Agency head blames lack of funding, despite having $7 billion budget
May 1, 2014
The TSA has an annual budget of over SEVEN BILLION DOLLARS, yet this is not enough to do proper background checks on its employees, according to agency head John Pistole.
Appearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation this week, Pistole faced a grilling from Senators over the Administration’s dodgy employee track record, and its ability to keep Americans safe.
“DHS (Department of Homeland Security) officials have told us that job applicants in the fast-food industry typically undergo a more robust background check than applicants for a TWIC card,” said Senator Mark Warner, referring to the TSA-issued Transportation Worker Identity Credential.
Warner, a Virginia Democrat, cited a case involving a truck driver who used his TWIC to gain entry into a Naval Station in Norfolk, Virginia last month where he shot a Navy security officer dead. The shooter, Jeffrey T. Savage, has a violent criminal history, including a previous manslaughter conviction.
Astoundingly, he was able to clear the TSA’s screening process. Once a person is initially cleared, the system is only updated if cleared personnel self-report any additional criminal incidents, something violent criminals tend not to do.
U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee followed up the line of questioning:
At yesterday’s hearing, another Senator, California Democrat Barbara Boxer, referred to the recent case where a teenager was able to jump fences at San Jose International airport, and gain access to a passenger jet, where he stowed away in a wheel well and remarkably survived a five hour flight to Honolulu.
“If a 15-year-old can do this, who else can do this? What if it was someone else with an explosive that got on that plane?” Boxer said.
Displaying a remarkable lack of responsibility, TSA head Pistole replied “We could require airports to do much, much more, but the question is who pays for that?”
One solution, perhaps, would be to stop wasting BILLIONS OF DOLLARS on useless security theatre naked body scanners. A new Government Accountability Office report notes that almost half of all airports with the machines, reported no checkpoint drill results at all from March 2011 through February 2013.
The TSA did not gather mandatory “data on drills using improvised explosive devices,” or homemade bombs, at the checkpoint that could demonstrate how well screeners are addressing abnormal activity.
TSA officials told the GAO that the reason for this total failure was because it doesn’t know which office within the agency is responsible for overseeing it.
The report also found that the TSA is also not bothering to assess the number of pat-downs that are being carried out when a scanner is set off. This means there are no accurate figures on the number of false alarms that occur in the field.
Essentially, no one has any idea how well the scanners work because no one bothered to test or assess them, even though it is a legal requirement.
“Since TSA has failed to analyze and utilize AIT false alarm rates, we have no idea how many passengers are being subjected to pat-downs due to technological failures,” House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., said. “TSA should not spend a single dollar on additional AIT machines until all of the deficiencies identified in this report are resolved.” he added.
As we have previously highlighted, TSA body scanners can be fooled by sewing a metallic object into the side of one’s clothing, rendering the entire fleet of machines virtually useless. This has not stopped the agency from earmarking $3.5 BILLION on the scanners so far.
A 2011 Homeland Security report noted that federal investigators “identified vulnerabilities in the screening process” involving the scanners, while multiple other security experts have gone on record saying that the scanners are ineffective. It is no coincidence that $200 million worth of the machines have now been mothballed.
The recent debacle over $50 million uniform contracts also further exposed the TSA as a colossal waste of money.
Then there was the ONE BILLION DOLLARS that was spent on a kooky behavioural monitoring program which consisted of blue shirted bozos staring at travellers in security lines, checking for shifty facial expressions. The GAO concluded that the program was “no better than chance” at discovering would be wrong-doers, and behavioural science experts described the notion that nefarious intent can be determined from body language as “little more than a cultural fiction.” ONE BILLION DOLLARS.
Perhaps diverting funds away from such utterly useless and invasive technology and practices, and putting it into checking whether employees are violent criminals would be a good idea.
Or better yet, just scrap the incompetent and corrupt TSA and employ private security companies who do better background checks than burger joints, and who do not eat up $7 BILLION in taxpayer funds with nothing to show for it but an army of jack boot thugs and a warehouse of mothballed porno scanners failing to secure anyone from anything.
Steve Watson is a London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.