Security at America’s airports must move beyond checkpoints toward public areas to adapt to the dynamic threat of terrorism, says the new Transportation and Security Administration chief.
David Pekoske, the new TSA administrator and former U.S. Coast Guard Vice Admiral said the agency must adapt to the shifting risks from terrorists.
“We can no longer focus only on preventing the bad guys from getting into the secure area of an airport,” Pekoske said in prepared remarks for the first ever state-of-the-TSA address on Wednesday in Washington.
“More and more we must focus on both sides of the checkpoint and in the public areas where airport and surface transportation systems intersect.”
Terrorists have turned their focus toward areas where people aren’t screened, such as baggage-collections zones and check-in areas, like the Brussels airport attack in 2016 where two Islamic suicide bombers killed over 30 people and injured hundreds more.
“We face ambitious adversaries who are continuously looking for a point of attack and waiting for their opportunity,” Pekoske said. “Our job is to make sure they never have that opportunity.”
Despite the fact the TSA has incrementally been ramping up new and invasive screening procedures since its inception in 2001, an internal Department of Homeland Security report released in November found numerous “vulnerabilities,” and found the agency’s failure rate to be around 80%.
Two years earlier, the DHS found TSA’s failure rate to detect weapons and explosives in tests to be 95%.
The TSA’s repeated failures hasn’t stopped the agency’s VIPR (Visible Intermodal Protection and Response) squads from expanding to bus stops, stadiums, subways, and other transit facilities.
The TSA is nothing more than government theater meant to uphold the appearance of safety while also conditioning American citizens to accept a police state environment.