Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Fondling Fees Expected to Double

You may soon be paying twice the price for that affectionate send-off you receive from agents of the Transportation Security Administration. The Democratic-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee has approved an increase in the one-way fee from $2.50 to $5.00, and in the round-trip fee from $5.00 to $10.00. No "two-fer" specials have been announced to date.
The author of the proposal, Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., said that the current fee structure only covers about one-fourth of TSA's airport security costs and that people who fly should bear a greater cost of TSA's $7.6 billion budget – rather than taxpayers as a whole.
Let's not forget that they're going to need all these funds to expand VIPER, the Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response teams, which have been increasingly a presence in metro stations, ballgames, on highways, in truckstops, and at Amtrak stations. Talk about an appropriate acronym!

And we should make note of the TSA's own list of Top 10 Good Catches of 2011 , which includes snakes, turtles, birds, a science project, inert land mines, knives, and firearms. Even small chunks of C4 explosives -- on the active-duty soldier's (and demolition expert) return flight, while also missing a smoke grenade he was carrying.

Nevermind that TSA's activities boil down to little more than security theatre, with blind spots in the scanners and agents that allow daggers, stun guns, chef's knives, invalid boarding passes, fake day-old boarding passes, and even intruders onto planes.

Nevermind that TSA's waste is legendary.
The Transportation Security Administration has shelved $184 million in security equipment in a Texas warehouse rather than in the airports for which it was bought, according to a report compiled by House Republican investigators.

When House investigators sought information about the stored material, the TSA “provided inaccurate, incomplete, and potentially misleading information . . . to conceal the agency’s mismanagement of warehouse operations.”

The report by staff investigators said the TSA was slow to supply them with an inventory of the warehoused equipment and then stalled their efforts to visit the site. The delay was a deliberate effort to get rid of 1,300 pieces of unused screening equipment before investigators arrived in February, the report said.
Nevermind that the TSA has never caught a terrorist, and probably never will.
A tenured mathematics professor, applied something called Bayes Rule and the concept of Base Rate Fallacy to the TSA's behavior-detection methods. Stay with me, here. It revealed that even if TSA's current screening practices were 100 percent effective, only one in 5 million flagged "high risk" passengers would be a terrorist.

"The experience to date is 50,000 false positives and 16 known terrorists not flagged," says Thomson. "No known terrorists have ever been flagged."
Nevermind that the TSA has been guilty of 25,000 security breaches since 2001.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House subcommittee on National Security, asserted today during the opening of a hearing on the TSA and Airport Security that the agency has committed 25,000 security breaches in the past ten years.

Chaffetz, who authored a bill requiring the TSA to obtain parental consent before touching a minor child, claimed that since 2001 more than 14,000 people have managed to access areas of the airport that are off-limits and that 6,000 passengers or their luggage made it past airport security checkpoints without proper scrutiny.
Nevermind that airline fees have caught plenty of flack from members of the same august political body.
Airline fees continue to be a political hot potato on Capitol Hill. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has been vocal about airlines' practice of charging more for premium seats, meaning families who don't want to pay more often have to sit apart. Schumer has proposed a fee waiver for families who want to sit together.
Nevermind that roughly 20% of the cash you fork over consists of taxes already.
"Aviation is already taxed at the highest rate of any industry in the country," Hutchison said. "The industry's federal tax burden on a typical $300 round-trip ticket has nearly tripled since 1972 from $22 to $61."
After all, who would stop teens with handgun designs on their pocketbooks, repeatedly rescan passengers with "cute figures", steal passenger valuables, employ ex-priests accused of sex abuse, force old ladies to remove their diapers during searches, maul children with leg braces, accept bribes from drugrunners, and sleep on the job, all while failing to detect box cutters in carry-on luggage, if it weren't for the fine members of the Testicle Squeezing Authority?

Even President Obama says there's no alternative.

...and that's all I have to say about that.
Bonus: Huffington Post reveals 5 Things The TSA Doesn't Want You To See (VIDEO)

Author's Note: Yes, I'm aware that I missed dozens of stories of equally-egregious actions by the TSA, some even sillier or more curse-worthy. Consider this essay a survey, not an exhaustive list... but feel free to contribute your favorite stories in the comments.

1 comment:

  1. The responsibility for security rests logically and practically with the airlines themselves, but safely finding and restraining people who might actually pose a danger to others is also everyone's responsibility in the long run.

    It worked for a very long time, until people were told to "give them what they want" and let them hijack airplanes. What a sick joke.

    Personally, I'll not fly again until the check in clerk asks me if I need frangible ammunition for my openly carried sidearm. And if they want to be really great, maybe even a discount on my ticket for being armed and able to defend their property and the lives of other people.

    Just how many attempts at hijacking do you think would happen under those conditions? It never did happen until they started disarming everyone and insisting on everyone being a helpless victim.