The Transportation Security Agency has been taking plenty of hits this month and they don’t seem to be stopping. The TSA is trying to figure out how a man was able to get on a plane at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport without being checked out by agents. Damarius Cockherham didn’t have a ticket or ID when he dashed into DFW Airport Sunday night, but the TSA didn’t stop him. This isn’t a guy jumping over a barrier or sneaking into a cargo container, he told airport police he just walked past TSA agents. There’s even video which the airport is keeping it secret. The TSA’s statement on what happened doesn’t really help.
TSA is reviewing the incident and is working closely with the airport, local law enforcement and stakeholders to ensure that all of our checkpoints at DFW reflect optimal security configurations. Immediately following this incident, TSA made adjustments to the DFW screening area and has added more barriers, and is working to identify other long-term solutions that may require physical adjustments to the area. As always, TSA continually evaluates checkpoint configurations and passenger flows at all our airports to ensure physical security
A lot of these “changes” are just cosmetic because TSA has everyone stand in a line when they try to get through security and hardly any checkpoint is really unmanned. It’s like that at almost every other airport. Travelers know where to go (or are herded like cattle) because TSA tries to have entryways locked down pretty tight. Cosmetic changes aren’t going to actually do anything because of all the problems TSA has. USA Today reported earlier this month on TSA’s $3M payout to various passengers who had their luggage broken, lost, or stolen. TSA promises they’re working on making sure offenses don’t happen again.
TSA aggressively investigates all allegations of misconduct and, when infractions are discovered, moves swiftly to hold the offenders accountable. TSA holds its security officers to the highest professional and ethical standards and has a zero-tolerance policy for theft in the workplace.
Tell that to Dana Loesch, who documented her husband’s “date” with the TSA in 2012. Or the North Carolina flight attendant, and cancer survivor, who had to show her fake breast to an agent in 2010. A Texas woman also sued in 2010 claiming one agent pulled her blouse down and exposed her breasts. Earlier this week a North Carolina woman claimed TSA agents held her back for 45 minutes while they scanned her breast milk, while her eight-month-old waited. All over breast milk! It’s no wonder why the federal government has had multiple lawsuits over TSA bad behavior. Their workers are either not trained or just figure they’re “above the law” because they can essentially keep people from making their flights. Texas Congressman John Ratcliffe noticed in June how the same problems keep popping up.
I have to say, though, that this feels a little bit like the movie ‘Groundhog Day,’ where the same things keep happening over and over again.
Which begs the question: when does the madness stop? When does the federal government decide enough is enough and kills the TSA? There’s nothing wrong with secure airports. But it never made sense that President George W. Bush and Congress believed creating a new level of bureaucracy would actually make things more safe. The TSA needs to go, but how do we get there? It’s possible to do a straight hatchet job to the budget and just cut all $7.3B in TSA funding. But the best method is probably a gradual reduction of budget funds over a seven to ten year period until the agency is completely eliminated. Smaller airports could start using private security, then medium-sized ones, then large ones. It would have to be up to the airports to provide their own funding for the security, which means they’d either have to reduce spending in other levels or raise prices on parking, concessions, terminal fees, or airline fees. The free market would probably take care of itself because private security firms would see their market share increase. Or airports would turn to their own police departments or city police departments to provide security. It just seems odd that sporting events are able to have private security with few problems, but airports, bus terminals, and train stations aren’t. The federal government may not want to give up the control, but it has to for this to actually work. If not, it’ll just keep spending more and more taxpayer money and getting horrid press when things go wrong.