GOP to TSA: Happy 10th Birthday, Now Get Your Act Together

Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 03:55 PM

(Photo (cc) by Flickr user redjar)

The TSA turns 10 today. In the past decade it has given the perennially maligned IRS a run for the money for most complained-about government agency. Now, Congressional Republicans are joining voters in the griping with a scathing report about the aviation security agency, part of the Executive Branch under the Department of Homeland Security.

According the GOP report out today, the TSA is a bloated bureaucracy, drifting steadily away from its mission of aviation security. Congressman John Mica (R-Fla.) chair of the House Transportation Committee released a joint majority staff report, "A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform."

"Since its inception, TSA has lost its focus on transportation security," the report reads. "Instead, it has grown into an enormous, inflexible and distracted bureaucracy," citing that the agency of 65,000 employees is larger than the Department of Labor. The report describes TSA staffing as "top heavy."

The report does not mince words in condemning the TSA as an agency more concerned with human resources management and political turf protection than proactive security planning. It calls on the TSA to audit screening operations and set screening guidelines "based on risk."

Last week, the TSA announced it would experiment with some risk-based screening. That could include, as the Congressional report recommends, using biometric identifiers for trusted passengers. It could also mean using intelligence information to rate fliers on risk levels, and embed that in a bar code on a boarding pass for example. When scanned, and pronounced "low risk" a traveler could be permitted to keep their belt or shoes on under one scenario.

Read the full report here.

No response yet from the TSA.


Comments [1]


Representatives Broun and Rep are correct; TSA has been nothing more than a jobs program for the chronically unemployed. We are just lucky that terrorists haven’t attempted another attack, it would have surely succeeded.

While they focus on groping passenger groins and digitally strip searching them, they allow 60% of cargo in the hold to go unchecked. They also remain oblivious to the glaringly risk of a ground based attack on arriving and departing aircraft using little more than a high powered rifle.

Airport workers routinely enter the secure area with nothing more than a glance moving tubs of goods that are never inspected. Add to that the four screeners arrested this year for smuggling contraband through security. In each instance, the contraband was drugs, but could have as easily contained explosives.

The potential sources of attack are virtually infinite and it is impossible for any agency to physically guard every possible venue. TSA may the least qualified agency of all for the real task at hand. The only way to effectively intercept these plots is through intelligence, which is vastly beyond the capability of anyone employed by this agency and rightfully the realm of the FBI, NSA and CIA.

This agency has been hopelessly mismanaged and staffed by incompetent managers whose only demonstrated skills are fear mongering and misrepresenting their policies to Congress. Mica is correct that the best way to assure airline safety and improve the travel experience is to dismantle TSA and replace it with private screening firms who have incentive to operate efficiently and provide a civilized customer experience.

TSA Crimes & Abuses

Nov. 17 2011 06:15 AM

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