Recently, the Department of Homeland Security decided to test the effectiveness of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) by conducting a series of undercover tests. The results were quite shocking.
Investigators were able to smuggle mock explosive and banned weapons in 67 out of 70 attempts. That's a failure rate of 95 percent!
In one of the tests, for example, an investigator with a fake bomb attached to his back set off an alarm but was allowed to pass through after a pat-down. What if this wasn't a test?
In response to these findings, the TSA acting administrator resigned from his position… Oh wait, he didn't – he was reassigned to another DHS agency.
The Secretary of Homeland Security also promised to conduct training for all TSA agents to address issues revealed by the tests.
Imagine the following scenario…
An independent investigations of Starbucks coffee shops in New York reveals that 67 out of 70 Caramel Macchiatos contain traces of urine. In the fallout of this controversial finding, the head manager of the New York branch is re-assigned to Starbuck's Washington office, and the company's employees are offered extensive training to make sure urine doesn't end up in people's drinks. How would you feel if this actually happened?
The job of TSA agents is to prevent the smuggling of dangerous weapons onboard passenger planes. A randomized test reveals that those agents are incapable of doing their jobs, and as a result, they only receive a slap on the wrist in the form of "training."
In the private sector, employees and their managers would be fired on the spot. TSA's incompetence is, by itself, not that surprising. What is surprising is the way this incompetence is being addressed – or not addressed.
Plus, airport security has killed over 7,000 Americans since 9/11, by reducing air travel and exposing travelers to far more dangerous road conditions. By the way, that’s more than the number of people killed on 9/11. This is the equivalent of four fully loaded Boeing 737s crashing in flames each and every year.
When the government monopolizes a service, it eliminates all competition, and in the absence of external pressure to improve, the internals of government organizations fester and rot. The next time you travel by plane, make sure you hold your nose as you go through airport security. You don't want the smell of decay to ruin your day.
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