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TSA Creator Says Dismantle, Privatize the Agency

“It mushroomed into an army,” Mica said. “It’s gone from a couple-billion-dollar enterprise to close to $9 billion.” As for keeping the American public safe, Mica says, “They’ve failed to actually detect any threat in 10 years.” “Everything they have done has been reactive. They take shoes off because of [shoe-bomber] Richard Reid, passengers are patted down because of the diaper bomber, and you can’t pack liquids because the British uncovered a plot using liquids,” Mica said. “It’s an agency… ( 更多...

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Watch Dog 0
I wonder how much money Mr. John "TSA" Mica expects to be paid by private firms as a "consultant" once he leaves office? Hmmmm.. Or how much money are these private firms that would run the new privatized TSA willing to "donate" to his re-election campaigns?

TSA not working for ya there John? Well get this, Congress isn't working for me. The whole hill has been "hijacked by bureaucrats" and "is always one step out of step."

So how about let's privatize your job, and while we're at it, let's just go ahead and completely abolish the TSA. It sucks, you suck. End of story.
preacher1 0
Regardlesss of what is thought about Mica, there is a whole lot wrong with the agency. That being said, since it is a high profile agency that is pretty much hated by the traveling public, any problem that comes along will be totally blown out of proportion and a few bad apples will cast shame and doubt over all the good working people out there that are just trying to do a good job. There needs to be a cleanup of some kind and a redirection. Maybe it is to big for that and time just to scrap it and start over. I personally don't think there is a simple, single, solution no more than 1 individual will fix it.
Chris Bryant 0
I have no problem with privatizing the screeners. A lot of them were the same people that did the lousy job of screening BEFORE 9/11 anyway.
But it'll never happen. "You don't professionalize unless you Federalize" became the rallying cry to create this monstrosity of a government agency. Why is anyone surprised? And, with the current administration's pure love of everything union, we'll be putting up with these mouth-breathers for years to come.
99NY 0
IMO privitization of the TSA will fail in much the same way that privitzation fails on so many ex-gov't projects; the bottom line. Sad as it is, the US Gov't is clearly not concerned with the bottom line, red ink or black ink...damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.

Private operation of the TSA may shrink the size, scope and red tape now plaguing the agency, but I doubt highly it will make flying any safer. Private companies have no obligation to maintain their level of service in the face of sliding revenues, they will instead continue providing the service at a cheaper price. When it comes to the job performed by the TSA, that could be disasterous.

Just yank the TSA, put security back the way it was and take the savings on operating the agency and put it towards more strident intelligence-gathering efforts.
canuck44 0
Canada has proven that privatization for security (and ATC functions) works perfectly well in private hands. The big advantage is local accountability at the individual airports who actually do the hiring of either a company or bureau to run it or do it themselves. The feds are left to provide oversight of standards which they set.

Yes there will be cost savings, but there should be no loss in quality which should actually improve dramatically. The current program will end up as a unionized money laundering scheme to collect union dues and filter them through to the politicians.
Matt Comerford 0
He was for it, before he was against it ;)
Jeremy Kudlick 0
"Instead, the agency should number no more than 5,000, and carry out his original intent, which was to monitor terrorist threats and collect intelligence."

If that was his original intent, why does the Aviation and Transportation Security Act specifically provide for the hiring and training of all of the airport screeners in the country? If he wanted it to still be private screeners, then the bill should have been written that way rather than giving airports the option of opting out of federal screeners. If all he wanted was yet another intelligence agency (among the 12-14 other intelligence agencies in this country), then the bill should have been written that way. Mica's not a newcomer to this field, so pleading ignorance now is 10 years too late. As the adage says, be careful what you wish for.
Jeremy Kudlick 0
"Instead, the agency should number no more than 5,000, and carry out his original intent, which was to monitor terrorist threats and collect intelligence."

If this is all Mica wanted, then why was the Aviation and Transportation Security Act written to allow the hiring and training of all the airport security screeners? If Mica really still wanted private screeners, the bill should have been written that way without an option for airports to return to private screeners. If Mica really wanted yet another intelligence agency (to go along with the other 12-14 intelligence agencies we have), then that's how the bill should have been written. Claiming "buyer's regret" 10 years after the fact doesn't work. As for being reactive - if the TSA says, "Here's a new security procedure," but nothing has happened yet to cause it, the public will be even more pissed off than if they roll out the procedure after something happens.

Sometimes I really wish our aviation security was more like Israel's.
How about tomorrow?
Steven Bears 0
I'm sure there are many good officers but I met one at Tulsa International that made me feel I was watching a re-run of Andy Griffith. I kept waiting for him to pull his bullet out of his pocket. Evidently they have no supervision or training.He told me no-one could be near any perimeter fence,so I guess no-one can travel any surrounding streets or go in any businesses around the airport.
Well duhhhh... please, legislators, remember this for next time. Citizens are the only ones who ever pay for legislators' mistakes. I agree also with Watch Dog below. Being 'privatized' would only create one of those ineffectual zombie public-private partnership (such a en-vogue buzzword these days, sadly) relationships like Freddie/Fannie/Ginnie/Sallie and the USPS (which, BTW, is a private corporation...under government auspices).

o Remove security restrictions to advisory status, and update advisories to industry as threat situation is reckoned.

o Transfer responsibility for security provision to individual airlines and airports while recommending they consider partnering, where sensible.

o Declare that there will be no Federal subsidy paid for security services (drives up costs, while homogenizing and increasing inefficiency of service delivered). Remove any currently imposed Federal fees for security provision by TSA.

o Examine civil liability landscape for airports and air-carriers. Allow industry to be liable for any negligence in its security practices which can be tied to any breach resulting in harm. (I.e. It's not an airline's fault if a terrorist commits an act which does harm, but if it can be shown the airline knew or should have reasonably foreseen the likelihood of an attack, they are partly responsible to cover the consequences in lives and property.)

That outta get things re-started, at least. Industry should be able to be less intrusive and more nimble in responding to the threat environment. The goal is to shutdown the moral-hazard problem on which our government is keen lately on making ever more exceptions in the name of this or that.

Let individuals and industry make their own decisions and be responsible for them. Things will begin to trend favorably the more we commit to such a stance.
Stephen Brown 0
Watch dog,

the problem with the TSA right now is that there is no other competition. By privitizing a government allows the private sector come alive. BY privitizing you have competition by other security companies, meaning people can lose their jobs if they don't perform.
Matt Comerford 0
"Choice and Competition" lol
Chris Bryant 0
@John Donaldson - and how much does it cost a pilot in Canada to file an IFR flight plan???
N5827P 0
While I agree with Mica that it is an agency out of control, Congress does have oversight responsibilities. Congress is the major agency out of control. I also agree with Watch Dog. Private screeners were in charge when 9/11 happened. Let's not go back to that. Get the TSA in the security business and out of the harassment business. Find some management out there.
NavCom 0
It cost me $85.00 (that would be about $87.00 USD) per year for Nav Canada Services and that includes unlimited flight plans whether they be VFR or IFR plus other benefits like flight following, wx briefings etc. Eventually US pilots will have to pat for services. Watch Obama's 2nd term. You will probably have a national sales tax like most other countries too.
Stephen Boyle 0
Thousand Standing Around getting paid will hopefully but unfournatley soon be Thousands Sitting At home collecting 2 years of unemployment benfits and possibly 3 years if Mr. Obama gets his awesome "back to work" bill passed which should be labled "back to work you already employed people to pay for more unemployment benefits and infastructure spending that we do not need.

TSA is not needed. Let the airlines, flight crew and passangers handle secrutiy on their flights. Let citzens carry non lethal rounds (pilots can get the good stuff if need be)or maybe those police tazers on to a comemrcial airliner who feel comfortable doing so. Sure as hell would of stopped 9/11 from happening unlike TSA where an agent claimed "he had an uneasy feeling" about Muhammad Atta as he walked through securtiy and had his box cutters or knike as the flight attendenat Betty Ong (RIP) said x-rayed by the other idiot (TSA) not paying attention to the x-ray screen.
N5827P 0
In response to NavCom: I already pay for the FAA services, I use (and many I don't) through the fuel tax. If the fuel tax is rescinded, I would be willing to pay user fees. I prefer the fuel tax option, but either is OK, but not both. By the way, Obama has in the past supported the fuel tax option.
Steven Cole 0
I agree. This should be a private organization.
Stephen Boyle; Check your facts? TSA was not around before 9/11. So, who are you talking about? Ohhhhh, that was the private security screeners that let Atta thru.Do you feel safe now???
You also want passengers to carry non lethal rounds. Oh that's very smart.Passengers on a plane with a loaded gun (Dodge City). All it takes is a crack from a non lethal round in the window, to bring the plane down. Who's going to pay the lawyers when they sue the airlines after a gun mistakenly goes off and injuries a someone. Tell me, did you think at all before submitting these (OUT OF YOUR) mind ideas?
NavCom 0
N5827P...I believe we had a fuel tax at one time as well that paid for ATC services but when our system was privatized the gov't kept the tax money. That was the time our country's finances were in a bad state of affairs. I am just saying I have seen it before. COPA tried its best to have the aviation fuel tax pay for services but to no avail. I see your organization, AOPA, now going through the same hurdles that COPA tried jumping over about 10 years ago. We pay about 7.00 a gallon (including taxes) for avgas in my area.
Rodger Johnson 0
Why am I not surprised. People need to realize most government agencies have initial intentions that are good but end up hurting in the end. Privatizing is the solution for this and many other things!
American people it is not unreasonable to ask a few simple questions:

If airports begin to secede will Mica stay in office?

Will Mica support legislation closing the golden revolving door between Homeland Security and private contractors?

Will Mica pledge that neither he, nor his staff or family members will personally profit by taking jobs with aviation security firms or their affiliates?

Does Mica support airports opting-out of the FAA?

Does Mica support secessionist airports losing all federal funding or is he simply fronting for private for-profit firms to receive federal funds without federal obligations?

The answers to these questions are a small price to pay to ensure that those safeguarding aviation are serving the interests of public security over the private financial security of those seeking to profit in the name of 9/11.

Remember also Mica is advocating the return of an army of minimum waged workers tasked with protecting the nations and the world's economy, not just planes. Because, what happens if something goes wrong? That's when all the lemmings screaming for small government are going to be asking where the big government was and how long will it take to get them back?
jim russell 0
i say close the entire thing down.
richard weiss 0
Tom Decoste, at this point we are are paying minimum wage workers GS level salaries, with government paid benefits, now with the right to unionize to do a job that could be done for far less tax dollars. In my small hometown airport parking lot, I counted 14 federal government cars with DHS license tags, all paid for by us. I counted a minimum of 7 workers per screening line. One of those federal employees does nothing but pick up the plastic tubs we put our belonging in and move them to the other end of the line. I was in Budapest last spring. They have devised a method of using a conveyor belt that does the job. This TSA gig is a jobs program that will not die without the public speaking up and making it die. Our country is 16 TRILLION dollars in debt. Yet we will not face the fact we can protect our airports for far less. We're protecting too large of a perimeter. With reinforced cockpit doors, armed pilots and a very agressive, angry traveling public, bad guys doesn't stand a chance of taking over an aircraft. But we still pat down disabled nuns and 6 year old kids looking for ... What.

Tom Decoste, you seem very concerned that Mica will enrich himself. That is an understandable concern. Yet you are not concerned about the billions it cost us to keep the TSA in operation. You can't have it both ways, Tom. I watched as the TSA put their employees up at airport Marriott hotels, at government rate(about $125.00 per night per person,) paid them per diem, plus salary, to attend classes in rented space at the same hotels, while our troops, heading in to combat, were relegated to the Super 8 across the street.

We are burning tax dollars, and as a bonus, we're mocking our constitution, with unreasonable search and seizure.
Dear Richard, TSA IS NOT, I repeat, IS NOT on the same level pay scale as GS employess. As a matter of fact,TSA is a bit below the GS pay scale. (A conveyor belt to move plastic tubes.) How much does it cost per hour to run that conveyor belt? How much does it cost to fix it when it breaks down?Probably a whole lot more than than that one person to move the plastic bins. 16 Trillion dollars in debt? What do you expect fighting two(2)wars at the same time? Do you know how much it cost the United States a day to forward deploy the Army,Navy,Airfoce and Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq? Do the math? You said,"We're protecting too large of a perimeter." Hellooooo Richard, terroist don't want to just take over a plane, they also want to blow them up! Stopping the knives,guns and bombs from entering the plane is not too large a perimeter. Ask any survivor of 9/11? Ask any one who lost love ones on 9/11?
richard weiss 0
Ah ha, steel jaw is exposing his full fledged anti war stance. He feels we wasted our money and lives defeating the enemy on their own territory. We should have waited for them to show up at an airport security line to start the shooting war. How naive'. In the 7 years we fought the war on multiple fronts, the previous administration raised the debt by 4 billion. The idiot running the circus today has raised it 6 billion in two years, with the spending on war fronts deminishing.

Good job TSA. with all the pat downs and molestations of our kids, the bomb plots were stopped by passengers and flight attendents. All that stuff used to attempt to blow up aircraft got by those highly skilled gropers. By the TSA's own statements, they are failing to stop a high percentage of dangerous items. The perimeter is too big.

Conveyor belts. I know it may come as a complete surprise to Steeljaw, but conveyor belts have been around for a couple of hundred years. If reliablity had been a problem, we might have given up on them in 1883.

You don't want to automate the system, because it would reduce the payroll at TSA.
Rick Ahlgren 0
So Mica screws it up by passing poorly-thought-out legislation and now he wants to capitalize on that by privatizing the TSA. Introduce the profit motive and the screeners being hired will be even more bottom-of-the-barrel.

How about going back and fixing the legislation and implementing some sensible procedures?

And how about spending some money on designing a sensible security process? As it is, the tables are not wide enough, and available space is taken up by stacks of bins. Often the empty bins stack up at the other end, and passengers are forced to scrounge around for them while the TSA people are asleep at the wheel.

They've had ten years to do this, and for the most part, it's still a system that was hacked together back then


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