We go out of our way, in other words, to avoid the kind of outrage-for-outrage's sake that you find in some corners of the Internet. But sometimes even we have to sit back and marvel at the stupidity of some TSA agents.
We'll note in advance that there's not much we can add to the substance of these stories. There are no deeper lessons to be drawn. There are no policy debates, let alone legislative balancing acts, to be discussed. If these tales are true - and it's not clear that they are, but if they are - they're just very straightforwardly examples of TSA agents being morons.
First up is this account from libertarian and entrepreneur Davi Baker, under which TSA agents don't understand what the word "virtual" means when discussing "virtual currency." There is a long version which you're welcome to read on his blog, but the short version is that TSA agents tried to search Baker's belongings for bitcoins. Bitcoins, in turn, are notable for many things including the fact that they don't physically exist in our reality. So you can imagine how stupid TSA officials would have to be to look for them.
We should note that Baker's blog post makes him sound very much like one of those people - variants of the word "molest" come up repeatedly - so you should take his story with a grain of salt. Also TechCrunch contacted TSA, which called bullshit for a range of reasons.
On to the second story. Again there are a couple of longer versions that you can read, but here's the short version: a DC resident tried to present her drivers' license in order to get into the secure area of PHX and was told it wasn't good enough. Because TSA only accepts licenses from states, you see, and DC is not a state.
For those of us who live in the District - and have to listen to local hipsters complain endlessly about the dark night of stateless totalitarianism under which they labor - the whole thing is absurd but still kind of amusing. It's not exactly a shining moment for TSA though.
[Photo: FOX6 / YouTube]