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TSA Proves, Once Again, That It’s Not In The Business Of Boosting Safety

in Liberator Online, News You Can Use, Personal Liberty, Property Rights by Alice Salles Comments are off

TSA Proves, Once Again, That It’s Not In The Business Of Boosting Safety

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in order to reportedly maintain Americans safe after the horrific 9/11 terrorist attack in New York City. But despite the allegedly good intentions that drove the George W. Bush administration to create this arm of the Department of Homeland Security, the agency has yet to prove itself useful.

TSA

Recently, a series of undercover tests have shown that the the TSA fails to intercept passengers carrying weapons and other dangerous materials 80 percent of the time. In other tests, the agency failed even more often, reaching the staggering 95 percent failure rate.

While Congress has called the high rates of failure “disturbing,” there’s little to nothing being done to either put an end to the TSA or to address the real culprit of such lack of success. Unfortunately, government agents aren’t there because their employers expect results. Instead, the agency exists as a means to create an appearance of safety. If the methods and procedures put in place by agents work or not isn’t what matters.

If the TSA truly was meant to function as a security firm would, any failure rate greater than 1 percent would be enough for consumers making use of the service to bring their contract with the agency to an end. And that means that the TSA would have been dismantled promptly after its inception as the agency has always had a high rate of failure.

But since the TSA is but a bureaucracy, not one single official employed to secure domestic and international flights is worried about showing results. After all, they have nothing to fear. Working for the government means that little is expected of you and that the agency is going nowhere, whether it’s effective or not. Without fierce competition, monopolies always win.

And if you think the TSA isn’t a monopoly, ask yourself, how many U.S. airports have you flown to or from where security was carried out entirely by private firms?

If the answer is zero, or just one, or two, that means that the TSA has a virtual monopoly on transportation security, putting us in danger of flying with a murderer, a terrorist, or an ill-intentioned individual 80 percent of the time.

After the latest report showed the TSA failed to identify weapons and other materials 80 percent of the time, changes were ordered and investigations were initiated. But as all other efforts to “fix” the TSA before this, nothing will come out of it. The more the TSA presses to be more efficient, the more taxpayer money. And what’s worse, consumers who were once happy to go to the airport to hop on a plane now live in dread of having to face what often takes one, two, or even three hours just to get through security.

The TSA is not only there to make us think we’re safe, it’s also there to hurt businesses. While the goal may have not been such, the result is clear. It’s high time we let airports and airlines deal with their own security by looking for the free market where security firms will compete by showing results. Ignoring that the TSA is actually increasing the risk of flying in America will only make matters worse.

Sure… That’ll Fix It!

in From Me To You, Liberator Online, Personal Liberty by Brett Bittner Comments are off

Sure… That’ll Fix It!

This article was featured in our weekly newsletter, the Liberator Online. To receive it in your inbox, sign up here.

As summer travel kicked off, the news media reminded us of long security lines at TSA checkpoints at airports throughout the country. For some, this was actual news.

After a whirlwind of coverage, the Transportation Security Administration revealed that WE are the reason for longer lines at airports. Apparently, the summer travel season and a lack of screeners (both of which are foreseeable), along with our inability to meet their projections for Pre-Check applications are the reason we stand in longer lines this summer.

This news, combined with their recent failure rate of 95 percent in the Homeland Security Inspector General’s office testing of their procedures and staff led to the announcement that the head of security operations at the Transportation Security Administration has been replaced.

While this replacement may briefly satisfy the masses looking for blame this summer, it does not address the underlying issues with TSA.

Kelly Hoggan’s removal from his post, is a quick, “DO SOMETHING!” measure to show action in the midst of congressional hearings and increased scrutiny for the agency. It doesn’t even address accountability, as Hoggan is simply being reassigned.

fixAs with so many “reforms” offered by politicians and bureaucrats to address the issues of the day, removing Mr. Hoggan from his post is simply a band-aid on the many problems with the agency.

As my friend Lawrence Reed at The Foundation for Economic Education is quoted as saying, “Have you ever noticed how statists are constantly ‘reforming’ their own handiwork? Education reform. Health-care reform. Welfare reform. Tax reform. The very fact they’re always busy ‘reforming’ is an implicit admission that they didn’t get it right the first 50 times.”

As with many other aspects of government and central planning, there is no desire to fix the actual problems. Rather, band-aids and half-hearted efforts rule the day. Even in the face of complete failure, simply reassigning the head of TSA security after rewarding him with lavish bonuses just two years ago passes for a satisfactory response.

Can you imagine how this would play in the real world? What would happen if the department you ran screwed up 19 out of 20 times? Unless you’re an inventor, your pink slip would have already been served.

The response in the world of the obese government central planning is to blame those using the service for not meeting expectations and offer another reform.

I’m shocked. You?

Ron Paul: You’d Love My Government Shutdown

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Activist Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 25 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“The political class breathed a sigh of relief Saturday when the U.S. Senate averted a Ron Paulgovernment shutdown by passing the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill,” notes Ron Paul in a column at CNBC.

“This year’s omnibus resembles omnibuses of Christmas past in that it was drafted in secret, was full of special interest deals and disguised spending increases, and was voted on before most members could read it.”

That’s pathetic, Paul says.

“Instead of panicking over a limited shutdown, a true pro-liberty Congress would be eagerly drawing up plans to permanently close most of the federal government.”

“What would I shut down if given the opportunity for it to have any meaning?” he mused at Voices of Liberty.com.

“First, the Fed. No more welfare for the rich.

“Second, the IRS. Let the people keep all of their earnings and spend their money in their own interest.

“Third, abolish the NSA, the TSA, the CIA and all spying on American citizens.

“Spending would stop, no federal printing presses and no stolen money from the people would end entitlements, which mostly go to the rich.

“And all of our wars — we would come home from the 150 countries where we have troops stationed.

Concludes Paul: “Now that’s a government shutdown that would not go unnoticed and something to be proud of!”

VIDEO: Remy’s Tips for Improving the TSA

in Liberator Online, National Defense by James W. Harris Comments are off

The Transportation Molestation Administration — oops, we mean the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) — recently announced they were seeking suggestions from their victims — oops, we mean the public — for how to improve airport security lines. They even offered $15,000 in prizes for the best tips.

And that inspired the great liberty-minded comedian Remy to offer his suggestions — in the form of a song, no less.

Check out the video and see what Remy came up with. Let’s hope he wins!

Share with friends. Thanks once again to ReasonTV for a great video! Approximately 1:45 minutes.

Ex-TSA Agent: “We Laughed at, and Abused, American Citizens”

in Liberator Online by James W. Harris Comments are off

(From the Intellectual Ammunition section in Volume 19, No. 3 of the Liberator Online. Subscribe here!)

“Dear America, I Saw You Naked. And Yes, We Were Laughing.”

That’s the title of a damning expose of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) in Politico Magazine, subtitled “Confessions of an ex-TSA Agent” and written by former Transportation Security Officer Jason Harrington.

And yes, what ex-TSA agent Harrington reveals is probably exactly what you thought was going on.

Some excerpts:

“Just as the long-suffering American public waiting on those security lines suspected, jokes about the passengers ran rampant among my TSA colleagues… All the old, crass stereotypes about race and genitalia size thrived on our secure government radio channels.”

TSA X-Ray Scan

“We knew the full-body scanners didn’t work before they were even installed. …the machines were good at detecting just about everything besides cleverly hidden explosives and guns. The only thing more absurd than how poorly the full-body scanners performed was the incredible amount of time the machines wasted for everyone.”

“[W]e would also sometimes pull a passenger’s bag or give a pat down because he or she was rude. We always deployed the same explanation: ‘It’s just a random search.’”

“It was a job that had me patting down the crotches of children, the elderly and even infants as part of the post-9/11 airport security show.”

“In private, most TSA officers I talked to told me they felt the agency’s day-to-day operations represented an abuse of public trust and funds.”

“I was even required to confiscate nail clippers from airline pilots — the implied logic being that pilots could use the nail clippers to hijack the very planes they were flying.”

Racial profiling was standard, he says: “The thought nagged at me that I was enabling… government-sanctioned bigotry…”

His summing up: “As I saw it, $40 million in taxpayer dollars had been wasted on ineffective anti-terrorism security measures at the expense of the public’s health, privacy and dignity.”

One more thing: After the article appeared, Harrington tweeted this follow-up: “One thing I left out of that Politico piece: HELL YES airport employees often drink those bottles of alcohol you surrender at the checkpoint.”

Your government at work…

(Hat tip to: Tim Shoemaker’s article at Campaign for Liberty’s blog.)