So, now it is time for part two of my series on the TSA written about ten months ago. The heralding of what ‘dangerous objects’ the TSA stopped boarding planes below was a hoot when compared to the recent statement of the TSA praising the agency for stopping 130 ‘dangerous items’ boarding planes.
They must really think we’re stupid. I’ve never heard of a dangerous object kill anyone or destroy anything. I do, though wish I could carry dangerous objects with myself and other citizens to instill fear in the heart of an actual terrorist (note, a living, breathing, ‘human’) to stop him from harming us with his dangerous objects. But, enough present nuggets of truth. I present ten months ago:
After last week’s posting I made about how the Department of Homeland Security in general and the Transportation ‘Security’ Administration (TSA) in particular have turned themselves into a world-wide laughingstock, it should have come as no surprise that this comedy would continue. On Christmas Eve, about 24 hours before the underwear bomber tried to blow up his ‘goods,’ the acting administrator of the TSA, a Ms. Gale Rossides, sent a mass email to TSA employees thanking them for their hard work and dedication throughout the year. This is all well and good, morale must really suffer there as it is. She went on to give some of her “highlights” of the “successes” they had in the “very good year” that was 2009 (Schecter 2009). These included finding “830 guns [preventing them] from getting on planes,” the introduction of an “IdeaFactory,” an online forum wherein TSA employees can share ideas about policies and procedures, and “brilliantly obligating more than 60 percent of the $1 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds given to TSA” (Schecter 2009).
I think I would feel safer had 830 guns got on board planes. At least then I or someone else would have a reasonable chance of taking out the next Umar Farouk Abdul Mutallab without burning my hands. As far as the IdeaFactory goes, the best idea yet (one that has been made for the past eight years) would be to increase scrutiny on those that act like, dress like, look like, worship like, behave like, are young men like the other, and who come from countries with histories of terrorists. Well, to give credit to TSA, they have acknowledged targeting those from countries that export terrorists. Of course this revelation was from their leaked security manual that happened in their self-described successful year (Zetter 2009).
Finally, how does one exactly “brilliantly [obligate]” funds (Schecter 2009)? The TSA’s operating budget in 2009 was $7 billion (American Federation of Government Employees 2009). I am not exactly sure how an additional $1 billion into their operations stimulates the economy. Personally I think it probably de-stimulated the economy by $2 billion. That is $1 billion in confiscated additional taxes going to a government agency, and an additional $1 billion of lost economic activity caused by the travel delays to millions of hard-working Americans tied up in the TSA dog and pony show. Maybe that is how one gauges the success at the TSA; by how much damage one agency can do to the American economy. Brilliant obligation!
American Federation of Government Employees. "CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET ANALYSIS CONFIRMS TSA UNION'S CHARGE THAT TSOS ARE UNDERPAID." AFGE. September 8, 2009. http://www.afge.org/Index.cfm?Page=PressReleases&PressReleaseID=1041 (accessed January 16, 2010).
Schecter, Anna and Ross, Brian. "TSA Salutes a 'Very Good Year' Despite 2009 Security Failures." ABC News. December 30, 2009. http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/tsa-salutes-good-year-2009-security-failures/story?id=9448647 (accessed January 14, 2010).
Zetter, Kim. "TSA Leaks Sensitive Airport Screening Manual." Wired. December 7, 2009. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/tsa-leak/ (accessed January 15, 2010).