You may remember that the Transportation Security Administration massively failed a basic test this last summer. Have they improved since then?
According to Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe,
That was in June. In July, a new TSA chief pledged to lawmakers that within 60 days “we will have trained the failure out of the front line” of airport screening personnel. So how do things stand four months later?
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held a hearing on that question last week, with Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth as the key witness. Roth reported the findings of a new round of undercover testing at US airports, and he didn’t beat about the bush.
“The test results were disappointing and troubling,” he said. “The results were consistent across every airport. . . . The failures included failures in the technology, failures in TSA procedures, and human error. We found layers of security simply missing.’’
In short, yet another fiasco. And the government’s response? Yet another directive from Homeland Security that “an immediate plan of action be created to correct deficiencies uncovered by our testing.”
And if they don’t fix themselves this time then we’ll… come up with another “immediate plan of action”?
I like Jacoby’s plan better:
Let’s face it: The Transportation Security Administration, which annually costs taxpayers more than $7 billion, should never have been created. The responsibility for airport security should never have been federalized, let alone entrusted to a bloated, inflexible workforce. Former TSA administrator Kip Hawley calls it “a national embarrassment that our airport security system remains so hopelessly bureaucratic” and warns that “the relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained.” More tests and more failures won’t fix that. Scrapping the TSA would.
Fearmongers might howl, but abolishing the agency wouldn’t make air travel less secure. Given the TSA’s 95 percent failure rate, it would likely make it more secure. The airlines themselves should bear the chief responsibility for protecting planes and passengers at airports. After all, they have powerful financial incentives to ensure that flights are free of danger, while at the same time minimizing the indignities to which customers are subjected. Their bottom line would be at stake. The TSA feels no such spur.
Stop torturing the American people with the TSA! Put them out of our misery.