Happy 22nd birthday to the Transportation Security Administration. The TSA was founded on December 18, 2001.
Since then, every day, at least one American probably asks, “What in the hell is this?”
The Aviation and Transportation and Security Act was passed by Congress in November 2001 and established the TSA. The airlines were responsible for passenger security at that time. As we saw on 9/11, airline security was amateurish.
Should we have created a new federal agency that protects airline passengers? The answer to this question is “no” after two decades of dealing with the incompetent, stupid, nosy, and intrusive TSA.
Bruce Schneier, a security expert who is a frequent critic of the TSA, stated in 2015 that “the TSA fails to protect us against the terrorist threat.” The only reason the TSA has been able to get away with this scam for so many years is because there’s not much of a terrorism threat to defend against.
Terrorists no longer hijack planes. Locking the cockpit doors stopped 99% of hijackings. The data also shows that terrorism is rare.
Schneier said, “Terrorists tend to be rarer and more difficult to find than we thought. Launching a terrorist plot can also be much harder than we imagine.” This conclusion may seem counterintuitive and contradict the fearmongering that we hear from our politicians every day. “But it’s the data that shows.”
TSA failures have been numerous. Security exercises revealed serious security breaches where guns and fake explosives were easily smuggled onto planes.
TSA’s blog is full of reports about weapons confiscated by people who forgot to take them out of their carry-on luggage. Homeland Security Red Teams, in the 2015 test, actively concealed prohibited items as would real criminals or terrorists. TSA agents failed to pass 67 of 70 tests. Red Team members were able repeatedly to sneak weapons past checkpoints.
A Red Team test conducted at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport two years later had the same 95 percent failure to detect explosives and illegal drugs. In 2017, repeat national tests also failed, with a failure rate “in the vicinity” of 80 percent.
Why shouldn’t a new agency, created to protect passengers on airlines and funded at $11.2 billion in FY 2023, be able to prevent more than 5% of concealed weapons and explosives from being brought aboard?
TSA agents are hampered by orders that prohibit them from searching passengers based on race, ethnicity, or any other reasonable criteria.
The TSA excels at groping and scanning in high visibility. People get annoyed when they are forced to remove their shoes, their pants, and their shampoo. It’s a way of saying “we are doing something,” without really accomplishing anything. Schneier refers to it as “security theatre.”
“Airport security has to change,” Kip Hawley, one-time head of the TSA wrote in 2012. “The relationship between the public and the TSA has become too poisonous to be sustained.”
“After 20 years of failure, the Transportation Security Administration continues to waste resources, harass travelers, and actively mug air passengers. It is far more of a threat than the dangers from which it supposedly protects us,” writes Reason’s J.D. Tucille.
We must end the TSA terror.