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TSA Prepares For Its Own Dismantling

The The Washington Post reports on the front page tomorrow that he Transportation Security Administration, once the flagship agency in the nation's $20 billion effort to protect air travelers, is now slated for dismantling.

Stunning, really, that Washington has finally been able to look at a massive federal program and target it for elimination. As a frequent traveler I'm all in favor of tough and strict passenger and baggage screening, I've never been a big fan of the TSA as it was designed an implemented.

"We need to step back and look at the billions of dollars we spent on the system, which doesn't provide much more protection than we had before 9/11," said Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.), referring to tests conducted by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General that gave a "poor" rating to TSA screeners for their ability to catch weapons at the checkpoint. Mica, a key lawmaker who helped write the law that created the agency and chairs the House aviation subcommittee, would like to see private contractors take over screening jobs at airports. "TSA was something we put in place in an emergency, but it needs to evolve. You could whittle TSA down to a very small organization and do a much better job."
From a logical and practical perspective it's always seemed to me that the TSA was a giant public funded placebo. Security wasn't much better, even with that addition of several more layers of screening and technology.

The 9/11 hijackers commandeered planes with box cutters; but do you think that could happen again today? Probably not, but not because of the billions spent on the TSA or changes to the screening process. The real change is that airline personnel and the flying public are much more security aware than pre 9/11. Things we thought we knew about hijacking turned out not to be true, so the policy of not actively resisting a hijacking attempts has thankfully been changed.

In practice it turns out that people are both the strongest and weakest links in the security chain. If the TSA is to evolve it needs to evolve in ways that maximize the contributions of people like air marshals whose ranks have been decimated by morale problems brought on by inane work conditions mandated by TSA management.

TSA Slated for Dismantling [WP]


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Comments (8)

I never understood the argu... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I never understood the argument that somehow turning airport security workers into federal employees instead of private employees would make air travel safer.

There are certainly rules and screening standards that could help, but I was never convinced that making the security guy a federal employee verses an employee of X company made anything safer.

Just Me: They the... (Below threshold)
julie:

Just Me:

They then had to run a rap on the security guy and fire the ones with convictions. It sure made our luggage a lot safer.

It took about an hour for u... (Below threshold)
Barry Dauphin:

It took about an hour for unofficial policy to change on 9/11. Once the passengers on Flight 93 learned about the other planes, they took matters into their own hands. Terrorisits will surely seek other ways, but it seems unlikely that they can really repeat that process again. It was a one shot deal.

It was a one shot deal.<... (Below threshold)

It was a one shot deal.

One hopes. But one also wonders how many people still remember how they felt that day.

Yeah, dismantle the TSA. Ri... (Below threshold)
Ric Locke:

Yeah, dismantle the TSA. Right. Which country do you guys live in? Apparently you get regular visits from the tooth fairy, too.

We've got umpty-thousand people getting $40K/yr and all the booty they can grope, plus all their GS12 and up supervisors with mortgages on houses in Fairfax. What're you gonna do with them? "Fire" isn't an option. Every bureaucrat in the Universe will see it as a threat -- what if somebody overgeneralizes?

Even given a sincere try, the court cases alone will keep everything working until 2010 or so.

Most likely actual result: new name, same old shit.

Regards,
Ric

What concerns me is that th... (Below threshold)
If you think that security ... (Below threshold)
Lauren Chester:

If you think that security is just a little better than pre 9-11 than you are definetly duped by the media and those with political intrests. Security has increased ten fold since those days, the major diffrence is accountability the tests are not meant to pass screeners, but to test the sysytem find out what needs to evolve as threats change. do you really want a 100% pass rate or a real look. Now everything is in the open when something is amiss it is front page news not hid under the rug by the airports and airlines. Of course government does this better the private sector only thrives where a profit increasing attitude
is at stake. Security is not measured in profit.
Sure the TSA has alot to do in the future lets not try to make it a total uphill road based on someones personal intrest.

Lets face it people a priva... (Below threshold)
robert:

Lets face it people a private bussiness is in bussiness to make money. Enough Said. The government is there to make us happy.

Simple enough HUH?




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