The 2- and 3-hour waits in long security lines at airports recently are just a taste of what’s to come, says TSA. Passengers should get used to it, and arrive at least 3 hours early. But an official with inside information says the problem COULD easily be solved.
TSA has blamed the security problems and long lines on the elimination of 4,500 personnel over the past few years, due to budget cuts. Jeh Johnson, secretary of DHS, said congress approved his request for $34 million to hire additional TSA personnel.
A TSA “watchdog” says the excuses being given is just a lot of “spin”, and has shed light on where he believes the root of the problems really lie. Chris Edwards is director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute, and says TSA and DHS is littered with problems, starting with poor morale, which causes a high turnover rate among screeners, as well as poor handling of their budget and spending money in all the wrong areas.
“TSA has spent many billions of dollars on things that don’t work,” Edwards said. “As a result, they’ve starved their budget from hiring more screeners to reduce congestion.”
“Remember those full-body scanning machines that were in airports for years that essentially showed nude pictures of passengers as they got screened?” asked Edwards.
“Those things were eventually withdrawn because of civil liberties concerns. People didn’t want to see their nude bodies when they went to the airport. But those things have been found to not really work at all. It’s fairly easy to slip guns and plastic explosives through those machines.”
Another huge problem is the inability of TSA to be flexible, in transferring employees between facilities, or hiring additional workers, as the need arises. Governmental agencies simply won’t adjust to the demands the way a private business will.
Airports DO have the option to dismiss TSA entirely and hire private security firms. Edwards said the 15-20 airports who have done that actually have more effective security service, but the Obama administration is making it very difficult for them to do this.
In Canada, all airports use private screening companies, on a 3-year contract, and if they don’t perform well, they are replaced.
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