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Tag: TSA

Ex-Senator: TSA ‘Is Locked in a Time Warp’ As Lines Get Longer

Airport crowdBy Ex-Senator Judd Gregg
The Hill

The Transportation Security Administration is an agency that really is lost.

The TSA was created in the immediate wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when everything was a bit chaotic.

As a government and as a nation, we were desperate to take actions — and put in place systems — that would avoid a repeat of that horrific day.

Since the attacks had come through the air, air security was one of the obvious and necessary places to begin. Thus the TSA arose.

But like so many things that are created in haste to address an immediate need or threat, reforms are needed. The threat changes over time and the manner of addressing that threat also needs to change.

In the world of government and bureaucracy such adjustments tend to be problematic, however. This is what has happened with the TSA. The agency is locked in a time warp and people who need to get on airplanes are locked in absurdly long lines.

It is appropriate in trying to understand the depth of this problem to review a few facts that were there at the start, when the TSA was born.

First and most important is the event of 9/11 itself.

What made this attack so devastating was something that should have been obvious to anyone interested in how terrorists might try to harm us.

Specifically, it was the use of a commercial airplane filled with fuel as a missile, guided by individuals who were fanatical enough to be willing to sacrifice their lives to deliver this weapon to its target.

Novels had been written using this premise.

But, for reasons never fully explained, no one in the business of protecting our nation had ever come up with a serious strategy to neutralize this threat.

To read more click here. 

Other Stories of Interest

Somali Man Accused of Leading Mass Executions Works As Airport Security in U.S.

somaliaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Yusuf Abdi Ali has been accused of leading mass executions and torture during the country’s civil war in the 1980s.

Despite the enormity of the allegations, Ali managed to pass FBI and TSA checks to work as a security guard at the Dulles International Airport, Fox News reports. 

It appears the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority also was aware of some of the allegations in a lawsuit filed by a human rights group in 2006. He was accused of committing crimes against humanity.

“The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority maintains a contract with Master Security to provide unarmed security services,” said Rob Yingling, a spokesperson. “Master Security’s employees are subject to the full, federally mandated vetting process in order to be approved for an airport badge, including a criminal history records check by the FBI and a security threat assessment by the TSA.”

Ali has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.

“He oversaw some of the most incredible violence that you can imagine,” Kathy Roberts, an attorney for the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA), which is leading the civil lawsuit, told CNN. “He tortured people personally; he oversaw torture.”

Other Stories of Interest

Federal Lawmakers Propose Widely Different Ways to Tackle Long Lines at Airports

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Lawmakers are offering potential solutions to long wait times at airport.

After Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, suggested $28 million in extra funding for three busy northeast airports, another lawmaker suggesting adding private screeners.

The Hill reports that Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., wants the TSA to use more private screeners.

Of the 472 commercial airports, only 22 have help from private contractors.

“My question is: why?” Black said. “Congress must ensure that TSA culture and policies aren’t standing in the way of allowing businesses the ability to compete for these opportunities.”

Black also wants a realistic cost of private contractors.

“Congress can’t keep throwing taxpayer money at a broken agency that, by every metric, is failing our travelers, without demanding reform,” Black said.

Other Stories of Interest

Sen. Schumer Proposes Freeing Up Airport Security Lines with $28M

airport lineBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Responding to complaints about long lines at airports, Sen. Charles Schumer wants to divert $28 million in federal funds to hire 600 new TSA agents.

The New York Post reports that the money would be used for security at JFK, La Guardia and Newark airports.

“We have to do everything we can to reduce wait times,” Schumer said. “It affects thousands of New Yorkers who travel every day, but it affects the whole country because when there are backups here, the rest of the country gets backed up as well.”

The TSA said earlier this month that security-checkpoint wait times had significant increased.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Government Watchdog: TSA Fails to Provide Proper Oversight of Airport Perimeters

airport-photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Transportation Safety Administration has failed to properly oversee airport perimeter security, making the entire U.S. commercial aviation system vulnerable, a government watchdog said.

CNN reports that the  Government Accountability Office issued a scathing report that includes the TSA’ failure to update recommendations to account for new potential threats.

“TSA has not updated this assessment to reflect changes in the airport security risk environment, such as TSA’s subsequent determination of risk from the insider threat — the potential of rogue aviation workers exploiting their credentials, access and knowledge of security procedures throughout the airport for personal gain or to inflict damage,” the report said.

According to TSA data from 2009 to 2015, there was an average of 2,500 breaches every year over the airport access points and perimeter.

Other Stories of Interest

Airports Consider Replacing TSA with Private Screeners to Ease Lines

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Airports frustrated with long security lines are considering firing TSA screeners and replacing them with private contractors.

As wait times have topped two and three hours at some airports, airports are looking for ways to ease the delays, Bloomberg reports. 

Officials at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport are “discussing a variety of options” that included replacing TSA with a private a contractor.

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport is considering a similar move.

San Francisco International uses private screeners.

Jeff Holmgren, the TSA federal security director at the Seattle airport, maintains “there is no statistical difference in terms of effectiveness or efficiency” between federal and private screeners.

Long, Frustrating Airport Security Lines Costs TSA Security Head His Job

Kelly Hoggan, head of security for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

Kelly Hoggan, head of security for the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

By Editorial Board
San Francisco Chronicle

Those long airport lines are getting a short answer. The head of security for the Transportation Security Administration is out after a furor over checkpoint delays and management missteps. Fixing the time-wasting mess remains a top priority.

Some of the nation’s busiest airports have become vast waiting rooms with lines snaking down corridors and reports of travelers by the thousands missing flights. The reason is too few security gates plus foot-dragging delays in adding extra staff at the stations.

The ouster of security head Kelly Hoggan is the result. While safety is a priority, so is a dose of efficiency and practicality. Air travel is entering the summer holiday season with families joining business travelers. The TSA hasn’t responded quickly enough.

By one measure, TSA crews have screened 449 million passengers this year, a jump of 57 million over the same period last year. But there are 5,800 fewer security staff than in 2011. This reduction was made on a belief that travelers would pay extra for PreCheck clearance, which allows them to sidestep lines. Sign-ups have fallen short of predictions.

To read more click here. 

TSA Head of Security Forced Out over Frustrations with Long Airport Lines

Kelly Hogan.

Kelly Hogan.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Amid allegations of mismanagement, Kelly Hoggan, TSA’s assistant administrator for the Office of Security Operations, has been removed from his position.

CNN reports the House Oversight Committee was not happy with allegations of retaliation against whistleblowers and the $90,000 in bonuses that Hoggan received.

The bonuses came at a time when security lines were lengthening.

TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger said he did not “tolerate” potential retaliation and planned to “look into it.”

A memo from Neffenger to employees also announced several changes to TSA management.

“These adjustments will enable more focused leadership and screening operations at critical airports in the national transportation system,” Neffenger wrote in the memo, which CNN obtained from an official within the agency.