The Police State we now live in is once again flexing its muscles as it is making a political statement with the detention of Senator Rand Paul (R-KY). Of course, the White House is jumping to their defense as press secretary Jay Carney stated.
I think it is absolutely essential that we take necessary actions to ensure that air travel is safe
You can read the entire story here at the Hill – http://thehill.com/blogs/transportation-report/tsa/205813-white-house-sides-with-tsa-in-rand-paul-standoff
I won’t waste time rehashing the laundry list of examples as to why the above statement isn’t true. Rand Paul is an outspoken critic of the TSA and his father plans to eliminate it should he win the Presidency so connecting the dots here is more than obvious. I will comment on this statement however.
“When an irregularity is found during the TSA screening process, it must be resolved prior to allowing a passenger to proceed to the secure area of the airport,” the agency said Monday in a written statement. “Passengers who refuse to complete the screening process cannot be granted access to the secure area in order to ensure the safety of others traveling”
Patently false. I know from firsthand experience. I was once a TSA screener myself. Let me give you two examples.
I was assigned to checked baggage screening for the first example. I had a passenger come through my line with a large bag of assorted power tools. I followed standard protocol, which was of course much different at the time as this was 2002. I performed a test swipe of the bag and inserted it into the ETD (electronic trace detection) machine. The alert sounded which automatically triggered a full bag search to resolve it. I completely inspected the entire bag and its contents. Several tools could not be cleared as they continued to trip the alarm. A supervisor was then involved. He did the same with similar results. The next logical step would be to disassemble the tool to inspect whats inside. However, by this time we had already consumed a rather large amount of time. In fact, my line had been shutdown to prevent inconveniencing other fliers. The passenger was complainly loudly about missing his flight. So rather than resolving the issue by 100% clearing those tools, my supervisor put him on the plane so he wouldn’t miss his flight. Nothing ever happened, but the fact remains that safety was not the primary consideration based upon the TSA protocols.
For example number two, I’ll refer once again to the ETD machine. I was tasked with some basic maintenance functions on the ETD’s at my airport due to my electronics experience. In fact, I had been provided with the manual for the machine by the manufacturer in order to become familiar with the inner workings. I kept the manual in a bag I took to work each day. I had to travel out-of-state for a family issue and I took that bag with me as a carry on. I forgot to remove the manual prior to flying. That bag went through all of the screening procedures at both ends of my round-trip flight. I had several items in that bag which at the time triggered an automatic hand search of the bag due to their nature. As you probably guessed, no one said a word. Here I am, a passenger flying with the manual of exactly how the bomb detection equipment utilized by the TSA works and not a word was said. Safety first?
Those are just a couple of examples. I have several more from my one year with the TSA. I finally quit in disgust as I realized that the TSA was merely a propaganda tool to give the public the illusion that it was safe to fly because the government was there to protect them. Now they have become just another bloated federal agency that is less effective than their private sector counterparts at providing security. Eliminating them as Ron Paul proposes will be a win-win. Save the taxpayers billions of dollars and return security back to the more effective private sector.