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Reason.com takes a look at a bunch of TSA stats, including a heavily redacted document regarding security breaches →

The article pulls out some interesting data from a report compiled by the Republican staff of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Here are a few highlights:

  • 85 percent of the approximately 5,700 items of major transportation security equipment currently warehoused had been stored for longer than six months; 35 percent of the equipment had been stored for more than one year. One piece of equipment had been in storage more than six years—60 percent of its useful life.
  • TSA had 472 carry-on baggage screening machines warehoused, more than 99 percent of which have remained in storage for more than nine months; 34 percent of the machines have been stored for longer than one year.
  • TSA possessed 1,462 explosive trace detectors in storage, each purchased at a cost of $30,000. Of those devices, 492 had been in storage for longer than one year.

We should be utterly dumbfounded by these numbers. Not because we want the technology implemented, but because the equipment was bought in the first place. It equates to the TSA being given a blank check to shop in the billionaire’s version of SkyMall, all while not being completely honest about security breaches.

Even more disturbing is that even though these numbers and a series of “groping” incidents have made the news, the TSA continues to expand their reach. There are reports of TSA pat downs and bag searches taking place at McCormick Station in Chicago during the NATO summit.

I am not sure any of this is going to stop until a number of people in office put their foot down. The TSA seems less concerned with traveler safety and more concerned about the newest, fanciest equipment and which order to put people through the nude-o-scope. The goal is to make travel safer. If the TSA has lost sight of that goal, then it’s time for us to move on, shutter the TSA, and figure out a better way of performing the single task at hand.

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  1. June 3, 2012

    This is a perfect example of why “big government” isn’t effective. I challenge anyone to name a federal government program that is successful, not only in terms of its goals but also in terms of budget and time frame. We’ve let our government get too big, too clunky, to be efficient or effective. The TSA is just one of many government agencies with poor leadership, poor management, and poor results. And yet the answer to the problem is always to increase the budget (and taxpayer burden). It just baffles me.

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