TSA "Freeze" Drill Video'd at Sky Harbor; Passengers Exiting Checkpoint Told to Stay Put

tsa employee freeze drill.JPG
Image: YouTube
A TSA employee directs passengers who had just cleared security to halt for a couple of minutes. The video maker later learned the incident was a TSA "freeze drill."
A traveler at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport shot video last week of TSA employees subjecting passengers to a "freeze drill."

The passengers already had cleared a security checkpoint in Terminal 4 when Transportation Security Administration officials stopped them from proceeding. The video uploader, who captured the last 24 seconds (see below) of the two-minute-plus incident, wrote on YouTube that, at the time, it was unclear to people what was going on:


A TSA employee was pointing his blue-gloved hand at anyone who moved a muscle (including airport workers) and barking these orders. Beyond him were two other agents doing the same thing to everyone in a 90-degree radius. The tension was rather palpable, as you might imagine. No explanation was given, no other words were spoken. No one moved a muscle. Parents grabbed their children. Anyone who fidgeted or made a step forward got yelled at.


Once on the plane, the traveler found out from a fellow passenger that the incident was a "freeze drill" mentioned last year in a New York Times article by Joe Sharkey. The exercises, called "Bravo" drills by the TSA, have drawn criticism as yet another heavy-handed policy by the federal agency.

"It's about reinforcing the notion that people are mandated to obey every order made by someone in uniform no matter how asinine," writes Paul Joseph Watson, editor of PrisonPlanet.com, in an article published today about the video.

The video was shot just past the security checkpoint near "D" gates.

Nico Melendez, regional spokesman for the TSA, tells New Times that the drills help TSA personnel prepare for a breach of security at the checkpoint.

If TSA employees perceive a threat in the checkpoint, they need to get immediate control of the area, Melendez explains. The TSA doesn't want a potential suspect walking away or mingling with the travelers just leaving the checkpoint, so the passengers just beyond the checkpoint are halted, he says.

Such drills occur often at airports around the country. But Melendez admits that travelers don't typically know the "all-stop" order actually is a drill.

"The guidance for passengers is to remain calm and do what they're asked to do," he says. "By and large, passengers usually are accepting of the fact. They seem to understand the importance of what we're doing."

UPDATE: Melendez e-mailed back later in this day to say this: "I was mistaken earlier.  In fact, our TSOs do alert passengers of the drill and thank them for their patience.  The exercise usually takes no more than 2 minutes."

However, in accounts by the video-taker and Sharkey, no announcement of a drill was given.



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15 comments
Flyer9753
Flyer9753 topcommenter

Yet another of the reasons I will never fly commercially in the country again.

 

Not that I don't like flying, love it, I am a pilot myself but this kid of crap and just the entire way TSA is organized and operates is so bad I refuse to submit to it.

Cozz
Cozz

Fucking assholes is what TSA is

fratdawgg23
fratdawgg23

One has to wonder if all this TSA nonsense (procedures, 'stop drills') are coming down directly from the top, Ms. Napolitano, or from other underlings. The security theatrics/surveillance industry companies have found their way to the taxpayer-funded budget buffet. And they are treating it like an all-you-can-grab buffet of money.

Dan Mitchell
Dan Mitchell

Worthless. Reminds me of schoolkids in the 1950's being told to hide under their desks to protect themselves from nuclear attack.

iyamrichard
iyamrichard

This happened to me last year at LAX.  I wondered what it was all about.  Weird. 

libssuckit
libssuckit

I would refuse to stop my lawful progress. TSA needs to be booted out of our airports OR ALL Americans refuse to fly for 30 days.

Darren Smith
Darren Smith

Sheep stop and OBEY looking around all frantically as they all head to the slaughter. STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES PEOPLE!!!

thecrud
thecrud

And now you know why I will never buy a plane ticket ever.

JustDoIt
JustDoIt

Who really won World World 2?

GeorgePrepared
GeorgePrepared

I'm the person who shot and posted the video in question (contact me via the YouTube link if you wish to discuss it further).  NO, in response to the addendum by the TSA spokesperson, there was no form a "of this is a drill" alert and most definitely no form of "thank you".  This spokesperson has consumed some serious Kool-Aid; everything I can find in terms of reports of this "drill" indicates it is ENTIRELY carried off as if it is a seriously threatening situation.  Can't wait/for the police state.

WAKE.UP
WAKE.UP

Hmmm... "Just victims of the in-house driveby.... they say 'jump"... you say 'how high?'" ~RATM

ptcgaz
ptcgaz

all I can say is that it's more police-state tactics being used against us the citizens. "fuck you I won't do what you tell me"

 

GeorgePrepared
GeorgePrepared

 @JustDoIt The corporations who get all of the advertising contracts for security checkpoint plastic bins.

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