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10 Years of Security Theater


10 Years of Security Theater

Tomorrow marks the 10th anniversary of the passage of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act, the legislation responsible for creating the Transportation Security Administration.

For ten years, the TSA has expanded into a bloated, ineffective bureaucracy concerned more with treating every American like a terrorist than in actual airport security.  The last year has been particularly difficult for civil libertarians since the installment of porno-scanners ["Advanced Imaging Technology"] and enactment of their opt-out groping policy ["enhanced pat-downs"].

A new report is out from the Majority staff on the House Committees on Transportation and Infrastructure and Oversight and Government Reform.  Some of the key findings are truly astounding:

? Since 2001, TSA staff has grown from 16,500 to over 65,000, a near-400% increase.  In the same amount of time, total passenger enplanements in the U.S. have increased less than 12%
? Over the past ten years, TSA has spent nearly $57 billion to secure the U.S. transportation network, and TSA‘s classified performance results do not reflect a good return on this taxpayer investment
? TSA‘s massive Washington headquarters supports 3,986 administrative 
personnel earning on average $103,852 per year

One aspect of the report that is certainly cause for concern is the Congressional recommendation encouraging the TSA to utilize biometrics for aviation security.  C4L has long been opposed to the federal government collecting and storing biometric data on American citizens, whether it be through programs such as REAL ID, E-Verify, or for airport security.

Also, be wary of the "Screening Partnership Program," a "quasi-privatization" of airport security.  These screeners would still fall under federal supervision meaning they are required to conduct the same screening procedures as the TSA agents currently are.

Chairman John Mica (creator of the TSA) was actually correct when he said recently that only alert passengers and flight crews have averted any further terrorist attacks on airplanes since 9/11.  He should have stopped there before continuing on to say the federal government has a role in aviation security — it doesn't.

With those caveats in mind though, the report is worth reading through to get a glimpse at what a collosal failure the TSA's security theater has been over the past decade.

Around this time last year, C4L's Kevin Brett put together a video called "The Audacity of Grope: A TSA Expose," I'm sure you'll find the message is still as pertanent today. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zq8IOC8Sqw


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