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Reporter stopped by TSA agent who didn't know District of Columbia is in US

When Gray handed the man his driver's license the agent demanded to see Gray's passport. Grays told the agent he wasn't carrying his passport and asked why he needed it. The agent said he didn't recognize the license. Gray said he asked the agent if he knew what the District of Columbia is, and after a brief conversation Gray realized the man did not know. Gray was able to get through security and then stopped to complain to a TSA supervisor. Critics of the TSA said that what… ( More...

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Jeff Lee 10
This is similar to people thinking that New Mexico is part of Mexico, not the U.S. Happens all the time.
Denis Mahony 3
What about the people who think New England is still part of England?

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

Alex Smith 12
Yeah, Matt, that doesn't change the fact that it is 2014 and you should know what belongs the U.S. currently. Furthermore, a TSA agent should know what every U.S. Identification card looks like...
matt jensen -3
Not an American - Canadian
Alex Smith 6
That's no excuse... If you're going to try and fire off facts about the country then you have to own up to your mistakes, regardless of nationality.
Bernie20910 2
America North, same thing. :)
matt jensen 2
Yes, North America - Canada.
Bernie20910 3
Don't let your head swell too big for your toque there, might take you a year or two to get it looked at, eh...
matt jensen -5
We will still be here long after you and yours are a memory. Have been on this continent since 1095.
Bernie20910 2
Native American here, Blackfeet tribe... tell me again how long you've been here, newbie. :)
matt jensen -1
Inuit & Yupik - before the Vikings youngster!
Bernie20910 1
Bah... Chinese import. ;)
matt jensen -1
You're the import from Siberia
Bernie20910 0
Proud of it! :D
matt jensen 0
At least you admit it - friend!
Yupik - from Siberia too
Inuit - not - from Greenland
Bernie20910 0
And mom was a Canuck. :)
jet4ang 0
Joe Morris 8
1900's? Texas won it's independence in 1836. AZ, CA and NM we got after the US-Mexican war in 1848.
Randy Patrick 3
Try 1836 for Texas independence from Mexico.
John Brecher -2
And Mexico was so relieved!
BenMoses -2
I'm curious, Mr. Moses. What is it you dislike about Texas?
matt jensen 2
Don't you worry after zero ignores the problem long enuf - there will be no border. Even GWB said so.
Dar Busa 0
I live in Texas and I agree with Mr. Moses. As far as what I dislike it starts with Gov. oops! and continues down the chain of wacko politicos. Sen Cruz is the leader of these nut jobs.
BaronG58 1
WE are...Look whats going on at our boarders.
ToddBaldwin3 2
That would be borders.
BaronG58 1
Really?? This is your contribution to story line.
ToddBaldwin3 1
Grammar reveals your attention to detail.
Bernie20910 2
Except, that was a spelling mistake, not a grammar mistake. You were saying something about attention to detail?
BaronG58 1
Thanks Bernie!
matt jensen 1
I am thankful I don't live down there. I have many friends from down in Tejas who now want to visit the NWT permanently.
smoki 1
Obviously some are unable to hold their anti-american libtard speak in check. Just can't resist the temptation it seems to lash out at America and fellow Americans when given the opportunity. An emphatic all caps one-liner makes it plain that you are divisive and hateful. America is filled with division and hate like never before in her history thanks to a corrupt media and politicians whence the division bleeds over into a forum such as this one where fortunately though rare, the occasional anti-American libtard mutt will manage to make his or her presence known by barking with their usual lack of common courtesy.
Excuse me, sir, but please stop foaming at the mouth. Calling people 'libtards' is not acceptable. On the bright side, it flags your post as not worth reading.
John Berry 1
Well I think that division and hate may have been a bit more prevalent in the early 1860's but I could be mistaken.
You may want to bone up on the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, which gave the U.S. most of the Southwest and California.
Actually, the lower 48 in their present form didn't come about until 1854 with the Gadsden Purchase.
Ever hear of the Gadsden Purchase? Probably not. 1854 is not the early 1900s.
Joe Morris 3
Check your history. Texas won it's independence from Mexico in 1836.
bbabis 3
I think he meant 19th Century, but hey, we're aviation buffs not history majors.
Jeff Lee 6
So, NM, AZ, AND CA were part of Mexico at one time; and the New England states were part of England We're talking present-day name recognition here, not history.
matt jensen -3
Absolutely - didn't you read that in 3rd grade? Where did you think those missions came from?
matt jensen 1
Why is Spanish your second language?
Bernie20910 7
Kind of difficult to have a "second" language when you don't officially have a first one. The US has no official national language.
Ole Eskildsen 2
Not at all! Your first language is your mother tongue, the language spoken to you from babyhood usually by your mother, father, siblings as well as other relatives and friends. So if you are American your mother tongue is most often English, however, many born in the US may actually have another language as their mother tongue, most often Mexican Spanish but also an American Indian language or Inuit, the language of the Eskimoes.
matt jensen 1
Tho we both live on the ice - eskimos are mainly Yupik, where we are Inuit are from Greenland.
Bernie20910 1
This is true, but as I said, the US has no official language, which is a different thing entirely. My "mother tongue" was a weird mix of Gaelic, German and French.
honza nl 2
early in the 19th century (around 1812) there was a vote in Congress about what should be the language of the USA. English won with just over one vote difference with nr. 2: Dutch......:))
Ole Eskildsen 1
Sorry Honza, but your facts are not quite accurate. Apparently such a vote never took place (search Wikipedia) and the story says it was between English and GERMAN not Dutch.
Dus niet , echt onzin , het was om de wet te vertalen in duits in nederlands omstreeks 1759
matt jensen 1
That would have been before Mayflower landing?
jet4ang 1
This is all BS. What does all this crap have to do with flying, airports etc.?
Ole Eskildsen 1
You might happen to fly to another country and wouldn't it be useful if you could speak at least some of their language.

Once on a visit to a French speaking African country I had requested refuling at an intermediate stop on the way, as a message in my flight plan for a certain amount of fuel because I could not take a full fuel load with the weight of my pax plus baggage. Sure enough the fuel truck arrived soon after I had parked on the tarmac and the refueling guy started to pump fuel. After a while I got suspicious because the refueler was pumping for longer than I thought would be required for the amount of fuel I had requested. So I switched my fuel guages in the cockpit on and checked the amount of fuel and realized that he had pumped about 20% more fuel than requested and was still pumping obviously intending to continue till the tanks were full.

Boy, was I glad that I knew the French word for "stop" (arrete) or I wouldn't have been able to get airborne without having them siphen out some fuel first.

BTW with a name like yours, ANGELO DROUTSAS, I would imagine that you would speak at least one other language in addition to English. I personally speak 6 languages and have some knowledge of several others.
matt jensen -4
Tell that to the USSC
jet4ang 1
Matt, if you're referring to statehood, CA was 1850. If you're referring to the states became US territories, go back another 50-80 years and that still is no excuse for an agent of the law inspecting ID's to not have been taught while training, if they actually do train you.
Ask the average American where the District of Columbia is, and I bet less than 60% know that it's the official name of Washington, DC. The rest would probably think you are referring to the sovereign nation of Colombia.
Denis Mahony 1
Yup, that is what the "DC" part of Washington, D.C. Is all about. I just read they are changing their car tags to District of Columbia instead of Washington DC. I suspect the lower logo "Taxation Without Representation" will remain. ALPCA newsletter if I remember correctly.
Denis Mahony 6
Possibly the result of cutbacks in education funding? I mean seriously, that is pretty sad.
katty wompus 3
Math and Reading scores on the tests are all that matters anymore. History, Geography, "Civics", etc. are low on the priority list.
This reminds me of the guy who long back asked me why I am going to Louisiana. When I told to him that I live there he proceeded to point out that my current address indicated that I live in LA. When I corrected him I was glad that he just laughed it off.
Chuck Me 8
DC has recently started issuing new licenses to comply with REAL ID. So that may not have helped the situation.
kevin swiss 8
I bet the TSA Agent sees more Columbia passports than DC driver's licenses.
btweston 9
It's Colombia.
Pa Thomas 8
Funny Story...years before the TSA, I was flying out of the District Of Columbia. I had visited the Air and Space Museum, and picked up a metal model of the Goodyear Blimp, which was about the size of a Subway 6 inch sandwich. I took it out of the packaging for ease of stuffing in my suitcase. As I go through security at IAD, the Xray machine alerts to the "shape", and I'm asked to step over to a private area with my bag and asked to open it up. I was already explaining what was in my bag. The two agents were young, highly professional, spoke perfect English, and could not have been nicer. And they appeared to be from ( or their parents were) from India or Malaysia. Again, could not have been more professional. I pull the Blimp out of my bag and say "See, the Goodyear Blimp!" And I was met with two highly professional blank stares. They had never seen the Goodyear Blimp. A supervisor showed up about that moment and cleared everything up, and while I was repacking the suitcase we all had a nice conversation about what the Goodyear Blimp was all about.....It takes all kinds, boys and girls.
Yes Pa Thomas, however this is an example of the indifference of new citizens toward American culture, history and traditional icons. It is not the end of my world, just sad to see the lack of interest in what made this place so great, and why the were attracted here.
Imagine their issues with Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Virgin Islands, ect.
AB1946 7
What a pathetic situation! KMCO processes millions of travelers each year. It takes just one numb skull to ruin everything, and this TSA genius just had to challenge a television news journalist.
Bernie20910 3
I don't know why DC bothers with driver's licences anyway. There isn't anyone living there who knows how to drive anyway. I used to live there but I moved, and they haven't found an actual driver to replace me yet.
Denis Mahony 2
Good laugh on that. I have family in the District and driving is just insane. My daughter left her car in Virginia Beach and rides the metro.
honza nl 0
do you mean there actually is someone in the USA who knows how to drive? I thought they get the driving licence together with a pack of milk? Yes, driving straight they can but the rest..... I would say: come to Europe; 99.99% would fail the exams here:) (sorry, I am over-estimating; I think it is more like 99,98%)....
ToddBaldwin3 1
About 30% of US Forces personnel in Europe fail the written exam the first time.
Bernie20910 1
If there's anything that truly unites us Americans it's our unshakable individual belief that we're "above average" drivers. Back when I was an EVOC instructor I used to love demonstrating to the really cocky ones just how lousy they actually were at driving, then proceed to teach them the right way to drive after taking them down a peg or two.

(EVOC = Emergency Vehicle Operator's Course)
Terry Isom 3
Maybe the agent took the short training course.
sparkie624 2
Very Short
John Gerken 2
yeah...short bus training.
209flyboy 2
Probabaly went to school on the short bus too.
Karl Schneider -5
Or the Affirmative Action No Course.
Rekni McGuire 3
Not really the TSA's fault this employee was pushed through the education system.. Are we expecting all our employers private and government to re-educate it's citizens?!?! Too bad this guy didn't get a decent education.
Uwe Ritter 5
Maybe they should check that TSA employee's credentials a little closer
No surprise, considering the people the TSA hires or contracts to do this work. Ever travel in the south? No less than three times I've encountered service people who were obviously illiterate. They could make change, but I had to point to what I wanted to purchase because they couldn't read labels. If you hadn't noticed, modern American culture discourages scholarship and education. Kids are called 'nerds' if they are serious students. Management so often comes from sports backgrounds, and everything is considered a game, especially politics, avoiding serious discussion and dialogue. All part of America's gradual decline.
And I thought things like that only happen to people with foreign documents.....
Brett Swigart 2
That's what happens when you hire a sixth grade educated people to run security at $7 an hour
Donald Kryder 2
We host exchange students, the last one being from Norway. When introduced to her senior class at a local high school one student asked "what state is Norway in?" She answered Norway is in Europe, knowing that Scandinavia would be way over his head. His next question, "where is Europe?. Kind of says a lot about our educational system.
Susan Toole 2
Stop bickering, people....even we little Australians know that DC is in the USA along with New Mexico. Maybe the TSA need to go back to school.
Tony Hester 2
On the upside when I travel it's long international with a power chair/scooter for my disability. I've alway received kind, courteous and efficient thorough service from domestic t s a agents, challenging job in challenging conditions
Shawn Gudde 2
I am from Alaska. When I moved to the lower 48, to Oklahoma, I got asked by several people (all American) if I needed a "Green Card" to be here. Dumb people are everywhere.
Both my wife and daughter have gone same experience with Hobby ' TPA personnel when showing Puerto Rico, USA DLB and or USA Passport.
PhotoFinish 3
It much worse than whether this guy was properly educate on geography in school, or whether he was paying attention. The problem is that these TSA agents are getting adequate training on recognizing real vs fake IDs. The should be experts on spotting fake IDs, and should know every new state driver's license (as it comes out). This requires timely training, and requires educational reading to be completely on down time on the job each week, to keep up with the latest trends related to their jobs as screeners. And not just IDs, but also trends in what to be spotting. The management is just as incompetent as the thousands standing around.
ken young 3
What a shocker. While it is probable that most TSA agents are well regarded in doing their jobs, there are too many uneducated schlubs looking for a government paycheck and cushy benefits that slip through the cracks
Yeah that's the ticket, cushy benefits, and a nice government paycheck. NOT...
ken young 1
Yep....Truth is unionized public empllyees do MUCH better than their private sector counterparts.
Look, no one has ever been forced into public sector work.
And please spare me the "poor abused government worker" mantra. Not interested.
Ken Hardy 3
I was asked once by a TSA agent where Woodstock Georgia was located, I told him it was where the big music festival was held back in the 60's. he said ok, I remember that and passed me through ( It was in Woodstock New York ) TSA = Thousands Standing Around
Alan Ellman 3
Laughing out loud. Apparently, they are required to ask but don't have to know the answer.
Robert Gomez 3
Colombia? Columbia? There is a Big difference.....
Marcus Pradel 8
Colombia is a Country, District of Columbia is in the US, British Columbia is in Canada.
This is a pretty confusing job, better hire guys whom finished 5th grade!
Chris B 5
Then there are those people who live in Columbia SC....What about the people who live in Poland or Norway, Maine?
Robin Rosner 1
Or Toronto OH LOL
God forbid they see someone from Mexico, NY!

This is why they love their local union.
I am so proud of our educated employees of this country.
I don't side with the TSA agent. The biggest issue with them is that you are processed like a cattle. There is no "Customer Minded" service. Just because there is a few hundred people trying to board an aircraft for terrorism or illegal activities does not mean they have the right to treat the millions of people like you owe them money and have not paid them in a while. I understand all the security. I do not understand their arrogance and ineptitude to handle customers in a friendly manor. Being a student pilot I love flying. But I dread the first entry after the airline counter till my boarding. TSA is like a bad road that you must take to get where your going but perhaps don't want to stay and chat with someone you saw walking down the sidewalk.
You know what I hate most about TSA agents? They generalize and make sweeping assumptions about the flying public. If some other passenger happens to be an unreasonable jerk, does that mean I'm an unreasonable jerk? Well, does it?

It just galls me to no end.
Speaking of generalizing, looks like all TSA agents are being lumped into one basket and treated negatively as a whole in these comments. The TSA agents are all individuals with their own identity, experiences and lives. How would you rate in your own job - do you know everything? I'm not defending TSA but pointing out that we expect the agents to treat us as individuals but we are not willing to do the same for them. Would you rather the agents shrug their shoulders and just let us through? No. The agent did his job; he had a situation that the documents didn't appear correct to him - he got assistance and cleared the passenger. What more can be expected?
Alan Ellman 1
This is not the case at all airports. I fly out of KBOS and KLAX, and I have found the TSA people to be competent and very polite. They could be outliers, but once I left my cell phone on the rack at KBOS security. When I ran back and caught the eye of the TSA agent in charge, he had the phone raised in the air with a big smile on his face.
sparkie624 4
Proves my Acronym: TSA - "Totally Stupid Agency"
I'm more of a fan of "Thousands Standing Around", but to each their own..
Joe Gilson 3
It's easy to make fun of an under paid Govt. employee with enormous responsibilities. But let's not lose sight of the fact, that after not recognizing the DL, he asked for further ID, instead of just shrugging his shoulders, and not doing his job.
Bernie20910 5
Let's also not lose sight of the fact that he'd ALREADY not done his job in not recognizing the license. One of his job duties entails knowing and recognizing forms or valid identification used for security purposes. If he can't properly meet his job requirements then he's not underpaid, he's overpaid.
Denis Mahony 3
Not my intention. I worked for government and understand that angle. Fault is clearly directed at the individual. Every job has its slackers and it's doers and unfortunately usually only the slackers make the news.
ken young 3
Newsflash....NO government employee is underpaid. If they take the job, they are made aware ahead of the date of hire the terms and conditions of employment. TSA agents freely accepted those terms.
Alan Ellman 1
Sure, but how many domestic passengers carry their passport with them?
BC Hadley 1
I do, but only because my driver's license looks like a booking photo for drug possesion. It's really awful.
Let some of the TSA agents try, what is the capital of New York! Do we now need TSA agents to carry a map of the United States on their person!
Edwin Berrios 3
I don't expect a TSA agent to know what the capital of each and every state is, just like most of us don't. But to now know that DC is part of the US is totally and completely unnaceptable.
RetAF 2
At IND I the TSA wanted to see my driver's license. I produced my Retired Military ID (It's easier to dig out of my wallet) but he insisted on the drivers license. The "priority" published by the TSA itself is (all with picture) 1. valid passport, 2. valid government ID (last I knew the DOD is part of the "government" 3. valid State driver's license. Perhaps the problem is the TSA regulations are printed in English and there is no English language reading comprehension test required for a TSA job.
Bernie20910 2
I think it's more of a case that they get into a "routine" and don't want to break it. There have been news stories published, similar to yours, where people have offered valid, government issued photo ID, and had it refused, even though it met all the requirements. This is not just a problem with TSA, but also with law enforcement. Two years ago I had a county deputy ask to see my identification (after I witnessed something happen in a parking lot) and refuse to accept my county issued photo ID for the Fire & Rescue department. He would only accept a driver's license.
matt jensen 2
ORD had Andy Frain ushers doing the work the airlines hired them to do. After tsa creation I had hoped they would hire off-duty and retired LEO's - you know the guys who see handguns and hardware all the time and can id the stuff before you get to the x-ray machines. I was wrong, but the Frain ushers were still better than the losers they have employed.
Art Pauly 2
When you start with an unconstitutional Govt. agency (DHS and TSA). Add in a union along with an ever growing budget (sorry, they don't work with a budget), I mean ever growing bank account and this kind of story is what you get. Time to end the TSA.
How much do you all want to bet that if a typical TSA idiot wanted to see a "Washington Nationals" game they would look to fly to Seattle....
Robert Gomez 2
eric dufay 2
Not a surprise...this is what happens when you have McDonald's level employees in charge of our airport security.
sparkie624 4
How Dare you insult McDonald's Like that... McDonald's has a much better training program...
Pablo Torres 1
Puerto Rico Is part of the US and a lot of people do not know this, I was training in Washington (State) and when I got to the airport to fly back to PR I was told to present my passport even though I had a military ID card, I had to call people in Virginia to get it straight and not loose the flight. People do not like HISTORY lesson's.
Every day we move closer to anarchy. Keep your head down and don't get involved with any officials of the government; chances are they don't know their job yet have the power to make your life miserable.

P.S. Note to Matt Jensen, below: Arizona and New Mexico were admitted to the Union in 1912, however, California was admitted in 1850.
Never learned geography. Look for another position.
Gary Schwartz 1
I guess the old adage holds true, "you get what you pay for". Now that the TSA charge to passengers is going to increase perhaps the TSA will spend a bit more time and money training their agents.
Ed Berling 1
There's a lot of people who don't want Washington DC to be part of the US.
I am cabin crew and once had a passenger refuse point blank a landing card for entering the UK, as she was adamant that the European Union was part of the United States!
btweston 1

By the way, I bet the National Association of Airline Passengers really knows how to party.
All you guys miss the point. This is the result when the government is involved. Below average job performance supported by bureaucratic morass. Even if the TSA might be private it was homegrown as a government enterprise. That TSA worker will probably be president one day, after all it is not about doing a good job.
The schools stopped teaching Geography years ago.
This is the problem when education is neglected.
Alan Busacker 1
I was flying through IAD.. and have a Washington (State) DL. The TSA agent looked at it and said "is that one of the NEW licenses here?".. Yes, TSA Agents should be familiar with all forms of ID, but the reporter should be familiar with which airport this was .. He keeps to referring to Orlando as OIA.. Try filing a flight plan to that destination. To my knowledge is hasn't been changed from MCO
How about Alaska being a Canadian Providence. ??? What happened in Geography 101 in Grade school. What happened, did they get challenged & then got lost ??? Or how about this, a military ID not being a form of government ID. Look at the back fool.
Bernie20910 3
Yes, what did happen in grade school Geography, where they, presumably, taught you about Canadian PROVINCES?
They don't teach Geography any more
TWA55 1
Your tax dollars at work, my GOD, what's next.
This is news?
I think it is. It illustrates that there isn't much of a barrier to entry to being a TSA agent. I'm sure it isn't a high paying job, however, we do need more intelligent and informed people in the chain of security that exists before boarding an airliner.
Why is it that a benign story such as this one stokes mud slinging and hatred? If I didn't see it I wouldn't believe it. We're all so brave sitting at home behind the computer. Why so much anger?
Torsten Hoff 1
>> and after a brief conversation Gray realized the man did not know.

Either the agent didn't know, or the report felt it would make for a good story. I'm inclined to believe that the agent was unfamiliar with the new REAL ID, but that wouldn't get Gray and his station nearly the same attention.
I bet the TSA agent has a high school diploma also!!!!

Sub Headline should read: "TSA Agent Geography Quiz Miss Equals Zero Dead, Zero Injured.
The average TSA agent has the I.Q. of a bucket of dead garden slugs.
Uwe Ritter 5
And about as much personality as a popcorn fart
As opposed to all the other geniuses working in and around our airports... you get what you pay for, buddy.
bbabis -4
I side with the TSA agent on this one. DC thinks it is its own little country and is totally out of touch with the rest of the world much less the 50 States. We're from DC and we're here to help you. Yeah right! I'd check 'em out too.
Frank Parth -2
I'm with the TSA on this one. Having spent a lot of time there I don't think D.C. has any relationship to reality.

[This poster has been suspended.]

gmcmanus 0
White Power Mike! When's your next klan meeting bro? Paid your dues this month?

[This comment was deleted.]

Miss Emily Herbert, what in the $%#@ has that got to do with this conversation?
Bill Menzel 2
These are postings that can be found on all sorts of sites. They're from people trying to sell whatever snake oil has tripped their trigger.
10-4 on the snake oil.
steve rogers -9
that's too funny , give the guy a chance , the united states is a big place lol
Bernie20910 11
Sure, give him a break. After all it's only his freaking JOB to be able to recognize valid identification. Not like it's IMPORTANT or anything...
tpmorrow 6
Give the guy a chance? He's been given a chance like everyone else, namely, a free elementary and high school education. You don't need, or you certainly shouldn't need, to go to college to grasp fundamental US geography and history. How on earth can you have spent 12 years in our public education system, notwithstanding its shortcomings, and not have learned that the District of Columbia is our capital, Washington, D.C.? I'd have thought this fact is learned by everyone sitting in a classroom, year after year, through simple osmosis. And if the TSA agent in question was not born in the US, you can bet that he’s still not the sharpest on the team.
It speaks volumes about the average TSA employee, and who they are.
Tony Hester 1
Chill out he's blending in with the crowd. Before9/11, iescorted some family to the gate, this lady looking out an adjoining window asked why her relatives plane took off the opposite way from their destination, it was cold winter in the south they were heading for a southern destination. She seemed somewhat relieved after my flight synopsis. Like I've said before mankind as a whole is about as smart as a bag of hammers.
Tony Hester 1
On the upside, when I travel it's long international with a power chair/scooter for my disability and I've always received kind, courteous, efficient and thorough service from domestic t s a agents. A most challenging job in challenging conditions, crying kids, impatient seniors, etc..
Bernie20910 1
Have you ever stopped to consider that the reason you get that kind of service is precisely because of your chair? The last thing any TSA supervisor wants it to wind up on the TV news, making things difficult to someone with an obvious disability, hence, you get the "lid gloves" treatment.
Bernie20910 1


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