Editor’s Note – Recently, I had the great displeasure to fly across the country for a family event. The displeasure certainly was not with the event, rather, it was an abysmal airline experience.
It should never take over 24 hours from the time one leaves their home to arrive at their destination in 2015.
Of course, many have had similar experiences due to weather issues, mechanical issues, or a host of other reasons, but in this age of packed flights, tighter quarters, fees charged for everything, rude fellow travelers, and surly employees, the last thing we need is to know we are not at all safe.
During the same week when I crossed the country, the massive failure that is the TSA in detecting nefarious devices was revealed, and even more mind-boggling are the holes in our security communications at DHS between its own agencies.
Senator Ben Sasse R-Nebraska wrote about the first problem uncovered:
Last week, a classified inspector general investigation was leaked, delivering the shocking news that the Transportation Security Administration failed to stop weapons and explosives from passing airport checkpoints 96% of the time.
As a member of the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and — more important — as a dad who frequently flies with my kids and wife, I am appalled by this inexcusable national security lapse. But outrage is not enough.
Before they board another flight, the American people deserve the truth. Without giving our enemies specific technological or strategic information that would expose new vulnerabilities, President Obama has an obligation to declassify the inspector general’s investigation and to publicly release everything else the administration knows about TSA’s failures.
Here is what the public already knows: TSA failed to stop undercover individuals from smuggling weapons and explosives past checkpoints 67 times out of 70 attempts. Our families are only as safe as our weakest TSA checkpoint. After 9/11, it became inescapably clear that, although we have to be right every time, terrorists need to succeed only once. What happens when we are wrong 96% of the time?
Here is what keeps me up at night: The publicly available facts are disturbing, but the classified details are even worse. Millions of families will soon fly to summer vacations, but if moms knew what members of Congress have learned behind closed doors, they would march on Washington demanding an urgent, top-to-bottom reevaluation of airport security. (USA Today)
Then we learn today that the TSA was kept out of the loop regarding 73 airline employees with ties to terrorism that should have been on their no-fly list. The DHS does not trust the TSA, why should we?
Feeling safe and comfy in that tiny seat? Don’t complain, you may get kicked off as well and end up on that list.
TSA Fails to Identify 73 Employees With Links to Terrorism
by HALIMAH ABDULLAH – NBC News
A new Government Accountability Office report found that the Transportation Security Administration failed to identify 73 aviation employees with active clearance badges with links to terrorism.
The people, who were employed by major airlines, airport vendors and other employers, were not identified because TSA is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related information under current inter-agency policies, the report said.
The agency’s “multi-layered process to vet aviation workers for potential links to terrorism was generally effective. In addition to initially vetting every application for new credentials, TSA recurrently vetted aviation workers with access to secured areas of commercial airports every time the Consolidated Terrorist Watchlist was updated,” the report found.
“However, our testing showed that TSA did not identify 73 individuals with terrorism-related category codes because TSA is not authorized to receive all terrorism-related information under current interagency watchlisting policy.”
Further, the thousands of records used to vet employees contained such incomplete or inaccurate data as lacking a full first name or missing social security numbers. TSA ran into particular problems in the vetting process when potential aviation employees has not committed crimes and were legal resident or citizens.
“Without complete and accurate information, TSA risks credentialing and providing unescorted access to secure airport areas for workers with potential to harm the nation’s air transportation system,” the report found.