Wednesday, November 16, 2011

10-year anniversary of TSA no time to celebrate

The U.S. Transportation Security Administration was created 10 years ago this week. But it’s not an occasion worth celebrating.
The TSA was founded in reaction to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. You can’t fault legislators for trying to stop future plane hijackings like the three orchestrated by Al-Qaeda. But they’ve created an ineffective, costly bureaucracy with an alarming mission creep and a penchant for trampling constitutional rights.
A congressional report issued Wednesday gave a scathing indictment of the agency.
Here are some highlights of the media coverage about the report and the TSA’s 10-year anniversary:

Congressional report calls TSA ‘bloated’ (USA Today; Nov. 16, 2011)

According to the report, “A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform,” TSA is:
•A bloated bureaucracy with 65,000 workers, including nearly 4,000 at headquarters and 9,656 administrators in the field.

•An ineffective agency, with 25,000 security breaches in the last decade.

•A sponsor of inadequate technology, including 500 advanced-imaging technology machines costing $122 million that are “easily thwarted” and $39 million wasted on explosive-detection “puffer” machines that were unreliable.
GOP report: TSA hasn’t improved aviation security (Washington Post; Nov. 16, 2011)

After a $56 billion federal investment in airline security, flying is no safer than it was before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the bare hands of passengers might be the best defense once a terrorist gets on board, two members of Congress said Wednesday.
Deriding the Transportation Security Administration as a bloated bureaucracy that recruits security personnel with ads on gas pumps and pizza boxes, the two House Republicans said it needed to undergo almost a dozen reforms.
GOP to TSA: Happy 10th Birthday, Now Get Your Act Together (Transportation Nation; Nov. 16, 2011)

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.
House report slams 10-year-old TSA (Government Executive; Nov. 16, 2011)

“TSA needs a vision and purpose that goes beyond throwing expensive equipment and invasive searches at passengers who do not pose a security threat,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which signed off on the report along with the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Airline Travelers Say TSA Screening Still A Hassle 10 Years After 9/11 (Huffington Post; Nov. 15, 2011)

“It’s a sign of how low the bar is set that we celebrate when 5-year-olds can keep their shoes on” at an airport checkpoint, says Geoff Freeman, vice president of the U.S. Travel Association

Of the five most cited frustrations of flying, four involved airport security, according to a passenger survey. Those complaints included the wait time at checkpoints; the need to take off belts, jackets and shoes; and the attitudes of TSA employees.
TSA Watch: 10 things the TSA should do on its 10th anniversary (Elliot; Nov. 6, 2011)

No one was surprised by this week’s report that the Transportation Security Administration glossed over the health risks of its airport X-ray scanners.
The investigation found that anywhere from six to 100 U.S. airline passengers each year could get cancer from the machines — a hazard critics have warned about ever since the devices were quietly deployed in many airports almost two years ago.
Photo: Logo from humorous fake TSA Twitter account Agent Smith.

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