On Monday, the government shutdown entered day 24. As news outlets and Democratic politicians used reports regarding Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employees calling in sick to work to scare the country into thinking they were no longer safe, another story popped up claiming that a passenger carried a firearm through a TSA security checkpoint in Atlanta. When she arrived in Japan, the traveler alerted the Delta Air Lines flight crew.
Without naming the passenger, the TSA said she “was fully cooperative with authorities.” Adding that the security breach happened because officials did not follow “standard procedures.” In a statement, officials also claimed that this lapse had nothing to do with the government shutdown.
“The ATL checkpoint lane was fully staffed,” TSA officials said, adding that national callout rate for Jan. 2 was the same as last year’s when no shutdown was in place.
Despite the agency’s statement, outlets did not shy away from reinforcing the idea that the shutdown has, indeed, affected the agency. Painting a grim picture, these reports recounted how TSA staff are “working without pay or on furlough” during the government shutdown without mentioning that any government employee who is furloughed is still getting their paycheck and that even if the pay is behind, government officials are still being paid more than the taxpayers footing the bill.
Worse yet, most outlets completely ignored the TSA’s own history of incompetence, as the agency always struggled to detect weapons and even explosives since its inception following the September 11 attacks.
Perhaps, what all these reports were trying to do was to make Americans feel like the TSA truly is essential, despite the countless ways it’s been proven the agency has actually made traveling less safe than before when private security firms were hired by the airlines.
Unfortunately, with lines getting longer and workers apparently lowering security standards to get passengers through security more quickly, it’s almost as if the government shutdown made it easier for any supporter of the agency to justify keeping them around.
Time To Abolish The TSA
When President George W. Bush proudly announced airport security had become a federal responsibility, he failed to list the many problems that would cause travelers in the long run. With the shutdown in place, we’re once again reminded the TSA costs us a pretty penny while doing little to keep us safe.
With a $7.5 billion budget, the TSA has proven time and again it fails to detect potential threats while also claiming that its successes should remain secret. The terrorists that the agency does catch, it claims, must remain nameless and the stories of bravery coming from the agency must remain under wraps. But there’s zero evidence the agency has actually stopped an actual attack, and its existence is based largely on the idea that we need them in place to prevent another 9/11.
With airports that switched to private security claiming they couldn’t be happier with the service, especially under the government shutdown, unions representing TSA workers parrot the same old claims, saying airports that choose to go private are just being greedy and that traveler safety should be the government’s job. Still, TSA has made traveling less safe, both because it fails to meet its own standards and because its very existence made travelers switch from flying to driving. And as we all know, you’re at a greater risk of dying from car crashes than flying accidents.
In order to bring travelers back to the skies and stop with the incredible waste of taxpayers’ dollars, it’s time for the federal government to shut the TSA down for good.