The TSA, first established back in 2001, has been around for almost 15 years now. The agency has an annual operating budget of roughly $7 billion and it offers jobs to more than roughly 50,000 people. Their billion-dollar budget is also about 10 times the budget that was spent on previous airport screening agencies. But what good has the agency managed to achieve since its inception? Many critics say that the TSA offers room for error, that it decreases the standard of travel for individuals by treating them like they are guilty before they've done anything wrong, and that at best it only offers the illusion of security.
The TSA has been documented heavily for the various crimes that are alleged to have been committed by those who are working with the agency. From child porn and sex charges, to making threats and stealing, the list of accusations against those associated with the agency is quite staggering. Three former TSA agents were even indicted and charged last year over claims that they defrauded the government and helped to smuggle cocaine through airport security.
Another big problem about the TSA is that they waste time. They're so inefficient that even airports are now calling them out for their long lines. Recently the Sea-Tac Airport took to their Twitter account to publicly scold the company when they suggested that their travelers should “expect longer wait times” because the TSA wasn't keeping pace in an efficient manner with the passenger volumes.
Since they hold a monopoly on airport screening, it makes it rather difficult for any wave of complaints to make a real difference on how efficient things might be run. The TSA seemingly has no incentive to meet the needs of those that they are screening and that is pretty clear from looking at how they operate. In one letter to the TSA Administrator, Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (MSP) CEO Jeffrey Hamiel complained that while passenger volume at MSP alone since 2011 has increased about 10 per cent, the number of TSA screening agents nationwide has dropped about 15 per cent. In a response to that letter, a TSA spokeswoman told the AP that the TSA “was doing the best [that they could] with the resources” that they have, keeping in mind that their multiple-billion dollar budget far exceeds that of the previous airport screening budgets. Apparently it still isn't enough to get the job done.
One of the most glaring problems with the TSA is that they cannot ensure that any travel experience is going to be an entirely safe one. People have been able to get through TSA screening and yet still manage to make a weapon. In many undercover tests, explosives and weapons were also able to make it through TSA screening. Overall, the TSA wastes money, can quite easily miss a terror threat, and it infuriates passengers and airlines with their long lines.
In the United States airports have the right to opt out of TSA screening and instead go for the Screening Partnership Program (SPP) option which allows for private contractors with TSA oversight. It isn't any surprise that the private option has been found to result in more efficient screening, friendlier service, and less cost, among other benefits. Currently there are at least 19 airports which have opted to go through the SPP for private screening agents.
Past PFT Coverage On #TSA
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