Dan Gilmore / Jun. 3, 2015

The TSA Is Groping for Relevancy

In a recent internal investigation into the TSA’s airport screening process, “red teams” working for Homeland Security were able to sneak bombs and other weapons through the TSA’s line 95% of the time. In other words, of the 70 times DHS tested the system, the TSA caught only three attempts. For an agency with “security” as its middle name, that’s a dismal track record. In a statement, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson tried to downplay the findings. “The numbers in these reports never look good out of context,” he said, “but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security. … The Inspector General’s preliminary test results are classified, and it is not appropriate or prudent to publicly describe these results.” But the findings were serious enough for Johnson to order a special briefing on the report. Then the axe fell swiftly, as the acting head of the TSA was reassigned Monday. Acting Deputy Director Mark Hatfield Jr. will take over. As Reason’s J.D. Tuccille notes, the vulnerabilities in TSA’s security net have been “revealed, complained about, and baked in for years.” The Heritage Foundation’s David Inserra argues that perhaps it’s time for the TSA to step aside and let private security firms do the job cheaper, friendlier and better. Clearly, bureaucrats groping grandma didn’t make us more secure.

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