The TSA is a Bloated and Ineffective Tool in Securing Your Safety.
While I don’t enjoy lines at the airport, I have been able to tolerate them knowing these screening practices are designed to keep my family and fellow travelers safe.
But while flying recently and observing the chaos that is airport security, I couldn’t help but think it looked more like a rag-tag band of checkers and sackers at the grocery store rather than a highly trained group of federal security agents.
Last year, the Department of Homeland Security conducted undercover investigations in which they posed as normal passengers and purposefully tried to sneak mock explosives and banned weapons through security. TSA agents failed 67 of those 70 tests. In one of those undercover tests, a Homeland Security agent had a fake bomb strapped to his back. After setting off an alarm, a TSA agent’s pat down still didn’t catch the explosive device.
After spending over $540 million on screening equipment and $116 million annually on training, the astonishing 95% failure rate has never been higher. In the wake of the report, Kelly Hoggan, head of the TSA lost his job. It was also revealed Hoggan, whose annual salary was $181,500 also received $91,000 in bonuses, obviously not performance based.
Five months later, additional tests were done, and results appear to be just as bad according to congressional testimony, however the official report remains classified.
But aside from the abysmal screening the TSA performs on the public, we have another, perhaps even greater concern—who is screening the screeners*?
As part to the fallout from the original report, the DHS Inspector General sounded the alarm on the agency’s process to vet its employees. The IG’s records indicate “that TSA did not identify 73 individuals with terrorism-related category codes because TSA is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related information under current interagency watch-listing policy.” Nor does the TSA have controls in place for ensuring that its employees “had not committed crimes that would disqualify them from having unescorted access to secure airports areas” and “had lawful status and were authorized to work in the United States.”
Astonishingly, the IG report states that the TSA has had to “deny credentials to 4,800 individuals that the airports had previously cleared for work in the United States because it could not verify lawful status for those individuals.” Work applications were often incomplete—lacking full names and even social security numbers—a clear violation of basic protocol for hiring any individual for any job, let alone a government security job granting its employees unfettered access to sensitive areas within airports and the ability to bypass security checkpoints.
The federal government has since changed its policies to allow TSA to access counterterrorism databases, though it is unclear if the change has moved from one of policy into one of practice. In his follow up testimony on Capitol Hill, DHS Inspector General John Roth had this to say, “TSA now or will soon have access to this information.”
But even if TSA officials are granted access to terrorism databases, the reliability of that data is now in question. In February of this year, DHS whistleblower Philip Haney, a 15-year veteran of the bureaucracy, reported on politically correct purges of counterterrorism databases ordered by his superiors. He says he was forced to “delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System.” It gets worse. “Going forward,” Haney recounted, “my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.”
With an annual budget of $7.6 billion, a workforce of 55,000, unreliable explosive-screening and body scanning machines, a fail rate of 95%, and an unknown number of criminals, illegal aliens, and potential terrorist employees cleared to access all corners of our airports and runways, the TSA is a total security abomination.
Don’t be duped. It is often the illusion of safety that leads to catastrophe.
*Intelligence reveals the last two attacks on airliners within the past year were both inside jobs. Officials released video footage of airport employees in Mogadishu handing a laptop to a jihadist suspect before he boarded Daallo Airlines Flight D3159 in February. The computer allegedly contained a bomb that exploded on the plane, killing the bomber and injuring two other passengers.
Investigators also believe a ramp worker at Egypt’s Sharm el Sheikh airport was recruited by ISIS to plant a bomb on Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 which crashed last October in the Sinai Peninsula. All 224 passengers and crew members perished.