Thank God We Have Unionized Government Workers and Not Some Damn Private Company

The TSA, which apparently stands for Theater of Security Absurdity, apparently is completely useless:

According to a report based on an internal investigation, "red teams" with the Department of Homeland Security's Office of the Inspector General were able to get banned items through the screening process in 67 out of 70 tests it conducted across the nation.

The test results were first reported by ABC News, and government officials confirmed them to CNN. Mark Hatfield, acting deputy director, will take over for Melvin Carraway until a new acting administrator is appointed. It was not immediately clear Tuesday where Carraway would be reassigned.

Fortunately, the TSA has been successful in creating accountability-free sinecures with stupendous pension and benefit plans for thousands of people who apparently learned the security trade from Sargent Schultz.

  • Bloke in North Dorset

    The big problem with airport security being run by one big bureaucracy (notwithstanding my link to Parkinson's Law) is that every airport has exactly the same procedures, machines and protocols so once a weakness is found it means access to every airport. Far better to individual airports that they have to make their own threat assessment and let them get on with it with a minimum level of security defined eg no guns in the cabin but not how it is enforced.

  • HenryBowman419

    Melvin Carraway will be promoted to a better position in some other agency.

  • rowbigred26

    They have a great collection of pocket knives though...

  • me

    Amen. The other big problem is that we now create large crowds of people concentrated in areas where luggage is searched for the first time. Very efficient beaucractically, but an better target than a plane for real terrorists. Add to that the direct and indirect costs for the checkpoints and searches, and we have a textbook case of terrorists attaining their objective: through limited and targeted scare tactics, they've hurt us in the short, middle and long run. And we've cooperated.

  • Jim Collins

    That's an insult to SGT. Schultz. That's the problem with unions, there is no desire to excel and if there is it is beaten out of people. So the overall performance is at the level of the lowest performer.

  • Not Sure

    Ok- that's a sore spot for me. I forgot I had my tiny Swiss Army knife (with its 1 1/4" blade) with me and had to give it up. What a joke- you could do more damage with a mechanical pencil.

  • Jim Collins

    In 1989 I was going through security at an airport. I emptied my pockets into one of the plastic bins to go through the metal detector. When I got through, the screener said "Wait a minute. You can't take this on the plane." I looked to see what he was talking about and it was a 1-1/4" key fob in the shape of a pistol. I twisted it off my key ring and threw it in the trash and asked if that was OK. He replied "Yes" and handed me my 3 inch Buck knife.

  • morganovich


    you get what you pay for.

    if you pay for performance, you get performance driven people.

    if you pay for seniority and tenure, you get seat warmers.

  • ColoComment

    'Zactly. Were I a terrorist with a yearning for oblivion, I'd strap on a splody-vest and detonate it in the middle of the TSA passenger security weave-line.

  • Anders

    Dog bites man. Again?!?

  • joe

    TSA is incompetent - two obvious examples

    In the early days of the TSA - myself and the family had 6:45am flight. We went through security at 5am, the TSA agent who was using the hand held metal detector was obviously drunk. (DFW)

    A few years ago we were staying at a cabin in northern Minnesota. The water pump went out, so no one in the family took a bath for 5 days (except those willing to take a bath in the frigid lake). We were running late to the msp airport (after the 5 hour drive), no one in the family was clean or presentable, all dressed in a manner that would have us evicted from a mcdonalds, but noticed the TSA agent was busy strip searching a 5 year old blonde blue eyed boy instead of checking more obvious security threats.

  • Not Sure

    Two examples? It only takes one- they advertised for workers on pizza boxes.

  • DaveK

    In the bad old days before the creation of the TSA and Homeland Security, airport screeners were contract workers, employed by either the airport or the airlines themselves. FAA Security (Now morphed into TSA) would regularly conduct penetration tests using dummy contraband items (guns, bombs, etc.). If a screener missed the prop as it went through security, that screener was suddenly unemployed. It was crude, but pretty effective motivation, and incompetent screeners were quickly eliminated.

    Now, you can't even hope to have the screeners find the spare change you accidentally left in your pocket! But you can count on a nice grope, if you like that sort of thing.

  • DaveK

    Nah... it would be one of those wheelie suitcases that can hardly fit in the overhead. Just imagine how much C4 could be packed in one of those! Why do the more obvious wearable thing, when your destination is just the security checkpoint!

  • ColoComment

    Good point!

    And since everyone standing on line at the airport is already on a cell phone, talking loudly about work/spouse/travel, you'd fit right in when you pulled your det-phone out of your pocket.

    I like it.

  • mesocyclone

    While the TSA sucks, it is most certainly not completely useless, as evidenced by the lack of any actual use of dangerous devices on board American aircraft. It creates substantial uncertainty for attack planners - although the public release of the penetration tests may result in serious attempts.

    Yes, better would be private companies. Of course. Government is not required to do that job. But it is a terrible exaggeration to say they are completely useless.

  • rambler

    The TSA was nothing more than an exercise in expanding gov and providing the illusion of safety. Had the gov been on top of airport security concerns, then it would have had the cockpit doors secured back during the rash of plane hijacking in the 70s. But there was no direct benefit to the political class to do that, so it didn't and then we all saw the consequences.

  • sgthwjack

    "The government doesn't care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare, or your safety. It's interested in its own power. That's the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible."

  • David in Michigan

    First, the article is skimpy on details and details are important. For example, a 5" bladed plastic knife may be prohibited but the damage it will do on an airplane is limited..... the pilot won't open the door and the passengers have learned not to be passive. TSA missing the fake bomb was serious but what were the other 66 misses?

    Second, have a little appreciation. The job of a TSA screener is probably one of the worst jobs ever. At major airports it's like being a short order cook where there are always, and I mean always, 35 people waiting for their bacon burger. You'll never catch up and you'll never get a bonus for trying. The noise alone is enough to drive one crazy.

    Third, criticizing without offering solutions accomplishes nothing. Privatizing the job changes nothing. Other than that suggestion, I've heard no alternatives (well, other than banning all Moslems from flying or from the U.S, my personal favorite). Technology has been tried and is helpful and there will probably be more of it in the future. Profiling IS USED even if they say otherwise .... it's human nature.

    Finally, the record speaks for itself. No planes originating in the U.S. have been hijacked or blown out of the sky or been crashed into buildings during the past 15 years. How many flights does that represent??

  • markm

    Better idea: wheel your explodey suitcase into the middle of the crowd near the security checkpoint. When it's well concealed by the crowd, casually let go of it and stroll away, after starting a 5 minute timer. Most likely no one notices, you are out of the blast zone before it detonates, and no one reviewing the security camera ever sees a reason to suspect you, so you can do it again next week. If someone does stumble over the left-behind suitcase, it will blow up before they can do anything about it. At worst, someone does call after you that you forgot your bag - deny it's yours and keep on walking. It's not a clean getaway - they'll get your face off the security camera tapes later - so you'll have to either drastically change your appearance or become a retired terrorist. It's still a better deal than blowing yourself up.

  • markm

    Since 9-11, several terrorists have smuggled explosive devices past TSA, only to be subdued - if not stomped half-to-death - by the other passengers for acting suspiciously. 9-11 happened not because a small gang got boxcutters past security, but because the government had been telling people NOT to resist hijackers for 30 years, and the passengers on 3 out of 4 airplanes obeyed. Once the passengers knew that obeying the hijackers can get you killed along with a whole lot of people on the ground, hijackings became impossible. You can't look both ways at the same time, and in the crowded conditions on most airplanes you can't stop someone from jumping on your back. You can make it dangerous to do that, but it won't stop someone who thinks they have to stop you or die anyway.

    Destroying the airplane _is_ possible, but buying a ticket and taking the bomb through the security check is not the way to do it - instead, spend your efforts in packing explosives in checked baggage so it will look innocent in an X-Ray. Or hire onto the airport cleaning crew - you'll get a badge to unlock doors into the secured area, and you can wheel a whole cart through.

    Meanwhile, TSA screeners have NEVER caught anyone they could prosecute for a terrorist plot.

  • David in Michigan

    "Since 9-11, several terrorists have smuggled explosive devices past TSA......." Really?? I have not heard of any. I agree that there have been explosives on airplanes since 911 ... shoe bomber, crotch bomber for examples...... but those flights did not ORIGINATE in/from the U.S.A.