I have previously been asked “Why does it seem you hate the TSA,” but this readermail question comes at my coverage of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) from a different angle. Today’s reader mail from Alexis W. through me for a bit of a loop.
Alexis asks “I have been following you on Twitter for more than a year and regularly read your blog. I found you while researching an experience I had with the TSA and you appear to smack them down frequently while speaking positively about people in the TSA. How can you like anyone in the TSA? It comes off as a very muddied involvement you have.”
First off, thank you for following me for all this time Alexis. Secondly, I have no involvement with the TSA. I cover the agency, and have covered them since November 19th 2001. Covering the TSA, or any large entity, regularly means that there are many facets to the coverage you read. Sometimes the agency is wrong, sometimes they are wronged and there are many shades of grey in between. You appear to be in a black and white world when it comes to the TSA, as for me it is not that simple, nor can it be.
The TSA is an agency, I have issues with the agency’s structure, policy and procedure, but that is not to say everything is the agency is bad or wrong or needs to be restructured.
The people I know within the TSA are people who work for the agency. These people are humans, just like you and I. Keep in mind much of my information comes directly from people within the TSA, as well there are people I deal with regularly that I connect with on a human level. I have friends who work at the TSA and people who detest me who work at the TSA and tens-of-thousands of people I will never encounter and they’ll likely never know who I am.
Just because I have frequently covered the TSA in an adversarial manner does not mean the people I deal with at the agency are my adversaries.
When you see me tweeting comments about people with the TSA positively it is because behind the wall most people never see behind, behind the complaints about screening, behind the stories about baggage theft, behind the stories of missed contraband items are thousands of other people in the agency who are polite, professional, funny, and dedicated.
So how can I like anyone at the TSA? Simple, we’re all human and I constantly separate my feelings for a faceless soulless government agency and the relationships I have built with the human beings that happen to work there.