If you believe the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has kept us safer, please comment on this post and give an example. Has a suspected terrorist been caught through pre-boarding screening? No. Has a weapon been taken off a four year-old subjected to a full-body pat down? Any grandmothers caught before they boarded a plane with a box-cutter?

TSA

The TSA is the most politically correct organization in the U.S. government. In an effort to avoid the dreaded “profiling” the TSA will send 70 year-olds through a full-body scan, pat down young children while looking right past folks that meet what we all know from every terrorist episode of the past 20 years: the terrorists involved in every airline related terrorist plot were young adult males.

The TSA was created as part of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, sponsored by Don Young in the United States House of Representatives and Ernest Hollings in the Senate, passed by the 107th U.S. Congress, and signed into law by President George W. Bush on November 19, 2001. Originally part of the United States Department of Transportation, the TSA was moved to the Department of Homeland Security on March 25, 2003.

Prior to September 11, 2001, baggage screening, primarily with x-ray machines and searching luggage, was funded by the airline companies. Baggage screeners were often minimum-wage workers trained for the relatively simple act of watching an x-ray machine, using a metal detector and searching carry-on luggage. After the TSA took over most of these same workers were hired by the TSA from the security companies they worked for, providing full government wages, retirement and other benefits. The initial cost to the taxpayers for the TSA was slightly more than a billion dollars. This past year TSA’s budget exceeded $8 billion. Feeling any safer?

In 2001, prior to the terrorist attacks, it was possible to arrive at the airport 20 minutes before a flight, while today it’s considered a minimum to arrive no less than 90 minutes before your flight. The unintended consequences, according to study by Cornell University, is that the number of auto accidents from people rushing to arrive in time to go through TSA security screenings has exploded.

The Department of Homeland Security, another post-911 creation of the federal government, and parent organization of the TSA, is tasked with keeping Americans safe, but it’s done a poor job of managing its own sub-departments. On May 4, 2007, the Associated Press reported that a computer hard drive containing Social Security numbers, bank data, and payroll information for about 100,000 employees had been lost or stolen from TSA headquarters.

TSA’s Record of Shame

The TSA has been clouded by many claims of unacceptable behavior; just a few of these include:

1. Passenger John Tyner refused a pat-down in a videotaped encounter, famously telling security personnel “If you touch my junk I’m gonna have you arrested.” This phrase was commonly paraphrased as “Don’t touch my junk”.

2. A breast cancer survivor was forced to remove her prosthetic breast.

3. A bladder cancer survivor had his urostomy bag seal broken during a pat-down, leaving him soaked in urine.

4. A woman with a hip replacement was singled out for pat down.

5. A rape survivor was distressed by a pat-down that she described as feeling like being sexually assaulted again.

6. A 3-year-old child was forced by a TSA officer to surrender her teddy bear and subjected to a pat-down.

7. An eight-year-old boy was patted down by a TSA agent in his genital area.

8. A woman claimed she was selected for additional screening by a male TSA worker for the size of her breasts.

9. A woman claims to have been harassed and detained inordinately by multiple TSA agents over a container of saved human breast milk intended for her child and was told by a police officer that the TSA agents targeted her due to her previous complaints.

10. A woman claims that she was patted down because the body scanner revealed her sanitary napkin.

11. A woman was arrested, strip searched, and charged with assault when she argued with several TSA agents over trying to pass applesauce through security for her elderly mother, despite being told by another TSA agent that it was permitted to bring the applesauce on the flight.

12. Actress and model Donna D’Errico claims that a TSA agent selected her to go through an extra search and justified his choice by saying “Because you caught my eye”.

13. Former Governor of Minnesota Jesse Ventura, who had set off metal detectors at airport security checkpoints due to having a titanium implant from a hip replacement, filed a lawsuit against both the TSA and Department of Homeland Security after he was subject to pat-downs. Ventura’s attorney stated he did not want monetary compensation but that the TSA end future pat-downs on him and an acknowledgement that his rights were violated.

14. On May 7, 2011 an 8-month-old baby was patted down at Kansas City International Airport after traces of explosive material were detected on his stroller.

15. On June 26, 2011 during a pat-down, a 95-year-old leukemia patient in a wheelchair was forced to remove her diaper.

16. On December 21, 2011, the TSA in Las Vegas confiscated a cupcake packed in a glass jar from a Massachusetts woman, Rebecca Hains, who had been permitted to bring the same cupcake on a flight from Boston to Las Vegas the previous week. Hains said, “The TSA at Logan Airport said the cupcakes looked delicious. … But in Las Vegas, they were dangerous. They shouldn’t be delicious in one part of the country and a security threat in the other.” Two weeks later, the TSA responded on their blog, writing that the cupcake “had a thick layer of icing inside a jar. … In general, cakes and pies are allowed in carry-on luggage”. Hains wrote to The Consumerist that “the TSA post was slightly misleading” about the amount of icing in the jar. Including a photo of the same kind of cupcake from the same bakery, she added, “If the TSA says cakes and cupcakes are safe to fly, there should be no caveat saying, ‘oh, um, unless it’s conforming to the shape of a container, like a glass jar!'”

17. Senator Rand Paul missed a flight after he refused to undergo a pat down after an anomaly was spotted during a TSA body scan. The TSA agents would not allow him to attempt another body scan. He re-booked on another flight and went through the scanner without incident.

It takes months and months of training for law enforcement officer to learn their limits, to avoid the natural tendency of persons in positions of authority to become intoxicated with their levels of control and abuse that authority; but in the TSA screeners receive 120 hours of classroom and on-the-job training. While additional ongoing training is required, it often doesn’t occur. According to an internal audit, training of security officers is inadequate and rarely keeps up with the introduction of new technology. A TSA official, under the protections of anonymity told a reporter in 2007 that it was far more cost-effective to terminate employees that act inappropriately than to train every employee properly. Doesn’t that make you feel safer? The TSA is willing to save a few bucks and if you’re one of the unlucky persons to have your personal privacy or civil rights invaded you’ll certainly feel better knowing the TSA considers their employees dispensable.

Just this weekend a security checkpoint and concourse at Sacramento International Airport were shut down after a TSA metal detector was left unattended and five people walked through unscreened.

Sacramento International Airport Terminal B was shut down occurred around 9 a.m. Saturday, after five people including four passengers and an airport vendor, were tracked down and properly screened.

Video surveillance footage showed that all five walked through the metal detector earlier without setting it off, but the detector was unattended; so much for your tax dollars at work.

TSA is just another example of how the government manages to spend thousands of times the money of private industry to do a poorer job. Meanwhile taxpayer dollars are flushed down the toilet and most of the public gets a misinformed sense of security because their government is “on-the-job.”

Israel Shows TSA the Way

Israel, only the other hand, has been dealing with airport security decades longer than the U.S. and is home to the world’s most stringent airport security procedures. Most passengers aren’t frisked, there are no intimately revealing body-imaging scanners and security experts dismiss as misguided the new, more intrusive American approach that requires pat-downs or highly detailed scans of passengers.

Israel’s approach allows most travelers to pass through airport security with relative ease. Israeli personnel only single-out a few passengers for extensive searches and screening, based on profiling methods that the politically correct TSA and liberal lawmakers won’t tolerate. Israel’s record in airline security has been perfect since June 27, 1976 when an Israeli airliner was hijacked and flown to Entebbe, Uganda, before a rescue team of Israeli Special Forces freed the captives a little more than a week later. Israel’s perfect security record depends heavily upon profiling.

Israel spends, per capita, less than one tenth of what the TSA consumes and provides far better security; of course Israel’s priority is keeping their passengers safe, minimizing invasions to their citizen’s privacy plus they know what the Congress and the TSA can’t grasp, frisking a 3 year-old does nothing for security.

At a time when the U.S. government is beyond broke, where the children of tomorrow will pay for the mistakes of today, our TSA refuses to use the proven system of Israel and not fritter away billions of dollars; sad, but politically correct.