Judicial Watch • TSA Persecutes Critics, Ignores Security Threats

TSA Persecutes Critics, Ignores Security Threats

TSA Persecutes Critics, Ignores Security Threats

DECEMBER 27, 2010

 

While the Department of Homeland Security investigates a commercial airline pilot for exposing security flaws at a major U.S. airport, it fails to protect America against terrorism by not screening passengers and cargo on thousands of planes that fly over the country each week.

Widely reported as unrelated events by the mainstream media, the stories are the latest of many that illustrate the nation’s security is largely in the hands of a bloated government agency with misplaced priorities. As it harasses honest citizens with invasive, genital-groping personal searches, the Homeland Security division responsible for safeguarding the nation’s transportation system (the 50,000-member Transportation Security Administration—TSA) ignores real threats.

Its shameful lapses have been well documented by Judicial Watch, including last week’s alarming report that guns and bombs regularly get past inept TSA screeners during random tests. In major airports such as Los Angeles International and Chicago’s O’Hare, TSA officers manning those thorough security checkpoints missed loaded guns, bombs and other types of explosives in dozens of cases.

By its own admission, the agency also fails to meet federal standards by not screening cargo and passengers on hundreds of thousands of planes that fly over the U.S. annually. Between 2,000 and 3,000 foreign flights use American airspace to reach their destination each week but TSA doesn’t bother scrutinizing them because other countries have their own protocols, according to an agency official quoted in the newspaper that broke the story this week.

A highly regarded, veteran U.S. intelligence operative points out that a terrorist could “explode a plane with a dirty bomb or a biological weapon or an actual nuclear weapon on board, and that material will spread wherever it crashes.” Just a few months ago bombs concealed in printer cartridges were designed to detonate during U.S.-bound flights from Europe and Dubai. The attacks were prevented thanks to an inside tip and not any sort of TSA work.

The agency does seem to have the resources to retaliate against its critics, including a San Diego man who received worldwide media coverage for refusing to let a TSA agent grope his genitals and a veteran pilot who recently exposed security breakdowns at San Francisco Airport. The commercial airline pilot actually posted a video on the internet showing ground crews entering the airfield without undergoing any sort of screening process.

A former spokesman for the airport confirmed the problem, saying that a “mechanic can come from home with his toolbox and roll it through the terminal” without the box ever getting checked before he enters the airfield. The northern California pilot who publicized the security flaw got a home visit from four federal air marshals and two sheriff’s deputies who confiscated his federally-issued firearm. Now he’s the target of a TSA investigation for revealing “sensitive information.”

This is laughable considering that over the years the TSA has committed unimaginable offenses such as approving background checks for illegal immigrants to work in sensitive areas of a busy U.S. airport and clearing dozens of illegal immigrants to train as pilots just as several of the 9/11 hijackers did.

 

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