“Today, TSA’s screening policies are based in theatrics. They are typical, bureaucratic responses to failed security policies meant to assuage the concerns of the traveling public.” Translation? TSA doesn’t know what it’s doing, but is trying to put on a good show to keep the traveling public from catching on. The report, entitled, "A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform" sharply criticized the agency, accusing it of incompetent management. Former DHS Inspector General Richard Skinner dropped this bomb, "The ability of TSA screeners to stop prohibited items from being carried through the sterile areas of the airports fared no better than the performance of screeners prior to September 11, 2001."
Frankly, the professional experience I have had with TSA has frightened me. Once, when approaching screening for a flight on official FBI business, I showed my badge as I had done for decades in order to bypass screening. (You can be envious, but remember, I was one less person in line.) I was asked for my form which showed that I was armed. I was unarmed on this flight because my ultimate destination was a foreign country. I was told, “Then you have to be screened.” This logic startled me, so I asked, “If I tell you I have a high-powered weapon, you will let me bypass screening, but if I tell you I’m unarmed, then I have to be screened?” The answer? “Yes. Exactly.” Another time, I was bypassing screening (again on official FBI business) with my .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, and a TSA officer noticed the clip of my pocket knife. “You can’t bring a knife on board,” he said. I looked at him incredulously and asked, “The semi-automatic pistol is okay, but you don’t trust me with a knife?” His response was equal parts predictable and frightening, “But knives are not allowed on the planes.”
The report goes on to state that the virtual strip search screening machines are a failure in that they cannot detect the type of explosives used by the “underwear bomber” or even a pistol used as a TSA’s own real-world test of the machines. Yet TSA has spent approximately $60 billion since 2002 and now has over 65,000 employees, more than the Department of State, more than the Department of Energy, more than the Department of Labor, more than the Department of Education, more than the Department of Housing and Urban Development - combined. TSA has become, according to the report, “an enormous, inflexible and distracted bureaucracy more concerned with……consolidating power.”"
Every one of us does things that would be inexplicable to a stranger, hence the saying, ‘It’d be a dull world if we were all the same.’ A mature adult knows that ‘inexplicable’ isn’t the same as ‘wrong’ — you use ketchup, I loathe the stuff but drown everything in Tobasco; you say grace, I’m an avowed atheist; you like puffer-style ski jackets, I like thick denim; you wear a hijab, I wear a flat cap; you have an American flag in your lapel, I have a badge that says ‘KEEP LIBEL LAW OUT OF SCIENCE.’
The TSA’s screening procedure tells them that any time they see something they can’t explain, they should refer that person for a humiliating secondary screening. For people who have something about them that is apt to be outside the direct experience of almost all screeners (people with urine bags, prostheses, disabilities, out-of-the-customary binary gender expression; specialized hobbies or vocations; visible political or religious observances; quirky personal fashion), this is tantamount [to] punishment for not being ‘normal’ — where ‘normal’ is whatever goes on in the narrow experience of J. Random TSO.
‘See something, say something’ and similar programs are the reason that nervous air passengers are allowed to disrupt or even ground flights because they mistake dovening Hassidim for Arab terrorists working themselves up to a suicidal rush or because they mistake a hipster food-photographer’s ‘ATOM BOMB’ tattoo for a sign of suicidal intent.
In other circles, we have a name for the philosophy whose fundamental tenet is, ‘If you don’t do this yourself, it’s probably dangerous’ — we call it bigotry."