I‘ve noticed that our friends at the TSA haven’t made any New Year’s resolutions yet, at least not publicly, so as I thought I’d help the federal agency charged with the challenging task of protecting our transportation systems.
You know, as a public service.
Here are 12 things the TSA should stop doing in 2012.
No more body scans.
The TSA’s pricey and controversial body scanners, which are being deployed across the country, are an invasion of privacy and an unacceptable health risk. Many American oppose their use. Isn’t it time for the TSA to admit they’re a failure and try something else?
Stay off our streets.
The TSA is here for one reason, and one reason alone: To stop another 9/11 from happening. Its expansion to subway stations and other public areas is a costly and unnecessary step that no one asked for. This is the year to end the ill-conceived VIPR program once and for all.
Quit pocketing our money.
Harassed air travelers left a lot of loose change at checkpoints — an estimated $376,480 in 2010. And guess who kept it? That’s right, the TSA. But it isn’t the agency’s money (one Congressman wants to funnel it to the USO, which isn’t a bad idea). It’s your money. The TSA has no business taking it.
Stop calling your screeners officers.
It’s a little known fact that TSA employees have zero law enforcement authority and technically shouldn’t be called officers. One Congresswoman wants to fix that. What a great idea.
Keep your hands off grandma.
It isn’t just Lenore Zimmerman, the 4-foot-11, 110-pound, grandmother who alleges she was strip-searched at JFK in late 2011. It’s a whole stack of similar cases that have stirred public outrage. Stop frisking the grannies, TSA. You’re better than that.
Enough with the special lines.
TSA’s new Pre-Check program, which selectively pre-screens certain passengers and lets them move through the security line faster, seems like a move in the right direction. But it isn’t. The elite-level frequent fliers join a growing list of others, including members of the military and airport employees, who get special screening privileges. Shouldn’t TSA be trying to find the bad guys instead of determining who the bad guys aren’t? This process-of-elimination screening is not only expensive, but puts ordinary, law-abiding air travelers at a disadvantage.
End the liquid and gel restrictions.
There’s no convincing evidence that our Starbucks lattes are going to blow up our early morning commuter flight. Let’s stop this nonsense, which has been going on for way too long and hasn’t prevented a single act of airborne terrorism. Let air travelers bring their harmless liquids on board.
Stop the shoe removals.
The TSA now allows kids 12 and under to leave their shoes on. Why not the rest of us? When’s the last time the agency caught a terrorist with explosives in his insoles? How about never?
Don’t prevent passengers from taking pictures.
Even though the TSA insists that taking snapshots of its screening areas is allowed, its “officers” apparently never got the memo. Here’s what happened to Carlos Miller last week when he tried to tape his screening. Puh-leeze!