Impossible To Parody: How Serious People Are Considering Expanding Role Of The TSA

News and notes from around the interweb:

  • US Customs Wants Indians To Stop Carrying Cow Dung in Their Luggage (HT: @crucker)

  • Impossible to parody: ‘serious’ people think the TSA should be put in charge of pipeline security

  • Through end of 2021, Air Canada Aeroplan members with Canadian co-brand cards (TD, CIBC, Amex) can earn cash rebates for ticket purchases when buying tickets on the airline with those cards – Visa Infinite and Amex cards $25 credit per booking (up to 5 times) and Visa Infinite Privilege and Amex Reserve cards $50 credit per booking (up to 5 times).

    Sadly the new U.S. Aeroplan card from Chase is not yet available.

  • The man the Department of Homeland Security put on the ‘no fly list’ for refusing to become an FBI informant, who was blocked from returning home to the U.S., has been taken off the list. The federal government didn’t want to defend this in court, so they’ve mooted the man’s lawsuit. They simply said he “no longer satisfied the criteria for placement on the no-fly list” so he can no longer challenge being on it.

  • Many Americans can now claim a $50 per month temporary discount on home internet service as part of ’emergency’ Covid-relief legislation. The benefit lasts until the $3 billion allocated runs out or six months after the government declares covid-19 no longer a crisis. And more people qualify than you’d possibly imagine, but the fastest speed plans don’t qualify.

  • Large banks will start issuing credit cards to people without credit scores including Chase, Wells Fargo and US Bank. This is a confluence of regulators wanting broader access to credit, and issuers looking for new cardmembers anywhere they can (Chase is even going to launch an Instagram credit card). 53 million US adults do not have scores. (WSJ)

    JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., U.S. Bancorp and others will factor in information from applicants’ checking or savings accounts at other financial institutions to increase their chances of being approved for credit cards, according to people familiar with the matter. The pilot program is expected to launch this year.

    It is aimed at individuals who don’t have credit scores but who are financially responsible. The banks would consider applicants’ account balances over time and their overdraft histories, the people said.

    The effort, if successful, would mark a significant change in the underwriting tactics of big banks, which for decades have enshrined credit scores and credit reports as the main tools to determine who gets a loan. They generally reflect a person’s borrowing history in the U.S., including whether they pay their loans on time. Those who pay only with cash or debit cards, or who are new to the U.S., often don’t have credit scores.

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. RE: ‘serious’ people/TSA/pipeline “security”

    This is from the author’s bio page on the linked site (Council on Foreign Relations):

    “Knake served from 2011 to 2015 as director for cybersecurity policy at the National Security Council. In this role, he was responsible for the development of presidential policy on cybersecurity, and built and managed federal processes for cyber incident response and vulnerability management.”

    Holy crap, this guy has connections to actually spread his ideas!

    FWIW, TSA might actually be the appropriate regulatory authority, and Knape seems like he’d be in a position to know that; my concern is that TSA is fundamentally flawed in many ways, such as its well known corruption and dysfunction that likely comes from just being a part of the DHS.

  2. Reading his piece, it appears that what he’s actually saying is that responsibility for dealing with pipeline cybersecurity had been given to the TSA by the Trump Administration and that the TSA hasn’t done anything about it yet. He’s not calling for them to be given responsibility but rather saying that since they’re the designated agency, they should do something about it.

  3. Anyone who would even suggest that yet another bloated and inefficient bureaucratic department like the TSA should be expanded is absolutely on another planet and out of tough with the needs of the real world. Ever since their inception the “Thousands Sanding Around” mantra has exponentially expanded their ranks to a ridiculous number. They now have a “squad” of armed, fatigue outfitted dog handlers prowling the gates to allegedly catch villains whom their counterparts at the check points let slip though. They started with some 60,000 and the number now continues to reach in toward the high 100,000’s. Reports are out there that they have warehoused a ridiculous amount of weapons and ammunition that would rival some National Guard units.

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