Paige’s Pages: A Political Blog – TSA Treachery

The Transportation Security Administration—one of America’s most loathed initiatives to stem from a post 9/11 gov.—faces further criticism after a recent report revealing that more than 95% of faux terrorists were able to smuggle weapons past them.

Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General, John Roth, told Congress such poor performance is because those tested were unspecialized members of his Office, bureau auditors.

However, a leaked document from the General Inspector’s Office refutes this claim. The text refers to the incognito inspectors as “Red Team Agents.”

The TSA’s official blog defines the Team’s goal as one “to build tests that push the boundaries of our people, processes, and technology . . . With that said, our testers often make these covert tests as difficult as possible. It’s not like they’re using a cartoonish bundle of dynamite with an alarm clock strapped to it. These items are extremely hard to spot.”

After this clash of information was made public, Melvin Carraway, top administrator of the TSA, was replaced. Congress and the Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, call for more rigorous training of employees and more thorough testing of equipment.

Yet America’s confusion is not quelled, the tragic comedy rolls on.

During Roth’s Congressional testimony, he verified an instance in which a man convicted of homicide and offenses involving explosives was approved by the TSA for PreCheck, a program akin to an amusement park FastPass for airport expediency.

One of the 67 botched screenings in the efficiency study included a case where the magnetic scanner sounded on one of the Red Agents. This resulted in a pat-down search. That resulted in a dismissive smirk, because the TSA concluded the man was harmless—despite having a fake bomb strapped beneath the back of his shirt.

To top the chicanery off, the TSA’s 92-bullet-point list of suspicious behavior reads like a Jeff Foxworthy routine. According to the Spot Referral Report, you might be a terrorist if . . .

You excessively yawn, whistle, or complain about the checkpoint process. Are wide-eyed, pale from a fresh shave, and/or are inappropriately clothed for your alleged destination.

All of this speaks to the nation’s dwindling faith in what seems to be an anxiety-reducing barefoot ritual—a placebo—at the cost of $7 million a year in taxes and ungodly sums of stolen and confiscated passenger goods. Everything from Evian to Armani—not to mention dignity—is at the disposal of the TSA.

This is not to speak of invasive pat-downs or body scans that violate the Fourth Amendment, making law-abiding citizens to feel like criminals, violated, exasperated, and severely inconvenienced.

The newly surfaced tests merely reinforce what many already expect from an overgrown gov.: incompetence, deception, and arrogance in thinking they can “protect,” fail, and perpetually ask for fixes and funds.

All this does is leave one feeling jet lagged.

About the Author

Paige Butler
Political blogger and author of three politically tinged fiction books (under the pen name Paige Johnson), Paige Butler is a junior at FIU.

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