Sunday, December 27, 2009

TSA should be eliminated

As a former screener,I have firsthand knowledge of the TSA policies and procedures.With the recent release of the SOP,or standard operating procedure,that was mistakenly posted online and now the terrorist attack on the Delta flight in Detroit,the time has come to end this failed experiment.

The agency was doomed from the outset.It's mission was merely an economic one,to keep people flying after 911.I and a great many other employees questioned many of the practices utilized as being sub-standard from a security standpoint.They simply don't want to make flying too intrusive.It's all for show,simply to give the appearance of safety so that John Q. Public will keep shelling out money to fly.

The attack in Detroit was absolutely a success in terms of defeating the security measures in place just as the Richard Reid shoe bomber attack was.In both cases,these terrorists had bypassed all layers of security.The only reason we didn't experience tragedies is the mere fact that they couldn't detonate the bombs.Poor planning or training or bad luck,whatever,it doesn't matter,they had successfully reached the point where they attempted detonation.

Sure,the other passengers involved can be considered heroic in their efforts to subdue these terrorists,and rightly so,but make no mistake,they could all easily be dead heroes had these bombs ignited properly.The facts remain that security absolutely failed here and I contend they never had a chance as their mandate is not real security,only the appearance of it.

I have cited examples in other posts on how security is lacking.In one case we were never able to clear a passenger whose bags set off the ETD,or electronic trace detection,bomb sniffing machine that looks for trace residue of certain chemicals.We followed all the protocols and the supervisor on duty still put him on the plane so as not to inconvenience him.In a related incident,I myself had inadvertently forgotten to remove the service manual for the operation of the ETD machine from my luggage on a flight.I passed thru screening without a problem.Wouldn't you think a passenger in possession of a detailed manual on how the TSA equipment functions would raise a red flag?We had others as well,such as a private plane taxiing right up to the main terminal by mistake.The pilot and passenger got out and entered the terminal and were never stopped.How easy to bring a bomb right into the hub that way.

The bottom line is that security can be improved substantially,but not without cost.Mainly this would be to the passengers that would have to deal with the tighter screening.What is your safety worth to you?The TSA will respond very publicly for the next few weeks to show that they are on top of this and then it will just fade away again.One of the first responses I've seen is to not let people get up from their seat during the last hour of the flight.So,apparently the telegraphed message to future terrorists is to make sure you set off your bomb earlier in the flight.What a joke!More to come...

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