TSA Report Card is a Grade of 4%
TSA is the government agency that is supposed to keep us safe at airports, safe from would-be terrorists that would go through screening and get on America's airplanes. It comes about as a result of the 9/11 attacks on our Nation.
Anybody who flies has been through firsthand--no pun intended--the TSA experience at airports. I, like many Members of Congress, go through TSA screening two times a week, back and forth from my district in Texas. I know numerous TSA employees. Many of them are my friends.
My comments today are not about the TSA employees, but recent news reports about what is taking place at TSA generally, and these news reports are disturbing.
Recent internal investigation has revealed that 67 out of 70 times banned items got through TSA screening at airports through undercover investigations. That is a 96 percent failure rate or, looking at it the other way, that is a grade of 4%. TSA gets a grade of 4.
Now, one example, there was an instance where a TSA screener failed to find a fake bomb strapped to the back of an undercover agent going through screening. This was even after the fake bomb set off the magnetometer. They still didn't find it. Now, isn't that lovely? Good thing it was a fake bomb. Fortunately, this was a test. This was part of the undercover investigation. It was not a terrorist seeking mischief at America's airports.
There is more alarming news. Not just the fact that the investigation shows a grade of 4 in folks that are going through the security system, it is also reported this week that TSA failed to identify 73 airport workers who were linked to terrorism. Now, what is this? These are not TSA employees. These are the folks that work behind the security area in the airport, and TSA was not able to identify 73 airport workers linked to terrorism. Now, isn't that lovely? These people, you see, are the people who go to the airport every day, maybe sometimes go through a special line to get behind the security area.
TSA claims it didn't have access to the terror watch list information, so it couldn't identify these potential bad guys. I personally find that difficult to believe that the agency in charge of security at the airport is not able to get security background information about people that work behind security at the airport. In any event, that is not an acceptable excuse for this type of action.
You know, a grade of 4 would not be acceptable anywhere, anyplace in our society, at a business, at school, anywhere, the TSA grade of 4 .
I will give you another example. Let's say you want to have a home security system at your residence, and you go out and you solicit different folks that are in the home security business. You meet one sales rep, and you start asking the sales rep, "How good is the security system?" The security guy says, "Well, we have a grade of 4. We have a 4 success rate. 96 percent failure rate." You probably wouldn't hire that guy to install the security system on your home. If you ask him a few more questions and he says, "We are not only in charge of the security for your home, but we secure the folks that work on your residence when you are gone to work, the plumber, the welder, or the guy who comes in your house, whatever,'' then if you found out that those people who are allowed to go in your home and work through this security system have a reputation for being burglars, you probably wouldn't hire this security agency to do the security on your home.
That is exactly what is happening at our airports. The success rate is only 4. We wouldn't hire that agency to do our home, but yet here is the agency that we have to guard our airports.
This is not an indictment about TSA employees, but I think it is an alarming concern about TSA's general management. The problem is the TSA model of security. It can only get a grade of 4 --which would not be acceptable under any system.
You know, there really can't be mistakes and errors like this at our Nation's airports. One thing that we could do, one consideration is we could go to private screening at our airports. The law allows for that. Airports ought to consider those private screeners and maybe think it through, whether or not that is a better alternative to the TSA system that gets a grade of 4.
And that is just the way it is.