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The recent TSA failure is nothing new and not the fault of Trump

Do you remember the day when minimum wage airline employees handled airline security?  I do.  They were generally nice people who made a cursory check and let you through.  Didn’t have to take off your shoes, your belt, and get physically molested by badge-heavy agents wanting to cop a feel.

A summary of the latest failure:

“After an armed passenger managed to board a Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) to Tokyo Narita International Airport (NRT)-bound Delta Air Lines flight earlier this month, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officials were quick to dismiss concerns that the incident was related to the ongoing partial federal government shutdown.”

Instead, lets talk about the overall failure.  I haven’t seen a single report of an actual terrorist being caught, not one.  Instead we are all delayed, embarrassed, and hassled, like the woman who couldn’t get through security with her breast milk and the flight she missed and how they totally abused her.

This is from a Forbes article:

TSA Misses 70% Of Fake Weapons But That’s An Improvement

When does a 70% failure rate actually represent an improvement? When we are talking about the efforts of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to detect weapons at airport checkpoints.

Undercover investigators working for the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) managed to sneak fake guns, knives and explosives through checkpoints earlier this year, getting the mock weapons through a depressing 70% of the time. The unclassified summary noted “We identified vulnerabilities with TSA’s screener performance, screening equipment, and associated procedures.”

The exact failure rate is unclear, because the numbers were released in a closed House Homeland Security Committee hearing, but CBS reported a failure rate of “more than 70” while ABC was told that an 80% failure estimate was “in the ballpark.” Whatever the exact number, Michael McCaul, (R-Tex) chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said it was “disturbing.”

But in the world of government airport security, missing 70% is apparently an improvement over a similar test two years earlier, when the “hi-tech” equipment and the people manning it failed to detect fake weapons 95% of the time.

Some idea of the magnitude of the task being faced by the TSA, with whatever degree of success, can be gathered from Commissioner  David Pekoske’s statementbefore the committee. In 2016 “our Transportation Security Officers screened more than 760 million passengers and more than 2 billion carry-ons and checked bags at approximately 440 airports nationwide.” TSA Federal Air Marshals “deployed on more than 250,000 domestic and international flights last year.” And not every TSA officer was human; over 1,000 canine teams patrolled 100 aviation, mass transit, and maritime transportation locations.

Even so, lawmakers are still concerned at the high rate of failure. “This agency that you run is broken badly, and it needs your attention,” Representative Mike Rogers told Pekoske, the recently-confirmed TSA administrator, at the hearing.


When you take minimum wage employees and give them a badge and a gun, did you really expect 100% performance, no, just one big mess.  A recent client told me that some of them thought their move to TSA should then allow them to become a Federal Air Marshall….OMG.

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