On CNN’s home page yesterday, the teaser headline was prominently displayed: “STEALING, SLEEPING, THIS IS THE TSA?” It led to this story:
“A new government report says misconduct by Transportation Security Administration workers has increased more than 26% in the last three years. Some of the most serious violations include: Employees sleeping on the job, letting family and friends go without being screened, leaving work without permission and stealing. The Government Accountability Office report released this week says more than 9,000 cases of misconduct were documented over a three-year span. A new government report says misconduct by Transportation Security Administration workers has increased more than 26% in the last three years. A new government report says misconduct by Transportation Security Administration workers has increased more than 26% in the last three years. More than 1,900 of the incidents were deemed significant enough to be possible security threats. ‘There’s not even a way to properly report some of the offenses, so this may be just the tip of the iceberg of some of the offenses,’ said Rep. John Mica, a Florida Republican and longtime critic of the TSA who ordered the audit.”
The cases include not just theft, but in at least one case paying off a supervisor so that the thefts could continue.
Of course, the story reports that the TSA Union assures us that there is nothing scandalous about the TSA as a whole. Due to the immense size of the TSA we should regard these crimes as a drop in the bucket.
First, we don’t even know how many crimes are really being committed. All we know is how many have been officially caught.
Second, where is the evidence that we are any safer than we were before the TSA existed? We are depending on these people for our safety and going through a good deal of extra humiliation and hassle because it is allegedly necessary. Yet this is the kind of people we are trusting?
Third, these people have power over our lives, which is precisely how they are in a position to rob us.
But what is really missing from this story is perspective. The TSA is another government agency that, with both its public union and its state support, is very hard to ever hold accountable. If it wasn’t for a Congressman, John Mica, we wouldn’t even know about these crimes and safety violations. As such an agency, it belongs to the same class as the IRS, the Pentagon, the FBI, or the SEC. And the fact is we regularly hear stories about how their agents are caught using government credit cards for personal gain, or using government computers for porn, or using official mobile phones for sexting.
“The government report calls on the TSA to improve how they monitor allegations of misconduct and how they follow up after investigations.”
That’s not enough. The TSA will always try to cover up their problems and employees will know they have little chance of getting into serious trouble for that reason.
Not reformation, but abolition. End the TSA. We lived without them before. Let us do so again.