Subcommittee Hearing: Rightsizing TSA Bureaucracy and Workforce Without Compromising Security

Discussion in 'Aviation Passenger Security in the USA' started by Fisher1949, Mar 22, 2012.

  1. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    That's Gary Johnson :).
  2. Fisher1949

    Fisher1949 Original Member Coach

    As I keep saying, it's all about the money and who gets their hands n the cookie jar.

    Five years ago the Repubs loved TSA and the Dems hated them. Come 2008 and poof, the tables turned. If Romney wins another switcheroo ensues. If not, more of the same, maybe worse. Either way we all lose.

    They all pay lip service to serving the people when they really couldn't give a damn other than to capture their votes.

    They just want people to pick a team like it's a football game and confine the league to the two teams currently splitting the spoils. A third party would just be too messy since everyone knows that you can't divide a dollar into thirds.

    The real winners in this this are the bureaucrats who pass laws by fiat in the form on new regulations that never see a vote or Congressional debate.

    Stalin once said "I don't run Russia, the bureaucrats do". So here we are being groped, strip searched and irradiated because some sicko appointee decided it was was a good idea and after nearly 18 months later Congress is unable to turn it back. Maybe Stalin was on to something.
    Sunny Goth and Lisa Simeone like this.
  3. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Well, except for his support of for-profit prisons.
  4. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I'd forgotten about him. He's not still running, is he?

    And yeah, his position on for-profit prisons is bad, but he doesn't seem like an unreasonable person, maybe his support of those can be changed?
  5. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    He's running for the Libertarian Party nomination. Latest poll has him at 7%, and he's almost close to enough donations to get federal matching funds.

    I think, frankly, that the way the prison service contracting has played out over the past decade has not been what he expected when in office. Back in the early 2000s I was doing some work on privatization of government services and technology/"e-government" issues, and my recollection of the arguments in favor of such privatization emphasized the ability to hold the contractors accountable for the specific performance of services and the ability to measure and monitor their provision. I don't think they foresaw the pernicious interaction between the prison service provision incentives and the judicial system/law enforcement system incentives.
  6. lkkinetic

    lkkinetic Original Member

    In other words, I'd bet that if you asked him today about prison privatization, he'd answer differently than he did then.
  7. Sunny Goth

    Sunny Goth Original Member Coach

    I could believe that (based on what you said above).
    Lisa Simeone likes this.
  8. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Very interesting. And understandable. And disturbing. These are the same arguments people are making today about privatizing airport security. As if that will somehow make it more "accountable."
  9. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    I've been looking for news reports in the aftermath of this hearing. Not that I expected anything to happen with the TSA, but it looks like the failure of TWIC was a concern:
    And look at this -- the TSA guy is totally ignorant of what his agency is doing:
    We know they pulled over cars in Florida.
  10. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Lest anyone has forgotten --

    To be fair, McLaughlin did say, “not to my knowledge.” And given he is an administrator at the TSA ...

    More to the point: McLaughlin is either knowingly lying under oath, or truly does not have a firm grasp of his agency’s operations. I don’t know which is more frightening. But since these hearings are about as much of a theatre production as the TSA operations themselves, does it really matter?

    In addition, TSA is involved daily in bag-swab operations on the Boston and NY subways.

    Here is a pic from last week to get your blood boiling --


    NINE transit cops and THREE TSOs in this operation. Three TSOs to operate two ETD machines. Or, as in this pic, one TSO to use one machine, and two TSOs to shoot the breeze.
  11. Doober

    Doober Original Member

    Why would anyone in their right mind let the TSA check anything at a subway station?
  12. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Because the transit police have claimed the authority to deny you access to that entrance if you refuse a search.

    Never mind that ...
    • Many stations (especially in NY) have multiple entrances.
    • If you were intent on doing harm, the downtown stops are blocks apart.
    • Many "stops" are for light rail, on the street, and do not have the space for a checkpoint.
    • In this case, if you enter through the rightmost gates, you would not have been stopped, since the cop pulling passengers aside (only around 10%, during a few-minute sample observation) was in the middle.
    • If you enter as a "the train is approaching" announcement comes on and are running to the gate (a very common occurrence), without making any eye contact, there's no way the cop would intercede.
    It boggles my mind to think that anyone in authority actually thinks that these checkpoints add any security.

    Therefore I can only conclude that the maker of the ETD (Smiths perhaps) has made some good contributions to key politicians.
  13. What happens if you false alarm the ETD in this situation, I wonder?
  14. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    The same reason passengers let TSOs touch them at airports.

    They don't want to miss their train or flight.

    And in the case of the subway checkpoints, lots of people think they are deterring something.

    I got to talking with a guy seated on the bench next to me, as I was observing the subway checkpoint. He was from western MA and did not regularly ride transit. I explained how these checkpoints are completely useless. And then he asked, "So, what do you suggest should be done?" My answer: "Nothing. How is a subway any different than a crowd of people on the street? We don't have cops stopping you to search your bag while walking through Times Square. [Unless you're a minority: see NYPD's stop-and-frisk.]

    Yet, all many people can think about is that over the past decade, of the hundreds of billions of subway rides that have taken place uneventfully worldwide, a hundred or so, in London, ended in a bombing. Therefore, something has to be done.
  15. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    I'm guessing it would then move to a physical search of one's bag.

    And suppose the checkpoint did uncover a suicide bomber: by blowing himself at the checkpoint, rather than on the train, he'd take out nine cops and a three TSOs (no jokes, please).

    At least one of the cops spent most of the time helping riders with ticket machines. I don't know whether it's TSA or the transit police who set the TSO-to-cop ratio.

    Either way, it's disgusting.
  16. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Because the sheeple can't be bothered to stand up for their rights. God knows I've talked to enough of them.
  17. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    But, Lisa, even if every passenger chosen for a swab declined the search and walked away, what difference would it make? It would only make a difference if you make the assumption that these checkpoints are about providing security against a suicide bomber. But if you assume that these checkpoints are really about lining the pockets of Smiths and company in exchange for some nice contributions, then the equipment is purchased regardless of whether one hundred or zero bags are swabbed.

    The searches -- initially set up by Romney during the 2004 DNC -- used to be physical searches. The bag swabbing, besides feeding the homeland security industry, make the searches more palatable to the gullible public: "they're not looking inside your bag; they're merely running a test swab on it."
  18. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Because if every passenger declined and walked away, the powers-that-be wouldn't get away with it. Simple as that.
  19. saulblum

    saulblum Original Member

    Why are you so sure of that? Again, that reasoning assumes that the core function of such checkpoints (and VIPR searches in general) is to enhance security.

    Besides, it's silly to hope for all passengers to decline and walk away. But suppose half did: would it still make any difference?

    VIPR is perhaps even more egregious than the TSA's operations at airports. Few people claim that no security checkpoints are needed at airports. (Though, with hijacking no longer a viable attack method, even if the hijackers were armed, one could argue why planes need any more security than Times Square on a Saturday evening.) But VIPR operations are extending the federal government to venues where they were not before, and where it is duplicating local law enforcement that is already present.
  20. Lisa Simeone

    Lisa Simeone Original Member

    Yeah, you're right. There's no point in resisting injustice. Ever.

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