Green Room

House investigators: $200 million of TSA equipment in storage, gathering dust

posted at 11:05 am on May 9, 2012 by

Who would have guessed it? The Transportation Security Administration, that model of bureaucratic efficiency and keen government oversight, is wasting taxpayers’ money.

The Washington Post reports that the agency “has shelved $184 million in security equipment in a Texas warehouse rather than in the airports for which it was bought.” And it gets worse. When House investigators sought information about the stored material, the TSA “provided inaccurate, incomplete, and potentially misleading information … to conceal the agency’s mismanagement of warehouse operations.”

The Post quotes a member of the House Committee on Transportation as saying, “When our guys went down there, the manager told them they’d been trying to move stuff out so we wouldn’t see it.” Despite the effort to get rid of the evidence, inspectors found 5,700 pieces of equipment on the premises—100 more than the number included in the inventory TSA provided to the committee.

Committee Chairman John L. Mica (R-Fla.), one of the TSA’s fiercest critics, has prepared a report on this most recent administrative black eye, which will be the subject of a meeting in the House on Wednesday. The report, which was made available to the press mere minutes ago, is here. In advance of the meeting, the congressman’s office released a statement:

A joint investigation by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, along with recent efforts by the Government Accountability Office, reveal that little has changed in the past three years and that systemic flaws continue to plague the TSA. 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. That is not a security operation, but rather a recipe for disaster.

Today’s hearing will help to explore these lingering issues and outline remedies.

I am concerned that the TSA has grown into a top-heavy, unmanageable agency, evidenced by its 400% increase in workforce since its founding. The agency’s flaws are not the fault of TSA employees working everyday on the front lines, but instead that of a bloated leadership structure in Washington, DC. When attempting to conduct oversight, instead of cooperation from TSA the committees have been met with obfuscation, excuses and attempts to mislead.

I am impressed, I must admit. Here I thought the TSA’s sole activities were limited to traumatizing old women and crippled children, failing to nab would-be terrorists, and stealing from passengers. Now I find they are also liars. Less power to them!

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Who owned the companies that this equipment was bought from?

Sabercat2 on May 9, 2012 at 12:17 PM

That’s a hell of a lot of rubber gloves.

CurtZHP on May 9, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Sabercat2: Who owned the companies that this equipment was bought from?

How much equipment just walked away? Who got paid what for the rest?

CiLH1 on May 10, 2012 at 6:12 PM