Years ago, before September 11, 2001, before terrorists rammed two planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, one into the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and one into a field in Pennsylvania, airport security wasn’t part of the federal government. Instead, it was a private business, and each airport ran their own.
The Transportation Security Administration changed all that, and essentially took over airport security after that fateful day. But now, the TSA is bullying states that even dare to consider going back to their own private, often better-trained security force, saying that they’ll create ‘no-fly zones’ at the offending airports. In doing so, they’re ignoring the law, congress, and abusing their legal power and authority, as well as their federal clout. It’s basically an extortion scam.
The TSA is now fairly monolithic at public airports around the nation. However, the same legislation which created the organization created the ability for airports to ‘opt out’ of the federal government’s mediocre security scheme, as early as two years after they took control.
If only it were that simple for airports to escape the federal government agency’s clutches, though. In January 2011, at least 16 airports tried to ‘opt out’ of service from the TSA, desiring to replace them with a more efficient, better-trained, private option. Still, the organization has not allowed a single airport to escape its clutches, even threatening many with ‘no-fly zone’ status.
Instead, the organization put a ‘freeze’ on the ability of these airports to get rid of the federal government’s stranglehold on their security. In doing so, they violated the same law that gave them the right to exist in the first place.
When Congress saw this was happening, they passed another law, reaffirming the rights of airports to replace their government ‘security’ with competent private security.
In other words, the same agency that they were trying to leave, minimizing that agency’s power, influence, and annual operating budget, was the group that got to make the decision whether or not the airport could handle its own security.
In 2011, the state of Texas decided that it didn’t believe the TSA had the right to pat its citizens down, and passed a law to that effect. In response, the Federal Aviation Administration threatened to make the entire state into a ‘no-fly zone.’
A ‘no-fly zone’ basically means that civilian and commercial aircraft would not be allowed to fly over the area. That means states would basically be unable to move goods or people through the air.
In doing so, they provided their fellow federal agency with the power to override the state through an arbitrary threat that had no logical basis.
Apparently, to the federal government, saving a federal organization with a horrific track record is a worthwhile reason to threaten individual states.
That’s right, the TSA has a terrible track record. When tested, they let through between 80 percent and 95 percent of all simulated weapons. They have not stopped a SINGLE attempted terrorist attack since their inception.
Obviously, airport security before the Department of Homeland Security took it over was not perfect. After all, terrorists managed to get on the planes with box cutters and what they claimed was plastic explosives (we will never know what it was, because plastic explosives burn up in heat), and hijacked multiple planes.
However, over the 17 years since then, most Americans who use airlines for travel have had at least one awful experience with the TSA.
Although the organization which ‘secures’ airports and airplane passengers and hosts some of the most mediocre government employees in the nation is allegedly under control of DHS, in reality it has very little oversight and even less oversight from elected officials who have repeatedly condemned the way that the three letter organization functions.
Consider, for example, the story, published in the New York Times, which discussed how the agency developed a secret ‘watch list’ with no congressional oversight. This ‘watch list’ wasn’t designed to target people that were threats to the country, or even those who had made threatening-sounding jokes in the presence of federal personnel in airports.
Instead, this ‘list’ was for people that TSA agents, some of the least-educated and least-intelligent federal agents, felt offended by, or who created ‘challenges’ to ‘safe and effective’ screening of people at airports.
The people on this ‘list,’ developed without oversight, are subjected to greater scrutiny, including invasive pat-downs and other forms of harassment, when they attempt to go through security lines in the future.
The TSA even had the audacity to defend the practice, saying that they needed a list of ‘unruly’ customers.
The agency continuously abuses the legislation that created it, even though it fails continuously at its stated purpose. In response, the federal government and the DHS have done nothing to hold it to its original design. Instead, they’re talking about letting the TSA take care of trains AMTRAK stations as well.