Guy Who Created The TSA Says It's Failed, And It's Time To Dismantle It

from the say-that-again dept

One of the politicians instrumental in creating the TSA, Rep. John Mica, who wrote the legislation that established the TSA, has apparently decided that the whole thing has been a failure and should be dismantled. He notes that “the whole program has been hijacked by bureaucrats.”

?It mushroomed into an army,? Mica said. ?It?s gone from a couple-billion-dollar enterprise to close to $9 billion.?

As for keeping the American public safe, Mica says, ?They?ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.?

?Everything they have done has been reactive. They take shoes off because of [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can?t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids,? Mica said.

?It?s an agency that is always one step out of step,? Mica said.

It cost $1 billion just to train workers, which now number more than 62,000, and ?they actually trained more workers than they have on the job,? Mica said.

?The whole thing is a complete fiasco,? Mica said.

There’s a lot more at that link. Now, one could (and perhaps should) note that when Mica wrote the legislation, his particular political party was in power, and now it’s not. So the cynical voice might say that his words are somewhat politically motivated. And one can (and probably should) ask how it was that Mica didn’t expect this kind of result. This is what the government does. It creates agencies that are then “hijacked by bureaucrats.” While it’s nice to see him realizing this now, it’s too bad he didn’t see it back then.

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Comments on “Guy Who Created The TSA Says It's Failed, And It's Time To Dismantle It”

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Anonymous Coward says:

It is the typical political answer.

Mica fails to consider that any number of actions may not have occurred because people couldn’t walk onto a flight with a bomb or a large knife. It is also impossible to prove the efficacy of the system, because if it deters someone from even trying, there is nothing to detect.

My idea: Get rid of the TSA entirely for 90 days. Announce the start and end dates. No security at all. Open the gates like we had back in the day, let people freely circulate around the airports, don’t check anyone.

After the first few days of flying empty airplanes, I am sure the airline industry will be back begging for the TSA.

:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Completely Effective

I have in my pocket a piece of hematite which is 100% effective at deterring terrorist attacks in my vicinity.

How do I know it’s 100% effective? I’ve never been in/near/around a terrorist attack while carrying it.

Seeing as I’m feeling generous, I’ll license my patented hematite pocket-stone technology to the airlines for the low low price of only $100,000 per stone.

They should need only one stone per flight, and perhaps a couple more for each airport, so this is quite a bargain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Completely Effective

You fail because you are missing the key point: Has any terrorist actually attacked you and caused you harm without it in your pocket?

Anwser: no.

We know that the airlines were targets for hijackers since the late 60s, we know they have been targets for terrorists as well. The asspicks didn’t fly Lobo Santos into the World Trade Center. So we know that airliners are high value targets, they are large, they are mobile, and they give the potential of “mass destruction”.

So sadly, your amusing attempt to defect sort of fails. Proves perhaps you have no valid argument, otherwise, well….

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Completely Effective

All jokes aside, those terrorists in Afghanistan were trained by the CIA to take out Communism. They did that, then used their AKs against US interests. Now this may be a hard truth to believe, but Al Qaeda had a goal and they’ve stuck to it.

Their goal for the longest time has been to bankrupt the US overall economy. Turn the policy makers against their citizens, impede on their freedoms, and spend money on false security in the attempt to look like they’re actually doing something to stem the tide of terrorism.

What you’re failing to see is how their decentralized networks, similar to Anonymous, have caused the US to spend $1 trillion in Afghanistan. All of this money is spent on the War on Terror.

Tell me, has it ever been a good thing to fight an idea, when the results are already known to all?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The arguement isn’t that there should be no security, it’s that what we have in place is largely a joke.

It is not forward thinking, it is purely reactionary. All the security measures we have in place were there before the TSA or are a result of what someone already has done. They’re trying to catch the last terror plot not the next.

We’ve spent a huge sum of money, and have not caught a single person who is intending to perform a terrorist act. We catch people sneaking on bottles of Dasani and 0.5″ pocket knives that are no threat to anyone.

Then you consider the cost benefit analysis of what the TSA is doing. It costs a massive amount of money, time, and dignity and provides very little.

This is why the TSA has failed.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Willful blindness

There is already an example of effective airport security and the Government has ignored it with trite replies about it not being able to scale. What they are actually saying is that your, mine, and our security should be left up to the lowest bidder with barely trained personnel.

If Mica really wants an effective and proven security setup, start talking to the Israelis and make a ROI on this or drop it entirely for the theater it actually is…

egghead (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Willful blindness

Actually, profiling in and of itself is not unconstitutional. If the act of profiling centers on race, creed, gender, etc. alone, then it is unconstitutional. However, add in behavior and you now have a completely valid way to select candidates for additional screening.

If someone has a plan to do some damage, it is highly unlikely they wouldn’t demonstrate specific behaviors and exhibit certain traits. Just because you’ve never been trained in how to identify suspects does not mean that it’s ineffective or problematic.

Someantimalwareguy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Willful blindness

Any interaction one person has with another involves some form of “profiling”. As has been noted in a follow up post lower down the chain, that profiling only becomes unconstitutional when it is targeted towards a specific group, not specific types of behavior.

The officer who pulls you over might have “profiled” you as a speeder; the clerk behind the counter might have “profiled” you as a potential customer; the state government might have you “profiled” as a taxpayer and/or landowner; etc, etc, etc…

Not all profiling is bad and if used judiciously and properly, can help to quickly separate the “wheat” from the “chaff”. IFO would rather the authorities weed out the actual terrorist threats long before there is any need for someone to try and locate suspicious behavior at the boarding or loading gates…

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Couldn’t they set off the bomb while they are being busted?

What is more important to a terrorist: blowing up something or the number of people you kill? Any terrorists want to chime in? Given the number of people waiting to go through security theatre, a terrorist could kill and injure far more people by setting off a bomb at the security checkpoint. Bu

Remember when TSA/CBP had computer problems at LAX and they stopped processing anyone, forcing thousands of people to wait in the lobby and drop-off areas. Talk about a target rich environment.

Grae (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Jeffrey Goldberg already got an answer on this: “(I once asked Michael Chertoff, the secretary of Homeland Security, about this. ?We actually ultimately do have a vision of trying to move the security checkpoint away from the gate, deeper into the airport itself, but there?s always going to be some place that people congregate. So if you?re asking me, is there any way to protect against a person taking a bomb into a crowded location and blowing it up, the answer is no.?)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Does anyone forget that we have mass transit without the TSA? How is the TSA protecting those systems? It isn’t. It is police and intelligence that do. At least until they start showing up with their fantasmo mobile checkpoints.

I suggest people frequent and see how bruce’s non-political views align with what Mica says. He’s a leading expert. Smarter than me. Smarter than you.

Grae (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Mica fails to consider that any number of actions may not have occurred because people couldn’t walk onto a flight with a bomb or a large knife. It is also impossible to prove the efficacy of the system, because if it deters someone from even trying, there is nothing to detect.

This statement is absurd. It is absolutely possible to prove the efficacy of a security screening system. For example, you can run a test where you deliberately try to bring harmful items through a security checkpoint. Though I’m willing to bet the TSA was able to ace such a test, right? Let’s see what the article says about one such test: “In 2006, screeners at Los Angeles and Chicago O’Hare airports failed to find more than 60% of fake explosives during checkpoint security tests.” Oh. Oops.

Also, I’m sure that reinforced, locked pilot cabin doors and passengers who are more likely to try and subdue/kill you than submit to your threats has had nothing to do with deterring terrorists. Nope, it was definitely the easy-to-fool security screeners that scared them away.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

I have to disagree here.

“you can run a test where you deliberately try to bring harmful items through a security checkpoint. “

That test would only prove if the technical equipment and the staff “work” in a given situation. That is testing on the effectivness right then and there, but doesn’t address the bigger issue.

The bigger issue is one of choice before even coming to the airport. If the TSA systems make attempting to hijack / blow up / take over / steal an airplane an unattractive option, they won’t even show up at the gate to be searched. So if they don’t show up, is the security not effective, or is it very effective?

Is your home alarm only effective when it goes off in the middle of a robbery, or is it effective when a potential thief cases your house, spots the alarm system, and decides to move on without even trying?

No one step taken, from increased security scans and no fly lists to changes in “air side” security and in flight security are responsible for any change in behaviour. Taken as a whole, the US has not had a single episode “sourced within the TSA boundries” since.

I would also say that further, seeing that terrorists are using unsecure or less secure airports in Africa and such to try to sneak people into the system is equally telling. They are having to go to incredible lengths to try to get around the system, which suggests the TSA is doing exactly what it was intended to do.

Prove otherwise.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Are you REALLY this incredibly ignorant about how terrorist organizations work? In particular, how Al Queda works?

Let me attempt — although I know is a feeble endeavor, given your massive stupidity and appalling lack of intellectual ability — to educate you. I’ll keep it short and simple, since I know anything beyond that would be far beyond your grasp.

Some terrorist organizations hit targets-of-opportunity: low risk, low reward. Some terrorist organizations hit major targets — high risk, high reward — and they are willing to spend a decade (or more) planning such attacks. (This is common knowledge to every educated person, but not to you, obviously.) The absence of an attack from these latter organizations tells you precisely NOTHING about the effectiveness of your security apparatus. It is not until the attack actually takes place that any data on that matter will be available.

Now consider how brilliant Al Queda’s 9/11 attacks were: now consider the minimum-wage baboons that work for the TSA. Do you REALLY think the former will have the slightest difficulty out-thinking the latter? (That is, generously presuming the latter are even trying, and not busy stealing from passengers or running drugs — as we saw in the news this week.)

If Al Queda decides to target the US again, and if they decide to target air travel, then the TSA will be an inconsequential and unimportant momentary blip on their radar. They will go right through the TSA as if they don’t even exist (or, quite possibly, will leverage the TSA’s idiocy in their favor).

Now, I know this is a lot for you to take in. But do try your best. You have a lot of catching up to do to the superior people who are far ahead of you in reasoning this out.

MAC says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

If my recollection is correct; I believe that EVERY attempt since 911 to bomb, disrupt or otherwise cause harm on a commercial aircraft has been thwarted by the passengers on the airplance and not the TSA!

I for one am not going to site by while the guy or gal in the seat next to me jumps up and yells Allah Akbar and brandishes some sort of weapon. If they do that I am going make them have the worst day of their life…

So, what does the TSA buy me? A lot of aggravation.

But, in fairness, it may dissuade a moron, idiot or jerk from doing something stupid.

A hardened, well trained terrorist? Not a chance.

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The TSA is useless against terrorism. Why?

Because if a TSA agent is patting down a terrorist…said terrorist is already in the United States.

You even mention that they are using foreign airports, although you got the continent wrong; Reid flew in from Paris and Abdubmutallab flew in from Amsterdam, both of which are European airports. Oh, and the “liquid bombers” in the UK.

Yet you seem to think that they’re using foreign airports because there is no TSA there. In reality, they choose foreign airports because they aren’t already in the US and they need to get here *somehow*.

And for the record, what you’re engaging in is called a straw man argument. No one who is serious about this calls for the total removal of all airport security measures, so feel free to argue against phantom opponents on that topic. Most people just want to use reasonable measures, such as metal detectors which were commonplace pre-9/11.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

It’s fun to poke holes in your ignorance.

“On Christmas Day 2009, Abdulmutallab traveled from Ghana to Amsterdam, where he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 en route to Detroit. He had purchased his ticket with cash in Ghana on December 16”

Reid actually was stopped the day before, but security in Paris failed the next day. He has all the classic signs, including checking no baggage on a transatlantic flight.

Basically, he engaged onto a US plane by going to place with lower levels of security. Both of these bombers had the ability to enter the US (either visa or passport), but chose to start their attacks from remote locations with lower security levels than the TSA provided in the US.

As for the “strawman” point, I am sorry, but if you get rid of the TSA, you have gotten rid of security. If he wants to say “replace the TSA with more traditional metal detector only workers”, then we have something. Just abolishing them would be on par with abolishing the border guards. You can figure out what is going to happen next.

Vincent Clement (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I am sorry, but if you get rid of the TSA, you have gotten rid of security

That assumes that TSA actually provided something that resembled security.

Just abolishing them would be on par with abolishing the border guards. You can figure out what is going to happen next.

What will happen? Tell us. On the US-Canada border you mean that people would smuggle via real border crossings instead of at the thousands of miles of undefended border? Or are you worried that thousands more Canadians will go shopping in the US, knowing that they won’t have to wait 30 to 120 minutes to answer silly questions along a man-made line?

DCX2 says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

At my ignorance? Excuse me, you’re the one who said they’re boarding flights in Africa, when you even admit yourself that Abdulmutallab boarded his plane to the US *from Amsterdam*.

Last time I checked, Amsterdam is in Europe, not Africa.

Even though both attackers may have had a visa or passport, they still need to get into the United States from across the ocean. I don’t think they’ll be swimming over.

Once they’re in the US, why on earth would they get back onto a plane? That’s the only way TSA could catch them, but it doesn’t make any sense at all. If they’re already in the US then they would do a Faisal Shahzad or a Nidal Hassan.

You’re still stuck on this strawman of “abolishing the TSA”. No one serious will advocate the removal of all security from airports, that’s why such an argument is a straw man. After all, we had security pre-9/11. And it didn’t involve sexual assault, nude pictures from machines dosing passengers and workers with X-rays, taking off our shoes, or single-serving size containers of liquids.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You’re correct of course, but you’re arguing with an inferior person. He/she simply lacks the intelligence required to reason about this properly, and in addition, displays a very poor command of basic security concepts and almost no comprehension of terrorist strategy and tactics. He/she is merely another sheeple, content to believe the crap shoveled by the TSA and DHS, and scared of his his/her tiny little mind by the prospect that something awful might happen some day unless we permit the gestapo to run our lives.

So while I applaud your efforts, and thank you for providing one or two new insights that I find interesting food for thought, I really don’t think you’re going to get anywhere with someone who is so incredibly stupid that they think the TSA has ever done ANYTHING useful vis-a-vis security — that is, other than providing a very expensive lesson in how not to do it.

(Oh, and I would be perfectly fine with shutting down the TSA immediately. They won’t be missed — except by the drug dealers who are paying them off, see previous link.)

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Here’s the problem with terror.

Gitmo – Imagine the huge disincentive to release anyone from Gitmo. You have a lot of “innocent” people there, but security more than likely doesn’t want anyone released. It’s the same reason Obama or Bush won’t let up on Gitmo. You KNOW what would happen if they let someone get away and suddenly we had another terrorist bombing. People would be out for the POTUS’ head should there ever be another 9/11.

TSA – The entire problem here is how the Supervisors just have to keep their head down. You have given the agents a free pass on sexual assault. All in the name of security. Nothing that they’ve done has actually helped security concerns. The TSA has scanners that don’t work right. They have agents who are more interested in searching for nail clippers than bombs. And you have an agency who probably knows their existence could be erased should Congress ever wisen up and decide to erase them.

But in the last few years, the point has remained. People are critical of the TSA because the sexual assualt is NOT needed. The scanners aren’t required for safety, and bullying children or the elderly for security is NOT doing them any favors.

I’m not arguing against you, but seeing this AC’s posts, I can only shake my head as the reason for the security theater, from the inappropriate touching to the fact that many dangerous items have escaped their notice, is lost to them because they don’t want to look at that evidence.


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

Jay, can you point me to any cases of sexual assault filed?

Nope? Then I think perhaps you might want to tone it down a bit. Recycling hyperbole that seems to mostly be dished out by bloggers and writers looking for 15 minutes of fame seems a bit of a misdirection.

It is incredible hard to take the rest of your post seriously when you start with such a point of view.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Is that really a challenge?

Link. You should know she outed the agent that touched her. She’s not the only one.

Here’s a woman that touched the TSA’s breast – Link. She got aggressive

A woman was arrested for not allowing her daughter to be groped because of their STO – Link

Woman removed adult diaper because of TSA – Link. Oh, she has cancer.

Finally here is Susie Castillo talking about that patdown.

I have more stories about this ludicrous standard operating procedure. You ask me for cases? Here’s just a few that would make great headlines (and did) for the reason NOT to like the TSA. Still want to go at this?

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

There is no bigger issue, there is only then and there, there is only that moment when a terrorist HAS decided to bring danger to the airport. And when that happens, and they get through to hijack/blow up/take over a plane, and they make it through the TSA checkpoints in a wheelchair for $20 (they had to be generous, so the dumb bitch wouldn’t think twice) and it’s your family killed in the next attack after your wife had to get sexually violated to get on board that plane which she died on, when all of that happens, will you still be championing the effectiveness of this theater?

Grae (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The idea that TSA security screenings acts as a “deterrent” is ludicrous.

The fact is they are completely worthless at stopping an intelligent and determined terrorist.

The only real deterrent against terrorists hi-jacking commercial passenger planes for use as a weapon since September 11, 2001 are reinforced, locked cockpit doors and passenger willingness to attack and fight back against terrorists that reveal themselves on the plane.

Your analogy about home alarms doesn’t even make sense, as you’re comparing criminals who are trying to steal valuable goods with minimal to no hassle to terrorists who are potentially willing to kill themselves if it means accomplishing their objective. It’s an asinine comparison.

Any terrorist that is caught by the TSA is a stupid terrorist that would have never succeeded anyway.

So basically we’re spending 6-8 billion dollars a year on worthless security theater when we could at least be spending it on investigating and catching smart terrorists who will never be caught by the TSA.

Harrekki (profile) says:

Re: Re:

so you are ok with security theater. just say it. you are ok with violation of rights and privacy for the off chance it might have stopped something.
But don’t try to say that they actually have stopped an event or actively disrupted an attack. as the guy said, ?They?ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.?
they are like rent a cops at a school. they are there to make you think twice, but as to their effectiveness, it’s questionable. As a mater of fact, they have failed several times to prevent possible attacks. their win/ loss record is something like 0-3 or 0-5 now, isn’t it?

If I was 0- 5 in my job, I’d be fired. If a company was 0-5, they would be out of business.

CommonSense (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Why, might I ask, do you think the airplanes will be empty??? I know over half a dozen close friends who haven’t flied since the TSA was introduced, and won’t fly again until they are gone. Tell me, if they finally feel good about going back to the airport, buying a ticket and flying somewhere, why would their plane be emptier than it was when they refused to fly???

Intelligence says:

Re: Re:

That’s absurd. The airports had plenty of security before 9/11. The hijackers could still get through security today. It was a failure of intelligence and a failure of FAA policies that restricted resistance to hijacking. What is the TSA going to do when someone smuggles explosives in their ass? Cavity searches for all travelers?

Free American says:

Re: Re: Re:

This is exacly the fact that goes right over the head of all of the TSA-worshipping pussies out there.

Al Qaeda has ALREADY used a bomb hidden up a terrorist’s ass. In 2009 they used an “ass bomb” in an attempt to kill a Saudi prince. The bomb failed to kill the target that time, likely because a large part of the available space was occupied by the cellphone used to allow remote detonation of the bomb—al Qaeda wanted remote control in order to make sure the bomb went off when the bomber was near the target—and to reduce the chance of second thoughts on the bomber’s part.

To take down an airliner, they can skip the cellphone. Replace it with a (much smaller) timer circuit and pack more plastic explosive into the bomb itself.

Bengie says:

Re: Re:

Professions have shown time and time again that you can sneak just about anything onto an airplane, even with our current “security”.

You make it sounds like criminals are rushing onto airplanes. You have no proof of this.

There are many many easier and better ways to cause damage as a terrorist, other than trying to blow up an airplane in mid flight. Remember, they’ve already secured the cock-pits, so no more taking over planes. You still have air marshals.

Philip (profile) says:

Re: Re:

More effective if they just stopped without announcing a date.

When you announce dates, you are basically telling everybody “hey, no security between these days.” Instead, just stopping it people will wonder 1) has it stopped? 2) did they fix it? 3) are they somewhere else? But then be able to continue about their day without getting TSAped. Airlines would even see a boost in sales, and probably start running on time for once.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The opposite could happen. There are tons of people that refuse to fly because of the TSA. Everyone that has gottenused to the security will ge used to the lack of it. The paranoid and fearful, like you…will tay home and boycott. You will be repaced by those who have been waiting for the security to drop back down to a sane level.

Drop the security and I will buy my fist plane ticket in 10 years.

annonymous says:

Re: Re:

YO DUMBASS. DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND? that every other country including israel has way hell more of an effective airline security system that they use. Look outside the country dumbass. We do not need the tsa, we need the same system that the airlines throughout the rest of the world use. It is extremely effective, and even a high targeted place like israel has NEVER had an airport bombing. get your head out of your ass and stop being naive- dont praise a country that does shit like spend tax dollars on a war that kills 162’000 civilians for a death of 3k people. More people die from drowning in bathtubs each year.

Nope says:

Re: Re:

Not a chance. They simply haven’t uncovered anything.

The NY Times recently published an article that states to be cost effective the TSA would have to have uncovered more than 200 terrorist plots from it’s founding, to a few weeks ago.

Plots uncovered? None.

Lawsuits against incompetent employees and blatant civil right violations? Endless

You can argue to the moon and back about the potential terrorists that were turned away because of their presence, but there is simply no evidence that they’ve been effective in anything but dramatically slowing down airport traffic.

You think the airlines would be begging for the TSA back after 90 days? Are you insane? Do you have any idea how much more money the airlines would make without the TSA presence? I don’t think you realize how many people don’t fly anymore simply because of them. Do you know how much money they’ve been losing since 9/11?

Operating and owning an airline company, even a small one, was considered the fast track to being a billionaire. Now it’s basically a one way track to bankruptcy unless you are a mega corporation.

Removing the TSA would be the best news an airline company could ever receive.

El Snarko says:

Re: Re:

Mica has done his homework, you haven’t. The fact is that every single time the TSA has been tested (using dummy bombs, etc.) they have failed and allowed the test device onto the plane. EVERY SINGLE TIME. That’s why they are referred to as “security theater.” It’s just there to pretend we are doing something. In fact the greatest danger now is a suicide bomber in the line BEHIND the screening point, where dozens or even hundreds of unscreened passengers are backed up waiting for security.

@canaanav says:

Re: Anonymous Coward

You define obtuse. No one is advocating no security. For some reason you believe that not having TSA means that there wouldn’t be any security. The security should be privatized and run by the market (air carriers).

According to your logic, the TSA should be inspecting our homes and cars periodically. After all, the OK City Federal Building was blown up by a bomb made in a man’s house and driven there in a pickup. Perhaps we should get TSA on the case of ensuring that no car bombs are driven into Time Square again?

Air Travel, including acts of terrorism, is the safest and least volnerable means of travel todate (despite TSA).

Tweet @canaanv

@canaanav says:

Re: Anonymous Coward

You define obtuse. No one is advocating no security. For some reason you believe that not having TSA means that there wouldn’t be any security. The security should be privatized and run by the market (air carriers).

According to your logic, the TSA should be inspecting our homes and cars periodically. After all, the OK City Federal Building was blown up by a bomb made in a man’s house and driven there in a pickup. Perhaps we should get TSA on the case of ensuring that no car bombs are driven into Time Square again?

Air Travel, including acts of terrorism, is the safest and least volnerable means of travel todate (despite TSA).

Tweet @canaanv

@canaanav says:

Re: Anonymous Coward

You define obtuse. No one is advocating no security. For some reason you believe that not having TSA means that there wouldn’t be any security. The security should be privatized and run by the market (air carriers).

According to your logic, the TSA should be inspecting our homes and cars periodically. After all, the OK City Federal Building was blown up by a bomb made in a man’s house and driven there in a pickup. Perhaps we should get TSA on the case of ensuring that no car bombs are driven into Time Square again?

Air Travel, including acts of terrorism, is the safest and least volnerable means of travel todate (despite TSA).

Tweet @canaanv

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Hahahahahahaha. That’s like begging people to attack and then saying that the reason that they attacked is because there was no TSA. Instead, why not just get rid of TSA and then not announce it like a big red beacon saying “attack us.” TSA is useless and stupid and I personally know more people that will fly as a result of the TSA being disbanded.

MattW says:

Re: @anonymouscoward

@Anonymous coward – we had terrorists and we had airport security long before the TSA, and people still flew. We would have them after the TSA was abolished.

I would be MORE willing to travel with the TSA gone. I’m far more scared of my 9 year-old daughter being scarred for life by some overzealous TSA groper than I am of terrorists.

The TSA is an example of a political reaction. Without a clear way to respond, the government created an agency with no good plan and no goals, metrics, or accountability, and it has become a complete failure.

The TSA has never intercepted any terrorist plot in progress. They tout finding drugs or swiss army knives as “success”. Likewise, they HAVE failed to prevent multiple attackers from boarding planes (see: shoe bomber), and, as Mica points out, they are entirely reactive.

At some point in the future, with or without the TSA, an attack will succeed. Oh, well. That may sound flippant, but life has risks. You get in a car, you risk dying. You eat a burger, you risk dying. (3000 people die per year to foodborne pathogens.)

What won’t happen again is another 9/11; aware passengers, hardened cockpits, etc, mean that the best you can do on an airplane is take an airplane down. That’s something we lived with for decades with terrorists attacking airplanes, long before 9/11.

Meanwhile, while we waste our money on the TSA in airports trying to prevent “another 9/11” that cannot happen, we are neglecting port security, infrastructure security, and computer/network infrastructure security, all of which are dramatically more vulnerable and could have a much, much larger impact.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

There was security prior to the TSA. Airlines had private security companies operate their x-ray scanners. I say go back to that. People will be happy to fly. The reason 9-11 wasn’t stopped was because nobody thought of box-cutters as the tool to bring down four airliners. Now we know. If knives are seen in a bag, take ’em out. X-ray and metal detectors are enough. We don’t need these backscatter machines and pat downs. Also some common sense would help.

James says:

Re: A world without the TSA.........

I’d fly in a heartbeat. The likelihood of me dying in a terrorist incident is so slim as to be negligible. Count up all the people killed in terrorist incidents which involved blood and bruises and the percentage killed/maimed is miniscule. I’m not a statistician, but I think the odds favor me.
Besides, what’s the diff between being killed by a terrorist with a gun and a state mandate, or getting snuffed by some alcohol-soaked clodhopper out for a Sunday drive on Tuesday who plows into the crowd I’m standing with waiting for the bus or whatever? Life has only one guarantee. It will end for me, someday and I’m not wasting any of it on useless worry.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: ..?

Your absolutely correct it is impossible to review the efficiency of the system. But, your approach would in fact be “broken” and inefficient for removing the TSA. A more realistic way of removing them would be to slowly over a 3 year period remove more and more security. You’d find a marginal increase in flight related crimes which approximately correlates to d(expectation)/dt , but about 7 years down the line you’d find that flight related crimes & none flight related crimes would approach each other in frequency. Furthermore, you’d find the cost of repaying for flight related crimes would be less than the cost of the TSA. Ultimately, you’d have to have a base level of security similar to the police in any city. But even the cost of the crimes + base protection < cost of TSA. You can logically conclude this simply through considering to what extend does the TSA really prevent crimes? And, if we accept that is has effectively stopped 0 or ~0 threats, than we can only depend on its effect on expectation. People operate mainly through an observation on change. S

So slowly remove the TSA and save billions of dollars. We will all be happier for it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Other over-the-top expenditures included nearly $2,000 for 20 gallons of Starbucks Coffee, $8,000 for elevator operators at a Manhattan hotel, and $1,500 to rent more than a dozen extension cords for the Colorado recruiting fair.

Lol see that’s why they have “employees” “taking care of you”. They’re trying to collect any way they can!

Steve Bell says:

Re: TSA has been very successful..

Spot on Thomas. I’m in the UK. We were planning to visit a cousin in SanDiego this summer. We didn’t – SOLELY because of the likelihood of a TSA “pat down”. We’re British – and we don’t go in for that sort of thing! 🙂

Add to the $9billion, the numbers of tourists who haven’t visited since this started and America’s reputation as doing things totally “over the top”.

Anonymous Coward says:

I have always wondered just what “service” was being provided by the TSA.

Obviously, it was in response to the events of 9/11, though it is useful to note that screening of airline passengers was being done well before them. Since the formation of TSA, it has taken what was being done before and morphed it into screening on streroids, and the steroids are getting stronger by the day.

What has always troubled me about the post-9/11 response is the pre-9/11 all of the perpetrators of those horrific acts were already on the radar of numerous agencies. What was missing was agency cooperation in real time to share information, so all of the warning signs were never combined to provide decision makers with a comprehensive data set.

It has also troubled me that security measures at airports have spilled over into numerous other venues such as government buiidings, courthouses, and others at all level of government, i.e., federal, state, counties, cities, townships…the list goes on). Only the Good Lord knows where else these intrusive procedures will be implemented.

In all candor, however, perhaps the most troubling thing of all it the apparent willingness of the travelling public to simply go with the flow. At times it seems as if most of the public have turned into lemmings, and now shun the role of independent thinkers who are more than willing to trade the illusion of security for basic constitutional rights.

Then again, what else is new? Deferring to government has apparently turned into the rule, and not the exception.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Watch this video and the prior ones in the series if you want to better understand the Saudi Role and how it was kept quiet.

what “service” was being provided by the TSA

I think the TSA should carry people’s bags from the curb to the check-in counter. There are multiple benefits including opportunities to inspect the luggage, talk to the passengers and observe behavior. It would also reduce congestion at the airport because you would not have people trying to lug more than they can to the wrong counter and back everyone else up (assuming the TSA can figure out the appropriate place to bring the luggage).

stk33 says:

Re: Re:

all of the perpetrators of those horrific acts were already on the radar of numerous agencies

FYI, the perpetrators are not known even today. Unless of course you count the names reported basing on such “evidence” as passports that flew out of the pockets of the terrorists in the crushed plane, safely landed on the street, and were “found by a bystander”; or “19 hijackers” who were later found alive; or names of the passengers read over the alleged cellphone call from the airplane that was technically impossible; etc.

Sick of dumbfuck 9-11 "Truthers" says:

Re: Re: Re:

Fuck off back under your rock. Tighten up the tinfoil headgear first though.

Nothing “technically impossible” about cellphone calls from aircraft. It’s been done (illegally) time and again, WHICH IS WHY THERE IS A REGULATION AGAINST DOING IT. It causes lots of problems for the cell companies; tieing up far more cellular channels than a ground-level call. That’s why they don’t like it.

Lord Binky says:

If implimented tomarrow,

How much could this improve flights and their timings, with increased traffic, would it lower prices maybe? to further increase traffic? I doubt it would lower traffic since the passengers have been the best security after finding out that a hijacked plane isn’t like a movie where the terrorist gets what he demands and lets people go. I would be more afraid of being stomped to death by passengers rather than anyone from the TSA, unless they had a dog, drug dogs are scarier than the passengers and TSA.

Grae (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Reading further into the original article, just about all of the complaints are about things that occurred during the Bush administration. The only mention of the current administration is in this paragraph:

The sometimes rudder-less agency has gone through five administrators in the past decade, and it took longer than a year for President Obama to put his one man in place. Mica?s bill also blocked collective bargaining rights for screeners, but the Obama administration managed to reverse that provision.

Is it a jab at Obama? Sure, it could be. Though when contrasted with the rest of the complaints leveled at the TSA by rep. Mica it’s extremely tame.

The way it reads to me the two main take-aways are Mica believes that the TSA
-Should be privatized.
-Should be refocusing on its (supposedly original) mission of tracking terrorists and identifying terrorist threats to transportation infrastructure.

On the first point I’m not confident would do a lot of good. My experience working in both the private and public sector is that the same types of problems (inefficiencies, politics, bureaucracy, etc.) occur in equal amounts in both.

The second point I don’t see the benefit either. Is there a reason the CIA/FBI/NSA/etc can’t assume this type of work? In other words, we already have an absurd number of intelligence agencies installed in the current government, why can’t this work be subsumed into one or all of them?

Roy Batty (profile) says:

Over Protected

How much TSA can I get for $4 billion? TSA is just one tentacle of the behemoth national security apparatus. I will assume more responsibility for my security. Homeland defense needs a hiring freeze today followed by attrition layoffs. There is no other solution. Big picture? The growing size of our federal government poses an equal threat to our greatness as the odd/occasional terrorist attack.

Libby (user link) says:

Criminal Behaviour

Quote from above “Lol see that’s why they have “employees” “taking care of you”….

And while they’re taking care of “us” they’re also taking care of their friends

So much for “training” courtesy of USA tax dollars. ‘Nuff said.

bshock (profile) says:

just dismantle the TSA?

By all means, dismantle this horrific monstrosity. But first indict its managers, indict its employees, and most especially indict the incompetent fools who created it.

There comes a point where gross incompetence is a criminal offense. The TSA has caused untold harm to this country, and we need to make an example of everyone involved with it.

Harrekki (profile) says:

You want to “let the TSA go away for 90 days” and you think it would prove your point? I say you might find out what anyone who actually looks at attempted attacks on US flights already knows: the US citizens are more vigilant, and have stopped more attacks than the TSA.

Hell, they are also so over zealous, they can cause a mother to be take off a plane at it’s destination, strip searched, and questioned because she looked like a guy who spent too long in the bathroom because he was sick.

Let the people police themselves. will save 9 billion dollars. where are all the Tea Partiers calling for the TSA to be eliminated? they are a bigger waste of money than any “social welfare” programs they hate so much (until they need them)

Anonymous Coward says:

The only thing the TSA has done for me is to hassle me and piss me off enough that I do not like or want to ever get on a flight again.I am a musician and have brightly colored hair and a punk rockn look.You really think one of those terrorists would ever dress like me ???
They would probably call me a gay or something like that they would not want to be caught dead looking like a freak (to them).
I had them one time rip apart my luggage and while they did that they were talking to me qabout what I was doing with “CAMERA GEAR” and they made their small talk and I damn well am not dumb.They were calling in my name,etc while they “talked” to me so if my name came up they would then arrest me on the spot.
Another time they felt my balls and my ass !!! FUCK OFF TSA
Another time they told me I had a choice of going thru their stupid useless machine or being hand patted so I said sure put me thru the machine.They still hand patted me as well they ripped apart my luggage.
TSA Can Eat SHIT !!!

dragonet2 (profile) says:

i've not been a Good Girl

My ‘liquids’ in my carry ons are way less than 3 oz., nose spray, eyeglass cleaner, etc. I don’t segregate them into a baggie, they’re just in my computer case or my purse, and I don’t bet bothered about them despite all the signs, etc. (my last air journey was to Reno, which has a Really Cute airport…)

I never have more than 3-5 oz of miscellaneous items in my carryons. Mostly because I don’t like the goo-factor of something doesn’t like the altitude and the presence of sensitive electronic items in my carry-ons.

Just saying. I regard flying like I regard bus-riding, I’ve done it so much that is a means to an end. I do my best to make sure i’m not an obstruction, otherwise I’m just doing what they want so I can get where i want to go.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

The TSA does what it is supposed to do.
It makes people not directly affected by what they do feel the government is keeping them safe.

Like any government system, it is inefficient at doing its actual planned job. The people who have to put up with all of this are rightly annoyed about being felt up, exposed to untested machines, and the general indignities we are expected to put up with.

The TSA has on many occasions has proven that it is out of control, and the people in charge try and try to always claim it is an isolated incident.

We have TSA agents stealing from people.
We have TSA agents using their badge well outside of the airport.
We have TSA agents looking to make a little side money by hopping people up in line.
We have TSA agents trading in drugs.

They advertised for TSA agents on pizza boxes in my area, does this sound like a highly trained staff here to protect us or more like a buncha people who show up to stand and look important.

The answer to every problem with the system is spend more money, buy the next new technology pimped by a former congresscritter, and nothing is spent on trying to back away from the joke they created. The fear of being reported as soft on terrorism keeps logical rational thought from entering the debate.

They reenforced the cockpit doors, something that had been called for for years. This lessens the chance of a flight being taken over and having a repeat of the tragedy. The airlines spend more money to get entertainment systems onto their flights, but do nothing to add containers that could contain a bomb in the items in the belly, it is not cost effective when they can make money selling net access. When the airlines refuse to use a proven thing to make us safer, why the hell are we spending money on things that are not working and create more problems.

This pretty much sums up our responses…

We deserve better.

msmii (user link) says:

Alright, so they are NOT what was intended. How many billions of dollars go into this sluggish, nepotistic, thieving, and jackbooted wanna-be agents each year? According to a Homeland Security Newswire article the 2011 proposed budget was $43.6 BILLION dollars. No terrorist acts caught at the gate for a price tag of $43.6 billion dollars just this year and our personal as well as national dignity is all it costs.

Ex-airline employee says:


The options of dismantling security checkpoints in airports and a no-fly list aren’t what’s in question. Nobody in their right minds would let Joe Schmoe in with a box cutter and a med-deprived personality. Privatizing TSA has been the issue at hand. There are companies that do the exact same work, on less of a power trip, and do it for less. It’s no surprise TSA has been a better resource to AmTrak than Biden. Not saying all TSA agents are power hungry and horny people, because I know quite a few well-adjusted ones that treat it like any other job, but there’s no reason the illusion of safety should come at the cost of a procedure you feel should have warranted at least a dinner before indulging in.

Blackfriday (user link) says:

I don’t know which AMA I would need to request for this (which job title) but: I’ve always wondered about the process of reality shows (ie. is going into a “testimonial” free choice or do you have to schedule one per day? Are they asked questions by an interviewer? Do they get to review footage and then comment later? And then…how is it edited. Always wondered.

conark says:

complete waste of money

i wouldn’t doubt that what has happened is politicians, bureaucrats and others getting under the table “perks” from companies, etc. involved in pushing their technologies, businesses, etc. take for instance food and drinks at airports. now, you’re forced to purchased overpriced meals and drinks. do you think that’s a coincidence?

someone should audit every single politician and company involved in the TSA and show every connection, contribution, link, etc. involved. i bet you that there’s so much corruption in that, it’d make the so-called terrorists look like martyrs for helping to inadvertently show our own internal corruption.

angelsdemon1 (profile) says:

What I would like to know is where are all the Republican/Right Wing commenters calling for him to be kicked out of Congress or calling him a failure or asking how much money he was given to do this “favor”??? I mean, if President Obama’s administration is going to have to answer all of these questions for $500 million, why aren’t you asking this about a $9 billion failure? It seems to me that the only time the right wing cares to comment on spending money is when it’s done by “the other guys”!!!

burmao (user link) says:

"they actually trained more than they have working"

I may be wrong about this, but this leads me to suspect that the TSA is a unionized organization. If this is true, it is actually MORE economical (to management facing collective bargaining) to hire/employ more labour supply than they need.

I don’t believe that security should be privatized. If anything, I think the TSA should be restructured but remain public. There is no reason to believe that airlines or security companies would not bloat their costs in order to achieve some measure of profit for their shareholders. Privatization does not mean more efficiency without the proper regulation/game rules. I doubt the argument here is /for/ dismantling the TSA /and/ providing /more/ regulations for consumer protection is what anyone is proposing.

Yet again, it’s now an argument for who takes home more–between collective labour and shareholders. Want to guess which party Mica belongs to? (G-O-Peeeee)

benicek says:

I’m from Germany and although I’d love to visit the US , there is no way I’d go through a TSA check twice just to be able to visit a country and spend my money there. I get searched a lot already ( I’m Muslim and it is obvious) and I can’t imagine how TSA would treat me , after I’ve heard how friends were treated that couldn’t look anymore German.
We have private security and federal police in our airports, and they do their job. Germany even managed to uncover some terror plots recently, but that didn’t happen in the airports and it shouldn’t . These plots were uncovered by our police and intelligence service and that’s how it should be. Airport security should only be a safety net, a potential terrorist should never make it to the airport. Get rid of the TSA and invest in well trained private security companies and a well organised federal police force

Sick Of Zionism says:

This Is The U.S. of "A" NOT The U.S. of "I"

Break ties with the terrorist state of Israel, stop trying to police the world, and stop trying to run foreign nations from Washington DC, and you won’t HAVE to worry about terrorism.

“Every time anyone says that Israel is our only friend in the Middle East, I can’t help but think that before Israel, we had no enemies in the Middle East.” –John Sheehan

“This situation has no equal in American political history. Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security in order to advance the interests of another state?

Saying that Israel and the United States are united by a shared terrorist threat has the causal relationship backwards: rather, the United States has a terrorism problem in good part because it is so closely allied with Israel, not the other way around.”

John Mearsheimer – University of Chicago, and Stephen Walt – Harvard

“The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” (2006)

Sick Of Zionism says:

Re: #146

Cellphone calls from high altitudes is possible today, but was indeed impossible in 2001. Do your research.

As for your tired “tinfoil” mantra: Don’t be absurd. The strategy of trying to associate people who demand a thorough investigation of the 9/11 attack with crazy people is wearing rather thin. People are wising up to your stupid games. Your “no planers”, “moon landing hoaxers” and “tin foil hatters” who are all a part of your psychological warfare tactics to muddy the waters only work on the incredibly stupid and intellectually lazy.

It’s really time you put them to bed now.

Brian Pendell says:

It seems to me the value of TSA was always political. After 9/11, it was a natural demand that the government do something. The TSA was visibly “doing something”. Sure, it was completely ineffective, but it was a visible presence to show passengers that the government wasn’t completely ignoring the events. I’ve heard some call it “security kabuki” — the appearance, rather than the substance, of increased security.

In essence, TSA is marketing for politicians seeking re-election. And in a society driven by marketing, it fulfilled that purpose quite well.

Susan says:

it's the handler, not the tool being used

The Congressional review of TSA published in November was very revealing. It really shows that security was never designed and built correctly, i.e., within the framework that government exists to secure our rights, and that airport security requires a system design and engineering process like any other complex system. The implementation of DHS/TSA failed on both counts.

Congress flat out admitted that TSA was failing its mission. Instead of a lean and mean security force driven by true intelligence, TSA has gotten weighed down and unencumbered as a labor force. It’s all in the report!

There are a number of screening tools that can be used for security but how good they are depends on the handler using them. If the tool’s strengths and weaknesses are known, and the tool is handled by someone operating within the correct framework, well and good. If the tool is operated by a low-skilled pizza-box recruit in need of a paycheck, willing to sieg heil for that paycheck, well – that is the situation we have now.

Doc Freeman (user link) says:

Forget Politically Corretness Be Safe

I am tired of being politically correct, being mugged, and almost raped when I fly. I do not understand why our country refuses to profile like Israel does. Their country has not had problems with people flying in or out. They haven?t had shoe booms, diaper bombs, or terrorist to hijack any planes. We really need to take a lesson from Israel and profile, so our citizens are not mugged, raped, and have obscene pictures taken of them.

Doc Freeman (user link) says:

Forget Politically Corretness Be Safe

I am tired of being politically correct, being mugged, and almost raped when I fly. I do not understand why our country refuses to profile like Israel does. Their country has not had problems with people flying in or out. They haven?t had shoe booms, diaper bombs, or terrorist to hijack any planes. We really need to take a lesson from Israel and profile, so our citizens are not mugged, raped, and have obscene pictures taken of them.

Anonymous Coward says:

TSA is broken. The staff are predominately made up of those that don’t want to flip burgers, don’t have a career or education to do much more than work at McDonalds or dry cars at the car wash, and now have a badge to harrass people with. I have encountered too many “Legends in their own minds” type TSA employees who use every opportunity to exploit their “importance”. Enough of this fiasco. I agree with eliminating this defunct bureacratic useless function. They have thwarted little to justify their existence.

Richie The Hammer says:


I brought two sticks of dynamite with me on the plane when I flew from AK to CA, I just didn’t want to throw it away. I also always bring a crutch and wear a velcro cast. They are always so focused on the cast they never really bother searching anything else. The cast and crutch set off detectors, they just call me over to a chair and have me sit, I even offer to stand for the pat down but they say “No sir, just please have a seat” like they’re scared off a lawsuit. They swab the heck out off the cast though, it’d be impossible to try to get a bomb or weapon on a plane using a cast, but carrying two sticks Dynamite in your pocket is criminally easy. Stupid frinkin worthless good for nothing TSA lol

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