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CuriousLurker  May 11, 2016 • 2:19:56pm

Note: Advance apologies for such a tl;dr comment, but once I got started looking into things I couldn’t seem to stop myself.

Has the TSA ever foiled a terrorist attack? I’ve been googling it and cant find anything. It’s mostly theater anyway as check-in/boarding is only one of many areas where security could be breached, and any system is only as secure as it’s weakest point. From last summer (emphasis mine):

An internal investigation of the Transportation Security Administration revealed security failures at dozens of the nation’s busiest airports, where undercover investigators were able to smuggle mock explosives or banned weapons through checkpoints in 95 percent of trials, ABC News has learned.

The series of tests were conducted by Homeland Security Red Teams who pose as passengers, setting out to beat the system.

According to officials briefed on the results of a recent Homeland Security Inspector General’s report, TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.

In one test an undercover agent was stopped after setting off an alarm at a magnetometer, but TSA screeners failed to detect a fake explosive device that was taped to his back during a follow-on pat down. […]

So nearly 14 years after 9/11 and we still weren’t getting it right? If ABC News is aware of this, you can bet your bottom dollar terrorists are too.

Keep in mind that the DHS behemoth—which now has nearly a quarter of a million employees (240K, according to its website)—was proposed by a Republican, former President George W. Bush, and brought into being as law under a Republican-led House and a Senate split evenly 50/50. With the passage of the Homeland Security Act in November 2002 by the 107th Congress (Senate votes: 90-9-1, House votes: 295-132-6), it officially became an executive department of the federal government.

Here’s a statement on TSA security gaps by John Roth (the DHS Inspector General) to a House committee on November 3, 2015 (a little over six months ago). Not particularly reassuring given the TSA’s history.

The TSA released its 2015 statistics in January of this year (emphasis mine):

WASHINGTON — In 2015, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers intercepted 2,653 firearms in carry-on bags at airport security checkpoints across the United States. This is nearly 20 percent more than in the previous record-setting year. In 2014, TSA officers discovered 2,212 firearms in carry-on bags. […]

Of the 2,653 firearms discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, 2,198 (82.8 percent) were loaded. Firearms were intercepted at 236 airports; 12 more airports than last year. […]

Remember their failure rate from last summer’s ABC News article, above? Kinda makes you wonder how many the TSA missed if they managed to catch a new record-setting high of 2,653…

This hearing is scheduled for tomorrow, May 12:

Examining Management Practices and Misconduct at TSA: Part II


• To examine systemic management and leadership challenges facing the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), and the toll it takes on their workforce.

• To hear from TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Inspector General (IG) John Roth on plans and actions to address the challenges. […]

Feeling safer yet? Yeah, me neither.

Lastly, some fodder for your nightmares: A list of all the DHS reports on the TSA

Rocky-in-Connecticut  May 11, 2016 • 6:08:34pm

Wasn’t the dialog back immediately post- 9/11 concentrated on the fact that airport security up to then was privately run, and that a national service was to be instituted? Are we about to come full circle once again?

SirMixALot  May 12, 2016 • 4:43:25am

I guarantee you the reason that there are long lines is because of lack of enough staffing and equipment. Tax cuts and forced austerity create havoc at every government agency.

MsJ  May 12, 2016 • 10:28:13am

They pay these people $10 bucks an hour, they are not allowed to unionize, the government just threw a bandaid at the problem (and this IS a problem) so what the government has basically done is say, yeah, we have measures in place…even though those measures fail most of the time.

I am not for removing the TSA function. I fly and something is better than nothing. But standing in line for hours and being abused by these TSA idiots (I have stories, I used to fly almost every single week for more than nine years) - especially when they are not successfully doing what they’re supposed to be doing (stopping bad shit from getting onto flights) serves no one.

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