Politics aside, what should we do about the TSA?

American voters, who have felt powerless against the allegedly invasive screening methods used by an expanding TSA, got an unexpected gift from a very unexpected place last week.

At the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., the party adopted a platform that included a pledge to reform the TSA.

I’m not making this up.

Republicans reining in the TSA. Who would have thought?

Here’s the actual platform language:

While the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks brought about a greater need for homeland security, the American people have already delivered their verdict on the Transportation Security Administration: its procedures – and much of its personnel – need to be changed.

It is now a massive bureaucracy of 65,000 employees who seem to be accountable to no one for the way they treat travelers. We call for the private sector to take over airport screening wherever feasible and look toward the development of security systems that can replace the personal violation of frisking.

It’s the first time since the TSA’s creation a decade ago that any major political party has taken an official stand on the agency, and it marks a real turning point. Until now, the cause of TSA reform has been marginalized to a few activist legislators on both sides of the aisle.

But with this document, all that changes.

Disclosure: I’m a registered independent. I disagree with many of the Republican party’s platform issues. As a matter of fact, I also disagree with many of the Democratic party’s past platforms. But on the issue of TSA reform, I stand with the GOP.

Something needs to be done. Now.

Will the Democrats follow? We won’t know until their official platform is adopted at their national convention in Charlotte next week. (I doubt it. The early buzz on its platform, and a look at previous position papers, suggests the TSA remains a non-issue. But we can hope.)

The TSA’s critics aren’t exactly doing backflips. Because while almost everyone can agree with the first few sentences of the Republican platform section on the TSA — that the agency is in need of reform, and that it’s a “massive bureaucracy” that seems accountable to no one — there’s no consensus on what to do about it.

The TSA’s most hard-line critics want to eliminate the agency, replacing it with private airport security. Others say the agency should be reformed but remain part of the federal government.

Almost no one is publicly saying the agency works just fine as it is. To claim the TSA is doing a good job protecting America’s transportation systems in the face of widespread complaints, lawsuits and its own paper trail of misdeeds, would probably be political suicide.

As usual, it isn’t what candidates are saying, but what they aren’t saying, that’s the problem.

Pretending the TSA isn’t an issue would be foolish, an indication that a candidate is tone-deaf and out of touch with the reality of traveling in 2012.

Yet even acknowledging the TSA is an issue can be politically risky, too. The only presidential candidate who has taken a stand on the TSA is former New Mexico governor Gary Johnson, and he has zero chance of getting elected, which is too bad. Makes the whole presidential election look fixed.

And consider the latest dust-up between Texas Rep. Ron Paul and TSA agents in Clearwater, Fla., last week. Was that confrontation a coincidence? I doubt it.

The only ones who benefit from remaining silent on the issue of the TSA is the TSA bureaucracy and the subcontractors and lobbyists who have made a fortune from our collective fears.

Everyone else loses. The voters lose, because they get four more years of an incompetent, overpriced and dishonest agency “protecting” us from a nonexistent threat, critics will point out. The incumbents, should they be re-elected, will also lose — more specifically, their legacies will be tarnished because they will always be remembered as the ones who failed to curb a wasteful and abusive federal agency.

Like it or not, the TSA already is an election-year issue.

If Democrats, independents and Green Party candidates remain silent on the problems of the TSA, then we should all be prepared for another four years of abuse at the hands of an agency that is, by most accounts, of control.

And the nominees who ignore the reality of traveling today should prepare themselves too — for a probable electoral defeat.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • technomage1

    I agree the TSA has gotten out of control and the agency needs severe reform. But the private sector has not proven itself any better at such things and I do worry about the potential abuses such a move would make.

    As far as the threat they are protecting us against (and admittedly could be doing a better job) not being real – that is also a dangerous and frankly delusional position. Reasonable people can and do disagree about the means of contradicting it and the ethics of some of the tactics, but I don’t know how anyone can remember the events of 9/11 or the attacks on London and Madrid and not see the threat exists.

  • http://twitter.com/klj47 klj47

    Unless the methods of the screening process are changed to be less intrusive I don’t think whether they are being done by government employees or private sector employees make much difference. We need to go back to using metal detectors as the primary method of screening, get rid of the backscatter machines until there is credible proof they are safe and will only be used when a credible threat is suspected and use a pat down technique also only as a secondary screening method that is dignified and not sexual abuse as it is now. We also need employees who can think, not just follow rules even they don’t understand or really know. The entire airport security system needs a complete overhaul including a better screening process for non security personnel that have access to airplanes.

  • http://oussamastake.blogspot.com/ Oussama

    The private sector is not the answer. Even though 65000 employees maybe an overkill, most of them will end up hired by private companies. In any case policy and methodology will still be dictated by the government.
    TSA needs to be reigned in and reformed.

  • http://www.catchway.com/ Web Design Vizag

    The fundamental problems with the TSA are 1) government activities are always rules and process-based (even the military, of late) and 2) modern federal government organizations tend to be jobs programs. A private, objectives-based contract operation can do a better job. Most of the productive work inside government agencies today are handled by contractors. Federal employees tend only to provide oversight. When the TSA was begun, the democrats forced it to be a government-employee agency. That is where the TSA started its slide downhill.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    The platform is thin gruel.

    I repeat what I’ve said a hundred times: private security won’t do anything. SFO has private security and there are just as many stories of abuse coming out of there as anywhere else. Getting groped by a private sector goon is no better than getting groped by a public sector one. At airports with private security, the TSA still calls the shots.

    And “look toward the development of security systems that can replace the personal violation of frisking”? You mean like the strip-search scanners? Maybe those contractors who are getting rich off of us can develop even more explicit images. Maybe a robot rather than a person can probe our parts. That’s pretty “impersonal.” Whoopee!

    I guess the mention of the TSA in the platform is better than nothing, but not much. Bottom line: neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are going to do squat about the TSA. More of them — many, many more — are going to have to be abused before anything changes. And that’s going to take years.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    technomage1, We know the threat exists. We get it.

    But the threat of a car accident also exists. And it’s a much bigger threat. Almost 40,000 traffic fatalities in this country every year. How many 9/11s is that? Have you stopped driving? Oops, there goes the argument that you’re concerned about safety.

    The fact — fact — is that you face many more risks every day than the risk of a terrorist attack in this country. Yet do you stay home cowering under the bed? (That’d be the wrong move — you’re more likely to be killed by a household appliance than a terrorist. Another pesky fact.)

    And how is the TSA’s stripping and groping going to prevent a Madrid or Domodedovo?? Someone could walk into the concourse and detonate a bomb. At the curb outside the airport. On the ramp leading up to the airport. On the highway leading to the ramp. There are hundreds of thousands of miles of train track in this country. What’re you gonna do — station a bomb-sniffing dog or explosives air trace puffer or blue-shirted goon at every step of the way?

    It’s insane.

    There’s no such thing as 100% security, anywhere. It’s a fantasy. And it’s pathetic that so many Americans want to believe in this fantasy instead of behaving like rational adults and going about their lives in freedom and dignity.

  • technomage1

    Do you wear a seatbelt when you drive? Does your car have an airbag, safety glass, and is it designed to crumple upon impact? These are all measures designed to make car travel safer. Is it 100% effective? No. But the roads are safer now than they were before these measures were implemented. Traffic fatalities aren’t as common as they once were – and neither are these safety measures as hot a topic of discussion (seatbelt laws were controversial when they first came out).

    I didnt say we would be 100% safe. But burying your head in the sand and doing nothing isn’t the right answer either. As with cars, reasonable safety measures can and should be implemented.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Sigh. I just love straw man arguments.

    I didn’t say and no one is saying that we shouldn’t have “reasonable safety measures.” I will repeat, again, what I’ve said a thousand times:

    No bombs were brought onto planes on 9/11. The planes themselves were commandeered, something that won’t happen again because the cockpit doors have been secured and because passengers will no longer silently submit (which is more than I can say for TSA apologists).

    And in all the years before October 30, 2010, when the Reign of Molestation was implemented, back when we were all just walking through metal detectors and not getting stripped and groped, why weren’t planes being blown out of the sky left and right? If The Terrorists Are Everywhere and if bombs are such a prevalent threat?

    Planes weren’t dropping out of the sky left and right. The threat of terrorism in this country has been grossly overstated. It’s being hyped to within an inch of its life. Why? Because fear is an easy way to control a populace. The government benefits by increasing its power, and corporations benefit by making billions of dollars.

    None of these observations about fear and profit are new. They’ve been true throughout history. I don’t see why suddenly it’s so hard for people to believe them.

  • Edward Boston

    But one possible advantage to having it done by private screeners is they wouldn’t be protected against lawsuits like the current TSA agents are. If a private screener gets out of line or violates the rules, you would have a lot better chance of legal action against them. Knowing they don’t have that protection would help keep them in line.

  • Edward Boston

    At least I’m not stripped searched by my seat belt when I get into my car.

  • technomage1

    True. I don’t like the body scanner either. I put it into the unreasonable category.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Edward, courts are cold comfort. Lawsuits are money-, time-, and soul-sucking. Most people can’t afford to file a lawsuit.

  • BobChi

    I didn’t vote in your poll, because I don’t quite agree with any of the options. I think the item in the GOP platform is a positive step, because it reflects frustrations that many have, and offers some hope of attention to the matter, though I also think political platforms don’t really mean much anymore. I do think there needs to be a close look taken at cost/benefit when it comes to both fiscal and personal liberties issues. I think the creation of a TSA bureaucracy that seems to have pretty much free rein has led to a mindset of “We can do as we please.” Screening is necessary, but at some point you reach a stage of diminishing returns. How many extra billions are you willing to spend, and how much extra indignity are you willing to impose to try to eliminate the most remote risk? We simply don’t go about it that way in other aspects of society; otherwise we’d have a national 40 mph speed limit, security guards in every business; and crossing guard escorts at every street corner. And the billions that are spent on the TSA are billions not available to be spent more intelligently otherwise.

  • BobChi

    Brilliantly put, Lisa. John Stossel has done some excellent work on how society irrationally evaluates and reacts to perceived versus real dangers. I think those of us who disagree with the TSA regime need to be in contact with politicians, to help them see that many people don’t support this, and give them cover if they take flak for speaking out – not all of us are quiet sheep who will just take anything, as long as it’s put out there in the name of combating a perceived risk.

  • technomage1

    You brought up the car analogy, not me. I just took it a step further.

    You say I’m misrepresenting your argument. If so, I apologize and assure you it’s not intentional. I am new to this forum and have not seen your comments on the subject before. But you have done the same to me in assuming what my argument was.

    I’ve never claimed there are terrorists everywhere or said I wanted jack booted Gestapo. All I stated was the threat exists and that reasonable people disagree about what to do about it. Based on your comments, I think you’re further along one of the extremes of the spectrum than me.

    I do agree we need to be very mindful of a police state or being driven by fear.

    Interestingly enough, the article has been edited and the sentence I was referrring to in my comment has been removed. The original text had a comment about critics of the TSA and how some thought the threat was nonexistent. This removal may be the source of some of the confusion here.

  • charliebgolf

    I’m still trying to understand why you think it is amazing that the Republicans would put this in their platform. Maybe you need to spend more time paying attention to the truth in politics rather than the big-media slants. The majority of Republicans want smaller government and have always been the party of business. It’s a perfect fit for the GOP. Switching to private companies would save taxpayers large amounts of money and would improve efficiencies since workers would know they could lose their jobs for poor performance.

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Oh, like Halliburton, Blackwater (Xe), et. al., who spent billions of taxpayer dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are still unaccounted for?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Lottery ticket time! (A reference to the banter between two weekday posters who often disagree.)

  • Edward Boston

    True. But it does offer an avenue for redress we currently don’t have. After they have been sued enough, they would either be replaced or learn from it. At least I would hope.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sylvia.guarino Sylvia Guarino

    I am a registered Democrat but will vote Republican in November for many, many reasons. One of them being that at least some factions of the Republican party are aware of and opposed to the overall loss of civil liberties. Yes, we lost a lot under Bush, but Obama has expanded on those losses by leaps and bounds. I see very little protest among Democrats on those documented losses. I will be pleased to see the overall issue of civil liberties and the specific issue of the TSA addressed by the Dems, at their convention, but I am not holding my breath on this one.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    There’s nothing more I can add to this, @Lisa_Simeone:disqus . You said it better than I’ve seen it said in a long time.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Wish I could like this a few more times, @facebook-855360004:disqus You nailed it!

  • Ted Ellis

    I did vote in the poll but looking quickly through the comments I have to agree that most of the answers didn’t quite fit my thoughts.

    I think scrapping (eliminating) the TSA and starting from square one (reigning it in would be my choice.

    First; go see how other countries are handling airline security, since they didn’t do that in 2001 even though several countries offered to help (an before anyone
    jumps on this idea, remember that most countries at that time had dealt with large scale terrorism for decades). Most of it is a “layered” approach starting at the approach to the airport. Then at the ticket counters, THEN at the entrance to the area where the gates are.

    Then start with the head of it. Get someone who has a background in security or intel, not some political hack that both parties can agree on (yes I know pipe dream). Screeners need to have more that 3 days of training and a thorough background investigation (not the cursory one they get now). Their pay should be along the lines of what the military gets, or should get (not the slightly more than flipping burgers at McDonalds rate they are getting now).

    Hold them ALL accountable

  • ExplorationTravMag

    If there were ever a bureaucracy that needed disbanding, it’s TSA.

    I think we can all agree there IS a need for additional security due to 9/11. I think we can all agree there needs to be a company outside of the federal government dedicated to it.

    Abuses are rampant in TSA including pedophiles employed there, things stolen from bags between the scanner and the passenger’s hands, elderly mistreated, children terrified and loaded guns getting through the “security” lines and discovered later by the passenger.

    While I realize no one is perfect and the occasional mistake will happen, they’re simply happening too much for me to be comfortable. The worst part is, when these “mistakes” are discovered (a TSA employee was running a prostitution ring) the government simply shrugs their shoulders, throw up their hands and ask us with a sheepish grin, “What ya gonna do?” as though it’s a group of unruly little boys who built a ramp from the roof to the ground and are riding their bikes down it.

    There are no repercussions/consequences and no form of redress when a TSA agent goes past the boundaries in place and Napolitano thinks nothing of our personal liberties, stripping them away one by one as though she’s peeling a grape, so the boundaries are becoming more murky with each passing day. The only tangible that comes from an out of control government agency is an out of control government.

    And Chris, you give us the caveat you are a registered independent. You go on to say you disagree with a great deal of the Republican platform and say nothing about where you stand with regard to the Democrat’s platform (not even a generalized statement, such as what you said about the GOP). Where I come from, people who make statements such as the one you made aren’t called Independents. They’re called Democrats. Why not own it instead of cloaking yourself in the ambiguity of being an “Independent”?

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    The Dems haven’t released their platform yet, so there’s nothing for me to disagree with. But I’m sure there will be. There always is.

  • Trudi

    Could you give some examples of civil liberties lost in leaps and bounds under the current Presidential administration? Were they actually actions of the President or Congress? I’m not sure what you’re exactly talking about.

  • Trudi

    I agree with you. I think that Americans want someone to step up and take responisbility for everything. The TSA and Homeland security were knee jerk reactions to a terrible situation, but I don’ believe their existence has made us one bit safer than we ever were. The terrorists of 9/11 wanted to destroy something in the heart of Americans, and they did. They won! We have become our own worst nightmare. Sometimes terrible things happen and no one is to blame!

  • Matt Blumenfeld

    I am certainly of the belief that the TSA needs to be reformed or drastically changed, but the idea that “the private sector” can do the job any better raises my hackles. It seems as though the people that will benefit from that change will be the people that own (or buy) the companies that provide the security services, and not the people that travel on airplanes. There is absolutely no reason to think that making airport security private will have any better results than the current system. If anything, I would expect that the companies that provide the service would pay their employees the very least possible wage and provide the least possible training, since their profit will have to come from SOMEPLACE. Private companies don’t work for free, after all. If there are several companies competing for the same security contract, you can bet that the cheapest one will pay the least.

    I don’t have any answer to the best way to fix things, but this idea worries me a bit. It’s bad enough now, but what will happen when you turn it over to even lower-paid “officers”? I can’t imagine the story will turn out well.

  • Trudi

    “Politics aside…”. Rebublicans do not have good records with replacing government agencies with private ones. Although, I’d bet Dick Cheney could advice them who to hire. I’d rather keep the TSA and have it controlled by the FAA, and desolve Homeland Security. Probably the same people would be doing the same thing, though.

  • Trudi

    The TSA is one hand of Homeland Security. It’s Homeland Security we need to desolve, put TSA in the hands of FAA. Isn’t Federal Aviation Authority who investigates accidents and controls planes for safety in the first place?

  • scapel

    I am still of the opinion that the TSA should concentrate more on “WHO” is getting on the airplane rather than “WHAT” is getting on the airplane.

  • Frank Windows

    Could someone please explain to me how privatizing the TSA would make it any better? REFORM is what is needed. Privatization merely opens up the door for more corporations to milk American taxpayers for profits — as is already happening for the Nude-O-Scopes. Could someone please explain to these folks that we can CHANGE something without making it a for-profit venture?

  • http://tsanewsblog.com/214/news/history-repeats-itself-with-tsas-strip-search-tactics/ Lisa Simeone

    Trudi, Obama has not only continued but expanded the worst abuses of the Bush administration. The NDAA alone should make you quake in your boots. The increasing militarization of police forces, the beating and jailing of peaceful protesters, the entrapment of supposed “terrorists.” And TSA criminal-in-chief John Pistole has come on during the Obama admin.

    Both parties — Dem and Repub — have gone along with the continuing evisceration of civil liberties in this country. Both are at fault.

  • flip44

    The bottom line is that travelers have to get from point A to B to Z. We are caught up in the gauntlet of the TSA. It is more than politics, It is fear. Fear of an impact that kills. Fear by congress and the president, that a tragedy on their watch would be a reflection of irresponsibilty. We are all walking on a tightrope.
    Yes, it is expensive in preventing even one death.
    Here “the abuse of power” fits. Every TSA agent sees this as a job. They wear a uniform, and a fake badge to intiminate travelers. They are psuedo “police”
    that goes to their heads and puts fear into the traveler. The result is: “Power currupts.”
    Turning the agency over to private enterprise would be even worse. Then it becomes “big business.” When you are working for and being paid by the ‘government,’ we all know the price goes way up. They will charge a hundred dollars for that ten cent fake badge. They will hire the lowest wage and untrained people. Lobbyists that work for those big business companies will bribe the prositute congress , and you will see what dishonesty and unethical practices is all about.
    My advice is to pack carefully and be sure you have plenty of time before your flight in the case of an agent’s unmitigated ego powerplay for something insignificant. ( I had carefully measured the prescribed three ounces of water, however, in a ten ounce bottle, and ‘got caught’ because the ten ounce bottle was listed as illegal) The gleam of triumph in the TSA agent’s eye, was that she had caught a “terrorist.” I did not know if I should laugh or cry when I was surrounded by two other agents.
    Have your iPhone or camera ready for documenttion.
    Be overly polite in your “gotcha.” And don’t be afraid tp speak up.
    And also bear in mind, this is just one day of travel. Whatever it takes, “It is what it is.” Be grateful you got to your destination alive.
    Write your congress person. You have a voice!!!!

  • Matt Blumenfeld

    I don’t quite understand how SCARED, arrogant, untrained, low-paid employees are any better than the current crop of arrogant, low-paid, untrained employees that aren’t in fear of losing their jobs (although, quite honestly, I’d imagine that they are just as worried as anyone else about losing their jobs).

    As I said elsewhere in this discussion, I don’t see how privatizing the “security” force is likely to lead to much change, other than changing who profits from the implementation of the new program. No, that isn’t a very fair or accurate statement. It would probably also lead to some layoffs of the current workers so that they can be replaced by people that will work for less money. (Desperate, scared people, maybe?)

    For real cost savings, maybe they should change the rules so that airport security people can be paid less than minimum wage like waiters and waitresses. They could make up the difference with tips from the people that are satisfied with their experience. (Just in case it isn’t obvious, the last statement was intended as sarcasm…)

  • Dazymae

    All good suggestions but you left one thing out. Whoever does the screening…whether they be government employees or private sector…must be held accountable to the law. They must be required to obey the law and the Constitution of the United States. There must be methods of redress for innocent Americans who are abused by these screeners. There must be swift and severe punishment for screeners who violate the law and abuse innocent passengers.

    Until the agency…whether it be TSA or a private company…is held accountable to the laws of this land, it does not matter what reforms or overhauls are enacted. As long as airport screeners have absolute power, they will continue to ignore any rule or policy they please and continue to assault, molest, rob, harass, and demean the public with impunity.

  • Dazymae

    Hallelujah and Amen! I voted for Obama because he promised change from the abusive Republican policies inaugurated under Bush…namely the Patriot Act and Gitmo among others.

    And what did Obama do? He advocated extending the Patriot Act amd Gitmo is still going strong. Now he’s brought us the NDAA, assassinating American citizens abroad, arresting American citizens without habeas corpus, to say nothing of Pistole and his gang of sexual perverts and their naked scanners.

    So what do we do? Vote for another round of Obama’s change or go back to the gang of crooks who started it all? I’ll sit home before I vote for either one of them.

  • Dazymae

    What guarantee do we have that FAA will do a better job than TSA and DHS?

  • cahdot

    why is anyone surprised that the gop thinks tsa must be reformed…the gop is the party of LESS GOVERNMENT IN OUR LIVES AND OUR BODIES( THE GROPPINGSTUFF) AND LESS OF TAXPAYERS $$$ BEING WASTED daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

  • cahdot


  • cahdot


  • cahdot


  • Trudi

    They work under long established rules of behavior; they tend to be very professional (in my two minimal dealings with representatives), and their job is to make flying safe. Seems reasonable to me. TSA is quickly becoming autonomous, although I THOUGHT they were flying under the DHS flag; but DHS is just redundant. We already have agencies assigned to do their jobs. So, ditch DHS and reassign TSA to start over with rules they don’t get to make up as they go.

  • Trudi

    Thank you, Lisa. I feel that Obama’s promise to get rid of Gitmo was heartfelt but met was stonewalled by congress. The increase of police used as soldiers and soldiers used as police isn’t terribly suprising, as it was commonly used in the 60s. I do not blame Obama for all these issues, as Congress holds 2/3s of the guilt. Obama’s biggest problem is his wish to compromise and work out an equitable plan. It sounds nice, but will never work when dealing with politicos who have too much time and money invested in maintaining control. I’d still like to see Gitmo closed but our local Amnesty people said Obama did stop the use of torture at Gitmo. I didn’t think they lied. It might be a crumb, but it’s in the right direction.

  • Dazymae

    That all sounds good, but my concern is that the lobbyists and corporations will simply start to work with FAA instead of TSA and DHS. Simply a different group of hogs feeding at the same trough.

  • Dazymae

    You completely ignored my point that Reps are just as bad as Dems. You think Romney is going to do anything significant to rein in TSA?That’s a pipe dream.

    I won’t vote for either Romney or Obama. Whichever one of them wins can do his evil without my help.

  • KarlaKatz

    Your opening tone is rather insulting. Republicans are just as fed up with the TSA as any other travelers. Tacky, Chris, and beneath you.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    I disagree. TSA was created under a Republican administration, championed by a series of Republican appointees. It is truly surprising (to me) to see them take this stand. But it’s a good kind of surprise.

  • Dazymae

    This comment was supposed to be a response to Cahdot’s statement that refraining from voting would be a vote for Obama. I don’t know why it got listed here in this spot. Just wanted to clear any confusion.

  • Norwegian Blue

    Maybe it’s because I live near three airports, but I clearly recall that in the allegedly good old days before TSA screeners, the screening was often done by low-paid people hired by private corporations.

    All the smart-aleck cracks about individual TSA screeners could apply equally to the Argenbright and Wackenhut crews who otherwise would have been working at 7-11.

    This is a no-win issue either way, because whether it’s the TSA (one of many unhappy “siblings” in the dysfunctional Brady Bunch that makes up Homeland Security) or a private-sector firm (which somehow doesn’t count as a subcontractor, I guess because it’s a contractor), the next successful terror attack will trigger a rain of opprobrium on them and prove that whoever wanted the other guys was “right.”

  • Norwegian Blue

    Plus, liberals will make you take the caps lock off.

  • cahdot

    go see 2016 obama’s america and maybe u will get the picture

  • cahdot

    it’s called executive orders and obama wrote the book on it…. read the newspapaer or watch fox news and check the federal register….

  • cahdot

    so vote for o the socialists go see 2016

  • Kevin Mathews

    The one difference with privatizing security is that it brings in competition. So while yes, they will lower the wages of the employees to some extent, that can’t completely crush the employee pay and expect to retain the contracts.
    Private companies have more incentive to ensure their employees do the job correctly because they are always in danger of losing the contract and revenue that goes with it. TSA currently does not have that same fear level…

  • IGoEverywhere

    I will not allow my customers to leave out of Pittsburgh without a warning that they are by far the rudest employees second only to Cincinnati. If you know before you go of the possible loopholes at Pittsburgh, and there are, then you can get to the gates with a minimum loss of dignity. We are 99.999% not criminals or smugglers. I don’t want touched or x-rayed with a machine, 100x’s stronger then a dental x-ray.

  • Chasmosaur

    What I would like to see happen is TSA moved under the Department of Transportation, away from Homeland Security. That way, they can’t hide behind “classified” or “national security”.

    That way, the security for transportation is overseen by the people who have a vested interest in seeing transportation flow smoothly. TSA would be happy if no one traveled again.

  • David Hook

    I think it should be a combination of private contractors doing the screening, supervised by a small team of TSA management co-located with of Federal Marshals at each location. Marshals are used to dealing with people detained for Federal crimes, and are experienced at working with aircraft. If a person is suspicious enough to cause concern but there is no proof, a Marshal could be placed on the same flight to monitor.

  • Brooks Hurd

    There is no question that the TSA has improved since I was first exposed to them after 9-11. I’ve been through border security (mostly airport) in more than a dozen countries since the TSA was formed. Of the security screenings that I have experienced, the TSA is not at the top, sadly they are still not near the top. The TSA still concentrates on objects rather than the people. Preoccupation with objects means that the TSA is always looking at the last threats, not what terrorists are planning for the future. One way that the TSA can stay ahead of the terrorists is to learn from the most successful border security system on the planet – Israel’s security system. I have been through Israeli security on 18 round trips. I believe that if the TSA adopted a few of the security screening methods perfected by Israel, that their effectiveness would increase dramatically.

  • Brooks Hurd

    Very good points!

  • Brooks Hurd

    Obama has consistantly side stepped Congress and used the DOJ to push his agenda. The Constitution set up checks and balances so that no one of the 3 separate but equal branches of government could monopolize control. Obama is ignoring the foundations of the Constitution.

  • Brooks Hurd

    My feeling exactly! Obsession with objects means that the TSA is forever playing catch up with the terrorists.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5QQQ3ZH7R2QJODYKQN53J7SRL4 Bob

    I hate the TSA so much that it really almost was the deciding factor in my voting Republican, even though I disagree with Republicans on most  other issues.  Hearing Romney degrade the working poor and elderly, though, just makes me sick to my stomach.  There’s no way I could ever vote for him.  

    *Sigh*  The Green Party opposes the Patriot Act and still believes in freedom and basic human dignity.  They’re a little extreme, and I disagree with their views on illegal immigration, but, otherwise, I guess it’s the closest thing I can find to what I really believe in….. :(