases.

Stroup has said that he decided to break his silence on what he called "a very frightening situation" after a security incident at the Buffalo airport in which screeners discovered a jar containing an unknown substance in a passenger's luggage but the passenger was allowed to depart even though the substance had not been identified or declared safe.

"I hope that by going public," Stroup has said, "I can help protect the people who use the ... airport and the TSA staff members who want to do the right thing."

Stroup has filed a complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel claiming whistleblower protection and has indicated that he is concerned that his resignation could taint the serious nature of his allegations.

Stroup has a hearing before the Merit System Protection Board in Buffalo next month.

When previously asked about Stroup's resignation by a reporter, TSA Northeast regional spokeswoman Ann Davis declined to comment on Stroup's allegations, stating that she wasn't aware of any concerns about security and safety at the Buffalo airport.

"The TSA at Buffalo would be pleased to cooperate with any security or policy review," she did say, however. "They are confident security at Buffalo is top-notch."

But "top-notch" is not the descriptor that some TSA employees would use, about security at the airport or the management in general.

According to sources familiar with the complaints and investigation, TSA Internal Affairs staff have visited the Buffalo airport on five separate occasions, but did little more than identify employees who made complaints and report those names to the Acting FSD and Area Director Tim Glasow.

According to one employee, "Internal Affairs came to [Buffalo airport] ... and did nothing but criticize those of us who expressed our concerns."

"There was no investigation," wrote one TSA employee at Buffalo, "or any attempt by the IA agents to validate the complaints, verify facts and follow-up on leads."

Indeed, according to the deposition transcript, Glasow stated, "Mr. Dennehy was asked to do some fact finding for me. I wouldn't call it an investigation."

While a formal investigation never took place, sources and the deposition transcript indicate that local TSA officials conducted a "Management Inquiry," which found no wrong doing on the part of management.

According to Mr. Glasow's testimony, employee Olivia Robinson told Glasow that there existed a hostile work environment at Buffalo and described "the abusive nature" of FSD Stroup and "his ability to lead the operational mission up there." She indicated that a lot of his staff felt that way. She didn't mention names or numbers, but she said that a lot of the staff feels that way. In addition, Robinson described Stroup "yelling at employees," his demeaning nature, and restrictions on allowing TSA staff to communicate with Area Director Glasow's staff here in Washington.

"They feared for their jobs if they were caught communicating with our staff," Glasow said.

But some employees allege that Mrs Robinson intentially did not file a formal complaint with the agency regarding the alleged sexual harassment or hostile work enviroment due to time constraints.

"Mr. Stroup's probationary period was coming to an end," said one screening, suggesting that the informal complaint was made in order to justify Stroup's termination prior to him passing his probationary period.

When asked if he caused any inquiry or investigation to be initiated with respect to the allegations against Mr. Stroup, Glasow said, "No," indicating that he "had enough with the management inquiry" and "that her (Robinson's) discussion with me validated in my estimation some of the things that came out of the management inquiry."

Stroup was not approached about the allegations by Ms. Robinson and the other anonymous employees, however, before Glasow drafted his letter of termination to Stroup.

"Don't you think it would have been fair to confront him with that," Stroup's attorney asked, to which Glasow replied, "In hindsight, maybe yes."

A charge of nepotism was also leveled against FSD Stroup. An anonymous letter included in the management inquiry alleges Stroup violated TSA's policy against nepotism when he hired his brother-in-law, Dallas Ulbrich, as the screening operations officer at Buffalo.

But according to statements in the deposition, the inquiry report did not conclude that the charge was substantiated, however, or that the hiring was, in fact, a violation of TSA policy. Glasow said under oath that he did not conduct any research into the degrees necessary to determine whether or not nepotism rules were actually violated but instead relied on the opinion of other staff.

Glasow indicated that the management inquiry was the primary justification for Glasow's decision to terminate Stroup, although the management inquiry report itself states "There is no indicia of proof of any wrong doing by Mr Stroup."

One source familiar with the investigation said that since the Office of Special Counsel's investigation was announced, "they [management] have all been very, very nervous. [T]hese guys have never ever told the truth and for them to do so now means there is alot of pressure on them."
The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a former San Diego police officer was rightfully terminated from his job for producing pornographic videos and selling them on eBay. Fortunately for the man, he currently has a job -- with the Transportation Security Administration.

According to a January, 2004, a U.S. appeals court ruled that Luis Acevedo was wrongly fired from his job with the San Diego Police Department in 2001 for selling home made pornagraphic videos and selling them on eBay under the eBay username "Code3Stud."

In the videos, which were posted in auctions in the site's Mature Audiences section, Acevedo is featured in a fake police uniform performing sexual acts including masturbation.

Acevedo was fired after his "hobby" was discovered by Sergeant Robert Dare (SDPD), who originally came across another of Acevedo's auctions for police department paraphernalia, and recognized Acevedo in a picture from the video. Acevedo was charged with violating department policies on unbecoming conduct.

The department ordered him to stop selling the tapes, which Acevedo did, but he was fired on June 29, 2001, for disobeying orders after police officials found that his eBay seller profile still included references to the videos.

A Gay & Lesbian Times article mentions that he was terminated "even though he received a satisfactory performance evaluation for that time period as well as a letter of commendation."

Acevedo sued, using an alias "John Roe," claiming his activity was a "public concern" because the sex videos were made while he was off-duty and away from the workplace. Acevedo’s attorney, Michael Baranic, of Gattey Baranic LLP, argued the Flanagan “protected expression” test as a basis for the appeal.

In the lawsuit, Acevedo claimed investigators contacted Acevedo via e-mail to request a custom video, instructing him to act out a scene with another man, asking for Acevedo to be “pretending that you (Acevedo) are giving him a ticket” and then to “strip down while writing the ticket and make him a deal to take it back, which would end up with you cumming all over him.”

The San Francisco-based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Acevedo, in January decision, that his "actions outside of the workplace were protected by the First Amendment right to free speech," according to a news report.

But the the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed the case and ruled Monday (December 6, 2004) that officials of the San Diego Police Department were correct to fire an officer who sold pornographic video tapes of himself in uniform.

According to a recent news report, "the unsigned, unanimous opinion reverses a Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision in favor of the officer, who sued under the alias John Roe [aka Luis Acevedo] and claimed his free speech rights were violated. "

Fortunately for Acevedo, he still has a good paying job with the Transportation Security Administration.

"This fine example of law enforcement, Luis Acevedo, is a TSA regulatory inspector at [the San Diego airport]," said an unidentified source. "How this gentleman got hired [by TSA] after being fired from the SDPD is beyond me."

According to the TSA web site, the position of Assistant Federal Security Director for Regulatory Inspection "serves as the principal advisor to the Federal Security Director on all matters concerning enforcement and compliance with security directives pertaining to airport and aviation security," and "manages an inspection program for compliance by airlines, vendors, and other airport tenants."

More importantly, however, the AFSD of Regulatory Inspection "advises/informs [the] FSD on unusual or complex managerial or personnel disciplinary issues," "directs the work of supervisors, program managers and other subordinate employees" and "exercises discretion and sound judgment in dealing with sensitive human resources matters or issues."

I find it not a little ironic that a person who was terminated from civil service employment as a city police officer for making pornographic videos of himself in a police uniform (albeit not the uniform of his employing agency) is now responsible for exercising "discretion and sound judgment in dealing with sensitive human resources matters or issues" for the TSA.

To be frank, TSA screeners have enough problems right now and they need every ounce of professionalism, sound judgment and discretion that management can muster to avoid getting the proverbial shaft.

Is this man the best that the TSA can offer screeners at San Diego's airport? I doubt it. If he is, then that itself is a very sad testament to the TSA's ability to value it's "most valuable resource" -- its employees.

But Acevedo may have some 'splaining to do to the TSA, if it's on the ball. According to TSA Human Resource Management Letter 735-1, "Interim Policy on Employee Responsibilities and Conduct," while off-duty, "employees are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not adversely reflect on the TSA or negatively impact its ability to discharge its mission, cause embarrassment to the agency, or cause the public and/or supervisors to question the employee's reliability, judgment, or trustworthiness."

Call me a right wing radical or ultra-conservative nut job if you must, but I can't shake this feeling in the pit of my gut that videotaping oneself jerking off in a police uniform and selling those videos is, well... not indicative of "good judgment" by a federal employee and it does, indeed, adversely reflect on the TSA and "cause embarrassment" to the agency. But what do I know?

This is what I know. Screeners can be fired for any reason (or no reason at all), thanks to the wording of the Aviation Transportation Security Act of 2001 and the decisions of several courts (as well as the MSPB). But in case the TSA needed a little justification, however slight, TSA Management Directive 1100.75-3, "Addressing Performance And Conduct Problems," an employee may be "suspended, removed or reduced in pay band or rate of pay for such cause as will promote the efficiency of the service."

To those TSA officials who are reading this column (and I know there are at least a few), I would suggest you consider removing this person as a manager who "exercises discretion and sound judgment in dealing with sensitive human resources matters or issues," as it would most certainly promote the efficiency of the service. It might even bump up employee morale a tad, if that's still possible.

I don't expect that the TSA will follow my advice. It hasn't yet, at least not in those areas that would have a positive impact on its work force.

I would hate to think that my wife, who is a TSA screener, would have to rely on someone who masturbates on camera for cash to deal with her sensitive human resources matters or issues.

The Department of Homeland Security Inspector General just lost his job, purportedly for pissing off the administration from his "overly critical" investigative reports, and yet the TSA has managers like this guy handling screeners' "sensitive human resources issues."

No wonder Tom Ridge resigned. The TSA is an embarrassment of monumental proportions. To claim that it is building a "model workplace" is more than a pathetic joke, It's a blatanat lie and an insult to all hard-working screeners, especially those that have suffered at the hands of corrupt, abusive or just plain stupid managers.

The TSA rather reminds me of that old Star Trek episode, "And the Children Shall Lead," with the angel entity Gorgan and those little kids. Remember the end of the episode when Kirk was urging the kids to see the angel for what he "really" was?


I call 'em the way I see 'em, folks.

Thanks, TSA, for all but solidifying my opinion that the TSA should be disbanded and all airport security returned to private companies. At least those companies can be held to certain standards and federal laws.

This fits with TSA's pattern to "protect" the incompetent and morally degraded because they "know" someone, and fire those with integrity and charactor to "do the right thing" by disclosing blatent violations of Law, Security Policy and CFR. I see this every day at Buffalo Niagara International Airport (BUF).

Look at all the former federal employees at TSA. Many from the FAA and FBI who are recieving 2 federal paychecks, yet have no management or security training or skill. It is a known fact that just because someone has a law enforcement background, doesn't mean they know how to manage security operations at an airport.

In BUF's case, we have 2 ex-Navy/Coast Guard dunderheads with no security training or background and can only manage people by threats and lies. But they are well acquainted with HQ buddies from the Naval Acadamy who put them here.

Also, I believe it is Fraud and Abuse of public funds to give waivers to ex-FAA and ex-FBI agents so they can collect 2 federal paychecks. They quit (or retired) from their former jobs knowing that they can "rake it in" with TSA until they get caught.

TSA screener checks out potential-crazed-shoe-bomber before would-be-terrorist dozes off.