What is the TSA For, Exactly?

By | January 10, 2012

TSA Security CheckpointWe usually agree with Bruce Schneier. The man coined the term security theater and he takes an approach to the TSA that mirrors ours.

Writing in response to the TSA Blog’s Top Ten Catches of 2011, he pointed out that there is not a single terrorist on the list…or in fact anyone with actual malicious intent. What we did get were a bunch of forgetful or foolish individuals who brought weapons through that would have been just as detectable by pre-TSA metal detectors.

And their number one good catch, as pointed out, was something they missed the first time, but caught only on the return. We feel safer already.

The TSA has found animals and drugs, of course. But we don’t recall their mission statement having anything to do with contraband. We have drug problems in the United States, but that is not the TSA’s problem. They are not law enforcement, they are security…or they are supposed to be. If you want to make a drug search a precondition of buying a ticket, you’ll be much more successful at a rock concert than the airport.

This is what another well-known contributor to the discussion, Chris Elliott said. We don’t always agree with him, but we respect his opinion as well. He asked if we “are left to wonder if the removal of our contraband is the TSA’s single greatest accomplishment.” How did the TSA make us safer, as opposed to how many knives it took away from people?

What is left to add to the discourse that hasn’t been said by us or others before? The original goal of the TSA…unifying transportation security efforts under a common government standard, is still something we support. But everything that has been done toward that goal seems to us to be the wrong approach. But until someone takes a good hard look at this, what we’ll get is billions of dollars so the TSA can confiscate toys from small children and dangerous pastries, then pat itself on the back for its success

Author: Guru

Guru is the Editor of Flight Wisdom and a long time aviation enthusiast.