RAND, TSA CLASH – CONGRESS CALLS FOR EXTREME OVERHAUL

Posted: January 23, 2012 in by John Dilligent
Tags: , , ,

Blueshirts, Brownshirts, who’s counting? TSA leads the march to Fascism in Amerika 

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Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., clashed with the Transportation Security Administration at a Nashville airport on Monday morning and says that he was “detained” by the government agency. He set off a full-body scanning machine while going through airport security.

Paul reportedly raised his right pant leg, which may have set off the scanner. Paul, according to aides, said it was “clearly a glitch” and asked to proceed through the machine a second time. The TSA demanded a full-body pat-down, which Paul refused.

“I was told I couldn’t leave, that kind of sounds like you are being detained,” Paul said. “I was put into a small cubicle and told not to leave.”

According to sources at the TSA, Paul was not detained, but was escorted by police out of the checkpoint.

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Senator Paul Rand (R-Ky.) has been one of the most outspoken critics of the TSA

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TSA spokesman Greg Soule said, “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. 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.”

Paul was eventually permitted through airport security, according to Soule. “The passenger has since rebooked on another flight and was rescreened without incident,” he said in a statement at about noon on Monday.

Paul, who has previously called for the TSA to be abolished, said that passengers should not be subjected to pat-downs. “I really think no American should have to go through all of this,”  he said. “I think if the screener goes off and you don’t want to have a pat down search, you ought to be able to go back through the screener.” 

Paul says he was sent back through the screener when he went to board his re-booked flight.

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HAVEN’T WE BEEN DOWN THIS ROAD BEFORE?

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Meanwhile, a report released November 11, 2012 by the Republican leaders of a Congressional committee calls for the Transportation Security Administration to slash its work force, minimize its role in screening passengers and make public its performance results, among other recommendations.

The report, “A Decade Later: A Call for TSA Reform”,  was published by the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, which is chaired by Rep. John L. Mica (R-Fla.). Mica played a role in helping to create the TSA nearly 10 years ago, but has become an outspoken critic in recent years. On his website, Mica calls the TSA, ” … a bloated bureaucracy of more than 60,000 employees that is in much need of immediate revamping.”

The report argues that the TSA should focus on its role as a federal regulator of transportation security and “get out of the human resources business.” The TSA employs more than 65,000 people, including 13,000-plus administrative staff across the country.

Despite the TSA’s massive work force, more than 25,000 security breaches have occurred at U.S. airports in the last decade, according to the report.

At the same time, the screening process has become increasingly rigorous for each passenger regardless of his or her individual risk. The TSA has developed a behavior detection program in an effort to single out potentially dangerous fliers, but according to the Government Accountability Office, 17 known terrorists have traveled through security 24 different times at the eight airports where this program is in place.

“TSA has lost focus on its security mission, instead of concentrating on setting and enforcing security standards and protocols,”  said the report. “Consequently, TSA is overwhelmed by the operation of its massive personnel bureaucracy.”

Greg Soule, TSA spokesperson, issued a statement from the agency criticizing the report: “At a time when our country’s aviation system is safer, stronger, and more secure than it was 10 years ago, this report is an unfortunate disservice to the dedicated men and women of TSA who are on the frontlines every day protecting the traveling public.

“In the past decade, TSA has developed a highly trained federal work force that has safely screened over 5 billion passengers and established a multi-layered security system reaching from curb to cockpit. Every day we see the effectiveness of these security measures with TSA officers preventing more than 1,100 guns from being brought onto passenger aircraft this year alone.”

The report also slams the TSA’s use of federal funding. The Congressional report notes that the agency spent $800 million on the behavior detection program since 2007 and that it will cost more than $1.2 billion in the next five years. Nearly $40 million was used to purchase more than 200 machines designed to detect explosives, but only half could be used after it was discovered that the machines could not detect explosives when installed in airports.

“The TSA should act as a federal regulator that supervises private contractors in airport screening,”  argues the report. It also recommends that the agency make public its performance results after 24 months or when deemed safe for security purposes. Those results are currently classified. Finally, the report calls for a “comprehensive, independent study of TSA’s management, operations, and technical capabilities.”

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Special thanks to:  msnbc.com, NBC News, msnbc.com News Services, The Gothamist, David Vincent Wolf (Image Left ), and Max Trombly (Image Right

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