I was a TSA Instructor Part 3… Actual Work

Read part 1 and 2 first.  Recap: So I spent one week training in Denver.  Then 5 weeks at home doing nothing and getting paid. Then I spend a week at luxurious Las Vegas Resort on the government’s dollar and did about 3 hours of training that week. Maybe an hour of that was useful. I spend a few weeks more at home and then on a Friday Morning, get an email. I am being deployed to an Airport tomorrow. No problem. I was getting bored staying home. The next day I am on a plane to the West Coast.  We are instructed to report to a meeting on Sunday morning at 8am in the Hotel.  Turns out I know several people who are there from the week in Vegas. I bonded with a ex-US Custom’s officer in Vegas. We had hung out there. He was here as well.  We wait for 20 minutes and then a blond perky thirty something shows up and I immediately know this was an ex cheerleader.  It was like she was trying to rally the high school crowd for a pep rally.  Her attempt to infuse us with enthusiasm did not succeed. She and another guy were our team leaders. We would each manage a team of brand new TSA staffers who just got out of training 2 days ago.

This is how it would work.  Each of us would get a different airline screening area.  The new Potential TSA employees would report to each of us on there first day. They would work for me. Each team would have 12-15 people. This would be the first time, these newbies would be scanning real luggage that would be going on planes.  I would teach and coach my team, until everyone on the team got 45 hours of supervised on the job training.  The new TSA people would get time off.  I would not. I would work the airport open to close for 1.5 weeks until everyone got their 45 hours. Then I would test each person. If they passed, they would officially become part of TSA. If they didn’t pass the test, then they would get some remedial training, then I would re-test them. If they didn’t pass then, they would never become TSA agents.

Because I felt personally responsible for the luggage that these people were screening, I would watch everyone like a hawk and personally supervise everything. If I went on a luggage break, my friend would cover for me and I would cover for him.

Some people were really good. These were people with military or other government service. Some people were not that good. And I am not just talking about the students.  Some of the instructors were tremendously horrible as well.
These are some of the things I saw or did not see that week:

Our Team Leaders. It turns on the blond cheerleader started an affair with the other leader and they doing each on the hotel most of the 1.5 weeks we were in this city.  I never saw them in the airport. The two married supervisors spent their 1.5 weeks in the hotel. The OJT instructors at the airport got together and managed outselves.

I saw a 400 pound female instructor, sexually harassing her trainee’s for sexual favors.

I saw several instructors drunk during the day and the night, and several all the time.

Because 18 hour days, I saw instructors sleeping while they should have been supervising their trainees.

I saw trainees choose not to inspect luggage, because they were hungry and wanted to go to lunch.

I saw hookups ( both parties actually consenting) in every option. Instructor-Student, Instructor/Instructor, Passenger -Student, Passenger Passenger in the baggage screening rooms.

In passenger’s luggage I saw guns, and drugs. Back in 2002, passengers had to drop their luggage off at the screening stations and then wait for us to clear them.  (We were not allowed to open bags without the passenger or a Policeman there). So if something did not look right, then the passenger had to open the bag. Can’t find the passenger, then we had to get a cop to do it. The law changed in Jan 1 2003 and then TSA could fondle your luggage and belongings, and person, any time they wanted to.

Gun: Some special forces types (hopefully ours)  checked some luggage with the special tag designed for checked weapons. On the exray/cat scan. I saw multiple machine guns. T They had the necessary documentation so I waved it through.

Drugs: we found drugs multiple times. We called Police. Smugglers ran and were caught.

I saw other things in luggage that I still can’t erase from my mind.


I saw a famous person. Willem Dafoe. The original Movie Green Goblin and the original Mr Clark from the Jack Ryan movies checked his bags. No goblin devices or guns. He was allowed through.

After 1.5 weeks We all tested our people. We then signed off on the trainee’s that passed and then for no apparent reason, we stayed there for 3 more days doing nothing but group site seeing before we were sent home.

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