With a few minutes to kill before driving to the airport today, I happened to surf onto the TSA blog, and saw the following comments from John Pistole, the head of the TSA:
“There seems to be a trend of TSO’s not recognizing TWIC cards at our checkpoints. As a result of your feedback, I will ensure that TSA officers receive the necessary refresher training to recognize TWIC cards and other government-issued ID’s (Including NEXUS cards) brought to the checkpoint.
Thank you for raising this issue so we can improve our security screening process moving forward.”
My bullshit detector went off like a nuclear bomb, given my experiences trying to use my Nexus card as ID at Kahului airport (OGG – the land that time forgot).
Pistole’s comments were dated 8/20 (about three weeks ago).
As a refresher to my loyal readers, a Nexus card is several security levels above a passport. Obtaining one requires first getting a passport, then applying for Nexus status, agreeing to have your background investigated by the Feds, attending a personal interview with a TSA investigator, getting your retinas scanned, and undergoing a proctological exam.
Just kidding about the last part.
I haven’t even attempted to use my Nexus card at OGG all summer, as the highly-trained TSA numbskulls are so clueless that they seldom even know what it is – even though it’s 5 levels above a passport and about 25 levels above a drivers license – and when they do, they won’t accept it anyway. Even with a printout of the TSA list of qualifying IDs, they never once have accepted it as my ID.
So, arriving at OGG plenty early, with no line whatsoever at TSA, I whipped out my Nexus card.
First TSA Agent: “Oh cool, a Nexus card. Hey Joe, check this out, a Nexus card”.
Joe: “Hmmm, wow. I’ve never seen one either”.
Both examine it carefully, front and back.
First guy, to Joe (who’s apparently a supervisor): “The scan code is on the back, right?”
Joe: “Yes, same code as his passport”.
First guy puts it under his light.
First guy, handing it back to me: “Very cool. Have a nice flight”.
Me: “Thanks. That card is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Takes me a maximum of 15 seconds to get through Customs, no matter how long the line is”.
First guy: “Nice.”
So…amazingly….astoundingly….it appears that John Pistole, head of the TSA, is actually doing his job. Given my faith in the US Government, it could have been a fluke. But perhaps not.
You could have knocked me over with a feather.