MAY 15, 2012
In the latest scandal to rock the agency charged with securing aviation from another terrorist attack, high-ranking officials at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are concealing nearly half of the breaches at major airports across the United States.
It’s simply one of many shameful lapses for the monstrous federal agency created after 9/11 to protect the nation’s transportation system, mainly aviation. With 65,000 employees and a virtually unlimited budget, the TSA has made headlines over the years for regularly missing guns and bombs during random tests at major U.S. airports, approving background checks for illegal immigrants to work in sensitive areas of busy airports and clearing dozens of illegal aliens to train as pilots just as several of the 9/11 hijackers did.
Just last month, the former head of the TSA said the agency is a national embarrassment that remains hopelessly bureaucratic and disconnected from the people it is meant to protect. Less than a year ago a House Transportation Committee called for an overhaul of the TSA, referring to the agency as inept and bloated. The congressional panel determined that, a decade after its creation, the TSA “lacks administrative competency” and “suffers from bureaucratic morass and mismanagement.”
This week an alarming federal report, issued by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, reveals top ranking TSA managers are not telling the head office about nearly half of the security breaches at the country’s major airports. This compromises security by making it more difficult to spot dangerous weaknesses in the national fight against terrorism, according to the DHS inspector general.
The facilities and the actual number of breaches were redacted for security reasons, but the audit covers unreported security violations at six major U.S. airports over a 16-month period. The average rate of reported breaches among the six facilities was only 53%, according to the DHS IG investigators. The only airport identified is New Jersey’s Newark Liberty because a senator from that state, Democrat Frank Lautenberg, ordered the probe after reading about a series of security breaches at the facility in his hometown paper.
In a statement posted on his website, Lautenberg, who is Vice Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, said the new report identifies a “gaping hole” in airport security. He reminds that “the recent attempt by al-Qaeda to take down a U.S.-bound airliner showed us that terrorists are still determined to exploit aviation security gaps in order to attack America.”
What is causing this gaping hole in airport security? Get ready for this; the TSA doesn’t have a comprehensive oversight program to gather information about all security breaches, according to the IG, and therefore can’t monitor trends that could improve security. Furthermore, the TSA doesn’t provide the necessary guidance and oversight to ensure all breaches are consistently reported, tracked and corrected. As a result the agency doesn’t have a “complete understanding of breaches occurring at the nation’s airports and misses opportunities to strengthen aviation security.” This is more than a decade after the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history!
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