A Meaner, Nastier TSA by Becky Akers


Just in time for Thanksgiving’s travelling throngs, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has agreed to “introduce ‘more aggressive, visible and unpredictable security measures’” at airports. Apparently, molesting the handicapped, groping grandmothers, and killing passengers don’t suffice.

The TSA is evil enough to dream this up on its own, but it didn’t have to. The “recommendation” came from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) after its undercover investigators tested “checkpoints at 19 airports in March, May and June of this year” – as they have many times. And, as usual, the GAO found holes the size of a jumbo jet in the alleged “security”: “It is possible to bring the components for several IEDs [improvised explosive device] and one IID [improvised incendiary device] through TSA checkpoints and onto airline flights without being challenged by transportation security officers.” Yeah, but “transportation security officers” never miss your bottle of Coke, so it all balances out.

Merely smuggling weapons didn’t satisfy the GAO’s goofballs; they wanted to concoct them first in a sort of Martha Stewart-meets-Al Qaeda farce. I guess heading over to the FBI and borrowing something stolen from Randy Weaver would have been too easy. And so our industrious goons trolled the Net, where they “learned about the components to make an improvised explosive device and an improvised incendiary device.” Seems it’s news to the GAO, even if not to normal folks, that websites offer instructions for assembling bombs. The subtext here is that such sites ought to be shut down – a tad extreme so long as the far more dangerous and flourish.

Having implied that free speech can be lethal, the GAO tacitly maligned commerce as well, with agents shopping for the bomb’s ingredients “at local stores…. Investigators were able to purchase the components for the two devices [IED and IID] for under $150…” Rep. John Mica (R-FL) seized the chance to parade his gutlessness yet again: “What’s really scary is they’re using the components that are readily available on the open market.” I don’t know about you, but I’m hardly terrified that entrepreneurs provide kerosene and ammonia. Rather, I’m grateful they do so cheaply lest more of our taxes be squandered on this lunacy.

The GAO’s success in sneaking its purchases through the checkpoints proves the TSA’s futility: CBS News fears that “…a team of terrorists working together could easily beat the system. ‘If you start to break up all the components [of an IED or IID] over several different people, and you bring them in in different ways, on your person, in your carry-on luggage, how is a TSA screener supposed to put all those pieces together?’ says CBS News security analyst Paul Kurtz.” But the Feds take a contrary lesson from the TSA’s inability to detect “components”: screeners should abuse us serfs more “aggressively” and “unpredictably.” Why is it that every time the TSA fails, passengers pay the price?

This is only the latest of the agency’s scandals. Its incompetence and chicanery have been hogging headlines for weeks now. In October, USA Today “obtained” a “classified report.” It said screeners’ “failed to find fake bombs hidden on undercover agents posing as passengers” in 60% of the tests run at Chicago O’Hare last year and in 75% of those at Los Angeles International. Such jaw-dropping scores are about average for the TSA: screeners routinely miss most of what agents try to smuggle.

And that’s despite cheating. Though they aren’t supposed to know that they’re being tested, let alone the investigators’ identities, what contraband they’re carrying and where they’ve stashed it, screeners are often alerted to all those details. And have been for years.


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