Airport Insecurity

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On Wednesday, while the Obama administration was taking credit for thwarting the latest attempt by al-Qaida to blow a jetliner out of the sky, the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee (T&I) and Committee on Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) released a damning report revealing that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) “rushed to install” the highly vaunted full-body scanners in the nation’s airports despite the reality that officials have known for years that the machines were incapable of stopping a terrorist wearing an “underwear” bomb.

The 21-page report titled “Airport Insecurity” sheds a lot of light on the kind of bureaucratic waste, inefficiency and arrogance that has become a hallmark of the Obama administration in general, and the TSA in particular. Among its key findings were “Major TSA Procurement and Deployment Failures,” including a $30 million expenditure to procure 207 “puffers” that ostensibly detect explosives — only to discover after the fact that they did not do so in an “operational environment,” even as they were “ignoring internal procedures designed to prevent this type of waste.”

Lesson learned? “Failing to learn from its failed procurement of ‘puffers,’ and in the wake of  the Christmas Day Bomber, TSA rushed to install 500 Advanced Imaging Technology devices, without clear evidence of effectiveness, at a cost of more than $122 million,” the report reads. The agency also employed Advanced Imaging Technology Devices despite a Government Accountability Office GAO report noting that it remained “unclear” as to whether or not “the AIT would have been able to detect the weapon Mr. Abdulmutallab used in his attempted attack” on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas 2009.

Despite these concerns, the TSA acquired another 378 and still has plans to buy nearly 1,000 more in the next two years–despite the fact that studies dating back to 2010 revealed the scanners did not work as advertised. “GAO has estimated increases in staffing costs alone, due to doubling the number of AITs  that TSA plans to deploy, could add up to $2.4 billion over the expected service life of the AITs,” says the report.

It also accused the TSA of “failing to deploy in-line Explosive Detection Systems in a cost-effective and risk-based manner.” EDS technology is used to screen baggage, and the report indicates that their successful deployment could reduce the number of required baggage screeners “by as much as 78%”  Reality check? “However, despite the potential security and economic benefits of in-line baggage screening, GAO found that TSA is struggling to upgrade its deployed fleet of checked baggage-screening machines and that some of TSA’s deployed machines are detecting explosives at standards promulgated in 1998.” In other words, like any other bloated government bureaucracy, the TSA is taking its time in order to keep as many unnecessary workers on the government payroll as long as possible.

Yet inefficiency is only part of the problem, as the lengthy title of another critical section in the report reveals. “TSA Intentionally Delayed Congressional Oversight of the Transportation Logistics Center and Provided Inaccurate, Incomplete, and Potentially Misleading Information to Congress in Order to Conceal the Agency’s Continued Mismanagement of Warehouse Operations,” it reads. The report contends that the TSA’s willful delays, including a failed attempt to hide the disposal of approximately 1,300 pieces of equipment, even as the agency knowingly provided inaccurate warehouse inventory reports to congressional staff during an investigative visit, could amount to a violation of the law.

Members of Congress were not amused. “TSA continues to demonstrate its penchant for bungling aviation security and wasting taxpayers’ money,” said T&I Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL). “The CIA uncovered terrorists’ latest modified underwear bomb plot, but TSA has repeatedly failed to effectively procure and deploy screening equipment that actually detects threats, and incredible amounts of its state-of-the-art technology is gathering dust in Texas warehouses. Significant reform is necessary to transform this bloated and inefficient bureaucracy into the effective security agency it needs to be.”

OGR Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) echoed that sentiment. “Money spent on equipment sitting in a warehouse in excess is money not spent on the front lines,” he said. “Systematic flaws in the procurement and deployment systems at TSA continue to plague the agency. These flaws are exacerbated by a management structure that seems content to throw millions of dollars at untested solutions that are bought in excess and poorly deployed and managed. This is not a security operation, but rather a recipe for waste and abuse.”

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  • mrbean

    The Transportation Security Administration was created in the wake of 9/11 to protect the flying public; but now, the public may need protection from the TSA, asserts a biting new Congressional report. “Since its inception, TSA has hired over 137,000 employees, grown into a mammoth bureaucracy of 65,000 employees, spent almost $57 billion, yet has failed to detect any major terrorist threat since 9/11, including the Shoe Bomber, the Underwear Bomber, the Times Square Bomber, and the Toner Cartridge Bomb Plot,” says the report by the House Transportation Committee. Congress created TSA to be a lean organization that would analyze intelligence and set risk-based security standards for the U.S. transportation system. Today, TSA suffers from bureaucratic morass and mismanagement. The agency needs to properly refocus its resources on assessing threats and intelligence, instituting appropriate regulations, and auditing and adjusting security performance,” it said.

    • 11bravo

      We should just abolish the TSA as an on the front lines agency, and turn it over to the airlines and the free market. If I don't think United Air Lines is doing a good job I will not fly with them-it is that simple…Really, it is!!!

    • sod

      Congress in the first place shouldn't create TSA to duplicate the FBI and CIA, which is destined to create waste. What they should be doing is eliminate the wall and competition between FBI and CIA and create cooperation among the two.

  • Moishe Pupick

    Friday, 05/11/12 common era

    The TSA should do what El Al Airlines has been doing for years: profiling prospective passengers. Of course, that would implicitely admit that the "Zionist Entity" was protecting innocent people. Barack Husein Obama
    and his Administration are the most racist ever, but they pose as having transcended race.

  • H&R_ Barack

    TSA's new slogan: 'We handle more junk than eBay."

  • H&R_ Barack

    Adopt the Ben Gurion International Airport (Hebrew: נמל התעופה בן גוריון‎) security approach pattern!

  • Ronald Johnston

    Darryl Issa needs to check into who owns the companies selling all this junk to the tsa!!! I would bet my social security check that they are osama obama supporters!!!!

  • What_Shiite

    Obama and the TSA, – – – it's our business to touch yours, cracker.

  • Ann


  • sod

    "the TSA is taking its time in order to keep as many unnecessary workers on the government payroll as long as possible." In order to get the employment rate high, this is a must-to-do.

    Government does not have money, what they have is what we gave them. It's lot easier to waste other people's money while don't need to be hold account for. J.P. Morgan is the latest example. We have lost accountability in the government from top to down and it's very dangerous.

  • SoCalMike

    Government money poisons whomever it touches.
    That's why cops are a-holes; that's why the military breaks things and kills people really well and why you don't want to go to court.
    When you spread poison to things like health, education and welfare, don't be surprised when people die prematurely and become indoctrinated and stupefied. So-called "social security" (neither social nor secure) runs unfunded liabilities over 100 trillion dollars.
    These self-serving TSA parasites are just the latest example of government money poisoning those who receive it.
    They deliver security Kabuki, groping and sexual harassment in the name of security. TSA themselves stupefied and mentally conformed, each and every passenger is treated with equal risk except those who fit the jihadi profile are whisked through so the TSA parasites can demonstrate they aren't "prejudiced."
    What perfect trash!.

  • Fred Dawes

    people who fly must like that butt looked at, most guys in the old days would beat the hell out of some other guy looking at his balls or butt today most guys want that butt being looked at by some fat ass TSA Guy. If 20 percent say no to being raped at a airport how much longer would the rape go on? and if each jew shot only one nazi the war would have never happend by the way i am on the no fly list, thank you God.

  • sedoanman

    All this groping and feeling millions of innocent just to keep from profiling the favored few. And still we aren't being "fair".