WASHINGTON – The US Department of Homeland Security tested the capabilities of the Transportation Security Administration airport screeners by sending in under cover agents carrying the same prohibited items that terrorists would want to smuggle into an airplane.
Guess what, the TSA screeners failed to detect anything whatsoever in 67 out of 70 tests. This is a 96% failure rate. Which is to say that the TSA, this cumbersome federal security bureaucracy, with thousands of screeners in all US airports, cannot detect anything. Therefore, it is totally useless.
The sad irony in all this is that the TSA was created as a response to the tragic September 11, 2001 hijackings. The idea was that America needed to raise the professional standards of all its airport screeners. Up to that point, most of them were employees of private contractors hired by airports to provide security services.
Well, in the light of the 9/11 tragedy it seemed appropriate to create a stronger and more professional defense against future terror plots. Hence the decision to establish the Transportation Security Administration whose federal employees –we are told–are carefully screened and then properly trained.
The TSA is a failure
Well, good intentions aside, this reorganization did not work out, to put it mildly. We all go through airport security screenings. The whole process is cumbersome and time consuming. Take your jacket off, remove your shoes, belt, change, keys, and cell phone. Place your laptop in a separate container, go through the metal detector.
And apparently, as we just found out, all this is for nothing. As the recent tests have demonstrated, this complicated, expensive, labor intensive TSA apparatus cannot detect anything. A determined would be terrorists in most cases would get through.
This is a national disgrace
A 96% failure rate is more than an embarrassment. It is a national disgrace. This is the United States of America. Supposedly we are the technology leaders in almost anything, including screening equipment. And yet, the US Federal Government cannot set up an agency capable to properly screen airlines passengers. And what is the response to this scandal?
Almost nothing. We understand that Melvin Carraway, the interim head of the TSA, has been reassigned. Yes, not fired, reassigned. We also heard from Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security, that new measures will be taken to strengthen the screening procedures.
And so, this is it? In a serious America the Secretary of Homeland Security, whose number one job is to guarantee airport security, would have immediately resigned. A major investigation would have been ordered into all aspects of TSA operations: hiring, training, procurement of screening equipment.
But in America we do not do these things anymore. Gigantic government services failures are explained away. And, after a couple of days, the sanitized bad news just disappears.