Happy 10th Birthday, TSA! Thanks For, Uhh, Nothing?
Have you been celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Transportation Security Administration? We sure have! We've been doing all kinds of crazy stuff, like feeling up old cripples and making babies take their shoes off and doing the Naked X-Ray on some crying nuns and pouring out little kids' milk and sticking our hands into everybody's business. For freedom!
To celebrate 10 years of bullshit, the Conde Nast Traveler magazine has a long & interesting investigation that proves, surprise, that the TSA has failed in every identifiable way at "securing airports" while providing the maximum amount of annoyance and hassle for travelers:
An investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Inspector General found glaring lapses in the TSA's oversight of [airport employee] badges, including instances where badgeholders had multiple I.D.s under different names or had recycled expired ones. It also found that the TSA doesn't require airports to conduct repeat criminal checks of employees but relies on workers to "self-report" any subsequent brushes with the law .... The insider threat is real, it said, citing one case in which two workers at an unnamed airport were arrested after they stowed guns and drugs near departure gate ramps. They were picked up there by a uniformed airline worker who used his badge to bypass TSA security.
Terrorists have already relied on airport insiders to aid planned attacks on aviation. In England, a person with ties to the "liquids" bombers of 2006 was found to have once worked at Heathrow. In the United States, a plot to bomb the fuel pipeline at JFK also involved someone with inside knowledge of the airport's workings: a former baggage handler at the facility. Wiretapped conversations among the plotters recorded one of them boasting about how easy it was to move around the airport grounds undetected ....
If the aviation security system is only as strong as its weakest link, then the TSA should probably be focusing more attention on airports overseas: In the past two years, the two most serious attempts to attack U.S. aircraft originated outside the United States.
While the TSA was created by the George W. Bush Junior Administration and its Patriot Act GOP allies in Congress, today the opposition to Airport Security comes almost exclusively from the Tea Party-type Republicans. Turns out they hate federal agencies and unionized workers a lot more than they hate Islamofascists! Also, those "backscatter nudie porn transporters" are pummeling you with deadly radiation! Imagine the tumors the poor TSA employees are going to have growing out of their heads ten years from now. [Conde Nast Traveler]