Airports Grind To Halt As TSA Again Fails Most Basic Test of Competence

240px-tsa_-_logoCd07R8sWEAAX5Er.jpg-largeYou have likely been reading about the scandalous situation at our airports where TSA security points have created chokepoints due to a lack of planning and staffing in the latest failure of this agency. Thousands of passengers are missing their flights due to massive lines and the airports are now suggesting that people come THREE HOURS in advance. The reason is obvious incompetence in failing to plan for rising numbers of passengers and to properly staff security checkpoints. Yet, no one is being held accountable. The public is just again left paying billions to the government, which cannot meet the most basic obligations to the public. We no longer expect competence from our government.

The lines have long been predicted due to the failure to hire enough Transportation Security Administration screeners and new procedures slowing down security. There is also a failure to properly budget for security, though TSA has shown a level of incompetence through the years even with huge budgets.

TSA is saying that it is hired new officers but that is too late for this nightmarish summer. If TSA were a business, it would not last the month in a competitive market system. However, it is not just the lack of competition but the lack of any accountability for incompetent or poor-performing TSA officials.

At airports like Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina lines are now commonly three hours. It is a disgrace and, on one day, some 600 passengers missed their flights. That of course causes huge costs to the passengers and airlines in disruption. That brings us back to TSA which has become a perpetual incompetence machine. In the meantime, airport employees have been walking these lines (which look like something out of Soviet-era bread lines) with therapy dogs and snacks to sustain people.

Why isn’t there a public outcry? Where is the demand for congressional investigations and hearings? Because we have become accustomed to the lowest level of performance from the TSA and other federal agencies. It is the passivity of a public that no longer views itself as having any voice or expectation in good government. We just stand in lines of hours while paying billions for substandard government services.

55 thoughts on “Airports Grind To Halt As TSA Again Fails Most Basic Test of Competence”

  1. Smaller agencies with minimal mission-creep may also work better and make us safer. The FBI had valuable intelligence that could have prevented some or all of the 9/11 attacks, but that intelligence never made it from the field office to headquarters in time.

    Former FBI agent Michael German, who specialized in terrorism for over a decade, used an “Alice in Wonderland” metaphor essentially saying: if the haystack is too big and you go down every rabbit-hole investigating too many people, it’s actually counter-productive, wastes resources and makes us less safe.

    From a national security view, large bureaucracies that mission-creeped also helped collapse the former Soviet Union, so this is bad for national security as well.

  2. and yet you people will stand in line for hours waiting to get the latest version of IPHONE but you complain,moan and whine over checkpoint lines!!!!!??????? really people!!!!!!!!
    lets not mention the fact that it is mostly you-the flying public who cause the lines to get longer and longer due to the fact you still leave items in your carry on bags that you know are prohibited from entering thru the checkpoints and you have the gall to complain that the Officers who man those checkpoints do so without being armed nor being allowed to atleast wear body armor under their uniforms,try to do their best to be professional at all times while interacting with the public-and yes we all have our bad days and good days-don’t take out your frustrations on the TSA uniformed Officers-blame TSA Management and the airlines for the long lines for 2 basic reasons:

    #1:TSA management creates the staffing levels and scheduling of duty shifts-not to mention that congress has yet to fund the agency properly as far as the amount of Officers allowed nation wide.

    #2: the airlines who always overbook their flights and yet blame the length of the lines on TSA alone-they should accept some responsibility for the lines they cause due to overbooking flights,not staffing their ticket counters with enough ticket agents/employees.

    1. Will B – people stand in line for the new iPhone only once, when it comes out, not every day.

  3. What about the long line, waiting at the ticket counter? Poeple waiting while the agents are in the back taking their time, hang out talking or sipping on their soda? It is very clear mr. Truly has a beef with tsa. What happened you did get your pre check, or the had to look at your bag, oh the humanity. By the way DHS has the largest budget, tsa fall under DHS. Guess he did want you to know that, of course when you show up at the last second you might not make it , I’ve seen that happen so many time and then the blame the agent , because they refuse to admit my dumbass was late. Matter a fact every one in here is probly in the same boat because your all bitching and whining about the same thing, pull up you big boys and girls pants and get on with it. Your all whining like trump and sanders supporters.

  4. Here’s a suggestion:

    Let’s require that all of the passengers on our nation’s most ostentatious (and outrageous symbol of government waste) private jet, Air Force One, pass through TSA lines.

    I think the entire agency might well be abolished after all the useless federal and other scum that travel in undeserved and unnecessary luxury on that Presidential flying Hummer had to undergo TSA scrutiny just ONCE!

  5. As I remember, all of the 9/11 hijackers had entered and were remaining the US legally! In fact, an extension of a student visa for one of the cowardly scum had been issued to him AFTER the WTC bombing!

    Thanks to the reckless incompetence of other federal agencies (chiefly INS and FBI), we must now forever bear the burden of all these pointless TSA and DHS indignities whenever we fly!!

  6. Paul:

    Good points! If private businesses were required to follow constitutional due process like oath-sworn bureaucrats that might work also.

    Mission-Creep is a huge problem. For example: What happens if we effectively win the so-called “War on a Tactic” after 9/11? Will these agencies shrink as their mission changes or will they mission-creep to investigate “non-terrorism” and “non-criminal” cases?

    It’s already started to happen. Whether you agree or not with legal constitutional exercises like Black Lives Matter, Occupy Wall Street or the Tea Party – those agencies at the federal, state and local levels are using post 9/11 “terrorism” authorities for “non-terrorism” and even “non-criminal” investigations – which are still governed by our Bill of Rights.

    In other words the hard part is defining what the mission is no matter whether it’s government to private. Private contractors tortured and killed people also.

  7. Karen S :
    No, using CIA scum would be a very bad idea. If an “open” agency like TSA, which at least pretends to have theoretical channels of accountability does whatever it wants, the problem would be worsened by using staff from an agency which has ZERO accountability to anyone but itself. Also, I don’t think the CIA, in any case, would allow its personnel to show their faces openly in public, while being identified as CIA personnel.

  8. Instead of careless cutting of agency budgets or abolishing entire agencies altogether, we need “customer-focused performance pay” to make them function better. Money talks, bureaucrats only respond to issues linked to their paychecks and bonuses – nothing else will motivate the necessary action.

    For example: Veterans that risked life and limb go homeless because a VA bureaucracy can’t print out a check and mail it a timely manner – the simplest task of any bureaucracy.

    The solution is you need “competition” within agencies themselves where employees are “financially” rewarded or penalized based on serving their customers. It night mean dividing agencies into separate facilities so “Team A” competes against “Team B” within the Veterans Administration using some sort of voucher program.

    If a veteran hasn’t received his or her check within 30 days using “Team A”, the veteran can choose “Team B” who can print out a check and mail it on time. “Team B” gets a bonus in their paycheck while “Team A” gets no pay raise or even docked 10% for allowing veterans to go homeless.

    In a competitive environment, employees from “Team A” will be applying for jobs with “Team B” – shrinking the dysfunctional bureaucracy and growing the bureaucracy that serves it’s customers.

    Bureaucrats only respond to money – nothing else motivates them.

    1. RB – what we need is for each government agency and sub-agency to go to zero based budgeting. They have to prove their worth every year and every dollar they are spending. Those that cannot prove their worth would be eliminated. Then they should have to compete with private organizations to see if they can do the same job for less money. If they cannot, the private firm gets the job.

  9. Adding to the issues is states in non-compliance with Feds re. driver’s licenses.
    In Seattle, I’ve seen numerous folks turned back. Our wonderful state (so PC) doesn’t comply with:

    A photo ID, or a non-photo ID that includes full legal name and birthdate
    Documentation of birth date
    Documentation of legal status and Social Security number
    Documentation showing name and principal residence address
    Note: SSN is not on license.

    As a GOES card holder, I have also had to learn that buying a ticket online better have every element of your passport name included…middle name, not initial or blank. If ticket doesn’t say “Precheck”, having all the other documentation in the world won’t work….get inline.

    Where the GOES system really pays off is in reentry through customs.

    In some sense, I’d just as soon others kept opting out.

  10. Conservatives oppose bloated government over-reach. We want an efficient government that remembers its core tasks. I’m not loyal to any party, but I’m a fiscal conservative, so I oppose the frantic tax and spend of the ultra Left. I think we could deflate a lot of our animosity between parties and towards Congress if we would take the money to of politics (with campaign finance reform and the end of forced union political donations), and if our government would learn to live within its means. Just those two resolutions alone would likely bring people together.

    Right now, we keep throwing money at all sorts of little pet projects, while ignoring our most basic government responsibilities. On the state level, you have CA spending money we don’t have on a $65 billion (and rising) vacation train to San Francisco (estimated to be mostly empty and subsidized forever), while we have some of the worst potholed roads in the nation. That’s a failure of priorities.

  11. phillyT:

    “Republicans who hate government and believe it cannot and should not work for the people, get themselves elected and then do everything in their power to make sure it comes true. Underfund everything.”

    No, no, no, that’s just a gimmick for Dems to get votes. “Republicans hate government.” The GOP has plenty of spending problems of its own. And as was noted in the article above, the TSA has a massive budget.

    It’s not the Republican’s fault the TSA sucks. Just like it’s not their fault that the DMV sucks. It’s because it’s another bloated union. It’s because the government overpays for contracts that under deliver, no matter who’s in office.

    Security guards are a bit of a joke to law enforcement. Do we really want something as important as stopping people who want to bring down planes full of men, women, and children to bored security guards who have brain fatigue from the factory model?

  12. maplady, Great information. Thanks. My wife and I have undergone several background checks in our lifetime. So, we often get pre-check for free on flights. But, it’s on a flight by flight basis. If I was still working full time I would definitely purchase it. Everyone I asked who flies for biz has purchased it. So, they got the 6.5 million road warriors and not many more.

  13. Part of the problem with long wait lines is due to the failure of Pre- check to take off in popularity amounts fliers.

    The TSA let go 10 % of in workforce in the last three years in anticipation of more travelers joining Pre- check which costs $85 – $100 for 5 years.

    Th agency had anticipated 25 million people to join, however only 6.5 have enrolled in Trusted traveled programs to include Pre- Check and Global Entry, with over 2 million enrolled in Pre- Check only.

    The reception of paying for Pre- Check has been lukewarm , at best, and for a time the TSA was randomly allowing non- approved passengers to ” experience” Pre- Check in the hopes of increasing enrollment. Apparently, that too has been discontinued due to increased security threats.

  14. Jeremy

    As expected, you lack the capacity to comprehend my comment. I never claimed that the TSA was infallible or beyond reproach. Never, once. I also never claimed that there was no room for improvement. Never, once. I simply stated that I was grateful for the TSA’s presence, as I realize the crucial part and role which it plays in keeping the traveling public safe–yes, even acknowledging the TSA’s warts and flaws. Expressing gratitude for the job that it has performed, thus far, is not inappropriate, but I suppose that degenerate gamblers, like you, don’t get caught up in those niceties. If liars, who twist the words of others, make great poker players, then you, undoubtedly, will make a great participant in those games. Great poker players know how to con others–good luck with that.

  15. Republicans who hate government and believe it cannot and should not work for the people, get themselves elected and then do everything in their power to make sure it comes true. Underfund everything. Strip oversight and inspectors general of all funding and authority. Burrow in incompetent employees. Run for re-election. Rinse. Repeat.

  16. Hey Bam Bam, if you’re at a poker table and you don’t know who the sucker is, then it is YOU!

    “Department of Homeland Security investigation found, “TSA agents failed 67 out of 70 tests, with Red Team members repeatedly able to get potential weapons through checkpoints.”

    In other words, approximately 95.7% of the time, the faux terrorists were able to get something deadly past the TSA.”

    “As libertarian blogger Glenn Harlan Reynolds noted in 2013, it looks a lot like the TSA is “security theater” put on to present the illusion of safety.”

    1. Jeremy – I have been at the poker table where the players were equally matched. Makes for 5 or 6 hours of high stress poker. No one to pick on.

  17. I travel quite frequently–both for business and for pleasure. I get to the airport, giving ample time for the security screenings, where I just cooperate, hold my nose and get through the lines with patience. Lots and lots of patience. It’s all about one’s attitude–I am, consciously, grateful and appreciative that there is a modicum of security at these airports which serves to filter out most–not all–of the contraband being brought onboard by wackadoo passengers. Hundreds and hundreds of guns and weapons are confiscated at these checkpoints, across the country, every year. I can only imagine what our safety, in the skies, would be like, minus those individuals, working for the TSA, who you, the commenters, relegate to the status of fools and incompetents. Of course, those of you who rail against the status quo, never, ever acknowledge the triumphs and victories achieved because of these supposed cretins. How many of you will ever realize the number of lives that were saved because of those people that you call bungling fools? That’s just it–you never will, and, why? Because calamities, which were averted, because one of those knucklehead TSA agents was doing his job, doesn’t make the news. A little empathy goes a long way, as I fully realize and comprehend that working for the TSA is a tedious and thankless job. Please, spare me the lectures about the multitude of gaps in security. I know that they exist and need to be addressed. That doesn’t excuse the obvious incapacity of most on this thread to appreciate the tasks performed by these TSA workers on a daily basis, not to mention the abuse to which they are routinely exposed by hostile and combative passengers. I make a special effort to thank those with whom I come into contact during these procedures–it’s not a fake gesture, as I truly appreciate their efforts to get me, in one piece, to my destination. Try it.

  18. People could quit flying for a day or two. That would take care of the problem, quickly. I quit flying 16 years ago. If I can’t drive, I don’t go. I refuse to put up with it.

  19. OK, the TSA does a poor job at airport security. Their hiring practices are abysmal. They laugh and point at our naked body scans, which are not as safe as advertised. And they miss security threats, real and trial. Our government overpays for contracts that under deliver all the time.

    We should emulate the airport security of Israel. Since pretty much all of their neighbors want to kill them, they’re quite good at airport security. Our security should be handled by our military, since they are looking for terrorist threats, among other things. They could rotate out personnel on short tours of duty, (or whoever drew the short straw) so they would not experience total brain fog. Another option would be rotating in police or CIA personnel.

    Oh, and for those who claim that privatization of airport security would cost more, I’m not convinced. Although that is not the direction I would want to go, take the example of the government healthcare website. Somehow, Amazon manages to create a consumer interface internationally, at such low cost that competitor big box stores are folding. Our government overpaid for a website with zero security, that kept crashing, and that transmitted inaccurate data. If Amazon did that, people would shop elsewhere. The problem with airport security (and the Exchange) is that consumers CANNOT shop elsewhere if they need a flight.

    1. Karen – I would suggest using our military, however Obama has cut the military down so much that we do not have enough forces to man that many airports.

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