- TSA’s Pistole Resigns – Rumors Swirl Over Reopening Chesapeake Knife & Tool Franchise
- DHS Denies Buying Billions of Bullets, Gaffii Sticks, Phasers and Bowcasters
- PSO Gets Endangered Species Protective Status
- Pistole Defends Policy to Allow Teeth, Art Supplies on Airplanes
- DHS Hires Mike Rowe to Improve Employee Morale
- NFL Great Ray Lewis Underwrites Expansion of Sheila Jackson Lee Charm School
- Newton-John, Springsteen, Others Sue FEMA to Save Sandy
- TSA Employees Send World’s Largest Thank You Card to Congress
TSA’s Pistole Resigns – Rumors Swirl Over Reopening Chesapeake Knife & Tool Franchise
With sense of shock and deep regret, the White House announced this morning the sudden resignation of TSA Administrator John Pistole. Rumors swirled around TSA Headquarters on reasons for Pistole’s departure from what most people in Washington called “the worst job in America – next to cleaning rest rooms after Philadelphia Eagles, Phillies and Flyers games.”
Sources tell Security Debrief that Pistole recently obtained the name and franchise rights of the long-bankrupt shopping mall and kiosk retailer Chesapeake Knife & Tool. These sources believe Pistole will be looking to scratch a long-subdued entrepreneurial itch that was first realized as a child when he delivered newspapers, cut neighbors lawns and sold lemonade to passersby in his old neighborhood.
Security Debrief has learned that prior to changing TSA’s rules allowing for small knives to be carried on aircraft, Pistole had signed an unprecedented agreement with movie director Tim Burton (of Edward Scissorhands fame) to produce a new series of educational videos for employees and passengers in the screening areas. Sources explain the videos would feature Hugh Jackman (who famously play Marvel Comics’ Wolverine), with narration by Paul Hogan of the 1980s Crocodile Dundee series, explaining the finer points of knife etiquette.
TSO Igotta Handsonyou, who has worked as the morning shift supervisor at Reagan National Airport for the past ten years, expressed her personal disappointment that she had never had a chance to pat down her boss.
“I’ve had some real rock stars in these hands,” she said, lifting her blue rubber-gloved fingers. “I got the first guy [Magaw], Kip Hawley and two Admirals [Jim Loy and David Stone] really good, but I never got my hands on this FBI guy.”
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DHS Denies Buying Billions of Bullets, Gaffii Sticks, Phasers and Bowcasters
Under pressure from Congress to explain news reports about massive ammunition and weapons purchases, the Department of Homeland Security denied that it was purchasing 1.6 billion rounds of hollow-point bullets for “training” purposes. DHS also denied attempts to purchase Gaffii Sticks, Phased Energy Rectification guns (commonly called Phasers) and a secret arsenal of Chewbacca-brand Bowcasters.
The written denial, provided to Security Debrief by a DHS official who was not authorized to talk with the media but is frustrated by Secretary Napolitano’s “Don’t Comment Until They Catch Us Red-Handed” public disclosure policy, was prepared for U.S. Senator Tom “Dr. No” Coburn (R-OK) last year. The explanation provides details of ammunition purchases in FY10, FY11 and FY12 and forecasts purchases and uses for FY13. Saying that further details were “law enforcement sensitive,” DHS refused to talk about how the ammunition would be used.
DHS Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Chandler, formerly one of the “voices” of DHS Public Affairs shop, claimed that DHS had the right to use weapons and ammunition “however and whenever we deem it appropriate” but denied that it would be used against U.S. citizens or illegal aliens “unless the drones don’t work like we want them to.”
The DHS answer was not sufficient for right-wing and Libertarian-leaning Members of Congress. For example, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (NRA–Kansas) highlighted the issue as a speaker at the recent Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC.) As reported by US News’ Whispers column, Huelskamp taunted DHS for failing to answer questions about their ammunition purchases, suggesting that the outlandish acquisition was part of the Obama administration’s efforts to impose gun control legislation on the gun-loving Americans.
Huelskamp wrote in a letter to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano that it had “become clear” that DHS was purchasing vast quantities of ammunition, enough for 24 Iraq wars. The congressman also said the timing of the purchase was suspect.
“The extraordinary level of ammunition purchases made by Homeland Security seems to have, in states such as my own, created an extreme shortage of ammunition to the point where many gun owners are unable to purchase any,” he wrote.
During an unverified conversation behind closed doors, DHS’ Chandler dismissed Huelskamp’s concerns as the “product of a narrow-minded Midwesterner who doesn’t trust his government or himself.” He added:
“We have no problem with people having strange views. If you had ever been in a staff meeting with our Deputy Secretary, you know that we have a high tolerance for weird comments. But this right-wing fascination with guns and ammunition is just too much – even for us. We worry much more about a Zombie Apocalypse than we do about the anti-DHS rants of a few Members of Congress.”
PSO Gets Endangered Species Protective Status
In one of his final acts before stepping down as the leader of the Department of Interior, outgoing Cabinet Secretary Ken Salazar granted protected species status to the mission and remaining seven members of the DHS Private Sector Office (PSO). In response to woeful and urgent pleas from small, medium and large businesses, as well as private sector advocacy groups, Sec. Salazar wasted no time enacting rarely used emergency powers to protect the small DHS office from further extinction. Citing the powers of the Endangered Species Act, Sec. Salazar explained in a hastily arranged news conference outside DHS’ Nebraska Avenue Complex headquarters, “I couldn’t wait a minute longer to protect these people and what’s left of this office and its congressionally mandated mission.”
Explaining that he has heard from business leaders from around the country, wondering if the PSO still existed (as they had not been seen in years), he acted quickly to protect the only seven remaining PSO employees.
“We gave the bald eagle, the buffalo, the spotted howl and Joe Biden’s hair plugs a second chance at survival. Maybe these people and their mission can come back too,” Salazar said.
Salazar’s binding order requires that DHS provide the remaining members of the endangered office with phones that actually dial outside of the Department and require that the PSO employees get outside into the sunlight beyond the red-brick walls to actually interact with members of the private sector.
Expressing relief that someone cared about the private sector, and to ensure the health and safety of the remaining PSO employees, Coppertone, Inc. offered a lifetime supply of suntan lotion (SPF 75) to DHS HQ to protect the endangered people from sunburn on their now near-translucent skin.
Not to be outdone, Home Depot and Lowes Stores, Inc. partnered to construct a public sanctuary for the PSO that would have tables, chairs and patio umbrellas for people to sit down and talk with one another.
An unamused Douglas Smith, Assistant Secretary of the Private Sector, complained that he was not in the loop on any of the extended offers.
“I’ve been too busy meeting with my friend Rahm Emmanuel [current Mayor and Smith’s BFF] planning the City of Chicago’s next Olympic Games bid,” he said. “We figure we’ve got a better shot, given all the target practice that goes on in our neighborhoods.”
Pistole Defends Policy to Allow Teeth, Art Supplies on Airplanes
Prior to the recent announcement that TSA Administrator John Pistole will resign, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee called Pistole before the House Homeland Security Committee for another round of questioning over the threats flight attendants face from the flying public. With a scowl, Lee held up a piece of cardboard with several items represented.
“What is this,” she asked, pointing to a tennis ball. “Hmm? I’ll tell you, I like my friend here,” she said, gesturing to a suddenly unnerved Rep. Peter King, “I don’t want to suggest I don’t, but if I were to shove this tennis ball down his throat, would he choke?”
“I assume so,” said Pistole.
“And what about this,” Jackson Lee asked, pointing to a Magic Marker that smelled like cherries. “If I jammed this in my friend’s eyes, would he not become blind? And what about this, Mr. Pistole?!” Jackson Lee pointed to a pair of dentures. “If I were to bite my friend here on his jugular – not that I would ever want to bite my friend – but if I were to bite him hard, will he bleed?”
“I suppose that depends on how strong your jaw is but…”
“Mr. Administrator, these things are dangerous! These things can make people bleed! These things can cause a flying disaster! What if passengers decided they were going to bite the flight attendants? Imagine a horde of passengers chomping their teeth like a pack of wild dogs. I ask you, how can such clearly dangerous items be allowed through the checkpoint?”
“If you look at our mandate, we are focused on preventing terrorists from turning airplanes into weapons of mass destruction,” said Pistole. “It is not within our mandate to prohibit every item that could be used as a weapon by unbalanced, unruly or cannibalistic passengers.”
“Well, I will have to make it your mandate. We all well-know that the valiant flight attendants are America’s last line of defense against terrorism, as the Flight Attendants Union so eloquently stated. I am pandering to…ahem…I mean I am advocating for them because they are America’s finest, the real aviation security professionals we all rely on.”
Jackson Lee held up a 100-page thick document: “I will soon introduce legislation requiring all airline passengers to wear straight-jackets and Hannibal Lecter-style masks once on airport grounds. We can trust no one, ever, Mr. Pistole. In fact, this legislation that I wrote does not go far enough! And I suppose you wouldn’t enforce these laws.”
“If you pass such legislation on a bipartisan basis, it is approved by the Senate and signed by the president, I would of course enforce such a law,” said Pistole.
“Biparti-what?” Jackson Lee covered her microphone and whispered to a nearby aide, who shrugged his shoulders and furiously scribbled notes. “Mr. Pistole, every one of us here knows that if airplanes didn’t have passengers, they would be 100 percent risk free. The best way to prevent our citizens from becoming terrorists is to handcuff them all to the cabin floor, put sacks over their heads, dress them in bright orange jump suits and have armed soldiers walking around damning their extremist ideas, in case they ever had any. And you’re telling me that’s not in your mandate?”
Pistole said nothing.
“Who in the world nominated you to become head of the so-called Transportation Security Administration,” she asked, using air quotes around “security.”
“Congresswoman, I hope that you will notify us the next time you plan to travel,” said Pistole. “We will be more than happy to secure your travel experience in exactly the way you just described.”
“Well, now you’re talking some sense,” she said. “I yield the floor.”
DHS Hires Dirty Jobs’ Mike Rowe to Improve Employee Morale
When the Discovery Channel canceled its formerly popular show, Dirty Jobs, host Mike Rowe was left wondering what he would do, other than an occasional Ford commercial. Enter the Department of Homeland Security, which recently announced it would hire Rowe as morale booster for agency employees at the bottom of the Office of Personnel Management’s Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey.
Rowe, who is known for tackling difficult jobs that usually involve a substance that is smelly, semi-solid and wedged into tiny crevices in large structures, was delighted to undertake his new assignment.
“Some jobs have to be done for the good of society, no matter how unpleasant it may seem,” he said. “Working for DHS strikes me as being no different than castrating sheep, something I talked about back in 2008. I’ve had so many beliefs about life, work and people – and most of them were wrong. What I thought was smart turned out to be really dumb. That is exactly why I think I will fit in perfectly at DHS. The place is full of people with bad ideas and beliefs.”
Rowe has said people who don’t follow their passion in life can still make a valuable contribution to society – and they can learn to be happy: “If people who pick up road-kill can whistle while they work, so can employees at DHS. We don’t need to change the so-called War on Terrorism. We need to stop the “War on Work.”
Rowe, who studied classical Greek in college, proposed changing the name of the Science and Technology Directorate, the component of DHS that has consistently ranked at the “bottom of the bottom” of the OPM survey, to the Consortium for Resilience through Anagnorisis and Peripeteia (CRAP).
Claiming that DHS S&T needs a “reversal of fortunes” arising out of a misunderstanding of its mission, purpose and people, Rowe called for more “skilled workers” addressing the critical infrastructure needs of America. He said America needs fewer “academic theorists” who run around telling people about the lessons portrayed in the Bruegel painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus. Reflecting on the Greek story of the mythical man who flew too close to the sun, Rowe said one of his first tasks would be to debunk the Icarus story that failure came from the use of bad technology. Just as DHS S&T’s failures have not come from a lack of technology, but from a system that is afraid of risk, Rowe said that employee morale would improve dramatically once S&T employees learn that sewer gas is their friend – a reference to a building evacuation last year when a building drain plugged up and sent noxious fumes into the HVAC system at their Vermont Avenue location.
“What Greek mythology teaches us today is that the poor employee attitudes and a sense of failure comes from supervisors who are micro-managers; who show a lack of respect for individual initiative; and who punish people who don’t act and think like them,” Rowe said. He added that S&T employees should be encouraged to embrace risk – including the risk of ignoring Congress.
“If anyone ought to know that a positive work environment can be destroyed by acting stupid, it is Congress,” he said. “DHS employees need to ignore the stupid comments from members of Congress and from their own leadership and get on with the job of cleaning out the proverbial ‘sewage pit’ of bureaucratic in-fighting. DHS employee morale can be improved while also protecting the homeland. All you have to do is get beyond your fears and learn to hold your nose.”
DHS Chief Human Capital Officer Catherine Emerson was not available for comment on this story. In fact, DHS observers do not recall having seen Emerson in public since she testified before the House Homeland Security Committee more than a year ago on “Why is Employee Morale [at DHS] So Low?” Representatives of DHS employee unions were also unavailable to Security Debrief as they were attending a conference in Las Vegas, hosted by the GSA Public Building Service Alumni Association.
NFL Great Ray Lewis Underwrites Expansion of Sheila Jackson Lee Charm School
Fox Sports is reporting this morning exclusive details of a new venture from recently retired Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. According to unidentified sources, Lewis has decided to underwrite the national expansion of the Sheila Jackson Lee Charm School. With last year’s openings in Jackson Lee’s Houston District, the Mall of America and a strip mall in Patterson, NJ, the SJL Charm School boasts an acclaimed program for dressing to get noticed, muscling your way for a seat for prime time television camera mugging, and shrieking at people to make oneself obvious and unforgettable. Lewis told Security Debrief about his new investment.
“When I saw the passion and charged energy that this woman exhibits on C-Span, I just knew I had to be a part of her world,” he said. “I mean, when she shrieked at that TSA dude a couple of weeks back… Damn that woman is not gonna be denied. I wish she had negotiated my last contract.”
Lewis said that “graduates of these charm schools will stand out like nobody’s business. They’re gonna make those yellers and moaners like Chris Matthews, Sean Hannity and Meg Ryan in a deli sound like mutes.
Jackson Lee’s House Homeland Security Committee colleagues were unenthusiastic about the school expansion. Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) called the deal a joke.
“Hey buddy, I’m from Jersey,” he said. “We got Snooki, Springsteen and Chris Christie. Do you really think we need someone to coach us on getting attention? Bunch of posers.”
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Newton-John, Springsteen, Others Sue FEMA to Save Sandy
In an unprecedented show of public nostalgia, former Grease movie star Olivia Newton-John, New Jersey icon Bruce Springsteen and members of Preserving My Sandy (PMS) filed a class-action lawsuit against FEMA in the Camden, New Jersey Federal Courthouse. Wiping tears from her face, a clearly emotional Newton-John sobbed to reporters, “They ruined the name Sandy. Sandy is innocent and pure and wholesome. She’s not a home-wrecker. I mean, she can look hot singing in a black leather jacket, T-shirt and tight black pants, but she’s not a destroyer!”
She collapsed into the open arms of co-plaintiff and legendary rocker Bruce Springsteen, who echoed the Australian pop icon’s words.
“How could they do this to the name Sandy,” he asked. “The name is about that pretty girl down the street with the long blonde hair who will listen to your stories. She’s the girl next door. FEMA took her name and ruined it.”
Springsteen and Newton-John credited the people behind PMS for channeling their angst and spurring them to try to replace the name of the disastrous hurricane.
“We formed Preserving My Sandy for all those who love the name Sandy and don’t want to have her name dragged through the mud and debris of our shattered boardwalks,” explained PMS founder, Donna Pissmeoff.
When asked what would be a more suitable set of names for furious storms that cause havoc to people’s lives and ruined property, Pissmeoff offered Khloe, Kourtney or Kim Kardashian, who she said were walking natural disasters.
FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate was taken aback by the sudden filing in federal court. Security Debrief cornered Fugate while he was stacking cases of water and batteries in a regional FEMA warehouse, preparing for the upcoming 2013 Hurricane Season.
“Why do we [FEMA] get blamed for everything? We don’t name the storms. Those knuckleheads at the World Meteorological Organization do it! They called it Sandy! I wanted to call it Chuck!”
When confronted with the fact that FEMA was not responsible for naming the deadly 2012 storm, the E Street Band’s bandanna-wearing guitar player Steven Van Zandt, who is also a PMS founding member, explained, “FEMA was easier to go after. Like shooting fish in a barrel. I don’t care if they look like they got their act together after that Katrina thing. FEMA is still a four-letter word.”
TSA Employees Send World’s Largest Thank You Card to Congress
A World Record was set this morning when all of TSA’s 47,000 much-maligned Transportation Security Officers (TSO) sent the world’s largest “Thank You” card to Congress. Containing the individual signatures of each and every TSO working in every airport in America, the inside of the card read, “Thank you Members of Congress for giving America someone else to hate more than us.”
In addition to the signatures, the card also contained personalized notes from the passenger screeners to specific congressional members. Among these was a note from St. Louis Airport TSO Hans R. Scruffy, who recently patted down the re-elected Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill.
“See you next Monday afternoon,” the note read. “Next time, wear the matching brown set I saw in your luggage.”
In a press release, House Speaker John Boehner thanked the employees for the outreach and recognition.
“It’s been so long since anyone said thank you to us for anything,” he said. “I feel genuinely touched by the heartfelt gesture.”
Asked for comment, Reagan National Airport TSO Igotta Handsonyou said she looks forward to genuinely touching the House Speaker.
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