Alex Goldmark is the senior producer of New Tech City, a storytelling show about how technology is changing society. Subscribe here to get New Tech City shows delivered right to your devices. Follow him on Twitter @alexgoldmark.
GOP to TSA: Happy 10th Birthday, Now Get Your Act Together
Wednesday, November 16, 2011 - 03:55 PM
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.