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It's time for the TSA to be replaced at airports with private enterprise
Let's take a look:
The Transportation Security Administration has been riddled with problems and bad PR ever since they were put in charge of security at airports. Workers have been accused of stealing. The agency has been accused of being overzealous in its security procedures. The list goes on. So let's check out some of that list.
A TSA agent was arrested just last week and charged with stealing from passengers traveling through New York's JFK Airport. 32-year-old Sean Henry, a TSA baggage screener was popped by a sting operation. Authorities say they caught Henry leaving the airport with two iPads that had been planed as part of the sting, as well as numerous other electronics devices he'd allegedly stolen from passengers.
Although Henry is being fired, TSA spokesman David Castelveter says the agency holds its employees to the highest ethical standards and has zero tolerance for misconduct in the workplace. That's all well and good to have such a nice sounding mission statement, but actions speak louder than words. The problem with the TSA is they have a culture among many employees of entitlement. They feel it's okay to steal from passengers.
Back in September, an ABC News investigation found that 381 TSA officers had been fired for theft between 2003 and 2012. Yet the TSA says theft isn't a widespread problem. They say the number of cases represents less than one half of one percent of officers that have been employed by TSA. What happened to zero tolerance?
At Newark's airport, 44 TSA agents face disciplinary action on charges related to screening misconduct. At the airport in Fort Myers, 43 of them were disciplined for not following screening procedures. Same thing at the airport in Charlotte, North Carolina.
John Palguta is an outside federal employee expert who says it's just a matter of the TSA having a zero tolerance policy and having the tools to deal with it quickly. Throw in the fact that the TSA is a public agency and in the spotlight, and you'll hear more about them.
I don't buy it. If these employees were doing their job, we wouldn't be hearing about it because there'd be nothing to hear about. TSA Administrator John Pistole says as bad as it looks, it doesn't represent an epidemic problem. Hey John, got a news flash for you. It shouldn't be happening at all.
Those employees disciplined for screening procedure violations? Some of those were employees who allegedly allowed items to go through without being checked and that's because the employee was being paid to do so.
Then you have all the complaints about passenger checks. Young kids and old people patted down a little too vigorously let's say. And last, but not least, the naked xray scanners.
Number one, I don't think treating each and every passenger as a potential terrorist and checking every part of their body and every item they might have is reasonable in a country where more than two million people fly each day. We're basically strip searching every passenger and flight crew and rummaging through luggage looking for things like scissors. Yet freight from overseas goes basically uninspected for bombs and explosives.
I do think they're on the right track with background checks and determine who's a trusted passenger. That can certainly speed up the process.
All of this came about because of what happened on 9-11. This policy of putting every person who flies under the microscope was new to us and we're still grappling with how to do it efficiently and safely. I think the TSA has many problems. I do think those in charge want their agency to do a good job.
I don't think it would be wise to throw out the baby with the bath water. Though I deplore thefts from passengers, I depise baggage screeners on the take to allow certain items through without being checked and I think ridiculous some of the patdowns and xrays, I think overall, the TSA has been working hard to keep us safe. And while I might criticize the TSA as much as the next guy, I don't think the agency should be replaced. Not yet anyway.