I have respect for everyone at the TSA trying to do their jobs under difficult circumstances, often dealing with a public that has little patience and even less respect. However last Wed at terminal 1 at LAX I encountered the most inept, inefficient group of TSA ever. Mind you I am a retired NW employee married to a retired DL employee and have traveled extensively and gone through security in all parts of the US and World thousands of times. Apparently a new machine was being tested (with no notification to the traveling public). My bags were inside the X-ray machine for 15 min. I, along with a few other passengers both in front of and behind me became very vocal to say the least. Each bag was being pulled aside for secondary screening. When a brown paper bag I had filled with 4 plain bagels got pulled aside I blew my top to the point that airport police responded. When all was said and done, the officers pulled me aside and explained that a new machine was being tested and that was the reason for the extensive slowdown. Even they could not believe that there was not a sign posted, and the 2 different TSA supervisors I spoke with during the 15 min my bags were held up had the common sense to simply explain what was happening. As I told the police, and they were in agreement, had any one of the TSA simply said we are sorry, we are testing a new machine, while I and others would have been frustrated, it would have been clear what was going on and tempers would likely not have flared as they did.
Many TSA employees (and certainly not saying all), stand around in their blue uniforms emboldened by the meaningless and worthless badges they wear and get on a power trip. It's a hard job, but if the agency took the time to focus on customer service and communication, rather than random and inexplicable enforcement of petty rules, the whole experience would be so much more pleasant. In the end, I believe the only reason there has not been another attack on aviation by extremists is because they have found softer targets. The TSA is like lipstick on a pig. We as a society have just been fortunate nothing has transpired recently, but if someone wanted to do harm the TSA is not likely to prevent it.