New Entries to the Insider’s TSA Dictionary

The number of submissions to the Insider’s TSA Dictionary I’ve received is amazing, and they keep coming in. Here are a few of the entries that will soon be added to the Insider’s TSA Dictionary (at least a few of them courtesy of anonymous current or ex-TSA screeners, I believe it’s fair to say) with a little editing by myself for stylistic consistency.



Formally, what the TSA employee’s breaks are supposed to be (in numbers of minutes), but these numbers are doubled for lazy people and people in suits. The rates for people in suits who rank higher than the other suits increase exponentially.

-Submitted by anonymous

The Burka Conundrum

A question that the TSA has never addressed about its BDO program: Behavior Detection Officers (See “Airport Wizards” in the Insider’s Dictionary -ed.) are supposedly looking for indicators such as microexpressions in would-be terrorists, but what about a woman (or any person, for that matter) wearing a full body burka? Do the wizards have x-ray vision? Another one of the infinite number of ways that a determined terrorist can glide right by TSA security theater at any time.

-Submitted by anonymous

Doctor’s Note

A magical thing for TSA employees that makes everything alright. Example: “I called off 6 days in a row after failing my practicals, calling my supervisor an asshole and falling asleep on the exit for 2 hours, but I’m getting a doctor’s note for it all, so it should be kosher.”

-Submitted by K in Cleveland


A TSA abbreviation which is supposed to stand for “I See Me in the Solution.” Another nugget of wisdom that TSA officers receive in their condescending training “classes.” There is a popular sentiment among TSA employees that it should be changed to ICUP, “I C U in the Problem,” and that this new slogan should be posted on the office doors of upper management.

-Submitted by anonymous

Quit now or get fired later

A bargain sometimes given by TSA management to employees, either unfairly or much later than it should have been. It is also sometimes a scare tactic used to trick employees into quitting when management in fact has a non-existent or flimsy case for termination against you.

-Submitted by M.M. in Boston

Suitcase Surgeon

Informal term for a TSA employee, derived from the blue gloves they wear. Used ironically, because it’s not like what the TSA ever does requires anything remotely approaching the mental capacity of a surgical procedure anyway, even though you may feel as though you’ve undergone a surgical procedure after they’re done with you.

-Submitted by Avery in San Diego


To submit proposed entries to the Insider’s TSA Dictionary, email with “Insider’s TSA Dictionary” as your email’s subject.

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