The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has taken the spotlight in the midst of the current government shutdown. It appears TSA agents are frustrated by the recent lack of pay and are acting out as a result. Earlier this week the TSA announced that a large number of employees were calling out sick, resulting in understaffed security checkpoints and longer lines for travelers across the country.
TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said on Twitter that the number of unscheduled absences doubled to a rate of 7.6 percent during the shutdown.
This morning, TSA experienced a national rate of 7.6 percent unscheduled absences compared to a 3.2 percent rate one year ago, Monday, January 15, 2018. Most importantly, security standards remain uncompromised at our nation’s airports.
— Michael Bilello (@TSA_Bilello) January 14, 2019
One passenger in Atlanta took video of what he said was the largest security checkpoint he ever saw.
So I’m at @ATLairport and this may be the longest security line I have ever seen. Even growing up here, and even for a Monday morning. One passenger told me he’d been waiting over an hour and still had about 30 minutes to go. pic.twitter.com/UL7EghujQI
— Omar Jimenez (@OmarJimenezCNN) January 14, 2019
Things got even more interesting later in the week as TSA agents at JFK airport in New York began playing uncensored rap music through the airport intercom, according to Business Insider. Passengers reported hearing songs like “Sicko Mode” by Travis Scott and Drake and “Lift Yourself” by Kanye West. “Lift Yourself” is also known as the “poop joke song” because it contains just a few words, among which are “Whoopdedy-scoop, whoopdedy-whoop-scoop-poop, poop, poop.”
I was in JFK at 6:30am the other day and they were playing that poopty scoop Kanye song and I felt like I was in the twilight zone
— Tracee Ellis Ross Jr (@virghoe_) January 9, 2019
Other passengers also reported hearing Beastie Boys and Paramore.
JFK airport carousel blasting “No Sleep Til Brooklyn” at 10:30 PM is kinda alright with me.
— RL Barnes, Ph.D. (@DigitalHistory_) January 7, 2019
the extremely weird feeling when the airport PA is blasting Paramore’s “Misery Business” like it’s a super hot 2007 Friday night at old JFK
— Molly Templeton (@mollytempleton) January 5, 2019
Below are a few of the songs played by the TSA at JFK:
Thanks to the long hours on their feet without pay and little supervision, it’s no wonder TSA agents are just trying to pass the time. It remains to be seen, however, if they’re putting as much effort into protecting the skies as they are passing the time.