Saturday, December 4, 2010

The TSA's Illusion of Safety Is a Disaster Waiting To Happen

Following the attacks of September 11, the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 was formed. What was mandated was that 100% of all cargo on passenger jets were to be screened for explosives by 2010. Only 20% of the nine billion pounds of cargo is presently being screened by the TSA; in flights that originate from other countries, it's another story.

Only four hours before an international flight arrives at it's US destination does the TSA receives the list of that plane's cargo contents; how reliable that information received from another country may be is anyone's guess. Then a computer, not a TSA employee makes the determination as to which if any package is suspect. One problem, that package is already on the plane; at this point it is obviously a bit too late. Yet another lapse; cargo workers are seldom required to pass through any security searches prior to beginning their shift.

It is clear that just about any terrorist could get a bomb on virtually any flight via a checked bag. It is only a matter of time until this happens unless Homeland Security wakes up; don't hold your breath on that one. Why there has not been a successful terrorist act involving passenger baggage remains a mystery; but we cannot expect this gigantic security loophole to be not be exploited by our enemy for long.

TSA and Homeland Security operate in a knee-jerk fashion; a bomb found in shoes, we are then required to take our shoes off. Liquid explosives are found in another terror attempt and we are limited to four oz. bottles (why four oz, who knows, why any?). Printer cartridges were discovered to be used to carry explosives, now ink cartridges are banned. What if the next plot involves a cell phone? Can you imagine the TSA banning those? Well, from past history, that is indeed what they would do; imagine that nightmare. All of this innane banning of specific items solves nothing; the terrorists simply try another. Bin Laden must be laughing his skinny terrorist ass off.

Any government agency is not as efficient nor effective as one run by the private sector. Have the TSA concentrate only on cargo, period; the TSA cannot multi-task, that is abundantly clear. Revamp their procedures and reorganize their entire system. Leave the baggage to the TSA and leave the passengers to the airlines. Airlines know their frequent fliers for one, they for one are less of a risk (along with grannies, children and Nuns). The airline know which of their passengers have paid in cash, booked a one way flight, checked no bags, etc, the TSA staff is not privy to any of that information. Airlines also have a vested interest in securing their planes and would have more ability to profile any potential threat vs. a government agency that would be obsessed with political correctness. Just look to the Israeli model, one that has been a success for decades.

What with the news about the potential health dangers of the TSA's naked body scanners, findings that TSA frisks may groom children to cooperate with sex predators and other issues,it is clear, the present system is ineffective, obtrusive and makes flying more, not less dangerous. Since it's inception, the TSA has not caught a single terrorist, nor prevented any terror plot; that work has been done by brave and perceptive passengers. With the present administration unable to even name it's enemy, don't expect any meaningful changes for now; another reason for regime change in 2012. Our lives depend on it.