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Senate Hearing Hosts TSA Whistleblowers

Senate Hearing Hosts TSA Whistleblowers

Long story short? It’s not working.

Last week, an Inspector General report revealed that the TSA failed to flag over 70 airport workers with ties to terrorism. Auditors found that, although the TSA employs procedures to check employees for potential red flags, the agency was not using the complete terror watch list in its screenings. Another study revealed last week showed that screeners missed a staggering 95% of fake bombs and other banned items that undercover federal agents attempted to smuggle through security.

Today, a Senate committee played host to TSA whistleblowers who offered testimony that should make any traveler’s skin crawl:

Earlier, Rebecca Roering, an assistant TSA federal security director at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that the agency suffers from low morale. She said this is in part the result of agency leadership, composed of too many former commercial airline executives “placing more emphasis on customer service and passenger wait times than on security and detection rates.”

She warned of a culture of “fear and distrust” within the agency, suggesting this prevents the workforce from speaking out. Roering said she expressed concerns about the PreCheck program and was told “I better watch what I said.”

Homeland Security Inspector General John Roth later testified that his office raised similar concerns, but “TSA declined to take our recommendations.”

He also said he has concerns about whether the agency understands the depths of security risks.

“I worry about this,” Roth said.

No system is perfect. Mistakes happen. Et cetera, et cetera—no, stop it. This is just one more example of a bloated, ineffective government agency imposing and expanding at the expense of the time, energy, patience, money, and safety of the American people.

Congressional hearings are a great way to shine light on problems in government, but Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) wants to take things further. He has asked President Obama to declassify all information on the TSA’s failures. Watch:

Sasse has a good point, and it’s something that I don’t think we talk about enough. He mentions that the president has a “moral obligation” to start this conversation about security, for the simple reason that the public has been lead to believe that they are much safer than they actually are.

Think about the last time you went through security at an airport: shoes off, belt off, hairspray confiscated, shuffle through a full body scan…you’re lucky if you make it on your commuter flight from Lansing to Detroit without being groped in public. We have agents literally looking through (and sometimes digging through) our pockets, bags, laptops, phones, bras, hair, and shoes, and it’s still not working.

It’s the illusion of efficacy, much like the bureaucracy in Washington exudes (to the general public, not necessarily to those paying attention to the news cycle) the illusion of common defense. It makes sense to classify information that would give terrorists a “roadmap” to another an attack, but Sasse is right when he says that there’s nothing like public outrage to get our representatives in Washington moving.

Get on the phone, people; I have a feeling we’ve only seen the beginning of what’s really going wrong with the TSA.


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The TSA is…AT BEST…security kabuki.

It needs to be abolished. Today would not be soon enough.

RINO Bush 43 created the TSA.

She said this is in part the result of agency leadership, composed of too many former commercial airline executives “placing more emphasis on customer service and passenger wait times than on security and detection rates.”

That statement seems to indicate that they feel they are currently focusing on customer service. The reality of going through a security line proves that is a lie.

American Human | June 9, 2015 at 4:00 pm

What more could they do to check security more tightly? Make us all strip to our undies, dig through all of our baggage, forbid carry on baggage etc.?
I’m afraid that we’re all as safe using public air travel as we are ever going to be.
Just FYI, a chartered airline has never been hijacked, ever. One reason – the chartering company decides who gets on their plane, not the government.
Airlines need to be able to decide and have the support of government in being able to determine who gets on their aircraft. If an airline says “No, sorry!” then the individual doesn’t get on. Airlines are in the business of flying people and getting them from here to there safely. It is in their best interest to fly as many people, safely, as they can.
El Al airlines decides who can get on their aircraft. They’ve never been hijacked.

Not A Member of Any Organized Political | June 9, 2015 at 4:15 pm

Terrorists & Obama say “It’s the only way to fly!”

Snark snark

Henry Hawkins | June 9, 2015 at 5:21 pm

“Senate hearing”

When do senate hearings ever result in anything but talk?

I’m an engineer, and I spent many years working to improve (streamline) processes. It’s clear to me that the TSA has no engineers on staff.

Just look at the craziness that occurs at the checkpoints. Every checkpoint at every airport has something different going on.

Oh, and think about the tables on which you slide your carry ons. If you’ve ever been in a factory — a place where efficiency equals money — you won’t see people moving stuff around on stainless steel tables. No sir — they’ll use ROLLERS! What a freakin’ novel idea.

A good time and motion studies person could really improve the flow at checkpoints. And while we’re at it, let’s have a whole lot less rote droning by the TSA people (“take your shoes off, take your laptops out”), and a whole lot more OBSERVATION.

It’s an absolute joke. Kabuki is the right word for it. Three bad guys, if they wanted to, could easily collaborate and get through security with a collective QUART of pure alcohol. Can you spell Molotov cocktail?

Go to the dictionary, and look up the word “feckless.” You’ll see a picture of the TSA.

I’ve had a job which entailed quite a lot of international travel. For “some reason” I always felt that TLV (Israel airport) was the safest, and that TSA-run airports had the most hoopla with the least feeling of effectivenes.
Other airports that imitated TSA (e.g. Frankfurt) also felt pretty bad.

Another strange article, based on dubious premises. In what sense is the current system, ridiculous, expensive, and annoying as it may be, “not working”?

To justify a categorical declaration of failure, we would have to see (1) some aircraft destroyed by terrorists after departing American airports, or (2) a radical decline in numbers of passengers (since one can’t claim to have a functioning air travel system if almost nobody is actually traveling by air).

Obviously, neither of these two has actually happened.

There are plenty of real government failures ripe for criticism; we don’t have to postulate imaginary ones. Leave figmentory grievances to the Lefties.

And the lines created at the checkpoints are now targets themselves…..